I See Therapists Instead of Dead People

Life has been very…..hard.

As a writer, I can be really descriptive like that, so watch out.  I know, I should have warned you to take a seat first before I shocked you with that revelation.

I haven’t written for a while.  I’ve been seeing a therapist.  For a few months.  On purpose.  No, not my husband, who happens to be a therapist for those who don’t know.  I’m PAYING someone ELSE who is a therapist.  For help.  Yeah.  (BREATHE DEEPLY.)

Clenched jaws.  Screaming rage.  Hours of panic attacks.  For those who don’t know what a panic attack feels like, it feels EXACTLY like a freaking heart attack.  So imagine having the exact pain of a heart attack for hours on end, morning, noon, night, midnight, 2 am.  Yeah.  FUNNESS.

I can say funness if I want, stupid auto correct.

The point is this: I have issues.  I am imperfect.  I am flawed.  I have pain.  And I am dealing with it.  I am growing.  I am learning.  I am loving.

I am learning to love myself.  I am learning to slow down the PTSD so it doesn’t automatically scream “Everyone is out to KILL YOU!” when driving down the freeway.  (You would probably think that too, if you’d been in as many car accidents as I have.)

The really, really good news though is I am learning to love myself.  No, I am not being a cornball, I am being authentic.

Like the rest of you, I have heard my entire life all about self-esteem, love thyself as thy neighbor, “I Am A Child of God,” etc.  I’m not laying in a gutter, physically or mentally; I know who I am and why I’m awesome – for the most part.  My recent lesson has been in understanding that loving myself does not mean that I take care of everyone else’s needs/wants/demands and put myself last!  *AND* that there is no way in hell no one will look to me for help or advice in any way, which is my heart’s dream – to be a philanthropist and serve the world – until I get my own shit together and understand who I am and along with that understanding comes full love and acceptance of who I am.

To the wonder and amazement to my PTSD brain, I have made some changes and continuing on in others:

  • Work: I have stopped being a workaholic.  My job/business/boss does not OWN me.  My time is mine.  I have every right to have a balance between work and the rest of my life.  I work so I can live.  I do not live to work.
  • Diet: I eat breakfast every day.  Whoopdedoo, you’re thinking.  Well, I wasn’t allowed to eat breakfast growing up, and I carried that bad habit into adulthood. Part of why I’m fat is because I don’t eat enough.  Go look it up if you don’t believe me. I drink three 10 oz. glasses of water a day.  I use to drink zero glasses of water a year, with rare exception and only used a bit to get the meds down twice a day. I’ve stopped drinking pop every day.  I bought a pop every day at work for the last year-and-a-half, a habit that has gone on for years ever since free pop was available when I worked at various places before.  I also drank it when I went out, almost always.  I’m weaning myself off of it so that I stop the pop completely.  I started paying attention to how much I eat and when.
  • Relationships: I’m no longer saying yes to what other people want from me when it isn’t what I want.  The really hard one.  I was a pushover in this area.  I put what other people wanted ahead of my own needs in many ways, then would have anxiety attacks about it afterwards.  Resentment and frustration built up.  A lot of the times, I would even say yes to the detriment of my own finances, emotional and/or physical well-being. I’m working on this and probably will for a long time, but I know that eventually, I will get to the place where it’s on auto pilot and is emotionally healthy and strong.
  • Hiding My Body: BREATHE.  Feeling a little panicky there.  I am no longer hiding the physical Sheri, something that I have done for years, only bringing her out for special occasions like weddings, birthdays, and such.  I got a short haircut today, with various hair lengths, and it really highlights my eyes, which I believe to be part of the trifecta of my good looks – my eyes, hair and boobs.  My hairstylist, Emily, that I’ve been going to for the last 2.5 years, was so excited that I got over my blend-into-the-wall-bob that she insisted I come back in a month on my birthday for an update and offered to teach me this cool eyeliner trick.  More on that later.  I’ve been living in dark clothing – grey, black, purple, occasional red or pink – for YEARS. YEARS.  Sad.  Pathetic.  Get over it, woman.  Time to move on.  I haven’t worn make-up or done my nails or even taken care of them properly or used moisturizer on this middle-aged face except here and there either.  That has also changed.
  • I’m an ARTIST!:  I am, damnit!  I am highly creative, weird, intuitive, unique, imaginative.  I write, paint, make cards, sing, write lyrics, breathe/eat/smell paintings.  I can’t tell you what is better – sex or a live concert – because they are both freaking sensual and liberating to my whole being.  Music makes me feel ALIVE.  I feel God’s love course through my veins when I hear music.  I feel liquid sunshine soaking my soul when I look at an oil painting full of light, color, majesty.  So the change that I have made is to stop being quiet about it.  I’ve been making cards – Halloween, Thanksgiving, birthday, get well, just because, anniversary, wedding, baby shower, baby blessing, thank you – and people have been asking me to make them stacks and PAYING me for them.  I’ve been donating them to a colleague who gives them to needy children through the Mailing Smiles program.

I’ve prayed for assistance in being more accepting of who I am and standing up for myself better, to MYSELF as well as others.  I’ve had prayers answered directly thereafter in the form of TED talks, friends, scriptures and the Spirit speaking to me.  My eyes are being opened.

How Hairy Arms Lead to Hearing About Hairy Other Things

Second Title: I had a stalker, but now I have a new one.

WARNING: This post has swearing, Mormons.  And those that aren’t that don’t like to read swearing.  I type like I would say it in real life vs. censoring myself for the blog.

I decided a few days ago that I was going to stop trying to hide who I am by blending into the walls and try to be unnoticed.

If you know me in real life and you’re laughing right now, I would slap your arm to make you hush and listen.

I know that I am loud (volume wise), opinionated and swear like a Navy Seal, so for some to hear that I view myself as shy and quiet, they would disagree.  However, there are others who know me who only see the shy, quiet, anxious version.  Because of the effects of the mini-stroke, I do say what’s on my mind and the F word does slip out when I’m excited regardless of who is around me.  However, due to the comfort level I have with a person, I will not share any personal information, feelings, details of my life, politics, views of the world, etc. etc. until they reach a certain level.  Sometimes that takes years, if ever.  I can count on one hand the people on this planet that actually know me and that I trust.

I have no issue with standing up for my religion, loved ones and morals, no matter the circumstances or who is around.  I think and treat everyone equally in this regard.

When it comes to me being approachable and being seen, in the last 14 years, I have liked that to be next to nothing and on my own terms.  I had a stalker, who was an ex-fiancee, and that’s a story for another day on this blog – maybe.  I had another ex-fiancee who shredded my heart to a million pieces.  I went through tremendous pain with my family.  I have prayed, begging God to take my life so that I could go Home to Him and get off this planet.

When I went through one of the failed relationship situations, I believe something snapped, literally, in my brain.  I had the damn mini-stroke at that time, while I was being stalked.  I think my brain was like, “WHAT THE FUCK!  GET OFF THIS PLANET NOW!  NO MORE SHIT, WOMAN, SERIOUSLY!  DIE ALREADY!”  God had other plans.  And with those other plans, came defense mechanisms, like turning into Boo Radley.

For a time, I went nowhere except work and the grocery store.  I even stopped going to church.  It was too hard.  Too many people.  Too much noise.  Too much static.  TOO MANY DAMN FUCKING PEOPLE!

My hair?  What hair?  I was lucky if I could have the strength to wash it, let alone style it.  Make up?  Why in the WORLD would I want another MAN looking at me?  Any ONE for that matter?  I’ve been attacked by men *and* women.  (Oh, I have stories.  Lots and lots of stories…)  Clothes…?  It was all I could do to just get dressed in the morning.  One day at work, I realized something smelled really bad.  Awful.  I thought it was the guy next to me in the meeting.  Then it dawned on me that it was *ME*.  Ohhhhhhhh what the hell.  The shame and the depression – I don’t know what was bigger at that moment.

I got out of the funk I was in over that bastard and became functional again.  However, for years, I’ve been neglecting my appearance and my body.  It isn’t something that I was doing intentionally.  I was on auto pilot much of the time, doing what the subconscious demanded, which was to SURVIVE, which meant to not cause anyone to look at me and notice any movement.

When I got married two years ago, I had a really big wake up call to how I treated my body.  I wasn’t taking care of myself medically, and it could have been deadly.  I got my butt in gear on that and the heat gets slowly turned up ever since to do better and better.

A couple weeks ago, I decided it was high freaking time to stop bringing the good looking Sheri out only for special occasions and start dolling myself up on a regular basis, like a regular woman, and stop being afraid of being feminine, pretty, and turning a head.  Gosh, just being a HUMAN BEING and doing normal junk like using lotion like I’m supposed to and doing a regular manicure so I don’t have shark claws would be a huge improvement.  I made plans to get a new, avant garde hairdo.  I planned on buying a new pair of colorful, good tennis shoes for myself – the only shoes I can wear with the lymphedema; my current ones I had worn 7 days a week since July 2012 and were toast.

That brings us to today, when I got a new haircut.  Emily, my hairstylist, has been my girl for over two years.  She does an amazing job.  Not only that, she has a great heart, is fun, and a very good listener.  I need a good listener in a hairstylist because it’s a chick touching my head, and if she didn’t listen to me, there would no longer be a business relationship.

I showed Emily the two hairdos I was considering from pictures I cut out of magazines, and I asked for her opinion.  The one I really wanted I was scared my face was too round to handle, but she said it would work great.  As she worked her magic, I told her what was new with me and how I’ve been working on my junk.  I confided how I am clueless about hair, make up, etc. and just do the best I can when I put forth the effort or pay the pros.  She knows one of my BFF’s is a model, and she asked me why I never asked her for advice.  I admitted I am too self-conscious.  Emily said she would show me how to do a lash out with eyeliner after she finished my hair, and she did so, including bringing some concealer.  Then she showed me how to style my new ‘do with wax and made me promise to come back on my birthday so she can spoil me.

I went to get some blush at the mall and a ran into two older women handing out fragrance samples.  They both complimented me on my hair and also perfume.  This was noteworthy because I hardly ever hear compliments like this, and I haven’t heard one from a stranger in many, many years.  This felt really good.

The sales gal at the make up counter was really kind.  I was vulnerable and honest with her, telling her that I wanted to get blush but knew zip about what to buy and hadn’t bought any since 2006.  Seriously, I can remember because that’s how little buying make up happens from this purse.  I mentioned that I also knew zip about how to use eyeshadow and asked if she would teach me.  She asked why, and I explained that I went through a rough patch involving a stalker and other craziness but that I am over it and moving on with my life.  She was genuinely happy for me, and she was thrilled to teach.  She did one shade at a time on my left eye, teaching me while I did the same on my right.  She also offered to teach me how to pick a blush, apply it, and how to mix them.  They had a kit for a small price as well, so I ended up with a ton of high quality make up for a fraction of the price, and the kit included brushes, so I’m all set!  The sales woman asked if I had any big holiday parties or anything important coming up, and I said no except for the company party in January.  She said to call her the day or two before if something gets scheduled, and she’ll do a whole complimentary make up session for me.

I then went to another store, one of my favorites of all time, to get some yummy smelling lotion so I will USE it.  I was looking at the shelves, when this bouncy, curly brunette with a pierced lip came up to me with a witty line.  I laughed, and she offered to demo various lotions on my hands.  I accepted.

This young woman talked a mile a minute and was extremely agreeable to everything I said, even going so far as to “top” whatever I had to say as she put different lotions on my hands, a facial cleanser, and shampoo on my arm.  It was harmless, and I wasn’t judging her.  I considered it to be over zealous sales.

Then this happened.

(Curly starts to put second shampoo to test on my arm)

Me: I have such hairy arms.  I must have some European gene in there somewhere, like Italian or Greek.

Curly: You know what?!  ME TOO!  I am also Italian!  Well, my friend’s mom is Italian, but you know, same THING!!!

Me:  Hmmm.

Curly: And I have no hair on my arms, I don’t know why, since I’m Italian too, but I have a hairy bushel AND a really hairy happy trail!  I mean, a REALLY hairy bushel! (Circles her hand around her stomach.)

Me: Ughhhh…..  I’m done now.  I’ll get this and this.

Curly: OK!

Curly: (At the register after ringing me up)  Do you want anything else?

Me: Nope.

Curly: Are you sure?  NOTHING else?  Nothing else you want to take home?  Or try at home, I mean?

Me: Positive.

Well, I am standing out now, but I didn’t think the first person to hit on me would be a girl.  If that’s your thing, great, but it’s not my thing.  And it made this situation funny for me, since I’m trying to deal with being afraid to be attractive.

I like this, including the grey hairs.

I like this, including the grey hairs.

You Are Not Replaceable

I’ll Stand By You

This week is Suicide Prevention Week.  I believe it is important to bring this up because suicide has been in my life.  I believe it’s important as well to talk about subjects that are taboo – I’m not afraid to talk about this.

If you need help, please call someone, anyone, and talk to them.  Get help.  If you don’t have someone in your life that you feel you can trust then call a suicide prevention hotline.  Find a therapist.  Go online and find people who “get” you, who you can relate to, in social media.  Just talk to someone, please.  You are not alone.  Write to me, whether you know me personally or not.  I don’t claim to be a therapist nor do I pretend to have all the answers.  I promise I’ll listen and I’ll care.  Sometimes that’s all we need.

My life was saved when I was 17 years old by a teacher and again when I was 18 when I was deeply depressed and contemplating suicide.  I thought it was the only way out.  Thank God that I had someone to go to when I was 17 and then had a hotline to call the second time around.  I was also in very dark places in other times in my life.  Depression is a bitch that lies and the despair is completely insane.

I’ve also known people who were suicidal.  I was able to be there for one of them.  Two others that I knew as acquaintances through work chose to take their life and I had no idea about their circumstances til it was too late.  One of my best friends from high school lost her brother this way, when he was so young and full of life.  I have family who have stories.

When I’m feeling down or like my brain is splitting in half, I have things that I do to remind myself of why I’m on this planet and why I’m needed.  I have a mission to fulfill.  I vent to those who love me and don’t judge me.

And I pray.  I remember that we are made in the image of God.  I am His daughter.  He created my personality.  He gave me my weaknesses and strengths.  He has done that for each of us.  For you.

You are never alone.  You can talk to God at any time, about anything.  Prayer is a miraculous gift, so we are able to talk with Him at any time.  Say whatever you want; He is already aware of what is on your heart.  Pour your soul out to Him whenever you need to.  Yell.  Bawl.  Say anything and everything that comes out.  God loves you, and nothing you say will change that.

The joy I have in my life is not because I don’t have trials – I have plenty.  I have joy because I remember God and Christ.  I thank God for what I have.  I read His word.  I keep Him close.

May the Lord bless you in all of your trials and triumphs.  Remember you are not replaceable.  You are never alone.

I love this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EY0_oVV29PM Music really uplifts me.  I hope you like this too.

I Believe in the Priesthood As It Is, aka, I’m Not Afraid

There is a feminist movement in my religion going on.  They want to have women receive the priesthood.

We believe in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that the organization of our Church is set up the same as how Christ set up the organization originally, namely, with prophets, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.  We believe that the priesthood is the authority given to worthy (morally speaking) men and young men age 12+ who are members of our religion in order to administer the ordinances, covenants and operational aspects of the Church.  These would be such things as baptism, blessing and passing of the sacrament, giving a blessing to the sick, being a bishop, etc.

The feminist movement wants the women to have the priesthood too, citing inequality.  I don’t view this as inequality at all.

Men and women have different roles.  Our gender is given to us when we were created by God as spirits, and we are born with that gender.  Women are given the gifts of motherhood with the capacities to nurture, while men are given the capabilities to lead the children through to adulthood with the mothers and on to the next life.  Men cannot give birth.  Women cannot parent alone.  Yes, men can adopt a child and yes, single mothers parent alone all the time, but for the best situation for the human condition, children need a father and a mother.

So it is when it comes to the priesthood.  Men have callings in the church to do various things to bring children through this life and on to the next – they are able to baptize, give blessings, marry them, and so forth.  Women are given callings as well in all aspects you can imagine to build and lift the kingdom of God.

Thus, I saw this posting on Facebook about the feminist movement going to gather together to attend the Priesthood Session of General Conference in October in Salt Lake City.  General Conference is our bi-annual worldwide church conference and anyone, member or not, may watch and participate.

I posted something on the blog I saw about this movement.  No one but me disagreed with the movement.  Here are my comments:

I believe that seeking additional truth and standing up for what one believes in are noble causes. When it comes to seeking answers or requesting a policy change for something in the Church, we have the personal responsibility to seek out the doctrine for the truth and the reasoning behind the policy.

The priesthood power and keys are a point of doctrine in the gospel, not a policy. They are based on truth, revelations from God. I believe it is dangerous and prideful to dictate to the Lord how to run His Church.

I would guess that the women who show up to Priesthood Session for this October’s General Conference will not be turned away, as the Priesthood Session is not a secret society and nothing is said there that cannot be shared with anyone on this Earth.

As one previous comment stated, one is already able to access the session online live or by attending in person at the state center, and also, one can watch on TV or listen on the radio. They publish the session with all the other talks and sessions, including the all Women’s session, in the Ensign and Liahona. The men are able to read, listen or watch the talks given to the Relief Society and Young Women, just like we can do the same for the Priesthood session.

I do not view there to be any inequality at all in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love this Church. I love the gospel. I am appreciative and grateful for how the priesthood is arranged and managed by those who are in authority. I believe that women are given every and many opportunities to serve in this beautiful Church. It is a great gift to all.

Here is the article if you’re interested: http://www.the-exponent.com/the-spirit-of-fear/

What are your thoughts?

 

New House, New Job, New Ward, New Anxieties

As previously mentioned, we moved in June to a house in Kent.  We are renting this lovely place and we would like to stay here until our son’s at least graduated from high school.

The cute house from the community front lawn

The cute house from the community front lawn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The kids really love having their own rooms.  Sir did in our last place, but he’s got a bigger room now, and our daughter now has a bedroom that’s totally her’s instead of sharing it with our desks.  They also love having a yard to play in, even though it’s small.  I’m very grateful for the well insulated walls and nice carpeting so I can’t hear every banging their toy swords make anymore.  I also like being able to park in the garage for the first time in eight years.  It helps so much to stay out of the heat because my body can’t regulate its temperature well and I don’t sweat as a result of that and the medication I’m on.  It will be a big blessing in the winter for the same reason.

I want to put my desk into my walk-in closet since the thing is monstrous and I only have enough clothes to fill 25% of it.  Also because the closet has its own *light* and *door* so I can go in there, close the door – after closing the *bedroom* door! – and crank the music up while I paint, write, make cards, whatever.

 

Nerd’s New Job

My husband got a new job that he starts the day after Labor Day.  He’s going to be a therapist for a non-profit in Tacoma, with clients who have court mandated therapy.  It will be full-time.  This is a really big deal for our family because his practice wasn’t stable.  It is a real miracle from the Lord that this opportunity has presented itself.  We have been scraping together a few dollars here and there as he is paid a little at a time from clients and from me selling my iPod and a couple movies at work.

 

Our New Ward

Since we moved, we are now in a new ward, which is the Des Moines Ward in the Seattle stake.  This surprised us because we assumed we would be in the Kent stake, in a Kent ward, and didn’t know till after we had agreed on the house.

For the first time ever in my life, the bishopric came to our house to get to know us.  The RS President and one of her counselors came over as well to chat with me.  There are some really friendly people.

I’m concerned for our son because there are hardly any kids in the primary.  I subbed as the primary chorister one week, and there were five kids total, two of them being mine.  He’s in a class that combines kids from age 6 to 10, and he has cried a couple times because of the huge age and maturity difference.  We’ve already asked to move him into the class with the 11 year olds; they won’t do it.  He’ll be all right till the end of the year.  For Scouts, there is only one other boy in his group and he’s in the other ward.

I have absolutely no idea what kind of calling I would receive in this ward.  It will be a complete surprise.

I really miss my last ward.  We had a lot of friends there as well as the children, we knew almost everyone, and it was full of good people.  I miss teaching and writing to my visiting teaching route.  I volunteered to assist in contacting the 90 inactive women in the ward to give myself something to do.  No one needs a calling to reach out and let people know they care about them and give them info about the ward and the missionaries if they desire it.

 

First Paying Customer

For the first time ever, I had my first paying customer for my art.  It was unsolicited, so it was quite surprising and makes it even cooler to me.  My friend Bonnie, who is my SIL’s momma, ordered 14 homemade cards from me!  I was so astonished and loved being asked.  I made her 6 birthday cards for girls, 6 for boys, and 2 baby shower cards.  I also gave her a thank you card since I was late in finishing and she paid me in advance.  This really boosted me in all kinds of ways.

This leads to a fabulous surprise coming this weekend!  See you then!

New Medical Garbage, Hooray!

I haven’t been keeping this updated very well – as in MONTHS – so I am getting my act together!

I really wish WordPress would not automatically double space on me!

Anyway, I want to summarize this as briefly as possible because I’m emotional about it and junk and frankly I’m on a roll with the creative side of my brain right now and not really in the whaaaa cry baby side of my brain.

A few months ago, found I was bleeding internally.  That was all posted back in the May post.

Well, Heppenstall decided to retire and let me find out after the colonoscopy being rescheduled THREE TIMES because she wouldn’t make a decision about the Warfarin with the gastrointestinal doctor.  I complained about Heppenstall to my insurance company who couldn’t do anything about her since she was retired.  They recommended that I report her to the Washington state version of the AMA.  I didn’t bother, since she was no longer in practice.

So right now, I don’t have a primary care doctor.  Trying to hunt one down that I will trust, can handle someone with PTSD and the luck of the Wicked Witch of the West, understands lymphedema and wants to solve the riddles of why I create blood clots for no reason, have a spine in the letter “J” that no one else seems to want to give me physical therapy or other treatment for, and oh yeah, figure out what the hell is causing me to bleed.

In the meantime, I have had two experiences with one in my bed just leaning forward and one getting into Christopher’s car, where I was screaming for my life because of the pain in my stomach that came out of nowhere.  It felt like a gremlin was eating me from inside out, grabbing the stomach muscles and twisting them.  I couldn’t do anything but scream my head off til the pain subsided. A large thank you to the Lord for Christopher being with me both times or I probably would’ve gone crazy with the PTSD kicking in and wanting to stab someone.  The first time it happened, the pain went away slowly and then I was fine the next day.  However, the second time was two Fridays ago, and it still feels like the gremlin has his arms wrapped around my guts.  I get up very slowly after sitting or when I need to lay down.  Tonight, the right side of my stomach decided to join in since its been feeling left out, so it is also tensing up.

The Nerd wanted to find a chiropractor we could go to that would be closer to home.  We moved in June to Kent, Washington so we would be closer to our work.  He found a practice that does the IQ gun, the same as Dr. Barrett, in our city and is literally up the street from us.  I tried them out, twice.  The first time, the chiropractor I saw was a nice guy and he took a lot of time getting to know my history, taking x-rays, etc., but he didn’t adjust me with the accuracy of Dr. Barrett.  I left his office still in pain, which I have never done when I leave Dr. Barrett’s office.  Nerd and I went together for a second time when my back was killing me, and a woman chiropractor was assigned to us.  She talked a mile a minute, stood right next to me and wouldn’t move even when I commented about it being 5,000 degrees in there and needing personal space – PTSD newsflash lady!!!  I knew I’d never see her again when she refused to adjust the table for me, didn’t ask what was hurting and was pushing down on me, causing me pain.  You are not a good chiropractor if you are PRESSING DOWN ON THE PATIENT’S SORE BACK.

I embarrassed my husband because as soon as she was “done” with “adjusting” me, I got up and left, going straight for the car.  Automatic fight or flight response.  I’ll never go back there again.

Yesterday, Nerd made appointments for us for Dr. Barrett after I got off work.  I could barely move at all this weekend and didn’t make it to church Sunday because of the severe pain in my back and hips.  Extra Strength Tylenol failed me.  After Dr. Barrett adjusted me, and about 30 minutes later, I was able to stand and walk for the first time without pain in over a month.  I told him he’s not allowed to ever die because I need him.  He laughed and said he just had his 50th birthday and his first thought was surprise that he didn’t die in his 40’s.  Another reason why we get along so well.

I felt blood flow through all parts of my body like a raging river escaping a dam.  I don’t know how the heck I end up all twisted like this.  Oh yeah, a zillion car wrecks, child abuse, a curved spine…

Dr. Barrett adjusted all of the following on me:

  • Atlas – was pushed up and forward
  • First vertebrae – He told me that it was cutting off the flow of spinal fluid
  • Second vertebrae
  • Left shoulder in 3 places
  • Left shoulder blade
  • L3
  • L4
  • L5
  • Right knee, front and back
  • Both heels
  • Pelvis, both sides
  • Sacrum

Moral of the story: If you have a screwed up spine, you need to see the chiropractor – the one that is GOOD! – at least weekly.

Second moral of the story:  Do not pick physicians that look like they are over 50.  You are only 38 and you need a doctor that won’t retire for at least another 10 years.

Third moral of the story: Be nice to Nerd.  He really, really loves you.

INSPIRED BURNING WOOD TIGER IS COMING!!!

I’ve learned quite a few things about Sheri lately.

1) Daria is my long lost twin.  We were separated at birth.  I was called her name by a former friend 8 years ago when he was trying to explain his frustration with me, and I wasn’t familiar with her.  I started watching the series from the beginning on Amazon Prime (yes, that is a plug), and I have learned that she is me and I am her so we are one.  I told my husband to start calling me Daria.  He just stared at me.

2)  I do not need to be a workaholic to survive.  When I get scared about finances, my marriage, or sometimes life in general, I kick it into workaholic mode and do insane things like work 60 hour shifts.  I had a major paradigm shift after doing this for two months and working 18 hours on a Friday night during a thunderstorm where the lightning was coming dangerously close to hitting my skyscraper at 2 am.  The drunks who rode the elevator down to the underground parking garage with me also freaked me out and reminded me of why normal people don’t work so late when they don’t have to.   The next Friday, my bosses decided to give everyone Monday off as a free day – EXCEPT FOR ME.  I was livid.  I had a chat with them and after being told no some more, I took that Friday off.  I just did it.  They survived.  And I proclaimed – in a professional manner, of course; I still need to pay the bills – that I would not be working psycho hours anymore, that I have – er, wanted – a life and I had my family to take care of and spend time with and do art and write and there’s music and NO MORE FREAKING 60 HOUR WEEKS!!!

3) I started writing my memoirs.  After being told by God and my intuition and the universe to GET THIS DONE ALREADY, I finally started writing the book of my life on August 24th.  This is huge.  HUGE.  Freaking huge, people.  Just huge.

4) Fear is for losers.  I have been holding back on being creative – writing, designing, composing – out of FEAR.  Fear of what the world will think of me!  Fear of criticism, of attacks – verbal and perhaps physical – when I share what I know and feel and think.  Fear of the ME.  Fear of who I am.  Fear of what I have seen, done, experienced.  I was afraid of being judged harshly by other Mormons for writing what I what to write because they will not like what they read.  The chick who wrote the Twilight books is Mormon and I wondered what kind of slander and BS she had to put up with for writing about vampires, especially for the sex-breaking-the-house-apart scene.  But to hell with all of the fear, the criticism, the blah blah blahs.  Everyone has critics.  Everyone is attacked.  Good grief, Christ Himself was under constant attack and He was PERFECT.  He was absolutely, completely perfect with nothing but love and glory and power and the bastards still questioned His every decision, gift, blessing and association.  If I didn’t have any critics or attacks, then I would know something was WRONG and that what I had written or created was really crap!  So goodbye fear!  I have lit your butt on fire with a flaming torch as tall as the Space Needle and sent you to Saturn where you can dine on atmospheric dust and pretend you’re special, because your lease is NOT being renewed.

Asthma Angst Apnea Aggrevation Accountant Anger

I visited my regular doctor yesterday morning.  I was still coughing pretty hard and had thrown up the night before from coughing.  I could hear myself wheeze and it sounded like popcorn popping when I tried to breathe.

Heppenstall told me that she sent the x-rays out to the radiologist for review, and he said I didn’t have pneumonia.  However, my heart is too big.  Huh?  Thanks, radiologist.  Since when did you specialize in cardiology?

Heppenstall referred me to a lung specialty clinic so they could figure out what is wrong.  She had no more answers for me since the antibiotics she gave me should have worked, she said.

I talked to her about another matter that came up on the 15th.  The GI doctor’s nurse called me and told me that Heppenstall refused to take me off the warfarin for the colonoscopy, and she also informed them that she didn’t monitor my blood so she didn’t feel comfortable prescribing bridge therapy for the blood treatment.  When the nurse heard how crappy I sounded on the phone, she told me they would need to cancel the procedure until I am well.  She asked who monitors my blood, and I told her the infusion clinic at Auburn General.  She wanted the doctor’s name, and I told her there isn’t a doctor there, nor a pharmacist for that matter which is standard protocol, just nurses.  This alarmed her and she said she’d talk to the GI doctor.  She called me back the next day and said to just take Miralax for four weeks then see the GI doctor again.  Frustrated, I said I would take care of the situation.  I discussed this with Heppenstall yesterday and told her I can’t be the first patient on warfarin who needs a colonoscopy that uses Auburn’s infusion clinic.  She said that she would get an internist or someone to take care of the matter, and I asked that there be better communication between her office and the GI’s.  She tried to assure me she would handle it.

When I got home, I called the GI’s office and was able to get ahold of Shauna, the nurse.  She said they need to reschedule the colonoscopy for late June, and I gave her dates that would work for us, around Christopher’s schedule so he can drive me to/from the hospital.  She also asked for the phone number for the infusion clinic, which I find amusing since their office is in a building attached to the freaking hospital.  Shauna said she’d call me Monday to reschedule the procedure and also to set another appointment with Dr. Hassig.

I called the lung specialists, and the receptionist told me the earliest appointment was the end of June.  I explained why I was referred to them and that I need to be seen in the next few days, max.  She “found” a time for me at 3:30 at their office in Tacoma.

I called my adopted mom, Sue, and updated her.  She offered to give me some free massages along with the use of a gun.

I feel I have to explain this one or someone's going to report me.

I feel I have to explain this one or someone’s going to report me.

Christopher called me, replying to my text message to update him on the day’s events.  He then told me about his trip to H&R Block.  Thousands and thousands are due to the IRS.

I drove myself to their office, which happened to be a building across the street from St. Joseph’s Hospital, where I had the hysterectomy.  I said a prayer before I went in and continued hoping that I wouldn’t have a major cough attack and urinate all over myself at the appointment.  I’ve been coughing so hard, this has been a problem for weeks.

After seven pages of paperwork with the receptionist, I was brought back by an assistant who measured my height.  I can’t remember the last time my height was measured, and I found out I have shrunk an inch.  Probably a nice jam or two or ten from car accidents.

I met with Dr. Shaw, who asked me many questions I’ve never been asked before in a medical setting, such as where are all the places I’ve lived, have I traveled outside of the US, what type of work have I done in the past and if I’m married, does my husband complain about me snoring.  After getting a lot of information about my life and basic  facts on my health, he checked me out for the cough that won’t go away the last three weeks.  Dr. Shaw said that I have gigantic tonsils and also a large uvula.

My, what a big uvula you have!

My, what a big uvula you have!

 

After listening to me breathe, my heart, a couple of breathing tests and feeling my neck and head, Dr. Shaw told me that I have a type of asthma that only shows up when sick.  He explained that I need to use an inhaler when I catch a cold so I can breathe and the cold won’t escalate into a worse condition.

Dr. Shaw had me fill out a written test, because he also suspected I have sleep apnea.  If one scores 10 or more, it’s highly likely you have the condition.  I scored 21.  He referred me to do a sleep study.

He went on to tell me that the lymphedema doesn’t help the lungs at all and it also puts extra work on my heart.  He explained, since I’ve had two pulmonary embolisms and no one can determine why I get blood clots being on warfarin, that the lungs can create blood clots under stress which can occur from a lack of sleep.  Those clots are then sent out in the body.  The doctor told me I need to lose weight and do whatever I can to start taking care of it now and that I would be a great candidate for bariatric surgery.  He said he has a doctor to refer me to for it if I want to consider it that is in Federal Way.  Since he had asked about my health as a kid and before/after the clots, along with family history, Dr. Shaw explained that I may have had sleep apnea my entire life and it’s worse because of my weight.  He said that my body also had a high rate to create clots before I had the first DVT’s that resulted from taking The Pill.  I started to feel like a bag of trash when he was telling me, in a matter-of-fact way, that I’m fat and it’s destroying my health.

He told me that for the cough, it could be whooping-cough and not pneumonia, because the x-rays were not great.  He said he isn’t going to bother doing a test to see if it is whooping-cough because I’ve been sick three weeks and at this point, there is nothing he can do to treat it if it is whooping-cough.  It will be another two weeks before it finally goes away if it is that.  He explained that the inhaler will open my airways so I can breathe better, but it won’t help with the cough.

Before prescribing the inhaler, Dr. Shaw told me that he could also prescribe steroids to go with the inhaler if I feel that my cough is really bad to make sure that I’m getting enough oxygen.  He told me the side effects for the steroids would be insomnia, mood swings, and blood sugar being screwed up.  I told him that the cough has calmed down slowly the last couple of days so I’d just go with the inhaler.

Last, the doctor told me if I am not over the cough in a week or if it worsens at all, to call and make another appointment to be seen and not wait.

His assistant came in and gave me a demo on how to use the inhaler, along with a couple of samples to take home.  She walked me out to the front, where the receptionist gave me the paperwork for the sleep study and told me I’d have to call to set the appointment on Monday.  She told me that after I have it set, to call her and tell her when it is and then to set a follow-up appointment with Dr. Shaw to go over the results of the study.

My body threw a fit on my way home in traffic, and I got to sit in wet clothes til I could get home and take a shower.  Then I passed out for 3.5 hours for a nap on the reclining sofa, where I’ve lived the last month, since I can’t sleep in my bed.  It makes the coughing worse.

I told my husband last night that I would happily trade him his mental illness for my physical illnesses.  He didn’t like that proposal.

Asthma just when sick?  Not that big of a deal.  Coughing for another two weeks maybe?  I’m worried about losing my job.  I have zero time off and have been telecommuting for two weeks.  My VP informed me two days ago that he’s going on leave 6/1 for several months and so the powers decided that meant he’d have another job when he came back, so all heck is going to break loose and I’m not there to help.  I asked if I’ll still have a job and the answer was yes, for two managers I support as well.  However, who his successor will be is confidential and if I’ll be forced to be their EA as well or if they’ll have their own is unknown.  I’m stretched beyond what is reasonable or human as it is with my current responsibilities. I guess I can cough on people at work, I’m not contagious anymore, but walking through the skyscrapers and carrying my laptop around on top of a 30 minute one-way walk to the parking lot for my car was hard before I was sick.  I need to be able to breathe on my own again. Microsoft fired me for being sick as a contractor.  I don’t want a repeat situation with Amazon.

When I pray to Heavenly Father, I pray for His will in my life and for my health.  I ask for direction, guidance, hope and strength until His timeline comes to pass and the answers come.  Waiting is hard for me.  I’m an impatient lady.  I know Father loves me and is there for me, all the time, every hour I am alive.

I posted on my Facebook status earlier today how I’m tired of hearing there are new things wrong with me.  My friend said the most amazing, uplifting statement to me: “You mean there’s a list of things wrong with you? But you’re perfect Sheri, everything about you is perfect.”  It reminded me that I’m God’s daughter.  It reminded me that He made me, and everything about who I really am is perfect.  Not saying that I don’t have weaknesses or that I don’t make any mistakes, because I have my share, but that I am His and He made me perfectly ME.

May we all remember who we are, no matter what we are going through in this life.  It gives me so much courage and strength to live another day.

"Be Still And Know That I Am God" - Psalms 46:10

“Be Still And Know That I Am God” – Psalms 46:10

 

Bills, Bills, Bills and Joy, Joy, Joy

Want to trade mail?Want to trade mail?

Medical bills.  Fourteen in one day.

Given to me by my friendly mailman (who is my home teacher and he is friendly) the day I visited Dr. Heppenstall the third time for coughing over and over, getting x-rays, and being told that now I have pneumonia.  Fantastic.

“I’m surprised you still have a job,” the pharmacist told me while ringing up my antibiotics, after I told her I hadn’t been in the office since the third week of April.

I grinned, a sad, little grin, and said something like I telecommute but kept most of what I wanted to say to myself.

I called one of my friends yesterday that I haven’t talked to since last summer.  She dropped off the face of the Earth.  Her cell, along with her husband’s cell, had been disconnected.  They stopped using Facebook, and I didn’t have their email.  She never responded to snail mail sent.   Her family moved an hour north of us, so she was no longer close enough for me to go see in person without making plans first. I chalked her up to the large list of people who stop talking to me for no reason.

I know I’m not the only person who has had that happen to them.  They have a good friend and then one day, alacazam, they disappear.

No explanation.  No reason.  No goodbye.

And you know for a fact that it is not because of anything you have done or said.

And you know it’s not because they’ve died or suddenly contracted Alzheimer’s and no longer remember who you are, how to contact you or where you live.

About a week ago, I was perusing through Facebook and saw in the feed a new picture of my friend’s husband posted.

I got this feeling of excitement!  Someone had recently contacted her husband and I’d be able to maybe somehow connect with her again and find out she didn’t dump me after all!  I wanted to see how she was doing, how her family was doing, because they were struggling when we had last talked.  I sent a message to the person who posted the picture, and she responded the next day with a new cell number for my friend.

I got a strong impression to call her while I was telecommuting and coughing up my lungs, so I did.  It was the first time I’d talked to her since August.

She didn’t know who I was at first.  She didn’t recognize my cell number, which I’ve had for over a year.

She was thrilled to hear my voice.

At first, she asked me about my job, family, Christopher’s business and my health.

Then I asked about her’s.

I won’t go into details since this is a friend’s private life.  Suffice it to say that she is having a very, very rough time with health problems I can relate to and some I can’t.

She’s depressed.

She feels trapped in her house, since she can’t walk without crutches and doesn’t have a car.

She needs surgery but has horrible insurance and no one wants to cover it, so they keep sending her in circles.

Her husband has been unemployed for three years, so that is a huge source of frustration.

She can’t work because of her health problems.

Their family has given up on them.

They are super broke.

I was in a stupor, trying to think of how I could help her, when she asked if I was still on the phone.  I told her yes, just thinking about how to help.  Then she asked me a question that has been stuck in my mind all day:

“How can you be so positive?  How can you be so happy with the health problems you have?  How do you do it?”

Surprised, I didn’t know what to say, and my mind went blank.

She continued, “I don’t know how to make friends.  I don’t know how to reach out to people.  I’m an introvert, so I keep to myself, especially when life is hard.  You’re an introvert, too, but you always reach out.  How do you do that?”

Before I could answer her, she started talking to me further about how she’s feeling and what she’s going through, so I listened.  She didn’t bring the conversation back around to wanting to know how I am positive, and I didn’t bring it up for her comfort.

I want to answer my friend’s question here.

Some people are under the impression that because I’m Mormon, my life is glittered unicorns singing Shiny Happy People dancing around me while poofs of naivity shoot out my ears and gum drops out my butt.  That is one of the reasons I have this blog.  To share the good and the bad, the fun and the sucky, the strong and the weak aspects of my life.

Regardless of what you are or who you are, you will face challenges in life.  Everyone’s challenges are different.  It doesn’t make one person’s better or easier than someone else’s.  God allows certain trials to occur for the betterment and building of our character.  Other trials happen because there are morons amongst us.  Then sometimes, we are the morons and we reap the consequences of our actions.  Last, we are sometimes the victims of circumstance or Mother Nature – no one to blame, just life, i.e., tornado or getting struck by lightning.

How you live your life, whether you have big or small rocks on your path, is how you have joy.

God blesses us and strengthens us with hope, peace and faith when we are actively doing all we can to overcome our problems and find solutions, while remembering He is in control of this life and those answers come in His timetable.

I believe this, because I had to learn it the hard way.  I believe this, because I live it.  I know it to be true.

Countless times in my life, I was alone, depressed, angry and had no one or nowhere to turn.   I’ve mentioned before that I was abused as a kid, and it was pretty horrific.  Many volumes could be filled with just my childhood. As a young adult, I went through a lot of room mates, jobs, and nonsense because I kept attracting it into my life.  I didn’t know how to get through hard times.  I tried everything I could think of, working very hard for my jobs but still getting fired or laid off for stupid mistakes, nothing or ridiculous circumstances.  I dated a lot and had many boyfriends, but no one worked out.  I knew a lot of people, but had only three real friends in my early adult years who were also messed up.

On my 24th birthday, that is when the health problems kicked on for my left leg – DVT’s going into lymphedema. I was proposed to that Christmas Eve, and it was called off that February.

My brain split in half, and my heart shattered into a million pieces.

For two years, I mourned the loss of my fiance.

I literally lost my mind one night.

I stopped going to church.  I stopped being myself.  I stopped living.

It was too hard.  Breathing. Moving. Feelings.

I wanted to die.

My dad told me to kill myself.  Or he would do it for me.

It wasn’t until I was 27 and saw a therapist for 18 months that I was able to start becoming stable in my relationships and in my heart.

I took a severe beating yet again when I was 31, because I got engaged to a sociopath.

He tried to kill me by driving the wrong direction on the freeway.

I have a lifetime restraining order against him.

This time, instead of losing my mind, I had a mini-stroke, or TIA.

And I left my religion again.

“What the fuck?!” I would scream in my heart, over and over, every minute of the day, to God.

I was beyond angry.

I hated my life.

I hated people.

I hated anyone and anything that reminded me I had a heart that still beated inside of me.

I would imagine running over any smiling, naive looking woman I would see in the parking lot.

Slowly, I started letting go of my anger, hatred and disappointment.

I knew it was eating me alive and I wanted it out of my life.

I reached out to make friends again and talk to old friends I’d been ignoring.

I became best friends with someone I’ll cherish forever.

I returned to my religion, my church and more importantly, my relationship to my Father in Heaven.

I was able to finally realize the joy and strength found in staying in the gospel.

That God does not give us the answers we want, when we want them, because we would never learn anything if He did that all the time.  However, He will give us hope, strength, joy, faith and peace so we can triumph over anything that gets in our path as we continue to work for the solutions and ask for His guidance.

I want to break this down, because I feel this is very important.  It took me 35 years to figure this out.

When are we afraid, we can ask God for peace, and our fear will disappear.  Does that solve our problem?  No.  Will it aid you in getting out of the frame of mind that fear puts you in, so you can move forward and overcome your problem and keep working to find a solution or just get through the situation?  Definitely.  I’ve had my life threatened multiple times.  I should have died, many times.  People have tried to kill me.  Odd circumstances have put my life in peril.  My body has some bizarre target on it that only weirdos can see that screams, “Aim here!”  I have PTSD as a result of all the guns, car accidents, fists, belts, whips, karate chops, medical junk and other character building moments I’ve experienced.  I’ve been terrified of my own house.  I’ve been afraid to walk outside.  I’ve been afraid of the wind.   God has been with me, throughout my life.  I’ve never been alone.  I have felt alone, but He’s always been there, and I always knew that when I thought back.  Whenever I was scared, I would pray to Him, and He’d be with me.  He would give me peace and comfort.  Sometimes it would last all day.  Sometimes for an hour.  I wouldn’t have made it to adulthood if I hadn’t had prayer, just to talk to God and ask Him to help me when I was afraid.

When we think all is lost, we’re depressed and broken-hearted, we can go to God and ask for hope.  Hope will remind us of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice.  He died for us all so that we may live with Him and God again.  We can start over.  We have a fresh, new start, thanks to the Atonement.  Christ paid for every sin, every sickness, every pain, every problem we have and will ever face.  This life will end.  We have hope for the next life.  We have hope for a better life while we’re here.  We have hope in ourselves, because Christ died for us.  I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, some quite serious.  I sin every day, as I’m a flawed human being.  Christ forgives me as I go to Him.  I’ve been forgiven of everything wrong I’ve ever done.  He knows exactly why I did those things and He knows I will never do the serious ones again.  He’s with me and forgives me as I ask for help in my every day life and as I screw up in all the little ways.

When we feel weak and tired, either physically or emotionally or mentally or financially, and we feel we can’t make another step forward, we can pray to our Father in Heaven and ask for strength.  He gives to all freely.  All blessings flow from Him.  God will give to us what we need.  He’s not going to have a fairy come tap me on the head followed by an explosion of fairy dust blinding me and then suddenly I won’t have lymphedema anymore.  I have this disease for a reason, and I’m learning from it.  In the meantime, Heavenly Father does and will continue to give me the strength to get through being sick for weeks since my immune system is weak.  He was there while I was interviewing for jobs so I can have health insurance and pay my mountain of medical bills.  A lot of people have physical or emotional illness; I’m no different.  Atheists and others don’t believe there is a God because they have issue with this point that I’m making – that God wouldn’t let people suffer if He existed.  Well, I’m here to tell you today that God the Father is more real than our finite minds can imagine.  And the reason why God doesn’t magically cure everyone is because they would not learn a damn thing from their illnesses, nor would those around them.  Also, we must have opposites in all things, and if we were healthy all the time, we would not appreciate nor take care of our bodies.  Then many of us would end up sick or dead any way!  Also, I am a much more compassionate, empathetic person now that I was when I was perfectly healthy.  Sometimes, our weakness is our strength!

When we are starting to doubt, God will increase our faith if we just want to believe.  Faith is knowledge of things that are real, which cannot be seen.  Faith and hope go hand-in-hand.  We may not know or understand why something has happened to us or what the future holds, but God is with us.  He is omnipotent.  He is aware of everything.  God knows the why.  He knows the how.  He knows the when.  He knows the who.  Trust Him.  If you don’t think you can and you just want to try, that’s all you need to start receiving faith.  Just try to believe in Him.  Let the desire to believe grow.  After two horrible engagements, and other failed relationships, I didn’t think I’d ever get married, especially with a chronic illness and being an older lady.  But I tried to have faith about getting married and finding a good man.  I did.

All of this combined equals joy.

Having real joy in my life means that I know I am Heavenly Father’s daughter, a woman of infinite worth and power.

A woman who can survive anything this life throws at her face.

A woman who can do more than survive, she can get through it, overcome it and be a better person because of what hit her and the healing power of God’s love and Christ’s Atonement.  As I use the Atonement in my life for my mistakes and for all of my pain, I am healed.  As I reach out to my Father for strength, peace and understanding, He gives me an increase of hope, faith, strength, peace and joy.

We exist to have joy.

We are not here to suffer.

As I have this joy in my heart, my understanding of the gospel is increased, as well as my love and appreciation of mankind, this Earth, and myself.

Anyone can have this joy.  My friend can have it, even though they are poor, unemployed, without family speaking to them or aiding them and she’s in bad health.  She can still have joy.  You can still have joy.

Why?

Because you, all of us, are a child of Heavenly Father, a man, woman or child of infinite worth and power.

A person that can survive anything this life throws at them.

A person that can do more than survive, you can get through it, overcome it and be a better person because of the trial given to you, with the healing power of God’s love and Christ’s Atonement.  You can use the Atonement in your life for your sins and pain.  You will be healed.  You can reach out to God in prayer, with real intent in your heart, and be granted hope, faith, strength, and joy, with an increase of love for all people.

Including yourself.

Why did I start this blog post talking about having pneumonia and getting a nice stack of medical bills in the mail?

Because my life is not fun every day, as some imagine, just because I’m Mormon.

I’m in physical pain, all the time.  My only relief is when I’m asleep.  I like to sleep.

Seriously, I am not out looking for a pity party.  Sometimes, in moments of sheer frustration and/or anxiety, especially when the PTSD kicks in, I am.  That’s usually when I’m about to get stabbed for a blood test or something.

The reason why I talk about being sick on my blog and why I started it on this post today is because I’m grateful I’m sick.

Yes, I said it.

Why?

I’m grateful that the chronic illness I have is not blindness.  I haven’t lost a limb.  I can still walk.  I don’t have some kind of illness or medical situation that means my husband and I will never get to be intimate again.  I can drive a car.  I can feed myself.  I’m employed.

There are so many, many reasons that I am grateful that the teaching tool of lymphedema given to me, along with the other problems I’ve faced and am facing, have not robbed me of daily living and self-care.

I want to share that regardless of your circumstances or what you are facing, you have control of your attitude.

You have the ability to still turn to God and Jesus Christ and access Their love, support and the Atonement.

You are still their child.

Do I enjoy being sick?  Hell no.  Do I want to have lymphedema forever?  Of course not.  But I’m glad I don’t have the alternatives.

I finally figured out, a few years ago, that my Father in Heaven will love me forever, and I am His.  I finally got the fact that the Atonement is a real fact.  And if it was because of all the hard times I experienced that finally got me to this epiphany, I wouldn’t change a single one of them.

Jesus Christ Loves Each of Us

Jesus Christ Loves Each of Us

Two Fingers Up My Butt & Now There’s Going To Be A Camera?!

My little boy had pneumonia. ;(

Image

He is all better now.

It was a rough week, listening to him cough like mad, hearing him wheeze, and watching him be in pain with his fevers, burning ears and aching back.  He had his first x-rays when our family doctor diagnosed him, and it freaked him out to see his own lungs.

Naturally, I took care of him, working from home while he recovered.

 

I’m Down!  Fingers Are Up!

Then I started coughing on April 26th.  I hacked up a chunk of bloody mucus and thought, “Holy cannoli, I really do not want to have pneumonia.”

I visited our doctor on April 29th after working that morning from home.  My son was still home, almost out of the woods but not quite.  Christopher was with him so I could be checked out.

I started having anxiety in the waiting room.  It was compounded by the receptionist handing me an outstanding bill reminder for medical providers I still owe from the hysterectomy diagnosis.  I blasted my frustration on Facebook and stared at the wall until the medical assistant called my name.

I was there for another reason, as well.  About a month ago, there started to be blood in my stool, and it had gotten worse in the last week.  I’d also started to get a lot of gas and it felt like I was carrying around a sack of potatoes in my stomach.  I didn’t think it was any big deal, as I’ve had some gas and constipation ever since the hysterectomy.  Christopher thought it was a big deal and he made me promise to bring it up while getting an antibiotic prescription.

Seeing Dr. Heppenstall was not fun.  Not because of her, but because she said she had to stick her finger up my butt.  She also made a comment about how I should be aware of what to do for a rectal exam since I had babies.  I was very clear at that point that I had never had a child and had no idea what the hell was involved for getting my butt checked.  Why do people assume that just because I’m a woman, I’ve had children?

After one of the most uncomfortable doctor visits ever, the doctor told me I had to go to the ER immediately.  She said she was greatly concerned about the bleeding, especially since I’m on warfarin.  She called the hospital that I was on my way and told me to drive straight there.

I called  my husband as I drove and after some other phone calls, we found someone to watch our son so Christopher could be with me at the ER.  I sent an email on my cell to my managers that my doctor had sent me to the ER and I’d not be online again the rest of the day.

At Auburn Regional Medical Center, which has to be the second smallest ER I’ve ever seen in the dozen or so I’ve been in, I got checked in after some confusion with the front desk not knowing why I was there and which of me I was – they had two records for me in their database.  The front desk wanted to argue with me that I still have my maiden name, live in a city I haven’t lived in for eight years, and use a cell phone I haven’t had in two years.  After I spoke to another person at a different front desk, I got that ironed out and then met with the nurse to do the second part of the check-in.

As she led me to a hospital bed, she told me that my sis-in-law’s mom, who works there, had called ahead and told them I was coming.  I was touched very much by her kindness and thoughtfulness.

After the ritual once over by the male RN and him stabbing me in the hand for the IV, which was never hooked up to anything, and drawing blood, the doctor visited with me for the run through again of why I was there.  He then had a female nurse come in, pulled my underwear down without letting me do it myself which really inflamed me, and then he went fishing up my bum as well.  It was very painful, so I was yelling “OUCH!” and after about two minutes of that garbage, he finally took his stupid finger out.  Christopher showed up as I was wobbling to use the bathroom, and he waited as I was pushed away for x-rays.

The ER doctor came back after viewing the x-rays and receiving the blood tests, and he told me that my INR was fine, at 2.3.  He said there wasn’t any sign of a blood clot in the lung or throat, so they don’t know why I coughed up blood.  He referred me to see a GI doctor and to see Dr. Heppenstall again to follow up on what they both agreed was a respiratory infection. The doctor said that I had to see the GI doctor in 24-48 hours.  I had to ask for a prescription for my cough, and he gave me a lame medicine that hasn’t helped with squat.  He also recommended a few drops of honey, in a self-depreciating manner.

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ER Jewelry Is So Cheap

 

I received a blessing by Christopher and the two full-time missionaries in our ward.  One of my friends called them to assist with the blessing since Christopher was supposed to be gone to a class he takes, but he was still home with me.

 

So How Have You Not Killed Anyone Yet?

On 4/30, I took our kiddo to see Dr. Heppenstall who gave him a clean bill of health and I then took him to school.  Our doctor noted on the return notice for the school that our boy needs to be out of PE until 5/15.  This is because he has asthma and his lungs need to fully recover before he goes running around.

When I checked him in at the school’s office and handed the return slip to the secretary, she said she had to get the school nurse.  Here’s the fabulous conversation that followed.  Remember, I’m wheezing, short of breath, coughing like mad while talking to the “school nurse.”

(Freaked out by what she is reading on the doctor’s note) School Nurse: I don’t understand what this is.

Me:  It’s a note, from his doctor, stating that he is no longer sick.  As noted, he needs to be dismissed from PE until 5/15.

(Looking around worriedly, then looking at the note) School Nurse: If he’s still sick, then he should be home.  Don’t bring him to school.

(Sighing.  Coughing.  Sighing.)  Me:  He is fine.  You have written proof from our doctor he is fine.  The only reason he needs to be dismissed from PE for a while is so his lungs are strong and good before any aerobic activity, since he has asthma.

(Alarmed) School Nurse: He has asthma!  I didn’t know that!  I don’t have any medicine for him here!

Me: Yes, he has allergy induced asthma, thus, he does not use an inhaler.  He uses a nebulizer, for the rare times it’s needed.  All of this was written on his paperwork when he’s been enrolled in school the last two years here.

School Nurse:  I don’t think that’s written down.  What is a nebulizer? Is that a machine?

(Wondering if the “nurse” has ever had any medical training) Me:  Yes, it’s a machine.

School Nurse: What do I do if he has an attack?  Call you?

Me:  He won’t have an “attack” because he has ALLERGY INDUCED ASTHMA so you don’t have anything to be concerned about.  Call me when he is sick, and I’ll take care of him.  I have for years, I know how.

 

Paid Well For Poop

I called Dr. Hassig’s office, the GI specialist, to get an appointment to see him ASAP.  I was sent by the receptionist to his scheduler, and after leaving two voice mails and calling several times to be left on hold for long periods of time, I finally reached the scheduler. She seemed perplexed as to why/how I was calling her and asking to be seen that week.  Finally, she gave up on understanding what was going on and said she would have the doctor’s triage nurse call me.

After some phone tag, I finally reached Monique, the triage nurse.  I explained again why I was told by the ER doctor to be seen right away and that he asked me to make it known that I’m on warfarin.  Internal bleeding is a bit important, even more so when on blood thinners, and it seemed to not be understood at all by the doctor’s nurse, either.  I was able to finally get her to understand that I was in the ER and the ER doctor instructed I be seen quickly, and she set the appointment for 5/2.

When the day came, Christopher accompanied me.  I think everyone in the waiting room was at least 30 years older than me.

After the paperwork and seeing the nurse, we met with the doctor.  He was smart, blunt and listened to me – complete rarity in the medical profession.  He was surprised that both the regular doctor and the ER doctor went fishing up my butt; totally unnecessary, he said.  After checking my stomach, heart, and asking a mountain of questions then reading over paperwork and medical records, Dr. Hassig told me he was going to schedule a colonoscopy.  He explained that it will be a colleague of his that performs the procedure since I prefer St. Francis Hospital over Auburn.  He showed us on a medical illustration of the digestive system that if there are any polyps or hemoroids, they will be removed and taken care of during the colonoscopy.  The doctor went on to explain that I will be living by the toilet for two days prior to the procedure, drinking junk to clean out the system and only allowed to have a clear liquid diet.  He said after the procedure, I will need to be on Miralax for 4-6 months for my GI system to fully recover from the bloating and constipation it’s endured from before and after the hysterectomy.  He explained it will take that long for my body to go back to being normal and regular.  Dr. Hassig told me there is a 1 in 1,000 chance that the doctor would nick my insides during the process and I’d need a blood transfusion.

We were then introduced to a nurse who met with us to schedule the procedure at the hospital and gave me the paperwork with the instructions for what I need to do before and afterwards.  She explained that since I’m on warfarin, they will be using anesthesia and it will take about 7 hours for me to be over it before I can go home.  She told us that typically folks are given something to dope them up so they are semiconscious and a painkiller, so they don’t feel anything and can be awake during the process if needed but won’t remember anything after.  Since I’m on warfarin and have PTSD, they are knocking me clean out.  The nurse went on to say that I’ll be called a few days before by the doctor’s office who is performing the colonoscopy about what they want me to do with the warfarin, which will probably be switching to shots.  Oh happy day.

 

Gag While You Work

I returned to work yesterday, by telecommuting.  I can hear myself wheeze.  I lose my breath walking across from one room to the next.  My coughing fits are few now, but when they hit me, they are so hard I get light headed and can’t breathe.  I can feel the heaviness in my left lung and my chest and ribs hurt from coughing.

Today, one of Jeff Bezos’s Executive Assistants called me regarding a meeting I had set up, and I was trying to sound professional and normal with a raspy, crazy voice and then I started coughing like a four decade smoker.  She didn’t know what to think of me.  I wanted to say I was sick and I am not a crazy old witch who smokes ten packs a day, but I was afraid that would sound defensive and desperate.  And definitely not cool.

When I spoke to my VP yesterday, he was surprised and told me I sound terrible.  Well, I did tell them I am freaking sick and didn’t work for a week.  On a call with my manager today, she was greatly annoyed by the inconvenience of my illness and just wanted me to take a leave of absence from work since she had to manage her calendar herself while I was out.  Holy cow, thanks for the compassion.  I coughed in her ear a little extra loud.

 

Being Sick Sucks Because You Can’t Help Your Loved Ones

My adopted mom is in a lot of pain right now.  Someone that worked with us a few years ago, that she knew for decades, passed away on 4/29.  She found out on 5/2 and emailed me the next day.

I called her, to give her my love and support.  I told her how sorry I am that I can’t be there in person for her to talk with and be there for her.  She told me she called her sister and told her to come over because she needed a hug.  It broke my heart.

I also missed seeing my father-in-law and sister-in-law, along with the rest of the fam, for their birthdays.  Another sis-in-law and her husband came over for two minutes, and I wanted to hug them both and cheer them on, but I couldn’t since I was about to pass out.  I also missed my BFF’s birthday.

I have a lot of make-up visits to do as soon as I’m well.

From all the years of being sick and in all the times that I have dealt with medical problems, I believe that my biggest complaint is that I have not been able to spend quality time with my friends and family who needed me.  When I’m sick or in too much pain or exhaustion to go anywhere, I miss out on the opportunity to love, to learn and to share with those that I know.  It saddens me that so much time has been taken from me in this regard.

 

Grazie

A big thank you to all who called, texted, emailed, or contacted me through social media to wish me well with this new medical development.  One friend even showed up one night with dinner.  And a huge thank you to Bonnie.

A super huge thank you with a slobbery kiss to my husband.  I love you, Nerd.