It’s only February in this year long Journey to Epic and I’m already exhausted – mind, body and spirit.
At possibly the most crucial time for me to be working my back has effectively gone out AGAIN. And I’m just so frustrated I could (and do) cry.
I had to call in – again – even when we were warned that missing work would not be tolerated. I had to make peace with the fact I couldn’t do some of the things I wanted (and needed) to do… but being me that sort of thing just isn’t easy. I can’t just sit and do nothing when there are things that need to be done.
But last night I tried to do nothing more than simply load the dishwasher and went into such bad spasms I broke down and cried. That meant no cooking dinner for me no matter how much I wanted to or rationalized that I had to. Thankfully I had bought that pizza to be prepared but I ended up not liking it so that meant Steven was left to care for me (again), and all I had in the house were ingredients for recipes even I hadn’t made yet.
I ended up with two small baked potatoes with non dairy sour cream, chives and salsa, which was still tasty – and proved once again that at least in the vegan aspect of my journey, I can actually see progress and success. I thus far haven’t been tempted to totally throw in the towel and go back to those habits that got me here.
It’s the only thing keeping me sane and giving me the will to keep going despite all these bumps in the road and I’m hanging onto it for all that I’m worth.
I conked out thanks to the pills around 10 or so but I was up and down all night with the pain, with nightmares induced by the pills (including my own version of “Christine” where I apparently was one of the stars – thanks a lot Stephen King).
I can sleep no more than maybe four hours at a stretch, and that’s not counting each time I wake up to painfully shift positions.
For those of you who don’t know me well… a sleep deprived Ginger is an angry, moody, impatient, frustrated Ginger who can snap at any minute like a rubber band that has been pulled too tight.
This morning Steven rubbed me down before he went to work and just placing his palm against my back sent me to the ceiling. He found several knots in my lower back, one of which sent jolts of pain down the left hip and leg, which is why I’m having such a hard time walking anywhere without something nearby to lean on.
He also found a knot in my upper back responsible for the crippling spasms that reduce me to tears and a pathetic, useless puddle where ever I can land.
I finally had a breakdown after I lost my temper at one of the pets this morning who made the unfortunate mistake of waking me up when I finally had gotten back to sleep. I sat on the edge of my bed and sobbed, trying not to think of all those pills beside my bed and how many of them it would take to go to sleep and never wake up again just so I wouldn’t have to feel the pain anymore.
I started to feel crazy and out of control – which just made things that much worse. (This is why it’s especially good news I haven’t let my diet get out of control – otherwise there would be no stopping the slippery spiral downward to God only knows where.)
The pain’s just not getting any better. Even when it goes down to a more manageable 3 or so on the pain scale, I can’t seem to get out of the acute stage. It’s like I’m always one wrong move away from being laid out flat on my back in bed again…. like today.
This past week of work (and I say week but it ended up being only about three days) I was literally fighting back tears on the phone when overtaken by a spasm.
Fortunately my new supervisor could definitely see I was struggling, so he said he’d definitely go to bat for me as much as he could.
Even coworkers can see how much it was taking out of me just to walk from the cubicle to the break room.
It’s not just sitting too long or being in one position too long – it’s fending off these new and painful charlie horse type spasms that just attack even if I do nothing more than take a deep breath.
And because I can’t work I can’t afford to go to a doctor, and because I can’t go to the doctor I can’t work.
That’s the peril of being uninsured in this country. I can go to the ER and get a shot or a prescription for the moment, but there’s no way I can get the kind of comprehensive care I obviously need to where I can return to work and return to my life.
Makes me want to beat any teabagging idiot in the back with a crowbar until they feel as much pain as I do for fighting to support a system that could ultimately mean economic disaster for my family.
I’m not asking for something for nothing; I simply want to cease hurting so I can go back to feeling independent and strong. If that means I have to ask for help or rely on the mercy of others to do so, then I’m willing (albeit loathe) to do it.
People who want to treat me like a freeloader because of that can suck it. I cannot stand to ask anything from ANYONE – I’ve always been one to fight and struggle and do things on my own. From learning how to read to learning how to ride a bike, I’ve always done it on my own – unwilling to fail or fall in front of others. That incident when I was four did more than just abuse my body, it rewired my brain and the way I think. If I feel vulnerable, I stuff it down and never show that ugly weak side to anyone.
That means I don’t ask for help, that’s not my thing – even when (especially when) my mistakes mean I have to.
I’ve made some bad choices, sure – and I’ve fought back against them too.
I brought myself out of welfare by nothing more than grit and determination – working myself up to positions like management or supervisory roles that demanded I not only answer for myself but others as well. I took care of my family and then some – always there for anyone who ever needed me and always willing to go that extra mile for anyone whenever they asked.
Now I can’t be that person anymore and it’s literally driving me nuts. I have to depend on others to take care of me and I can’t stand it. It’s all just making me contemplate the unthinkable because I never EVER wanted to be here.
And, quite frankly, never thought I would be. I thought I could will myself to do what needed to be done no matter what, why, when or where. I was operating under the same assumptions most people do – that we’ll never need anyone else, that we’ll always be able to do for ourselves.
We never take into consideration that one day we might be faced with some debilitating health issue that would render us unable to do for ourselves and at the mercy of other people.
I think I speak for most people when I say this is not the way I want to live my life. It’s a scary, vulnerable place to be.
It goes against my grain to even bring it up. The only reason I’m bringing it here to this blog is because total honesty is the only way this thing is going to work. I have to be me no matter how ugly it gets because that’s the only way to get through these dark passages and find my way back out into the light.
This is my therapy.
So yeah, it’s dark and depressing but don’t worry. I’m not going to do anything drastic. If I truly wanted to go off the deep end I’d have overdosed on Chicken McNuggets yesterday. My strength in that one little area of my life is what makes me hang on for dear life through the other stuff – that and I have too many people I love that I don’t want to leave.
That’s why I’ve changed the way I eat. I want to be around for another 40 years at least… so I’m not looking to cash in my ticket this early. It was just a moment of weakness but I’ve managed to talk myself down from that ledge. Finding out that suicide can be linked to chronic pain made me at least feel less weak and less crazy for even letting that thought dance across my head no matter how briefly. I’ll make it, God knows I always do and I’ve been through way, way worse than this. Emotional pain trumps physical pain almost 100 percent of the time, and I’ve definitely survived my share (and then some) of that.
I guess maybe it’s time to do the Ginger thing and turn the fear and the helplessness into anger so that I can fight and claw my way back to my independence. I feel like I’m spinning in circles, a hopeless catch .22 that says in order to get to where I need to be health wise I have to do the things I cannot do right now because of my health.
It’s time to breathe… to take a moment and say this too shall pass.
Like I said, I’ve been through worse. I’m a survivor – that’s what I do. There’s only one thing you can do when you’ve reached the end of your rope. Tie a knot and hang on.
And one day… one day hopefully in the very near future… I can do more than just survive.
I can overcome.
Time to re-read Romans 8 and commit it once again to memory, and do the one thing it doesn’t cost one cent to do (and I have seemingly forgotten to do)….