Friday, February 19, 2016

My Really Good Day! Kind of a Miracle Day!

Today was an amazing day.  It did not start out that way but eventually it did get there.  I dragged around this morning, taking my normal diet of monsters... every pain pill I need to get me back to feeling slightly able to get out of bed. I fired up my heating pad and prepared to take my voyage steps toward the bathroom.  Chronic pain can really make the simplest things feel as though you have to a mountain to climb.  So the day started.  I worked on school with my littlest one, and made sure that everyone had breakfast, brushed their teeth and so forth.  Everyone had started their day.  A few important chores were completed, (I supervised) like the dogs were let out to pee.  Their food and fresh water were prepared and then the carpets were thoroughly vacuumed; something that HAS to be done when you have a number of big, slobbery, wonderful dogs. The kids got their work done, while my husband and my oldest daughter went to Cosmoprof to get some hair supplies.  If you saw my past post you would know that my daughter recently did a color melt of deep blue to teal on my hair.  Well, that gave my 13 year old the courage to get her hair done too, but like so many processes in life.... there are a few hiccups. She needed to go and get a specific toner to work with my daughters lightening of her naturally dirty blond hair.
  Long story longer... my husband brought back lunch and we had a picnic in our room.  We've had to adapt a lot of things with me always having to lie down with the heating pad and meds.  We sometimes put on an old monster movie on the weekends and everyone hangs out with me, and some buttered popcorn of course. lol.
Anyway, I got off topic. So we had lunch... my daughter got started on my other daughters hair, my son had finished his homework and online work for the day (we do online schooling). If you are wondering how that works... we have an online planner on which we receive the assignments for the week... month... and so on.  We have book, workbooks, and computers provided by the school.  We have teachers, one for my elementary age daughter, and many teachers for middle school and high school.  My oldest daughter graduated from high school (ceremony and all) and then she graduated from cosmetology school (Toni and Guy),  It is basically public school at home, with homework, live lessons, and supplies.  We love it.  Today my 8 year old got up slow, wore comfy clothes, and was able to work at her own pace.  Wow, now I'm really off topic, but I thought someone might be interested.
So... we completed our day... I got myself ready for physical therapy (at 3:30 p.m.) By then, and I really don't know why... I was feeling very hyper and full of anxiety.  I tried to lay down, take my afternoon doses, and listen to some relaxing music on Pandora (with my headphone), and it helped, and by the time we got to p.t. I was feeling quite a bit better.  
Now this is important.  On Wed. the 17th of Feb. I had gotten another round of shots in my hips.  It was a bilateral, S.I. joint injection.  Basically, I got a lot of painful shots in my hips and around my tailbone. When you receive this... you feel pretty good when you get home. However, eventually that wears off.  I did feel relief in my hips (pain that is on both sides and mostly effects my right leg right now). When the sedation wears off... you have to manage the injection site pain.  That passes after just a day or two.
So back to today, I was a little sore, but was doing great.  I think a mistake some people make is that they get injections, you get immediate relief, but if you rush your activity... you are going to be back to hurting... badly.  I try to rest for the first few days in order for the medicine they injected to have time to do what it is meant to do. I cannot emphasize this enough.  You have to learn to pace yourself when it comes to pain relief, or pain management. That is what I did, and it finally paid off.  I have had p.t. for quite a few months.  When I started... well I could barely walk, and when they started my with the simplest of exercises I thought to myself... "This is pathetic.
 It's going to take me years to make any progress".  However, they would monitor my progress and when they thought I could do it... they would up my challenge level.  They gave me a stronger exercise band with a greater resistant level.  They have quite a few different levels of resistance. They would also give me a new exercise.
They would have me try to use weights, Ride the stationary bike for a few minutes.  I started at two minutes and I'm now up to 5.  So I was making progress.  I tried to work out at home, but found that after one day of work out... I had to rest for 2 or 3.  I had workouts 2 times a week. It was hard to keep believing that this was going to do anything for me.  Then a few months later we come to today.  A day unlike any other, except that this time I walked in feeling pretty great.  The shots had worked. I was virtually... well almost... pain free. I was struggling with muscle spasms (which always happens when one area of pain is relieved.  It is like my muscles go into freak out mode).
Nevertheless, I went in there and was feeling pretty good.  Little did I know how good I was.  I was able for the first time.... EVER... I was able to do every single exercise they ever wanted me to do.  It was amazing.  I felt like a new person!  I was over the moon and high on happiness.  I couldn't wait to tell my kids how well I had done.  My husband was there with me, but it felt amazing to have him be proud of me. I hurried to the kitchen, got a snack and ate a baby kosher dill pickle.  I spent a few minutes petting my dogs and just absolutely reveling in my joy.  I even took a few minutes to snog my husband. A problem that people who live with extreme chronic pain is that your love life tends to suffer... greatly.  If all you feel is pain, and your meds. barely give you relief, you don't really feeling kissing and anything else... is near impossible.  But today I felt so good, I just had to give him a little catching up time.  Now, I might pay for this day... in fact I know that I will, because it is all beginning to flood back into me, but I am not going to let it stop me from believing that there is still a chance for me. By the way... wheelchairs don't work for me... I cannot sit (especially without my orthopedic pillow) for any real length of time. Bed it is for me. I can have horrible days, when I don't have any hope, but every now and then... a miracle is possible.  Today was that day.  So, I have made a very grand decision.  I am going to take my days one day at a time.  I am going to realize that I might hurt so bad that I cannot function, but that does not mean that everyday is going to be like that. I am meeting with a surgeon on the 29th of this month.  I hope that after we meet... it won't be long until we can implant my spine stimulator.  If it is successful... I could be pain free, or at least pain manageable for many days at a time. I also realize that I might never be able to go without pain medicines completely, but now... because of today... I have hope. I am not going to let any setbacks, that might actually start tonight...get me down and take away my hope.  I will always try to remember to have hope. Even if I have to make a giant sign to hang on my wall. lol.
 I wanted to pass on this crazy... jumbled... long... windy path that is my life and my story in order to help someone who might be going through the same sort of situation that I am in. I hope that by somehow passing this on to you... whoever you are... or anyone who may be trying to find some hope, encouragement... or whatever... I hope that this might bring you some comfort at least. Try to remember that you are not alone.  I suffer from chronic and extreme spine, hip, neck and leg pain, but I am not going to be giving up on a better quality of life any time soon.  I wish you all good health, relief from what ails you, happiness and hope. I hope that you will find that thing that inspires you.  I hope that you will find that thing that brings you comfort and can give you your life back. Remember, that if you need to... you can search for a second opinion.  If your doctor is not filling your needs...don't be afraid to ask for what you need to make your quality of life better.  Most doctors become fairly offended if you ask them to refer you to someone else.  A good thing to do is look on the internet.  Often you can find reviews from patients letting you know how good the quality of their care was.  You can also talk to friends, family and other people in your life like that.  Unfortunately, I didn't find the help I needed until we took a big step and moved to Arizona.  We prayerfully went to where we thought the climate might be best for our various ailments.  Now we both feel so much better. (my husband suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and other conditions).  I do pray that you can find those people that will help you find comfort, the kind that I needed so desperately. Good luck you guys, and remember that if you are at your wits end... there is prayer.  If you have never prayed before... then please try.  God is listening.  
DISCLAIMER: This section contains my faith and religious belief.  If you don't want to read that part... I won't be offended.  If you do read on... I hope my advice helps.  I just feel like I've got to try.
For me... we always begin by addressing the father. Say, "Father in heaven... I come before thee in prayer to ask... Then end with, "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." It is that simple.  You can fill the contents of your prayer any way you want... and no one ever need know... unless you want them to know.  But from experience... I can promise that He hears you.  Just talk to him like you would a loved one, because I do believe he loves you.  Anyway, this is me. This is my life. This is my belief, and it has worked for me so far.  I do hope that you will have love, comfort, encouragement and hope.  Talk at ya soon. Later.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Rape (girls, women, boys, and men)...

Okay... this is my train of thought for today.  This is not an easy topic for me, but I believe that someone out there might need to read this. I have recently become aware of some "celebrity" YouTubers using their fame to harm young women.  They say they were just pranks, or just mistakes.  Once is a mistake. Doing something repeatedly, and creating a channel doing it as a basis for your vlog is horrific.  There are a few people trying to draw attention to this problem.  I think that it has to be done.  When one person tells their truth, despite the risks, then you can... sometimes inspire others to tell their truth... creating a chain of awareness and healing. It gives all of us to see these monsters for who they are also, because that is what they are... MONSTERS!  Truth is hard to say though, so here is mine.  I was 13 years old, and I snuck out to meet an older boy who I had a huge crush on.  I was so excited and thrilled by even the thought of getting time with him.  However, he had other plans.  He was older than me, and he knew exactly what was going to happen.  I was blissfully innocent and ignorant.  I did not understand what the consequences of doing what I was doing could be.
 That night... we met up... he said that he wanted to go see his cousin for a minute, before we went out.  We went in. He introduced us.  He took me upstairs to show me something... and then he proceeded to... rape... me.  When the night was over... I felt like any ounce of me that I once had, was gone.... buried... never to return.  I continued to make one poor decision after another.  I started smoking, drinking, lying, and other unhealthy practices. I am now 43 years old, and I am just now beginning to heal.  I have suffered for 30 years. I have struggled to define who I am.  I lost all my innocence that night.  I lost my self respect. I lost myself.  I had nightmares for many of those years.  I couldn't even hear the world rape without dying a little more inside.  I could not have a healthy relationship with my husband, a man who truly loved me.  I had spiraled in to all sorts of bad, and self destructive behavior. I was no longer that little girl with a crush.  I was a shell, a hollow, empty, lost, lonely, heartbroken shell.  I was stuck in my own private hell.
I think of the millions of kids out there who make decisions like that every day. Some of you are lucky. You come home stupider, but safe.  I was not so lucky.
The young men, not boys, but young men who do this degrading, disrespectful, and disgusting acts to women (for what they claim to be entertainment) are predators, vicious, selfish, perverted predators. They use their celebrity to lure you into a choice you might not have made if you had never known them. Some of the women were touch against their will. Some of them had to endure being flashed by the naked male... in public.  Some of the girls were asked to do things, perform tasks, or "sext" them back and worse.  Some women were sought after because they were drunk.  Now that is an entirely other topic for me, but NO ONE deserves to be assaulted.  NO ONE!  Of course there are things you can do to lower your risk of this happening to you, but the truth is... If a boy or man makes a plan to do this... there is not much you can do to stop it.
However, if we talk about it, it makes more girls aware of the risks.  I was too young to understand the ways of men and women.  I did not really even know what sex was or how it worked.  In one minute all of that innocence was gone.  It was terrifying, it changed my life for the worse, and it never left my thoughts.  The worst part of all of that there are lots of fans of these men who harass, threaten, belittle these women. They abuse them and defend the predator... even going as far as to say that it's harmless and funny! THAT IS INFURIATING TO ME!  What is worse, even than that, is that there are women and girls out there who also defend these men, harass, and belittle the girls and women who come forward. Of all people, women betraying women is inexcusable.  I do not understand this.
This does not make me a prude.  It does not mean that I am an idiot who cannot think for myself.  It does not mean that I am ignorant of the ways of the world.  I am more aware than most. I am a victim, and now... I am strong enough now to tell you... RAPE IS NEVER OKAY!
We used to have censors... who tried to keep the moral code for our society.  To say there are censors now... is a joke.  I know that that will get people fired up against me, but I don't care.
WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT! There are shows today... that see no harm in glorifying rape and violence against women and men.  You know which ones those are.  This is unacceptable, but because the moral compass of our world is skewed it will continue to be shown... and it will happen more and more... the more we accept it.  Everyone says we can choose for ourselves.  That is true, but our "modern" way does not seem to be improving things. We have so much power, but we don't use it.  Shows, movies, even musicians cannot do what they do, be who they want to be, or be as successful as they are if we don't stand for it.  I believe in free speech, but there are so little things to be proud of today. I believe in free speech.  I truly do, but some things are not okay.  Some things are not supposed to be put up with. I would never assume to tell you how to live your life, but for an example of what I am talking about.
EXAMPLE: I have known people who lived their lives without a parent in the house.  There home was full of chaos, drinking, drugs, cheating, and underage and unmarried pregnancy. No one was truly happy. I thought, "This has got to be better than my home, where my parents had rules, responsibility and morals. Where is the fun in living for them, and following their rules,"but I was wrong. I was miserable.  I felt lonely, scared, lost, and so, so sad.  It was NOT better. After a couple of weeks, I finally went home. I was safer, but I did not do much better. My damage had been done... beginning with rape.  For all the love I got, it didn't heal my heart. I was broken, because I took a risk and paid the price. It wasn't until I got married and started to have kids of my own that I found out how wrong I was, and how much pain I was in.
Now, I am no fool. Realistically, I don't have a clue if this will help anyone. I will probably be bullied, harassed, or told I should just shut my idiot mouth, but I don't care. I have freedom of speech too, and I have nothing to lose by speaking my peace.  I have no problem dealing with the consequences of my blog post.  I will defend broken women for the rest of my life. Those things that you are suffering will eventually take over who you are... changing you, making who you once were a forgotten shadow. I am taking my power back! I did not say anything then, but I am saying it now... "You DO NOT have to suffer in silence.  I have to apologize though, I don't know how the legal system works.  I do not know how to handle interviews with the police department.  I do not even know how to tell your parents.  I never did any of that.  I stayed quiet.  I suffered in silence.  I was bullied, sought after, and was frankly... never the same.
I now have a daughter who is 13 years old. I am shattered to see her innocence, and realize what I lost.  Her life is healthy, peaceful, fun, and happy.  She is scared about growing up and the changes that she is going through, but she is safe.  I never will get that back.  Once upon a time... I was a happy, innocent 13 year old.  That night I was a victim, robbed of everything I held dear.  It took me 30 years to find peace, and to feel safe again, although I fear every time my daughters leave the house, and I will never live with no less than 2 English Mastiffs.  I will never live again in ignorance, and I will never stop being there for girls and women who might need my story.  We have to make a world where girls and women who are assaulted, raped, and touched without their consent have to be afraid, bullied, and victimized.  We have to stop those who are find it allowed, or worse yet funny.  We don't have to be silent victims anymore.  STAND UP TO YOUR ATTACKERS... no matter the risk!  You only give them all the power if you don't tell someone.  They will use your silence to hurt another.
If you are a victim of rape... please tell someone....please.  Don't suffer alone.
I am putting this hotline number on my post to help you if you have no where else you can turn.  Sometimes it is easier to tell a stranger than someone you are afraid won't believe you, or will hurt by this knowledge, but please... please... please don't be afraid.  Get help.
There is strength when you have the support you need. As long as I am alive, you will know that you are NEVER alone. You are in my prayers, my thoughts, and my heart, but do not suffer in silence. TAKE BACK YOUR POWER! Don't wait.
Do it now.  I love you. Please pass it on. If you are not a victim... do what you can to make yourself a helper.  It could change someone's life.  This is the National Hotline for people who suffer from a sexual assault/sexual molestation... so on.
I want you to have an option to help you get the help that you need.
Need help?
Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
How can the hotline help me?
Calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline gives you access to a range of free services including:
  • Confidential, judgment-free support from a trained staff member
  • Support finding a local health facility that is trained to care for survivors of sexual assault and offers services like sexual assault forensic exams
  • Someone to help you talk through what happened
  • Local resources that can assist with your next steps toward healing and recovery
  • Referrals for long term support in your area
  • Information about the laws in your area
  • Basic information about medical concerns
The National Sexual Assault Hotline is a safe, confidential service.

P.S.  Men CAN be victims too.  It is not a joke, and I can imagine that for them it must be even harder to get help.  I can imagine that there is less help for them than any of us.  Please, if you are a boy or man who is suffering in silence, please do not remain silent.  Take away their power over you and ask for help. Please. There are women's prisons for a reason. Men can be hurt, abused, degraded, bullied, and harassed as well.  This post is also for you.  Get help. Don't stop until someone listens to you.  Tell your story.  I know it is embarrassing, painful, humiliating, and not supposed to happen, but if it has, please get help, even if it is a confidential help. Many therapists are trained in rape (for men and women). Ask around. If you have a church you attend, you can privately ask for advice, you don't even have to tell them why, just ask who your church might have available.  You might know a friend, or acquaintance who might have a person to suggest.  You can also ask your doctor.  You never have to be specific when asking for help.  Something I learned in therapy is that YOU NEVER HAVE TO HAVE AN EXCUSE, or GIVE AN EXPLANATION for why you need this help, but please get it. Use the number I have provided above. It does not say Women Only.  Please get help. You deserve to be heard, and you deserve to be able to heal and take your life back.  It will be okay.  You are in my prayers. (that might not mean anything to you, but it does to me).

Monday, February 15, 2016

Lost Friendship, Treasured Memories... and Risks Without Regret...

Okay, so this is either a midlife crisis, or this is me.  Personally.... speaking for myself, this is me.  The me inside of me that has been to afraid to show itself. I attribute this to the hard work I have been doing in therapy.  Yes, therapy.  I am NOT afraid to say it.  I have had to have a lot of therapy, and I am not ashamed.  I would never be ashamed, because it is giving me my life back.  I am finally finding myself, the self that I hid for all of these painful years.  I know that if you think back to when you were a kid, when you were innocent.  When you were simple, not yet jaded by life.  I want to be that person again, and I think I am finding it.  If you were a kid and your mom said... sure you can dye your hair blue... would you?  I remember saying stuff like, "When I'm a grown up I'm gonna eat as much junk as I want.  I'm gonna watch cartoons until my eyes fall out. I'm gonna stay up late and never take a bath." Okay that last one was a bit much, but do you know what I mean?
So I'm  43 and I decided that no matter what people might say, which was really hard to do, because I fear judgement, I was going to do my hair funky.  My kids actually helped me search for a color they liked.  I grew up with blue is for boys and pink is for girls, so blue was a hang up of mine, but you know what... my birthstone is sapphire, so I thought... just go for it.  What do you have to lose.  Because of my life events, tragedies, and the chronic back, neck and hip pains that I have suffered with for years has made it impossible to make and keep friends.  I am so glad that I have my husband and my kids, because without them... I would have no one.  This is not a pity party (as we used to say when we were kids), this is just my truth. I think I'm a nice person.  I am shy, but nice, and obviously secretly crazy, but that is not a reason not to be my friend.
Anyway, what got me started today was that I got a message on facebook from one of my oldest and dearest friend.  She is one of a small group of girls that shared my life in my most difficult years.  We haven't talked since we all turned 18, but I miss them more than I would ever express.  However, there was a lot of thing's I was afraid to tell her.They did not know the horrors I was going through at the time, not because I did not trust them to love me through it, but because they were my safe place at a tragic and difficult time.
Do you remember what it was like to turn 13?  Do you remember the way it felt when you were thirteen (girls) going through all of those changes?  Our bodies were changing into these strange and alien things, and we were beginning to leave our childhood behind.
My daughter is now 13 years old and I see her tenderness.  I am helping her through her fear.  I am supporting her through this scary time in her life, and it crushes me to see her fear.  Then I realized with the weight of a ton of bricks landing on my heart that that was the same age that I was when I was assaulted (raped), a word that up until a few months ago I couldn't hear or say without losing it.
Because of therapy I can finally deal with it.  I wish I could have told my friends, but I was not sure how they would react.  I went from an innocent 13 year old, to an adult in a split second.  I did not have time to enjoy my life. However, the only time I found any peace and joy was when I was with my friends.  They made me complete.  They made me laugh until I hurt. They gave me hope and peace.  I can never thank them enough for the friendship and love they gave me so freely and easily.  How do you express the love you have for what they unconsciously did?  I don't know, but I pray I can find them again.
Now, I realize that life happens. I know that family can make little time available for other people, but in my heart I truly hope that somehow we can find a glimpse of what we had.  That would make me happier than I could ever say.  I don't resent any of them.  I don't have one ill feeling toward any of them.  They have and will always be that spot in my heart filled with love, friendship, joy and some of the best memories that I have ever had. Even if I never get the chance to see them, talk to them, or be in their lives again... they will always be in my heart, my thoughts and my prayers. I have nothing but joy, gratitude, and treasured memories when I think of them.  Which is so strange, because so much was happening to me at that time.  They were my absolutely safe and happy place. How do you let go of friends that you love so much? Well, you grow up. You have different paths. You need each other less and less.  We move... we live... different paths can split up the closest of friends.  I considered them sisters, but just like my daughter preparing to live her life without our constant care, we all have different lives to live.
I just want you to think for a moment about those you love, what they mean to you, and be grateful you have them, even if it is only for a moment.  I will forever be grateful for them.  God bless guys and be grateful for the loves in your lives. This is my one request of anyone who reads this is that you live... laugh... love... with pure happiness.  Hang on to those who think you are interesting, funny, sweet, smart, and who share your sense of wonder and love for who appreciate you for who you are. There are so few people who can find that kind of love and friendship. I am lucky enough to have found not only the love of my life, but my very best friend.  Thank you Tony for being here for me in the aftermath of my life.  I love you and I thank you for supporting and loving me through it all.  I am so happy to be sharing my recovery with you too.  You are amazing and I don't think I would have anyone, if I didn't have you.  God bless guys.  Hang in there and love those who are closest to you. Later.