Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thanks For Your Friendship

We are going full on into the Holiday Season. Of course everything is in a rush, no matter what your religious beliefs are. So much of this season has turned into rush rush buy buy buy.

Here in the United States the next big holiday on the calendar is Thanksgiving. I had this full on gluttony rant bouncing around in my head, but I think I'll take another tack.

Thanksgiving, beautiful dinner, eat till you puke and eat again, ugh. Makes me think of the Roman empire not to long before it fell. OK I know I said I wasn't doing a gluttony rant, I didn't it was ... shall we say a brief comment.

Truly what is Thanksgiving actually about. When it first started; it was about being thankful for having enough food to eat through the winter. Because someone helped you. Someone who owed you nothing, reached out a hand and helped you. It was actually about their survival through the winter.

There is much I am thankful for. I am thankful for my health. I know we hear people say that all the time. If you have your health you have everything. Up until recently I had no idea what that actually meant. I found out what it means. No the meaning didn't just pop into my head.

I still wouldn't have any real idea what it meant if I hadn't lost my health.

Adhesions bowel blockage (frankly throwing up feces is just nasty-that and the unreal pain changes your perspective on things) surgery, more adhesions, West Nile Virus, (pain that would make me puke uncontrollably, muscle spasms, partial paralysis, blackouts,) cancer (on my face happily the doc got it all before it spread), depression, more surgery-a total clean up job in my abdominal and pelvic cavity. enlarged ovary (size of a large cantaloupe) split and was draining some sort of crud that was crystallizing, enlarged uterus, the other ovary was trying to catch up to the first one in that it was the size of a grapefruit. More cancer scare, the docs were concerned that the mess in me was cancer related. So they did the cancer talk several times before surgery trying to prepare me. From what I understand if you cut into a cancerous mass it tends to spread the cancer very rapidly. They were concerned at what they would find when they cut me open. (side note: the mess inside of me was benign-yay!)

At that point I already had one leg in a body bag, so it was just do the surgery before my body is a corpse and I can no longer be here. (Believe me there are worse things than death-some of you know what I mean. Those of you that don't know what I mean by that, be glad that you don't.)

After 6 hours of surgery, an incision from my navel to below my bikini line, the docs cleaned up everything inside of me that they could. Removing the malfunctioning parts, cleaning up the adhesions, cleaning out the crystallized gunk, detaching and reattaching my bladder, putting my intestines back inside after working on them... they sewed me up, sent me to recovery then the post op floor in the hospital and it was all over. NOT!

The surgeons did a good job, don't misunderstand me. Without their skilled work I would have been dead. No question about it; dead.

After surgery I had some kind of infection, more than likely from the crud that had been draining into me. Stink, ugh, a very strong course of antibiotics got rid of that nastiness. I smelled like a rotting corpse that had been out in the sun for about a week. That will make your eyes water.

When I came home from the hospital (yes to the ranch and kennel) I couldn't even pick up my coffee pot. I couldn't get out of bed. Forget rolling over in bed, that was nearly impossible. So forget the bed for a couple of months. I slept in a lift chair.

In order to remove the mass inside of me they had cut my abdominal muscles, the ones they hadn't cut they had used a spreader on and pulled and strained them beyond use. My abdominal girdle could no longer support my back, or anything else for that matter. I knew that abdominals supported everything, but I had no idea what not having any strength there would do. Oh my, hello back pain. The strain on my muscles that weren't compromised caused even more muscle spasms. (side note: if you are having back pain-strengthen your abdominal muscles, weak abdominals equals back strain and pain)

Before surgery I had been on pain killers and muscle relaxants. Even stacking the Vicodin , Skelaxin, and Codeine didn't block the pain and spasms before surgery.

While I was in the hospital it was morphine, on a pump. Got rid of the pump then went to pills.

I was up and walking in the hospital, of course I was using morphine too, lol. It is a must to get up and move. If you don't move you won't regain your strength and you won't be able to move. It's your choice. Pain or no pain, move, rebuild your muscle structure.

Your digestive system needs movement to work right as well. Yes I know, ha ha ha a movement. That's not what I'm talking about, well it is sort of. Get up and walk (unless you are wheelchair ridden-if you are in a wheelchair do as much exercise as you can), or your digestive system will not work right. Even with walking, after that surgery I bloated something awful. It was pretty scary I had steri strips over the incision as well as staples and I still thought is was going to rip open from the bloating. Wow, walking helps to get rid of the gas.

I wasn't prepared for the swelling either. Wow, I swelled up all over. From my face through my feet. Sometimes I woke up looking like a puffer fish, sometimes my body would swell up during the course of the day. I felt like a big balloon that was being overinflated. I couldn't get my shoes on if my feet swelled up, or oh my if I had them on when they did...ouch. So wore athletic sandals with Velcro straps.

Forget wearing regular clothes. Same thing happened, so I used over sized sweat pants with drawstrings. Yes drawstrings, I couldn't keep them on when the swelling went down with out cinching up the waist with the drawstrings. I did get some over sized elastic waist pants and use suspenders with them. Bras were a nightmare, I am not flat chested, and that was not a good scene. That's all I'm going to say about that.

I'm not swelling up so much now. I still have some swelling but nothing like it was. There were a lot of toxins in my body. I think the swelling has something to do with that. They even worked their way out through the skin on my face. A thick red, cracking, painful, crust developed in/on my face.

I went to the doctors, they didn't know. My dermatologist suggested burning it off with a laser. That idea did not appeal to me, maybe as a last resort. I heard an advertisement for proactiv I tried it, it worked. The stuff on my face wasn't acne. I think it was demodex taking advantage of my compromised immune system. Frankly I'm not sure what it was, I just know that I can keep it off my face with the proactiv. I do know that I never had anything like it before all this. proactiv was not the first thing I tried, but it is what worked. I've tried not using it and within a few days the crust starts coming back, usually just between my eyebrows. So I'm just going to continue with the proactiv.

The bloating is gone for the most part. Every once in a while it will flare up but not very often.

Within the last 6 months or so the fatigue has gotten remarkably better. I still crash, but not as much. It's not as extreme either. The crashes started before surgery, they were wicked during the West Nile, I would just black out. If I didn't black out I could barely walk, couldn't talk. Try to think and there was nothing there but static or a deafening silence where my thoughts should be. When I am at full speed I am a multitasking freak with a relatively high IQ.

Clients would call to ask about Pomeranians, or affiliate marketing and I couldn't speak. I remember trying to get my mouth around the words to speak and it coming out like a stroke victim or someone completely drunk. With huge gaps between words in my mind. A word then nothing then another word.

In contrast, usually I think much faster than I speak; and I naturally speak at a very rapid rate. By the way, if we are chatting, and I am speaking too fast, tell me to slow down. You will not insult me. If it sounds like I left something out, say so. I'll go back over it again at a slower rate. No I'm not being condescending, people have different rates of speech and comprehension. We all function a bit differently. Not to mention the wide variety of languages, slang, speech patterns, dialects and accents. So, just keep at it, keep adjusting until communication is successful. That pretty much sums up communication around the

This has been a learning experience, especially the fatigue. So you learn, you take care of what is most pressing, you do as much as you can. Then you stop. That's it, you stop and let your body rest. When it has had it's required rest you can function again. If you don't rest it, take care of it, nourish it, it will fail, Crash-die.

Abuse it and lose it. Don't use it and you will lose it. Pay attention to what you body is telling you. Moderation. You know there is a reason you hear "moderation in all things in the scriptures" That you will find no matter what holy book you read.

It's been a long recovery, my surgery was September 9th, 2005. I was ill for years before that. The West Nile virus compounded things. I contracted it late spring/early summer 2003. There is a difference in my immune system since that nasty bug moved in.

I've dealt with the depression, I've dealt with the suicidal drive for years and years. On and off since I was a small child. Dealt with years of abuse, compulsive behavior, date rape, miscarriage, self destructive behavior, addictive behavior, co dependent behavior... and on and on. So tied up emotionally that I couldn't function. Over and over some abusive behavior, sometimes even an event, (holidays for instance) could/would trigger a Fugue state, spiral into a black depression, on into a suicidal/homicidal drive then work through to stabilize.

It was like walking through a mine field where you couldn't see where the mines were, maybe they weren't there then step on one and boom. Life is shattered, with shards of pain once again.

Some of you know what I'm talking about, some of you don't- if you don't be glad that you don't.

You know the saying? Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I'm not talking about your body, I am talking about you. I am at peace within myself for the first time in over 40 years.

I live a proactive life rather than a reactive one now. I am free. I am at peace with me. I actually like who I am. It's amazing what course life development takes. It's so different in each of us, yet the same.

Physically, my body is healing. I can feel the muscles in my back, my arms, legs, glutes, abdominals. The scar on my stomach is healing flat, not puckered and thick like they thought it would. I've listened to my body and managed to build strength without any ruptures or hernias. That was a concern.

I no longer take Vicodin, Codeine, Skelaxin, or Morphine.

Side note: be careful of Skelaxin. It is a very effective muscle relaxant. But, it has a rebound effect actually making the painful muscle spasms more frequent and intense. It also causes muscle degeneration and vision loss over time. Yes I experienced those side effects. Happily my vision has improved, and stabilized since I no longer take it. There has been an increase in my muscle development since stopping the skelaxin as well. It has taken 4 or 5 months to stabilize after stopping the drug.

I am still here. That means I still have something left to do in this life. When my time has come I will go home in peace.

When I started this blog post today I had no intention of writing this. I've never written it before. Perhaps it is just cathartic for me. Perhaps it will be a blessing to someone else. There must be some reason for it, since it poured out of my fingertips.

I wish you peace and wholeness. Happy Thanksgiving ...throughout your life. An attitude of gratitude.

Below is what I had originally planned to post... an email from a wonderful friend, Opal Louise.

Life is a journey... sometimes there twists in the road leading to new discoveries...
Mary E. Robbins & the Hairballs

What would you do if for every moment you were truly happy there would
be 10 moments of sadness?

What would you do if your best friend died tomorrow and you never got to tell them how you felt?

So, I just wanted to say, even if I never talk to you again in my life,
you are special to me and you have made a difference in my life.

I look up to you, respect you, and truly cherish you.

Let old friends know you haven't forgotten them,
and tell new friends
you never will.
Remember, everyone needs a friend, someday you might feel like you have
NO FRIENDS at all, just remember this e-mail and take comfort in knowing somebody out there cares about you and always will.

In times of trouble,
In times of need,
If you are feeling SAD,
You can count on me.
I will give you a wink,
Until you smile,

give you a hug,

And stand by your side.

I'll be there for you till the end, I'll always and forever, be your friend!
It's true, sometimes we forget to tell our special people that we love them.

'Daily Affirmation' Video