Sunday, November 26, 2006

Wanting to be a part of the real world - again

It has been 2 years since I've been able to work. Two years! Two years of constant pain; doctors, tests -some of which were normal; the previous MRI being in Feb of '05 anyway. Hospital stays; both at home, and far away from home. One place in particular, although I learned a great deal from; I will be happy to never step foot in their doors. Two years of the money-sucking hole this relentless 'headache' has caused. Don't mistake the pain only starting 2 years ago, it's been with me much longer; it just had a way of taking over my life in the last 2 years. Completely!

And now, I have a great urge to start taking back some of that control. Regardless of the pain, and the new little "Spaz attacks" as Terri and Frank call them. It seems as though each time I try, or suggest, or think of going back to work, another symptom, or hospital stay, or something else with my health rears an ugly head. Does that mean I give up trying? I'm not ready to give up yet.

But I do remember a time that I was ready to give up. I remember laying in a hospital bed, and no amount of med would make it stop; it was just a matter of time before the poisons would work their magic and relieve the pain - just a little. And it would come on strong and hard again, and again. I remember thinking to myself, how much easier to just let go. If I could just go. And I'd see my little one's come to visit me, with pictures they'd made to cheer me up. Or bring me a soft blanket to keep me smelling home, and feel a little more comfortable. And I would think how young they were, and what would they do without ME? They need their Mother. But I was so weak, and in so much pain, so much much more than I feel now. And I really didn't know HOW much more of it I could take.

So now I feel as if I should be able to start taking back bits of my life. I don't desire to be the sick Mom, who can't make it to the concert. Or to my son's first's this year, in kindergarten. I missed so so much of his pre-school stuff. If it wasn't for Mindy, a wonderful person and friend; Nicholas would not have even been able to go to pre-school. She was there, everyday, on time! To pick my little boy up for school and drop him back to me. I couldn't drive then. There were more days I was on the couch or in bed, than up and about. It was dreadful. Literally horrible. But he enjoyed pre-school, thankfully. His time was somewhat occupied by something other than just a sick Mommy.

The girls had their activities, too. I missed most of them, sadly. And they were so great about it each time. They were never upset with me, like I was. And Frank was faithful to get them to the concerts, and the track meets. Then, they would take care of me, on the days they'd come home from school; do the housework that I should have been able to do. I always felt so guilty, but they never begrudged me. Well, not a lot!

A friend, who was my boss at the Y, has been asking me when I'm coming back. I see her every Sunday in church. Last Sunday while we were driving, I said to Frank; "You know, maybe I can start going back to work?!" He just laughed at me, reminding me that I'd just gotten over a good four-day migraine. I was at that euphoric phase, you know? When it has finally calmed itself, and you start to feel real good, like a little high your body gives you. Yeah, that's where I was. A few minutes later, I felt this strange spasm in my lower back, didn't think much of it.

I was feeling ok for a while through the service, and all of a sudden, the spasm hit me again; and added with it, a little pipe to the back of my head sort of feeling. I started to feel a little dizzy. Sometimes I get that way from looking down, as I was. But then, my leg started to do it's strange twitch, slow at first, and gradually, the other leg and my back came into play. At first, Frank just laughed at me, and gave me the spaz movement back at me. But it suddenly took on a form all it's own. My body was completely in this incredible spaz-like activity. I couldn't sit still, only curl up; as that is where my muscles were taking me. I felt as though I was in and out of reality. Not sure what was happening, or where I was - only I knew I needed to get home.

This is something my doc called, "chorea" when I saw him 2 weeks ago. I have another MRI scheduled for this week. As does everything weird in my case, I have a sinking suspicion that it will probably come out - NORMAL. It's not that I want an abnormal brain tumor or anything horrid, just a simple - answer. To the many many many questions that have flooded ME, each time my body does something incredibly weird like that. Believe me, it was weird, and it was quite painful at times. I was toast for the rest of the day. It happened again on Monday, twice; and Tuesday and Wednesday - twice. And of course it happened on Thursday, at my MIL house. Something we both prayed wouldn't happen. Each time it started the same, with the twinge in my back; and this time Frank saw it coming. They lasted anywhere from 5-10 minutes in length. And then I crashed. Sometimes it triggers a migraine. Sometimes there is no pain in my head afterward. This time, it has triggered a new sympom altogether, one I'm not sure is a part of it or not. But there is this little scream-like pain that comes into my midsternum. OUCH. There is no taking my breath away with it, or anything like that, but it's still there. This doesn't happen everyday, the tremor, spaz, chorea; but when it does, it is strange. I've been free of it since Thursday.

So, naturally, me being me; I said to Frank, yet again on Sunday morning - "What if I were to go back to work, just like maybe 2 or 3 days while Nick is at school??" I'm sure he was secretly waiting for me to start flopping like a fish, or get the bat to the back of the head that brings on another migraine. But I didn't. This time, he just smiled, not reminding me of ALL THE OTHER TIMES I suggest this, now fantasy, idea. There were a few 'what ifs' in there. But, he just agreed this time.

I have been fortunate enough to be able to be there for my children; they see me before they go to school, and I'm home for them when they return. I always desired to be a good Mom; to be here for them. And I am; both. I miss the medical field I used to work in - won't be going there again, those skills are outdated. But I loved the work I did at the Y. The people I worked with, the members. The pay wasn't great, but I loved the job. Isn't that what's important anyway. I mean, sure, high-paying jobs are a necessity in this area where we are just TAXED TO DEATH! But hey, I liked what I did. And really, I never complained about the pay, the benefits, to me, far out-weighed the paycheck. Being able to have my kids there, involved in sports, and other activities. Access of the state-of-the-art equipment! Well Frank enjoyed that. Me, not such a graceful soul, I was terribly intimidated by the stuff, and usually ended up getting hurt. There's only so many times you can let the treadmill go out from under your feet, forgetting to step up on the sides, and ride it full-speed into the computer on the front. I'd laugh it off, "just wanted to make sure it still works that way! We need to have this one checked. Don't use it." I was secretly hoping to be banned from that room.

The sauna was my favorite room.. Being always cold, that was where I would run to "make sure it was still working and nobody died in there from heat exhaustion." Hey, it can happen. So, I am going to go to the Y, and talk about going back, even if it's for just a few days a week. I want to gain a piece of me back from this painful disease that took over my life 2 years ago.

I know I'm going to have bad days; everyone has bad days! But I am having some good days, finally, and I want them. Even if it gives me the satisfaction of just being normal once again. Instead of being the sick one. I don't want to be there, and I know, it's always there to haunt me. But damn it, I need to get a piece of my life back. So wish me luck. That's my rant for today. I'm sticking with it.

By the way, on the Madonna thing: I had the fun of telling my MIL, who laughed, hysterically at it. You need to understand this - she is from Naples, Italy. A very seriously devout Catholic nation. She is no longer Catholic, but most of her family there is. She knows, deeply, the standing taken to the Blessed Mother, (Who for the record, I did NOT call a tramp). She had this to say to me, "Imagine if you had two priests standing behind you!" She said this while laughing. Hysterically. Is anyone sensing a note of guilt on my part? I feel like I should go buy the stamps!!!!!!!!

NAH! Hoping all a pain-free day! Or at least a manageable one at best. Take care.

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