Waking Hours

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I woke up this morning to my teenager tapping me on the arm and wiggling me around. I had asked her to make sure I woke up to my alarm, as I tend to sleep through all 9 that I set. I have a hard time sleeping, but when I sleep, I sleep hard. It was 6:15am. I did NOT want to get up. Of course I moaned and groaned about it, slipping in and out of sleep, for another 30 minutes until I finally dragged my ass out of bed. Usually I get the girls dressed, get myself dressed, then do my hair and makeup with whatever time I had left. I decided that today I was too lazy to go up and down the stairs so much, so I would do hair and makeup first.

Once my eyes got used to the light, I stood in front of the mirror. Mascara smeared below my eyes from yesterday, and my hair all over the place. I washed my face, wiped all the left over makeup off that I was too lazy to address last night, and stared at myself again. “My hair is a wreck”, I thought. I had mildly wet/damp hair when I went to bed the night before, not even bothering to pull it up or deal with what it would be tomorrow. Standing there now I decided I should have rethought this. I could put my hair up in a ponytail or bun, but that would risk me getting a headache I always gets from pulling my crazy locks up. My natural hair has a lot of volume and a kind of beachy waves meets afro curls kind of thing going on. “Hair cream?”
I ran my fingers through the mess on top of my head, hanging upside down for good measure, like we have all seen women do, and rubbing in the hair cream as much as I could. Standing straight again I looked myself over. Still a mess. I no longer cared. Applying a small amount of powder to my skin, brown liner and powder to my eye lids, and a bit of mascara I threw on my glasses and headed downstairs.

There was my 7 year old, short blond bobbed hair a mess and no shoes or socks, playing MineCraft like always. I became the meanest mommy on the planet when I shut the game off without even addressing her defiance. The hair and shoes battle was mighty, but I won! On most levels. She didn’t speak to or look at me until I dropped her off in front of her school 20 minutes later. The littlest was so proud of herself for finding a purple dress that looks like a shirt and skirt, but is one piece before I had to ask her to do so. She is not allowed to wear dresses or skirts without anything underneath, and was EXTRA proud of the jean shorts she hid under the frills of the outfit. She paired it with black boots, and her adorable little curls. Her light brown skin dawned a bandaid on her leg, a few uncovered scratches, some random food on her cheek, and the typical bruising an extremely active (yet clumsy) 4 year old has. She looked like a perfect little bruised up doll!

Turning to find my own clothes in the pile of laundry sitting in a basket in my living room, I noticed some teenage angst stewing on a chair at the dining table. “I hate my fat butt!”, she told me. I couldn’t help but laugh, but I understand where she is coming from. From the time I was a young teenager I have been graced with a curvy body as well. People thinking I was 17, sometimes even 18, from the age 13 and up, I was deemed a full grown woman before I even knew how to handle that or my own body. She is no different. She complained in that awesome teenager tone about going up three pants sizes in one summer, though she has not gained that much weight. Sifting through the laundry for my own clothes for the day, I just shook my head because I know exactly how she feels, but I also know there is nothing that can be done about it.

I have been trying to complain less to people I know, though my pain levels and misery hasn’t really changed. I recently went to a new gastroenterologist who told me I have both IBS, as well as a section of my lower intestines that is damaged. I have developed both hemorrhoids and polyps on the inside of my gut which are the cause of the bleeds. HE gave me the choice to either go have the section of my intestines removed, which can cause risk of incontinence, or to do a non invasive scoping. The scoping will consist of them going in, finding an issue area and literally putting a tiny rubberband around the polyp. This will then cut off circulation and cause it to fall off. We will go in every three weeks and do this. There is slight risk for hemorrhaging, as well as infection, however it is SIGNIFICANTLY lower than if we did surgery. I obviously chose the banding procedure. So lovely.

On a positive note my leg is healing well, and I am out of the boot. I am now driving again (2 weeks!) and am in the brace. My Dr said that he doesn’t need to see me again for the break unless something else happens, or if the physical therapist thinks that I need to go back. The pain is still in my leg, and I have a funny limp now, but that might go away after time. We talked about both my right and my left leg, as I tore ligaments in both while only breaking the right. I still have stronger pains in the my ankles than I ever did before the accident, and he said that after damage like this, I can expect to have stronger pains for about 18-24 months. Sometimes the pain sticks around. It is impossible to tell. I am, however, free to return to the cycling and elliptical exercise if I wish. I can swim, walk, etc without the brace, if comfortable. I just need to cry not to trip over my own damn feet and cause another accident. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

As I sit down at my desk, I am reminded of the shoulder pain that has not gone away, and the new shoulder pain on the left side of my body. I don’t want to go see another orthopedic surgeon about my issues with my shoulders, as now I have had my ankles, knees, hands, elbows, guts, spine, neck, and shoulders addressed. The major ones causing me to see a specialist and rack up even more past due medical bills. I am just not excited to do either. I figure I will give it time to see if it resolves, and if in a few months they are STILL this bad, I will go in to see my Rheumatologist specifically. At least he will be educated enough on my body to send me to someone legit, like he did with my gastro. I hated my last gastro! Reaching for the mouse hurts. Typing hurts. Moving my arm around back and forth from the mouse to the keyboard hurts. What is new about pain, right? New pain doesn’t always equate to new symptoms, however.

I keep thinking about chronic illness as a whole. When you have a chronic illness you really have to monitor your body, food, activities, and life. It is much harder to “be up for anything” because anything could literally knock me on my ass and cause me to be bedridden for a month! I have been very good about my activity limitations, and though I want to get out there more, I keep coming up with excuses. Yes, they may be legitimate reasons, but they feel like excuses.

My leg is broken.

I am flaring.

I am too tired.

I want to use my energy for something else.

The kids will wear me out.

I can’t afford it right now.

I can’t risk getting hurt.

All of these are legitimate, but all of these can be applied to ANY situation I want to get out of. Yes, I need to be careful, but I feel like my careful has become “hermit-full” and is no longer me just trying to keep my body together. I woke up this morning, and made choices on how I was going to begin my day. I actually feel pretty decent, minus the shoulder pains. I can walk; I have a limp, but I can walk! I can drive! I can move, and get around. I can still laugh and smile! I can still be just as fun. I am still me inside, I swear it! I just need to stop making excuses.

I truly have to find some extra motivation every day. Motivation to get up, dressed, makeup, hair, etc. Sometimes my day ends up like today. Messy hair, half assed makeup, and simple jeans/plain t-shirt/tennis shoes combo. Other days can end up with a bun, others I can go to work looking like I just came from the salon. But I know my body more than I used to, and each day I can motivate myself to do what is within my limits. I choose what those limits are used for. The dishes can wait. The laundry can sit in the livingroom. The bathrooms can get wiped down tomorrow. Today I am going swimming with my kids.

I woke up today, which is more than I can say for so many who suffer from medical ailments. What are you going to do with your waking hours?

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