The urge to write has been there for quite some time, but it is hard to put into words – things I don’t even know if I understand. I’ve gone back and forth on it today, the struggle in my head, before realizing….this is for me and maybe writing will help me in my journey.
The truth is, I’ve been struggling in a very big way, from the illness….not knowing what it was….to becoming so sick…..to feeling the relief of living through it and believing I would never take another moment for granted….to watching my body fall apart….and not being able to deal with it all mentally or physically. The surgery really took its toll in every way. I’m not proud of the way I’ve reacted (mostly internally) to it all. I felt truly disappointed by some people not being there, that I really needed. In all fairness, I did not reach out and ask for many to be there. I hate that I’ve thought of things I’ve done for others and focused on the fact that they weren’t there for me. My distorted way of thinking has been, they never had to ask me to be there for them…I shouldn’t have to ask them. This way of thinking is not me. I’ve never done anything, expecting something in return. I’ve done them because I wanted to help, and it make me feel good to do things like that. I’ve changed in these past couple of years, in a lot of ways I’m not proud of, but in many ways that were absolutely necessary. I kept giving parts of me away until I left nothing left for myself. Maybe focusing on others was a way to deflect from focusing on the parts of me that I needed to work on. Regardless of the why, it was not healthy. I am not healthy.
There are definite effects from the surgery. My body won’t ever be the same. I have no strength in my hands. Caleb has to open things for me. If you know Cal, you’ll get that 😊 The good thing is, it always makes him really happy to be able to do it for me. I have no feeling in my fingertips or right thumb. My hands don’t always work right. I’m always fumbling things. I still have the occasional shakes. I was told before the surgery, my strength would not be any better (and likely less) than where it was going into surgery, but I was in total belief it would all come back. It did not, and it probably will not. Still, my body is so much better than before the surgery. My neck has finally started turning better. Until recently, I was so nervous, every time I drove. I would have to turn my whole body when I needed to look for traffic, etc. I can now raise my arms above my head and and ¾ up the side. Although my hands aren’t totally reliable, they are so much better than before. I’m not in constant pain. The surgery was a true blessing.
It is frustrating, because I know how lucky I was to get the surgery and have it be successful. I’m also blessed with some people who were truly there after the surgery through today, every step of the way. There were three local friends, who would just show up and would seem to know instinctively what I needed, even when I didn’t have any idea. There is NK who insisted I go to Florida, even when I didn’t think I was in a place to travel. That trip happened for a reason – I needed a good friend in that moment, as much as I’ve ever needed anyone. The trip strengthened a great friendship that was already nearly 30 years old. I have 100% trust in her. The bff will also always be here for me, and I know this, without question. Yesterday, she sent me the nicest text in a moment, that I needed to hear something like that. I’m lucky enough to have such great family and friends, which makes it all the more disappointing that I’ve focused on the negative.
In the last couple of years, I’ve learned what true anger is. Like….so fucking pissed. Anger really is a relatively new emotion for me, and it is not a good look. Thankfully, I’ve been able to leave a lot of it behind and maybe one day it will all be 99% forgotten. I look forward to this. It’s not something I want. I really try to be Zen about things, but this situation has taught me, I really need to get meditation down. 😊
Depression has been with me since before the surgery. I’m lucky enough to know how bad depression can truly get (at my worst with the potassium deficiency). I say I’m lucky, because I’m able to keep things in perspective. I’ve been battling but finally had to break down and try Wellbutrin. I was so tired and my arm and legs were getting so heavy. It seemed to help that part of it, but it brought on horrible anxiety, along with just about every other side effect. I stuck it out because the anxiety was supposed to get better by 30 days into it. It did get better, but it was still there in a big way. I had to stop it. For a week after I finished weaning off (my Dr does not know I’ve done this yet), I thought hey…I’m better. It has come back, though. – in a big way.
I try and keep busy, which helps. Sometimes I am too busy, and am desperate for life to slow down, but then if it does, I can’t seem to deal with it. I’ve been working on finding a healthy balance.
Somewhere along the way, I stopped initiating conversations with people. I know why this started, but I don’t know why I can’t seem to get it back. I maybe begin 1/10 conversations with friends. I am better sometimes than others, but I still struggle. I’m just super lucky to have friends that are cool enough to not mind that they have to initiate things.
My oldest recently graduated from high school. I had no idea how hard that would be for me. It has hit me like a ton of bricks. Time went so fast. I’ve had a ton of guilt over these last couple of years and how I don’t feel like I’ve been as present (emotionally) as much as I should have been. This kid though…he is an awesome human being. I’m really proud of him. I’ve made a pledge to myself to do everything in my power to not let the depression steal time from me anymore. Around the same time as graduation, it just felt like everything piled up at once. I had worry for Brian on something, unexpected commitments came up, big financial stuff, yada yada yada. The morning after graduation, my whole body hurt. I felt like I was going off the deep end. I called in sick for a couple of days (but did work from home). I think the decision to take care of myself shows definite improvement in how I deal with things. I put myself first, which is something I’ve been working really hard on.
My life is good, and I know this. I know this better than anyone. When we go to bed, my husband puts his arm around me and always says it is the favorite part of his day. We are about to celebrate 27 years together, and he still does things like this. He tells me he loves me every day. He is a great father. My boys are happy, healthy, thriving. I have a good job. We have a roof over our head and don’t have a real need for anything. I say all this, to help explain, that the depression piece of it is total, fucking bullshit. I have gained so much weight since before/after the surgery. I don’t even recognize myself right now. The surgery doesn’t make me eat like shit. The surgery didn’t take away my ability to go for walks or hike. I’ve done that. Again, it was like I blinked, and the next thing I knew I was looking at Ryne’s prom pictures, and cropping myself out of a pic with Brian and myself with Ryne. I’ve been anxiety eating in a big way. I know it makes me feel like shit, but I continue to choose to do it. I know these things, and in the past I would beat myself up over it all. I’m not doing it this time. I have been through some shit. Would you believe, even some stuff I don’t talk about on here, haha! Still, in the grand scheme of things, the surgery, and unspoken shit means absolutely nothing. It doesn’t define me. I’ll grow from this. I’ll beat this (unless I have a heart attack first – which I feel like every single day anymore – and I that does happen, I can say this – even through the muck – I believe I’ve had the best life ever and have been able to see the beauty in so many things). Dramatic much, Jen? I am working on pulling out of this. I have an eating plan set for this week. It is nothing huge, just making steps to get better. One of the gals that has been there for me since the surgery, had her own surgery 6 weeks ago. She reached out to me today wanting us to do something together to get back on track. We will meet with my boot camp instructor (for private session) on Tuesday to learn some workout techniques and will hold each other accountable. I feel really good about this. I feel good about writing this, even though, I may not publish this. I did not expect this post to go like this. IDK….I’m human….there was a situation that once made me feel crazy. I was not crazy. I think anyone would’ve believed the things I did and was able to see that once I took a step back. I will never feel crazy again. Even now, in the frustration of this brain that doesn’t always seem to work right, I feel sane. Damaged but sane. My body has been rebelling with the heaviness of the limbs, the heavy blanket that seems to envelope my body at time, I recently spotted/bled for 30 days straight, stopped for a few days only to start again. I don’t know what is real, as far as hormones or other things, but I’m also certain my poor diet is cause for some of these things. I have to stop just wanting to change things and actually make the changes that are necessary in order for me to truly make the most of this beautiful life I’ve been gifted.
Big sigh…I just went back and read that. Ha….not what I was expecting to write about buy must be what I needed. I’m going home to Alaska in a few weeks and the timing is stressful to me. I wish my weight was better as well as my energy level. Still, I believe it is just what I need. I can’t wait to take in all those big, beautiful stars in the sky. I can’t wait to see the water, to breathe, real, crisp air. I can’t wait to be around people I’ve known since I was born. Growing up on an island, has created lifelong, trusting friendships, that so many will never know. I’m glad to be going home. It is so fitting that it is happening at a time where I feel like I’m starting over in so many ways – at the place where it all began.
Okay, I’ll have mercy and let you go. Thanks for being here for me.