I went to hell last week (and lived to tell about it)

S

It’s 12:50 am on Wednesday, March 1. I went to bed 45 minutes ago but my brain is churnin’ & burnin’ and can’t be contained. I’m happy! Why?? Because I feel 90% normal again. Normal!! I never thought normal would be my ideal, but last week I thought I’d never get back here. We really take our health for granted, don’t we? But let me go back …

Several months ago I started attending a holiday survival fitness camp. It was one night a week of high intensity interval training (hiit) in a small neighborhood studio plus we could attend the other scheduled classes during the 5 week session. I did, I got hooked, and I joined. Attending these classes have made me feel stronger, body & soul, and helped me in confidence and just general fearlessness! It’s been so great. 

So two weeks ago today I started to feel a little pain in my left flank. We had recently worked out our obliques so I naturally thought I was just sore. I popped a few ibuprofen Wed-Fri as the pain came on, usually in the afternoons. But Friday night it wouldn’t go away. It woke me up 3 times in the night. I went to class Saturday morning and told my trainer. We took it easy on my obliques that day. Several hours later the pain came on with a ferocity that had me writhing on my bed, and the ibuprofen & acetaminophen I was alternating wasn’t touching the pain. I called my health insurance’s ask a nurse line and she was like get thee to the hospital. So I did. 

Alone. My boys stayed home because what could they do with me at the hospital? They’re young teenagers. Better off to make frozen pizza, play video games & wait for my call. So I drove myself because I hate inconveniencing others. Stupid trait. 

As you may have suspected by now, my pee indicated an infection of some sort and I was hooked up to all kinds of things to take blood, measure heart rate (fast), and blood pressure (high), but thankfully I was given an painkiller as well and, oh Lord almighty, was I happy. Four prescriptions later and I was allowed to leave to go wait at the 24 hour pharmacy for my lifeline of drugs. 

Sunday the vomiting started. The pain was merciless. The Norco took the edge off but there was no doubt the pain was horrific. 

Monday was a holiday. Tuesday I called my doc & was asked to come in, and ordered to have a ct scan. Meds switch on the antibiotic & a stronger pain killer – Percocet. Oh yeah, baby!! I remember Percocet from my c-sections and that’s the good stuff. But, no, it STILL just took the edge off. 

The next day the doc’s office confirmed: a kidney stone currently in my left ureter and almost to my bladder. 

I don’t remember Monday-Friday very well. It was a pain fog cycle. Sleep, lamaze breathing, take meds, eat jello, vomit, have sweaty fever-induced hot flash, sleep. I was also mothering my kids in there as well. They were mothering me more than a little. I still helped them get out the door every morning but then I collapsed and cried/slept/vomited the rest of the day. They made their own dinners. They brought me water & meds & hugs on demand. My goodness, I love my sons. 

Friday I went back to the doc. Blood draw. Some things don’t add up. The kidney stone was in my bladder now so why am I still in pain? Why can’t I keep anything down? Why do I feel like my body has betrayed me? 

Friday I stopped all meds except the antibiotic. I’d had enough of this pain fog/vomit/sleep cycle. I suffered through residual pain over the weekend. Slept. Rest. And started to feel better. 

But where was my head? Not in a good place. I felt demoralized. Weak. Diseased. Incapable. I felt I would never feel like myself again. I got winded walking around Winco & almost had a panic attack. Driving was hard. Standing. Walking. Impossible. I was broken. 

Monday I vomited my breakfast. I attempted to go to work. It was hard. I cried. My doc called & said my bloodwork showed several abnormalities and they wanted me to continue to rest & push fluids. I was ordered to work from home as I recover. 

And then today came. The pain in my belly is gone. I feel like I can get up & down without pain, or fear of pain. Oh good Lord am I happy to feel almost normal again! I was still careful with my food today, and my tummy is still a little unsettled, but the pain is entirely gone and I couldn’t be more ecstatic! 

And yes there may be other things going on but I think they are improving too. I can’t help but feel positively about this. 

I have to say, the psychology behind pain & demoralizing depression is not familiar to me, but I felt it last week. I felt like I was no longer myself. All my positivity about life was gone and there was only pain. I’m thanking God, my doc, and my lucky stars tonight for the relief I feel today. 

Yours, in pain & understanding,

Xoxo,

Stef

I don’t have the words

I’ve been thinking of this blog post for days and I don’t have it. I’m a jumble of thoughts and emotions, good, bad, angry, grateful, and everything in-between. I can’t untangle it all. 

I’ve had my heart yanked out of my chest and then it was danced upon by multiple people. Then someone stuck a knife in my back, twisted, and pushed it in further. Then I got kicked in the gut. 

I lost so much this year. People I loved. I learned that I can love people but they aren’t necessarily going to love me. I’ve learned that I shouldn’t always chase those that I love. Sometimes I should just let them walk away. 

I’m not trying to be dramatic. I’m trying to emphasize a depth of pain – a deep pain that I haven’t previously ever experienced. Like on a pain chart, except it was about a 45 on a scale of 1-10.

I’ve learned that the people I thought would be there for me when I needed them weren’t, but support came from a few unexpected places too.

I’m working on forgiveness. For my own sake more than others. It hurts. 

I’ve learned hard truths: I’m vulnerable; I’m wrong sometimes; I’m a better mom than I am a wife or girlfriend; I’m demanding; I have high expectations. These aren’t good things but knowing them is half the battle. (As they say).

I’ve learned that I’m strong – even stronger than I thought. 

I’ve learned some good things too. I’ve learned I can love harder, deeper & more than I thought possible. I’ve learned that loving is worth it – even if I’m not loved back. 

I feel like I’m searching for a missing piece. That I still have a gaping wound in my side and I’m trying to patch it up. It makes me hurt, weak, emotional. 

Sometimes I say or do the wrong thing based on an emotional response. If I have done that to you then I apologize. I’m trying to figure out how to be strong 95% of the time but I think I’m only at about 60% these days. 

I’m stronger when I feel loved. I have tried to love so much this year. I’ve tried to make love my tonic – thinking if I give love I’ll get love in return. Doesn’t always work that way, does it? 

So, you see, I don’t have the magic words. This year doesn’t fit in a box. It was full of extremes. Death, heartache, pain. It was full of new adventures – new job, new travels. 

I’m just going to keep trying. I’m going to be the best person I know how to be. I’m going to love my boys fiercely. I’m going to do my job as well as I know how. I’m going to try to be the badass I’ve been told I am. 

And I’ll hold out hope that maybe, if I’m lucky, someone will eventually love me fiercely too. 

Thank God for the new year, my sweet lovelies. You keep doing you, I’ll keep doing me. Be kind to each and every one of us. Spread kindness like glitter. 

Happy New Year! Bring on 2016, for heaven’s sake!

Xoxo,

Stef 

We all have stories

You don’t get to this age (in my case, banging on 40’s door) without having stories.

Your stories shape your life, your experiences, how you react, how you cope, how you LIVE.

I have tried to live my life in a cautious manner. It’s inherent to who I am. I don’t make snap decisions, I don’t “shoot from the hip,” and I try to retain my calm even when I’m screaming, crying, gnashing my teeth inside. Unleashing the anger beast doesn’t solve anything, and often leads to more hurt; hurtful words can often cause more problems than hurtful actions.

Lord knows I’m not perfect. I haven’t always been cautious. I have reacted emotionally. I have sought immediate gratification and soothing for my pain rather than thinking it out and processing it rationally. I’ve tried to keep those experiences to a minimum, especially as I’ve gotten older. As I’ve learned what helps long-term and what simply complicates things more.

I think that is where our stories come in. They illustrate our experiences in human nature. Experiences to learn from – learn from the people, learn from the emotions that resulted from that moment, learn from how we grieved or celebrated after.

Nobody ever knows your stories but you. Maybe they can ask? If they are curious.

You’ve heard that saying, right, that for every story there is your side, their side, and somewhere in the middle is the truth? Because our stories are skewed by our experiences and our emotions. What was minor to one person may have been major to someone else.

My experiences have brought me to where I am today. My stories have shaped how I respond and react to my experiences. I’ve tried to be cautious . . . . I AM cautious. I try to hold my tongue, not lash out, to react with love and understanding more than anger, frustration and betrayal. It’s hard. It’s hard to feel misunderstood.

My stories tell me that time changes everything. How I felt 13 years ago is not how I feel today. My experiences dictate that. Every decision we make, every deep conversation we have with a friend late at night, every argument, every resentment, every pure joy moment – all of these impact our future.

I was hurt one too many times. My experiences built on each other until I had the Berlin Wall of resentment nestled in my heart. I was trying to knock it down, brick by brick, but recent experiences have told me to shore it up again. And here we go again – more pain, more hurt, more betrayal.

Lady Justice’s scale is tipped to the negative right now, and I’m treading water to stay afloat, but I know the scale will tip back before too long. The positive will outweigh the negative. There will be healing. There will be joy.

These are my stories, built on my experiences. There is value (and weight & impact) to each one of them, the good and the bad. There is growth from every experience.

These stories will be be the sum of my life, but my novel is not nearly complete.

Peace, love and understanding. It’s the way to go, and I’m trying.

MORE HAPPY STORIES.

xoxo,

stef

Endless mourning

Horrible, awful things are happening

How are we to survive all of this?

I try hard but my spirit is dampening

I’m already mourning all I’ve missed.

My 40th year is the least of these.

My marriage dashed; dreams gone.

My sister in law taken by a disease.

My sister, same disease, can’t go on.

Full of love, memories, childhood

Blessed with warm hands and hearts

No pain, no loss; all sweet & good

Never learned how to dodge these darts

Endless days of endless sorrow

Please, let me live, survive, please

Build me up, strength I’ll borrow

There’s no net under my knees

Falling, always falling, stripped bare

Calling out, reaching, no one there.

For I am just human

For I am human,
She said, with sadness.
Hands twisting hands,
Confused, mad mess.

What do I know of this?
Tumbling, falling blindly;
Is it a swing and miss?
Broken, hands hang idly.

I was slow, she said,
I was unsure, scared.
It took time, she said,
With a push, I dared.

You’re human too;
Mistakes are made.
Forgive in lieu,
Of anger & pain.

But I need love, she said,
And you are a true man.
Attention, touch, she said,
For I am just human.

Pain? Try prison

Her coffee is getting cold,
as she waits for him to miss her.
While his cigarettes are running one after another, trying to forget her.

It’s after midnight here, my lovelies, my sweets.

It’s after midnight and my eyelids are heavy and my body is drooping, but my tummy is rumbling with unease – just enough to keep me awake past the witching hour. An hour that hurts, because it takes me through another painful day.

Oh, you wouldn’t see it anymore; it’s all cleverly hidden. And, of course, I’m busy. So busy. I may not think about it for a hours altogether … and then I look at the clock and I think oh man, it’s too late. Or too early. And the pain is there.

A prison of my own making. Locked inside and I can’t find my way out. It consumes me, day and night; an obsession I can’t walk away from. Whenever I try it comes trickling back, enveloping me like great grey foggy arms, pulling me in until I give up. Submission.

Myself the warden, guard & gate. Pain.

And I’m so angry with myself.

-Stef

 

P.S. Challenge: The title of this blog post is a quote from an 80’s movie. Name that movie & the actor who said it – without using the internet.

A dark poem

Wrong, wrong, wrong
March 18, 2014

Everything I knew is wrong;
There’s no end in sight.
The road is long;
Dullness, stupidity, like night.

Up, down, right, left;
Nothing where it should be.
Dammit, so bereft;
Don’t you know me?

Run away then, old friend!
Act like it’s not real.
Don’t expect me to bend;
I didn’t break that seal.

Ha, I did it right, as always!
Smug little bitch, I am.
Now stumbling through this daze;
Who are you? Ma’am?

Open up the wine;
Consume it all.
Overindulge & dine!
But don’t bother to call.

That’s enough, like she said:
Crumpled up piece of paper.
Help me, I feel like lead;
Lift me up out of this labor.

Head down, mewling.
Didn’t I do it right?
Right is wrong, soothing.
Hell no; trampled in the night