fibro frustration

Really, frustration should be listed as one of the symptoms of fibromyalgia. I’m too tired and sore to feel rage, which is what this feeling would morph into if I felt better…although of course my not feeling well is the cause of the frustration, so there you go. Another example of the crazy spirals and cycles this disorder causes. Please excuse me, gentle readers, for giving into the temptation to vent. One of my goals for this blog was to be genuine, which I haven’t been, because I haven’t been honest about my physical or emotional state of health.

I didn’t even write about breaking my foot last October–a break that required two surgeries, thousands of dollars out of pocket, and is still causing me pain. I was stuck in bed for over two months after the break. And all I did was fall in the kitchen! Thanks to the fibro…I have dizzy spells and last summer I actually blacked out a few times. Unfortunately, I was rushing to let the dog in when I fainted this time, and twisted my foot as I fell, which caused a complicated break called a Lisfranc fracture. A fracture which almost always requires surgery. One thing I can say for certain though, is that I have a husband who truly loves me! And a dog who considers it her duty to take care of me whenever I’m sick. Fiona stuck to me like glue the entire eight weeks, while George waited on me hand and foot (excuse the pun).

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Nurse Fiona caring for the patient

I finally got back on my feet–both of them–in January, but I had some extremely painful nerve damage in my second toe. Thankfully, that has gone away, perhaps because my anticonvulsant (gabapentin) that I take to control my seizure disorder also helps with neuralgia (a side benefit to seizures I never considered, but actually the same medication helped when I had ongoing pain from the shingles too). The second surgery, which was March 18, was simple, just to take out one of the metal plates from the first surgery, but that too turned out to be unexpectedly painful and to make life even more interesting, I developed a nasty, painful, blistering rash on my upper foot and ankle, on Good Friday no less. Time for antibiotics.

Well, it’s all over but the pain. The pills took care of the rash, my post-op X-rays looked great, my stitches are out. And I should mention that my surgeon was terrific, skilled and kind, as were all of the nurses, anesthesiologists, etc., involved in my care. My surgeon thinks the residual pain in my foot may be due to fibro; I can tell it’s not bone pain, and he did have to move a lot of tissues and nerves around during the surgery to get the plate removed. So fibro makes sense as a cause.
Damned fibro.

I’m also having a nasty, cruel depression relapse (probably partly tied to the fibro and vice versa…don’t you love it) and trouble with anxiety over finances. Major anxiety. I’m looking at filing for relief from my student loans on the basis of total and permanent disability, which makes me cry every time I think about it. And every time I think about the blood and sweat and tears that went into that master’s degree.

Too tired to write anymore. I’ll finish this tomorrow.

 

Friday Five: all around the mulberry bush

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Every week, the women over at RevGalBlogPals, an organization formed to support women in ministry who also happen to blog, have a weekly feature, Friday Five, covering a variety of topics. This week, 3dogmom writes (the image above is hers also):

It’s been a week of ups and downs at our house. On Tuesday I received word of the birth of my goddaughter’s second daughter, a blessing to that family, and the hope of the first daughter happily fulfilled. That evening I learned that my sister-in-law, a breast cancer survivor, is facing a recurrence of cancer in her lymph nodes, and probably her lungs. Joy and concern pressing in on my heart has made for a week of lots of deep breaths and deep-in-the-marrow prayer, smiles and tears.

At times like this I my soul finds comfort and seeks expression through my senses. Pinterest feeds my visual need for beauty and color (not to mention adorable puppies, and herds of sheep). Cooking fills the house with pleasant aromas, and the results satisfy my palette. My hands find tactile pleasure in massaging my dogs, and music penetrates and reverberates in the fiber of my being.

When you need to hold disparate parts of your life in tension, what do you do? Share five things that steady your pace, recharge your batteries and invite peace to your soul.

I think I wound up with more than five, but here we go.

My Fibromyalgia Care Kit

This picture shows the most important elements of what I think of as my “Fibromyalgia Care Kit”. When I’m hurting, exhausted, and often, depressed (mild depression seems to tag along after a flbro flare like an uninvited dinner guest), I need my puppy, Fiona, to cuddle with me and make me laugh, and gaze adoringly at me with her huge, melty brown, spaniel eyes. Her softness and warmth has gotten me through many unspeakably painful days, like the days my mom was in hospice and I couldn’t cry in front of mom. So I would come home, crawl into bed under the wedding quilt my Aunt Marie made for me, and Fiona would come and snuggle against my back. She still does.

I love my nightstand, my little nook, that holds my reading lamp, a photo of my husband George and Fiona, a drink (I mean a soda, or cocoa, or tea, not that kind of drink!), and a stack of books. Books feed my mind and my soul. They are like friends, who comfort and soothe my hurts. I have started practicing mindfulness meditation a few times a week, although I’m not very good at it yet. Hugs. From George especially, but from any of my friends or family, occasionally even my therapist. Drawing, with messy utensils like charcoal and pastels, gives tactile satisfaction too, regardless of the result. Looking at photographs, or taking an especially good one myself, and growing flowers when I’m physically able, or getting a bouquet when I need cheering up, gives me a taste of beauty, I keep my mother’s old rosary in my nightstand drawer; there is something soothing about the feel of the beads as I run them through my fingers.

The photos and books, the hugs, the art, my blog, Fiona, flowers, the rosary…all of these things are both celebratory and comforting, frequently both at the same time. They do serve to tie the varying elements of my life together. And so does the grace woven into each hug, every tear, all of the laughter.

my favorite little things


These are some of my favorite little things!

Fiona a a newborn puppy
Fiona a a newborn puppy
Mom and me (age 4) pickniking at Minnehaha Falls
Mom and me (age 4 ) on a picnic at Minnehaha Falls
My dad's WWII memorabilia
My dad’s WWII memorabilia
10th wedding anniversary flowers from George
10th wedding anniversary flowers from George
Hot coffee on a cold January afternoon!
Hot coffee on a cold January afternoon!
The stark beauty of Lake Superior in winter
The stark beauty of Lake Superior in winter
New books--Xmas gift from George
New books–Xmas gift from George
Fiona dozing on a winter afternoon
Fiona dozing on a winter afternoon
Four generations of Resch kids at the family reunion
Four generations of Resch kids at the family reunion
Daddy and me (1 year) "sledding" in the backyard
Daddy and me (1 year) “sledding” in the backyard
Party at Camp da Sabas
Party at Camp da Sabas
twins game with my nieces
twins game with my nieces
Meeting my new cousin Elissa
Meeting my new cousin Elissa
Dinner with Tom and Kristine
Dinner with Tom and Kristine
Fiona taking time to sniff the flowers...
Fiona taking time to sniff the flowers…
Memories of my mom and dad
Memories of my mom and dad
George and me on a Sunday afternoon at Kieran's
George and me on a Sunday afternoon at Kieran’s

friday five: where is its home?

This week’s Friday five, a tradition over at one of my all-time favorite blogs, RevGalBlogPals. Every Friday, one of the women posts a meme and invites other members to play. So this week, I’m playing!!! Here goes:
N.B. The narrative voice here asking the questions, etc., is from the original author, not me! My answers are in red.

“As noted at my own blog, my word for the year is “clear.”

One of the things to which this refers is clearing away clutter.

One of the best ways I have found to do this is to give everything that comes into my house a HOME. And I can easily tell that I have too many things when there are not enough homes for them all!

I gleaned the idea of items having homes  from my younger sister who used to say to her toddlers, “See that book on the floor there? Is that its home? No? Please put the book into its home.” Often, I am saying the same words to myself that she said to her little ones.

Photo from Discountofficeitems.com

In my mother’s house, the Marks-A-Lot marker always went in the cupboard next to the sink. I don’t know why, I just know that’s where the Marks-A-Lot goes, still and forever, in my house many miles away.

So:  Tell us your favorite homes for five things, the places that you can always and reliably find them. 

1. This one is easy. Books I’m currently reading, not including books for classes (who wants to see them first thing in the morning and last thing at night?) is my nightstand. Of course, other books frequently migrate there as well. And my Kindle is in my nightstand drawer when I’m not carrying it around the house with me like child with a blankie.

2. My dad’s things (his old missal, cards he saved from my mom and me, his photos from WWII, etc.) are in a special box kept on the first shelf in the study closet. Easy access, but out of the way enough so that, hopefully, nothing will get spilled on or chewed on (by the dog, not me, honest).

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My dad and his buddies during Basic Training at Fort Lewis, WA, ca 1942. My dad is in the middle.

 

3. Old family photos that have not yet been put into albums–one of my future projects–are kept in the top left-hand drawer of my old rolltop desk that my dad made for me. Most of them are from my mom’s side (not all), and I’m still trying to figure out who some of the people in them are, and what year, approximately anyway, they were taken. The most interesting photo isn’t a photo at all, at least not in the ordinary sense; it’s a daguerrotype that must date back to at least 1860 if not earlier, of my Cherokee great-great-many greats-grandmother. (Although this is my adoptive family, so there is no blood relation.)

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Bertha Wilhelmina Mohr and John Adam Resch on their wedding day. Pine City, MN, July 12, 1915. My grandparents. I never knew my grandpa but I adored my grandma. She was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known, inside and out.

 

4. The Children’s Bible my godparents gave me for my First Communion resides in the Governor Winthrop in our living room. The Governor Winthrop is a combination secretary desk with a bookcase on top that I inherited from my Great-Aunt Millie, and it’s the perfect place for some of my most treasured old books, like my old bible. It’s dog-eared and falling apart, but just looking at it brings back the many hours I spent poring over the stories of David and Goliath, the First Christmas, and the fascinating pictures in the back of the places in the Holy Land where these exciting stories actually happened!

5. Fiona’s toys hang out on the living room floor. During the day, that is. At night she brings most of them to bed with her (us, I should say, much to the dismay of my allergist). She used to have fluffy stuffed toys, until she began destroying them, tearing them apart with great joy. So her toys now consist of chewsticks, rope toys, and Kongs, although she also considers my socks and bras toys as well. (She loves to trot out into the living room dragging one of my bras by the strap. Oh, the look of glee on her face!) Since I’m home most of the day, we usually play with each of her rope toys in turn; and I should note that part of our play consists of fishing her toys out from under the couch or the bed, which she finds great fun. I don’t, especially since I’m currently recovering from neck surgery, Sigh.

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So what does it say about me, I wonder, that my longest answer is about…my dog’s toys?

Readers, I invite you to play along too! Leave your answers in the comment box, and we’ll comapre notes!

ps: the prevailing wisdom that one should never have a “junk drawer”? I don’t buy that. Because, where else do you put your birthday candles, tiny measuring tape, kite string, eyeglasses repair kits, etc.? “

 

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: Pets

Friday Five: Pets

(Per Sophia over at RevGalBlogPals…) My son’s tiny beloved lizard, Elf, is looking and acting strange this week. His skin/scales are quite dark, and he is lethargic. We are adding vitamin drops to his lettuce and spinach and hoping and praying that he is just getting ready to shed his skin–but it’s too soon to tell. Others in the ring have also been worried about beloved pets this week. And, in the saddest news of all, Songbird has had to bid farewell to her precious Molly, the amazing dog who is well known to readers of her blog as a constant sacrament of God’s unconditional love.

So in memory of Molly, and in honor of all the beloved animal companions who bless our lives: tell us about the five most memorable pets you have known.
Come play along with me–either post your answers on you blog or, better yet, in the comment box! (Sorry to post this a day late–I fell asleep too early last night to finish.)

Barbara’s Memorable Pets:

1. When I was about six, I adopted an earthworm from my dad’s garden and named him Casey, after the boy at school I had a wild crush on. I loved Casey (both of them, actually.) One hot summer day, I devised a raft for Casey (the worm) on a small piece of torn-up shingle, and took him for a boat ride in a mud puddle in our driveway. My parents, watching from the window, decided it was about time for me to have a real pet, and that’s how Bridget came into our lives. The Casey story does not have a happy ending, though: Casey the boy moved away, and Casey the worm received a ceremonial burial in the rose garden.

2. We got Bridget, a miniature poodle (almost big enough to be a standard) through a group called Pet Haven, almost immediately after the Casey incident. She was, truly, my best friend for all of my growing up years; talk about representing God’s unconditional love. We took her everywhere with us. She was also brilliant–my dad loved teaching her tricks. One of his (their, I should say) favorites was teaching her to scratch fleas on command. She didn’t have fleas, you understand. I thought about trying to get her on David Letterman’s Stupid Pet Tricks, but never got around to it. When I came home from my scoliosis surgery, in terrible pain I went to bed immediately, and Bridget hopped up on the bed and very carefully and gently arranged herself so that she was nestled against me, head on my shoulder, magically, without hitting any of my painful spots (and there were plenty, believe me.) We had to put our beloved Bridget to sleep right after I graduated from college; she was 15-years-old.


3. About a year later we (mom and I) found my darling Molly, a cocker spaniel, at the Golden Valley Humane Society. I knew from the second I laid eyes on her that she was the puppy for us. She was picked up as a stray, and had apparently been abused. Molly had the absolute sweetest nature I have ever seen in a dog, and in a special way, we were soulmates. She could always tell when I was depressed, or my fibromyalgia was acting up, and she was always right there to comfort me. She also had a thing for flowers–we were always catching her out in the backyard sniffing them. When we had to put her to sleep, at the age of 14, (she had an abdominal cancer), we spread her ashes amongst the flowers she loved so much. I love to think of her resting there, helping the flowers grow.


4.
Warning: Do not let young children read this fish horror story. In my late twenties I decided I need some fish to help keep me company. So I trotted off the the pet store, purchased my little tank and fish goodies, and then selected my fish. I don’t remember the name of the breed (Bellas, maybe?), but they were stunningly beautiful, and the store owner assured me they were a very passive breed of fish, and not likely to harm each other. (Does anyone sense some foreshadowing here?) I enjoyed watching them swim about in their tiny tank, weaving in and out of the fronds of the plants I had so carefully purchased for their swimming pleasure. But soon, I began to notice that a few of my fish seemed to have disappeared. Then, one traumatic day, I caught the fish villain in the act: he was devouring another fish. The story only gets worse from here. A fish execution by toilet, remaining fish obviously suffering from PTSD. I’m not sure what this was supposed to teach me. That fish can be possessed? That the reality of evil extends even to little aquariums?


5. Luckily, my last pet story reaffirms my belief in the goodness of creation. My darling Fiona, the Uber-cocker spaniel, curled up against my bare feet as I type, is my best furry friend and provides me with all the loving, unconditional care anyone could possibly need. When my mom was dying, and I’d come home from the nursing home in tears, Fiona was right there waiting for me. And after mom died, for weeks the little fluffy creature wouldn’t leave my side; she clung to me, staring up at me with her big brown eyes that telegraphed her doggly love and concern. Fiona also loves to play; every single day, without fail, we must–and I do mean must–play with each of her toys in turn. She so loves her toys. She is my cuddly darling, and I hope to someday be the person she thinks I am.