Help, I’m stuck in the weeds!

backyard weeds
Weeds in my backyard!

Like, for real. I mean, literally. Yup, stuck in the weeds. Not the quaint colloquialism that means I am hopelessly behind or mired in the details (okay I’m that too, but that’s not what this post is about), but literally I was stuck in the weeds. I’ll explain.

Last week I wrote about trying to recover from the pain and exhaustion I was experiencing after traveling a bit (spring break). Well, rather than allowing myself sufficient time to get better, I pushed my luck and got worse. I am the type of person that feels like I am wasting time and being lazy, if I’m not accomplishing something. This is the reason you won’t find me watching many movies or initiating  Netflix marathons. I get itchy with the feeling of needing to get to that “to do” list that is always growing. I’m also the person that doesn’t want to waste good money paying someone else to do something that I know I am capable of doing myself. As well, I’m sort of crazy about not using chemicals in my backyard where I grow food and my dog goes out to play. So, last Saturday, after spending most of the week doing the bare minimum and otherwise resting, I decided I was going to go pull a few weeds. I had a game plan (as I always do), I would go out for only 20 minutes and pull what I could, not a minute longer. Then I would come in and rest for an hour and see if I was up to going back out for another 20 minutes. I was doing great, until…that one wrong step.

Our backyard has a bit of hill that drops off on one side. That’s where most of the weeds accumulate. I had cleared a space of about 4×4′ and came upon a particularly large patch of clover that was rooted into the side of the hill. I decided I would start with that side to try to get all of the root system. The problem is, as soon as my foot was at an angle on that hill, my back gave out, and down I went. I was literally stuck in the weeds. I was able to get myself up and hobble to the patio, where I could sit down and try to recover for a minute. After I gathered my composure, I willed myself up and in the house. I immediately began the heat and ice routine, as well as applying Deep Blue Rub. You see, this has happened before. On top of everything else that causes me chronic pain, I have bulging discs at L4, L5, and S1, from a car accident years ago. Not bad enough to be helped with surgery, but bad enough to cause crap-loads of issues when I overdo it.

Fast forward to today (Thursday), and I am typing this while lying flat on my back, because it still hurts too much to sit. Add to that my joint and nerve pain in my wrists and hands, and it has already taken about 30 minutes to type this much, as I have to take breaks every few minutes. For the last 5 days I have been unable to walk very far, drive, sit, even making it to the bathroom is a challenge. You can imagine how thrilled that makes me. I’ve had to ask for my boyfriend to come back from working out of town to help me (which also drives me crazy, as I have a terrible time asking for help and can be a little stubborn about accepting it), missed out on important appointments, and watched the stacks of chores that I normally do, pile up around me. And I’ve had to resort to taking pain medication and muscle relaxers in order to get any rest, as the pain has been too overwhelming to sleep without them.

On top of all of this, I found out yesterday that my short term disability insurance has decided not to pay my claim, because my condition is not severe enough to be off work, they said. Want to know how they arrived at that decision? They considered only the notes of the Pain Management doctor that I have oh so much respect for (interject sarcastic tone here), and have only seen one time, for a sum total of about 12 minutes. Why take his opinion and not my Primary Care Provider’s? He is a specialist, I was told. Want to know my response? I said, “He sure is special, special at being an asshole!” It isn’t kind, and I’m not particularly proud of it, but it conveys the frustration I feel with this process.

Okay, the lesson for me? I need to be aware of only the now. What is happening in this very moment. I have to drop the expectations, the old feelings of inadequacy that cause me to try to live up to some unachievable standard. I have to quit worrying about what others think and concern myself only with what my body will allow me to do at this moment. I need to be grateful for the abilities that I do have, and the knowledge that everything will eventually work out as it needs to. I can’t be concerned with the future, as all I have is the moment that I am living right now.

Will I fight the disability thing? Yes, I will. I know that I’m not capable of being at work, and I know it’s because of the disabilities that I really do have, and that have been diagnosed and tracked for at least 3 years now. I will also keep learning and fighting to get answers to help restore my body to optimal wellness, for me. And, I’ll keep sharing what I learn with you. 🙂




I’m about to lose it!…want to watch?

Stress. I have lots of it. I have a gorgeous teen daughter who looks like she’s twenty, a self proclaimed hippie twenty-two year old daughter who tends to live on people’s couches all over the world (or share a condo with 5 others she’s never met while working a seasonal job in a city she’s never visited), and a job that I am on disability leave from due to my fibro body telling me its had enough. The funny thing is, none of my stress is coming from these things.

Okay, so it’s a little stressful that adult men look at my 14 year old, but she thinks it’s creepy, and I’m grateful for that. And maybe I would be worried about my nomadic daughter if it wasn’t for the fact that I know I did my best to impart any wisdom I may have had to give her, and she’s choosing to be happy. Who am I to tell her to stop? I’m also not worried about my job. It will either be there when I am better, or it won’t. That is if I get better. And that’s where the real stress comes from.

As a divorced woman somewhere a bit over 40 (I always forget the exact number), with a child I’m still raising, one that hasn’t completed college, and no college degree of my own, learning that I have an autoimmune condition was not good news. Like many who have dealt with the long process of getting a diagnosis of why you can’t sleep, why you sleep all the time, why you can barely eat but still can’t lose weight, why you have pain for no reason and it’s never the same pain, why you can’t remember anything, can’t focus, and why your body literally changes overnight – I felt like I was going to lose it until the day came that they decided to call it Fibromyalgia. Since then a few more diagnosis have been added: Arthralgia, Chronic Fatigue, IBS, Migraines. Not to mention difficulty absorbing Vitamin D, Iron, Potassium…the list goes on and on.

So what does that mean? It means 3 years of trying different drug therapies, trying pain diversion techniques, seeing tons of specialists, and literally crying myself to sleep sometimes. Yes, this is my stress. How do I work a “normal” job when I can barely roll myself out of the bed some days? How do I make people understand that while I look fine on the outside, my pain level is at a fairly constant 8? This is what I am referring to as what I am “about to lose.” I’m letting go of the need to live up to the expectations of others at my own expense.

This opportunity (which is how I am choosing to look at it) to be on leave and focus on repairing the damage of not listening to what my body needs and what my limitations are, and how I can heal myself without prescription medication, is what I want to share with you in this blog. That may mean ranting about pain one day, sharing a recipe for Paleo chocolate chip cookies the next day, taking a 3 day meditation break, and then telling you how my essential oil therapy is managing my allergies a few days later. Whatever it looks like, I hope that you will come along on the journey. I encourage you to connect with me and share your thoughts and challenges. It can only help us all increase our awareness.