I’m taking control back

Over the past year or so, I’ve felt my life spin completely out of my control. Worker’s comp is a horrible thing to go through, because you’re so dependent on complete strangers to fix what’s wrong and they care more about the cost than about you. When I first injured my knee in September 2012, I knew that it was going to be a process to get it healed, but I never imagined that I’d still be fighting to get back to “normal” for this long.

I feel hopeless sometimes, because there is nothing I can do to speed up the bureaucratic system. Yes, I’m on WC disability, but that barely pays for my regular bills, even before I add in the cost of eating. Staying at home all day every day is a great way to slowly go insane. I seriously don’t understand how retired people do it. I’ve been steadily gaining weight since my injury, because I can’t do the simplest of exercises that might impact my knee.

I’m fed up with waiting to hear the determination on my appeal. Not knowing is stressing me out, big time. I need to keep my mind busy to stay sane. To that end, I’ve signed up to be a distributor for It Works! Global, selling body wraps and other products that help tighten, tone, and firm your body. I’ll admit that I was a skeptic when I first heard about these things, but then I kept seeing peoples’ results. I’m truly amazed at how much better I feel after one day. It’s not an instant solution, just like going to the gym isn’t an instant solution. You have to follow common sense and stay determined. Nothing is going to work for you if you don’t make other changes like eating healthier and drinking lots of water.

I’m not trying to make this post into an advertisement, and I’m not going to turn this blog into a commercial. I just wanted to share how I feel. I’m taking control of my life again. I’ve had some pretty serious mood swings lately because I hate this time of year. I’ve decided that I’m going to start working on improving me, and not waiting for things to improve on their own. I may be disabled now, but I’m not helpless. I’m still determined to get my life together and move back to my adopted hometown of Charlotte. It’s going to take a while, because I’m looking at several months of therapy after my knee does eventually get the surgery I need, but I’m writing down my dreams and goals, and I’m going to make it happen. Selling the It Works! products is going to help me get there financially, and I’ll finally get back to living the life I’m meant to have.

It’s also time to start working on my happiness project again. Lately I’ve been so busy being upset that I keep forgetting to remember all the good things I have in my life. Positive thinking creates positive action. I WILL hear from the state soon, and they WILL approve my surgery! Or, if not, then my doctors and I will try another direction. I’m not going to give up on myself. I deserve better.

Advertisements

For every high, there is a low

It seems that my life is a constant struggle to balance out my highs and lows to maintain some sort of “even” that I’m not actually sure exists. I have good days and bad days, and sometimes the bad days outnumber the good days, but sometimes the good days outnumber the bad days. I’ve found that when I’m at my lowest point, staying busy and cleaning or organizing helps my mood. There’s something very satisfying about fixing something that is broken AND fixable or organizing a space and seeing the improvement afterwards.

I took a huge emotional hit two weeks ago when I found out that I’m going to need at least two more surgeries on my right knee, which means that I’m stuck here in San Diego for a minimum of one, but more likely two, more years. Worst case scenario, it might be as long as four more years. I know it doesn’t make much sense to San Diegans as to why someone would want to leave this “perfect” place, but it has no emotional ties to me, aside from a few very good friends who live here. There are planes. I’m trying not to dwell on the fact that I’m stuck in a city I don’t like, that has emotionally been nothing but despair for me, and instead making long-term plans for how I am going to escape once it gets to that point. I’m also working on building up my credit while I have the opportunity to do so, so that when I do move, things will be easier. There is no way I’m leaving my beloved Morgan behind, which means renting a U-Haul with a car hauler, which means expensive.

I’m also starting the process of weaning away at stuff I don’t need. There are things in my storage unit that I haven’t even looked at since putting them in there. Aside from my books, that tells me that they’re not necessary to my life. In all honesty, if it weren’t for my books, I doubt I’d need anything except my clothes. Everything else can be replaced. It’s time for me to really start getting rid of the detritus in my life, so that I can concentrate on healing my knee and my life.

At least I’ve pulled myself out of the deep, dark hole I was in for three weeks, when every day was a struggle to just make it through to the end of the day. I’ll get through this.  I have before and I will again, and I’ll keep on getting through this every day, even if getting through just means pulling myself out of bed and hugging my cat.

I’m feeling a little bit topsy turvy

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”

 

I think my feeling of being “off” started on July 24th when I walked out to find my roof slashed on my car. Nothing was stolen, but it still felt very much like a personal violation. My car is very special to me. He symbolizes the grown up me who is supposed to be fun and spontaneous instead of dull and boring. I feel good when I sit in my car. I enjoy the attention I get when people comment on what a nice looking car he is. (It never extends to what a nice looking driver he has, but I’m quite okay with that)

Things started to get better once I was finally able to get to the claims adjuster to inspect the tear and get a check to pay for the new roof. I felt like I was finally making some progress. Then, the following Saturday, I suddenly lost fifth gear. Thankfully, I have a dual clutch transmission, and was able to utilize fifth gear by switching into manual mode. Once again, I fell into stress mode, worrying about what this was going to cost me to repair it, even with my super awesome bumper to bumper warranty. At this point I was looking at a $250 deductible for the roof, plus a minimum of $250 deductible on the transmission repair. Since I’m still on disability, this meant that I was going to have to save up for a very long time before I could get either repair done.

I returned to work on a modified schedule, working four hours a day. After the first two days, my knees hurt so badly that I could barely walk. I made an emergency appointment to see my surgeon’s PA and he cut me back to 3 hours a day to see if that would help. I’ve discovered that if I keep my legs elevated at work, they don’t hurt nearly as bad, but I’m still having to ice them for several hours when I get home.

My check arrived from State Farm and I called the auto upholsterer that was recommended by State Farm (and more importantly, but a very close friend of mine whose wife used the same company on her beloved Miata) and found out that the cost of the roof and labor was the exact amount of the check I was given. State Farm forgot to back out the $250 deductible that I was supposed to pay. Oops. I called them and asked, and they informed me that the check was correct, so I was went with it. I ordered my new roof . In the meantime, Morgan (my 350Z) decided that he was going to use fifth gear again, and hasn’t had any shifting problems since. I still want to get it checked out, but it’s not on the urgent list anymore.

Then I went to see my surgeon. He told me that he’s done all he can do with arthroscopic surgery, and the next thing to try is a procedure called “autologous cartilage replacement.” Basically, they do a quick arthroscopic procedure where they harvest some healthy cartilage and send it off to a lab to grow into a patch large enough to cover the two condyles on my tibia that are crumbling. Then, he’ll go in and do an open surgery to essentially sew the new cartilage onto the bone, where it should theoretically grow into healthy cartilage and be just like new. Finding out I need two more surgeries put me over the edge again and I spend a good portion of Monday crying and trying to wrap my brain around the fact that this means I’m stuck here in San Diego for at least the next two years, and possibly as many as four. I’m trying to stay optimistic and think of how wonderful it will be to not have pain and grinding/crunching in my knee every time it bends, but it’s hard to stay positive right now.

I did get my new roof on my car installed on Friday, and it looks very nice. It’s driving me a little nuts that I can’t lower the roof until tomorrow afternoon, because it needs to stretch properly so that I don’t have issues down the road, but that’s a minor inconvenience that I can live with. Also on Friday, I got a surprise visit with my son, as his father had some business to attend to here in town.

At this point, I’m so mentally turned around and upside down, I don’t even know what I’m feeling anymore. I’ve been having panic attacks again since finding out about the new surgeries and I have a pervasive feeling of anxiety that I just can’t get rid of. I try so hard to stay positive and always look on the bright side, but sometimes it’s just too hard. I feel like I’m bogged down; stuck in a city I hate, for the foreseeable future, and every time I try to make any plans to leave, something else comes up to hold me here longer. I should have never moved back. I haven’t been completely happy since returning, and I’m brokenheartedly homesick for the Carolinas. It’s getting to be time for the leaves to change color, and the air to turn brisk.

I feel like I’ve lost control of my life, and that I’m surviving on the whims of others. The depression is creeping back in, and so is the anxiety. No, they’re not the same thing. I’m trying to do the one coping mechanism that generally works for me, and that is taking control of one aspect of my life and setting it right. If I can control just one thing, then I know I’m not helpless. Inside, I’m still screaming though.

My surgical update

I would have posted sooner, but I had to make sure I had it straight in my head first.

This past Wednesday, I finally went in for my long awaited knee surgery. I had been assured over & over again that it’s just a simple procedure & that I’d be up and running around again in no time. I wish it was that easy.

The problem with exploratory surgery is that you never really know what you’re going to find until you get in there and get a good look around.

The good news is that, while I definitely have thinning of the cartilage in my knee, it wasn’t ruptured or torn at all. The bad news is that the condyle head of my tibia (that’s the knobby part at the end of the bones) has suffered extensive wear and deterioration. To put it simply, at 39, I have the knees of a 60 year old.

The doctor did his best to scrape it clean and clear up the mess, but if that doesn’t stimulate new cartilage growth to replace what I’ve lost, I’m looking at a much more invasive surgery, perhaps even going as far as a total knee replacement. Obviously, this is not what I wanted to hear.

I wanted it to be nice & simple, with a fast turnaround time, so I could get on with my life. It doesn’t look like that’s the case here.

I’m trying really hard to be optimistic here, but it’s not easy. It seems like every time I try to make plans to improve my life, my body just laughs at me & something else breaks. At least I have my empathetic cat, who can always tell when I’m having an especially rough day & he comes to comfort me. Too bad I don’t have a man in my life who is that selfless.

Posted from WordPress for Android

I am adrift in my sailboat, rudderless, awaiting the right wind to tell me which direction my destiny awaits

It’s no secret that I am not a fan of San Diego. I moderately disliked it when I was growing up, but it wasn’t until I freed myself by moving to North, and then later, South Carolina that I realized how wonderful a true “home” can be. I know there are many out there who think that you’d have to be crazy to give up the year round sunshine and beautiful beaches to live anywhere else. It’s unfortunate that it’s all spin courtesy of the Tourism Board. In the winter, it drops as low as 30° and in the summer it gets as warm as 110° and we won’t even discuss the smog that makes it impossible to breathe. As to those lovely beaches, regular surfers are recommended to keep their Hep vaccines current, because there is all kinds of nasty things swirling around in the water that comes up from Baja California.

It’s been nearly 5 years since I’ve returned to this city where I was born, but do not consider home. The urge to leave gets stronger every day, to the point where it’s been almost an obsession to find a way out of here. Thankfully, I have some wonderful friends who are willing to help me out, and I may just find myself on the road again soon, to points unknown. As much as I tell myself I want to return to the Carolinas, there are still 8 states I have yet to visit, and there is always the possibility that I may fall even more in love with one of them. Then again, maybe I’ll end up somewhere completely different altogether.

Since I was very young, I felt that I just didn’t fit in. Somehow, I just didn’t quite mesh with my family or this city I grew up in. That’s not to say that I dislike my family. I just don’t think I’ve ever been terribly important to them, and I’m okay with that. I’m different. I accept that. My sister was the wonder child, and no matter how hard I tried, I could never be as good as her. So, I took a different path, and ended up in different places, with different experiences. Maybe some were good, some of them were definitely bad. Each one was a learning experience. I try to not make the same mistakes twice. I’ve been known to jump feet first into situations without adequately making sure there is a safety net below me.

I’m getting older, but I still don’t feel like I’m a grown up. There are many days when I just want my mom to give me a hug and tell me that I’ve turned into a good person. Perfect strangers frequently tell me that I am wonderful, and a pleasure to speak with, and that I’ve brightened their days. I wonder what went wrong with me that my own family doesn’t feel the same about me. And so, I wander. Do I have a home? No, all I have is a place to sleep at night and keep a few belongings. Even in my own “home” I don’t belong. I’m not wanted here, and I wonder if I’ll ever find a place where I am wanted.

Life is never dull around me

Thursday, the boyfriend and I went our to do some errands. Normal stuff like grocery shopping and trying to buy a rat to feed to his snake. Unfortunately, the pet store was all out of medium sized rats, so the snake hasn’t been fed yet. On the drive back to the boyfriend’s house, his car started acting up. The engine was choking every time he’d press the gas. I figured it for a fuel filter probably (since he just had the fuel pump replaced) but payday isn’t until the end of the week. Fortunately, we have almost identical schedules, do we can carpool in my car until his car gets fixed.

The big bummer of this is that we still need to move at the end of the month & moving isn’t cheap. It seems like every time we make plans for something expensive, something more expensive always comes up. Oh well, life goes on. We’ll figure it a way to make it through somehow.

I am facing my fears head on

After several failed relationships, it’s fair to say that I have some major commitment issues. I was dumped by a previous boyfriend because he decided that dating me was taking too much time away from spending time with his friends. The relationship before that ended in a restraining order after he threw me into a wall and threatened me with a knife. Before that, my husband liked to punch me in my sleep and then deny it ever happened. He blamed it on PTSD, I blame it on him being an asshole.

I’m dating a really wonderful guy now, who treats me well, but in the back of my mind, I still worry that it’s all going to fall apart.

And yet, I’m trying to be optimistic. We’re going apartment shopping today, with the obvious intention of moving in together. Living with someone else scares the hell out of me. It seems like it’s the first step before all hell breaks loose and the relationship implodes.

I hope I’m doing the right thing. I know he loves me, but will he continue to love me after having to love with someone who is slowly dying.