Stress? Who’s stressed?

I swear if I hear one more person say that something that is wrong with me is due to stress I will scream!  I have felt this way for many years.  When I was having vertigo daily they said it was made worse by “stress”.  When my asthma went crazy, they said “stress”.  When I had severe GI issues for months, I was told I needed to reduce my “stress”.  You know the last time I looked stress does not cause Meniere’s Disease, or allergy onset asthma, or fructose malabsorption.  Don’t get me wrong, I know stress can do a number on you, but I feel like it’s a catch all.  If they don’t know, then it’s stress, after all if they can’t fix it then it has to be MY FAULT.

Finally, I am having issues that I think may actually be caused by stress.  I will be the first to admit the last few months have been pretty stressful.  My mother-in-law was placed in long term care, we moved across the country, I left my sister with the understanding that we may never see each other again, Stuart started a new job, I’m finding new doctors, I have to have surgery on my wrist on TUESDAY, I don’t know how long to expect to be out of commission to recover from said surgery (I hate being so dependent, not having use of my dominant hand is hard), we’re looking for a house (and not finding what we want), we’ve been looking at cars (for me),  I’m starting to drive again, we’re living in a small house that I can’t get organized because we don’t want to get too settled since we will be moving again soon, I’m suddenly surrounded by family (some of that’s good, some not so good)…………….WOW. writing all of that out was stressful, and I haven’t listed everything.

This is me with a migraine, the right side of my face gets all numb and droopy.  #realmigrainepose

For over a month my migraines and cluster headaches were much, much worse, is this because of the stress, or is it causing more stress….short answer, Yes.  I must say though, for the past week they’ve been getting better, I think it’s because of the medical marijuana I’ve started using (more about that soon).  I’m having some GI issues that just don’t want to stop.  (it’s even waking me up at night, and I haven’t made it to the bathroom a couple of times…is this all from stress, who knows, but I doubt it’s helping),  I’m irritable, quick to anger, and just plain grumpy.  I’m overwhelmed and in pain, and I’m taking it out on everyone else.  I don’t like myself right now.  My anxiety has increased, but it’s not too bad, yet.  I’ve been a little depressed, but it’s not all consuming.  So, there’s a lot to be stressed about and it’s kind of taking it’s toll.

I’m trying to meditate every day, but it seems the more stressed I am the harder it is for me to meditate.  I feel like I’m not being very mindful either.  I’m living too much in the future.  We are buying our forever home and I keep thinking things like, “I don’t want a pool because I don’t want to keep it up when I’m 70”, “I don’t want any stairs because I might get sicker again, and I also we might now be able to climb stairs in a few years.”, and my personal favorite, as I’ve been going though things and deciding what to keep I keep thinking, “will anyone care about this when I die?” ….I just turned 55, I’m not that old, but I sure am living like I am.  (except I want a cool yellow car, that will keep me young)  I worry about how M’s condition will advance.  I worry about Dad, he spends all his time at the home what M, and she’s beginning to have moments where she doesn’t remember who he is exactly.  How is he going to handle it when she no longer knows who he is.  Then I think about what M’s daughter said, she told me about another relative who had Alzheimer’s and how they told her that they may not know who she is, but they know they love her.  I think Margaret will always know she loves Dad.  It breaks my heart every day though to see this amazing woman slip away.  (she just turned 77)

I really want to get back to focusing on living in the moment and simply not worrying about the rest.  Why worry about the now? It’s going to be gone in an instant.  I want to invite joy in my life.  I want to step away from the drama that I’ve found myself dropped into.  I need to nurture my inner self.

Little update on me: My surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, the 7th.  It is a minor surgery, I’m not even put under general anesthesia.  They just put a little incision on the inside of my wrist below the thumb (on the side, not the palm) and snip a little to release the tendons.  When I saw the doctor in Charlotte, NC, he told me that often when the injections don’t do anything that there are actually 3 tendons running through the sheath instead of 2.  He said they don’t know why but it often doesn’t show symptoms until middle age.  This is even more probably since I have it in both wrist, luckily the injection worked pretty well in the left wrist though.  The doctor here didn’t mention it, but he did comment that the orthopedics department at Atrium Health (formally known as Carolinas Heathcare System) is one of the best in the country.  (right now they are ranked number 3)  So I kind of believe the doctor at CHS.

My migraines have improved some since I started using medical marijuana.  Most of what I’m taking is a very high grade of CBD oil.  I will write a post soon telling you all about my journey through getting a card, learning what to buy, and my experience in the dispensary.  The gammaCore has still not arrived.  The doctor’s office dropped the ball when ordering it, then they didn’t put in the request for the free trial for the first month.  (they did change offices this month, and my doctor is new and has been the only doctor in the group to prescribe the gammaCore, all of those factors led to the good up)  The gammaCore company called Stuart last week and told him that it should be no problem getting it approved by my insurance.  If that is the case, why haven’t I received it yet?  I sure could have used it this past month, the cluster headaches have been killer (literally, if I thought I had to live in that kind of pain all the time, I’d kill myself.  Cluster headaches are called Suicide Headaches, because of that very reason, people will kill themselves to get relief.  I start Botox in about a month; I was supposed to start on Thursday, but that was my original surgery date so we cancelled it.   The monsoons are causing a lot of severe barometric changes almost daily, I’m sure this has been one of the reasons my migraines have been so bad, so hopefully they will get much better in a month of so, when the monsoons are over.


It’s late and I have a headache, so this post was not even read over to check for errors, please forgive any typos, grammar errors, or other atrocities.






Stress should be a 4 letter word


Stress is widely known to cause the chronically ill to get sicker, to have flares, to generally feel worse…  Stress is an ugly word that I hate to hear my doctors say. “This is being made worse because of stress.”, “You need to get your stress under control.”  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this.

The amount of stress I’ve been under the last few months would make the healthiest person feel bad, for someone who is chronically ill, with both physical and mental illnesses this has been a very trying time.  I’m sure you are wondering, “What has been going on in Wendy’s life?”  Well let me tell ya!

This may not be in order, I’m just going to get it all out.  We moved, we had a friend move in with us, I was having vertigo a lot for a while, I’m constantly afraid I will have a vertigo attack, I’ve been having migraines daily for months, my father passed away, I went through all the stress building up to my father’s death, the stress of the funeral….I feel like it has been non-stop.

I’m wondering if my migraines are worse because of the stress?  My chronic daily headache now has a base line of a 4-5 where it used to be 2-3, on a 0 – 10 scale. The pain in my neck and upper back due to degenerative discs has greatly increased, I’m in physical therapy for that now.  (going to PT is another stress, as Stuart has to take time away from work to take me to my appointments, this time has to be made up, that’s hard on both of us; and some PT sessions seem to make things worse, that’s a stressor too.)  I can’t take pain relievers which causes a certain amount of stress too because I never have any relief. My tinnitus has been very loud.  Some days my balance is worse than usual.  My emotional state is not well.  I’ve been depressed. (yes I know I have reasons to be sad, but this is more than that).  My anxiety is very high.  I am extremely irritable (I’m shocked at how much Stuart and I have been arguing, and bickering, normally we rarely argue)  I’m restless, yet tired, excessively worried, feeling like I’m trembling inside, very sad, my appetite is out of control, I am extremely self-conscious, I have very little self-esteem and I keep beating myself up for things I have no control over.  I can’t relax; I can’t give myself a break; I’m not being kind to myself.  I’m just a mess.

I’ve been having a very rough time.  This is upsetting because I’m at the best place I’ve been with my vertigo than I’ve been in a couple of years.  I haven’t had a bad attack in almost 2 months.  This is surprising because it normally gets worse when I’m under a lot of stress.  However, It is often much better during the summer.  I know I would be feeling even worse if I was having vertigo as often as I normally do.  But I can’t stop having profound fear that it will get worse any moment.  I’m having a hard time enjoying this break because I’m so terrified I’ll have an attack at any moment.

I was trying to take better care of myself, but I have to admit in the last few weeks most of that has gone out of the window.

When we are under stress it is imperative that we practice self-care.

Things I plan to do to increase my self-care:

  • Be sure to see my therapist and be open and honest during appointments.
  • Give myself a break.  This is more easily said than done, but I need to really make a conscious effort to do so.  When I have negative thoughts or feelings I want to start being more gentle with myself.
  • Meditate more.
  • Take more baths.
  • Watch funnier TV shows and/or movies.
  • Read funny or inspirational books.
  • Cuddle with my hubby.
  • Cuddle with Max (the cat) and Kiki (the little dog).
  • Eat healthier.
  • Do as much as my health will allow that makes me happy.
  • Be creative.
  • Stay in touch with those who love and nurture me.
  • Try to get outside more.
  • Keep up a gratitude list every day.
  • Laugh
  • Sing Silly Songs
  • Dance
  • Give my body 10 minutes of mindful attention.
  • Take a nap.
  • Take Deep Breaths
  • Get Positive Feedback (ask 3 friends what they love about me)
  • Write out my thoughts (for 15 minutes free write what ever I’m feeling, I can tear it up after, just get it out.)
  • Drink water (I’ve been drinking soda recently, something I haven’t done in years)


How do you take care of yourself?  Any self-care suggestions?  I’d love to hear them!


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Stress and 12 Ways To Cope With It.

Recently I’ve been feeling pretty sick.  Having vertigo regularly and having migraines daily again is taking a toll on me.

The stress in my life has increased significantly and “chronic stress has a significant effect on the immune system that ultimately manifest an illness.” (Mohd. Razali Salleh 2008)  I don’t know how many doctors have told me that I need to control my stress.  Unfortunately, that is much easier said than done.

Stress comes in all shapes and sizes.  We have major things that cause stress, like someone close to us dying, or being diagnosed with a chronic illness. We have little things that cause stress, like a traffic jam or being late for an appointment.  We even have stress from good things in our life, like moving into a nicer home, or having a baby.  Every moment of stress can cause havoc on our health.  Chronic stress is caused more by the big things, the things that don’t just go away, but the little things can build up and be “the straw the broke the camels back”.

In mid April we moved from this a tiny little duplex that I felt very uncomfortable in to a larger house with a beautiful backyard.  This relieved one huge bad stressor on me and created a new happy stressor, but a stressor none the less.  It has been 2 months since we’ve been in this house and we still aren’t settled in, this causes me a lot of stress because I know if I was not sick, this would not be the case.

At the beginning of May we had a friend move in.  Someone who is going to be helping us out and we are hopefully going to be helping him out.  No matter how smoothly this move-in was, no matter how much we all love each other, no matter how good the situation will be, it has caused stress.  Suddenly I have someone else in my home and I’m not used to that.  I’m not used to people seeing me sick.  I haven’t been around many people at all for the past few years and suddenly there is someone living with me.  I’m not used to sharing my space with anyone other than Stuart.  This has caused a huge amount of stress.  It’s unintentional, I didn’t expect it, and I’m sure it will ease, but right now it’s there.

My father’s health is declining.  He lives over 3 hours from me.  I can’t just jump in the car and go see him. I can’t spend this precious time with him.  I can’t help care for him.  I can’t help my sister.  About the only thing I can do is give my sister encouragement.  I can text her and listen.  That isn’t real help and It breaks my heart.  The guilt is overwhelming, so is the stress.  This is the first time since I stopped driving that is has caused me such anguish.  I know even if I could drive I’m not well enough to care for someone who is ill, and I’m feeling guilty about that too.  Guilt is a huge stressor.

Of course, the fact that I’ve been sicker is a major stressor too.  A huge Catch-22 huh?

A little fairy, something I created. Creating is a great way to relieve stress.
A little fairy, something I created. Creating is a great way to relieve stress.

What can we do to reduce the effects of stress?  Well there are a few things, many of which are hard to remember when you are in the throws of being sick.  However, there are things I try to do, they include:

  • Meditate:  I usually use guided meditations, there are a lot of apps out there to help you with this, and you can find many of YouTube.  There are different guided meditations that help with different things.  I often do the body scan meditation, I’m so used to this one I can do it without the aid of a guide.  You simply focus on a part of your body, I start with my feet, and move on throughout the body paying attention to what each part is saying.  Don’t judge, and don’t worry about doing anything, relax into it if you can, but mainly just note it and move on.  For each part really pay attention.  For example, right now as I focus on my feet I notice my toes are a bit chilly, my heals are pressing into the floor, an old ankle injury is causing a little bit of pain, but nothing that should concern me; I’ll stay here for just a bit to see if there is anything more I need to pay attention to, then I’ll move on to my calves.  For some people this can be uncomfortable, getting in touch with their body can bring back repressed memories, be aware of this and take care of yourself accordingly.   This is just one example of a meditation I often do, there are many, feel free to practice this any way you feel comfortable.
  • Deep Breathing:  This is pretty simple but can be a great stress reliever.  Simply stop and focus on your breathing.  Put your hand on your belly and feel the breath fill up your abdomen and then go out.  Do this for about 5 minutes, or just take a few deep breaths when you need and carry on.  I find this very cleansing.
  • Some me time:  Find time just for yourself.  I take a hot bath with Epsom salts and sometimes candles.  It’s a me time.  Some people are not comfortable with this, if it isn’t for you, don’t do it.  See if you can find something that is just for you that you consider self care.  Paint your nails, put lotion on your feet, have a nice cup of tea …. these are all things that I like to do, find your special thing.
  • Stay in the moment:  When we are under a lot of stress it’s easy to build things up in your mind about how bad things are going to continue to be.  Stop and try to focus on this moment.  The future hasn’t been written yet, things will never stay the same.  When I’m having a vertigo attack I try hard to stay in that moment.  It’s a rough moment sometimes, but I know it will end.  I can deal with anything for a moment.  I wrote a whole post about that, Living In This Moment.
  • Bitch:  I don’t mean to wallow in your misfortune, but reach out to someone you trust and just let it all out.  Maybe get some advice.  I hold things in way too much so, I feel better when I talk to a friend and just let it go.  I have a good friend who never judges and gives great advice, sometimes I even take it.  🙂
  • Exercise:  This one is really tough for some of us.  It’s very tough for me.  However, the release of endorphins when you exercise will make you feel better.  I try to do stretches, and walk as much as I can.  Don’t let it stress you out if you can’t do this, I often can’t, just do what you can, doing something good for ourselves makes us feel better.
  • Eat Well:  Again, doing something good for ourselves makes us feel better.  When I’m under a lot of stress I often binge eat.  I crave sweets and I’m literally hungry way more often…like all the time.  I’m trying hard to munch on things that are good for me.  When I do this I feel better about myself.  When I give in and eat a lot of junk, I get even more stressed out.
  • Laugh:  How can you feel stress when you are laughing?  Watch a funny movie.  Read a funny book.  Play.  I play with my dog, she always makes me laugh.  My husband often makes me laugh too.  Laughter has really saved me a number of times.  I have been spiraling into a deep depression, but finding things to laugh about helps.
  • Listen to Music:  I can’t do this one because a lot of music sounds weird to me since I got my cochlear implants, however music can soothe your soul.  Just lay back and turn on some tunes.  Listen to relaxing tunes to calm down, peppy tunes to help you get moving, happy tunes to make you smile.  Music can melt stress away.  (My husband and I often sing out loud and make up silly songs, this makes me laugh.  I’ll also hum to calm myself.  So even though I can’t hear music it is a big part of my life.)
  • Create:  Write, paint, draw, color….do anything that gets your creative juices flowing.  When you get really involved in creating it can produce the same positive effects that meditation can.
  • Have sex:  Perhaps a little Too Munch Information here, but I feel it’s worth a mention. Having sex, talk about an endorphin release!  Not only does sex release endorphins it makes us feel close and secure in our relationship.  The feelings that are released during sex can be a great stress reliever.  (masturbating can be very releasing too)
  • Be Grateful:  When we stop and take note of the things we are grateful for instead of focusing on the things that are going wrong it can be very cathartic.  Sometimes you may feel you have nothing to be grateful for, but we all do.  Chances are if you are reading this you don’t live in a war-torn country, you have a safe place to live, you have enough food to eat, clean running water….  We take so many things for granted, but we have so many things to be grateful for, take a moment, step back, and think about things you are grateful for.  I try to list 3 good things every day.  3 things I’m grateful for.  You may find this practice very helpful too.

How do you handle stress?  Any suggestions for me and others?

I admit when I’m under a lot of stress I have a hard time implementing my stress relieving techniques, but just sitting here listing them makes me realize that I have ways to help myself and it has given me the incentive to get busy and try more of them.

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I Didn’t Expect

expectationI didn’t expect the depression I’m feeling….

I saw the signs, I have so much going on, there are so many outside reasons….but I’m struggling….this is why I’ve been away so long, why my blog has been suffering, why I simply haven’t.

Today, I’m going to write, I have too much to write about, I am overwhelmed by how much I have to write about, but I need to…..

I didn’t expect to have vertigo almost all day the day before surgery.

I didn’t expect to have vertigo in the waiting room right before surgery.

adapted from Teen Titans cartoon
adapted from Teen Titans cartoon

I didn’t expect the intense pain after my surgery.  During surgery the back injury that just got better was aggravated.  I was not just dealing with surgery pain, the pain I expected, I was dealing with the back pain and severe sciatic pain.  To make it worse, I couldn’t move to make the back and sciatic any better.  I was stuck, in so much pain.  We could not get this pain under control.  I have issues with pain medication.  Everything makes me hypersensitive, I feel like things are on me, it makes me itchy.  So I was only prescribed Tylenol and Tramadol.  This didn’t do it.  They tried to put me on my side to help, this caused me so much pain I swear I wasn’t even in the room it was just pain.  Luckily, it didn’t last long.  I decided I’d rather itch.  They tried Hydrocodone.  nothing.  I don’t know what all was tried.  at 2am they tried Toradol, this is a NSAID given by IV or injection.  I’ve had it for my migraines before.  This finally worked.  Probably in conjunction with everything else.  I finally fell asleep.  Only to be awoken at 4am to have my blood drawn.  Then at 6am for something and at 7am because shifts changed….it was an exhausting.  But I have to say, the night nurse who was trying to help me was absolutely wonderful, I couldn’t have asked for better care.

I didn’t expect to have low blood pressure, a magnesium deficiency, and have to stay another night.

I did get out of bed the first day and walk a little, I was told I did great.  (the intense pain hadn’t started yet)  I had my morning Physical Therapy on the second day and did well, even though I was a little dizzy.  I didn’t expect to have a vertigo that afternoon.  During my vertigo attack I had 3 different people come to work with me, including my Physical Therapist.  No afternoon PT, no going home.  They also had to make sure my pain was under control before I went home.  It was better that night…but I had to sleep in a recliner, glad we bought one for me the right before I had my surgery.  (ugly thing)  I didn’t expect to HAVE to sleep in a chair for many nights after I got home.  I didn’t expect to cry from the pain so much, after my surgery.

I didn’t expect my sister to come and help.  I am very grateful.  I didn’t expect it to be so hard for Stuart to stand back and allow someone to help.  He said he’s just used to doing it, it’s hard to ask someone else to do things.  Yep, I know that feeling.  It’s very hard to ask others to do things.  Especially, for me to ask for the little things.  It’s hard to ask for things like something to drink, or a snack, to reach something for me, to get me a blanket if I’m cold….ect.  Yep, I’m having a hard time asking for things too.  I’ll ask for someone to go to the store, or do some laundry, things like that…..but it’s the little things that get me.  It makes me feel so helpless.  Eh…I guess I am.   (I feel pretty weird having anyone other than Stuart do private things for me too…that is one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with…one of the hardest)

I didn’t expect to have vertigo every day since my surgery.

I didn’t expect for Stuart to have to take off a second week from work.  (I think he got in a little bit of work the second week…but not much.)

-Rachel Wolchin

I didn’t expect…..

I didn’t expect to have a death in the family two days after my surgery.  It was my extended family by marriage (my cousin’s daughter’s husband), I didn’t know him personally, but the circumstances of his death were hard….so very sad.  He was young, in his late thirties.  He was EMT on his way to work and pulled off and parked at a gas station, they found him slumped across the steering wheel dead.  The autopsy has been inconclusive.  There are still test out, but they don’t expect to find anything.  They will probably have no idea why he died.   They also found out a lot about him that his wife had no idea about, it is very, very sad.  It also makes you think…..and think….

I didn’t expect for one of my father’s friends to die the next day.  I knew him growing up.  He worked with my father, they used to Barbeque (or barbecue in some parts) together.  When I say Barbeque, I mean Southern Barbeque; a huge hog in a pit, slow roasted all night long….oh my it is good.  We used to have picnics and things over at his farm.  He let me touch my first cow, it was much softer than I thought it would be.  He was 12 years younger than my father.  As you get older you see more and more friends die, I wonder if my father is having a hard time with this?  I’ve noticed he goes to a lot of funerals.  That’s a subject that would be hard for me to broach with him.

I didn’t expect my friend Laurie from Hibernationnow’s Blog to die on April, 21st.  She caught the flu in February and that just snowballed into more and more, she just got sicker and finally her body couldn’t take it any more and she died.   I’m in complete in shock about her death.  I keep looking for updates to her blog in my email.  I look for her to chat with me on Facebook.  I heard from her in some way nearly every day.  It may not have been personally, but I always knew she was there.  Now she’s not.  Just like that….suddenly her voice is gone.  Her thoughts are not in my life any more.  Laurie fought fibromyalgia, she was quirky in ways and loved the color yellow, she loved the ocean, writing, and most of all her family.  We were both foodies, and we both lost a dogs who left huge holes in our hearts, and later we both adopted rescue dogs who took over a new place in our hearts.  The one thing we disagreed the most about was our feelings about the chef Alton Brown.  She hated him, I love him… was quite a debate on one of her post!  I will miss you Laurie.  All the support and love you gave me, and our friendly banter.  May you be pain-free in a nice warm place near the ocean taking a walk with your father.

I didn’t expect my dearest friend’s mother to die this week.  She has been battling Amyotrophy Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) for the past 9 months.  I’m actually relieved she didn’t have to live in her body with her mind fully aware without being able to communicate with anyone for very long.  I loved Kathy very much.  I wanted so much to be there to help care for her.  I wanted to be there for my friend and help her through this difficult time.  Now I can’t be there for her again.  The death of her mother is going to devastate my friend.  She was closer to her than anyone.  They talked daily.  They were best friends.  Her mother’s illness took a toll on the family.  Yes, she will have a lot of people around her, but I know she needs her best friend.  It is extremely hard not to be able to go.  I am so tired of feeling useless.  But this should not be about me, it should be about Kathy.  She was such a strong woman.  A single mother, raising 3 children mostly by herself.  She was so generous and kind.  She worked so hard and hard and hard….and she gave and gave and gave.  This probably gave her more joy, but from my view I wish she had been able to take more time for her.  She was just about to retire when she got sick.  I know Kathy did have a good life, and celebrated life, but I also know she was looking forward to slowing down and just enjoying her grand children.  Please don’t put off living until tomorrow.  Kathy was one of the best people I knew.  That sums it up pretty well.

I didn’t expect writing this post would make me feel better.


Thanksgiving often forgets those without……

THANKFULI love the sentiment behind Thanksgiving.  Take the time to be thankful for what you have.

Then I look around.  Is that really what I see?  There is so much talk of spending time with family and friends and eating and …and…and  Well what is a person to do who has no one, or who has very little?  I have very strained family relations.  I am never invited to any family function.  This can be very hard.  Some years it hurts more than others.  This year I became very melancholy about family, I’m sure it is because I have been so sick and the steroids have been turning up my emotions a bit, but seeing all the stress on how we should be with family and how things “should be” started to make me feel even sadder about it all.  (Don’t worry, all is good with me.)  If that could happen to me imagine what it could do to someone who is really depressed?  Someone who has no one?

I remember those times.  I have spent Thanksgiving and Christmas, alone.  On occasion I was invited to friend’s for dinner, sometimes they were fun, other times they were miserable.  If you reach out to someone and invite them over for a holiday meal, please try to include them in your festivities, not just feed them.  I have never been more miserable than when I went to a holiday meal and felt I was a charity case.  Sitting in a corner alone watching people have fun is worse than sitting alone by yourself knowing people somewhere out there are having fun.   I’m not saying, don’t reach out and invite someone over….please do!  But include them in your festivities.  Do not have family gift exchange in front of someone who is alone for the holidays.  Do not do your yearly family traditional …. whatever….and not include this person.  Do something that includes this person.  Make them feel welcome and special.  Make them feel you are Thankful they are there.  If you have a special family tradition that you cannot include this person in, then invite them to come later, or have the tradition after they leave, or find a way to somehow include them.  Some people may not have a hard time with this kind of thing, but I did. It was torture to see a happy family doing things that a family does knowing my family didn’t want me with them.  That is not to say I was not grateful to everyone who had me over for a holiday meal, I was.  I have been to some homes where I didn’t want to leave I felt so welcome and included.  (little hint, if you have someone over….get them involved.  Treat them the same as you would anyone else.  I loved it when I was put to work, or was told to help with the kids, was taken aside by grandma and told story after story….when I was treated like family, that was the best.)

It’s also that time of year when I see so much food everywhere!  I hear people talking of family and friends and togetherness and FOOD!

I’m amazed at how much food is wasted in this country, yet so many people go hungry.  There is no reason for anyone in this country to go to bed hungry.  There are so many things wrong with this I just don’t know where I would begin to talk about it here.  Not today.

Today I want to just say, when you are planning your Thanksgiving meal, think about the people who don’t have one.  When you go to the grocery store and you see that box that at the entrance where you can donate to the local food bank, please put something in there.  People are using the food bank more and more these days.  The place to go when you are in dire need is overwhelmed with people in need.  Every time you go to the store, please put something in that box.  If you can donate to the food bank, even better, then they can buy fresh food to give out.  This is very important, even when the needy are getting something to eat it is often so far below nutritional standards they are so malnourished they are getting sick and often still starving.  Most of the hungry are children and elderly.  1 in 5 people in the United States are hungry.   When you are wearing your elastic pants this Thanksgiving so you can eat too much, remember there are people who don’t have enough….some who don’t have any.   Remember, they won’t have enough the next day either, so continue to give. Project Sunlight is a great place to get ideas on more ways you can help.  At Feeding America you can find more about hunger in America and you can find your local food bank and see what they are doing in your area.

Remember, after Thanksgiving people will still need food.  We often give more to make sure people have this wonderful meal on this day, but then they go hungry again a few days later.  This year won’t you say thank you for your bounty by sharing a little throughout the year.
no one poor

Now…for a few things I’m very thankful for this year….

  • I cannot say how thankful I am for my husband, without whom I do not know how I would manage to navigate this world.
  • After 15 months without a job, my husband found work.  Not just a job, but one he enjoys!
  • this moment is good.  (it has been quite a ride of ups and downs this past month, the past 2 days have been better…one moment at a time…accept and make the most of it.)
  • I had nearly 5 months of feeling so much better than I thought was possible.
  • for learning more and more about living more mindful
  • for learning to be less judgmental of myself and others.
  • for having a roof over my head, heat when it is cold, food when I am hungry, water when I am thirsty…
  • for feeling safe.
  • for having at least one friend I say anything to and know it will be OK.
  • for a very special email I received the other night that helped more than the sender could ever possibly know.
  • for learning how to forgive, and knowing that forgetting isn’t as easy.
  • for remembering again and again….I can do this….one moment at a time.

There is so much more I can’t even think right now….actually…I can’t really think right now.  Unfortunately, I’m getting a bad headache…ah the joys of weather change.

Emotions from A-Z

I feel like my emotions are all over the place lately.  The stress I’ve been under is starting to wear on me.  Funny, I wasn’t even aware it was there, I thought I was handling thing pretty well.  For the past few days, I’ve found myself just crying.  Crying and crying.  My thoughts are all over the place, and I just feel…I can’t think of a good word that will fit…so I sat down last night and listed the letters A – Z and beside each letter, I wrote the first thing that came to mind.

  • A – Abandoned
  • B – Blame / Blue / Bad /Brave
  • C – Confused / Condemned /Caring
  • D – Desperate / Disabled
  • E – Effort / Easier
  • F – Fear
  • G – Grouchy / Groggy / Guilt /Grateful
  • H – Helpless /Hopeful
  • I – Internalized
  • J- Jumbled
  • K – Kicked
  • L – Loved / Lacking / Loathed /Loud
  • M – Mixed Up /Migraines
  • N – Nuisance / Nauseous
  • O – Overwhelmed
  • P – Put Out / Placated / Period / Pain
  • Q – Quizzical /qi’  (ch’i)
  • R – Rough /Roar
  • S – Sedated /Strong / Stressed
  • T – Tearful
  • U – Unexplainable
  • V – Vexed / Valium / Vertigo
  • W – WHY? WHAT?
  • X – X-irradiation (X-Ray, but doesn’t X-irradiation sound cooler?)
  • Y – Yanked
  • Z – Zero
During this exercise, when I’d think of certain letters, a ton of words would pop in my head.  Other letters, produced little…but they all said something.  Yes, much is negative, but there is some positive in there too.  On a different day, perhaps the positive would out weigh the negative…but today…well…
There is so much going on inside me right now, that just will not come out.  (perhaps, I’m afraid for some of it to come out.)
Having my psych tell me that he felt I needed to fire him, really caused a downward spiral for me.  Not that he would say that, I respect the fact that a doctor would say that if they feel they can’t help you…but the timing sucked.   Not only did I feel abandoned, I felt untreatable.  If he can’t figure it out, why should any other psych be able to.  I’ve always been impressed by D’s knowledge, and willing to learn more and more.  I can’t imagine having a better psych.  I’ve had a few…I know there are some real losers out there…I don’t want to go through that again.
I’ve had some other things happen lately.  This camel doesn’t have many more straws in can carry.
One day at a time…that’s all I can do.

Suicide Prevention Week – What do you do when you are in crisis?

Kelly, over at Fly With Hope is doing an amazing series this week about migraine and suicide.  (She also talks about how those with chronic illness, and  chronic pain are in crisis.)

In her words:

“My goal is to decrease the stigma of the discussion of suicide so that we might be more supportive in the chronic Migraine/chronic pain community on this issue.”

“Please check in every day as there will be posts with (anonymous) contribution from the chronic Migraine and chronic pain community on topics related to chronic Migraine/chronic pain and suicide including how to cope when you are close to the end of your rope, personal stories from those who have been there, on suicide and faith, a post especially for loved ones (family, friends, caregivers) and links to other blogs/articles on Migraine and suicide.”

One of the contributors to this series is me.  I don’t mind anyone knowing, and some of you may recognize that it’s me when you read it.

Please know, if you are ever in that state, if you ever feel like you just can’t cope….or even before you get there….Please feel free to get in touch with me.  Email me!  I will gladly give you my phone number and we can chat….or if I’m not hearing well, we can IM or text.  Just know you are not alone.

I’m a firm believer that everyone with a chronic illness should have counseling.  We need to be better equipped to deal with our situation.  My husband and I see a therapist together.  It has made this intolerable situation, much more …well…tolerable.

But if you need a friend to talk to…I’ll always be here.  Many of you have touched my life in such a way I couldn’t begin to put words to it.  After such warmth, love, and compassion from so many of you…I have promised to always be there for those who need me.

Again, please check out Kelly’s blog this week, this should be a very moving series.  Kelly has chronic migraines, and Meniere’s.

So, What am I mad about now?

I Don't Like Me When I'm Angry!

I mentioned in my last post that I’m dealing with some anger issues.
I’m not talking about getting a bit upset here and there, I’m talking about some deep seeded resentment.  Something down in my gut that is just eating away at me.  Perhaps that is a bit strong…but I wanted to make a point.

I’ve been snippy, grouchy, teary, snappy….  Oh, let’s just say it, I’ve been a bitch lately.

Not all the time, at times, I’m a perfectly likable me.  Positive, light hearted, smiling, laughing…  Then unexpectedly, something will hit me in just the wrong way, something that normally wouldn’t mean anything, and I want to explode.

Finally, I tried to take a step back from the situation.  And ask myself, what are you REALLY mad at.  I’ve come up with a few things, some I bet you have felt at times, others may just be me.  I don’t like being like this.  I try very hard to keep a positive attitude, to believe things will work out, to understand that even if they don’t, I will survive.  No, not just survive, I will thrive!

It has been hard lately.  Spending almost every minute lying down.  Having horrific headaches, hearing things that aren’t there….well you all know what I’ve been going through.

And that my friends is what, I believe, I’m mad about!

I don’t want to sound petty, or ungrateful, or as if I don’t have hope.  This is just anger.  It may not be totally justified, and it’s not fair that I keep snapping at my husband, but it’s there, and I felt like I should discuss it.  (perhaps giving it a voice will help it to go away.)

I’m MAD…

  • that I’m not cured.  I know I kept saying that I understood that this was not a “cure”, that I know I still have Meniere’s Disease, and that I could handle it if my symptoms returned.  That this procedure gave me hope, and I would cherish every moment I had as a “normal” person.  (I’m not saying that those feelings have changed.  I still feel that way….but I’m still angry that it’s happening…and I don’t like myself very much for saying that.)
  • that I thought this was over.  I don’t feel that I was being as realistic as I should have been.  I’m not sure I was being honest with myself.  I knew the possibilities it could happen again, and I would need more treatment…but I don’t think it really sank in.  I put those thoughts aside and thought about the future…for the first time in a long time.
  • that I don’t feel I can plan for the future any more.
  • that I’m scared.
  • that I can’t do things I need and want to do.
  • that my house needs to be cleaned.
  • that Stuart has to do everything, and I keep getting angry with him when things aren’t done.  Or done the way I would do it.  How can I get angry at him for this?  Or am I really just angry because I can’t do it?
  • at my friends, who haven’t gotten in touch, who haven’t offered to help…the most I get from most is a quick note on facebook.  I know this has been going on for a long time, I know that my friends have lives and responsibilities.  I don’t blame them.  But I’m still hurt, and angry.  I don’t want them to feel bad.  I don’t know what I want, or expect.  I have 2 local friends who really keep in touch with me.  1 emails me often, 1 often chats with me on line.  (and I know he would be over to see me more often if he wasn’t having troubles of his own right now.)
  • at my family.  Who have never offered to help in any way.  (I must put in here, that I didn’t expect it.)
  • when I read about others who have so much more help.  Who have friends who bring them dinner, or family to come stay with them for a while, or someone to just sit with them.  (again, don’t get me wrong, I am so very grateful for what I do have…especially my husband)  But I am hurt, and disappointed that I don’t have more people who reach out.  And I’m mad at myself for being jealous of those who do.

Oh, I’m certain I could go on and on, but I’m sure you understand by now.

This anger isn’t deserved.  It’s not even real in some instances.  I think it’s mostly about the situation.  I don’t want to be in this situation, and it makes me mad.  I don’t want my husband to be in this situation, and it makes me mad.  I don’t want to have my life on hold, and it makes me mad.

I’m trying to write this objectively, and honestly…but I’m not sure those two things go together right now.

When I got so much better after my patches in January, I started to see my friends at gatherings and things.  At first it was very hard.  I was angry at them.  It’s hard to explain.  These people mean a lot to me, but I felt like they forgot me when I wasn’t able to do much. Most didn’t ask Stuart if he needed anything.  Even when I would reach out and say exactly what I needed, I usually didn’t get it.  (I’m not talking about big things here, I wanted contact, emails…anything)  As I said before, I understand that people are busy, they have lives, and it’s hard to deal with a friend who has been having health problems for a long time, it’s not like it’s something that just goes away after a visit to the hospital, or one time bringing a caserole…this illness lasts…well, a life time.  Finally, I was beginning to feel better about things.  We would go to parties and I felt that I could mingle, and talk with people, and not feel that under current of anger.  I don’t want to feel like that again.

I am overwhelmed by everything that is happening to me.  In just the past 2 years my hearing has gone from some hearing loss in my right ear, to severe hearing loss in both ears.  I just got hearing aids in March, and I can barely hear out of them now.  When I don’t have my hearing aids in I can barely hear myself talk.  I realized I was screaming at Stuart the other night because my throat started to hurt.
But at times, for short periods of time, I can hear better.  So I don’t know what to do about the hearing aids if my hearing is fluctuating so much again.  (I’ll see Dr. Kaylie next month, I’ll ask him then.)  Of course, I’m hoping that after seeing Dr. Gray I will have some answers and my hearing will improve again.

This hearing thing makes me so mad!  Partially because of losing my hearing…but not really…I think I’m handling that pretty well.  But because having my hearing drop has always been a sign of a Meniere’s Vertigo Attack coming on.  So now, I’m constantly on alert.  I’m so jumpy, and jittery.  Every time I move my head and get a bit off balance, I’m convinced I’ll be spinning soon.  Or, I start to get used to it, and start to ignore it, like I did the other day…and I was almost hit with a full blown attack.  (yesterday, was more of the same.  Lot’s of mini-spins.)

I am trying very hard to deal with this anger.
Dang-it!  I’ve had some crappy stuff happen lately, and I’m pissed!

I’m also trying to come to terms with it.  To feel some of it and not bury it.  Just writing this helps.  Now I hope I can deal with it, and move beyond.

But, I’m also very grateful that if this was going to happen, it did it now.  Before we brought a child in to our lives.  I’m grateful, that I have good doctors who really care, and will do all they can to help me.  (I just wish I could have gotten in to see them faster. – and yeah, I’m pissed about that too!)  I’m more than grateful for my loving husband, and all that he does.  I just wish I could help him more, or get him some help.

I also want you to know…ALL OF YOU…how very much you mean to me.  How much your encouragement, and caring words have helped me through many a rotten day.
**I saw a post on Fly With Hope today, and I thought, “Yes!, that’s what I wanted to say!”  Thank’s Kelly, I needed to hear this.  I’m feeling more thankful already.  I promise I will not let this anger fester and become unrelenting  bitterness.

Way Too Much Stress!

Another venting post.  If you are tired of hearing me bitch, please just ignore this post and come back next time.  : )

I think I’m dealing with things pretty well…considering.  Stuart says that I just brush things off, that I’m not realizing how much has been coming down on me.  Perhaps that’s why I haven’t been feeling well?  I don’t really feel stressed…but I think it’s coming out in other ways.  Deep Breath!!

As you all know I went through a scare with Stuart recently.  I must admit this has gotten to me more than I want to acknowledge.  I realized this yesterday when we were lying in bed, laughing about something, and I grabbed him and looked him in the eye and said, “DON’T YOU EVER SCARE ME LIKE YOU DID!” And yes, I was shaking him a little bit as I said it.  What the????  And I keep dreaming about it.  We will be together in my dream and I will look over and see him as he was when he walked in the door on that fateful day.  Not a good dream.

Now I have something else on my mind.  One of my best friends is going through marital troubles.  She has twin girls who just turned 3.  Her marriage has been strained for the past couple of years.  Night before last he was arrested for physical abuse.  I’m so worried about her.  I’m happy that she is on her way to her mother’s, and will be away from the situation for a while.  But I’m concerned.  And I’m afraid she won’t talk with me about it.  I knew things weren’t right between then, but she hasn’t talked to me about it really.  She didn’t want to “bother” me with everything because of what I’ve been going through.  That really bothered me.  It really bothers me that my friends don’t think I could still be a friend because of my health problems.  Am I not still the same person?  Am I not still the person she has confided in for years?  Or is she just using that as an excuse because she knows I never really liked her husband.  Or because she was embarrassed?

But she isn’t the first friend who has told me that they didn’t want to “bother” or “burden” me with their problems because of everything I’ve been going through.  That hurts, and I just don’t get it.  For one thing, I’ve been a lot better since January.  And even when I was more ill, it would have helped me so much if my friends still made me feel needed.  I had to start this blog to start feeling needed again.

I shouldn’t say I don’t get it.  I do.  But people just don’t understand.  I don’t need to be left alone to wallow in my illness.  I need to feel needed!  I need my friends.  Instead I’m often avoided.  Even now that I’m feeling better.  I feel like some of my friendships have not survived.  We are more like acquaintances now.

I’m still not feeling “normal”.  I have “slosh head”.  My hearing has been down for a month now.  So I’ve been on constant alert that I may be having an attack at any moment for weeks…heck, this is beginning to feel like my normal.  I am so tired so much of the time.  What is wrong with me?  I’m sleeping 10 – 12 hours a night, and often take a 2-4 hour nap during the day.  So some days I’m only awake for about 8 hours.  Oh, and the headaches.  I’ve been having more and more headaches.

OK, perhaps the stress is getting to me.