Everything Changes –
photography by w. holcombe
Trying to hold on to the good days, thinking life will stay that way forever is fruitless. It will change. And it has.
My hip flare up, that was just this little thing, that was supposed to calm down after the cortisone injection….has become a complicated mess.
I had my hip injection on September 11th. We got Kiki that evening. It was an exciting day. I expected to be sore that night. I expected to possibly be sore the next day, but would probably feel better….and continue to get better. That didn’t happen.
I’m not sure if the shot did anything. I don’t think so. However. on the night of September the 12th, I got up and went to the bathroom. I started to sit on the toilet and lost my footing and fell, hard, onto the seat. My elbow hit the back of the toilet where I keep a box with things in it and I got a nice little scrape on it. The big hurt was my hip. OW! The pain shot through me, from the top of my buttock, along my side down through my knee….I was in PAIN! I have been in constant pain in this areas since that night. The pain ebbs and flows, but never gets better than a 6, and if often hovering around an 8. I had Stuart give me a Toradol injection. This really helped. Toradol is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. (I can’t take NSAIDs by mouth because they tear up my stomach, but I can have these injections occasionally.) Since this worked to take most of the pain away I was sure I hadn’t broken anything. I was also hoping the cortisone shot would kick in and help. So I waited….
The cortisone didn’t help. I went back to the doctor on the 18th. She was disheartened. She suspects that my pain may be coming from my spine, and maybe also from my hip. She set up a CT scan with contrast dye, and she wants me to see a spine specialist, and a more specialized hip doctor. (she is actually a PA in the office, she wants me to see a specific doctor in the practice). I will have the CT scan on Friday. (I was originally supposed to have the CT scan today, but I didn’t sleep at all last night and I can’t control the Meniere’s vertigo today, and since I could get in closer to my doctor’s appointment I decided to change the appointment.) I see the hip specialist on October 1st, and I’m not sure when I see the spine doctor yet, I haven’t heard from their office yet.
How am I handling all of this? Some days very well. Some days not well at all.
I have had a hard time not getting really stressed out about this. I’ve been creating “what if” stories in my head. My mother started having back problems in her 50’s and it really changed her life. She died of lung cancer when she was 64, but I’ve never been convinced it really didn’t start in her back. There are many reasons I believe this, I won’t get into them here. What if I have to live with this pain forever?…….See the stories I have been spinning in my mind….this is not a good thing. This is not a mindful thing to do. It does NOT make things better. It makes it worse. The stress builds, and everything spirals out of control. When I think like this I can feel the depression creeping up over me. It is oppressive.
Then I try to be more mindful. Being mindful is hard. It isn’t something you can just click on with a switch and suddenly you think mindfully all the time…I wish I could, I think I would handle things better. I’m trying. First, I am trying hard to stay present. I cannot change what we are going to find out, but I sure don’t have to make up all these horrible scenarios. I could have something easily fixable. If I have something that is more difficult to deal with, I’ll deal with it. Either way, I don’t have any idea, so stop speculating. Keep my mind in the present, right here, right now. That is the least stressful thing I can do.
I also got so stressed because we got this precious little dog, Kiki, to take care of and suddenly I can’t take care of her. I can’t even feed her. I can’t take her out. I can’t care for her at all. Stuart would not have signed up for this had he known he would have been the sole caregiver for me, Max, and now Kiki. We would not have adopted Kiki at this time. Does he regret it? No. But would he have done it? No. So I have been having that emotion that simply doesn’t help…..guilt. I have put more work on him, and I feel guilty because I can’t take Kiki on long walks and to the dog park and do things I feel she needs. I can’t focus time on training her. I feel guilt. Ugh! useless!
Not sure how that is handled in mindfulness, but I know for me, I need to channel that into something constructive I can do. Haven’t figured all of that out exactly, but I will. Yes, this is not how I planned for things to go, so I need to change my plans. I have been playing with Kiki more indoors as much as possible. She will bring me a toy and I will throw it. She brings it back and drops it in my hand. (how cute it that?) I have taught her to sit before I’ll throw it again. (really, she was already doing that most of the time.) I will hide it and have her find it. (I think this is a newer thing for her!) So we are working on some training. It’s just different from I planned.
Then I go back again to how I feel about my body, and what is happening. My Meniere’s is acting up big time! I always tell myself to stop trying to figure out why, it used to drive me crazy, and I would end up blaming myself for my attacks, but this is pretty obvious. The pain will not allow me to sleep or rest enough. I can’t relax. Also, it is Rag Weed season. I think I’m handling the rag weed pretty good, but I can’t keep up with the exhaustion. My hearing is going up and down; yesterday if I was blind folded I would have sworn a jet engine was in my living room. When the noise started I kept asking Stuart, “what is that noise?” He looked at me funny. I said, “You don’t hear it do you?” I realized it was just me…dang. Then it got louder and louder and louder….and it lasted for over 2 hours at the loudest point. I’ve never had that happen before. I’ve had very loud tinnitus, but I’ve never had that it that loud for that long. It continued to be loud for the whole night but it did dial down a bit.
I hate to say it but, I’m just one big vertigo attack. I try to control them but that is exhausting too. Most of the time I’m spinning at least a little bit. I have been able to control it enough that I haven’t had full-blown… spinning so out of control that I can’t see what is in front of me… vertigo, but this constant boat feeling and everything waving is driving me crazy! I keep focusing on my breath…grateful I am still breathing. Then I laugh…they say breathe, take a deep breath..ect. It’s not like we are going to stop breathing. It is something we do. Do you ever really focus on your breath? Really think about it? If you have ever gotten choked and couldn’t breathe I’m sure you did then, but normally we just take it for granted, like we do our heartbeat, and how our brain works, or the fact that we blink…ect. So,right now suddenly I’m thinking about my breath, not just the in and out, but the actual breath. How it works. I have pulmonary problems so I don’t take my breathing for granted all the time, and I know a lot about how my lungs work….so I think about it, and really I’m thinking about how the oxygen goes through my body, how it nourishes my whole body, how my breath goes through all of me, down through my toes even. and suddenly I just realized….just now as I am writing this that I have calmed down and feel more in tuned to this body and it is just fine. It is working pretty darn good. It’s my body. I like it. I love me. I’m at peace with it. I accept it the way it is.
Now that is mindfulness. That is what paying attention to your breath is supposed to be…..wow. I feel better, right now. I know this isn’t easy. I’ll be working on being mindful forever.