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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Farewell, LayLee

Previously, I introduced Our Honey Bee and Our LayLee, our furbabies.

The details of what happened are really no longer important. Suffice it to say that the decision to split the girls up was difficult and heart-breaking, but involved a lot of talking, crying, praying, and trying our hardest to make it work out without the separation result.

This post was written 5/11/2014:

Jeremy and I have struggled with so many things, regarding the situation with the dogs. Here are some of the things I wrote on 5/11/14, the day the girls had a big fight (not their first, or last, unfortunately):

We're both struggling with "what ifs," and other guilt / regret issues... We both wonder and feel somewhat at fault... like we could've prevented this from happening.

I hate that getting LayLee was something we talked about, prayed about, waited for. It seemed like the right thing / what we were supposed to do - for us, and for both the dogs. And, now, here we are.

Jeremy and I are also both dealing with feelings of incompetence or something. Like we've let the dogs down... like we've failed them. Both of these girls are amazing and deserve amazing homes / lives. We truly thought we were doing the best thing for them by keeping them together. But, they both have rough backgrounds (some known, some unknown), and it's just not working.

Without knowing my health, if / when Jeremy might travel, etc, it's just not feasible for us to be able to tackle this in a way that even has a hope to be effective. It's escalating so very quickly.

... LayLee is a member of the family, and I don't know what we're going to do without her quirks and silliness. It's so hard because we're not losing her to death... we're having to make a choice / decision to separate from her (I hope that make sense).

This post was written 7/11/2014:

As we made the difficult decision to separate our dogs for good, I struggled a lot (really, we both did). 

Trying to keep the devil's voices at bay. He keeps trying to make me so concerned about what more we could have done, what others think of us / the situation, etc. Jesus, please protect me from him. You, alone, are my strength, Lord.

© 2014 Jamie V.
Today marks 1-month since we had to return LayLee to her foster mom. While time has helped ease the
pain, we still miss her so very much.

LayLee will always hold a special place in our hearts. She truly is a beautiful soul, who changes / touches the lives of everyone she interacts with (both human and canine). We wish her the best, as she truly deserves it.

Meanwhile, we're getting re-adjusted to being a family of three.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Dark Duo, Continued (4/9/14)

Here are some other thoughts from April 2014.

This post was written 4/9/2014:

How am I supposed to keep from feeling defeated, when so much of what I try to do defeats me.

Picking weeds (because our yard looks ridiculous)... I know that it's hard work, so I've been pacing myself and doing a little bit every day or two. But, I can't seem to get a handle on it. What's worse is that I'm struggling to physically be able to do it, even for short periods of time. I don't like feeling like I can't do something, so I continue plugging away a little at a time... but, it's not working. It's just making me feel worse about myself. My spirit is willing, but my body isn't able. And, I don't know what to do with that.

This post was written 4/6/2014:

The words of the enemy have been eating away at me, no matter how hard I try to stop them. I struggle to find anything of meaning to do in my life. Hearing the eulogy at my grandmother's funeral (in February) made me think how little there would be to say at my own. I know that's dark, but that's where I am right now. 

The enemy tells me that I don't and can't do anything meaningful. And, I feel like I can't argue with him. While I'd love nothing more than to prove him wrong, I don't know how to. I don't have the energy or the mindset to fight right now. 

So, I'm trying to remind myself (and God has placed angels in my life to remind me) that I have the King of Kings, the Lord of lords, the God of angel armies, fighting for me... that my Lord will provide the strength I need.

But, the enemy just gets louder.

The Dark Duo: Anxiety & Depression (4/9/14)

I can't believe that it's been so long since I've posted anything here on my blog. I finally sat down to take a look at what I've started writing, and came across several things I started back in April. I'm not in the same place as I was then, but I'm still struggling a lot with depression, anxiety, and pain. I'm going to try to get back to writing, and I feel like posting these things (even if some of them are incomplete) that I wrote several months ago will give me a start.

This post was written 4/9/2014:

I've been away for a long time, and though I'm ready to come out of the darkness I've been entrenched in, I don't really know how to... But, I have to try.

Honestly, the last few months are somewhat of a blur... in some ways, the anxiety and depression feel like they've been all but consuming me for so very long... but, the calendar tells me otherwise. But, that's what the dark duo does. It blurs and twists reality.

I haven't talked much about my experiences with depression... or, maybe I have. I don't really remember. I know I've shared some about my struggles with anxiety. It's hard to put into words. I've tried writing in my hand-written journal a few times over the last few months, as a way to get some of the internal struggle out; but panic attacks put a quick stop to that.

Being completely honest, I've been lost.

I have felt so much over the last few months... and, yet, so little. I've felt the weight of everything, indifference to everything, great sadness, complete helplessness.

Just a quick update on some things that have happened:
  • One of my grandmothers passed away.
  • My husband has been to (and currently is in) Afghanistan for work.
  • Botox was tried twice and failed.
  • Another treatment option brought on such side effects that it brought back fears of losing the weight I've (finally) gained back.
My list of blessings is long, but here are some:
  • My Lord has carried me through everything.
  • My husband continues to be the most loving and supportive person in my life.
  • My family has helped support me, especially when my husband isn't physically here to do so.
  • I've gained back the weight I've lost and struggled to gain back over the last 5 years (finally back to pre-accident weight).
  • I've reached out, when I didn't know that I could (and I have a couple cheerleaders that help me celebrate the victories / successes, like this, that are bigger steps than they seem - thank you!).
  • I've taken care of myself, the dogs, and the house, while Jeremy has been out of the country.
  • I had an amazing time with loved ones for several days around my birthday last weekend - I truly enjoyed myself.
I'm going to try to start writing again. I'll forewarn that I'm still in a pretty bad place, in general (it's not 100% of the time, but I tend to feel the need and pouring of words in some of my darkest and most painful times... so, that's when I write). I want and need to be open and honest about the pain and emotions I'm having (especially the ones I try so hard to hide from the world), so it may be rough going for a while. My hope is that by sharing them, I can take some of their hold and power away.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Disability Case Manager Updates (Nov 2013)

So, I wrote this back in November 2013, but apparently didn't get it posted... and, have been away from the blogging world since then. I'm hoping to be moved to update soon, but I thought I'd at least get this one out there.

One thing that I really dislike is talking to disability case managers. Thankfully, I've been blessed with some really good ones, over the years. But, they're still asking questions that can really upset my anxiety and depression levels. And, knowing that they're just doing their jobs doesn't necessarily make it easier for me.

I talked to my disability case manager today. She was following up on how things have been going and any treatment changes. I had my second round of Botox a week ago, and have an appointment set up with my doctor mid-January. I told her that it's too soon to know whether or not the Botox will provide relief.

All of that is normal and expected... but, she also asks me every time we talk if my doctor and I have discussed what's next:
  • what treatment to try next, if this one doesn't work
     or, in the case of today,
  • what the plan is for returning to work, if the treatment provides any relief. 
I hate both of these!

The first one makes the assumption that the treatment isn't going to provide any relief. What a quick way to deflate your entire being. Even if you don't really expect a treatment to help, there's normally at least a small amount of hope deep down. Then, you have this external voice asking you to think ahead, as though you have everything already figured out, to when it doesn't work.

The second one makes the assumption that the treatment is going to provide relief. While that's not negative in and of itself, it assumes that the treatment will provide enough relief to allow you to actually return to work. Of course I'm hoping for relief! But, even if Botox is successful, that doesn't mean that I'm suddenly going to be able to return to work.

I responded to her in the best, most honest way I could. I told her that it depends what degree of relief Botox were to provide. And, if it does provide relief, my doctor probably wouldn't immediately have me return to work, since I have a history of treatments providing some relief for a few months and then stop working / helping.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Beating Myself Up

I'm feeling overwhelmed because I'm falling farther and farther behind with this month's blogging challenge.

My mind isn't working very well. It's been especially bad leading up to and following the second round of Botox injections I had (November 18th). Honestly, I just don't feel very well, and the stress of should's and supposed to's are simply overwhelming me. Not to mention, a wicked cold front is set to come through in a couple days, which normally knocks me down pretty hard. So, I need to step back before I just shut down. I hope I'm not away for long... I'll write when I feel moved to.

I'm asking for patience, grace, and forgiveness... from both my readers and myself.

This post was written as part of the National Health Blog Posting Month (NHBPM). Other bloggers will share their posts on this FB page.

Monday, November 18, 2013

(In)dependence

As I was writing a post (Evolution: How Being a Patient Has Changed Me) for the National Health Blog Posting Month (NHBPM) the other day, I was reminded of a blog post that I started writing almost 2.5 years ago! So, here's something that I wrote the end of June 2011.

I previously wrote a blog post, Frustration: Loss of Independence & Lack of Compassion, that I'd like to expand upon.

As a person with chronic pain, I'm having to learn to live with limitations that I never had before my accident. The constant, debilitating pain has definitely challenged my autonomy and self-reliance.

Before my car accident, I was pretty independent and autonomous. I loved having my friends and family to back me up and/or help when I needed it, but I also loved being able to take care of myself.

Since my car accident, however, things have been much different. Suddenly, I had to try to learn to depend on others because I was unable to take care of myself. I've never been good at letting others take care of me... which was fine... until I actually had/needed to do it.

I don't like depending on others. But, I think I've gotten better at it... at least better than I was before the accident.

I often cannot make plans to do something. Believe me, I used to be queen of making plans! Making to-do lists used to be enjoyable. Now, it's necessary. If I don't write it down... I'll probably forget it.

I have to see how I'm feeling the day-of an event, which is difficult (physically and emotionally). Then, I have to think several steps ahead about the situation I'll be in... sitting, standing, walking, driving, sounds, lights, crowds, etc... it's overwhelming just thinking about, so it's sometimes easier to just stay home.

Even on short outings, I have to be prepared for a migraine attack, so I have to carry "resources" with me (such as: snack/food, drink, meds, remote for my neurostimulator). It may seem like I'm packing enough stuff for a weekend trip, but I need to have some things on hand... just in case. This is something that many people simply don't understand. I can't just run out the door... I have to be able to gather my things, first.

It sometimes takes me a week from when I need to go to the grocery store, to when I actually go (and that's because my husband goes with me... it'd probably be even longer, if I was on my own). I can drive my car... when I have enough energy and I don't have a migraine. I can go shopping... when I feel up to it. It's so frustrating!

I have become so dependent on my husband. He is supportive on every level... he's such a blessing! He knows how to call my bluff, when I say that I'm alright but I'm really tired/depleted and/or hurting. He helps support me, when I have trouble balancing and walking on my own. It has taken me a long time to get past the "I don't need your help walking," but now I'm mostly just grateful that he's there to be able to assist me. He drives me to doctor appointments, and short shopping trips (mostly for groceries). He takes care of me. ...I'm finally having at least small windows of opportunity that allow me to help a bit more than I used to. :-)

I'm thankful that my mind is still at least fighting to remain independent. I have cognitive difficulties, so it may take me a lot longer to process things... but, I enjoy seeing glimpses of ME, and those glimpses usually come via my thoughts.

UPDATE (November 2013):
Reading through what I wrote 2.5 years ago, allows me to see how much I've changed and grown... what things are the same, and what things are different. Many of the limitations I previously wrote about are still limitations that I deal with on a daily basis. However, I think I've reached a level of acceptance. I'm not exactly sure how to explain it, but I wanted to include a short note / update at the end of this post.

This post was written as part of the National Health Blog Posting Month (NHBPM). Other bloggers will share their posts on this FB page.