The Engagement and other Life Events

I haven’t written in long while, I am just out here trying to live life on life’s terms ….. which isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Sometimes it is a downright battle, but let us not go there right now.

Allie and Patrick finally got engaged. The official engagement date was 5/21, so it has definitely been a minute or two. With all her snooping, she was still surprised. It was sweet, They were at a park in Dallas with the dog – they were going to go on a picnic but forgot the blanket so they just walked around and he popped the question. He had a party with friends planned for after the proposal and even had her bestie fly in from Chicago to complete the surprise. We are truly excited to welcome Pat and his family into ours. We have no wedding plans as of yet. There is still the decision as to where the wedding will be …. Dallas or Dayton/Cincinnati. We have said our peace and given our thoughts, but it is their wedding and they must decide. We have an engagement party planned for a couple of weeks from now here as they will be in Ohio for a wedding. It is just family and very few special friends. I will update after their visit.

With it being summer and the 4th of July holiday there have been a lot of drinking events, but I am holding my own. There are moments when I wish I could drink ….. take part in the jello shots. It is such a drinking culture that sometimes it is difficult not to feel left out. I love my sober life and my sober friends – but ………..

Ok so the really big news, because we all knew that Allie and Pat were going to get engaged, that was just a matter of timing …… I finally got a breast reduction. it has been 8 weeks since the surgery and I am doing great. The wounds are almost healed and I am finally able to do things around the house and in life in general. It was a rough go not being able to carry, lift or push anything. There was pain, but it wasn’t anything like I thought it would be. I only took 2, well maybe 3 Percocet …… 2 that were desperately needed and 1 , well, not so much.. I just survived on Tylenol and Motrin for several weeks. The wounds were gross and took a lot of cream and gauze. The surgeon took out a total of 6.75 lbs of breast. I am getting used to my new size ….. now it is time to get rid of the love handles and old lady belly. I found it interesting and refreshing that the anesthesiologists asked if I wanted a different cocktail that wasn’t (addictive type) narcotics. My sober friends and I joke that anesthesia for a very few short seconds is the best, but anyway I did tell him to give me whatever would best and I could deal with it. I got 20 pain pills with this surgery. I still had my 18 from my kidney stone. Good news, I finally emptied my drawer of all the pain meds and handed them over to Steve to get rid of or hide, not sure which he did. I did say hide don’t pitch, but you never know. The pills after all this time were “talking” to me and I was really struggling. Taking that extra Percocet when I wasn’t sure if I really needed it scared me enough to take action, I have been seeing my surgeon every couple of weeks for post op. I am thinking only a few more visits and I will be good to go.

With the breast surgery my diet went to shit. I have been on a new program (that I paid a pretty penny for) it has a lot of accountability and pretty straight forward and kinda strict guidelines. I was all in before the surgery and losing weight but since surgery I have not been able to get in the right frame of mind to go all in. I am eating better, but half-assing the program. I am pretty discouraged with it right now and I hate going for my check ins because I am running out of excuses as to why my weight is staying constantly the same. It is rough. I want to eat and I want to drink like a normal person – ugh!

Well, that is the Life and Times of Me for the last couple of months. I am at a crossroads trying to figure out what my life is for and what I should be doing with it. Stay tuned, I may or may not ever figure it out.

Damn …. Just Damn

It has been a busy summer so far …. The days are long and warm, It has been good. Damn it is going by too quick. We will be shoveling snow before we know it.

I had a mucous cyst removed from my right index finger last week. Damn did it hurt. It is still sore, but the major pain has gone. You don’t realize how important each finger is, especially on your dominant hand, It has been a rough week. Just typing this is to some extent difficult.

With the cyst removal and the pain …. all I can say is Damn pain pills. I am over 6.5 years sober and once again I am obsessed with the pills. I didn’t think much about them when I truly needed them the first couple days post op. I have stopped the day time medicating as I like to run around too much to be stuck at home in a stupor unable to drive, I have been taking it only at night for a few nights. The sleep is soooooo good! But I think the time has come to be done, You just know when you no longer need them. It is now not a need, but a want. The thing is …. I am a pill addict and I am obsessed with the little amount of pills I have left. I can usually had over the pills to my husband for safe keeping, but it is always a hard act. I like the control of being in charge of my own destiny, even if it is torture. As a relatively sane person this makes no sense. So tonight, if I can, with a moment of clarity, I will relinquish the bottle of pills and wipe my hands of the whole messy obsession. Just Damn!

I have been continuing my diet …. sometimes wholeheartedly sometimes half-ass. I feel like I am making better food choices a majority of the time, but I do still like to eat. I haven’t walked since the finger surgery and it is just hot and muggy, but I have continued my workouts with my trainer for an hour 2X a week. I know that isn’t enough, but it is sure better than doing nothing like before. But that Damn scale is at a standstill. I lose a pound or two and gain a pound or two. I can’t break the cycle and it is really starting to get me down. I know Rome wasn’t built in a day, but come on!

On both accounts I just need to be willing to be willing and focus on my wellness.

So my goal is to walk and get rid of the pills, both of which I know I can do. I just might need a little nudge that is all. And one more Damn ….. it is about to storm and dinner is supposed to be on the grill. Glad I watered all the flowers.

Original Care Team

I had a wonderful care team made up of my primary care doctor, my psychologist and my chiropractor.   Each one of these people were essential in helping me deal with my Ulcerative Colitis, depression/anxiety and in helping me to get sober.  They were an important part of my life and making sure I continued to live.

My primary doctor worked really hard in trying to control my Xanax intake and my obsession with self harm.   He referred my to my GI doctor who in return referred me to the Cleveland Clinic for colon removal surgery.   He took good care of me after that surgery and took my phone calls at all hours.  This physician really cared about me, was a family friend and went the extra mile to ensure my safety and health. He retired (2015)

My therapist worked with my doctor.   It was her who called him and said I needed treatment for the addiction to benzo drugs.   My therapist helped with so many mental challenges including my diagnosed clinical depression and general anxiety disorder as well as the addiction / alcoholism and the self harm.    She knew me most times better than I knew myself.    I always told her I would never let her retire because I needed her in so many ways.   She retired (2018).

My chiropractor who became a friend was a great help during my illness.  When I could not eat due to the effects of the Ulcerative Colitis she delivered supplements to my home.  When my mental health started getting wacky she referred me to the local psychologist who became my therapist for 15 years.   She has helped me through thick and thin.   It was my friend and chiropractor who I went to when I was told I had an addiction issue from my therapist to ask her thoughts and what I should do regarding going to treatment.  It was her who took me to my first AA meeting.  She helped me heal from my car accident.   She has taken care of me and my girls and has been a great asset to our health.   Today was our last appointment …. she is retiring.

The above care team was the best and they all went far above the call of duty to care for me.    I don’t know what I would have done or where I would be without them.   Probably not alive.   Even though I have grown and have a handle on my mental health for the most part and little problems with the no colon / Jpouch I feel like I am now left to my own devices.   I don’t do well with change and things have changed greatly and life continues to move on.

I have a new therapist who I can really connect with who I saw on occasion in past.  It is a good fit and she is very helpful to me.    She is always there to return a phone call at all hours and to talk me down no matter what the problem.   I have a new physician, I like her, but she doesn’t know me like my original doctor or my (real) history.  Medicine has changed and it is almost impossible to get an appointment when needed.  I will try the new chiropractor at the office, but it won’t be the same.    I retired so I can not complain when others do the same especially since they are older than I.

So really I have to put my big girl pants back on and embrace the change.   I do miss those from my original care team but it has been years since my surgery, my mental health diagnosis, and addiction.  They have all moved on and maybe I need to do the same.

April 19th

Today is the anniversary of my first surgery to create my JPouch due to the disease of Ulcerative Colitis.    It was April 19, 2005 … 14 years ago.   It is hard to believe how sick I was in 2003-2005.   I couldn’t eat, I definitely couldn’t drink alcohol.   I was tired, irritable, very thin (says the now fat girl) and always in pain and in the bathroom.    I look back on those days and it was complete misery.

I was anxious, I was clinically depressed.   I was on so medication to treat the UC that nothing worked to help the depression and anxiety.   That is really when my love affair with Xanax started that I eventually would be come addicted to.    I was on high doses of prednisone which made my mental symptoms worse, but it was the only thing that would remotely control the pain and bleeding from the UC.   At the time it was a pitiful existence.

I had my surgery at the Cleveland Clinic which was tops in treating bowel disease.    I was so apprehensive to have this surgery.   It scared the hell out of me, in fact I was pretty sure I was going to die having this surgery or die if I didn’t.    If you don’t know what a JPouch is look it up, it is complicated, but in a nutshell they remove your diseased colon – which was all of it and create an internal pouch for waste from you small intestine.    In 2005 it was an open surgery where the cut you open to remove the large intestine, today it is way less invasive.   I had an illeostomy bag for 3 months and another surgery in July to remove that and connect everything.

It is the most painful and traumatic thing I have every been through.   With both surgeries I would say it took about a year to fully recover to my new normal.

During this time I became very spiritual.   Praying the Rosary, Novenas and just talking to God.    I felt very close to my higher power during this time and probably would not have survived with out my faith.   I even had the anointing of the sick before the surgery.   It helped me cope.

Even after I recovered the anxiety and depression lingered.    The Xanax usage continued to increase and the drinking was a problem, because internally my make up was now different and I had the brain of an addict.

Today, 14 years later, I am healthy, I am sober and I can eat just about anything (and obviously I did to make up for lost time).    I am grateful for the healing this surgery has brought me.   They say you are not cured after you have the surgery.   Problems still can arise, but they are few and far between.   I thank God for the miracle of medicine and all the people who took care of me and my family during that time.

I always remember April 19th.