It's been a rough week. Mentally and physically. My back has been giving me a lot of problems this week. Mowing lawn is getting to be a challenge and I mowed on Monday. I also decided it was time to try to get off all of my pain medication this year. I went off in February. Quite frankly, Randy losing his kidney definitely gave me a scare. I've been on meds for 6 years, constant, to try to manage the chronic pain. I've had severe scoliosis since I was 9. I've lived in pain since I was at least 13. It's all I know. In my early 20's it led to a couple bulging discs in my lower back as well. Add degenerative bone disease to all that snarly mess, and it's a miracle I can walk, quite honestly. I wore a Milwaukee back brace for 5.5 years as a teenager. 22 hours a day. All in the hopes of slowing down the curving. I had the double blessing of a twist as well and as a result I was a case study for the students at the University of Buffalo Children's Hospital. My ribs are really hard to describe. Because the spine is curved and twisted, it took my ribs with it and bent and twisted all of them as well. They cause me severe amounts of pain at this stage in life. Arthritis is brutal. The back brace may have worked. We will never really know. I had a 17 degree curve when they put me in it and 6 years later my curve was at 34. 5 years after that it was at 45 and 3 years after that it was at 54. That was in my 20's. When I was in the brace, they didn't usually do surgery on your spine until it hit 45 degrees. They have since modified it to 50. Sadly, mine is far beyond the help of surgery at this point even though it's long past 50 degrees. I haven't had the curve checked in about 15 years. At that point they told me surgery would be more painful than the current pain. They have to break every single rib in 3 places in order to rebuild them straight. And then of course, the agony of straightening the actual spine which has also spent a lifetime of being crooked. Basically all of my insides would need to be rearranged. The best I can do is pain management. I can't have cortisone shots because everything is twisted. It's far too dangerous. So I've been on Aleve for 6 years straight now, and Tylenol Arthritis for a year or 2 maybe. It just manages some of the pain. It makes it so I can think through it. It doesn't take it all away. Now though, I'm really starting to worry about my liver and kidneys. I don't think those meds are meant to be taken for a seriously long time and I have a lot of years ahead of me. As a result, here I am this year. In a lot of pain. Trying to muddle through. On the days that are just beyond what I can handle, I take some Tylenol to ease the load. It helps. I've had worse weeks, so I try not to complain too much. I have had times that I couldn't stand up, get out of bed or walk to the bathroom. I've had to have help getting dressed and getting to the bathroom on occasion. That's more humiliating than you can actually imagine. I dread the day that I am bedridden and I try to always be grateful that I can still walk. A lot of people tell me I should be having the kids mow lawn. Honestly? Maybe I should. But for me it's an indicator that I can still walk and work. There will come a day, all too soon, that I won't physically be able to mow. So I enjoy it while I can. Our mower happens to be going downhill and is difficult to manage. After the setback on Monday, I decided it was time for new one. So I went out and bought a self-propelled one to help with the hills out front. They give me the most trouble! I'm actually excited to use it and of course the forecast this weekend is rain. lol. I am super grateful for extra sales on Etsy this week to pay for the new mower! I was feeling quite guilty about it when money is so tight. God always provides!
Beyond the physical pain, I miss my kids tremendously. They are so busy with their lives and only having them 2 evenings a week is really hard. Throw sports and music in there, and I rarely see them. I was all excited to have them for an extra long holiday weekend! Then, out of the blue, Luke tells me he's going to the National Wrestling Tournament in Virginia for the whole weekend. All the wind just went right out of my sails. It had such an overwhelming negative effect on me. More than it should have to be fair. Then Ruthie tells me of plans that she has. And of course, Bethie works on weekends now and Anna is always working. It just seemed like my time with them slipped right through my fingers and suddenly the weekend wasn't going to be so fun anymore. I was so angry and sad that Luke was going to be gone for the whole weekend. I still am, but it's back in check. I love that he is so dedicated to something he loves. I just hate that it takes away my time with him. Sometimes it's hard to remember that he is 17 now. He's growing up too fast. They all are. I'm not quite ready for the next few years. For the new boyfriends and girlfriends coming around now. I never thought parenting would be so hard. I struggle with a lot of feelings, I guess. More than I'll get into here.