Thursday, March 31, 2016

Chronic Injury....

It has nearly been two years since I published Confessions of a Grieving Mother and since that time many things have changed. After I published both books I kind of went into a slump of "now what do I do?' I had talked about and worked on both books for so long that I didn't know what to do now that they were published. During the last two years a grand-daughter , Ellie, (Toodles) was added, I ran a 10K at Disneyland, was diagnosed with an auto immune disease, worked at The Disney Store and was a manager at a movie theatre.

This time last year, I was working and training for the Tinkerbell 10K. I can say this was one event to cross off the bucket list as I ran and finished this race. Shortly after this event in May, my health went downhill fast. It took several blood tests and doctors to figure out that I have Fibromyalgia. Yes, me, of all people. I will be honest, that in the past like 20 years, I thought this was a made-up illness for women to get out of doing things, mostly pastor's wives. Of course research has come a long way and they now know that the brain does not process pain correctly. I was predisposed to having Fibro as I have inherited insomnia plus restless legs. People with one of these issues has a 90% chance of developing Fibro, but I was blessed with two conditions that could lead to this. My bio-mother has an auto immune disorder, alopecia. So all these things, plus PTSD, added up together, gave me a huge risk of getting an auto immune disorder.

The events of April, 2008-April, 2009 gave me an altered life and PTSD. This event jump started me into Fibromyalgia, I just didn't know it. I had actually been giving the diagnosis of Fibro in December, 2011 by my dermotologist I just missed it somehow. Fast forward to August, 2015 and I was in a Fibro flare for 3 months. I am learning to manage and deal with my fatigue and the days that I simply don't feel good for no reason. This is very hard for me as I am a very busy person. I am using prescription medications along with herbal supplements and massage to help. I also am continuing to exercise and try to stay very active. I built a home gym in one of our extra rooms so that I can workout when I want to. I am loving my Bowflex Treadclimber and dumbbell weight set.
New home gym
Here we are yet again at "that time of year" and it is the same but yet different. Every day and every year there are different emotions for the same event and I never imagined it would be this way. I can't just act like they didn't happen and they cannot be ignored.  Heather's cancer and death were the most life changing event that has ever happened in my world and everything in my life since Heather's death has been in direct result or response to her death. My life was altered on that day forever, as was the rest of my familys'. I live in an alternative universe that I never dreamed or wanted. Then add the fact that the cemetery dug her up and gave her back just makes my unimaginable world just that more unreal.

Now not only do I celebrate Heather's birthday each December 10th, but I now have a grief anniversary. This is a continuing, involuntary holiday where my whole body marks. My heart breaks over and over and over and over and I get no say in the matter at all. My life makeover was without my consent. Most people feel the grieving is all about the big holidays; Easter, birthdays, family events or Christmas.  However, the shocking truth is that "death day" is much more brutal and devastating and these days seem to come at an alarmingly fast rate.
Heather bunny, cancer ribbon necklace and the light that burns for 33 days 
Everyday in my life has the potential to become a surprise; a thought, a memory or a sign in some way. Sometimes out of nowhere I am broadsided by a day of the week, time of the day, song on the radio or a smell that takes me to my knees. Then Heather's death is clear, vivid and seems as if no time has gone by at all. Suddenly, the last almost seven years, have not passed and it is right here replaying in my mind. I have come to realize that grief doesn't visit you for one day. The smelly old unwelcome visitor comes in and makes itself at home for however long it decided to stay. It puts down roots and unpacks for the long stay. Eventually the drowning feeling passes and can even subside for a long period of time, but inevitably the huge tidal wave comes crashing back in threatening to drown me. My heart is ripped apart once again and left open, bruised, bleeding and I need to rebuild it once more.

Grief brings unwanted housewarming gifts and doesn't care that I don't want them. I am forced to face that for no reason I just do not feel good and fall apart at the drop of a dime. I have a box of emotions that for the most part I am able to keep the lid shut and tightly locked. Sometimes, I am able to open the lid, let a small amount of tears out and then I am able to close the lid shut again. Other times I fight my hardest but cannot shut the lid. All the emotions and tears stored in the box spill out over and over and I cannot force the lid shut until everything is gone. Then, when I am emotional drained I can shut and lock the lid and once again I am in control.

As this time of year rolls around I am forced to realize my inability to control my moods and emotions. It is incredibly mind numbing when in these moments I realize after almost seven years I am not the same person I used to be. I have had a chronic injury to my soul and heart that will not ever heal. Unlike Fibromyalgia, there is no pill or supplement I can take to help heal this hurt. It is a sobering feeling to know that I have been altered internally as well as physical and emotionally. Death interrupted my plans, my future, rewrote my relationships and my whole world.
One of Heather's Senior photos-2005
As I get ready to remember the seventh deathversary, I continue my walk in the Valley, looking up. I have to realize this is a lifetime sentence that will never end till I take my last breath and I am reunited with my Heather.