Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Looking back...

It's been a long time since I  felt like writing anything on here.  Today, as I was driving home, I was thinking about how far I've come with my back issues.

Ten years ago, August, was when I picked up a 9 month old Emily and collapsed on my kitchen floor for three hours.  That was one of the worst days of my life.  Having to be carried out on a stretcher by a couple firemen, while neighbors watched, was pretty humiliating.  That recovery time included the three of us moving to my parents house, since I couldn't really move or walk and Emily was just so young.  My mom drove me to physical therapy three times a week, where I worked diligently to get better.  After about 6 weeks I moved back home and started my way to recovery.

One year ago I had another major attack.  I had a very hard time walking and was absolutely miserable.
I started seeing Dr. Joe then, and was going on a daily basis, including Sundays.  That went on for a couple weeks.  Then I was going three times a week for months.  I got to be pretty good friends with Dr. Joe and the whole staff at Cousineau Chiropratic and can not thank them enough for all the help!  I have now progressed to every 2-3 weeks!

I have come so far in one year and now I have to work on the mental part of this deal.  I feel like I was traumatized for years with these problems.  Scared to do anything, for fear I will end up bed ridden.
Well, I am ready to start taking baby steps with the exercise to go along with the calorie counting.
I hope to get back in shape and take off this extra weight that has come along for the ride.

Thanks to everyone who has helped me, supported me, or just was there for me!  It means the world to me!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

dealing with life

I haven't posted anything since my father in law passed away. It's been hard dealing with all the feelings afterwards.  Things I never counted on, such as Emily's grief.  We've been working our way through
the pain and have kept living life as much as we can.

With that being said, I feel very inadequate right now.  Basically Jerry and I have made it through this economic downturn without being caught in a financial rut.  We've worked very hard at that by not buying outside of our means and going without things.  We have hand me down couches, tables and chairs.  Our carpet has stains and we cant afford to replace the flooring in our kitchen that is cracking.  We have a chair cover over our recliner because we just don't want to spend money on a new chair.  We would rather go on vacation to celebrate our 15 anniversary this year then buy new furniture.

Well, tonight Emily came downstairs and informed me that her room is too small and her bed is too big.  She wants us to completely redo her room.  She has a lot of crap in her room that I feel she could get rid of to make more room.  We've offered to take out her nightstand, which would give her more room.  She just isn't happy.  I have given up so much for her lately, to keep her in swimming and keep improving in swimming.  Now I'm suppose to give up anything I would get to improve my house because she doesn't like her room?  Oh, and I failed to mention that Chris' mattress is on the floor because we don't have a frame for him yet.  I don't hear him complaining.

I just have struggled to not work so I could be home with the kids.  Now I physically can't do most jobs that require constant standing, therefor I have to do what I can.   I see other folks taking their kids to Disney every year, or re do their kids room all the time, or give them all sorts of things.  We just can't do it.  We are just barely keeping our head above water and are going to keep doing that if we can.

I just feel so bad right now.  :(

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Since I last posted about my father in law things have changed tremendously.  He had a very rough time last week.  He stopped being about to swallow, which meant he couldn't eat or drink.  He couldn't really talk and had a hard time breathing.  We all knew it wasn't going to end good.  We had to make decisions on what to do. Do we take extensive measures to try and keep him alive?  Or do we let him go?  We chose the later.  We knew he wouldn't want to live with no quality of life, so we let him go.

Even in his state he found a way to say good bye to us all.  For Jerry, he outstretched his arm to try and hug him.  Jerry took that hug and squeezed his hand as well.  For the kids, he said "bye Chris" and "bye Emily" very loudly the last time they saw him in the hospital.  For me, I was sitting next to his bed and got up to go to work.  He said "bye" really loud, which was crazy because he hadn't been able to talk in awhile.  We all jumped and my brother in law Jim asked if he had just said bye to me.  I walked over, grabbed his hand and said bye.  He squeezed my hand and sort of smiled, then said "bye" again.  I leaned down to give him a hug and told him I loved him.  Then I went to work.  That was the last time I ever saw him alive.  I truly believe he knew he would be leaving us and made sure each one of us had our goodbye with him.

The funeral itself was the most beautiful thing I have ever been a part of.  My mother in law, Judy, asked me to pick out the music and make it different then the normal funeral fare.  I picked some great hymns that I thought really fit the bill.  I also offered to play one hymn, of which she picked Ave Maria.  Seeing the casket close for the last time was very hard.  Just the finality of it I suppose.  It will forever be etched in my mind.  Since my brother in law, John, is a priest we had a number of his friends there to support him.  I am not sure of the final count but I would guess 15 or more.  Our priest Fr. Rick from St. Roch's was there to support us as well, which was really nice.  As the mass progressed there were times where the sun would come out and shine down on the alter.  One time was when the consecration was being started.  John was at the alter with the bread and wine and had just started the prayer when the sun came out and shined so brightly.  I leaned down and told the kids that Grandpa must me shining down from Heaven!  Then it happened a second and third time at different times.  Everytime the sun shone I smiled.  When I went up to play after Communion I was pretty emotional.  I prayed for calm.  I prayed for help.   My experience has been that when I am nervous or emotional my bottom lip quivers and sweats.  That is not good for a flutist!  I always power through but am never happy with my performance.  Yesterday that didn't happen.  My hands were shaking like leafs, but I could still push down the keys.  My lip was steady as a rock and my mouth and lip were dry.  I felt calm and also had more breath control then I have had in a long time.  I have to believe I had help from above.  I was told there was not a dry eye left in the church when I was done.  I feel like my music is all I have to give, so I am glad I could share that on that special day.

It has been a grueling two weeks but it was filled with love and laughter as well.  We spent our time together and feel we did all we could for my father in law, John.  There are no regrets and there are no more tears.  We left yesterday filled with joy and happiness, knowing he went to Heaven and is with Jesus.  He told us he saw Jesus, so we know that is where he is.  What a comforting thought!    He will be deeply missed, and the hard times are still yet to come, but I know he is happy and not hurting or confused anymore.  We will see him again someday!

Thank you to anyone who reached out to me in the last two weeks.  Whether it was an email, a text, a chat on FB, a phone call or a visit at the funeral home or funeral it all meant a lot to me and made this experience so much easier.  I love you all!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Father in Law

Yesterday my father in law was driving home from the credit union when he blew a stop sign.  My mother in law made a comment about "wow, we aren't stopping today?".  Then he blew another one.  And another one.  Then he stopped at a stop light and didn't know what he was doing.  My mother in law stopped at a near by house and called 911.  When they got to the ER they did a CT scan and found the brain hemorrhage.  

All last night we all sat around trying to figure out what was going on.  We were stressed out and really didn't know if John would make it through the night.  Jerry and I got home after 10:30 and ate some of the best pizza ever.  I suppose it was just because we were so hungry, but it tasted so good!

Today I made my way to the hospital to sit with my mother in law.  When I got there I got the low down on his condition.  He didn't know who his wife was.  He didn't know what glasses were, or what he was suppose to do with them.  He didn't realize he was in the hospital, and didn't know when his birthday is.  He seemed pretty groggy during the afternoon and didn't want to eat anything.  He seemed to know who I was, but he could have just been playing along.  It's hard to say.

When I went back after work Jerry was there.  They were telling me about what had happened while I was gone.  Apparently John had ripped out his IV, and took off his oxygen finger thing.  The nurses had to restrain him so that he couldn't do more harm.  He also had no idea who Judy or Jerry was.  Not much later Jim and Jack came in. ( Jack had just flown in from Mexico to be with his dad.)  They approached the bed and John had no idea who they were.  I can't even imagine what thoughts went through their minds.  He tried to talk but nothing made sense.  He can't form words or really put sentences together.  It is so sad.  

Once he was settled down, and fell asleep, we left to go home.  I can't imagine how Jerry is feeling right now, having his own father not know who he is.  It is heartbreaking I am sure.  

One thing I have learned through all of this is just how loved Jerry and I are.  I am overwhelmed by all of the support and kind words that have been shared with us through Facebook, email and phone calls.  The offers of help is also abundant and amazes me.  Your friendships mean the world to us and we feel lucky to have you in our lives! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, for caring and being there for us in our time of need.  We love every one of you!  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

emotionally hard times

Anyone, who knows me well, knows I have extreme back issues.  I have had them for years, since high school really.  The last ten years have been especially hard on me but I've trudged on.  I have tried very hard to hide how bad it's been from everyone, including my spouse.  I tried to never complain and always worked through the pain.  I never wanted the pain to define me and feel that I am now compromising that.

These last six months have been quite the struggle for me, mentally and physically.  My back has been very fragile and seems angry about it.  I know I need to lose weight, to get it off my spine....but that would require going to the gym, which could hurt my back.  I try to eat well but I have never been able drop weight by diet alone.  

All of a sudden I find myself constantly thinking of my back.  Always bowing out of things, because I am afraid my back will go out.  Never wanting to try anything new because it may throw my back out.  Everything I think or do is controlled by my back.  

I have told some of my close friends, and my chiropractor, that I feel as if I am experiencing post traumatic stress disorder.  I am scared to live. I am scared to do anything.  I am mad that I am scared.  I am mad that I can't do anything.  I am ashamed at how I look.  I am mad at how I look.  I am ashamed that I have let myself go, but know that it is not my fault.  I hate what I have become.  It's as simple as that.

I see everyone joining gyms and going to weight watchers.  I loved going to the gym a few years back.  That was my salvation when the kids were little.  I have loved weight watchers, but I know that I can't lose weight if I'm not trying to stay fit as well.  It's like a double edged sword for me, since I need to lose weight and exercise but physically can't do that right now.  

I am ashamed at how I look, and never want people to see me. It's just how I feel.  No one can understand the pain in my heart because I don't show it easily.  I look back at how I looked just five years ago and want to cry.  It doesn't seem fair.  It's not like I overeat, or eat all junk.  I don't.  Most of the time I don't even finish my whole plate of food.  I track what I eat, and try to keep within a certain amount of calories.  For some reason, it doesn't matter.  I'm still too big.

Basically, I am scared to go to the gym because I might do harm to my back and end up where I was six months ago.  I am scared to go walking around my block, because if my back goes out while walking I won't make it home.  I am scared to stretch my muscles, for fear of pulling a disc out of place.  I live my life scared to death every day.  I try very hard to smile and be positive so people have no idea what I am really thinking. It is just getting very hard to do.  I don't want my kids to see my pain, but they do.  

I hate that I can't help my kids clean their rooms, or do their laundry. It just hurts too much.  If I did any of that it would take me four or five days to recover from 2 hours of work.  That doesn't seem fair to me.  I should be able to help my children do things like that.  It breaks my heart that I can't.  I am afriad that when they look back at me, all they will see is my pain.  My inability to actually be a mom.  I know I drive them to swimming and sit in the stands, but they won't remember that.  They will only remember what I couldn't do.  That is one of my biggest fears.

Anyway, I will end my rant of my feelings.  At least for now.  

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

My holiday started like all others before it, playing mass.  I played four masses this year and loved every one of them.  There is no sarcasm in that last sentence, I really did enjoy the celebrations.  The church was decorated beautifully and the people were so happy to be there.  The choir sounded amazing and I played flute at church for the first time in months.  Maybe my happiness was because of my ability to play and not hurt for once.  I'm not sure.  I just know that I was loving every moment of my time at church!

In between the two Christmas Eve masses the four of us met my parents at Hawaiian Islands (a Chinese place) for dinner.  We had a great time.  That is a tradition that I love with all my heart.  Spending time with my parents.  When we got home from dinner we let the kids open their gifts from us, since I had to be at church at 8:30am the next day.  We gave Emily an iPod touch and chris a 3ds.  We couldn't afford much this year, but I think we still did great in their eyes.  My Christmas gift was my Keurig coffee maker that I had bought myself the day after Thanksgiving and my new smartphone.

On Christmas day we got up early to have the kids open Santa's gifts (angry birds stuff for Chris and an American Doll for Emily).  I had to run off to church and play the last two masses, but the kids stayed home with Jerry and learned how to play their toys!  After church we all met at my parents home for lunch.  This is one of my favorite traditions.  It is so relaxing to be able to head there, relax with a glass of wine, and thank God that I still have my folks in my life.  We always have stockings to "open" and the kids love going there as well.  I feel so lucky to still have both my parents in my life.  So many folks have lost a parent, or two, or have step parents to deal with.  I've been blessed with an amazing family!

After my folks house we head to Jerry's folks house.  We had dinner there with the whole Herman clan (minus Jack, Hank and Jen--whom we missed!).  We spent time chatting and playing with the nephews.
They are so cute right now. They are 2 and 3 and are just so fun to be around!

Overall, the holiday was a complete success!  Right now I wearing my new bathrobe that my mother gave me.  This bathrobe is special in a couple of different ways.  The robe itself is not necessarily special, although it is a soft as a cloud!!  It is special because my mom surprised me on Christmas for the first time in years.  Normally I always know what I am getting from her.  It's a fact of getting older.  It happens.  This year, she bought me something I didnt' know about and I was thrilled.  Its also special because whenever I put it on I feel as if my mom is putting her arms around me!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, or whatever other holiday you celebrate.  May the new year bring you happiness, success and much love!!

Merry Christmas to everyone and a very Happy New Year to come!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011


For the last three to four months I have been watching Emily in her swim practices and have noticed that she just wasn't herself in the pool.  She looked like she was struggling during practices and her times during meets were starting to get worse.  Nothing she did seemed to work and she has been very stressed.  I have had this inkling, this feeling, that there was a deep seeded root to her problem and just could not put my finger on it.

Today was the turkey trot race at her school and Jerry has always taken half a day to run it with the kids.  Last year Emily placed second in her class and 25th overall.  This year she had to keep taking breaks and came in 65th overall.  That is still an amazing accomplishment, but not her best.  I had flashes to swimming and that feeling came back.  That mother's instinct!  Jerry looked at me, after she walked away, and basically told me to book a doctor's appointment.  I asked if he thought she had asthma and he said yes.

Bingo!  Asthma!  I have lived with exercise induced asthma all my life, makes sense that she might too.  It all makes sense.  The fact that she was always out of breath. The fact that her times were getting worse.  The fact that she looked so dang slow in practice but swore she was working hard.

Today I decided to try something.  I gave her a puff off of my inhaler.  I doubt it could do any harm to her and it would really tell us if this is the problem.  Well....she had an amazing work out!  I haven't seen her look this good in a long time, and she had a smile on her face as she got out of the pool.  When I asked her how practice went she said it was amazing because she never got tired.  She felt like she could swim faster and felt energized afterwards.  This just convinced me that I am right.

Now to see what the doctor says.  Hopefully he will concur with me!  :)