My Year In Review

I recently noticed that my last blog post was in July of 2015. At first that didn’t register with me, but then I was like “holy cow that was 1 1/2 years ago!” Blogging is definitely one of these free time activities that gets tossed to the wayside the instant anything else comes up in life. I feel bad that I’ve been so neglectful of my blog because I spent so much time getting my page to look exactly like I wanted it to look. Well here is what’s been going on in my world the last year and a half.

Towards the end of 2015 in November it was discovered that I had herniated discs in my neck (C5 & C6) that were causing some paralysis and numbness on my left side. The only option to correct something of this magnitude was surgery. However due to holiday periods and doctor availability my surgery wasn’t scheduled until January 2016. This means that November and December of 2015 was spent on a ton of pain medication and with me pretty much living on our giant bean bag in our living room. I couldn’t lay down because the pain was too intense so I had to partially sit up all the time, even for sleep. It sucked and I was not very happy about not being able to celebrate Christmas the way I wanted to that year, but I knew that soon it would be done and over with.

This brings me to January of 2016, surgery happened. I had an anterior cervical discectomy with fusion. I stayed overnight in the hospital then was released home to recover. Recovery included wearing a very uncomfortable neck brace everywhere I went and still not being able to fully lay down to sleep. 3 weeks after the surgery I was feeling so much better, I could tell that all my previous issues with pain were more than likely caused by these herniated discs.

In February I started physical therapy to strengthen my shoulders and neck which lasted for 4 weeks. Not much else was going on other than celebrating Valentine’s day with the hubby and homeschooling my son 5 days a week.

In March my physical therapy ended and I was able to start slowly working out again. It was nice to not have chronic pain all the time. We started kicking around the idea of moving to Florida from Georgia. I knew I wanted to move out of the horrid rental house we were in but I wasn’t sure where that move was going to take us.

In April we spent Spring Break in Florida while we house hunted. We found an amazing condo in a community that we wanted to live in and on a whim we made an offer on it. Well our offer was accepted and we began the process of becoming first time home owners. This also means that I began the panicked realization that we were going to be moving soon and we had to pack up all our stuff again!

May was spent packing and being in constant contact with our realtor in order to get this purchase finalized and all the paperwork filed. It was a whirlwind month and it went by so fast. My son finished 8th grade with straight A’s and we were ready for the next chapter in our lives.

June was moving time. We hired movers to load our Uhaul for us. With a few little hiccups (we didn’t get a large enough rental truck so not all our belongings went with us) we made the drive down to Florida to our new home. Moving in, putting stuff away, getting utilities set up and all the lovely responsibilities that come with home ownership were now ours and we never had a single regret. I also found out that I was pregnant at the end of June. It seemed like things were falling into place for our little family.

July was not nice to us. The A/C unit here went out and it had to be completely replaced as the old unit was beyond dead. That was one cost we weren’t counting on having to spend money on so soon after moving in. Frustrating as it was, we handled it and had cool air in no time. We also had to get a water treatment system because the water here in Florida is not only hard water but also has sulfur in it. Talk about stink! Once the water treatment system was installed we didn’t have to hold our noses to drink the water anymore. I continued being pregnant and wasn’t having any issues with morning sickness at all. July also saw my son go to summer camp and hubby and I playing around for a few days in Orlando and at Haulover beach. We got a mini vacation while my son got the full summer camp experience, which of course he loved!

August hit and it was back to public school time for my son. He was going into the 9th grade. School is not cheap and we had to buy him school clothes, shoes and all his supplies. Whew! Lord I don’t remember school being that expensive when I was in school, but maybe it was. I started having some major fatigue issues with the pregnancy and just overall not feeling well at all.

September I found out that my pregnancy was no longer viable. The baby had died at 8 weeks along but my body didn’t recognize this, so I never miscarried. After waiting what seemed like an eternity for my body to “do what’s natural”, my doctor finally suggested I have a D&C done in order to complete the miscarriage. This was done and I began the road to recovering from my second miscarriage in a 5 year period.

October was Halloween, which didn’t seem real to me because it was still hot here in Florida and there really wasn’t that season change into Fall. My son did a school trick or treat function where the robotics club that he is part of had a booth at the function and they handed out candy to young kids that came by that morning. He dressed up like Bill Nye the Science guy because it was a safe costume and very appropriate for robotics club. I began to notice that I was suffering from depression but stubborn as I am, I thought I could just power through it and move on. I thought that maybe if I kept myself busy I wouldn’t have time to be sad, so I applied and was offered a job at Target (which is literally 3 minutes from my house) at the Starbuck’s kiosk. I’ve had this job before when I lived in Georgia so it was old hat for me and I caught on quick. My first day was October 20th.

November found me googling depression after miscarriage and what the symptoms of that were and how long they lasted. I’d been a complete basket case mentally since the D&C back in September and I needed to know that it was eventually going to go away. My research was not reassuring. One day after a shower when I was having a “I really wish I was dead” moment, I talked it over with hubby and he told me to go get help. So I did. I went to a doctor who actually correctly diagnosed me this time with bipolar depression. I’d been treated for depression before, but not the right kind of depression which is why the treatment didn’t work for me. With bipolar depression the treatment has to cover the ups and the downs, not just the downs. I was put on 125mg of Seroquel every evening. I came home and researched Seroquel which I also should not have done. Horror stories about it making you gain 40-60 pounds the first year on it and how people suffered such horrible grogginess from it that they couldn’t function half the next day. Why on Earth would you give a bipolar person something that would make them fat? That seems like it would just invite issues. I decided that I wanted to be healthy and if I gained weight then by golly I was going to deal with it and be glad that my metal health was on point.

Also at the end of November I left for my 12 day trip to California to visit with my family. (I’ll write a separate post about this later). Once again I realized why I hate flying and got my expensive face wash confiscated because the bottle was too big. I was not happy and I might have gotten a little snarky with the TSA attendant who simply replied “That’s not funny ma’am” when I said “Yes I’m going to hijack your plane with my Aveeno face wash”. Shame on me, but I was having a moment and was expressing my irritation at something that seems trivial to me.

Here we are in December and it’s still weird to wrap my head around living in Florida. I mean seriously, we are still swimming and wearing flip flops and sweating IN DECEMBER! There was like one day of super cold weather and that was back in November. We are running A/C in December folks! Why have I not always lived here? It’s weird trying to get into the holiday spirit when it’s 80 degrees outside and your son is asking to go to the pool. We managed. Our tree got put up, decorations went up and I even bought a few new decorations for our balcony. This month also had me coming home from California on December 12th. Unfortunately I came home sick. The joke is that while I was in CA my niece gave me the plague. Well after a trip to my doctor I was diagnosed with a severe sinus infection and upper respiratory infection. I was given steroids, an antibiotic and an inhaler and told to take a few days off work. I’m sure my boss was thrilled when I death walked into Target with my work note and told him I couldn’t work that weekend. The store managed and I rested. I made a small Christmas dinner and even made a blueberry cobbler pie. We opened gifts and had a very low key holiday enjoying the weather that our wonderful state is blessing us with, sun and fun on Christmas day, I’ll take it! By the way I’ve lost 2lbs since starting the Seroquel, so I guess it’s not making me gain weight after all!

This coming weekend finds us spending time with a friend of ours and me working New Year’s Eve. I plan on making a post sometime hopefully Sunday or Monday about my goals for 2017. I’m no longer calling them resolutions though. I’m calling them self care goals. My psychiatrist wants me to start taking active steps in taking better care of myself. I do so much for my family, my customers at work, my pets, friends when I can etc etc, that I forget to take care of my own needs. So I’ve started doing little things here and there that make me feel special or happy, things just for myself. Manicures, pedicures, that sort of thing. Self care is hard especially for someone like me who is a caregiver by nature. I always feel guilty for spending money on myself for anything and when I do have to buy stuff I try to get the cheapest stuff I can so I’m not spending “too much” on me. It’s a bad habit that I’ve had since I was a kid. Always wanted to take care of other people. While being selfless is a very redeeming quality, taking those moments to reward yourself for being an awesome person is also nice.

Look for future posts about my trip to California and my New Year Self Care list, they will be posted soon! Happy holidays everyone thanks for reading!

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