Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Since I've been gone...

Well, I've been MIA again because I've been dealing with a health issue. Not something new - I have a slipped disk in my spine and while it had been manageable for almost two years, it's been flaring up for the last few weeks. And by flaring up, I really mean making my life impossible. The pain is AWFUL. Like -- can't walk, can't sleep, can't sit in a restaurant or movie or even at my desk without squirming with pain kind of awful. The reason it hurts when you have a slipped (herniated) disk is because it's out of place, literally pressing on the nerves running along your spine. Here's a little diagram:

You see the little mushy thing popping out of the bone? That's the disk pressing on the nerve. Everyone asks me what it's like - and the only way I can describe it is it's like you hit your funny bone REALLY REALLY hard - now imagine that pain in the middle of your lower back, traveling into your buttocks and down your legs. And it won't go away, no matter what you do. Only drugs help. Heat sometimes. Massage. It's depressing. I'm dealing with it as best I can, trying to keep a brave face on at work, and I've already scheduled another spinal block for next week, which is basically a cocktail of meds they inject directly into your spine during a quick, outpatient procedure under general anesthesia. In the meantime, I've been operating under a hazy, drowsy, percocet-induced fuzz and trying to stay positive.

That's my new mantra - Must. Stay. Positive. It's easy to feel restless and hopeless and desperate when you suffer from chronic pain. I'm not a great candidate for surgery, so there's no easy fix either - almost all of the doctors I've seen have told me that an operation would really only have a 50/50 chance of success - which, as you can imagine, is not enough to risk someone operating on my spine, especially when there's a high chance that surgery might even makes things worse, let alone someone in their midtwenties who has a higher probability of recurring injury. I've seen more doctors than I can count and it's hard to leave appointment after appointment feeling like you're never going to get better. I'm just praying that this spinal block will work and that I won't have to start yet another regimen of treatment.

If it weren't for my husband, family and amazing friends, I don't think I'd be able to deal with this. It feels like I've been battling for sooo long. Eight years now. I'm tired already. The thought of seeing more doctors exhausts me. Since I was 17, I've been trying to find a solution that will take the pain away permanently and allow me to have a normal life. So far, all the remedies I've found have only been temporary - epidural injections, nerve medication, painkillers, physical therapy, accupuncture, chiropractors. You name it, I've done it. So, here's hoping this round will be the LAST and that I can finally move on from this. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July the 8th

July 8th wasn't always an important day to me - when I was a child, my mother's birthday was pretty insignificant as holidays go. Everything revolved around me, and usually mommy's birthday involved Daddy taking me to Walgreens to pick out a card and whatever trinket my allowance could afford, and then focusing on much more important matters. Like MY birthday.

Now that I'm all grown up, I realize how much my mom sacrificed for me. How much she gave up so that I could have a wonderful life and how much she deserves to have given back to her. I'm sure we all come to that point in our lives, but when I was little, I'm sure I never fathomed just how special my relationship with my mom would be. I never realized that not every girl is adored and cherished and understood by her mom like I am, and that is something I try very hard not to take for granted.

So today, I've assembled a post in honor of the woman who gave me life and without whom my life would be imcomplete.

First, let me introduce you to Marlene:

Isn't she beautiful??  This picture was taken on my wedding day, and here she is all aglow. My mom shines in every way.

Now, let me tell you a little bit about why she's so special to me. 

If you asked anyone what their first impression of my mother was, their response would most undoubtedly be: "she's bubbly!". In fact, when people accuse me of being bubbly, my response is usually "You only say that because you haven't met my mother." And when people accuse her of being bubbly, I know what they're really trying to say is that my mother is kind.  My mother is good. She is genuinely nice and sweet and everything that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. My mother could make friends with a rock. If you opened my mother up, you'd probably find that her heart was ten sizes too BIG. And if it wasn't, it would probably be because she's found other places to store all the love and warmth she brings to so many lives. Because lord knows, my mom finds places to store everything.

She taught me lessons. Lessons like, why friends are important - but family is much, much more important. How to pick a good husband. How to spot people who are going to break your heart. Why Christmas is so special. How to ignore the haters. How to let go of the people who add nothing to your life. Why it's really important to do what you love.

I hope every one of you have someone in your lives that has helped you realize these things.

My mom is not a natural blonde, and neither am I. But we both like a little peroxide in our lives. Everyone thinks we look so much alike, but really if you look close up, we don't. We just see the same hairdresser. Look:

But that doesn't matter.

We are alike in many ways. We're both always smiling. We try to make the best of things. We both have addictive personalities and we both have a really soft spot in our hearts for dogs. Especially this one:

And this one:

We're different in many ways, too. I have a temper. She never loses hers. She cries - alot. But it's ok, because whenever she cries - it's because she really means it. People with big hearts feel things differently than the rest of us.

She loves her family more than anything. When I was going through my teenage years, I always told her I'd never ever be like her. But now I realize that I am like her. And that makes me proud.

This is one of my favorite pictures of us. She was younger here than I am now, but I will always picture her this way.

Happy birthday Mom! I love you so very much!