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Monthly Archives: July 2014

Post massage update

I started feel better on Friday, mildly, and went to my appointment with T. I drove myself, mostly because I felt I had to in order to stay in a place of strength. The appointment was a tough one (post to come soon), but I made it home okay.

Saturday I felt semi-okay, and spent most of the afternoon and evening home alone while Hub was working a charity event. I made it through okay, but was really exhausted by the time he got home.

This morning I sort of feel crappy again, and about half an hour ago I think I had a slight anxiety attack. Not sure if it’s because my stomach is upset or what, but I started feeling sick and dizzy and like I wasn’t right…and of course that ramped up my anxiety and made me feel worse. I breathed deeply and tried to re-center myself, but I could feel myself shaking and trembling a bit.

I still feel bad right now. I have to get myself together because I’m going to a dinner theater show tonight with my parents and brother/SIL and hub. It’s going to be a long evening, but I hope to make it through… Wish me luck.

 

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Post-post

It’s day 3 post massage. I’m feeling crappy, still, and today the right half of my face is flushed. My stomach is still upset and I still feel nauseous. Fun times, yeah?

I feel myself falling backward into old habits really quickly. I’m sitting hunched over, curled up on myself, which is my fallback position for comforting myself when I’m anxious or feeling sick. I’m sitting forward, kind of on edge, like I’m expecting something to happen any second. I’m squinting my eyes, I’m furrowing my forehead…I’m basically engaging every muscle into a tight position as if I need to protect myself from something…from everything. It doesn’t feel good, and upon noticing consciously this morning, I’m trying to take deep breaths and stretch out. Make my spine taller, relax my face, sit back in my chair. It all feels foreign, because I just want to close in on myself…even though I’ve spent months and months with my body being looser and more flexible and not tight.

This nausea and the ensuing health anxiety is playing havoc with me. I’m sad to note that I don’t really feel like I’ve conquered it, only that I’ve felt good enough that it was keeping the anxiety at bay. Makes me feel like I’ve failed, even though I know I’ve done well in some aspects of my anxiety. This health anxiety–most specifically a heart attack anxiety–has not been conquered. It was just waiting for me to trip and fall. Ugh.

I don’t want to wallow, I don’t want to fall into this trap. I am trying to move through it, live with it, and practice my tools. At the moment, I don’t feel successful, which leaves me feeling sad and beaten.

Thanks for listening to me vent. I’m going to sit quietly for a bit and remind myself that I’m okay.

 

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Post history

I feel crappy. I like to lead with the good stuff, ya know?

I feel nauseous and my stomach is unhappy and I’m exhausted and stuff hurts. Like, multiple parts of my body. All this is POST massage. TWO days post massage, no less.

When I finished with PT, I promised myself I would get in to see the massage therapist I had met a year ago through my PT group. I remember her as being kind and knowledgeable, and I knew she spent years as a PT, so she’d be good at working on my trigger points. I did remember that I came away from the appointment with a headache, but I thought it was because I didn’t hydrate. So I tried to be prepared this time…

I remember the good parts of the massage…it felt great while she was working on me. She found lots of trigger points and worked several of them out. Others she softened, but didn’t want to spend the whole hour on them, so she had to leave it at that. I felt good immediately after the massage as I was dealing with payment and chatting with her. But by the time I made it to my car and was on the road home, I felt foggy and blurry. I felt on the verge of tears and I really wanted to go lay down. I felt nauseated. I got home, let the dogs out, peed (which I had to do desperately) and then I drank half a glass (32 ounce up) of water. I ate lunch. I felt slightly better.

Since that point, I’ve felt like shit. The nausea has not subsided, I’ve had muscle pain and I’ve had anxiety. My stomach is still unhappy, no matter what I do or don’t eat. I didn’t sleep last night AT ALL because I felt so crappy and I was bordering on an anxiety attack. I laid in bed and listened to music all night, trying not to give in the anxiety, but I didn’t sleep. Which is just as bad as actually having an anxiety attack…maybe worse, because not sleeping heightens my anxiety. Nausea heightens my anxiety, and the fact that I had the chills, but was hot, but was cold, and felt flushed, also didn’t help. All of this activated my health anxiety (heart attack…) It stinks. I tried to fight it today, and I went out briefly with my mother, but gave in after lunch and went upstairs to try to lay down for a while. That made no difference, but after a short trip downstairs, I ended up back upstairs in bed. I don’t want to give in, but I’m tired and I just want to feel better, and my bed is my safe place. So I came up to sit in bed while hub heated up some leftovers for me to try to eat. And while I was waiting, I went hunting through my blog right around this time last year, which is when I saw the massage therapist the first time. I was almost positive that I had blogged about my experience, and I wanted to know how long it took before I felt better. A day, two? Four? Today is the 2nd full day post-massage.

I finally found it. And what is too funny, is that I was thinking about using that same title for today’s post…I’m nothing if not consistent. Anyway, I re-read the post, then checked the next couple of posts to see how long I felt poorly. It was a similar experience this time to the first time, with the exception that last time it was a headache but this time it was this nausea. I don’t know if the release of so many trigger points at once (and other muscles) released some toxins into my systems that is making me feel crappy, but who knows. Hopefully I’ll start to feel better tomorrow. In the meantime, I’m TRYING to be kind to myself, and remember that giving into the anxiety is not weakness, it’s a learning experience. And no matter if I do get anxious, there will be a new day to follow where I will be okay.

Meanwhile, anyone else have this kind of experience with massages? Or trigger point release? It sucks, because I KNOW I need to keep up with the trigger points, but dealing with this multiple day crappy feeling really stinks. I mean, who else but me would have an adverse reaction to a MASSAGE?!

 

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Flashback a la pants

I know, I know. It’ll make sense in a minute.

When I was a teenager–a fat, short teenager–I got a job. I was fourteen years old and the law in our state was that you had to be fifteen to get a job, unless you got a special permit. I got the permit to get a job. I was a mousy child, never really interested in being away from my mother and always a goody-two-shoes. Until I hit about 12 1/2 years old. Then I must have gotten bored with school or something, because I turned into a real brat. I skipped classes, I skipped school, I made a pest of myself, I drove my parents crazy. At fourteen, I wanted a job really really badly. I got my permit and I got a job. In an ice cream shop (Baskin Robbins, to name names). I was so freaking responsible, that by the time I was there for two months, I was opening the store alone in the mornings. I rocked. But I digress (and it won’t be the last time I digress). Also, let me tell you that BR cheated you (I don’t know if they still do this) because your ice cream scoops were hollow. I had to train to make scoops based on weight. That’s how the sizes changed back in the day…by weight. As a fat kid, I hated that idea, and so after my training, I cheated often. I scooped REAL scoops for my customers, except when the boss was watching (sorry for screwing up your profits, boss!). So hey, when you go for ice cream, make sure you get waited on by the fat kid, because they’re going to give you REAL scoops, and they’re going to make sure your ice cream gets REALLY covered by hot fudge…not that splat splat splotchy fudge treatment that they got trained on. Oops, digressed again. Just remember, fat kids are awesome.

I applied for the job and I got the job. But the job had requirements, one of which was a “uniform”. I had to wear a golf shirt with the BR logo on it (which I think I had to buy and I had TWO so I could wash one while I was wearing the other as I worked almost every day after school and after one day of working I always had ice cream spilled on my shirt) and a pair of chocolate brown pants. Did I mention I was a short, fat teenager? I mostly shopping in the women’s departments at Sears, Kmart, JC Penny, and another cheap store I can’t remember the name of that is long gone. I also bought clothes from stores like DRESS BARN. I was fourteen. It sucked. So, the brown pants? Unfindable in my size and shape in the specified color. So my mom and I went shopping for material at a fabric store. Also, did I mention we were poor? Yeah, poor. Not like middle-class poor (which isn’t really poor), but like, poor. So we had to find material that was on sale because I needed a lot of material for one pair of pants. And thus became my traumatic childhood experience with polyester. The pants were made of 100% polyester, which did not breathe. And even in the well air conditioned ice cream shop, I sweated and I had chub rub. My mom sewed me the pants, which were baggy and had a thin, weird elastic waistband because that’s the only way to get them to fit me. I loved working at the ice cream shop because it was always cold in there, and as a fat kid I longed to avoid sweating as much as possible. During the summer when we were busy and the doors opened and closed all day, letting in the humidity, I took breaks in the big walk-in freezer in the back room. I pretended to go look for ice cream or check supplies. It was fantastic in there. Oh, I digress…again.

So, ya’ll know about my crocheting hats with my mom for chemo patients…well, anyone with a medical condition that leaves them without hair. Really, the point behind me crocheting was making sure my mother had hats to wear. I know she thinks I’m doing it to give the hats away, but REALLY I’m doing it to make sure she has comfortable hats to wear. I even bought a skein of yarn that she looked at (3 times) but didn’t buy because I knew she loved it but thought it was frivolous. I went back to the store and bought the yarn without telling her, then quietly made the hat. I then took it to her and to my delight she has been wearing it every single damn day. I made it to fit her specifically, to the diameter and length she wanted. The hat is gray and sparkly, so she asked me to make another one with white sparkly yarn, so she had a second hat when she wanted to hand wash and dry the first hat. So I’ve been working on that, but for some weird reason the yarn feels different, even though it’s the same yarn. But in between those two hats, I’ve been trying to find a yarn that is light and airy, because she says most of the hats make her feel hot. So I found a thin, soft yarn, and I worked it to her specifications for sleeping. It’s just a cap, really, that barely comes down to her ears, sits close to her head, and doesn’t shift around. We fitted it several times before I finished it, and last night she told me she slept in it and it was PERFECT. The previous hat she was using to sleep in, that she got at the wig appointment, is a slouchy kind of hat that shifted around and ended up sliding down her face. So she’d wake up with her eyes and nose covered, and she was unhappy. So now she’s sleeping in the second hat, while still wearing the first gray hat every day. I’m so thankful to be able to help her in this way.

As a child I needed her to make those pants for me (and she made other clothing as well) because I couldn’t find what fit me properly in the stores. She was a whiz with the sewing machine. If I sat down at the sewing machine I could make a mean pillowcase. Or a tote bag. They’d probably both be crooked, but I could do it. Now, I’m crocheting her caps that fit to her specifications. What she wants exactly. And it’s so much flashback to my youth and those ugly, horrible, polyester pants.

 

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Failure on ALL the paths

I had my session with T today, some of which was taken up by my issues surrounding this funtastic post. I’m distressed over what happened, and I feel badly for my brother because something must be going on that he isn’t ready to discuss yet. Which is his prerogative, to not discuss it. But in the end, I shouldn’t have engaged with him in what happened. I should have just stopped the whole thing by saying my decision was done and I wasn’t discussing it further. I wasn’t really prepared for what happened with him because we rarely have fights.

Toward the end of my almost-hour, T asked where I wanted to go from there with our sessions. I said that I still needed to work on why I felt so blocked with everything. That I’m sure she had figured it out by now, but I hate the thought of failure. That I feel like everything I’ve done up to this point has ended in failure, and I’m locked in place because I don’t want to make another decision that ends in failure. Our previous session she tried to convince me that any path could be the right one…could LEAD me to the right one, but taking no path goes nowhere. I told her today that I’m frozen in place because I feel like every path ends in failure, no matter what direction I pick. And I’m tired of failing, and tired of feeling like a failure.

We talked a little about my writing, because last time I promised I would write something, despite my inability to write anything in recent months (besides blogs). And I did…I wrote about 1500 words that I don’t think will go anywhere. I didn’t go back and re-read it or edit it, and I may never look at it again. The point was, I did it and was doable. And we talked about another writing exercise where I pick up a book and take a line out of the book, then start writing my own version of where the story will go from there. I said I would try it, but I have no idea how that’s going to work. Then we talked about the fact that she’s never read any of my books, which made me feel uncomfortable. I told her she’s never ASKED to read them, but now she says she is asking. I’m very self-conscious about my books, even though they are published and out there for everyone to read. She said maybe it was too intimate for me to allow her to read something of mine, but that isn’t really it. I always feel like my writing isn’t good enough…that what I write is junk. She said she didn’t believe me when I said that I don’t feel that my work is all that special, just that it has a special niche for readers. She said having known me and spoken to me so much, she feels I must have the talent to write because of how I speak and the thoughts I have. I don’t agree. I know I have self-confidence issues, but I’m not sure if that’s a writer thing or if it’s just me.

I’ve had books published since 2001, and I have some really nice fans who follow me and email me. But for the most part it’s such a solitary career that it’s hard to know if anyone actually enjoys your writing. And being a small author with small publishers, every time sales numbers come in, I get more depressed about it. It’s never the number I want, and so at some point I stopped paying attention. Is it because I’m no good at writing, or because I am no good at marketing my writing? Either way, I feel like the end result is failure. Either failure at being an author or failure at being able to market my books. Or both. Bleh.

 

 

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Throwing tantrums (venting)

I didn’t do it. I am not the one throwing a tantrum, but I AM the one venting about it. Because if I don’t, I’m going to implode and I’m so angry and upset that I might just implode.

It’s July 4th when I’m writing this fantastic abuse of the English language. Yesterday, for no particular reason, Hub suggested we invite my parents and my oldest brother over for burgers and dogs today. Casual, no big deal, just figured since we were firing up the grill and no one had to work, they’d come over and join us. Initially my parents declined because they had other plans, but then called after dinner last night to say their plans got rescheduled and they would join us. No big deal, because we were making the food anyway.

Like a good sister, I immediately called my OTHER brother to invite him and his wife to join us. Again, told him it was casual, no big deal, we were making the same food whether they were coming or not. He said he would let me know.

Pause for some background information.
My brother has a dog that is very nice. She is somewhat skittish, though, and originally was not able to get along with my parents’ dog, Cray-cray Lab. It’s been YEARS (at least 3) since that introduction, and both dogs have matured. However, despite repeated requests, my brother has never deigned to bring his dog back for a better introduction to my parents’ dog. We have offered to involve trainers (and my parents HAVE taken their dog to training specifically for reactive dogs, my brother has done NOTHING with his dog), we have offered to do it in conjunction with my brother and SIL, we have offered to do it when they are NOT around in case their dog was being protective of them. We have offered for my brother to come to play dates with OUR dogs so they could get better acquainted, but other than ONE time that lasted about twenty minutes, that never happened again. We have been overly available, saying we would do play dates at their convenience, both for our dogs and potentially with my parents’ dog. My brother and SIL have either declined or not shown up. Or not shown interest. More than once, including at one point when their dog was in between anti-anxiety medications (i.e. off her meds), my brother has tried to bring his dog to our house during “parties” that Hub and I have thrown–even before introductions between Butthead and his dog. Recipe for disaster, no? We declined that specific incident, but then offered multiple times for play dates afterward (which he then declined).
Background info over.

So less than two hours ago, my brother sends me an instant message to ask what time dinner is. I tell him. He says OK, then asks “What about the dog?”

So I tell him that my parents’ dog will be here (as we always bring our dogs to my parents’ house and vice versa), so it’s up to him if he wants to bring his dog. I mean, it isn’t an ideal situation because there will be a bunch of us moving around a lot in the house, but it’s better than the mother’s day party we had with Hub’s family (and some small children) here, which is when he tried to bring his un-medicated dog last time. He gets mad and says can’t my parents’ leave their dog home. So I said it wasn’t fair that he is putting me in the middle. That I was offering him the same thing as my parents…that he could bring his dog just like they could bring theirs. Work on letting them get to know each other. So he gets madder and says that they should be able to leave their dog at home for two hours ONE TIME so he could bring his dog. And I said it wasn’t fair to put me in the middle. So he threw a hissy fit, said they couldn’t make it, and disconnected from the chat.

I was so angry, but Hub tried to really put it in perspective for me. My brother uninvited himself because he didn’t like my answer. It was my decision to invite both dogs and if my brother wasn’t happy with that decision, it was his issue. He could still come without his dog if that’s what he wanted to do.

I thought it was over, so Hub and I sat down to eat lunch. And the phone rings, and my brother’s phone number shows up on caller ID. Perfectly casual, I answer the phone and greet him, then ask what’s up? He starts all over, “What’s the big deal? Can’t they leave their dog home for ONCE? DOGGIE never gets to join us when we’re at Mom’s house!” I told him it wasn’t about this once, that he and my parents are always putting me in this situation and they need to figure out how to resolve it. That I didn’t want to stop doing things at MY house because they were always going to put me in the middle of this argument. I’m trying to be calm about this, and he’s getting more and more angry. I remind him that we have tried to get him to bring his dog over for re-introduction, but that he hasn’t taken advantage. And he yells at me to say he’s BUSY, he doesn’t have time. And here is TIME for his dog to come be with our dogs. And I say I don’t know what else to tell him. If he wants to bring his dog, bring her. Or HE can call my mother and ask her to leave Cray-cray Lab at home. He practically barks “Whatever.” and hangs up the phone.

Arg. He is so busy. We all have lives, people to take care of, dogs to take care of, houses to take care of, jobs. But he is so busy he can’t do anything except when it’s what HE wants to do on HIS time. Did I also mention that he and his wife are perpetually late to EVERYTHING? Because their time is more important than everyone else’s.

I’m angry with him. I told Hub that if my brother takes this out on my mother, now especially with her going through chemo, I will not speak to him again. It’s not a statement I take lightly. He can be an asshole all he wants to me, but my mother needs all of us. He’s scheduled to go with her and my father for her second infusion next week because I have an appointment with T that was scheduled before the infusions were scheduled. I offered to change it, but he said he could go. If he cancels, I won’t be able to forgive him.

All it takes is a little effort on his part. A little bit of him giving of his time on someone else’s schedule. Again, it isn’t about THIS TIME, it’s about every time he puts me in the middle because he thinks he and his life are more important than ours. I’m sorry if he’s having issues at home, or at work, or with his dog. But he’s not the only one who has issues.

Seriously, if you’ve read my blog, you’ll know I have loads of them.

ETA: Omfg, he called me back the next day, the 5th, out of the blue to hurl more accusations at me. He told me *I* put myself in the middle, and that if I didn’t want to be in the middle, I should have let him and my mother deal with it. I told him I DID tell him to talk to her, but that was during the second conversation and he wasn’t interested in discussing THAT. So I told him it was my house and I was the one who got to decide who was invited, and I had invited my parents with their dog AND him with his dog…so what else did he want from me? Did he want me to invite NEITHER dog, was that what he wanted? Next time, no one’s dog would be invited. What did he want me to say? What I got in return was dead silence, for more than 100 count in my head. Then he said, in a nasty low voice, “I don’t care. Whatever.” and said snidely, “thanks for talking about it with me” and he hung up. WTF. What the hell was the point behind that? He got me all riled up and pissed off again. This was MY house, MY decision who to invite…and he had his own decision to make in response. If he didn’t like my decision, that’s his business not to come and/or not to bring his dog, but it’s not HIS business to question my decision. He has no right. Did I mention he NEVER invites us to his house for anything? And he’s never once invited any of our dogs because he has CATS, too, which would not work out well. Have I ever pissed and moaned that we can’t bring our dogs to his house (for the ONE TIME he tried to do father’s day at his house where MY HUSBAND ended up doing all the cooking on the grill?)…no! Because I know it would be a pain in the ass and it wouldn’t work out. I don’t put him in positions that are uncomfortable for no reason.

OMG I almost went on a rant that would have been horrendous. I have GOT to stop. I totally want to call my therapist and I’ve NEVER wanted to do that before. Shit. Fuck him for doing this.

 
 

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Meditation via crochet

I started crocheting to spend time with my mom. Essentially, I wanted to find something we could do together to relax and distract her (and me). I also felt that the purpose of crocheting chemo caps would do well for Mom, because she likes to give back. She used to do preemie caps, so this isn’t far from that and it’s in the realm of what is happening in her life. We have had lots of fun conversations and time spent crocheting, talking about stitches and patterns, yarn, sizes, and the like. It’s been great and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to make all these memories.

I didn’t realize how much the crochet would do for me, personally. I knew it would give me something to do with my hands, but I didn’t realize it would become a form of meditation for me. A time when I could be with me and not be thinking of something else. I am able to take time to be in the moment, to find a quietness inside my head that I have not been able to accomplish any other way. Creating the hats has given me an opportunity to do something good for someone else, but it’s also no pressure. If it doesn’t look right, who cares? If it doesn’t fit the way I expected? So what? If I miss a stitch, who is going to pull the hat apart to find the error? Who is going to notice one tiny stitch in an entire hat?

This is a way to learn to silence my inner editor, which is something I generally live with every minute of the day. I don’t even speak without editing myself. I don’t write without my internal editor looking over my shoulder. It’s holds me back in a lot of ways, and creates anxiety that I don’t need. In order to avoid the anxiety, I have stopped doing a lot of things I enjoy because it was ruined by my inner editor. But I’ve not been able to quiet the Editor and I’ve never been able to take a vacation away from it, basically. When I crochet, though, the editor seems to shut down. I’ve learned to “fudge” areas in a hat that I can’t figure out, don’t understand, or don’t think I can do. I’ve worked new stitches without worrying if they are right or wrong, and I don’t concern myself with being judged over the finished product.

Crochet has given me a type of meditation, and a type of relief/release. It’s become a form of therapy, too, allowing me to learn to work without my inner editor. And maybe if I can do that with crochet, I can let that melt over into other parts of my life.

 

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