Friday, May 15, 2015

Hot Mess

Trying something different with this post- the text in normal print was written on 5/7/2015, the text written in italics was written today.  Think of it as a flash back/flash forward kind of story.
I didn't think I was a hot mess, but clearly I was because I couldn't stop from tearing up, snot dripping from my nose and Kleenex being used to dry the tears and wipe the drips from my nose- then of course wadded into wet balls in my hands. 

I was talking to the Health Coach, this was my third session. I was suppose to be making progress, but instead I was more resentful, frustrated and more lost than I had been when I started the coaching sessions.

The first time I met "Julie" was 6 eeks ago for my initial intake/interview.  I shared with her my story of injury last fall, surgery, rehab and now 6+ months after surgery feeling nowhere closer to where I'd have hoped to be after all this time.

Anytime I took a step towards a more active lifestyle my knee would "blow up".  After the second time of this occurring I happened to have 6 month follow-up with my surgeon.  He diagnosed me with quad tendenopathy.  He wanted me to undergo ultra sound evaluation and likely steroid injection.

Yesterday I had that appointment and confirmed I had something causing my swelling- it is a foreign body (likely bone fragment) in the synovial joint of my right knee.  The very nice orthopod and his sport's fellow drew off 12 cc of turbid (a mix of blood/clear) fluid from my knee and then I got the injection.  I HATE needles, so this wasn't a fun time, but I was proud of myself no tears and even prouder of my awesome hubby (aka coach) who was with me the whole time. Today I met with my surgeon and he feels that the foreign body is likely the cause of my inflammation/swelling in my knee.  I will undergo arthroscopic surgery on May 26th.  I'm not betting the farm that this will be the end all be all to my issues, but I think it needs to be taken out or I won't be able to move forward with getting on with activities of daily living, and PT.  My surgeon of course has to give me the "now I can't promise that you won't continue to have problems because of the degeneration already done in your knee, but I'm hoping this will let you get back to being more active".

So why was I resentful?  I told "Julie" that it was hard to come to the gym and walk by the treadmills and see all the lively, vibrant people running along without a care in the world.  Meanwhile I got to walk on the track while people ran past me.  It is hard to be around others who can do more than I can.  I know pity party, but "Julie" said it was all relative to my current situation so as usual she made me feel better and let me know that I could feel this way.

I also had done the horrible thing of weighing myself the week before this session and my weight keeps on increasing.  I'm trying to do better with monitoring my food intake and adult beverage intake OK so yesterday I ate a king size Snicker's Bar at work.  I know I shouldn't have, but it was our "thanks for being a nurse" gift.  I have no control sometimes.  So the number on the scale has me very frustrated.

I've never been a numbers girl.  What I mean I've never been like a daily or even weekly scale stepper because I don't really care what the number says, but my clothes not fitting right, well I'm not OK with that.  The number on the scale confirmed what my clothes were already trying to tell me. 

Not having a goal to work towards is hard for me: no training logs to look at, no workout schedule to plan due to no races on the calendar.  Looking back I realize now I do have goals, they are just different goals: they are doing ab exercises every day whether I like it or not, doing push ups or weight lifting for my arms, even if I can't do lower body exercises.  I have this writing class to focus on and the goal of getting my "BIG" story written down, if it is only for me.  I just have different goals and I'm resisting this mindset change in a big way.

I'm frustrated with not knowing what I can do that won't "piss-off" my knee.  I'm frustrated because I doubt the discomfort I feel- am I feeling discomfort because my knee is just so deconditioned or am I feeling discomfort because something really isn't right with my knee.  Yesterday and today's confirmation that I have something in my knee that shouldn't be there was a help in this area of frustration.  Part of me was doubting my symptoms and wondering was this a figment of my imagination- was I not doing enough rehab, not enough ice, not enough NSAIDS.

I told "Julie" feeling lost was probably the scariest thing.  I feel there are so many unknowns.  What if the doc next week says sorry can't help you out or I get the steroid injection (which side not I HATE needles so that should be a good time) and it doesn't work and I have to have something more invasive done.  So I obviously survived the injection- no tears- Fist Pump Me! My surgeon was awesome and got me in today so I didn't have to wait to see if the steroids would work, because that foreign body isn't going to be going anywhere- can't dissolve miraculously.

"Who I am" is a never ending quest or theme in my life.  I ask almost daily "who are you", "who are you going to be when you grow up", "what kind of parent are you", "what kind of wife are you", and luckily I feel blessed with such awesome Peeps, that I just don't go there with the "what kind of friend you are".  The unknown is so hard for me.  I am a planner I like to have it figured out or at least a goal, time line, or list of how to accomplish my overall goal of figuring out "Who I am" 

These feelings of frustration, resentment equal chattynatty pretty unhappy.  When I'm not happy I cry.  I used to cry more that I do now, I know hard to believe, but over these last 6+ months my emotional state hasn't been stellar and the tears have been flowing more frequently.

The tough thing with all of this is happiness/being happy or not being happy melds into every facet of my life.  So when talking to "Julie" today I was a scatter brained hot mess.  I cried about not being able to run on the treadmill, realizing my internal crankiness wasn't making me "mom of the year" candidate, nor giving me empathy for others: my patients I care for, my family, my friends, and strangers on the street.  All this hot mess was intertwined and affected by my health and happiness.

I was seeing my unhappiness turn me into the hot mess I was in front of "Julie". We covered everything from my physical, mental, spiritual and mommy well being during this session.  I offered up examples of unhappiness in all these areas.  I also offered up my extreme guilt and realization that my pity party was lasting way to long.  I know there are many people out in life living much harder, harsher, horrific lives than I am.  This made me feel even worse and cry more.  Why couldn't I just "suck it up buttercup" and move on and be happy with the wonderful life I do have: friends, family, children, love of reading, writing, etc, etc. 

When I see my oldest's negative coping skills and crankiness it is a further reminder to me that my own actions haven't been the best to help model better coping and less crankiness when things just don't go his or my way.  This crushes me to think my lack of coping, my frustration, resentment, impatience and bad mood was/had been transferred to my beautiful oldest child.  It is always hardest to see those attributes you like least in yourself in those of your kids. 

So "Julie" said, " what is the one thing that can make you smile or laugh today?"  She reminded me my overall goal with the Health Coach Sessions wasn't a number on a scale or toeing a start line of a race, it was "Happiness" that is what I had written.  I just wanted to be "Happy".  So I answered her that my children, particularly my youngest child could brighten me up because of her never ending resilience, love for life, beautiful smile and great laugh.  That was going to be my "make me smile/laugh today" answer.  So I left and went out and you know "Julie" is a great Health Coach, that master's degree has done her well.  She knows her stuff and my daughter's beautiful smile, laughter and never ending determination to get that soccer ball at soccer practice tonight was just what I needed- a little "happy".

So moving forward- another surgery, minor this time, but still involves those dreaded NEEDLES!  As two of my beautiful favorite peeps said in almost the same words- "you will get through this" - hope to look back in 6 months and see how right they were.  I'm giving myself another 6 months to return to possible running life, but for right now my goal is to be able to ride a bike with my kids, do yardwork, walk up and down stairs and not feel the age of my right knee (I've been told by several docs I have the knee of a 60 year old).  Onward march!