I am still waiting for them to call with my surgery date. I am going to call them this afternoon if they have not called me yet. I just want to have it scheduled so I can plan appropriately. I need to make sure I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables the week prior to surgery and fiber so I do not have to strain to use the bathroom, because I do believe that will be painful.

My little kitten is full of it. He has spastic attacks throughout the day. He is a bit crazy I think. I made him some toys with feathers on them and he takes the feather in his mouth then he growls and spits. When he gets tired he is very sweet and loving. I usually name my animals after Greek mythology and I named him Prometheus.

We have been having pop up thunderstorms each day in the evening. That is normal for here. The humidity has been super high and usually is throughout the entire summer. It is instant sweat here as soon as you walk out the door. We did get the pool up and running, now it just needs to warm up enough for me to get into it. That is the one place I can walk and stretch without adding more pain to my plate. I need to get in it before my surgery, since it won’t be able to get into it for at least a month after the surgery, if not longer. I want a smooth surgery and recovery so I am researching all I need to do in order to make sure all goes well for me. I will go into immediate menopause since everything is coming out. I am going to request to be started on estrogen immediately and I do hope my insurance will cover it. I researched it and it seems the progesterone is the one that tends to cause breast cancer, so I am avoiding that all together. I have a large family history of breast cancer after hormone replacement therapy. My doctor wants to just do the estrogen and I agree with that. I want to prevent having hot flashes and night sweats if at all possible. I cleaned the window A/C unit yesterday, so it could be put in my bedroom window just in case it need extra cooling in my room.

Things have calmed down some here. Not a bunch of fighting going on and that is a huge plus for me. I pulled out my inversion table the other day and did a slight incline on it to see if it would help with my pain at all. I felt stretched out after but I still have the pain. I am going to try to use it daily for a bit and see if it helps at all. Before all this pain, I would have back problems and the inversion table helped a great deal with that. I have shrunk 2″ in the last couple of years. My spine is compressing, so the table will help with that and it gets oxygen into the spine. I do deep breathing while I lay on it. I do not go completely upside down because that may cause me more pain. I used to be able to do that before all of the problems I have now and it was nice. I don’t have much room, so I have it folded up and crammed in my closet, then I drag it out and set it up. You cannot walk around it while it is up, just not enough room here.

It has been taking me three hours now, every morning, after I wake up to get moving enough to come out of my room. I have been feeling hungry all the time and I have gained around 8 pounds over this month. That happens when you lay around and are bored. Last year when I lost over 50 pounds without trying, I was never hungry and often forget to eat at all. I eat more the more I have to lay around due to the pain. Keeping the mind busy is very important. I get bored and irritable. It is hard to find things I can do that do not cause me even more pain. Yesterday I found some relief after resting and taking my muscle relaxer with my anxiety medication. I then was able to sit in a chair and clean the window A/C unit. I will see if that helps again today. I have a lot to actually do, but most of it causes me more pain. I need to dust my bedroom. I am allergic to dust, mold and mildew. I can dust half the room from a sitting position. It is the other half that causes me problems. The half you need to dust first. Going with gravity by starting at the ceiling and working your way down to the floor. I want to get the entire house cleaned before my surgery, but it doesn’t look like I will be able to get that done. I still need to make a list for everyone here of the things they need to make sure are done daily while I am recovering.

So, my plan is to go sit in a chair out back and try to scrub the pool ladder. It’s pretty hot and humid out there so I am not sure how far I will get. I am praying they call me today with my surgery date………….

This is my precious cat Athena with the kitten Prometheus…

Hit by the Boredom Bug today…

Lately, I have been just plain bored. With depression, it is often extremely difficult to find things you actually want to do. I went down my list of things, in which I wrote on a good day, to keep busy when bored. Not one thing on that list was something I wanted to do. I then went to the internet and searched things to do when you are bored. There, I also could not find a single thing I wanted to do. Ugh! Mental illness sure can make life difficult.

I finally picked up my wireless headphones and played my music while forcing myself to clean the very dirty bathroom. That task is done and I do feel accomplished since I did do something. Though, I still have that feeling of complete and utter boredom. So I put my headphones back on and let the music take me away from my reality.

What is up with the way my mind works? It is much like fighting a battle with myself. Depression definitely makes things more difficult than they need to be. So how do we get ourselves passed it all? We just have to keep pushing forward. Try as we can to keep busy so our mind does not wander back to the darkness. I had not listened to music in a very long time and I can tell you that music definitely helps lift my mood, but depending on what I listen too, it can also drag my mood farther down.

I have a list of things that can and need to be done around the house, but when I am in that dark place I just cannot seem to get myself to do any of those things. For me, depression comes in long spells. It hangs around for some time and then I get a few days or a week maybe that it is not so bad. Life has been a difficult journey dealing with depression and my journey has become extremely hard since the chronic pain has been added to my list of issues. Depression and anxiety and panic have been with me my entire life. That just proves to me that I was born with messed up wiring in my brain. I think we all are born with it. I often look at people that seem so happy and have so much energy and wonder why I couldn’t be that way too. To wake up with a smile on my face and have energy to get through everything in a day….. How fantastic that would be. Then again, I don’t know for sure that those people really do feel as happy as they look. I have known many people who pretend very well. I have never been one to pretend. I am what you see. I wear my emotions on my sleeve and I don’t hide how I feel. I have always talked about anything that bothers me. That has always bothered my entire family. I am the youngest of five kids and none of them talk about their feelings or wear their emotions on their sleeve. I have always known how important it is to talk about things, yet no one else in my family can do that. I do believe I am still alive today because I talk about things and I don’t pretend to be something else.

It took me over thirty years to realize that living by time was causing most of my panic issues. It took me another two years to figure out how to live without time as much as possible. Things could be worse, I could still be having full blown panic attacks every single day of my life. I learned to remove time as much as possible and I avoid crowds. That’s what works for me. I tend to pick up on other peoples emotions and being around a lot of people has never been something I liked. Even as a kid I tried to stay away from groups and I have always only had one or two close friends. I don’t trust easily and for good reason. I do, however, always look for the good in people. My mother always asked me how I could take the one person no one liked and find the one thing that was good about them. Funny, how I can do that with others, yet I don’t do that with myself.

Everyone has gifts. Each and every one of you do! No one is exactly alike. We are all very special. Using your creativity aids in unleashing a better feeling about yourself. What ever it is, drawing, coloring, doodling, crafts, tricks, magic, hair, nails….. The list is endless. What ever it is that is your creativity, find it and use it often. It opens up your heart and fills you with purpose. A passion so to say. We all need a passion. We all have something in us that is special and unique! My wish is for everyone to find their passion…

Focus on being Thankful, less self pity…

I am focusing on being thankful for what I do have, and I hope to do this daily along with my blogging of my life. When you live in a constant state of pain, it becomes difficult to focus on being thankful and the depression is always there, trying to bring you down. I do Know that focusing on positive things and occupying my mind DOES help. However, the days that the depression has me by its tight grip, it becomes very difficult to think of positive things or of things to occupy my mind. Does this sound familiar to you?

Self Pity:
Yesterday I struggled, yet again, to get through the day. The hard pain in the ball of my foot area, on both feet, just will not let up. Every step I take feels like a deep bruise being poked hard. As the day goes on, the pain gets worse. The more I get up on my feet, the worse it becomes. I can’t stand just sitting or laying around, I focus on the pain too much. Everything I do requires me, to at the very least, walk from room to room! The wheel chair I have been in twice before, does not fit through my bedroom door. Luckily, I am not to the point I cannot walk at all yet. I just have been thinking about how hard it was in the past. I don’t want to be there. I want things to keep my mind busy and also keep me off my feet. The pain is in between the phalanges (toes) and the metatarsals, which is the next set of long bones after the toes. When I do walk, I am also aggravating my hips and back pain, due to walking more on my heels for less pain. Of course, I have been bringing this all to the attention of the PA at my doctor visits and he just doesn’t seem to care. Which is why I demanded my return visit to be with the actual doctor! A year ago my toes on my left foot went numb, still are numb! Then about six month ago the toes on my right foot joined in and went numb as well, still are! Then 2 of my toes on my left foot split apart from each other, like something is pulling them away from each other. This is now happening on my right foot! Through the last 3-4 years of all the neck, hip, tailbone and low back pain with sometimes the pain going down my left leg, I had never had pain in my feet. Out of no where this pain hit me last week. For two days I cried. I found that the more I stay off my feet the less the pain is and propping them up is even better. The medications I take that help take the edge off my other pain and ease my leg cramps, just do not seem to touch this pain in my feet. Halloween is in 4 days and there is a lot up be done to set up the scary walk for the kids that go trick or treating! I have to be the supervisor now and bark out the orders of what needs to be done and how. It is so much easier when I can do it myself!

Which brings me now to focusing on things I am Thankful for! Let us all try to list at least ONE thing per day that we are Thankful for I am going to try to do Three per day…
I am Thankful for the help I receive in caring for my grandson, so I can lay down or nap when needed!
I am Thankful for the internet, which keeps me connected to others and my family!
I am Thankful that I was able to spend 16 1/2 years with my oldest son before he left this Earth!

Occupying the Mind…

I have spent the last couple of weeks focusing on occupying my mind away from the intense pain I have. This does help quite a bit, though there are days no matter what you do the pain gets to you. What did I do? I am so glad you asked, I focused on crafts. They are enjoyable to me and keep the mind very busy. Since Halloween is this month I had an area where I worked on props for our Halloween haunted walk for the trick or treaters to get their candy. I add a new prop each year and I have to make it from scratch since money is not available. This year I created a zombie head and hand, which turned out very nice. B made a box for it so it looks like it is coming out a window, he used wood he had laying around. It actually looks a lot like a ticket booth. I wanted the head to move so I put it on an old oscillating fan. I also worked on sewing projects. I have used up most of the material I had in a bin now though. I made check book covers and wallets and a purse for a friend. So I moved from one craft station to another. Because I cannot sit for long periods or stand or walk. Being sure to take breaks often and not over do it, which would create a much worse state of pain intensity! I also worked on crocheting when I had to recline, I made a pretty cool purse.

Keeping your mind busy does work. It helps you stay focused on something other than the pain. The pain is screaming at you and even one moment of silence, allows the pain to have a voice and consume your thoughts, which also intensifies the pain levels. The only problems is this, how can someone keep busy all the time when there is only so much you can do for free…. Money may not buy happiness, but it sure can make life much easier. I often clean to occupy the mind, but I have to be very careful there! Bending, pushing and pulling are all things that can and will send me to the floor in tears.

A friend of mine, back from high school, gave me an hour massage and a 30 minute aromatherapy soak at a spa. She is all the way up in IL and I am down here in GA. So very nice of her. I had thought that if I could get a massage, soak in a hot tub and relax, maybe I could reset my pain levels. She suffers from intense pain in her neck, shoulder and down her arm into her hand. I was super excited and went to my appointment for my massage and soak. I asked for a Myofascial massage because I did not want to risk the pain a deep tissue massage could cause. I have had several deep tissue massages back before I was in this pain and they were great, but I feared the level of pain one would cause now that I am in so much pain and even pressing on my lower back hurts very much! The massage therapist was sweet, but she said a Myofascial massage would not help me and she then went a head and did deep tissue. I was scared, but I figured she knew what she was talking about and I sucked it up thinking it would all be better when it was done. I could feel every one of my lumpy spots that are connected to pain when she went over them, some sent shooting pain down my leg. After the massage I felt the least amount of pain I have felt in three years. I then was taken to the aromatherapy soak and I made it about 20 minutes before I became to hot and had to get out, but I felt good and relaxed and mostly pain free. This lasted about an hour, then I had a deep pinching pain start in my right lower back (which I had never had before, it’s always been my left side) and then shooting pain down my right leg. Holy crap! The pain I have on the left side was now going crazy on my right side. Yikes! I had trouble walking and when I finally arrived home I wobbled to my room to take my pain medication along with my anxiety medication and a muscle relaxer. I then spent three solid days wishing I never had the massage in the first place. More intense pain than I already was dealing with. There went that idea of a massage and soak helping my pain levels. The therapist did say my back was so bad that I would need several 90 minute sessions, I don’t think so, even if I had the money for that! I am still battling extremely high levels of pain. I am at the top of the charts in pain and focusing on anything with my mind has been almost impossible. Not to mention, the major lack of support I have in my home life. My home life is more like a giant stress and negativity chamber! I often hide in my room or bathroom just to find peace. Well, I checked massage off the list of possible things to help my pain levels. I see my pain doctor this Thursday, but I always end up seeing the PA who I can’t stand! I feel like I am rushed in and out and they have not tried anything else after I refused any more epidural steroid injection after the dozen I had with no help to my pain! So, I have my list to remind me to state, “what can we try next?” Don’t get me wrong, without my pain medication I would not be getting out of my bed. I just know there are other things to try and one might work or help at the least. The numbness in my toes is spreading and the intense pain in the ball of my feet has also spread. Muscle spasms all up my legs and back. When I asked the PA before why he could not give me more coverage with pain medication, he said it would cause me to sleep all day. Really!?! The medication does not make me tired. I get a window of time where the hard edge of the pain is lessened and that is when I can focus on occupying my mind more. Maybe for most people the medication causes drowsiness, but it sure does not do that to me. What is the purpose of pain medication? To help people that are in real pain! I have noticed that when someone is really in pain, the medication does help take the edge off the pain and it does not make you high or messed up like when drug seekers go after the medications. The simple fact that is am dressed, with makeup on and present in your office wide awake, should tell you I am not being negatively effected by the medication.

Well, it never fails, I get on a rant and ramble on too long. My point is and was, that occupying your mind does help keep you focused off the pain. Just finding what you can do and setting up some kind of stations to do those things is the first step. Do not get down on your self for having bad days. Allow it to be what it is. It is ok to feel down and hate the fact your life has become a mountain of pain, just do not allow yourself to dwell there. Feel it, acknowledge it and move forward. Keep pushing each and every day. We have to be kind to ourselves, just like we would if we were our best friend. Hug yourself, tell yourself it is all going to be ok and look in the mirror and smile when you feel the darkness of despair. It works! The act of smiling, even when depressed, releases chemicals that help us feel better. I tend to laugh even when I am very down, as I look at myself and force a smile on my face. These simple things do make a difference in our lives! Hang in there….


The Loss of a Child…

My oldest child passed away at the age of 16 1/2 in 2003… His name is Keith and my grandson is also named Keith, he is 3 years old. My daughters tribute to my son/ her brother.

It was June 7th, 2003! I will never forget this day and all the events. It was a Saturday… Though his actual death date is June 8, 2003 because he passed just minutes before midnight and the official call is not made until the coroner arrives. Below is my story:

In May of 2006, my husband and two of my kids were packing up our house to move from Georgia to Southern Illinois. I lost my job and my husband, at that time, was unable to find enough work to pay our mortgage. We listed the house for rent. My oldest child, Keith, was staying with my parents and was to come move up with us mid summer. He had a girlfriend and he didn’t want to leave yet. On the 25th we set sail to our new home with my best friend since age of ten. I remember standing in the driveway hugging my oldest son and us both crying. He said to me, “I feel like I am never going to see you again!” I told him not to worry as he would soon be up there with us. We drove the 8 hours and arrived at our location. We were staying in the cabin at my friends house until we were able to get on our feet. Keith called me almost every day and we would talk for a little bit on the phone. He told me how he had purchased several calling cards so he could always call me.

On Saturday June 7, 2003 I had an over whelming urge to speak with my son Keith. I called my parents house around 11 am, but Keith was still sleeping. I told my mother how I just really needed to talk to him and to let him know I would call the next day at noon for him again. That night my best friend had broken out in hives and was having trouble breathing. Her husband and I took her to the ER when we realized it was not getting any better. While I was standing in the ER next to the bed she was on, I looked at the clock. It read 10:57 and for some reason I felt the time was very important, so I remember it and continued on. We made it back to the house around midnight or so and within 30 minutes I was in bed. At 2 am my best friends husband came into the cabin and told me that my friend from back in Georgia was on the phone and needed to talk to me. I was annoyed and said, “what does she think I can do in the middle of the night”, but I went to the house and picked up the phone. My best friend was there and told me I needed to sit down because the call was about Keith. I answered the phone and the friend in Georgia said that the boys were killed in a car accident. I felt pure shock! She explained that neither had come home and my mom had been out looking for Keith and she had been looking for her son. Earlier in the day her son had picked up my son to hang out together.she said a girl was driving and both our sons were killed but the driver lived. Still feeling dazed and in shock I hung up and called my parents house. My father answered the phone and I could hear my mother screaming in the back ground. The police had just arrived to tell them that Keith had passed in an auto accident. I asked why he wasn’t home. My father said he had left earlier with his friend and he always came home on time so my mother had went looking for him with his girlfriend but they never found him. The officer said they needed Keith’s dental records to identify him because the body was badly burned. I hung up the phone and walked out on my friends porch. I remember feeling nothing. Not one single emotions, nothing at all. I stared off for some time and then asked them to go wake my husband. When he approached me, all the emotions flooded wide open and I began to ball my eyes out. He said he needed to get some sleep so he could drive us back down to Georgia later that day. I tried to sleep, but I couldn’t. All I did was cry and feel like my heart had been ripped from within me. I sat outside in the swing the rest of the night. When my daughter woke and came outside I told her what happened. She didn’t believe me and thought I was making it all up. She finally realized I was telling the truth and she cried with me for a while. When my youngest son came out and I told him what happened, he ran off screaming. I called my sister and told her then had my husband call everyone else and then we packed up the car and went back to Georgia.

I had to go to the funeral home and make the arrangements for my son. I remembered how not long before I had left, he told me if he died he wanted to be cremated. Since he was burnt so badly it was impossible to see him again. I scheduled his funeral for that Wednesday, June 11th. I went and looked at the accident site. My anxiety, panic and depression all engulfed me. Two of my sisters came and some of my nieces and nephews as well. At the funeral I was a mess. Going from panic to severe depression as fast as you could blink your eye. During the funeral I was composed until they folded the flag and gave it to me, then again when they played the song I had pick for him. His favorite song was “when I’m gone” by three doors down. When it was time for me to walk out, I rose and made it a few feet into the isle, then the sobbing over came me and I collapsed. My husband had to carry me out to a sofa. Many people who knew Keith came up to me, but I was crying so hard I could not even tell you who they were or what they looked like. I stayed at my parents for a few more days and then we came back to Illinois and I carried my sons ashes with me.

After we returned, my best friend and her husband were not getting along anymore. They were fighting and ultimately separated in July. We found a house to rent in town in September. I spent a good six months in bed, I didn’t cook or clean or do anything after my son died. I placed my son ashes in a beautiful urn made of marble with a dragon etched upon it and his name and dates.
Keith R. Krogmann II, 12/18/1986 – 06/08/2003
I found out that my son had actually died right around 11:57 pm on 06/07/2003. Remember when I was in the ER that night with my best friend and I looked at the clock. There is a one hour time difference from Ga to IL. So when I saw 10:57 pm, it was 11:57 pm in Georgia! This is what happened:

My sons friend, Bradley, asked him to come out with him because he was upset with his parents for some reason. They spent a few hours goofing off, then they put Bradley’s car in the parking lot at the grocery store so his parents wouldn’t find him. They both went with a friend from school named, Jennifer. Keith’s girlfriend was also with them and they hung out for the day. They took Keith’s girlfriend home and then Jennifer was going to drop Bradley off at a friends house for him to stay the night then bring Keith back home. They were on the way to Bradley’s friends house when Jennifer lost control of the car. She was driving extremely fast and it was lightly raining out, late at night. She slid the length of a football field and slammed into a tree, then the car bounced uphill off the tree, spun around and landed in a low lying area in the front of some woods. She said that Bradley was unconscious and bleeding from his ears….. She said Keith was unconscious as well. She got out of the car and flagged down a vehicle to call 911. I heard the 911 tape about a year later. The lady calling 911 said the car had a fire in it and to hurry. You could hear Jennifer screaming, begging for someone to do something and then she ran toward the car, the lady yelling for her to stop, then the lady says, “oh my god! The car is engulfed in flames! There is no way they can live through this!” When the fire department finally arrived, they had to put out the fire then cut open the car to get to the boys. There were burn marks in the grass where they laid each of them.

The driver of the car was sentenced with two counts of vehicular homicide, wreck less driving and breaking the rules for someone who was 16 and only had her license for two weeks. She was ordered to do talks at schools about the dangers of wreck less driving, but she refused to do it. So they put her in a home until she turned 18.

I experienced all the stages of Grief….. The immediate shock and feeling no emotions. The denial that it was not real or true. Trying to bargain with God to have my son back. Guilt, and this is the one that still gets me, thinking I could of changed it if I was there, or I wasn’t a good enough mother and so on… Wanting to die, because a part of me died that night and you are NEVER the same again! Severe depression, sleeping too much, crying to much, feeling that death is the only answer, not wanting to have any fun if my son couldn’t be here to have fun, hating God…… Not fearing death at all anymore. Risky behavior, which happens because you just don’t care if you die anymore! The gut wrenching pain that never goes completely away. Deep and utter sadness. The death of a child will either bring a husband and wife closer or it will cause a divorce in the end. For me, it ended in a divorce three years later when my husband decided that he wanted to do drugs and have sex with other women. Having a support system would of really been helpful, but I did not and I do not have one. I lived and now even live away from all my family other than my kids and when my son died even my best friend was unable to really be there for me. I think I ended up living only because I out myself in intense private therapy, plus group therapy and DBT therapy…… Although, I do still to this day, have times where I am sucked back into the darkness and I just want the pain to stop!

It has been ten years and it still hurts deeply. I do not break down as often as I used too, but the pain is always there. I went through wanting to die and even having a plan on how I was going to do it. Right after my sons death I put myself in therapy and stayed in therapy for a solid three years. I realized I needed medication and I gave in and took what ever the doctor felt would help. I have had insomnia since his death. I do not sleep without medication. Every year around his death date I get very depressed. Also each year right at Halloween, thanksgiving, his birthday and Christmas as well. From October through December I have to battle severe depression. The worse pain in the world is the death of your child. No one should ever have to experience it!