Tuesday, March 29, 2011

If they call me a Repeat Offender one more time..

Back from Norman, my two new splints and bitter attitude in tow. I'm looking thru the materials that are much the same as they were 5 years ago when I see that all too familiar list of do's & don'ts. I won't bore you with all of that so I've copy/pasted just a little from the website. My favorite, most memorable part I've highlighted below.


LIFESTYLE
  1. Avoid or reduce perfumes and scented products. These chemicals aggravate sensitive muscles.
  2. Don't sit or sleep directly under ceiling fans or vents.
  3. Watch head / neck position (cradling phone between head and shoulder).
  4. If you are able to tolerate aspirin products, take two tablets of Advil (or equivalent), an anti-inflammatory medication, four times daily. This is taken to reduce swelling and inflammation within the joint. If you are not sure of your tolerance to aspirin-like products or if you are taking any other medication, check with our office or your physician first.
  5. Prioritize your activities. Be ruthless. Eliminate those things that are least important. This involves learning to say "no" to tasks that can be put off, so you can carefully parcel out your available energy among those things that need to be done.
  6. Spare your family and friends. Pointing every detail of your illness out to close relatives can backfire. Family members and friends are not equipped to deal with the devastating nature of chronic pain over the long haul. It is okay to educate those close to you about it, but be careful to monitor the amount of personal details you burden them with. You don't want to drive your most important network of social support away.
  7. Get help. Patient support groups can be a great source of comfort for many on how to deal emotionally and functionally with the disease. Others have found counseling, massage therapy and physical therapy to be beneficial.
  8. Continue living. If you can't walk a mile, walk a block. If you can't work full-time, work part-time. In other words, try to do the same things you use to do, even if you can only handle a fraction of the activity. It is important that you occupy yourself, both mentally and physically.
  9. Maintain a positive attitude. Those who do seem to cope and recover the best.
Okay, so anyone who gets to this point has long figured out that this is something they will be dealing with on their own. Why point out the painfully obvious? So now, on top of everything else, I get to second guess myself and wonder if I'm talking about it too much or sharing too many details or should come up with shorter answers for when people ask. Now I get to stress about if I've "burdened" my important network of social support and might be driving them away. Seriously?!?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

a funny story that could've been not so funny..

Today I left my pain release splint sitting on the bathroom counter. The longest day ever and I leave my stupid mouthpiece at home!!! AAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH! Seriously!?
How?-my hubby asked.. well maybe it's because I have a bajillion things on my mind at the moment & trying to make sure I had report cards, conference summaries, retention forms & work samples ready on top of lesson plans, IEPs and oh idk.. LUNCH planned had my brain on overload. Not to mention it being a FD day so I'd have to get Nana to help out after school. So anyway, the point is, I left it.
By lunchtime, I can barely move my neck. I'm gnawing on my lasagna while talking to my pod-pal and I decide that my ibproferen is not going to cut it today. I will take a muscle relaxer as well.  I've done this before, no alarm here. However, as I open the bottle I ask my dear friend, "uh, did I already take this?" She says she's not sure & I shrug as I take it and keep talking. We laugh about how bad it would be if I accidentally took 2 of them..
About 15 mins later I'm walking back to her room after getting my class off to electives and before I can say anything she says "you took 2 didn't you?!" I drawl out "mmmaaaayyyybbbeee?" and we contemplate my options. I'm sure I'm going to have to go home at this point.. on a conference day??!?! really!?!??! So I use my 40 min planning time to eat anything I can find & drink a ton of water while working on some papers. By some miracle, I was feeling nearly normal by the time the kids came walking back in my room. I still don't know if I took 2 or not, or if it was maybe just taking the meds at the same time before I'd eaten much or what. But -Thank you, God, for getting me thru today. Conferences went well and I left smiling. Against all odds.. now.. where did I put that splint?

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Monday, March 21, 2011

spring B R E A K

I had the best week ever.. like really, ever. I'll tell you why. We didn't do anything special really. We had a few little family get-togethers and such, but for the most part we stayed at home.. just the 4 of us. The Firefighter took two shift days off so altogether he had a 10 day break from the FD. We didn't accomplish much - no big projects or tasks. I worked on report cards one day from home but never went up to the school. The kids didn't do a single activity all week.
We simply allowed ourselves to slow down and do NOTHING! What a concept, I know, lol. We spent our time cuddling on the couch, watching movies, playing outside, laying in the sunshine, eating out, reading, riding bikes, going to the park, and playing games. I loved it. I loved every single minute of it.
It was just the BREAK I needed :)

And we finished it off doing the one thing the Diva wanted most.. going to the city to see the cousins and get her ears pierced!

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Crazy Love

Right now I'm reading the book "Crazy Love" on my Kindle and this analogy really struck me. Imagine life as this giant escalator going down. You are on this escalator surrounded by people on their descent. To be a Christian, a Christ-follower, you have to be actively fighting against the crowd taking steps up the escalator. If you are standing still you are actually losing ground without even realizing it. It's just like being in the river of life.. you have to keep swimming or the current will sweep you away.
So often I find myself drifting downstream.. or standing still as the escalator moves downward. I am so oblivious sometimes.
The world is going in one direction.. down. There's no such thing as standing still, or being "lukewarm." God says -you are either for me or against me. How can we think we can float thru life? Being a believer is a constant struggle against the world we live in. It is an active decision to keep following Jesus, to seek God's will, a constant surrender! Our Lord says -draw near to me and I will draw near to you. It is a decision we must make over & over to love & seek Him above all else. When we stop doing that, the world works quickly to drown out the still small voice inside us that tells us that God's steadfast love is better than life.
Lucky for us, God will always take us back.
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

some relief

I feel so relieved today. Maybe it's because I can see a path toward recovery. Maybe it's because I didn't feel so alone today. Maybe it's because I'm returning to a road I've already been down. It could be a combination things but today, for whatever reason, I have hope.
Today I visited my old TMJ specialist, the first of many 2 hr trips I will be making in the coming year. My hubby took me and was with me thru the long exam process. It's been 5 years since I was treated for my TMD. Doc says that my condition has gotten worse and while I will be going thru the same sort of thing, he reassured me that we are not starting back at square one. We know that the splints work to correct the problem at hand, so I will be going back to them.. a day appliance that I wear at all times and then a nighttime one that I sleep in. However, we also know that this doesn't prevent my jaw from dislocating. I will have the same problems as soon as I stop wearing the splints. He said that he has some clients that have gone to only the nighttime one and not had problems for 20 years. I guess this is the best I can hope for. It is a dysfunction of the joint that only gets worse in time. I am relieved to not have surgery as a consideration because that is a scary thing to think about.
For now, I am to continue the liquid/soft food diet but he gave me some new meds that will hopefully not cause the same kind of nausea that I've been dealing with. This will be an improvement. He also sent me home in a pain-release appliance that fits on my lower teeth and provides a sort of soft pillow for my upper teeth so my jaw can rest and relieve the pressure on the joint. It's going to take some time for the inflammation to go down in the jaw muscles. He said it's just like a sprained ankle, the tendons & ligaments need time to recover.
I'm impatient to get back to my normal function and MY LIFE! Ever notice how everything revolves around eating? Well it does. I'm sick of not being able to eat what I want. I'm sick of when people ask if I'm feeling better I have to either lie or feel pathetic for saying -uhh not really. Most of all I'm sick of the fatigue and dealing with the pain which has had me pretty down and feeling pitiful. I'm sick of not feeling like ME!
But more than anything I'm thankful. Thankful for a wonderful husband and an amazing support system of friends & family who care. I'm thankful for sweet, understanding kids who've done all they can think of to take care of Momma this past week. I'm thankful to God that it's not anything worse I'm facing and that even if it was, I know he's bigger than all of my problems. I'm thankful for a great doctor who makes me feel like he knows what I'm going thru and reassures me that we're going to conquer it together. I'm thankful for all the little things that have made me smile today and know that I have a lot more of that to look forward to. :)

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

sneaking a moment

Right now my kids are in lunch and I'm sitting here with tear-filled eyes as I sip my lukewarm chicken broth. I've decided to not work on anything for the moment and read my daily devotional. Now that's done I just feel the need to jot a few frantic feelings down. First of all, my jaw hurts. Okay enough of that, I know. But I just want to feel sorry for myself for a moment. My stomach is growling at the food I haven't ingested this week and I'm sick of the runny muck that I have. Second of all, I'm frustrated. Here it is the start of March Madness for teachers and on top of it all, I can't eat or sleep or think straight. I really don't need this hurdle, it's already hard enough. Thirdly, THANK YOU GOD.. I'm struggling but I haven't lost focus of his grace that it hasn't gotten so bad that I can't even talk. How sad I would be if I couldn't read my beloved Dr. Seuss stories this week to my students. Alright, time to go get my kids. Deep breath.. here we go.

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Psalms 30:10-12

"Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me; O LORD, be my help. You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Faith

We all have our own battles to fight, don't we? Life is full of struggles and chaos and pain at times. It's full of good things too. Isn't it funny that you feel surrounded by people during the good times. It's like when you are feeling great and all is well in your world that is when people come around. What about when things aren't so good?
Maybe it's just Satan getting his victory on me, but I feel so completely alone when I'm dealing with something in my life. I tend to feel down and discouraged and weak. I saw on the 30 day picture challenge that one of the topics is the person who has gotten  you thru the most in life and I immediately thought -God. It seems the only way I ever get thru anything is by prayer and surrender to God.
I try to be there for others. I don't know if that's ever made much of an impact in their lives, but I put my heart into it anyway. I pray for them, listen to them, encourage them, check in on them and just keep them in the forefront of my mind when I know they're going thru something difficult or trying. I feel like God has given me a heart for other people's pain & emotions. I actually hurt with them as I'm reaching out to a friend in need. But when I'm faced with my own pain I am the opposite. I retreat.
Feeling alone in my problems is probably my own fault. It seems I ignore it as long as I can until it's gotten so bad that I fall apart. Then I'm a mess. I feel negative energy around me and know that I shouldn't be around others in this state because it isn't reflective of God's grace & mercy and his power over all. I retreat into myself, drowning in self pity until I  finally let it go & turn it over to God. I hate this cycle. I pray that God will change this in me. I hate feeling like a completely different person during trials. I want to praise God and instead I wallow.
Lord, forgive me. I know nothing is so great that YOU can't get me thru. Help me to not let Satan steal my joy as you are triumphing over my pain. -Amen

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30 Days to Understanding the Bible

Ever felt frustrated with trying to read the Bible? Maybe you set your New Year's Resolution and quickly found that from starting in...