October 22, 2018

Oh The Questions I Get Asked…Part I

I get some pretty strange questions all the time and some pretty personal ones too! I am getting use to my life being an open book, whether I am having a bad day, just hit one of my goals, or just an average run of mill day…I am letting people see that I am only human, just like everyone else. I don’t think I am better than anyone, nor do I think that I am a failure.

After all, failure only occurs when you stop trying! I am going to list some questions I have been asked and I am also going to respond to them! I never stop trying, I might tweak it to make it fit better for me, or I might change direction or it might end up turning out completely different than what I pictured, but I never stop trying.

I am going to list some questions I have been asked and I am also going to respond to them!

 

Why are you squatting that way?

You might be wondering what my squats look like now! I definitely squat different than a person who has had no back or hip surgeries or injuries. Can I squat the same way that an Olympic lifter does, yes I can. But in order for me to do repetitive sets, at a solid weight, I have to tweak it. Sometimes my feet are farther out in front of my stance and I squat basically sticking my butt out and chest up. Another way is using plates under my heels. This way takes some pressure off, which helps me dramatically! I also never just push out squats as fast as I can; I use steady consistency throughout the entire movement, sometimes even holding the squat in the down position for a 3-5 count.  If I want to do explosive squats, I never do them with weight; I do air squats, which is still a good training for my glutes, hamstrings and quads. These even work my core.

Why don’t you ever tell me to do sit-ups?

It’s not that I don’t like them; there are just so many other core strengthening techniques that don’t put as much pressure on my lower spine and yield better results (I think).

You have chronic pain? But you don’t look in pain?

This one almost always gets me to laugh. My response, please explain to me exactly what pain looks like. I have learned to mask my pain with a smile. It helps me get through it. I don’t have time to be bed ridden, after all I escaped death 3 times…I WANT TO LIVE MY LIFE…even in chronic pain!

How are you handicapped…you are so young? (Or I get the disgusted look and eye roll)

Yes, I am young, but I have had a handicap parking permit on and off since I have been 18. I have lived MANY years on a walker, trust me no 18 year old wants to have to depend on a walker! But it was letting me walk, something that I was told I would never do! I now have a permanent handicap permit and I don’t use it all the time. I use it on my bad days or when I know I will be walking for awhile because I just might not make it back to my car. You see, I can’t stand long on my left leg. Within about 30-45 minutes the throbbing starts and the stabbing pains kick in.  Then within 15-30 minutes after that all begins, my entire leg goes dead, completely numb. Yet my hip is completely ON FIRE. Then I start over compensating and my lower back then gives out. So yes, I am handicap in the eyes of my doctors (not the government), but I don’t consider myself handicapped, I just have limitations that I have work around.

Oh, you were injured in the line of duty? You must be very well taken care of!

OK…I have one word….HA!!! Not even close! That so called family, the “Brotherhood” you hear about…cut the umbilical cord the night of my accident. I had to literally fight for everything; my paycheck, my healthcare, I was even cut off early from physical therapy before I could walk because I was told it wasn’t necessary. I was forced out because I became a liability. The agency I worked for is not part of a union, so the Sheriff dictates how things are run, he changes the rules to FIT as he sees fit. I resigned after 10 years of dedicated service without even a thank you. So, no I am not taken care of, actually if it wasn’t for my family I would be homeless and many of days my daughter and I would gone without food.

Yes, I Have Tats…And I Love Them!

When I say “I have tats”, I don’t mean a couple small ones…I mean I HAVE tats, 20 to be exact, one for each surgery. My first one was when I was 27, when I was out of town on a vacation with one of my dear friends. It was definitely a spur of the minute decision, but the one thing I did do was call my dad. Why you might ask…well because I always told him that if I ever was going to get one, I would still ask his permission (yes, even at 27)! His answer was, NO! I got it anyway and it was the first thing that was asked about when I got off the plane. From there, my collection just started growing. Some means things, some I just wanted and some, well I just wanted!  🙂

I got the most of my work done after my last accident. It was a way to have pain transfer for a bit. I know that might sound a little strange, but when you are in chronic pain, getting your mind to feel a “different” kind of pain for a while actually is better than any pain meds could do (at least for me).

I get asked the same question over and over again (as I am sure most people with tats do), “does it hurt?” Well there are many answers to that one simple question! Here’s why. First, is placement, which tat are you asking about? My feet, ones on bone, fleshier ones, side, neck…you have to be specific. Second, my pain tolerance is a lot higher than a normal person’s. What could be a 10 to you would maybe be just a 2 for me (after all I had a complete total hip replacement with NO pain meds).  Third, it depends what you are getting done. Outline only, shading, multiple colors, etc. And lastly, it depends who is doing it! Believe it or not, this plays a huge factor in pain level. Some have the lightest touch, but go deep while others go light yet feel like they are taking your skin with them!

The other question I get repeatedly asked is, “who does your work?” Well again, which one are you asking about? Although most have been done by the same artist, I have 6 different artists work on my body. I love what each one has done because they brought their own uniqueness to the table, but what I also love about them is that they would be the first to say to me, you are better off with _____ to do that piece because that’s his specialty. Yes, they all have what they love to do and specialize in! Any artist who doesn’t offer you someone else to do your piece, especially if seeing their portfolio and all you see is traditional pieces and you want a portrait done is not offering you the best for you!

 Remember, this is permanent…it will forever be a part of who you are! So don’t rush into it, take your time, talk to the artist, get the design perfect (trust me they can get what’s in your head on paper) and even more so…make sure the placement on your body fits what you are doing…it makes all the difference! TRUST ME! (Yes, all tats pictured are mine!)

Why I Do What I Do!

Have you ever been told “NO”, “NEVER”, “IMPOSSIBLE”, “CAN’T” or “WON”T”?

I HAVE!!! Way too many times in my life and almost every person who has spoken those words to me were doctors. I have learned one thing about doctor’s…it’s not they don’t know what they are doing, it’s just that they only practice medicine, they can’t determine the person’s WILL! My doctor’s soon realized I was a force to be reckoned with. That I wouldn’t let them or anyone else put ANY limitations on my life or my body.

The systems/conditions that my accidents have put on me are as follows:

A dull headache everyday, a migraine at least once a week, 20 surgeries total, loss of range of motion throughout my entire lumbar spine, loss of range of motion in my left hip flexor, numbness in sections of my left leg at all times, left leg going numb after 15-20 mins of standing on it (30 mins if sitting), muscle spasm throughout my back and left leg, constant sharp shooting pain down my left leg, constant dull ache in my lower back, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, PTSD, short term memory loss…

What limitations I allow affect me:

NONE!!

I have had every type of doctor imaginable: orthopedic, neurologist, neurosurgeon, Internist, General, Urologist, Psychologist, Plastic Surgeon (reconstructive), ER Trauma Surgeons, Anesthesiologist, Gastroenterologists, Optometrist, Psychiatrist, Rheumatologist, Infectious Disease Specialist, Physiatrist and Radiologist.

Who do I have now:

NOT A ONE!!

If you have read a previous post of mine about all the prescription medications I was on (Click Here, if you haven’t), then you also know that I no longer take any. My body has become completely immune to any and all medications (including pain meds). I had my last surgery (total hip replacement) without any pain meds.

Now why do I do what I do?

Because I KNOW ME better than anyone else. I know when to rest and I know when to keep going. I know the difference between being SORE from a great workout and being IN PAIN from my injuries.

Because I am a SINGLE MOM. 24/7, 365 days a year. If dinner has to be cook, it’s up to me. If laundry has to be done or the house vacuumed, that’s on me too. If want food in the fridge, clothes for my daughter and a roof over our heads, that also on me.

Pain or no pain, I still have responsibilities and priorities. Just because I have suffered through much, gives me no excuse. If I want to make the best out of my life, why would I give the reins to someone who knows NOTHING about my life?

I have taken control back, I do research on my injuries, I find out how to tweak things to fit me…I say this all the time…”This is MY NEW NORMAL”!

Negative…trying to turn positive

Yesterday was Series #2 of my procedures that I am doing. The first one didn’t take at all…all it feels like I have someone nailing my left hip and lower spine with a baseball bat and constantly being bruised deeply!! My Doc didn’t like it at all…especially when I usually go into his office with a pain level of 2 or 3 and yesterday was a 5. So we did the second set hoping that it takes. If not, I am all out of options to relieve any of my chronic pain. I just have to start dealing with the level I am at and know that this is it for me.

The thing I do tell myself is, I might have chronic pain, but it just reminds me daily that I am still here. I am still her to be a mom, to raise my daughter. Which is what I was put on this earth to do.

As for other things, I am getting frustrated with my goal and dream…I need to really start refocusing. I need to make a plan and stick to it. This is my future for me and Adri and I have to make sure it is solid!

PLAN Z

So yesterday I went and started the first series of 3 procedures that my pain management doctor is trying (as I call it PLAN Z) to see if this will take any of my chronic pain away!

I call it PLAN Z…because this is it…there are NO more options left…no other type of procedures…no other kinds of medications….the only other type of things left will be surgeries!! And I am NOT going there…not yet…SURGERY IS NOT AN OPTION…I have had my fair share! At least so far….let’s see I have had 9 in 9 years…I think my body deserves a break. I WILL NOT give in or GIVE UP! I will JUST DEAL! I will deal with the daily pain I am in. I will deal with the CHRONIC PAIN that I am in. Between nerve pain, tingling, numbness, stabbing pain, dullness, sharpness, cramping, joint stiffness…I WILL DEAL!!  As much as I HATE taking all the meds I take…I WILL take them…all 15 pills a day to function!! I will down them everyday!!

So I will go thru this…I will deal with it and see if it works!!! We shall see……