Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Sneak Peek at A-Frame of Mind

The story is a little funny, at least from a distance. I can't remember exactly when we realized we had outgrown our small two bedroom apartment, but it's never been more evident then this last year. Personally, I hadn't minded being cooped up here, but the kids have. Since Ava started walking she took to running laps around our couch all day long and now Baxter has joined her in this common occurrence. I've tried to explain to them that our allergies are so sever it's best to stay in-doors. However, God created children to run free and unabashed. And it seems with my babies, they each got a double dose of this hard wiring.

After getting our finances where they needed to be, which I thought would be the hard part of home buying, we began our search. To say I was wrong about the hard part would be an understatement. Going on-line we found a sweet little bungalow near where our friends live. Little being the operative word. So was bungalow. On the bright side, we found our Relator. We quickly opted for a home in Paradise, a beautiful A-Frame home. To be honest, I never gave those types of homes any notice. But Aaron loved it the moment he saw the photos on-line. It wasn't until we drove up to the house that I fell for it too. It was the first home we put an offer on. It was also the first heartbreak we had in home-buying.

We were too late. It was a short sale and the owner accepted an offer just before ours and we fell into the "back-up" slot. Completely devastated we continued searching for the home that was meant for our family. We saw houses, condos- you name it, we saw it. We had even put in several offers but nothing materialized. I was so completely frustrated and swore I'd never look at any more homes again.

But then, we got word the bank foreclosed on the owner, rejected the original offer and took the property off the market. Then it happened. Three very long months later the house came back on the market. Frantic we scramble to get everything in order and our sweet Relator worked hard for us. The second offer we submitted was rejected, felt my heart break all over again. Turns out they changed the type of mortgage. Even quicker we rushed to change the paper work and for the third time, we put in our offer.

I got the news from a text Aaron sent me. It was simple: Guess what.
I knew what he was telling me but I held my breath. We got it! We got it. Those three little words filled me with great joy and great trepidation at the same time.

So, We are moving from a two bedroom apartment to a three bedroom house in the foothills. That is, we are moving from my home town of Chico California, to Paradise California, which is just up the hill from Chico. What made me decide we needed to buy this home was it reminded me of the ski chalet we spent the first night of our honeymoon in before heading up to Oregon where ‘Goonies’ had been filmed. Our daughter, Ava, was born on our first wedding anniversary so we haven’t ever really been able to celebrate our time together and with this home, I feel as though it’s a daily visual reminder of our love and covenant we share.

The house is absolutely beautiful; unfortunately the same thing that makes our future home amazing also makes it frustrating: It’s an A-frame.

But, you know, we are in escrow so anything can happen...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Dear Sweet Boy a.k.a Terry Bradshaw

I had perhaps put it off too long. But this was something that I as a mother had not experienced until now. I had been a hair dresser for over ten years and part of that time I worked in a kids salon. I can't even begin to recall how many first haircuts I've given. I had gotten to the point where all I had to do was look at the child and would be able to know exactly how it would go. There were the screamers, the climbers and the terrified. With each case there were perks and draw backs. With the screamers, you'd have a headache the rest of the day, the climbers you were destined to cut yourself and with the terrified, you'd have their frozen expression of pure terror suck in your mind, knowing YOU were the reason why they'd have nightmares when they went to bed that night. But with each case, I'd just jump in, work my fastest as I tripped over worried parents and dodging cameras. I think there was just a handful of times that I wasn't able to finish a haircut. With experience you can tell the moment they walk up to you. With this experience, I would ignore the parents instruction for their child's 1 fade to finger length on top and get a 3 on the sides and back before being kicked and punched.

So for the last month, I watched my son. He's such a sweet child who cries if you look at him the wrong way. And of course, he has my hair, fine and very blond. The kind of blond most hair dressers dread.

With his blond hair growing wildly on the sides and back, I couldn't ignore the fact that my sweet child looked more and more like Terry Bradshaw with every passing day.

This was it. My in laws are visiting for the weekend and I figured it just had to be done.

My husband has his own set of over the counter Wahl's so I knew it would be better to use those instead of my industrial Oster's. Although, I do miss the grind of my clippers, their weight in my hand and the comforting smell of grease. It was an odd feeling for me. I held his clippers in my hand as Baxter sat unknowingly in Grandma Lord's lap. Since I retired from cosmetology, it was rare for me to cut hair. It had been years since I last stood behind an over-grown head. I found the guard, snapped it on and set the clippers down. I have a favorite set of shears and setting both pairs next to each other and then separately holding each one up to study the blade before selecting my favorite. I knew I wouldn't be able to do anything too fancy with Baxter but I wanted to cut off some of the rear comb-forward and that required shears. Just slipping my fingers into the handle, I knew this just might be one of the last haircuts I was to give. I hadn't felt that kind of restricted pain before but as it shot through my hand and fingers, my arm seized with familiarity. I ignored the pain, set down my shears and grabbed the clippers. Looking at my beautiful son I turned the Whal's on and tried to show my son how they worked. This did not go over well. I'll let you decide what kind of kid he is by the pictures:

Shifting into stylist mode I dove in and got to work. The haircut didn't take long and as I trimmed the top of his blond locks, Daddy watched nervously. As soon as I was done I swooped my baby into my arms and flooded him with kisses. After he settled down we showed him how handsome he was with his new haircut. Turns out, he couldn't have cared less however, I can't stop looking at my boy and am in awe how a simple haircut could make such a difference. When I look at my child, I no longer see my baby, I see my sweet toddler. My little man, my pumpkin growing-up. I do miss the cuddle bug baby but at the same time I'm amazed how big my son is and as I pull him down off the desk for the tenth time today, I'm eager to see all he grows into.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

And I Held My Breath

Sitting in the exam room I felt myself hoping for another surgery. It's not as though I love having surgeries, in fact, I dread them. Praying hard for the two weeks after my MRI, I begged God to open the surgeons eyes and help him see what's shown in the abstract black and white jungle on the screen.

A torn tendon would be simple. It's torn. The surgeon goes in, sews it up and my arm is fixed! The last five years of living in pain that has prevented me from being a wife and mother is finished, as if my prison sentence is fulfilled and I am released to be a functioning member of society. Although, I have forgotten how.

My stomach in knots, I pull out my eyeglasses and put them on. I sat fidgeting until he walked in.
Briskly he opened the door and made little attempt at small talk as he opened my chart and wheeled his stool next to me.

He reviewed the notes from my MRI and then he walked me thru what they read. Some scarring where my cubital tunnel/carpal tunnel surgery was, which was normal. I thought it odd how normal it was, after all, the reason for that surgery was to remove five inches of scar tissue that had compressed my ulnar nerve to less than half it's normal size. He also brushed off the finding of a bone spur and finished by saying my arm looked normal. My heart sank as he turned off the light and pulled up my MRI images. He nodded in agreement with the report: no visible signs of tearing.

In that instant I felt like I had when my problems first began. The numbness and tingling came about so gradual that it was hard for me to even pinpoint exactly when it started. Then the twinge of pain crept up in my elbow and wrist. And the weakness. And sensitivity. I had gotten to the point that during each haircut I would pause, drop my right arm down and shake it. I did this so often that I wasn't even aware I was doing it. During the last few hours of my shift I found it necessary to excuses myself from haircuts and stifle tears as I rummaged in the break-room for Ibuprofen.

I sat in bed, icing my arm after a long shift trying to relax, center myself in hope I could curb whatever it was that threatened my vocation. What this pain was I couldn't describe it. I didn't have the words to tell the Doctor what was going on. The pain was now constant. It only varied mildly in severity and even it's location. All my fingers were numb with a sharp pain in my wrist that felt like I was wearing a bracelet of fine wire that was cutting into my wrist down to the bone. My elbow hurt in every position it made. At times it felt as if a sledge hammer was crushing my joint. Other times the pain was piercing, sending streaks of pain throughout my forearm. But in every case, the pain spread it's way up my arm and stretched to my shoulder, neck and lower head. And every night after hours of tossing, trying to find a place that would help me sleep, I always ended up in the shower with the hot water cranked as high as it could go.

For the first two years of this, I was seeing workman's compensation Doctors at Enloe. Every week it was a new Doctor and every week it was a new diagnosis. I didn't know what to do. I cried a lot. Not only was I in ceaseless agony, I was slowly being pulled away from the one thing I was really good at. I was a hairstylist. I was in my element with hair and I did my job with ease and skill and my client list was longer then I had realized. But now, this thing that I loved, my body just couldn't do and no Doctor could tell me why.

My surgeon flipped the lights back on but I was still in the state of confusion and hopelessness I was in five years ago. I choked back the impending tears and I asked him how long ago had he done my surgery. Nine months ago. Then what's wrong with me? Is this just tendinitis? I don't understand. I feel the same as before my surgery. The only difference is the tingling in my fingers has subsided.

He nodded. Wheeled closer to me again and examined my arm. Pressing, stretching and manipulating my useless arm. "Yes. I'd say it's tendinitis," he answered. "Don't lose hope. We'll treat it with the shots. We might need to really work on this tendon but for now, I'll give you the injection and come back in a month and we'll see where you are."

Four long years I felt alone. Hurting and thinking that I was the only one who believed what I was going through. I felt overwhelming relief and joy when I had my second nerve condition test. The first one was done very poorly and rudely since it was a workman's comp Doctor. This second one was done years later by a specialist who, after testing my right arm and finding it tested borderline he looked at me and said it didn't seem right so he tested my left arm to get a comparison. And thats when my heart leapt for joy! Right there, it was evident that my right arm was so much slower then my left arm and my diagnosis was clear: cubital tunnel.

I longed to have that same relief again. I wanted a clear answer. I sincerely believe that tendinitis dose not inflict this amount of pain. Although I understand that the difficulty of diagnosing my arm lies in the fact that there's multiple things going wrong with it. Each problem needing to be fixed in order to see the next issue. I still found myself begging God for a clear and simple answer.

These past years, my prayers have ended the same way: me begging God and His silence. But I still pray, and I wait.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Siege and Uncertainty.

As I lay here, in my darkened room I realized I'm in a very difficult moment in my life. I have ran out of my pain medication again and find myself waiting on the pharmacy, again. The relentless pain drilling into a blurry throb I am tearing up and relying on God. I had, in the past relied on Him unknowingly. That is, I lived in chaos. I was lost in my depression; fueling it with alcohol, endless nights, self inflicting torment and inward rage. Never calling on my Heavenly Father to protect me and save me. My soul had called out for God and relied on Him.

This is vastly different. Every step I take I am praying and actively urging myself to rely on Gods strength and wisdom. From buying a home to dealing with my hated arm and everything in-between.

Perhaps one can live their life without relying wholly or even partially on God. However, as I live in a siege of pain, uncertainty and depression; I would be a fool if I didn't run to God.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Mild Disclaimer

As a comment to my Blog link on Facebook, I wrote:

The thing about Depression that I'm afraid of the most is it's secrecy. Secrecy implies shame and shame implies wrong doing. At first I hesitated publishing this blog post because I was afraid of what others might think, if I'd scare them or usher them to action in calling CPS. But the thing is, I have done nothing wrong and despite the workings of my brain, I am a good mommy. For years I had longed for someone to tell me that's it's ok, & I'm not alone. Living under a shroud of secrecy is so binding and isolating. I hope someone benefits from my post. Recognize they need to talk openly, candidly and get the help that's out there so they no longer fell like I had. So when the Bible says that we have been set free, they can fully understand it and fully feel their freedom.

I feel as though it is necessary to publish it here as well, just to qualify my previous blog entry. You know, "just in case".