Saturday, January 30, 2010

Getting older

Doesn't it just bug you when little things remind you that you are getting older?  Me too!  I am happy thinking of my age as a hypothetical - not something I want to think about and I can just go with what age I feel like.  But, when something reminds me of my age and that I'm getting older, then I start thinking about money and if my health problems will get worse, and what other health issues may arise, etc.  As well as thinking, I don't want to get older.

Reminder the first recently - my 21 (YES 21) year old son just moved out to his own apartment where I co-signed the lease.  Move out?  I can't pretend he's younger and so am I if he moves out on his own.  Plus I miss him and miss having my baby boy - so long ago that he was 6 and dressed as Batman or 10 in Tai Kwon Do lessons on my old home videos.  He's grown up means I'm grown up even more!

Reminder the second recently - my youngest son, my baby, is turning 17 (YES 17) on Monday.  Starting college a year and a half from now!  I miss my young children.  Yes, I know the purpose is for them to grow up and realize their dreams and be independent and I want that for them.  But, how did it happen so quickly?  It was just yesterday he was 4 and convinced that St. Patrick's day (his name is Patrick) was a holiday that was created just for him and wouldn't be swayed (I folded and bought him a present, I kept explaining that St. Patrick Day was named for a saint, but he responded "yes, I am really good" - gotta give in to that).  So, I work on finances for his college tuition coming up and worry if he'll be happy and make good decisions.

Funny story - my 21 year old said when he came back after having been moved out a week that he thought my migraines would improve after he moved out?  I never knew he thought he was a factor in that?

So, I am getting older and am budgeting savings, retirement, debt, etc.  As a CPA, I am great with a spreadsheet and budgets and actually enjoy working with them - better with someone else's numbers - so not all that bad and I'm in bad shape due to health costs on me but not as bad off as others are so I have to be thankful.

How much longer till I cannot work?  Well, last week, my neurologist said that if we don't see improvement then sooner or later they will require I go on disability and reduce my work to half time or less or none.  So, that's a worry. 

Then, I think maybe age will improve my conditions?  Some women after menopause see an improvement in their migraines?  But, I know too many who don't.  And then, my neuro talks about the white matter building in my brain from constant pain and increased risk of stroke as it continues.  Perhaps that means I need to save quicker and be more efficient to retire sooner to lower the risk?  Since I can't seem to stop the pain and it's primarily caused by stress.

Then, there's the fact that due to my disability, my career growth has been stunted.  I do well where I am but the company won't promote me or grow my career so my income is going to flatten.  Change jobs?  Change their minds?  Possibilities, but I'll worry about that later - just not too much later because the clock is ticking.

One thing I do know, every woman in my life close to me - friends and family - say the 40s are/were the best years of their life.  So, I am not going to be afraid of the number.  I adore my friends and family and my incredible husband who takes such good care of me - and me of him financially (for now) since he's an artist and I'm the breadwinner.

I hate my pain but I am happy with my life and I want to remember my life and events not being taken over by the pain.  That's the task, changing that - since right now the pain is in control. 

I still have good times.  A great memory from recent is last November seeing 75 year old Leonard Cohen in concert just after our wedding anniversary (one of his songs was our first dance song).  Seeing one of the greatest poets and writers of our time perform flawlessly and incredibly and skip off stage for 4 (YES 4) encores.  so, I have to say, age doesn't stop everyone.  Love you, Leonard Cohen - You are The Man.

I do want to talk more about my IV therapy and other things that I think are going to help, but want to see how they play out first.

Love and hope for pain free days for you as always,


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Awards Season

So, it's awards season for the movies of 2009.  And I am way behind in seeing movies and being ready.

Backup - I love awards season and the awards shows.  I know a lot of people don't care for them or think they don't make good picks, etc., but I think they are fun.  Especially the Oscars.  I don't always agree with their nominations or the choice for winners either, but still love to watch and discuss.

Every year since 2004, my friend and I have hosted an Oscar Party.  It is so much fun to get ready for it as well as the party itself.  We are both accountants and it's a time to be creative.  We make a poster of the nominations in major categories including pictures of actors, directors both in character/job and as normal - it's neat sometimes to see the difference in character pictures vs their actual appearance - and give descriptions, how many times nominated and for what films, etc.  We also make a poster board of every movie nominated in every category and give people stickers to mark what movies they've seen - we give a prize to the guest who has seen the most nominated films - some people come thinking they haven't seen many and then realize they've seen a lot more when they count other categories like song, sound, and other technical categories.

Then there's the display, for each movie nominated for best picture we do a food dish that relates to that movie in some way, a picture of the poster for the movie and also other displays/props that relate to the movie.  To do this, you have to have seen the movie!  This year they will have 10 rather than 5 best picture nominees which will be a huge jump and a lot more work - we've thought about giving certain guests the chance to bring their own food/display for 5 of the nominees so we only have to continue with 5 ourselves.  We also do the ballot game, having everyone fill out ballots and then give prizes for most picks right and sometimes a prize for least picks right.  I think we are eliminating that one this year because we found some guests were trying to lose and that's a waste of the money we spend on the prizes.

Anyway, my point is that by this time I have already in the fall made a list of movies I think have a chance of nominations and seen as many on the list as they come out and then when the other awards shows nominations come out, adjust my list as necessary and the movies I need to see and have some ideas for props/food/display for what I think may be a best picture nomination.

Due to my migraine disability being so bad lately, I am nowhere - not even step one, nor have I seen very many movies.  I love this time of year partly because of what I do to get ready for it and because it causes me to see movies I may have passed up seeing otherwise and then end up being a movie I love so I am so happy that the awards season got me to see the movie - even if it didn't end up with a nomination.

I have seen a few movies that are being talked about, and I need to feel grateful for that.  I can't help that going to the movies is more painful than it used to be or causes me to be worse off for a while painwise.  I need to be patting myself on the back for what I can do and not beating myself up for what I can't do.  Sure, I usually am at the top of the list, if not top, of having seen the most movies (not that I get the award, it goes to a guest) but that just won't be this year and I have to get over it. 

I am thankful my son and I saw Avatar on Christmas Eve.  It's nominated for a Golden Globe as well as Inglorious Bastards which I saw in September.  And Hurt Locker is on InDemand so I can watch here at home.  So, I am on my way a little. 

I am going to look forward to the awards shows and our Oscar Party and not feel down about my situation being different than other years.

One thing though - we switch every year whose house we have it at and this is my year - have to enlist hubby's help in getting the house ready and really cleaned up for it.  Don't have the energy I used to and have to take lots of breaks.  But, I know this so I will start earlier than usual and take breaks and ask for help.

Good luck to all the nominees at the Golden Globes tomorrow night (or tonight now - its 2:20 in the am).

I have trouble sleeping with the pain and so my sleep schedule is a bit awry.

I will not let my migraine disability control me and my ability to have this enjoyment!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Best Wishes for a New Year

Well, it's been a long, long time since my last post - September 2009 - and it is now January 2010.  No, I didn't get bored of this or tired of it - I was and still am in a bad way, in a huge slump.  I didn't want to post and haven't been using Twitter much either lately because my health, my migraines - the constant, unrelenting pain - has gotten to me. 

I try to be upbeat and project positivity, but was unable to for awhile, and maybe still. 

I did not want to post depressing or hopeless feeling posts where people would feel sorry for me or feel the need to comfort me.  That's not why I started this.  I do appreciate all the well wishes and all the comfort that has been offered to me and won't turn it away.  But, I started this to write about my feelings about my illness, how it's going and to be upbeat.  Sometimes just writing about it helps me to think more positively and that wasn't possible for me for awhile. 

Like I said, maybe not yet - but let's see.

The pain has gotten worse - or more correctly - I'm feeling it more and less able to separate myself from it.  It's been constant for two years now along with ringing ears and feeling faint and all the other drama.  I was able to still see myself through it - like point to "that's me" and "that's the migraine" - but when I look for me lately, I can't see through the pain to me. 

Even in looking for words it's like my brain synapses fire off to find the word I want to use and they get stopped by the pain and have to reroute and reroute and reroute to find a way to the other connection - the word.  So far, for the most part, eventually I find the word - the synapses connect.  But it takes longer and I can feel it's the pain stopping a faster connection.

That's hard, I miss me, my husband misses me, my children somewhat miss me (21 and 17 yr old boys have a lot of other things on their plate), my friends miss me, my family misses me.  Even when I'm right there, they can tell I'm not - that it's pain me, no separation. 

I hate that so much because before even though the pain was the same and constant I could see me and so could others.  I know I'm in here!  Now, the pain has increased and my doctors have increased some meds in December to combat that - some medications, adding a magnesium oil to soak through my skin, some straight up IV fluid just to hydrate me, some electrolytes to help hydrate me.

I see my acupuncturist who is incredible.  He told me last session as he walked out afterward, "don't worry, I'll never give up on you."  So I cried because it was just what I needed to hear - from a medical person.  I've heard the same from my neuro but not lately.

Had a suggestion from my narcolepsy sleep doctor and then my neuro that perhaps I try some medication that I refused.  It would take the last bit of control away from me.  They argued that don't I feel out of control now and I said yes, but not like that would make me feel out of control.  Upon telling my neuro some personal info she backed off and completely understood.  I'm not mentioning the medication here for two reasons.  One, I don't want anyone to suggest I try it anyway and two, I don't want to start a controversial conversation on the subject. 

It did make me think more about control.  What I've given up and how much I have left and how to hold on to it and make it grow.  I still don't know the answers to these questions yet, but it's a good and healthy project.  I'll let you know how it goes. 

My husband misses me so much he told me he's lonely even though we spend time together - he wants me.  He wasn't trying to hurt me even more although I did cry which angered the migraine monster so I did hurt more.  He was just needing to express his frustration at my disability.

I do not want to go on disability.  I have been allowed a reduced (for my profession as a CPA that's 40-45 hrs a week) work schedule and work almost exclusively from home.  I'm a great worker and great at my job but it takes longer, more thought, more patience with me and by me to get it done, then it's still a great product.  I work mostly on highly technical research and international tax issues.  I am able to do that so much easier from home because I am dealing with being a consultant to the consultants rather than dealing directly with clients for the most part.  I work with the clients but am not the client manager so that relieves a lot of burden.

I have to keep working and keep providing for my family.  That's the fight my pain and I are having.  That's the fight my disability and I are having.  I am going to win.  As long as I set boundaries, keep the boundaries, respect my disability, continue to get support from work and home, and find myself again.

One quick note on the magnesium oil, it does seem to be helping.  I take so many meds for so many conditions and not as many meds as I do supplements and vitamins and the pain is making it hard for my body to absorb it all digestively - the magnesium oil combined with water and sprayed on like a lotion and rubbed in helps get the magnesium and more hydration in through my skin.  I will say my mood has improved since starting it and a thank you to my acupuncturist for sending me to buy it.

So, Best Wishes to You All for a Happy New Year and for me to find me again.  If you see me let me know.