Random updates

We have moved into our new home. There’s a lot of things to like and even more to hate but we’re here. Getting used to the new location and million steps inside the house. This is a big house, built in the 80s and for some reason people thought back then that it would be fancy to have each room be on a slightly different level, so there are steps EVERYWHERE. Also, each bathroom is colorfully tiled in a different color and the kitchen has yellow tiles with a lemon backsplash.🤦‍♀️ It’s fine. At least it’s only temporary.

Work is going well. A lot of functions have shifted and operations have been streamlined, so it isn’t as exhausting as before. I’ve been working 11 months already! I can’t believe how fast that flew by. I’m truly loving what I do now, and I’m so happy I didn’t give up in the beginning when it was so incredibly hard.

Part of the reason why it’s going well right now is also because my doctor prescribed me a medicine to fight migraine headaches that is actually giving me some relief!! It’s called Sydolil and I take one pill in the morning and it keeps the worse headache at bay. It doesn’t last all day, but that’s okay. I’m not keen on taking a lot of meds, so I’ll deal with the afternoon headaches. It’s better the than dealing with it all day, like usual.

Kids started school. First year of middle school for my son. He’s not loving it, but he’s in performing arts after school now, and he does love that! I hope it gets better for him. My daughter is in 9th grade and here at her Mexican school that’s still considered middle school, so she’s a little underwhelmed since she always imagined this transition being a bigger deal.

My husband is traveling more and more for work again, since Covid is no longer an excuse. He had Covid! Right before we moved to the new house in July. And then I got Covid about a month later!! It was brutal. I really got it bad. I’m grateful for all my vaccines, because I was certain I would’ve died if I’d gotten it in 2020. A few weeks after I recovered from it, I got bacterial food poisoning as well! It was a rough summer.

In the same week that we moved I had planned a girl’s trip with some friends in California (long before we knew our moving date) and I flew to Tijuana, crossed the border bridge, rented a car and drove to wine country Temecula to be with my girlfriends for the weekend. It was awesome!! I had never done anything like it before, and it couldn’t have happened at a better time for me! I truly needed this relaxation after the stressful move. I came home to an unorganized home, but I felt recharged.

Our kitchen backsplash

Facebook post by “Get grounded w/ Kerry Foreman”

So much pressure on survivors of trauma to be grateful.

I believe in and practice gratitude daily….but grateful for my trauma??

Not so much.

What I am grateful for is my resourcefulness.
I am grateful for my resilience.
My grit and my tenacity.

I am grateful for a curious and compassionate heart.
I am grateful those were able to hang on and even more grateful that they grow with practice.

I am grateful for the parts of me that spoke loud and clear during my hardest moments and stood by me until it was over.

I am grateful to each version of me throughout the years.

Reflecting back on her and applauding her courage.

Each ovation, longer than the next.

I am grateful for the wisdom that has grown from my pain.

I am grateful to my Self….for gathering all the parts of me and loving them back to their original strength.

Grateful for trauma?

Nah.

I am grateful I am strong as hell and able to mine for gold.

Grateful to this 50 yr old woman I see in the mirror everyday…..who became who she needed in this world.

Grateful for her badass skills and consistent work.

#getgrounded

Not the usual

Lately life has been harder than normal. So many things happening at once. The biggest change that’s in the works is a move. We are forced to leave our current house because the landlord wants to sell. It’s been a total disaster to get a new suitable house, and we were supposed to move this week, but now it got postponed to next week! It’s been an emotional rollercoaster and I’m so ready for this ride to be over.

My husband tested positive for Covid last week also. Given my suppressed immune system I always assumed I would automatically get it as soon as someone in our household gets it, but fortunately I dodged this bullet. I’m still sleeping on the couch though, because I really don’t want to take any chances! But that also means I’m hurting more than usual.

I actually called in sick to work yesterday. That’s the first time in the 9+ months I’ve been working full-time. And it wasn’t even a matter of excessive pain, it was more a protest. Haha. I was just at the end of the rope with my tolerance and I needed an extra day. It helped. I felt more energized today and went to work, after the electricity went out and my gate wouldn’t open and I couldn’t leave on time! It’s been crazy. Everything seems to be going wrong.

My anxiety has been through the roof. I haven’t felt this chest vibration continuously for so long in… ever. I used to feel sometimes that my frequency was different from the world around me. Now it’s been going on for months. It is starting to scare me. I hope that it will fade again after the move and we’re settled into the new home. The last thing I want to do is take medicine for it.

I’ve been losing some weight. I started a diet plan under the care of a doctor. It’s been going pretty good, although I’m hungry all the time, which is detrimental for my headache. I am also supposed to walk every day, but that is not happening. I just can’t find the energy or stamina to put on my sneakers and go out. It doesn’t help that it’s super hot and humid out here! I would love to exercise more, but the pain it too severe.

It’s been 4 years since my last knee surgeries. Well almost, I think I had the last one on August 9. Although my knee is way more functional when it comes to regular walking, it still hurts ALL. THE. TIME. I’m so disappointed. This knee replacement was supposed to be the solution to my pain! It wasn’t and I’m realizing it never will be. Together with my headache this is another pain that’s been constant for +25 years and will NEVER go away.

It’s depressing. I really wish I could believe that it would get better. Like a glimmer of hope, I guess. But I mean for real real, not some made-up hope that waits forever. I can’t wait anymore. I don’t have patience for this. That’s why I just need to accept it and move on. Ugh

Picture of my cat Canela to make you smile 😸

Home

Home has always been a tricky thing to define for me.

I think in general most people will think of their childhood home, where they had a lot of happy memories (hopefully) with their parents and siblings, or cousins, or neighbors. I was also fortunate to have loving parents, an annoying big brother, lots of cousins and neighbors to grow up with, but I never liked living at home with my family. I have no real reason to justify my feelings, because I really don’t have a single bad memory from my childhood, other than we lived in a small apartment. I hated being in a confined space with other people. I like space. My own space.

At 12 I told my parents I was ready to move out. At TWELVE. They first laughed, but when they saw I was completely serious, they asked me where I was planning on moving. I told them I wanted to go to boarding school – 7 miles down the street 😂. I didn’t care how far (or close) it was. All that mattered was that I was out of our house. They didn’t think I would be very thrilled after getting a tour at the boarding school, but I was more certain than ever! I was so ready.

So, I moved out at 12, and never returned!

Well, technically… I still would go home for the weekends and vacations, but weekdays were my freedom. The boarding school, even though there were lots of rules to follow and schedules to abide by, was a place where I could escape. If I wanted to hang with my friends, I could, but if I wanted to be alone there were plenty of places to hide and be by myself.

The longest period of time I went back home, was when I had my car accident. Even though I had a totally elevated level of respect for my parents after seeing their sacrifice and heartache for MY pain, it was still very hard for me to be back at the apartment. I started a new boarding school 5 months after my accident, and it was one of the hardest experiences I had to endure in my young life.

This boarding school was very different than the first one. Here my eyes really opened to the tragedies in life many children have to deal with. I was no longer in my safe little bubble, and I am so grateful to my parents to let me do what I wanted. For the first time in my life I had to share a room with someone, and luckily my roommate was very kind and quiet. We only were together for one year, and then I moved up to the private room, because I was in my senior year. The boarding school itself, the building, was an old mayor’s mansion, built in 1900. The other building down the street where we would sleep on Sunday nights was a 15th century castle! It was super creepy, but very cool. I love this kind of stuff and I’m not superstitious, so I was never scared to walk the halls alone at night. I loved it.

Once I fished high school I went to watchmaking school and now I was 19, so I went to live on my own in a little studio apartment in the center of Antwerp. Here is where I could really do whatever I wanted and show my ability to live independently. For 3 years I would go to school, work in the afternoons and go home in the weekends to work on Saturday in a city nearby my parents, and to get my laundry done by my mom 😂. My parents always supported me and always trusted me to be capable. In my third and final year of the watchmaking program I met my now-husband. After I finished and packed up my studio, I moved straight into his house. A year later we were married and moved to the States, across the Atlantic.

I always say that I will feel at home no matter where I live as long as I’m with my husband. We’re in our 20th year of marriage now, and I have to admit that I still like my space. I still need to be able to escape from the kids and husband. One time we had to live in a small condo with the kids when they were 3 and 1 years old, and it literally drove me nuts. I couldn’t stand living that small. We moved to a nice, bigger, house about 8 months later and I felt so relieved. So I guess I feel at home as long as I have room to move around. I really don’t like to live on top of my family, regardless if they’re my kids or my parents.

When the quarantine started and I heard my husband would be home with me 24/7, I really thought we were going to be tested, but honestly it was great! And the only reason it was so nice, is because we all had our own room to escape to! So I hope my parents never took it too personal when I wanted to move out at 12, because I’m still the same way!

I started writing this post a few days ago, and I’m not sure I remember why, or what my conclusion was supposed to be, but I hope you enjoyed reading a little bit of my history. Please tell me where do you consider “HOME”?

Pixabay image

Sunday funday

I have noticed that since I started work Monday through Friday, I finally am recharged by Sunday and I actually get to enjoy one day a week.

On Friday after work, I crash. No matter how hard I try to keep going and how good of intentions I have each week, I cannot keep myself from falling asleep on the couch, even before dinner. The week drains me completely and I have nothing left to give. No energy to talk to my family, no energy to hang out with friends, no energy to read a book, or pick up a paint brush. My battery is at 0%.

Saturdays are still rough. Usually I really have to force myself to get to the grocery store because we need to stock up again for the week. I really wish I didn’t have to do this. I can order grocery delivery, and sometimes I do, in the middle of the week, for a small order, but when it’s a lot that’s needed it just gets too expensive to buy online. I’m almost embarrassed to complain though… I have a full-time housekeeper for crying out loud, but that’s the only way for me to be able to work myself. There’s no way I could do this job and do everything at home!

I’m almost at my 6-month mark of starting this job, and I can tell it’s getting a little more manageable and I’m starting to organize my time better. But it’s still a very high pace, stressful and demanding job, and I still haven’t decided if I can do this for much longer. I’d hate to give up though! I do love the job, but is it really worth my time away from the family?? Not just when I’m away for work, but even when I’m home I’m not really there with them. I’m very often passed out.

This morning I woke up and decided to go for a walk after cooking breakfast for the family and finishing the dishes. It was already getting late and super hot outside (high 90°sF, high 30°sC), but I powered through and was even able to take some nice photos with my camera (see photo in the beginning). After we came home, I relaxed in the hammock, grilled some meat for dinner and hung out at the pool in the backyard. Even though my head is hurting bad, like it always does from the minute I wake up, it felt like a successful day. I feel recharged. I wish I had one extra day to really enjoy the weekend, but unfortunately I’ll be off to work again tomorrow morning. It’s going to be brutal because we had our time change last night!

I better get to bed. Goodnight 😘

My hammock

Orthopedics

I’m starting this post while I’m sitting in the waiting room at the orthopedic surgeon’s office. It’s “just a checkup” for the artificial knee. I somehow forgot to go for my yearly appointment in 2021, so I’m now here almost 2 years after my last visit.

I saw the doctor briefly already and he sent be for some x-rays, so now I’m waiting again until he has time to review the images. Last time I was here he mentioned that the reason for my constant pain is most likely the knee cap. That’s the only thing in there that’s still my own, and the pain is exactly there, all the time. It feels like a chronic inflammation, although there are no symptoms of infection, which is great. Because of my history of bad wound healing on that knee, he is extremely hesitant to perform surgery, but that is probably the only solution to get rid of the pain.

When he was telling me that it wouldn’t be good to operate, I had to really hold back tears, and it’s weird, because I don’t want surgery! But knowing that’s the only solution, it is very disheartening to hear that my pain is here to stay. Not surprising, and it isn’t even a real expectation to ever be pain-free, but it still sucks big time.

I’ll come back after my consultation…

My hardware in my knee.

Okay, so, that went better than expected. Surgery would definitely not be a solution after all, which is fantastic news. The only problem is that the reason for the pain is still a mystery.

I have to go to do some lab work and then we will either know more, or be more confused 😂 I’ll keep you posted.

Levels

Everyone knows if you tell a nurse or doctor that you’re hurting, the next question will likely be “On a scale from 1 to 10, how bad is it?” And if you’re a chronic pain sufferer, you know you won’t be able to give them an answer…

Pain is so subjective and when you’re ALWAYS in pain, you really can’t give a accurate description, unless you’re close to 10 in that moment. I’ve used 10 less than a handful of times to describe my pain, but I am in a constant state of 6 to 7, all day every day. Although certain pains may only be a 3 or 4, the overall intensity is pretty severe.

So the other day when I went to the doctor for pain on my thigh, something that’s been bothering me since around Christmas, he asked me the scale question, and I told him honestly that I couldn’t give him a number, because it wouldn’t seem like I should even be seen for this problem. The pain isn’t severe, it is probably more in the 2 to 5 range, depending on if you touch my skin or not, so I answered him. “I’m not crying for it, and I’m not needing to take a painkiller. The pain isn’t excruciating and I can probably live with it, but the reason I’m here is because this pain is NEW, it’s not normal!” Of course they didn’t find a cause, and I’m probably going to have to live with it, just like everything else.

You know how when you’re cold, you’ll put your hand on someone to let them “feel” how cold you are? I wish we could do this with pain. I wish I could physically touch somebody and transfer my pain for a few seconds so they can decide for themselves how bad it is. You know, what may be a 4 to me, could be a 7 to the other person, or the other way around. It really sucks that this isn’t a real thing… All the doctor would have to do is “touch the pain” and he wouldn’t have to ask that annoying question.

We also wouldn’t be doubted any longer! I mean, we could actually prove that we’re hurting! How nice that would be. I feel like very often we’re dismissed. I don’t know if that’s just because I’m female, or because I experience pain constantly, but I am so often not believed. I mean, I am smiling, so I must be fine. I must be faking the pain, because I am not crying, or screaming, or shut down.

Every second of every minute of every hour of every day the pain is constant. It’s not on the same wavelength all the time, but it’s more like a dimmer switch that gets moved up and down and up again, but never gets turned off. It’s a neverending struggle that has every number between 1 and 10, and it’s never 0. It is impossible to understand if you haven’t lived it. I can’t blame you for your disbelief… I don’t think I would belief it either of I didn’t experience it.

Comparison

When it comes to pain, there’s nobody who wants to “win”… there shouldn’t be a competition, and pain sucks, period.

It is probably human nature though to compare and imagine someone else’s pain either worse or less severe as your own. I know there was a time when my husband would complain about a headache, and I’d be like “boo hoo, join the club”, but I think I’ve come a long way in my ability to empathize. Anytime my husband, or anyone else for that matter, feels the need to share with me something hurts, I try to really show them how truly sorry I feel for their pain.

Is the pain as bad as mine? Who cares… if they hurt enough to express the feeling into words, it must be bad for them. Pain is so subjective and it is impossible to measure.

I rarely share my own pain with anyone. Obviously my husband is aware, and some of my closest friends, but other than that I don’t think it’s relevant. Especially not when somebody shares their own experience with pain. I really don’t want to sound like I try to “one up” them. I tend to just listen and make them feel heard.

This blog helps me in a way to not need to voice my struggles anymore. I guess it’s also been so damn long, it gets tiring to repeat myself, regardless of its to new people or old friends. Also, I know nobody *really* wants to hear someone complain about chronic pain. Nobody really knows how to listen anyways… they all just want to give solutions… that I’ve tried, and were unsuccessful.

What I’m getting at is that there’s no comparing pain. Pain always hurts. It doesn’t matter how much, we just need to be kind to each other and hopefully that’ll ease someone’s pain a bit.

Past pain

When you think back, do you remember the pain?

Image by Creedi Zhong on unsplash

I mean, really, truly, remember the physical pain you felt in the past? I don’t think your memory is supposed to retain that information. I find it always so hard to believe that my pain was this bad, for the last 25 years, almost. I can only “remember” this when I recall times where I said it out loud. Or when I reread an old blog post. Other than that I don’t exactly know what my pain felt like.

The pain is constant and uninterrupted, yet sometimes it feels like “it can’t have been this bad” many times. It is such a interesting observation to me. It baffles me to realize how the human mind can selectively erase certain real feelings.

In a way I guess it’s the body’s way of protecting itself from unnecessary suffering, because what purpose would it serve to have a memory of all the pain you have endured?

There probably would be a whole lot less children! It’s not that we completely forgot how painful childbirth was, but just enough to be willing to go through it all again, and again in many cases.

Nobody would be very fit or an athlete! I mean, if you remembered that first physical pain when you worked out hard, would you keep doing it? I don’t think people generally “enjoy pain”. I think the mind pushes it aside, knowing it’s better not to dwell on it, and convinces you it’s worth it, so you keep going, you keep torturing yourself 😆

How do you feel about your past pain?

Too much

The pain is too painful to cry.
The pressure of water running through a tear duct would push me over the edge.
I think my head would literally explode.