Friday, March 2, 2012

A Little on Life........ A Little on Recuperating........ A Little on Learning Between the Lines

I know I should be posting about life on my farm or the horses. After all, there is still life here, even if I am still recuperating and feeling like life has left me behind. With or without my health, life goes on and there's stuff happening but my brain just isn't working on all cylinders, I think.

Post material does run around in my head from time to time and I'm sure "this" will be the day I actually get something written about what's happening here. Then, by the time I get the darn computer up and running, all sensible thought has fled. Leaving behind nothing but mush and a fear I've really lost it through this illness and this condition is now permanent.

The surgeon says I'm doing remarkably well considering.... Because I've not posted all that happened to me that term, "considering" doesn't mean to you what it does to him so I'm pretty sure that many of you are wondering why it's taking me so long to come back from this thing. Funny thing is that's exactly how I feel and I know all the gory details.

I did begin a series of posts on the first hospital stay that actually did make it to the blog but I didn't get all the way through that ordeal. In fact I only got as far as my visit to the Critical Care Unit. There was so much more that happened before I ever got to come home from that first trip including a second surgery. Those details definitely laid the ground work for what was to follow.

Then there was the time at home between that first hospital stay and the second. I came home under the care of a home health care service instead of going to the nursing home where the docs really wanted me. It wasn't until months later that I understood how big a deal their decision had been. I was pretty much in denial about my condition and my disease and sometimes, maybe, I still am.

I think the only reason the docs let me come home was because they were so worried about my mental state and that of my family. We were all reeling and sending me to a nursing home would not have helped that. It was obvious to my doctors, and to me, Dave needed some relief or he might just break in some form of physical way too. For him, taking care of me, was easier than worrying about me someplace else. It was bad enough I was sick and he and Lindsay had sole responsibility for the horses without putting more burden on either of them.

Being cut down so viciously by disease is difficult for anyone. My docs understood the additional trauma caused by going from what appeared to be optimum, active health to chronic bed ridden status in what seemed like a split instant. I might not have looked like a typical old cowboy determined to live wild and free but it was obvious to them where my heart was and this blow to my health gut hit hard both literally and figuratively.

Every single time I have seen any of my doctors, I've been asked about my horses because they all knew that was what was keeping me going. Getting me home to the horses was a no brainer for the docs. Horses may not be their thing, but my doctors totally understood the important role the horses would play in my survival.

Once I got home life was never boring here. A lot of things happened and some of them you will probably find very shocking when the telling finally comes. Because of this illness, there are definitely stories to be told that relate to the horses . The incidents run all the way through both hospitalizations on up until now. There's just no way something this dramatic can happen to a horse owner's life and not affect the horses.

For me, I think it's a combination of those things and my current medical condition that prevent me from writing. I am still taking pain medications and I understand that could continue to be the case for maybe six to nine months until the internal stitches finally dissolve.

The surgeon says normally those stitches do not cause these kinds of issues because the nerve endings are protected by a layer of fat. Because I am so thin, I have no layer of abdominal fat so the stitches are rubbing right up against the nerves causing severe pain. The more I try to do, the more pain I have. It's that simple except for the way it affects my life.

Gaining weight would help. Stress, however, interferes with weight gain. Funny how that works. When you're well, stress seems to cause weight gain. Now when I need it, it's pretty difficult to put weight on.

Seems like each time I actually gain a few pounds, something else happens causing stress and the pounds disappear. It doesn't look like any time soon I am going to be putting on enough weight to ease the pain caused by those internal stitches. I hate to admit this because usually I am not a person who dwells on the negative but my fear is those stitches will take longer to dissolve. It seem that's kind of how things have gone for me so far during this illness so I'm sure that's what fueling my fear. I sure hope I'm wrong and things go as planned for a change.

Sometimes I think if I would just write down everything that's happened and get it out there, it would be a relief and this whole nightmare would be over. But.... there are things better left unsaid at the moment. Just as I was unable to post about the things that were happening that led up to getting Storm back, I find myself in the position of needing to hold back. There will be a "right time" to share what has happened here.

One of the things I've realized about me is holding back blocks my writing.
It's not just about pain medications that words don't come. It's about stress and holding back. The stress affects my eyes, my pain levels, my sleep and ultimately my recovery. The holding back probably causes stress too but not nearly as much as telling too soon will do. I wish there was an easy answer to take it all away but, as we all know, life is more complicated than that.

Writing is the least of my worries although I really miss visiting and knowing what's going on with all my blogging buddies. I know I've said that before and I'll probably say it again. Not being able to get around to everyone's blogs to comment really sucks. At the same time knowing I have supportive people out there has been comforting to me. Hearing from you has been almost as good a stress reliever as being with the horses.

While my recovery seems to be traveling at a snail's pace, it IS coming along. I am able to spend a little bit of time with the horses. I wish I could say that happens each day but sometimes it takes me a day or two to recover from a trip to the barn. Those visits are not getting longer but they are getting to be more frequent.

I've tried doing exercises to rebuild my strength but it shot my pain levels back through the roof. It wasn't just at the time I was doing the exercises that I hurt either. I found myself awakened in the middle of the night with pain and my pain meds weren't really doing the job they had been so the exercises have ceased for now, anyway.

That doesn't mean I am letting pain stop me. It just means I have backed off to a more manageable place. Doing so only adds to my stress levels because there is so much work I want to be doing. I'm usually pretty good living by the Serenity Prayer and not letting things I can't control get to me but this last nine months has really tested that resolve. I'm living one day at a time and sometimes one minute at a time dreaming of the day when life is finally back to normal.


  1. Glad at least you're getting out from time to time to see the horses - that has to make a real difference.

  2. It is lovely to read a post from you and while not the real deal ....I send vitual hugs your way with lots of support in spirit. What you are going through is so hard and after seeing my Dad battle cancer I do know what its like to see a person with pain meds not quite doing their job.SO I feel for you. It sounds so frustrating wanting to do more but knowing that to do that only creates more pain and then of course slow recovery.
    I'm sure your horses miss you terribly and I hope you have them well cared for to ease your state of mind. SOmetimes despite the best of care as horse owners we worry anyway ....its just the way we are isn't it.
    Let those stitches heal and healing thoughts from here in NZ

  3. I am not a regular commenter on your blog, bit I hear what you are saying and my heart goes out to you. Its a tough place you're in. I'm sending you love.

  4. Nice to see you posting at all.It will come when it comes.Though it might help to write the posts you are holding back and just save them in draft just to get them written and out of your way . then post them or don't depending on what you feel later

  5. I'm so glad you were able to post something. I've been thinking about you, knowing you are struggling to get your life back. I learned so much from your posts about Storm. Everything you write is meaningful. I'm pulling for you and hope you can regain some normalcy soon.

  6. I can't even imagine everything you're going through. You're still in our prayers and I hope things get better soon.

  7. MiKael there is nothing much going on in my corner of the world. My horses are good, the dogs are good and I'm plugging away toward retirement.

    I think backing off the exercise is a reasonable thing to do.

    and I've got some jiggly jelly fat around my midsection I'd be willing to donate!

  8. Kate, horse time definitely makes a difference for them and for me.

    sally, you're so right about the worry. The horses are doing fine. I'm the one that wants to be doing more.

    Laura, thank you. I don't think any of us are prepared for something like this and I think it's ramifications get multiplied when there are horses involved.

    FV, yes, I was thinking maybe writing it now might be the way to go. Now that I'm getting stronger that might actually be an option instead of just running it around in my head because I didn't have the strength to sit at my computer.

    NM, I'm glad the posts about Storm were helpful to you. There will be more of them just as soon as I have the strength to be riding him.

    Mikey, thanks so much for the prayers. Believe me they are felt here and still very much needed.

    Holly, thanks for the update from your neck of the woods. I want you to know that Delilah is actually turning into a very nice dog. Her manners are so much better thanks to your help. We still have a ways to go but I am actually enjoying her.

    As for jiggly stuff, you'd think as thin as I am there wouldn't be such a thing on my belly but between my age and the weight loss I have my own. It's skin and loose muscle with scar tissue thrown it. At this point I'd be glad to see the the jiggly jelly you're wanting to share. Too bad it doesn't work that way..... and if it did, you'd have to wait in line. I have all kinds of volunteers ahead of you. LOL

  9. It's so good to hear from you. I think about you often and send prayers for your healing.

    I have so much stress in my life right now that I can't even write about. I need to take control of my life but it's hard and I don't even know where to start!

    Why can't life go the way we want it to?

  10. Sometimes you have to take two steps forward and then one back. It makes your progress go a bit more slowly... but you are going in the right direction!
    When I'm struggling with something I always like to project far ahead and think, "some day I'll look back at all of this and realize how far I've come!".
    I am glad that you get a bit more horse time. They (not sure who 'they' are, but....) that the outside of a horse is good for the inside of woman! So... that is 'medicine' you should take for sure!

  11. Mikael, thank you for having the strength to share. I think about you every day. I sold my horse yesterday because of my deteriorating health, and it isn't easy. I am a cancer survivor, as is my husband. My heart and prayers go out to you. Please accept my cyber hugs also.

  12. So nice to hear from even though i wish I could take some of your pain, even for a little while. I am glad you are getting out to see the horses, that has to be the best medicine ever.

  13. MiKael, you've been through hell and are still experiencing some bad effects. I hope you start feeling better and in less pain and can get out to be with the horses more and more. That would be a big boost. As for gaining weight if I was closer I'm sure I could help you out with that! Just wondering,if you don't feel like eating how about drinking your weight gain with milkshakes, eggnog or supplement drinks from the store. Heal quickly and write some of those posts you're thinking about we'd all love to hear more from you. Take care.

  14. I completely understand about wanting to write, but not being able to say certain things right now--it can clog the writing machinery! And for a person who NEEDS to write to heal, I can imagine it's as terrible an issue as the sickness itself for you! Do you journal? I hope you're finding a safe place to write things down--this is probably the most important journey you've ever unwillingly undertaken--and could help many more people caught up in the same journey.

    I had melanoma ten years ago, and I was very surprised at how lonely life got for me then. Most people didn't know what to say or do when they found out--they either made light of it or avoided it all together. I was going through a divorce--also losing weight drastically--and I felt like I had a sick body that no one would ever want to love or touch.

    Everyone's life is different and I don't know what you're experiencing--I do hope, though, that you're finding time to write it down privately.

    My thoughts are with you--keep writing when you can.

  15. Sounds like you are down to one nerve left and Everything is getting on it. Sadly I can relate, but in a different way. Wish you could be here, on the cart with me this weekend. It might help both of our nerves! ARGH!

  16. Fatastyk Voyager, that's a question most of us want answered at one time or another. Too bad there are no answers for it.

    At this time it may not sound like I'm following this advice but I am and it helps. When things get to feeling out of control I try first to figure out what I actually have some control over and then to prioritize those things to figure out where to start. Once I do that it is one step at a time which is the most I can expect. Doing so, I find just moving in the right direction helps keep me from getting totally overwhelmed and things are on the mend. Not at the speed I'd like but forward none the less and there's some comfort in that.

    I hope you can find some relief in your life. I think about you often and now that they are thinking of returning the national shows to alternating years again, thinking maybe someday we might actually get to meet.

    Dreaming, that's definitely good advice both on the steps forward and back as well as the "medication." We're getting there, it's just the slow part that frustrates me. I've never claimed to be patient. LOL

    Kitty Bo, I'm sorry to hear you had to part with your horse. I keep hoping it doesn't come to that here. I can't even imagine but right from the beginning of my horse life, I have had fears of my body being done before my heart was. I feel for you.....

    Crystal, thanks for the thought. I wonder what the world would be like if it were possible to share someone's pain. Maybe folks actually would come together instead of fighting. Wouldn't that be something.

    Horse time is definitely good medicine. It's hard to know what is too much though. I want to do so much but I know if I overdo, it will be days before I can visit again. I'm still searching for that balance.

    GHM, actually I am drinking part of my calories but my stomach has not been tolerant of all the options available. I could write an entire post on my issues with food. I never thought I'd have this kind of problem.

    Linda, I used to journal but have gotten away from it. I have been thinking about doing it again but haven't quite gotten into gear yet but I do think it's coming. Right now I'm wishing I had some kind of electronic notebook which I never thought I'd say but since I get uncomfortable sitting at the computer in a relatively short time and I have trouble reading my own writing within hours of the writing, it sounds like it would be a good choice. Now if I could just find a way to get one, I think I could actually get started.

    I know what you mean about people not knowing what to do or say when they hear the word, cancer. I had that experience with Lindsay's brain tumor and I've had it now with mine. It is a very lonely place to be. I'm glad that's behind you and can't wait for the day it's behind me.

    CNJ, I wish it was just one nerve but I do know what you mean. The rawness of it is hard no matter what the situation.

    As for the weekend, you can always imagine me in your pocket. Pretty sure you'd know what I'd be saying. LOL

  17. I'm a new reader of your blog and just wanted to send some good wishes your way.
    My Dad is currently undergoing treatment for cancer and I can't believe how hard it is on a person. He actually had lost so much weight that he was lighter than I am:(
    I just talked to him yesterday and found out he is finally starting to feel better and gain weight, it was such exciting news!
    I hope you start to feel better soon, a soft horse muzzle has got to have healing properties.

  18. As I was told when I was recovering from a accident - accept each day as it comes, find what comfort you can from being near the humans, horses & things you love most - believe in yourself & the rest will follow~
    I'm thinking the "stories" of all this will fill a book!

  19. MiKael - Thinking of you and sending prayers and hugs that with Spring and warm weather, you will start feeling better. We miss hearing from you, so anything you feel like writing will be enjoyed by everyone. Keep on asking the horses to help heal you!

  20. I can only imagine now that you would have been saying "Slow Down!" Get some control over your pony and knock this thing out of the park. None of which we did! LOL! Maybe you really should have been here.