I Know The Devil Fancy Me…..

This is going to be a big dose of my current reality. I am sitting at my desk, tears rolling down my cheeks, trying my hardest to prevent a full blown meltdown. Im not sure it’s possible to put what I am feeling into words but Im going to try. Last summer, after 4 years, 14 different surgical procedures, dozens of Doctors, and with no more options available to help me, I decided I could not, would not, continue my life this way. I was damn near catatonic. It was unusual to see me out of the house. I didn’t leave my recliner. I just watched life play out around me. I was at my absolute lowest. It seemed like the only real solution was to take all of those pills I was prescribed at once and end the pain that had stolen my life from me. Obviously, I didn’t do that but it was absolutely on my mind constantly. Having intimately felt the pain of suicide, I just could not do that to the people I love. Although I was almost entirely disengaged from life, I was, at least, still existing. It was no secret that I was on a preposterous amount of opiates. According to an opioid equivalency chart, the combination of medication I was on was the equivalent of 2+ grams of heroin per day. It was in pill form…prescribed by a medical professional…for the pain caused by a disastrous surgical complication….so that made it ok….. I am no stranger to addiction. I have experienced firsthand the devastation it causes, both from the user’s perspective and from...

Happy Holidays??

Today is Wednesday December 2. That means that Thanksgiving has wrapped up and the Christmas noose is tightening. The decorations are up, the shopping is done, so it’s pretty much smooth sailing from this point, right? WRONG! The annual Thanksgiving festivities proved to be more than I could handle. Bouncing around from house to house,  making sure that everyone was graced with our presence and no one was left out. I tried my hardest to find a balance and it cost me dearly. Around 10pm on Friday I started trembling, my body’s clear signal that I have overdone it and need to stop. I didnt listen, so Saturday, Sunday and Monday were spent in a pain induced catatonic state. 3 days! It took me 3 full days to recover from the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving. With Christmas fast approaching I have to come up with a better solution. I can not sacrifice my body in an attempt to please everyone, again. I can not bounce around from house to house, visiting with the massive extended family that I have. I am in a fragile state, I can not keep up. Everyone in my life knows this. So why do they expect so much when it comes to holidays? *I am not blaming anyone but myself for the hot ass mess that was Thanksgiving. I know my body, I should have listened. Could’a, should’a, would’a…. So with only 22 days left till the Christmas celebration kickoff, I have to formulate a plan to keep me moving, to keep me sane, and most importantly, to keep the pain at a...

Injury Twin

Living with chronic pain and illness is hard. It is physical hell and mentally exhausting. It is also extremely isolating. Chronic pain takes over your life in every possible way. Your friendships suffer because your health is unreliable. You become bitter that no one else understands what you feel, they don’t understand why you can’t go, what you can’t do. There is no real way to explain it. How can you possibly put these feelings and sensations into words? I spent quite awhile looking for a support group. There are lots of support groups for many different chronic conditions. There are not a lot of support groups for 30 year old Mothers who have had more than a dozen Frankenstein spine surgeries spinkled with episodes of MRSA. <SIGH>Maybe I was looking for something too specific. I gave up looking and just accepted that I was the only person in the world (or, at least, the immediate area), under the age of 60, that has had something even relatively similar to the freak show of procedures I have endured.  No one understands what it’s like and I am not going to keep trying to explain it. And so I began to withdraw from everyone around me.  I have met some truly wonderful, beautiful, amazing souls over the last few years, but the pain was winning. I accepted that this was a cold, dark, painful road and that I was basically alone. About 2 months ago, by an absolutely random set of circumstances, I met someone, in my age range, with a story that almost perfectly mirrors mine. MIND BLOWN. There they were,...

Rocky Mountain High

Where exactly do I start? It has been almost an entire year since I last decided to let the thoughts from my head escape through the keys on this keyboard. It seems like so much has happened, but the reality is, nothing much at all has happened. At the time of my last post, I was approximately 30 days post-op from the second spinal fusion surgery I had on 11/28/14. The hope of recovery was still high, I was determined to feel better, THIS time I was actually “fixed”.  I dont think anyones bubble will be burst when I say that that has not been the case. As with my previous fusion, my body took an inordinate amount of time to heal. Regardless of who says what, I 100% believe that this is a direct result of having steroids injected directly into the sight of the injury prior to the surgeries. I have always been slow to heal, but now, my immune system, my bodies natural ability to heal itself, is pretty much non-existent. As the post-op weeks turned to months, I had to face reality – I was not getting better.  Again, mirroring the first fusion, I am no better off, I have actually gotten worse. The pain has increased, my mobility decreased. It is absolutely impossible for me to find comfort. I have had to give up sleeping in the bed and spend most of my time in my recliner. Being in such debilitating pain constantly, causes a great deal of stress on your body. Since last November, I have picked up several new diagnoses with an extensive...

Beautiful Disaster

Today is Tuesday the 23rd day of December 2014. This morning I read several of my blog posts from last year. Whoa! I have to say, at this point last year, I was at my lowest. Hopeless, scared, facing uncertainty. I did what was required, buckled up and braced myself for the wild ride ahead. The journey has been the most effectual of my life. As my body was at the pinnacle of pain my mind was clear and calm. I can now say that I know peace. That doesnt mean Im cool, calm and collected 100% of the time, Im the Mother of 2 boys, I am entitled to a few freak out moments. In the last 12 months I have witnessed a true miracle. My Mother, whom was at deaths door, has made an astonishing recovery. There is no explanation of how or why she has come so far, there doesnt need to be. To be told that the person you know and love is never going to return but does, is such an amazing experience, no explanation is needed. She still sees a speech therapist twice a week but Pam is back! You can find her in full makeup with her hair and nails done, shopping it up, as she always has done. PamV2.0. On 11/28 I underwent another spinal fusion surgery. It was the last surgery in a trio that took place over a 6 week period. Last week, I got to see my post-op Xrays for the first time. It is almost unbelievable that a person could have that much metal in their body....

High On Hope

Its been 4 months since I last updated my blog. I would love to say that I have been extremely busy chasing rainbows and butterflies atop a unicorn that farts glitter, that everything is peachy perfect. That post may be on the horizon but not at this time. Over the last few months my health has continued to decline, every day is worse than the one before it. I spend most of my day going back and forth between my bed and my recliner. I dont get out of the house much, when I do I am totally and completely depleted of energy. It is something my Doctors refer to as Adrenal Fatigue. I get about 2 hours in the morning where I can actually be somewhat productive and function, the rest of the day is spent trying to recover. There have been a few instances recently when I was sure that I was at the end of the rope. That the pain, the exhaustion, the emotional baggage had finally gotten the upper hand and I would surely crumble under the immense weight of it all but I didnt. After months of appointments with absolutely no solutions, I made the decision to discontinue treatment from the surgeon who performed my fusion surgery. It was clear to everyone that something had gone horribly wrong but he refused to acknowledge that and insisted we continue to wait. I really didnt understand what it is we were waiting on until I received a letter in the mail advising that he was closing his practice as a surgeon, relocating and merging with a...

30!

For the past 11 months and 23 days I have been emphatically anti-birthday. I absolutely refuse to turn 30. It cant really be possible that I have been on this earth for 30 years. How can that be? I dont know the answer  to that but I do know that I have and no matter how hard I drag my feet May 7, 2014 will mark my 30th year here on Earth. I watched Nick turn 30 and nothing happened, nothing changed. He remained the same person he was prior to the 30 year mark. In fact, no one I know has ever instantly changed upon becoming 30. So why am I so afraid of it? As I drove around this morning I though about it. I reflected on my life, where I have been, people I have known, the different stages and hair colors. There have been really good times and some really horrible. I have seen and done so many things. When I actually stopped to think about it, being 30 isnt a bad thing at all. It actually might be a good thing. I think back to when I was 17. I remember stepping out of the shower one day and looking in the mirror. I hated the person I saw looking back at me. Even at 100 lbs I was too fat. I looked like an alien since I had shaved off my eyebrows. I had too many freckles. One of my nostrils is bigger than the other. The list went on and on. I spent my late teen years and early 20’s trying to be...

When You Are Going Through Hell, Keep Going

After my last post I was bombarded with questions about how/why my surgery failed. Why I am not “all fixed up” and ready to rock’n’roll. Instead of taking up 3/4 of someones facebook feed I decided this might be he more appropriate forum. I had spinal fusion surgery on 11/18. The surgery was to be the fusion + additional hardware to stabilize the renegade vertebrae. My nerves were too brittle to accommodate the cage so it was eliminated.  Even though it was never actually installed the nerves were all sorts of pissed off. The first 48 hours after surgery, I was convinced I had died and gone to hell. I had not died but I was definitely in hell. Ive heard the song “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” well, so is hell. Much like the hell you are taught in church – you want to avoid it like the bubonic plague.  Funny thing – I have been in pain management treatment for 3 years so I am on scary high doses of pain meds. Not a single Dr ever bothered to mention that cause of my body’s tolerance to these pain meds, the drugs the hospital would offer, would be as effective as water. I made it through the first 48 hours. I lived to tell the tale. I feel like I accomplished something most mortals can not. There was enough going outside of my little bubble of pain that required my attention and it kept me focused on getting up and out of bed. I just want to send a big Thank You to everyone who showed their...

Never Pet The Sweaty Sh!t

I have been a really blag Blogger. My last post was like 2 months ago. If you look to this blog to stay up to date on the fun filled life of Jessika Carpenter – you’ve been missing a LOT! Back in November, I wrote a blog about how my life was going to change. I would have a rekindled love and new lease on life. I was going to have a surgery that was the end all , be all cure and everything would be gravy after I recovered. Ha ha ha ha. WRONG. The surgery happened, the recovery happened but the cure has not.  Its funny – every time I have another surgery, I always tell myself this is THE one. It never is. It possibly might never be. A few days before surgery life threw me a curveball and tortured me with the notion that I might lose my Mom. Lose, as in, like, die. She didnt but it was a close call. Fast forward past several weeks of inconceivable pain, both physically and mentally, a little further, past Christmas. Lets stop here. By the time we were wrapping up 2013 and ringing in 2014, things had been up, down, up higher, down lower and had finally leveled off somewhere in the middle.  We had adapted our life around the given circumstances. There had been so many twists and turns on this emotional roller coaster that all of us were completely drained. I say we were, we still are, but anyway, we had learned to lean on each other, none of us could have made it...

Another Scar With A Story

” Am I loud and clear? Or do I gotta scream like I did every day when I was a troubled teen, huh? Do you want to know my past and see every single scar and know what they mean, huh?” I listened to this song about 368 times this week. Each time t gives me goosebumps and tears well up in my eyes. I dont know what it is about THAT song but it hits hard. The last few weeks have been filled with good days , bad days and worse days. Mom is improving, this I am grateful for. She seems to have no physical damage, just mental. You can understand about 20% of what she says, the rest is just garbled up words with no meaning. She will be moving to a facility that treats and rehabs brain trauma. FUCKING BRAIN TRAUMA. Whoa. I am still not convinced that this isnt some sort of horrible nightmare that I am going to wake up from. Even though we are in Texas, it is still winter. The chilly 20-45* days are my nemesis.  The pain that I was so convinced was gone has returned from its short vacation and my recently acquired, brand new, shiny, steel spine has been very vocal about its dislike of this cold weather. Imagine having a frozen flagpole shoved up your ass to your shoulder blades. As Moms recovery continues to progress, the family has still been by her side. I mentioned before that I was in no way, shape or form, prepared to lose her but I also wasnt prepared for what this...

A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE

The last 30 days of my life have proven to be the most difficult.  When it rains, it pours and the second week of November brought about a monsoon! I totally bombed the wedding I officiated, my Mother in Law was in a terrible car accident, I was wrestling with the surgery that was fast approaching and then, on November 13, something more horrific than anything I could ever have imagined happened. A blood clot had made its way to the brain of my Mother. By the time Nick and I got to the hospital she had been intubated. My Mom, whom I had talked to just a few hours prior, was on life support. No one could tell us what was going on. The week leading up to this night had been a total train wreck. I was on the verge of a complete meltdown and now, here I was, standing in the ER trying to wrap my head around what was going on. I was convinced that this was it. I would never see, hear, speak to my Mom again. This was the end and there was nothing I could do. At no point had I ever put any serious thought into what it would be like when I lost my parents. I cant say that I know anyone who has. The initial thought of it is nauseating and the pain that comes from really thinking about it is indescribable. I have felt physical pain in a way that would break most people but this, this was something was on a whole new level. The CARE flight...

A 29 Year Old Wife and Mother of 2 Young Boys

The last 2.5 years of my life have been a living hell. Every moment, of every day, requires me to pull on an inner strength I did not know existed. Waking up each morning knowing that just getting out of the bed will hurt bad enough to bring tears to my eyes. I manage to keep the floodgates closed, get dressed and do everything in my power to be the best Jessika I can. There have been close to a dozen surgeries/procedures. Each one bringing about a great deal of faith that this hellacious journey would soon be over. Only to leave me as broken inside, as out.  Hanging on to every word, from every Doctor that this next procedure would be the ONE – the one that would take the pain away. While going through all the rigmarole of bringing about some relief if was discovered that there were bigger issues than the pain at hand. Being a 29 year old Wife and Mother of 2 young boys is hard on its own. Being a 29 year old Wife and Mother of 2 young boys AND a chronic pain suffered is almost impossible. Being a 29 year old Wife and Mother of 2 young boys who suffers from chronic pain and lives under the constant threat of paralysis, that, is enough to break anyone. All the months of pain management, all of the medications, everything we have done up to this point to relieve the pain has been pointless. Before any further pain relief can even be considered my spine has to be stabilized. Listening to the Surgeon...

To tattoo or not to tattoo ……

For as far back as I can remember, my Mom has always said that tattoos are trashy. People with tattoos cant get real jobs and if I ever thought about getting one she would disown me. She wasnt being serious about disowning me, after everything I put my parents through, tattoos ended up being the least of their concern. Just to spite my Mother, on my 18th birthday, I went down to Randy Adams Tattoo Studio in Fort Worth, picked something off the wall and about an hour and $200 later I had a tribal cross tramp stamp. I have gotten several more tattoos as the years have passed. Each one has a story, a meaning, a significance to me.  I often forget about the terrible tattoo on my lower back but the story is one that sums up my attitude – tell me I cant do something and I will. But this post is not about my hard headedness. When we first starting potty training Maxwell we used a reward system. He went potty he got a prize. The prize was a temporary tattoo. After the first few weeks Max looked like Billy Badass, he had tattoos covering his arms and his chest. We would also let Jack ordain his body but his school does not allow tattoos or body jewelry so he couldnt be as expressive as Max. Over the months we have slowed down the rewards. He is totally potty trained and we dot need to incentivize him any longer. He asks for a new tattoo every so often and I oblige. Last week he got...

Mommy & Max

I have been neglecting my blog lately. I havent really been any busier than normal so Im not sure why. A lot of progress has been made since my last post. I have a consultation with a surgeon set for next week. The mental strain of realizing that I am going to have this surgery has been exhausting. Its been talked about for 2.5 years but I always thought that somehow I would be able to avoid it. I feel defeated, like I lost the battle royale. My consolation prize is the shot at a lifetime without anymore pain, so why am I bogged down with feeling like I lost? It makes no sense to me. I have always believed that everything happens for a reason. The reason is not obvious most of the time, sometimes it takes years for the pieces to come together. As I lay in bed with Maxwell for our noon nap I had an A-HA! moment. Prior to his birth, I had no real pain. Being pregnant with a massive baby seems to have been what irritated, what we now know, is a congenital defect with my spine.  We spent a year trying to conceive the baby that would ultimately destroy my body. I know ALL woman say pregnancy destroys their body but mine actually did. I would gladly trade saggy boobs for being a cane totting cripple in my late 20s any day! Anyway, it was 5 months after Max was born that I had my first MRI. What followed the MRI was dozens of appointments with Doctors in all fields. Not one...

Crying over spilled soy sauce

Yesterday was a pretty fabulous day until 7 am. I got up at 630 , had a cup of coffee and got dressed. While I was pulling my shirt on I heard the kids scream. I walked into the kitchen to find every condiment you could think of out on the tile. Bottles were broken, there was marinades, soy sauce and pickle juice aplenty. I had an 845 Doctors appointment and still had to get Jack to school and Max to Pas house. As I (quickly) attempted a clean up job I slid through the soy sauce. I caught myself before hitting the ground but managed to pull off some pretty impressive moves before I came to an abrupt stop. Ive got to keep my pace so we loaded up and headed out. I got the kids to school and the little one to Grandpa. I made my way to the office and managed to get there 13 minutes early. THAT is impressive ! While I was waiting I made my 387th attempt at Candy Crush level 201. One day, maybe one day soon, I will beat it. I found my way into the waiting area and signed in. I was there for my 1 week post op appointment. I didnt bother sitting down, I had the first appointment of the morning and didnt want to embarass myself when I had to get up.  5 minutes. 10 minutes. 15 minutes. 20 minutes. Its close to 930. As she approached me, the nurse could see I was not impressed. I have been coming to this office for more than 2...

7 Days

After waiting for what seems like an eternity on minimal activity orders, I finally have a date for my surgery! I say surgery, procedure might be more suiting. Never the less, I have a long awaited date. It is very strange for me to think about how it will be after the procedure. I really cant imagine NOT having this pain. Every minute, every activity, every breath for the last few years has been dictated by the white hot pain that runs through my body. Now, it will just end. It will cease to exist. I refuse to let myself toy with the idea that this will not work. It absolutely has to. I have people around me telling me how strong I am but really, thats not true. I am not strong, I have been put in a position that I NEVER would have chosen and forced to make the best of it. I have been robbed of so many experiences and opportunities that I will never be able to relive, and there is a bitterness that comes with it. Next week, the pain will be gone, but that doesnt give me back any of the time that I’ve lost. Someone asked me “What if this one doesnt work?” I wasnt sure how to respond.  Failure is not an option here. I can not, will not, tolerate this pain for very much longer.The idea of this soul crushing pain finally meeting its match is almost too intense to understand, the idea that this will not impact the pain is definitely too much to handle. There is no way...

Paved the way for a Great Day

This weekend Nick and I attended a very special BBQ. This particular BBQ was thrown by DFW NORML &  UNT NORML and was held at the VA hospital in Dallas. The NORML family fed around 250 Veterans that are currently admitted into the hospital. There were all sorts of delicious foods and $150 was raised to award these Vets in BINGO. I have to admit , when I initially heard about the BBQ I did not want to go. I do not enjoy being out in the heat and my body has been  fighting me lately. I did decide to go and I am so glad I did. Even though I am technically not a member of NORML I have attended several events, enough to be able to put names with faces. There are some really amazing people that are part of this awesome organization. On this particular day one specific member really made my day. Within minutes of arriving Ed came up to me grabbed my hands and asked how I was feeling. I was a little taken back. Ed is everything Rock’n’Roll and a tad bit intimidating, but here he was holding my hands and sincerely asking me how I was today. I gave him an honest, slightly humorous answer. I try my hardest to infuse any talk of my suffering with as much humor as possible, it makes it less awkward for everyone. Then, in a completely unexpected turn in the conversation, Ed told me that he has been following my blog. This very blog that I am writing on now. Whoa! Ed is the coolest...

The Punisher

Jackson is my oldest son. He is 8 years old and everything a Mom could want in a little boy. He is smart, funny, intelligent and has a heart of gold.  He is very well behaved and has excellent manners. Recently, he made a bad decision (as we all do) and had to be punished. Unfortunately this was a BIG time lapse in judgement that left his little brother with a bloody nose. After we were able to get Maxwell calmed down and cleaned up I went to go talk to Jack. I asked him why he would so something to deliberately hurt his brother but he didnt have an answer for me.  He looked me in my eyes as I talked to him, I told him how we have to teach by our example, do unto others yadda yadda yadda. He listened to what I said and responded with a simple Yes M’am. Bedtime. The following morning, before there was an opportunity for any further incidents, I sat next to him on his bed. I reassured him that no matter how mad I was that I still love him, even though I was very disappointed in his actions. I let him know that I do understand how annoying a little brother can be but that under NO circumstance is it ever ok to hurt one another intentionally. It was a hard conversation because I wanted him to know that I was forgiving him but he was still facing punishment. Aye aye aye, I hate THIS part of being a parent. A level of punishment higher than timeout does...