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The Kid I Cannot Have

I recently decided that I do not want to have kids. I resent that I had to make that choice.

You may be wondering, “If she resents it, why did she make that choice?”

My 35th birthday is in a couple of weeks. The statistics about pregnancy after that age are readily available and definitely not positive.

But that’s not why I don’t want to do it.

Mr. Lyndsy has pretty great genes. He’s 35 and in good health. He broke a vertebra in his back and an old ankle injury gets him sometimes, but he spends his days in activities with kids who are twelve years old and does pretty well. He still plays sports. His father is in his 60s and still VERY active. He’s smart. He’s funny.

I’m smart. I’m funny. But that’s where the good stuff ends.

I was born with a bad back, or so said the neurosurgeon who fused my spine. Even now I still have back issues, just located in a different place. I have chronic pain in my foot from the nerve damage and tendon transfer.

I have Hashimoto’s which causes my body to ebb and flow through periods of almost manic energy and then into a state of fatigue. I’m lucky to have an endocrinologist now who was willing to treat it with medication, but it took going through three doctors before him.

Even with the Hashimoto’s treated, I have to contend with fibromyalgia. Random flares of body pain and bouts of fatigue so oppressive I don’t want to get out of bed. When you do finally get out of bed to do something, brain fog kicks in and you can’t remember why you up in the first place.

Of course, that’s not the only reason I don’t want to get out of bed some days. Depression and anxiety also like to jump into the fray, further knocking me down. The commercials that say depression has a physical component aren’t kidding. The body aches and fatigue are on top of feeling like your soul has done a round with Mike Tyson.

Diabetes can be a result of lifestyle choices. But sometimes, when your body is under attack from a bunch of other shit, diabetes gets you anyway.

For shits and giggles my kidneys leak protein. They aren’t supposed to. We do not yet know why it happens.

Perhaps my favorite is that I seem to be allergic to the sun. Prolonged sun exposure (as little as 30 minutes) results in a butterfly rash across my face and bumps down my arms and into my hands.

I have walked on the edge of the ultimate blackness. Been in that place where dying seemed like a much better idea than living. I managed to walk away from the desire, but my kid may not be so lucky. And it hurts because I know that all of my love wouldn’t be able to save him or her from that edge.

I don’t want that for my kid.

I had 15 doctor appointments in one month. I had blood draws for probably 40 lab tests. I spent a lot of time going to and from the hospital for those appointments. I have spent 9 nights in the hospital. The place where you’re supposed to get healthy, but health is impossible when you can’t sleep because someone is coming in every hour or so to make sure you’re okay.

I don’t want that for my kid.

There’s a long ass list of foods I don’t eat anymore because they upset my stomach. I can’t eat some of my favorite treats, unless I’m willing to risk an explosion of diarrhea at the worst possible time.

I don’t want that for my kid.

Standing, walking, and sitting cause pain. Running is out of the question. Sports don’t happen. Theme parks require sunscreen and a hat, and even then my face feels like it’s on fire and my arms look like something out of a sci-fi movie.

I don’t want that for my kid.

So I won’t have one.

I feel like I’m making the choice any good parent would make.

That doesn’t mean I like it.

I resent the hell out of it.

But it’s the choice I have to make. For my kid.

 

The Shoulds

A big struggle in my life right now is dealing with The Shoulds. I’m over it for the most part in certain areas – that I should talk like a lady, that I should have a certain body type – but there are bigger areas that I can’t shake it. Like when it comes to working.

I’ve obviously got some struggles with my health. Sometimes things are okay (not great, but okay) for a while and then BAM! I get hit with a big ass 2×4 and I’m down and out for a while. I have to be particular about how I use my time. Sometimes I can’t tell until it’s too late that something is going to steal all of my spoons.

The problem is that I have student loans. All those fancy letters weren’t cheap. When Mr. Lyndsy and I were getting to know each other, I told him that was my debt and that he wouldn’t ever be responsible for it. But here we are now. My health is such that I feel pretty gross a lot of the time. I work, but it’s not paying the loans. I can’t work in a traditional setting here because I wouldn’t have the protections I would back home. Even if I managed to not get fired for all the time I’d have to take off or because I can’t make it in before 10am, I wouldn’t be able to do anything EXCEPT work. My life would be look like this: Struggle to get up, get to work, work, go home, pass out.

Which brings me to my real issue: Do I have the right to have a life or should I force myself to work even if that’s all I could do? We live here to save money and saving would be severely hampered by me not working. If I were in the US, I probably would have already filed a claim for social security disability, and I don’t say that lightly. Because I don’t live in the US, I can’t do that, so it doesn’t matter anyway.

There’s a voice inside my head, I’ll call it MOM, that is yelling at me and saying, “Of course you should work! It is your responsibility to pay those loans. Your husband does not pay those for you! So what if you can do nothing else? Life is about sacrifice! And, are you really THAT sick?”

And then there’s another voice, quieter though, that says, “But how is that living? Is it even worth being around if that’s all you do?”

Then I end up in a downward spiral because I know that my body would suffer tremendously if I tried to work like I would need to in order to pay my loans. They work longer hours here and many jobs are 6 days per week. More than once I’ve thought something along the lines of, “If you can’t work, you shouldn’t be anymore. Do something about that.” Then I have to work to pull myself out of that dark place.

It makes me sad that I feel like my life doesn’t have value unless I’m sacrificing everything to work. Is that really an American value? Work at all costs? You have no value unless you work?

I didn’t ask for any of it. I don’t think my current conditions are my fault, I don’t think I did anything to cause them. I think my mom blames me for the diabetes, but science doesn’t exactly support her on that. I also don’t think I gave myself an autoimmune thyroid condition either (and I’m pretty sure this is what causes the crushing fatigue and brain fog that make my life hard). The neurosurgeon who did the spinal fusion surgery looked at my MRIs and said I was born with a bad back. (Back issues are what the vast majority of social security disability claims are for.)

And yet, I feel like I have to push myself anyway. I buy into the idea that I’m not THAT badly off, so I need to push myself to work. It can’t hurt my body that much, can it?

Shockwave Treatment: Commencing April 5

I finally got into the doctor to see about getting rid of the pain in my achilles tendon. (I made this appointment in early January.) Since I’ve been weight-bearing  after the surgery, I’ve had pain in my achilles. I thought I tweaked it (and I may have) but the surgeon said that the lengthening he did could cause pain and inflammation. So he referred me to another doctor for treatment. The real issue is that it affects my gait, which probably causing hip pain from time to time. I’ve got a vacation coming up that will involve a lot of walking, so I need to get as healthy as possible!

I totally love the doctor. Because my tendon transfer was so unusual and because of my tattoos (lots of doctors apparently watched the surgery), I’m pretty memorable there. There were two doctors there and they were both really nice. The one I was referred to discovered that I actually have a lot of pain in the ball of my foot and created a foam support to help with that until I get firmer shoes.

He was very cautious in promising results from the treatment, but said that it does help a lot of people. I may not get a 100% reduction in pain. I told him I would take anything at this point.

From what I gather this will be a multiple-session event. The only downside is the traffic getting to the office. I just hope I can get some relief and start walking more normally. As a bonus, I get to go shoe shopping!

30-Day Project: February Wrap-Up/March Project

30-day Project

Hahahah. Oh holy hell was February a complete failure. I think I stitched maybe 7 days total. Which is terrible. I had projects I wanted to finish if I was going to start selling them on Etsy. It’s not a the world’s biggest deal obviously, but crap. I did finally frame things I had finished. I feel like I should get some credit for that.

My goal for March is to journal every day to sort of track how my body feels from day to day – back pain, leg/foot pain, stomach issues, etc. – and see how my activity, eating, and sleeping affect how I feel. A friend does it and while hers is a lot more detailed than mine will be, it’s a good start.

It’s not exciting and don’t worry, I won’t post the day to day in here. That would be terrible of me to do.

While I’m here, I may as well give a quick update on my leg/foot. I still have a bit of pain and my gait is totally screwed up. I walk with my foot turned out and I don’t step all the way through because of pain that happens in my foot and achilles. At the January 6 appointment with the surgeon, he acknowledged that due to the Achilles lengthening, there could be some inflammation and scarring in there that are causing pain and making it difficult to walk. He referred me to a doctor to get an extracorporeal shockwave thing to help break it down and hopefully help me walk. Unfortunately, the first appointment that doctor had available was in mid-March. So, in a couple weeks I’ll see him and get this sorted out. Maybe.

I had an MRI yesterday to make sure there isn’t any nerve entrapment that’s still causing pain down my leg and into my foot. I doubt there is since they did an MRI right after the spinal fusion that caused the foot drop and there wasn’t any then.

I do attribute some of the foot/leg nerve pain issues to the work done by the physical therapist after the surgery. He can pretty much suck. A lot of the other nerve issues had resolved, but NOT in my lower leg. I do wonder very seriously if the foot drop would have resolved if I had never seen him.

At any rate, that’s where I’m at. I’ve had some days where I wasn’t having a ton of pain and it was amazing. I think it was over a week! Still had some pain, but nothing like it had been. Then yesterday I was reduced to a sobbing mess because my back, hips, leg/foot, AND arm hurt (thanks cellulitis!). Today is better. I chalk that up to getting a fuck ton of good sleep. Yay for melatonin!

Anyway, I hope you all are well or if you’re not, that you get there soon!

 

(Last?) Foot/Leg Update

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I went back to the doctor this morning for my boot follow-up. NO MORE BOOT!!! The one I got before I left broke while we were in Brazil so Mr. Lyndsy had to go out and find one for me. The one he picked up is much less cumbersome than the one we got here, but holy crap, they’re all annoying. And man, they develop one hell of an odor.

In an interesting twist, the doctor doesn’t want me to do physical therapy. He’s concerned that they’ll pull my foot down too far and ruin all the work he did. I’m not really supposed to do any sports either. Not really an issue. I do want to go back to the gym, but I don’t see how this will be an issue for that.

His big point is that what I wanted is to be able to pick up my foot and I can. I’m curious to see how my foot will feel walking in a normal shoe rather than the boot. I know I need to get some shoes that have more arch support in them. Neither of the boots had any and I could feel a lot of pain in the arch.

My ankle gets a little sore when I walk for a distance so I try to break up any walking I do. I’m working on being able to bend my toes without picking up my foot. Not sure how thats’ going to go.

This journey isn’t at a complete end yet, but the worst of it should be over!

Booted Up

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It’s been a while and I know you’re all dying to know how me and my jacked up foot are doing. So I’ll indulge you.

Traveling while on crutches and not really able to bear weight is awful. We left Friday morning for Dubai. I hadn’t had a lot of time on the crutches and found it pretty exhausting to get around the airport. The woman who checked us in got me a wheelchair and that was probably the smartest thing we did that day. There’s a lot of waiting time once you check in for an international flight and in most of the airport in Doha, you don’t really get to sit while you do it. I don’t know if they’re trying to make you walk around and shop, but you don’t get to sit. When you’re being assisted though, they have a “lounge” for you to hang out in, filled with mostly empty chairs.

Navigating the aisles of plane on crutches should be an Olympic sport. I didn’t get put on first, so I had to deal with people being around me and probably irritated that I was going slowly. I also booked us into the back of the plane which was not a brilliant idea in retrospect. I obviously believed I’d be a lot more mobile than I actually was.

As I was getting off the plane in Dubai, I moved aside to let someone get past me, and I tweaked my Achilles. It was a nice sharp pain and it immediately brought tears to my eyes. It did not help that I hadn’t really slept the night before and was completely exhausted. They brought a wheelchair down the jetway for me and got me through passport control fairly quickly. Then we were on the way to the hotel.

Getting out of the taxi and up the curb was pretty funny. I hadn’t yet mastered stairs and required a lot of assistance to get up. Once inside the hotel I sat while we checked in. We got booked fairly close to the elevator so I didn’t have to hop around too much. My foot was pretty damn swollen and in pain by this point. But, I had to work, so there was no sleeping. This did not bode well for the next leg of our trip.

I was hella tired when I got up the next day to fly to Brazil. I hadn’t gotten even three hours of sleep and was super cranky. Insert a “Poor Mr. Lyndsy” here.

I barely made it to the counter at the airport. They brought me a wheelchair pretty quickly though and wheeled us through a bunch of different places and elevators to get us to the “lounge” for assisted passengers.

What got interesting was that the plane wasn’t on a jetway. They asked if I could take stairs and Rodrigo quickly told them now. This meant I had to be loaded into a cargo container and driven to the plane instead of taking a bus with everyone else. They raised the container up and I got onto the airplane on the opposite side that everyone else entered. It was hilarious. I’ve never been that close to an engine before.

I made the mistake of booking myself into a middle seat for the 14-hour flight. I hate a middle seat anyway, but when you’re trapped in a boot, it’s pretty much like torture. Mr. Lyndsy and I are both tall and pretty wide (not in a fat way really – at least him) so we were all up on each other during the flight. I hate being in bodily contact with someone for so long. The guy in front of me kept his seat reclined THE ENTIRE FLIGHT. His traveling partner was a complete bitch about my crutches waiting near her seat to be taken to the back and where my bag was.

Landing in Brazil has probably been the happiest I’ve been in a long time. As soon as the guy next to me got off the plane I lunged for his seat to give me and Mr. Lyndsy some space. I moved to the middle row of seats once most of the plane cleared out so Mr. Lyndsy could get our bags. They pretty much had a wheelchair waiting for us once we were ready to get off. We got pushed through the shortest line at passport control and were finally free of airports for a while!

Some days are better than others in terms of whether I can put more weight on my leg or not. I went for a walk today without the crutches and will now be using crutches for the rest of the day. My foot is screaming at me. The damn thing is pretty swollen too. Long flights do that to my right foot apparently. We’ve been icing it on and off to try to help the swelling, but the effect has been moderate at best. Some swelling doesn’t seem like it wants to go down…

Here’s the Frankenfoot:

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Back to the Doctor… Awesome Update

Went back to the doctor today for the final check with my doctor before he goes on leave for Eid. I was hoping to be able to convince him that he just wanted to put me in the boot this week, but that didn’t work. So, I go into the boot next week as planned. I’ll be in  the boot for 6 weeks. The only time I can take it off is when I’m exercising (and I’m going to take at least a few normal showers, probably with assistance, so I can shave my damn leg).

I’m back in the pink cast! So much better than the white one.

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I also discovered a few things today while I was waiting for the doctor to come in and take a look:

1. My leg is hairy as all get out. It is also really dried out.

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I put the BEAST in sexy beast.

2. The calf muscle has really atrophied.

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Hopefully once I get walking again this will get better.

3. I have more incisions than I thought by 2.

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I missed the one top middle and the one on the right outside of my foot.

4. My foot is a lot less swollen than I thought it was. It is also hella bruised, which I have definitely felt.

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I still have Frankenfoot…

But, the best part is… (DRUMROLL PLEASE)

We got confirmation that the tendon transfer worked. I CAN PICK UP MY FOOT.

It took some work to do it which means doing it while walking is going to be a challenge for a while.

But WHO GIVES A FUCK?? I CAN PICK UP MY FOOT AGAIN.

Awww yea.

REALLY over this cast

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I’m fucking done. It was one thing when the incisions hurt – that I could understand. Now when I move and the cast hits any part of my foot, there’s pain. I have no idea what the hell is going on, but it’s annoying.

The real problem is at night when I’m trying to go to sleep. I’m a side sleeper. I have a really hard time falling asleep on my back. The problem with sleeping on my side is that the cast is always hitting my foot that way. I finally gave up last night and took a pain killer. Not surprisingly, not long after that I was able to fall asleep.

I am very curious if it’s as bruised as it feels and if this is really just part of the healing process. I’m very much hoping that’s what it is and not something going wrong.

I’m also tired of not being able to put my foot down. Getting up to go to the bathroom is more of a production than I like it to be. It requires me to be more awake than I usually am if I have to pee in the middle of the night. I make a lot more noise than I normally would hopping all over the place and it disturbs Mr. Lyndsy. I’m sure he doesn’t really notice much, but I feel bad as he turns over at the disturbance.

I appreciate the need for keeping the cast on. I definitely want this to heal appropriately. Six weeks is just an annoyingly long time to have a leg out of commission.

Of course, even after this cast comes off, I’m stuck in a boot the vast majority of the day and I believe I’m supposed to wear a splint at night to avoid any excessive plantar flexion. At least I should be able to walk on my foot then and not have to hop in and out of the bathroom. For a person as clumsy as I am, it’s exhausting.

Almost halfway, sort of

I went back to the doctor today for a follow-up. I’ve only ever had one cast before this one and if I remember correctly, I sawed it off myself. I know intellectually that the saw isn’t going to cut me, but in reality, getting a cast taken off is fucking horrifying.

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It really freaked me out when they went over the place where I have stitches on the inside of my foot. I still get weird tingles and vibrations there and it’s sensitive when things touch it.

I didn’t get any pictures of the wounds this time, but the doctor said they’re healing well. They don’t need to take out the stitches by hand because they are apparently the kind that dissolve. The doctor said they don’t want to do anything that might mess up the tendon transfer. Seems smart to me.

The new cast is less colorful (which makes it better for drawing) but it’s also shorter and tighter. Both of these things make me happy.

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 I have another 3 weeks in a cast. The doctor wants to make sure that I get 6 full weeks without ANY plantar flexion to make sure the tendon has a chance to attach. After this, I move into this monster boot.

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Not the greatest picture, but you get the idea. It’s basically as tall as the current cast is. The cool thing about this is that you can set it so you only get so much flexion. The doctor also said that for another 6 weeks, he doesn’t want any extreme plantar flexion. He’s nervous about this transfer because I don’t really have any tendons left to transfer if something happens to the ones he just did. I would then be looking at craptastic bracing forever or an ankle fusion. NO THANK YOU. So I will be careful and do what he says. He wants a little movement once I’m in the boot but nothing crazy.

I have another follow-up in 2 weeks to the see doctor who performed the surgery before he goes on leave. The next week I see another doctor to get the cast off, get it looked at, and get myself into the boot.

I do not think I will be able to describe in words how happy I will be when I am able to put my damn foot on the ground again. It’s hard to stomp your feet and pitch a fit when you can’t let your foot bear any weight.