More Drastic Medical News

For the past 5-6 years, I have been trying to get social security disability, mainly due to my back. Apparently, they think that I am severely disabled to their standards, so they have denied me again and again. So, last year, I decided to try something different. I went to see civilian doctors, instead of my VA doctor. I thought it might help my case, but it didn’t. The entire year of 2018, I was seeing civy doctors for my hip, back, and mental issues. Nothing they did and none of their tests helped me with my case. Last year was a rough one for me, having all these medical issues and no doctor to help. Over the course of the year, I encountered many challenges and have had to face them alone. I knew something was really wrong with me, and I couldn’t figure out what/couldn’t get a doctor to do the right thing. The main thing that was wrong with me was my weight loss. I had a repeat MRI on my back and they had found cysts in my ovaries. My first thought…cancer. Cancer has killed many of my family members (breast-grandma, lung-great grandpa, liver-father, prostate/bone-grandpa, ovarian & cervical-great grandma). I immediately had the cysts checked out at a lady doctor and it was a normal type of cyst for women that still have periods. Well, that was good that it wasn’t cancer, but all my symptoms still had me worrying.

Last January, I was 160lbs. In May, I was 135 (my high school weight) and I was happy with that; I practically lost all of my baby weight from both of my pregnancies. Between May and December, I lost more weight and was down to 105 by the end of the year. Everyone in my family kept telling me that I was getting too skinny. My sister thought I looked “good”. I felt ok, but not with everyone’s skinny comments. My husband even told me that I need to eat, no matter what.

No one, not even my doctors, could figure out what was going on. Finally, this year, I went to see my VA doctor. I explained to him the entire last year, about losing weight and not trying to and not having an appetite. Well, he gave me a full exam, including a women’s exam. He asked me a weird question, how long it had been since I had breastfed. I told him over a year and half and he said that’s not good. Apparently, my body has been producing prolactin ever since I had my daughter. To be honest, I didn’t know that it was a bad thing, producing breastmilk out of pregnancy or breastfeeding. It was a sort of “sexy” thing behind closed doors…

Well, I had an MRI done on my brain and I have a pituitary microadenoma, cerebellar tonsil ectopia, and a Rathke’s cleft cyst all in my brain. The pituitary tumor is benign because it’s only 5mm, yet I know this has been my main medical issue. This is what’s causing me to not have an appetite and vomiting food that I just ate and being tired all the time. It’s also causing female problems, which causes issues behind closed doors.

The Rathke’s cleft cyst is very small and happens when the Rathke pouch doesn’t develop properly during fetal development. This is something that no one could help or know unless looking for something else. But now I know it’s there.

The cerebellar tonsil ectopia, or Chiari I Malformation, is a displacement of the cerebral tonsils into the cervical spinal canal. I have no clue as to what caused this, but my cerebral tonsils have descended about 4mm. If it descends anymore, it could put pressure on my central nervous system and cause more problems. Pretty much, everything listed above could cause more serious issues if the tumors continue to grow or my tonsils descend more. This stuff could press on nearby nerves, cause my vision to get worse, and give terrible headaches. Honestly, I already have headaches (usually in the back of my head) and I get double vision all the time.

I had an incident the other day that scared the crap out of me. I was coming down from some stairs and my head got really light. My vision was very tunnel-ly, like I could literally only see what was in front of me. My husband was waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs and I was only 3 steps from him. I looked at him and said, “I feel like I can’t reach you”. I couldn’t move my legs and could hardly see anything. Finally, he helped me down and I had to sit for a good 10 minutes before I could walk normally. I actually went to sleep lightheaded that night…Then the other day, I threw up my lunch. No idea why, but it happened, so I just laid down to nap.

I am always tired, most of the time I can’t sleep at night knowing all this new information. And this does NOT include everything wrong with my back. I jacked up my back in the military and my latest MRI/CT scan shows that it’s progressing.IMG_3852_edited_Signed

Local Catfish Festival 2018

So, there’s this woman at my husband’s job that has been through the worst. She moved here and doesn’t know anyone. My husband decided to speak up and say that I would be an awesome friend. Well, for one, thats a lie. I’m a terrible friend, just cause of the way I talk to people. I cannot have a decent small-talk conversation with anyone without overthinking/acting.

Anyway, we attended a local festival with our children and they seemed to have fun. They had a carnival ride, funnel cake, homemade lemonade, fried Oreos and gator; and a kids zone where children could look and pet snakes, play in bouncy houses, build with Legos or Lincoln logs, face paint, and building masks/hats. It was differently creative and definitely cheaper to go than 3 years ago.

To conclude, my weekend was amazing with my family and new friends. My son got to ride his first roller coaster and kiddie rides by himself. It was awesome!!

Personal Growth

For me, I assumed personal growth was to keep educating myself, through actual schooling. In high school, I took night classes, so that I could graduate early and move on to college. Well, when I moved in with my father, I stopped the night classes and finished high school. Then, I went to the military and that hindered my education once again.

When I served my tour in Iraq, I attempted to attend an online college, so that I could get my basic classes out of the way. About 3 classes in, the government starting pulling troops out of Iraq and the internet was scarce where I was stationed: Balad, Iraq. This affected my classes and I had to use a military withdraw from that school. When I discharged in 2013, it took me about a year to get my civilian life together before I used my GI Bill to attend Sam Houston State, and graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree.

Now…it’s my time to shine and put all my knowledge toward helping others. I can expand my current knowledge by just reading, researching, and analyzing more. I can turn my knowledge into learning for others. Out of all the philosophy and economic classes I took, I could expand almost any topic into a discussion and with my current condition, I believe that blogging will become my go-to thing because I am mostly homebound.

Today, I was listening to Rachel Hollis’ recent keynote conference podcast, and it was mostly about personal growth/development. It hit me hard because I have nothing to shoot for. I feel as if I am only a stay-at-home mom & wife. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, but I feel like there’s something more for me. I am still very young snd have years to accomplish something, and this is why I started writing.

In this podcast, one topic that hit hard was the fact that we shouldn’t care about what other people think when we are shooting for what we dream for. To be honest, I don’t know what I ‘actually’ dream for, but I do know that there could be something for me if I strived for it. However, my spouse isn’t too supportive in my wish to write and take photos. For whatever reason, he assumes that when I go to write at night (or early in the morning), that I am doing other things that a wife shouldn’t be doing. To be completely honest, I do absolutely nothing at all, which is why I don’t understand why I can’t just write without mean comments. This puts me down and I tend to not write or photograph when these things happen. I take this very personally, since these are my favorite things to do.

**NOTE: While I was listening to Rachel Hollis’ podcast, I looked over at my daughter in her play pen and she had her mouth wide open trying to chew on the plastic gate itself. It was hilarious because she looked like a total goof…and a giraffe.

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Behind on Blogs Due to Unforeseen Life Events, Attempting to Work With It

So, I haven’t posted in 10+ days, and I wanted this to be daily. I still want to write/blog, but I must start an in-home physical therapy session because of my injuries, which will be explained in this blog. I have had a rough couple of weeks trying to adjust my life to using crutches and not being able to walk around as much. My husband and I have been bumping heads over the smallest things, yet I am trying to work with him, and not against him. I will be covering conflict and change in this blog, that mostly relates to me, my injury(s), and my relationship with my husband because of my injuries.

Balad, Iraq, 2010, I injured my lower back. When I went to the doctor in Iraq, they said it was a pinched nerve and that it would go away. I visited him again a couple months later, saying that the pain wasn’t going away.  I wasn’t diagnosed until 2012, but they finally was able to perform an XRAY and MRI that stated I have 2 herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, and protrusion to the nerve canal on my right side. I had to attempt physical therapy, aquatic therapy, chiropractor alignments, and medications.

My doctor eventually told me that I won’t ever heal, gave me a TENS unit, and warned me about twisting and bending. If the spinal nerve canal is completely squished, then I will become paralyzed. After being forced to leave the military, because they considered me permanently disabled, I had to use the VA for medical purposes. The VA, although free, is very useless. The have sent me to chiropractor twice and I didn’t attempt PT, because I have to travel to Houston to do so, which I cannot do.

Now, I have switched from using the VA doctors to using an actual civilian psychiatrist, neurologist, and orthopedist. My MRI results for my back were about the same as the military provided; however, the results for my right hip were devastating. Apparently, I have edema (low bone density) in my hip bones. I am currently in the stress reaction stage, which is the precursor to a fractured hip. When I left for basic training, I was fine. When I got into AIT, the physical training got more difficult and my right hip was hurting back then (2009). This is when we started pushing and pulling heavy weighted things, such as tires, wood, and gear. I had asked to visit the doctor then, and the bone scan resulted in nothing. My orthopedist told me that edema won’t show up on a bone scan or XRAY as easy as it would doing an MRI.

So, at my current age, I have a stress reaction in my hip and osteoporosis in my lower back. The osteoporosis is weakening of the bones, and this cannot be reversed; DDD cannot be reversed; and if I break a hip, that cannot be reversed. I could have had edema for a long time and not know it. Now that I think that I have had it for longer, I am trying really hard to take it easy, because I am at a higher risk of a fracture than others, being a young, petite, female.

All these appointments and doctors keep making me nervous, but at least I am finally finding out what is wrong with me. I have had my injuries for over 8 years now and I am in pain everyday. This makes it hard for me to parent my children, cook dinners, and do personal things. I only hope that over the next few months I will get better. My bones won’t heal, the osteoporosis is permanent now, but using the medical gear and doing in-housing physical therapy may help me.

My posts will start to be a mixture of photography and blogs. I seem to take more pictures than I write, but I can always write about what I shoot. I will be starting a separate photography website, because, eventually, I would love to do it for a living.

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Day 9: Life Changing PTSD Experience from Childhood

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Today, I want to analyze something that happened to me as a child. Due to being in the military, almost everyone that serves a tour and discharges gets PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Now, I do have this mildly from the military, but I have a more severe case of PTSD from a childhood experience.

My parents divorced when I was 3. My mom remarried my sister’s father and was with him for 8 years. Towards the end of their relationship, I still considered him a ‘dad’ because I saw him more than I saw my own father. Anyway, my sister and I would go over to Grandma’s house to visit him and the rest of the family. I can’t remember exactly when this started, but I was probably around 7 years old.

Because he was alone now, he had his own ‘room’ by himself, and my sister and I stayed in our room with the bunk beds. There are many occasions that I will describe, but this is the beginning. In the very beginning, when I was about 5, I accidentally walked in on my step dad peeing. I saw everything and it was no accident for him. It was almost like he wanted it to happen…anyway

One holiday, I believe it was Thanksgiving, we went over to Grandma’s house to visit. I was in a weird weight period, so not all my clothes fit me. I was playing on the couch, looking over the back at the dining table. My step dad states, “Oh, cheetah panties”. Now for 1, I didn’t know ‘cheetah’ was a ‘sexy’ thing and 2, why was he looking there to begin with? I was like 7 years old and this old man is looking at my panties…so I felt very uncomfortable and went to eat at the table.

The next situation I actually remember is one that was repeated many times. Sometimes when we would go over to his house, it would be a school night and my step dad would have to take us to school the next day. Well, he would wake up extra early, so he could get me up extra early. I slept on the top bunk and he would pick me up like a baby, sit down on the floor, wrap my legs around him (facing toward him), and rock me ‘awake’. Now I never heard over anyone rocking anyone awake, except for an actual baby. Remind you, I am 7-10 years old in these situations. He would purposely rock me so that his junk would rub up against mine. I am also in a nightgown, so things could’ve escalated very quickly. This happened so much that my sister started waking up asking questions. So, that stopped at his mom’s house, but then he got remarried.

Once he got remarried to Melanie, he moved in with her and started making a life. I know she didn’t know about the things that happened with me before, because, really, no one did. However, about a year into the relationship, he started doing things again. One day, Melanie was sleeping in (and she took like 2 hours to get ready in their bathroom), my step dad decided to make breakfast. For some reason, he called me into the kitchen, I assume to help out, but that wasn’t the reason at all. Once I got in there, I am about 11 at this point, he grabbed my hand and made me rub against him. He then unzipped his pants and made me rub him naked. I didn’t look at all, he just used my hand. Now, what I didn’t understand at the time is why he would do all of these things, with OTHERS around, such as his wife and mother? I believe this was the last thing that happened EVER. I felt so wrong when this situation came about, but it wasn’t my fault.

The reason I believe this is the last time is because the next year on Christmas day, I visited my dad. However, I called my mom and told her everything that has been happening. She believed every word, made a doctor’s appointment, and ensured he was not to come near me. This is really where the nightmare begins…

I know after I told my mother, she gave Lee a call and asked what was up. Apparently, he admitted to everything I had said, and more. I remember the specific detail that my mom told me. She said that HE said if I wouldn’t have said anything, he would’ve gotten me pregnant. He was actually GLAD that I had told someone, because, I assume, hiding a secret that you are messing with an underage child is not a secret that one can hold. I did for so long, because I didn’t understand. Aged 7-12 during these years, and everyone expects me to know what sex is, what is wrong and not, what is private and not. He actually had told my mom of a situation that I don’t remember at all. I assume that this was when I was younger, he was still in his mom’s house, and I am sure that my brain blocked this out completely. However, he apparently took me into his room alone, unzipped, pulled himself out, made me rub and “suck” on it. I really don’t remember this, but when my mom said something about it, I had a glimpse of a flashback of about 5 seconds, and this did happen.

After my mom found out everything, she took me to the doctor to ensure that I was still a virgin and that nothing happened to me down there. Then, she put me on birth control, not because she didn’t trust me, but because she couldn’t trust others. Then, I had to talk to the school counselor and the CPS got involved. They had to visit me at school like twice a week and call me 4/5 days of the week when I got home. See, when the CPS got involved, I had to do a recorded conversation of everything that happened. Because I was thinking of my sister, I had told mom that I only want to tell the CPS so much because, then, if he went to jail, she would be without a father. I never wanted that, I just wanted him to stop. So, I told them it only happened for about 3 months, instead of 5-6 years. I told them of the situations that I remembered. The CPS also questioned him, he had to take classes, registered as a sex offender, and can never be around young children again.

There’s only few parts to these that I remember, probably because my young brain tried to block out the bad things. See, what people don’t understand is that an experience like this WILL affect you for the rest of your life. I still have trust issues with men, sexual flashbacks (normally smells that remind me of Lee), and negative attitudes toward sex and intimacy that affect my relationship today. I only hope that the work of this new podcast will help me out in that area.