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!!

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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. 

Day 7 & 8: Hurricane Florence…not an experience one wants

20180904_225704462_iOS_Signed.jpgI wanted to give my respects for those suffering, and who will suffer, from the wrath of Florence. I have been through many storms in my time; Hurricane Ike & Harvey and Oklahoma tornadoes were my worst ones. Since Florence is hitting land tonight, I guess I can tell you about my storm times. Short stories, but many of them, including a sandstorm in Iraq.

I’m sure I have been through many more storms that I don’t remember or know about, but my forst hardcore storm that placed a memory in my mind was Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I was 14 years old and at my mothers. I wasn’t really scared because my mom’s house was well built. However, she lives right by a bayou, as in 10 feet of the bayou from the property belongs to her, and that was the scary part. Katrina was not bad for Texas, but it devastated Louisiana. Our power was off for about a week and we slept in our gameroom. My bed was the pool table and we ran a generator to turn on a fan. Not really any damage, but frightening as a child. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.history.com/.amp/topics/natural-disasters-and-environment/hurricane-katrina-video

The next storm was Hurricane Ike. This one was very devastating and destructive for Texas. i was at my dad’s, about 16, and we were in the boonies. Lots of trees, old houses, trailers, and tons of land to be flooded. We definitely flooded and had about 25 trees knocked down over a 6 acre property. During this storm, my dad had the emergency radio out listening to it constantly; we had MREs handed out by FEMA; our power was out for 2 weeks; and schools were flooded, so no school for a month. I actually fell asleep during this storm, and during my nap, the biggest and closest tree on the property fell parallel to our trailer, and I didn’t even wake up. This was a scary storm and probably could’ve ended my life. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/amp/Hurricane-Ike-hit-the-Houston-and-Galveston-areas-9219780.php

The next crazy storm I encountered was a massive sandstorm in Iraq when I served my tour in 2010, stationed on Balad/FOB Anaconda. There were many sandstorms, but this one was overly impressive. The sand in Iraq was so fine, and the storm was so thick, one couldn’t see 2 feet in front of them. During this time, every military personnel on the base had to wear complete gear. The CRAMs that protected the base couldn’t detect anything during a sandstorm, so a warning would be pushed out that the base would be dangerous until the storm clears, which lasted for about 2 days. I positively know that I have respiratory issues due to breathing in TONS of sand in Iraq. It’s not a pretty sight, but a rare one. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4DrE18VqpRI

Still during my military term, I was stationed in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in the city of Fayetteville. I had been through snow storms, flooding rain, and a sandstorm, what else was to come? There was a wild tornado outbreak in NC that I had no clue of. I was at home on lunch watching TV, and suddenly the TV cuts out. Everything cuts out in the apartment. I walked across the street to my regular Subway to see what was going on. They said tornadoes had hit ground about 2 miles up the road, which is where my step-daughter went to school. They had to hide under tables and in bathrooms. It was scary as a ‘parent’ to find out that the weather is affecting yours children”s schooling. http://www.weather.gov/oun/events-20130520

The next crazy storm was the tornado outbreak in Oklahoma in 2013. The dangers of the NC tornadoes didn’t hit where I was, but theses tornadoes were within half a mile from my home in OK. The massive destruction was in southern OK, but the tornado spawn span was massive that it reached Collinsville, OK. There was no damage to my home, but there was damage to nearby homes and fences. This was very devastating and cost lots of money. Many people were without homes for a long time and I felt blessed to not have my rent home, at the time, destroyed. These tornadoes were very scary and I definitely wouldn’t want to run into them again. https://www.weather.gov/oun/events-20130520

Hurricane Harvey of 2017 was the next biggest storm. It didn’t affect my area as much, but it was disastrous to Houston. They were extremely flooded with debris and trees everywhere. The little trailer neighborhood thats in the back of my neighborhood were flooded. They have a small creek that runs behind them and it flooded so bad that people were carrying baskets on top of their heads in waist deep water. Trucks would drive out of the water with water pouring from the door cracks. It was really bad for most here in Houston, and people are still recovering from it. https://www.cbsnews.com/feature/hurricane-harvey/

Hurricanes, or any other storm, are not a game, not something to take lightly. I would have definitely evacuated out of North Carolina, if I were still there. Hurricanes Matthew and Sandy were destructive for the east coast, and Florence is worse. I give my prayers to those suffering in this disaster.