I love, love, love being a mom. I become more enchanted with my little girl every day. But, man, this is hard! I’ve been putting off writing this for a long time. Mostly due to time and energy constraints, but also for emotional reasons. I don’t want to complain when I truly feel lucky in so many ways. I’m dealing with a lot of pain issues that I’ve been reluctant to blog about. Even though I know many younger people deal with chronic pain, it makes me feel old. And I am old. I’m 49 years old with a spirited toddler! I put in a 40 hour week, plus 10 hours a week commuting, and daycare is almost half my take home pay. It’s frustrating at this point in my life to feel like each month I’m slipping a little further behind financially. It adds greatly to my stress level, which adds to my pain levels.
I’m stressed and don’t feel like I’m handling it well, yet I’m not depressed. My anxiety level is through the roof right now, but I think I manage to be in the moment with Sunshine most of the time. Work is miserable. I mostly like the work I do, but my workplace is a very unhappy place right now. I don’t think I’ve ever posted about my job. I’m a graphic designer for a sales division of a big media company. I mostly design ads for tv and the web. There was an executive shake up at the end of last year and things are incredibly tense. Like coworkers in tears tense. Everyone is on edge, and the higher ups are demanding more productivity with less support. But in this economy, we know we’re lucky to have these jobs. Sucks, but just the idea of trying to find something else terrifies me.
Regarding the chronic pain, I’ve had some back problems for years, but it wasn’t too bad until my pregnancy. You may remember that I needed foot surgery while I was pregnant. It added to the lower back problems during and after the pregnancy. I have arthritis and bulging discs in my lower back. Also in my neck, although that hasn’t been causing consistent pain like the lower back. And my feet, even after surgery, are not so good. I also have some bursitis in my hips, likely also an aftereffect of the pregnancy. I was seeing a doctor for it last year who did some injections (facet blocks) with varying success, but decided not to go back to her, as I was not happy with how her practice was run. Last time I had an appointment with her I waited in the waiting room and exam room for an incredibly long time. I was at her office for over FOUR HOURS. The resident examined me and spoke with me some, then the doctor breezed in and out in about five minutes. I was furious! All these pain issues are connected, and without discussing pain other than my lower back, she was not getting a full picture. I recently went to someone new who gave me a tentative diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Apparently there are eighteen points on the body that are checked for tenderness if fibromyalgia is suspected. If there is pain or tenderness in at least eleven of those points, fibro is likely. I have pain in all eighteen points.
There are systemic treatments, but I’m not willing to experiment with the side effects while dealing with full time work and a toddler. So I’m trying to deal with areas that I can have treated, while hoping that if some areas feel better, my overall pain levels with go down. I had some cortisone injected in my hips last month and got some relief, but I think I’ll need another round in a few months to bring those levels down further. Next week I’m trying an epidural injection to try to get relief from the lower back pain. For the last few weeks my entire back has been tight with muscle spasms, but I suspect the mid and upper back pain is a muscular reaction to the lower back issues.
Oh, and let’s add in a little extra stress with an emergency visit to the ophthalmologist yesterday for what turned out to be a scratch on my cornea.
UGH! Can you see why I’ve been reluctant to post this? I feel like a whiner. I feel ancient. IT HURTS! It means I’m not always as patient with Sunshine as I’d like to be. It means I try to curb messy playing at home because I don’t have the energy to do the extra cleaning. It means I’m probably not performing as well as I should on my job, which scares me.
I have absolutely no regrets about becoming a single mother by choice, but when does it get easier?