Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy Feet...Kinda

Some of you have watched the saga of me getting older and my body essentially punching me repeatedly in the face. My hip has issues. My feet have issues. My doctor constantly tells me I am too young to be in his office as often as I am (currently, I am still visiting him weekly for hip and foot issues, where he also gives me B12 shots to help with healing). Today is an update about my new adventures with the Graston Technique on my left foot (right foot had surgery in 2013).  It took about a year for my right foot to stop hurting post-surgery. On top of all of this BS, my right foot has once again started hurting (so I only got about four or five months pain-free with that foot). I guess when you mess with your alignment, it can cause other issues.

So the left hip started randomly giving me trouble about five years ago (no injury to blame it on). I saw Keith and he got me back into a place where I could live relatively pain-free. After starting that new job in San Francisco in 2012, and going from wearing flip flops every day to real shoes, my right foot started really hurting. After having surgery and limping around in a moon boot for awhile, my left hip flared up again but I just kind of ignored it. My doctor warned me if I didn't take care of it, I would develop arthritis, and he started performing myofascial release on that hip this year. It has been life-changing. (We don't even have to mention how my little fall in Vegas put me back months and I'm still paying the price for that with my tight toes.) Something my doctor mentioned at one visit was how the tightness in my foot was related to my tight calves. Interestingly enough, I had just started having the Graston technique performed on my foot and calf the same week my doctor mentioned this.

I am about six weeks in to having the Graston technique performed on my foot (about once a week, although the holidays have made that a little difficult) and I really do feel like it is making a difference in the pain in my feet. The actual technique can be kind of painful. I have these crazy knots in my calves. I have always felt like my muscles practically melted after gastric bypass. Losing weight that quickly just destroys your body. My theory is that when the muscles started coming back, they fused in weird ways. When I used to get Charlie horses in my calf, it would be the back of the leg. After gastric bypass, Charlie horses moved into this place in between my muscles, which was completely unreachable and never could be rubbed out.

Although I am certainly not yet cured of foot pain, on the weeks I have Angela work on me, I am in significantly less pain than on the weeks I haven't been able to make it in. I am continuing with my yoga in order to keep myself somewhat stretched out. I am also using the Bledsoe brace on my left foot to keep pressure on the fascia. It is frustrating to be going through this on my other foot, but I really do hope that, if I keep up the Graston visits, I may be able to avoid future surgery on that foot.

Got any tricks for foot pain? I'm open to trying almost anything! I have been throwing around the idea of trying acupuncture. That should be fun...I really love needles. Not.

Bone spurs on the right foot. The left foot has similar, although smaller, spurs

Awesome bruise after a Graston visit

Friday, December 19, 2014

December 2014 Blog Hop: My Year in Photos!

It has, once again, been a crazy year.  Here are some highlights.  Sorry, I couldn't just pick one photo to represent each month and I'm sure I missed a bunch of things because I got tired of downloading photos.  And, since my life isn't just about pole, I really did include everything I did.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Circle of Life

Two weeks to the day after Sassy Grandma passed away, my niece, affectionately referred to as "Tsunami" was born (my other sister-in-law is pregnant and "Volcano" is due in February).  My sister-in-law went through a very difficult labor (maybe we should have re-thought that nickname), but after a mere 50 hours of hell, the payoff was worth it!

Meet Seneti, our little Ginger Tongan!

I know I haven't been blogging a lot lately.  I've been doing a lot of soul searching about what I want to do with my life, where I want to live in the future and how much time I should spend doing my adventures.  And I want to make sure I spend more time with my family.

How do you make time for everything?  Work?  Exercise?  Family?  Fun?  There are only so many  hours in the day but I just don't see everyone seeming to struggle with balance like I do.  

Friday, December 5, 2014

My Fifth Anniversary as a Twirly Girl

I really can't believe I have been on this pole dancing journey for five years.  On December 2, 2009, Rita and I walked through the doors of Twirly Girls and we never left.  Not long after, Bel nicknamed me the Twirling Viking Warrior.  This has been a really difficult week, so I would have otherwise planned a longer tribute to my family at Twirly Girls, but I think pictures speak louder than words, so enjoy a few photos from the last couple of years of my journey.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Life reduced to the contents of a box...

A few years ago, my boss' grandfather died.  My boss went down to pick up his grandfather's belongings, then came back and handed me a box to go through to find important papers.  I had never met the man, but I felt like I got to know him through this box.  For one thing, he seemed to be a generous man.  He had a very limited income, yet he apparently wrote a check to every charity that called him for money -- even if it was only $10.  I read his bills, newspaper clippings, and papers he felt were important.  I found junk and baubles, which were often "rewards" for donating money.  I was at work, but I sobbed.  I sobbed that this life was extinguished and all that was left was a box full of papers that were dumped on a random, unknown secretary to go through. 

In the last week, I witnessed a life being reduced to a box first-hand.  The day after Thanksgiving, I was horseback riding when I got the text that my grandma was in the hospital.  She had been in the hospital before, so I figured this was no different (I think most of us in the family felt this way).  She was 83 and on dialysis, but certainly didn't have any issues that would have made us think she would be leaving us any time soon.  A couple of hours later, it became clear that this time was different.  It took almost 7 hours to get off the mountain and drive to the hospital but I made it.  My grandma was surrounded by family.  She had an oxygen mask on but was not technically on life support.  The doctors were very frank with us.  While we looked at her laying in the bed, kind of out of it, but still responding when we talked to her, we couldn't comprehend what they were telling us.  She had hours left, maybe a day or two, but that was it.  That can't be possible. 

On Facebook, I referred to her as Sassy Grandma.  My brother and his wife moved in to give her round-the-clock care a year or more ago.  She was able to walk but had fallen a couple of times and it seemed important to keep her in her own home as long as possible.  We watched my poor Great Grandma Ruby (arguably the sweetest person in the world) suffer when she lost her independence, so the longer we could keep my Grandma Myers in her home, the better.  When my brother and his wife needed a break, some of the family stepped up to help (probably not nearly as much as we should have now that I look back).  My Grandma was always slightly grumpy, but she got super sassy as she got older and had more pain.  So I called her Sassy Grandma.  I think she actually had a little following on Facebook as I would talk about all the funny things she would say. 

So, back in the hospital room, the doctor tells us that once the oxygen mask is removed, it would probably only be 10-15 minutes before she would pass.  It was slightly frustrating that the doctors weren't more caring, as she couldn't communicate well but seemed to be understanding everything that was being said in the room.  All of my Grandma's sons were out of state when she was taken to the hospital, so we were hoping to get everyone there before she passed.  One uncle came from Idaho and was there by around 9 PM.  The other came from visiting my dad in Texas, and was there by around 10 PM.  My dad was still in Texas and hoping to come the next day.  We were also conferring with her brother in Thailand.  Once the doctor mentioned that she would pass after the mask was removed, she started trying to push the mask off.  I think she knew.  The mask came off sometime around 11 PM.  Her entire family, save a couple of people who couldn't travel that far in time, surrounded the bed.  We cried.  We said our good-byes.  We waited.  Without the mask, she was so much more at peace.  Her breathing was slow and ragged, but she didn't pass immediately.  We waited until around 1:30 AM, then we decided to go get some rest.  We stayed up until 2:30, just talking about how fast this happened and how we were in disbelief, and still somehow holding out hope that she would wake up in the morning and yell to get her out of that damn hospital!  We finally went to bed but received the call at 4:45 AM that she was gone.  We got dressed and went to the hospital to say our final good-byes. 

I have seen dead bodies before.  When I was 9 or 10, I was at a Great Grandmother's funeral and I touched her hand.  It was so cold and I was scarred from it.  My Grandpa Myers passed in 2000, my Grandpa Last in 2003, and my Great Grandma Ruby also in 2003 (among others).  But there was something about being involved in the process of helping her pass into the next life that was comforting.  I was sad.  I cried.  But I was relieved.  I know she was in pain.  She had been going through dialysis and it was taking its toll on her body. 

Anyway, I wasn't planning to write all of that, but apparently I needed to get it out.  My Grandma passed early Saturday morning.  The funeral was Wednesday.  In those days between, we all had jobs to do.  Plan the funeral.  Order flowers.  Write the obituary.  Enlarge a photo and get a frame for the funeral.  Do a slideshow.  I had four external drives filled with photos.  It took me several hours to go through.  My Grandpa took thousands of photos (I guess that's where I get it from...I've heard he's my Guardian Angel).  We went through photo albums -- and kind of enjoyed talking about old stories.  I actually took those photo albums with me.  I have three large storage bins filled with those albums.  Eventually I'll figure out how to get them scanned to share with my family. 

I thought it would be nice for the grandchildren to wear pieces of our Grandma's jewelry to her funeral.  So we went through her drawers and boxes.  It felt like such a violation.  Even though we were told to do it, it felt wrong.  At the same time, it was another walk down memory lane.  We found photos and other items that reminded us of our childhood.  We opened up a cedar chest that included newspaper clippings from back in the 1970's.  It seemed to be a lot of stuff my Grandpa found interesting and important.  We found a box of my Great Grandma's things -- many of them things I was surprised my Grandma kept.  But then I realized, that was her mom and I'm sure it was hard to throw anything away.  Here was this tiny box with all of the memories of my Great Grandma Ruby.

The last week has been one of the most sad, tiring and stressful, yet, strangely, one of the happiest I've had in a long time.  No one gets together after you pass to talk about the bad times.  You remember the good and the happy times.  In death, we all deserve that respect.  I was surrounded by my entire family and we got to remember all of the amazing people who helped make us who we are.  However, every time I found a box with a deceased loved one's belongings, I couldn't help but think how sad it is that our lives are reduced to the contents of a box. 

I realized life is too short for jobs we hate, friends who backstab us or activities we don't enjoy.  I feel like some changes are coming for me.  And, someday when I pass, I hope that my box is filled with interesting things that make my family smile and remember the good times.  I hope that you are filling your box with love and fun as well!

Rest in peace, Sassy Grandma.  I know that you loved us and we love you too.  I am grateful that you're with Grandpa.  And I can't wait to see you again.