shinga: (Default)
The existential crises I've been facing lately are all about what I DO. Or what's been taken away. I've lost art (even if it's temporarily), I've lost dancing, I've lost working, driving.

But I've not lost ME.

It's something I need to remind myself of a lot. I am a force in and of myself, without having to DO a damn thing. I have the heart and soul of a fighter, a warrior, a Valkyrie. Everything is set against me, trying to stop me? It's only stopping activities. It's stopping things. It's not stopping ME.

Keep trying, pain. Keep trying, disability. Some days I'll feel like you're winning. But those are just small little battles, little skirmishes where you look to be the victor. In the long run, the war is mine. I own this battlefield and I'll never let you forget that again.
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My shoulder is in so much pain. So much. I knew eventually this would happen, using a cane for 10 years catches up to you. I have an MRI next month, and I want my VA doctor to help me make the argument that because it’s from the cane use that it IS related to my disability and SHOULD be considered when I try to get my percentage raised… because… I can’t draw. I miss art, it is physically and emotionally gutwrenching to not draw. Without art? All the money I get is is from disability which is only at 20%. I can’t live on that. I’m terrified. How am I going to pay my mortgage? My bills? Will our water be turned off? My husband has an okay salary but a lot of debt so he can’t take over all the bills for me and even if he did I’d be so overcome with guilt that I’d have an anxiety breakdown of epic proportions. So after my shoulder MRI I want to schedule an updated hip and leg MRI (no matte how painful it’ll be (they tape my feet in an awkward position to see the hip joint better and it is BRUTALLY painful and lasts forever)) so the VA can see how horribly my injury has progressed in the last few years. I want my doc to write up how bad it’s gotten since she sees me pretty regularly. I want to FIGHT for more coverage just so I can pay my bills and have enough left over to do things like “pay for my own damn food once in a while” and “not have anxiety/panic attacks every time I see an e-mail from the bank because I assume I’m overdrawn again”

I have a birthday coming up next month. I hate that I want to ask people just to send money. I feel miserable about it. That a time of celebration is just me hoping it might help me survive.

I can’t put the burden of all these finances on my husband. Both because he has other financial things to worry about, and because it makes me anxious as his partner to feel so… “unequal”… there’s a sense of… I don’t know… “loss of power”? Imbalance. When you feel financially strapped to another person you give them the power to utterly destroy you. I know he wouldn’t. But that fear would still be there. To worry that I’ll become a burden to him, that I’ll feel like just another financial responsibility to stress him out. He insists he would never feel like this, but I know he also has his own anxiety to battle with and there might be feelings he can’t help.

I can’t drive. I can’t work. Now with my shoulder pain I can’t even do commissions or comics so that money’s out.

I don’t know what to do.

Part of me wants to find some way to “take advantage” of the political tenseness right now and contact some senator or congressman or something and be all “look I’m a veteran and can’t survive, helping will make you look good with voting coming up” but I feel ugly and awful turning to that. I might eventually be desperate enough, scared enough. But… ugh.

I feel like I’m losing so much. I don’t want to lose my house. I don’t want to lose my husband. I don’t want to end up homeless and starving and alone because my partners just can’t financially carry their useless disabled partner…

I feel sick to my stomach right now. I want to cry but the pain is so overwhelming I don’t have the energy required to cry.

I’m scared.
shinga: (Default)
This is my last week of physical therapy. I have a check-up on Friday to sort of test my progress but I'll probably ask for a range of motion test sometime this week with the folks in the physical therapy section of things, since the doctor might not do that. I know a couple of weeks ago they said it was already improving. And the pain has lessened immensely, while my upper back has gotten a lot stronger (which has done wonders for my posture as well)

I've learned so much. How to use muscles correctly, how to properly stretch and work them, even some tips on how to handle my hips' scar tissue pain (which, since it was unrelated to the accident, they didn't need to do for me but wanted to)

I might ask them on Friday to check my insurance, see if I can be covered to come back at LEAST once a month just to keep learning, keep growing, keep shaping myself like a sculpture. I can see a difference in the mirror. I can feel the difference, and not just physically. There's a change in my demeanor, and I'm not the only one noticing it. I'm more confident, I'm less stressed. I mean, I'm still stressed, but... it's not nearly so bad.

Skipping two appointments last week to spend some time in Houston with the boyfriend may not look smart from the outside, but that was necessary too. I needed a change of scenery, and a few days of nothing but peace and a lack of worry. I didn't have my scanner and wacom pen within eyesight, mocking me daily. I didn't have unfinished work looming over my head. Boyfriend happily paid for things this time around (whereas I normally grab the check before he can get to it when we go out to eat)

There was a noticeable difference when I got home. Less tense, less angry, less... everything negative. I'm still tired. Well, that might not be related to much of anything, I started shark week like the DAY I left Houston. So this last week of PT I'm playing in hard mode. ;)

Will bought me some simple headphones so I'm bringing the ipad with me to PT to listen to music while I do the cardio part in the beginning. I know myself... get the right music going and I will work up a sweat and have my heartrate right where they want it in no time xD

Maybe once I get some better income I can get a bathing suit that fits and come back to try their aquatic exercises too, to get more of the legs and hips moving.

I don't know. This whole experience may have started out shitty. I mean, who WANTS a car accident? But... it's changing how I look at myself. How I look at my body. Slowly I'm beginning to see my body as mine a little better. It's become such a separate entity in my mind that I was beginning to blame it, hate it, see it as an enemy. I always referred to my body and pain as something I was fighting all the time. Which worked for coping for a while, but... I need to work on not doing it as much. Because it's part of me, and something I need to relearn how to love and work on instead of hating and fighting.

I'm already excited for October. On the 1st is my anniversary, also the second-to-last PT appointment, and Will and I have reservations to a lovely restaurant in Denton. I wish to hell I had some spending money so I could grab a nice dress at a thrift store for the occasion. It's not a huge anniversary or anything, but it's been a while since he and I really celebrated it beyond a small gift or card or something.

<3 A lot of crappy stuff has gone down this month. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is usually bullshit, but this time... this time it's been true.
shinga: (Default)
First physical therapy session done.

They started with a heating pack on my neck. Next they wanted me to do cardio but there's pretty much very little I can do physically. I told them that, he had me very gently try the stationary bike just to get the muscles moving. Moving is fine and it didn't hurt too bad. After that he showed me a couple of tricks to start breaking down some of the muscle damage and build some strength back up in the hips. All very useful stuff.

Then we got to the actual reason I was there... fixing the upper part. So we worked on my shoulders, including trying to strengthen my upper back muscles because right now my shoulders and chest are pulling at those muscles and weakening them which leads to spasms.

I'm sore right now, but it's clean pain. The therapist working with me was communicative, patient, complimentary, encouraging, and didn't talk down to me (especially when I told him I've researched a lot and have worked in the medical field)

So I'm sore and tired and chugging water like crazy but I'm encouraged by this first session. Next one is Thursday, then Saturday, then we repeat that schedule another three times after that. By then I hope my back is tougher and my shoulder and neck pain is lessened.

The range of motion in my neck is bad right now but the muscles are strong. That doesn't shock me, with hair this long I would HOPE the neck is strong. :P


Also, while I was focused on this today Will made a gofundme for a new computer for me so I can get right back to work as soon as the physical therapy has progressed enough that I can draw without either crying from pain or just downing painkiller after painkiller.

I miss work. I miss the comic. I'm going a bit stir crazy.

Also, since the accident I've now had two instances where I drank a bit too much and the affected muscles FREAKED OUT. So until this month is over, not having much booze. One or two drinks tops, anything more than that seems to exacerbate the issue.
shinga: (Default)
So, I'll be frank. I wouldn't be crippled right now, ten years after the fact, if it wasn't for physical therapy utterly ruining me. Yes there were other factors, but physical therapy blatantly ignoring where my pain ACTUALLY was and "treating" an injury that wasn't there tore my muscles to shreds and has left me a pain-ridden useless blob covered hip to feet in muscle scar tissue.

Tomorrow I start physical therapy for something else entirely... my neck, upper back, and shoulders. These pains from the car wreck have been keeping me from drawing, chores, basically anything with the upper body. Considering I'm already fucked out of my LOWER body... well let's say I'm stressed.

And fucking terrified.

I've had nightmares about this place for ten years. Terrified of talking about it, like saying it out loud would be some kind of bloody mary/beetlejuice bullshit and suddenly they'll magically find paperwork that they messed up and they'll force me to go back and I'll be stuck there forever, breaking more and more every day as they force physical punishments I can't endure, "therapy" that makes it worse, etc. It's illogical but that's pretty much what ptsd does to you, folks. This was a traumatic 6 months that's not left me for 10 years.

So even though the therapists I'm meeting tomorrow are civilians, in a really good facility with good reviews, and for an area of my body that ISN'T the crippled part... I'm still scared. Terrified. Worried. It might not make sense, logically. I'm arguing with myself so much. But it's there. I'm scared that they'll have no empathy, no kindness. I'm scared they'll ignore me and force me to do things that harm me permanently. I'm scared... I'm scared to lose the biggest thing I have left. Art.

I predict that none of this will be happen. These next four weeks of therapy will make my neck/back/shoulders stronger than ever. I'll be confident and I'll grow from it so much. I'll be back to drawing in no time.

But it doesn't erase the terror. It doesn't make it so I can name the place that broke me, because I still fear the name.

... It's okay that I'm scared. Fear doesn't make me weak. But tomorrow afternoon that fear won't stop me. I'll walk into that office and I'll meet who I'm working with and we'll fight this new pain together and it will be an entirely different experience. I'll be wiser from my old experience... if they turn out to be assholes, I'll leave. Cancel my appointments. Find another office... because I can. I'm allowed to do that.

I control the next four weeks. I'm not trapped. I'm not forced. I'm not threatened and abused and mocked and alone.

I'm terrified, but that's not going to stop me. I can't lose art too. I can't. But even if I did, I'll find something else. I'll survive, and thrive, no matter what the world throws at me. That place... the one that tried to destroy me from the inside out. I'm not there anymore. They can't hurt me. I don't ever need to go back.

I'll win this.
shinga: (Default)
I took my nose ring out about 24 hours ago and had nothing plastic to put in in the meantime (MRI + metal in your face = NO)

Now I can’t get it back in and if I want that nose ring back I’ll probably have to go get it re-pierced.

I’m annoyed and frustrated. If I didn’t have all this neuropathy that’s worrying my doc I wouldn’t have to have a goddamn brain MRI and I wouldn’t have had to take it out in the first place.

I wouldn’t be so annoyed if this didn’t feel like a small “you’re crippled and your body isn’t under your own control” slap in the face. My nose ring was one of the small pieces of control I’ve had in the last few years. Something about my body that was 100% my choice. Now because of my health I can’t have it right now and it’s pissing me off.

Momentary setback, I know. Re-piercing is no big deal and I’ve had to do it before on my ears (and while I'm there getting it done I'll buy a plastic something so if I need another brain MRI this won't happen again). I’ll be okay. But right this second, I’m not.

I swear my next big move is going to be tattoos. I don’t have any yet. I know what I want, I just need to get it designed by some one whose style lines up better with it.

I just want my body to be mine, dammit.
shinga: (Default)
PSA: Kids, sometimes you will say something to me. Something innocent, something that is not meant to hurt me. Please know that I KNOW you do not mean this. Know that I probably won't be angry that you said it. But sometimes your foot just ends up in your mouth. It doesn't mean we're suddenly not friends. It's just that, every so often, a topic is a sore one. If you talk to me about your walking-intensive vacations, your dancing, your exercising... every so often, especially if I'm having a rough pain day, it will hurt to hear. I will struggle with the loss and the pain and the jealousy and I might get upset. Not always. For the most part I'm pretty good about not hearing details about my loved ones' lives and making it all about me, me, me. It's just on the hard days, in the rougher moments. Moments where I'd kill to go on that vacation, where I miss dancing, the times I'd give anything to be able to bitch about how rough my two mile run was that day.

I'm not asking you to stop talking about your lives. Just know that sometimes this will be my reaction. I'm not angry, just... very broken. If it's a problem and I want the subject to be changed, I'll ask or I'll remove myself from the conversation. You're not actively the one hurting me, it isn't your fault, and it isn't about you. I just don't always handle the pain very well and for that I'm sorry.

Carry on.


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