3 1/2 Weeks

3 ½ weeks

March 27, 2021

It is a pretty Saturday morning.  Sunny, birds chirping, and blue skies.

As I sit here writing after a brief time away, I await my single cup of coffee to be ready and I contemplate my life, at this moment.

In 3 ½ weeks I will be turning 50 years old, half a century old to be exact.  That is a long life thus far.

When I was younger, my early teen years, I never thought I would live to see the year 2000 mainly due to the movie I had seen called “2010: The Year We Make Contact”.  That seemed so far away back then.

I was certain that I would never make it to my 30’s and I would never have a family of my own.  I had always been this painfully shy, awkward, and nerdy girl that never had any true friendships.  I have always felt alone and never trusted anyone.

Now here it is 2021, I have made it through some of the most trying, difficult, and heartbreaking moments in life. 

I now know that the loneliness that I had felt most of my life can be attributed to major depressive disorder and anxiety.  All stemming from trauma that I lived through.

It has taken the last 7 years to finally be open enough to speak about the things that I went through. I have written about most of it here.

That has been my biggest personal and emotional milestone; overcoming that fear of being alone and facing the pain from the past.

Today, I am writing about where I am at now and where I would like to go from this point forward.

I had surgery last year on May 22, 2020 to repair a full thickness rotator cuff tear.

Due to some miscommunication with the doctor’s PA, I unfortunately did not come out of my sling soon enough nor start the physical therapy right away as planned by the Orthopedic Surgeon.

I did not begin physical therapy until July.  This caused issues and I am still healing with limitations to full use of my arm.

I am still in daily pain. I am still going to weekly physical therapy which has had some delays due to paperwork issues. 

I now have an unexplained and undiagnosed tremor that started August of 2020 and my Ortho doctor has now diagnosed a frozen shoulder.  I do not know when I will be completely healed and feeling back to normal.

I could have been wallowing in self-pity, regret, and sunk into another depressive cycle or state as before but I did not. I have the love and support of my children keeping me going.  They continually check up on me weekly and now my youngest son is at home, so I have someone here.

I learned through all those previous mental health breakdowns how to recognize if I am spiraling out and how to bring myself back to center again.  It has been a long road on that recovery, but I have not had an incident in over 4 years now.  I was feeling rather good about myself.

Then this past week, after a 3 month wait, I had my neurology consult to examine my tremor.  I was so upset and disappointed by the outcome. 

This so-called “healer” decided to only look at my previous mental health history and not the results of the CT scan, that also took 3 months to get accomplished, before saying that it was not physical but a mental issue. 

She saw in my medical record that I was not on any medication for the depression or anxiety and recommended that I be put on a prescription.  

I was so angry that she did not bother to examine me, ask questions, discuss CT scan results, or even recommend any secondary tests or labs to be accomplished when I first arrived at her office. 

I had been sitting in the waiting room for 45 minutes past my appointment time.  

It was not until I said my Orthopedic surgeon was not within the Veterans Affairs health system when she finally performed what seemed like a basic examination and after my insistence requested an MRI to be done.

All the while I was there, I was having a tremor.  I had a few shorter ones earlier in the morning so I knew that one may occur while I was there. I also had the videos I made of previous tremors ready on my phone to show her.

She insisted that it was a mental health issue and not a physical issue. Then made a request for a mental health exam before requesting the MRI.  

I had been waiting 6 months to get some sort of diagnosis to the problem. That or at least more tests done to narrow down this medical issue that affects my daily life at this point. 

I went to this person because they are supposed to be the expert with the knowledge, skills, and experience.

Instead, I left feeling like I had been dismissed and the physical issue was not being taken seriously.  I went through the same before when this whole issue with my arm started.  It was all so disappointing.

I had a physical therapy appointment after that examination and spoke to them about her “diagnosis”. They also thought that was unusual to make that determination without further examination, tests, or lab work.

The anger I felt turned into action. I called the VA patient advocate and my primary care provider, telling them what happened.  I spent most of Thursday, the day after my appointment, on the phone with different people going over my complaint and getting referrals to an outside provider to get a second opinion.

I do not know what the outcome will be for the provider nor do I care.  I am concerned about how she possibly has been treating other patients that came to see her and voiced that to the people who called.

It is now up to the director of the clinic to determine the next course of action.  I said my peace and I am moving on.  The trust that I have in the medical care that I receive through the VA has been dulled by this incident though.

That disappointment will not stop me.  I have been through a lot the past almost year dealing with the physical, medical, and financial issues but I am still here, still going, and still living my life.

I still have my plans for my future to accomplish.

Now, moving onto that subject, my future.

On January 25th, 2020, I started on the path to a new career.  I went back to school to study programming, coding, and become a software engineer. The original career path I started on over 25 years ago but got sidetracked. 

I decided last year, when I found out that I needed surgery, that it was the best time to learn a new set of skills since I would be out of work and would be in recovery. Especially since I did not know for how long.

It would only require being able to study and do the classwork online.  I was not ready and up to it in September when I was originally supposed to start, and it was pushed back to a January start date.

I knew it would be challenging and I might not succeed but was willing to take the chance anyway. Life is about taking those chances no matter how scary they may be.  Life is also about being willing to step out of your comfort zone every once and a while.  This program so far is testing both of those ideas.

I am currently behind everyone else as to the learning curve of the material.  That tedious nature of picking everything apart has kicked in and I am taking a lot longer to get the tasks done but my training facilitator has said that I am doing fine.  He has been stating from day one that it is not about the speed at accomplishing the tasks but the knowledge we are gaining in the process.

The school’s open learning environment is not overly structured and gives the student the opportunity to learn at their own pace with the ability to redo the material or restart the trimester if needed. 

We have been told numerous times that they want us to feel confident going further on into the program because the projects will get bigger as we go and there is still so much to learn in this two-year program.

So, I am still catching up and excited about everything that I am learning.  That feeling I get when something that I coded works and has little errors is rather satisfying.  

It has become this mentally challenging thing that I was missing this past year while I was recovering.  There is only so much television or movies one can watch to pass the time of day.  

I like to read but just trying to find that motivation to sit still and be quiet is still not quite there yet.  My mind is always on the go.

I have also been dwelling this past week on some other future learning opportunities despite my incident with the neurologist.  I know she is wrong about my mental health; she does not know me and what she sees on paper is not a complete picture of who I am as a person.

Yes, there are days when I just do not want to get out of bed.

I get up.

I fix my bed.

I wash my face.

I brush my hair and brush my teeth.

I get dressed.

I eat breakfast, drink coffee, and get moving on something.  

I make that effort to stay in a routine.  

It is difficult due to the arm limitations and the constant dull ache, but I get it done. 

I do not let myself wallow in self-pity for long and focus on what I need to do next. 

That is what the years of therapy and counseling taught me without being on a prescription. 

It is not perfect and yes there are days when I feel down but I am doing it without having my senses being dulled by medication.

I am recovering on my own terms.  No one is going to change my mind about that either.

That is where I am at now, after almost 50 years of life. 

Still learning, still growing, and still becoming the person I want to be.

Is my life perfect? What is perfect? 

Perfection is in the eye of the beholder.

All I know, is that I am in a lot better position than I was January of 2014, and that despite all the ups and downs these past 7 years, I am still me. 

I still have the same interests.  I still love my family.  I still have opportunities before me.

I keep moving, keep learning, and keep smiling through it all.

Thank you so much for stopping by.

Thank you so much for supporting my little blog.

Take care and be safe out there.

Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes, always!

Have an awesome week!

Suzanne

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