Friday, January 22, 2010

Just A Little Background On Me.

Hello to y'all out there! I hope y'all are doing well.

I thought I might take the time to tell you folks a little about me, and why I decided to start blogging. First and foremost, I enjoy writing a great deal. Secondly, I have not been able to work outside the home for several years now, due to some serious health problems. I'll tell ya, it is pure HELL to get old! My health problems are mostly due to the aging process, but also due to 'trauma' related injuries', ( a whole other story), and it seems to me that I've been going through menopause for the last 20 years at least!

For those of you lady's who've been there, you know of what I am speaking. Night sweats, that wake you up in the middle of the night, sometimes, more than once, and you have to get out of bed and change your pj's because they are soaked with sweat, or hot flashes that make you feel like you are going to explode into flame at any minute! I am a 60 year old lady, and I have had these symptoms for what seems like an eternity! Now, I'm sure you're saying to yourself, but wait....there are ways to combat those symptoms right? Yes, and no.

When I first started having the night sweats and the hot flashes, I was put on what (back then), was considered the best pharmaceutical drug for menopause, premarin. It did help with the night sweats and the hot flashes, however, after a period of approximately six or seven years, I was abruptly taken off of it, and here is why.... I started having pain in my upper spine, neck,and through my shoulders,and it got so bad that it was disturbing my sleep, and interfering my workday, so I was referred to a spinal surgeon.

I'm really trying to make a long story short here, so bear with me. Anyway, it was determined that I had developed some really bad bone spurs that were sticking out from my vertebrae. The bone spurs were hitting nerves, and supposedly that was the cause of the pain. However, the reason that I was taken off the hormone drug is because when they did an MRI, it showed a brain tumor in the lining of my brain. I was totally and utterly shocked! "A brain tumor"! 'I said'. 'How is that possible'!

I was told that it was highly possible that the hormone I had been taking for years, was the cause of the brain tumor! Oh great! Not only that, but finding a neurosurgeon willing to operate and remove it was almost impossible! Every surgeon that I consulted with considered it too risky to operate because the tumor was sitting right up against my brain stem. The only good thing about this tumor, was the fact that it was not a cancerous one. Meningiomas, which is what I had, are benign tumors that develop in the thin membranes, or meninges, that cover the brain and spinal cord.

Ok, soooo...since I didn't have any real life threatening symptoms, I was more or less told to live with it, at least for a while. The tumor was diagnosed in 2001, and it was 2004, before I finally found a neurosurgeon who was willing to go in after the tumor. He is a Professor in the neuro-surgical part of The Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. He was, and still is considered the best of the best! I found out that he actually teaches a class dealing with this very same type of brain tumor. Anyway the surgery was a success, and I was very grateful to him.

Now, I hate admitting this to anyone, but at the time of that surgery I weighed in close to 180 lbs. I was real close to being obese. I had promised myself that if I were to get through the brain surgery, I was going to change my eating habits once and for all, and I was going to do it without any pills, diet programs, or the like. I'd been to weight-watchers, and although that program works for some, it just did not work for me.

I started watching everything that I ate. I cut out a lot of calories, and cholesterol, I started drinking water instead of sodas. I cut down on the amount of coffee I would drink in the mornings, because it does dehydrate the body. I started walking and riding my bicycle every day, sometimes twice a day. I had a CD Player that I would strap around my waist and listen to it while I did my housework, dancing around the house! :o)

It gave me more and more energy as time went on, and the pounds just started to melt off. Now, don't get we wrong took right at a year to loose a little over 60 lbs. It was not easy, but the more I lost the better I felt, and the more it made me want to keep up with it! I have to say that it was the best I'd felt in years.

Anyway, I believe that in one of my earlier posts I was ranting about 'displaced homemakers'........well, my husband and I were having some (personal) marital problems, and we were separated for a period of time. That is why I was ranting about 'displaced homemakers', because I was one during that period of time.

You see, I was part of that generation where the wife stayed at home and raised the kiddies and kept the house, cooked the meals and washed the clothes, while the hubby went out and brought in the bacon. I stayed at home for over 22 years while my children were growing up.

Now, again.........don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed that time, and being able to stay at home with my children was something that many mothers do not get to do nowadays. I think it helped my children to be more responsible, caring, and loving individuals, and I can't help feeling glad about that. However, it did leave a huge gap in my Social Security, not to mention the fact that I had very little in the way of marketable skills to obtain a good paying job. During the time that the 2nd hubby and I were separated, I became severely depressed. I had a good paying job for a while, but unfortunately, it was also way over my head, and I was dreadfully under-qualified, but I could not turn it down, not when I needed the money so badly.

I lasted almost six months at that job before they let me go. At the time, I was actually grateful when they let me go, because let me tell you, I was so stressed out, I would come home to my apartment after work and throw up my socks! Stress can be a killer!

After that, I had several part-time jobs, all of which ended badly. The depression I was suffering from was affecting my whole physical being. There were days when I could barely function. I had difficulty obtaining any medical help because I just did not have enough money to pay for it. I was lucky to have enough to pay for my groceries. Sooo, as I was saying before I went off on this long-ass story, had I known about this 'displaced homemaker' thing, I might have been able to find more help. Help was definitely NOT something that was very forthcoming! I had to work hard to even find someone that would help, and what help I got was very little. Here is an example - I went to what was known as Legal Aid. This is a department of Social Services that determines the need for financial help.  I of course did NOT qualify.......get this, simply because I was NOT a young mother with little ones at my feet!!  Sighhh. I had no clue how messed up our system of government was until then.

I ended up moving in with my older brother for about a year, until the hubby and I reconciled, and reunited. No, I'm not saying that everything is a bed of roses just yet, but things are finally starting to look up. Oh, by the way, while we were separated I did manage to do something good for myself. I enrolled with Kaplan University 'Online College, and I now have an Associates Degree in Business Management! ((smiles)). I didn't actually think that I would be able to pull it off, but I ended my degree with a 3.83 GPA. Not exactly a 4.0, but I sure wasn't complaining either!!

Now, we shall see where the road takes me from here. Wish me luck, cause I'll need it!

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