One Last Place To Visit Before Surgery

The fight to not be overwhelmed by the risks of my decompression surgery for my Chiari Malformation has been one of the biggest mental battles of my life. It was a surgery that sent me down this road of struggle over the last year. Recently, I started seeing the decompression surgery as a godsend.

Last year, a neurosurgeon dismissed my Chiari and I was left with a diagnosis that had not provided me with anything but more pain and heartache. It sunk me so far into a hole, I wasn’t sure I wanted to come out of that hole if that was what life had left for me.

And then one evening, I experienced a moment that made me sicker to my stomach than I had ever been, something that rocked me to my core and scared the living shit out of me. That moment kicked me into beast mode and I contacted my doctor the next day (turtles can be beasts too). She has been amazing and she introduced me to a doctor that looked deep at my MRIs and provided me with more answers than I ever expected.

Hope aside, I was scared and still working to get out of my own way. Chronic illnesses – they never really tell you how to make life work with them. Well, a repeat of that moment that scared me straight kept coming up. Similar in fashion each time and threatening to darken my hope while providing me with drive to keep going.

What a complicated and fickle web we weave.

It was after one of the darkest nights of my life just over a month ago that helped me realize I had my focus on being a burden when I needed to be looking towards a future of relief and happiness. I dropped the idea of clearing the cluttering and concentrated on one thing, the better outcome.

With that drive in tow, I wanted to find a place that meant so much to me that I could visit. Now, I can’t drive. Things that shouldn’t be moving move and being a passenger in a vehicle is less than ideal because not being in control anymore makes it harder to relax.

The feeling of not having control over your life is one of the worst kinds of gut punches.

When I decided I wanted to find a place to visit, drive aside, I knew I wanted to see it before the surgery. It was also a place I wanted to see as soon as I was recovered enough from my surgery. It had to have significance and it had to be a joyous occasion. The choice was instantaneous; a place my husband and I only shared. A place only we could understand the importance.

After we were married, we took a little trip north. Just us. It was a bit of a drive for me as I didn’t like highway driving, but I had my man by my side and I knew I was safe with him. There were two little shops we hit while we were there.

For years, I’ve wanted to go back. If for nothing else, but to enjoy an anniversary together. Enjoy the world, just the two of us. This was the place I chose. It was the place I wanted to celebrate life and hope and love. It was a place of connection and my desire to connect to the world again has been tugging at me with every string of my heart.

Last Monday morning, before I got my steps in, I wondered if I could make a long drive. After I got my step on, I realized I had to make this happen. Four weeks and two days. One last trip before the surgery for hope – My first trip after in celebration. Both trips for renewed faith.

I had come to accept what I thought was my fate months ago, but all those little moments that scared me shitless made me never want to forget all those moments of happiness I’ve experienced. It made me never want to stop trying to be happy.

If for nothing else, we as human beings have to find our way while getting out of our own way to have any chance at happiness.

Writing With Purpose

07/26/2021

I lost all means of coherent communication. I used words like whatamacallit and thingy and even found myself calling things by other names. My brain just couldn’t get out the words I wanted and I took way too long to comprehend the simplest of things.

Um, I’m a writer. I’m a reader. I was a boss at my last job. Communication is essential. Hell, it’s a requirement in our daily lives. Imagine my surprise at how little I could express myself and how unable I was to communicate with the people closest to me. I was drowning in an empty well.

Even as I struggled, I did my best to find an outlet to avoid going postal on my family. If I couldn’t communicate my needs, I needed to keep working at not losing my voice completely.

I started writing novel after novel trying to keep myself sharper than a butter knife, even if it meant a whole lot of editing to correct my confusing sentences I spent hours trying to write and straightening out a storyline I kept losing sight of. I read other books to prevent the deterioration of my skills and spent more time closing my eyes just to get a little peace from wanting to vomit everywhere.

I started making notes in recent weeks about everything when I wasn’t working on a book, often staring too long at my phone, but I needed to get it off my chest. The more I wrote about life and what I had to do, I found myself writing more about what I was doing and why I was doing it. I created a source for my overwhelming thoughts.

One of the most recent was a surprise I was working on. I was so sunken at the prospect of being the reason people couldn’t have the things that they wanted because of my situation. I spent time working towards the goal with steps in mind. I wanted to get things in order for the best long term outcome. I didn’t want to be lost in that feeling of guilt and I sure as hell didn’t want to ruin the chance at a good thing for someone else.

So I wrote down my intention and added notes of what I had accomplished towards that goal as often as they came and as often as I needed to remind myself why I was taking what felt like the long way to the finish line. Keeping those notes and seeing the progress was life altering.

All the years I’ve been writing, I couldn’t figure out how to keep going towards my goals. I’d see something I want and hope for the best or I’d beat the process to death until I fell off track. I let the deadlines and steps get in my way, the steps I created to make it to the goal.

But taking a step back and just writing about my effort towards the goal made more sense and it didn’t overwhelm me. I could see what I was accomplishing and not what I hadn’t.

It just clicked.

The amount of stress I’ve taken off my shoulders in the last few weeks by changing what seems like such a simple thing has been nothing short of amazing.

Even if it takes me hours to write a few paragraphs, I’m finding a way to communicate again, to not be locked in a cupboard with no key. Taking my time with words on paper or a computer screen has allowed me to step back and not worry so much about the quantity of words I’m putting out there, but the quality.

At the same time, being quiet for so long, the world looks different. I see it as a place I can be apart of and I’ve been rebuilding myself with that hope in mind. Healing my mind started with fueling my body better.

Writing with a purpose can mean different things for different people, but only we know what truly works for us in the long run.

Find your fuel and everything will change, I can promise you that.

There is Light in the Well

July 24, 2021

Last weekend, I was the most productive I’d been in months.

I found myself getting up earlier than I had without an alarm (unless you count the dog 😁).

Steps were on point. I even went outside on the deck to get some steps in.

I made lunch for the family (even as basic as it was).

I managed to get some choirs done like cleaning the toilet, counters, and organizing the trash for take out. I vacuumed twice within days of each other, among other things.

This stuff has been difficult to do, especially in recent months, but I was doing them even as it’s meant more time in bed recuperating. Moving at a turtle’s pace, I am still amazed at what I accomplished last weekend.

The biggest breakthrough I had was desire. I wanted to pick up my camera and take pictures again, go to the movies for the first time in a year, and even help change brakes on a motorcycle. I’d been feeling the bug to be around people again. Even as embarrassed as I’ve been by my situation, I wanted to be with my family. I wanted to do things.

Monday morning, I had the best step count in a short period of time before anyone was up. I even added a little sway in my hips, jiggle in my chest, grooved more than stepped, and felt sexy for the first time in a long time. Even as I had to take time in the dark in the recliner and my waves of being off balance required distraction, I started planning out my day to get more things done. I avoid planning. Not knowing how I’ll feel, I avoided it because I didn’t want to cancel and seem flaky, but damn it, I was making plans.

I felt so brave, I started a ketone reboot and fasted for 60 hours and guess what, I did it! This girl stood in front of a pizza and said no! All the little things I was doing before felt scattered and unproductive, until I saw myself last weekend. It was finally coming together and brain surgery felt a little less scary, life felt less scary.

I say all this…to say…
Progress isn’t overnight. Progress is an accumulation. Coming out of a deep dark hole requires a helping hand. Start somewhere. Start anywhere, but do not look for a quick fix and don’t expect it. Care about yourself and take your health one step at a time.

Advocate For Your Damn Health

ashparkerley.redbubble.com

July 9, 2021

#mentalhealthcheck

When someone tells you they finally know why you’re not quite right, there’s a moment of relief. You can fix the issue because you know what’s up.

At least that’s how it’s supposed to work. You’re supposed to have all the answers now.

“There’s not much we can do but work on this, that, and the other, but you’re going to have to deal with it for the rest of your life.”

You don’t get the answers you were hoping for and you’re left feeling lost and unheard.

“It’s just best you work on not letting it take over your life.”

🤓🤓People are so smart🙄🙄

But this can’t be it and you can’t settle. You find someone who brings you some oxygen on this crazy deep dive.

“We can help.”

🤩🤩🤩

“🧠 surgery!”

😵😵😵

“You can have a life again!”

💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾

“Also during this process, we realized you have an underlining issue that would explain some troubles you had growing up, but don’t worry, this will increase the likelihood of a better outcome for your surgery because we are better prepared for the potential complications and can adjust our techniques.”

🥺🥺🥺

I will say it until I’m blue in the face, if you don’t have someone who will do it for you – 👏🏾ADVOCATE👏🏾FOR👏🏾YOUR👏🏾DAMN👏🏾SELF👏🏾 I’m not playing! Your mental health, your physical health, your wellness from the top to the bottom requires it.

#doitforyoubooboo #decideyourvibe #letsdothis #zombietreats #mybrainisbiggerthanyours #mywarlordisbiggerthanyours #tmnt #chiarilife

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