Trying to find balance …

I know I have been gone from the blogging world for three weeks. I have been up to quite a lot in these passed three weeks, and I thought I would catch you all up on everything! I will not be doing any food recipes in this post because I have some things to do for grad school. Though, next week I will probably start blogging about a french recipe from Julia Child’s “The art of French Cooking”, a Sandwich from “Cooking Light” , and finally Snickerdoodles from “Baking Illustrated”.

These past few weeks have been filled with starting physical therapy, grad school, a new job, getting involved with WWW ‘Wounded Warrior Wives’, and trying to find a balance between it all.

Before I tell you all about my experience with Physical Therapy I need to give you some back ground information about how I came to therapy. My senior year of college I was involved in a hit and run… I was the person hit and left. I was so in shock that I just drove home. I am the type of person who goes in to shock and does not know what to do when involved in an accident. However, when someone else is involved in an accident etc I just automatically start helping.

Thankfully my car was not hurt and only had some scratches. However, what I did not know is how it would chronically affect my life from that day forward. The next day I woke up with severe pain numbness and tingling. I remember the tears streaming down my face as I emailed my clarinet professor Dr. Malone. I did not have medical insurance at the time. So, I did R.I.C.E (Rest, ice, compression, elevation) and with in two weeks it resolved its self.

However, over the next two years I started having symptoms of tingling and numbness in my fingers. I figured it was from all the clarinet and viola practice. I began to cut down the things I did and I would get better. Then I would start doing the things I like to do and then my wrist started hurting.

I also had another whip lash accident though no one was involved except for me the car and some ice on the off ramp last year.

The doctor over many visits first thought it was carpal tunnel and sent me home with a prescription of Naproxen and a splint. The splint hurt to wear even when I did nothing at all. I stopped wearing it because of the pain. Then we thought it might be an elbow injury due to my clarinet. He suggested I buy a neck strap to see if it helped. For a while the neck strap did help but I was still having problems and starting to have muscle weakness from not doing much daily.  I had (in the right arm) fatigue, numbness, fuzziness, tingles, severe pain in my forearm muscle (mainly the brachioradialis muscle).

Over the summer, after I found out I got in to the WMU GR OT program. I had another extreme flair up. Only this time I had all of my symptoms in both arms all the way up to my shoulders. My right arm was the one that was affected the most. During this time I thought it was all in my head, and that I was going crazy. I did not know why my body was doing what it was doing. At one point I just would lay in bed, cry, and became depressed. I became a very snippy person and I did not want to do anything. I began to realize what my husband must go through every day with his own physical pain. I could finally empathize with my husband on some level. Though, I would have preferred to not have been in pain in the first place.

I did not know if I was going to be able to start grad school. At one point I could not even lift milk out of the fridge, stir a pot, or play my clarinet. Finally I said enough was enough and decided to go to the doctor one last time. I told him what was going on and that I even stopped playing clarinet. That got his attention because he knows I have been playing clarinet since I was eleven. He did a quick exam and at that point he offered surgery or PT. I thought going to PT would be the best solution and I am glad I did. In the end I was diagnosed with Bilateral numbness and pain, and we think it was due to the whip lash accidents. The first day he had me do a functional test. I could not move my neck to the right all the way, my right arm was a lot weaker than my left, and after my first treatment I felt so sore. The relief from one PT treatment was almost instantaneous over the first week. With in the first four weeks I was completely pain and numbness free. Unfortunately, I decided to pick up knitting again. I did it for too long and re-injured myself, and it has thus become known as ‘the angry knitting’. Because, I sat there and would get mad tear out what I had done and re do it over and over again! That was a big mistake because I set my self back in therapy. While, I would not say I am back to 100 percent I am definitely doing a lot better than the summer. I still have to do PT one day a week. I also do shoulder rolls and chin tucks every fifteen-thirty minutes and a bunch of other exercises.

My pain level is around a 1-2 and I rarely get numbness or tingling. My left arm is pretty much symptom free and I rarely have pain. My right arm is still weaker than my left, my right has more pain issues. Though, I hope by Christmas that I will be done with PT. I think the last percent and last bit of pain will be the hardest to get rid of. Especially since I am so busy.

Second order of business grad school! My first week through my third week of grad school has been a whirl. It has been great, exciting, overwhelming, and stressful. Finding parking in down town Grand Rapids was a hoot , and learning to parallel park has been a challenge. It is something that I learned a long time ago and thought I would never need to use again. I tried one system of organizing all my work and unfortunately it was not working for me (putting all the readings and all the things due in a tiny agenda) . I was having multiple anxiety and stress attacks due to being overwhelmed with school and also working 6 days a week. I decided to change my work schedule which will go in affect next week.

My husband suggested a desk calendar, and a bigger agenda. I bought those items this week. Brian sat down with me and went through all of my class syllabuses and we figured out a system to organize my school work. We will see how it goes and hopefully this will work. Now I only put whats due in the agenda. I focus only on what is due that week rather than trying to do a little bit from every class everyday. With the anxiety and feeling overwhelmed I started to doubt my self in the program. I have had little experiences over the past three weeks however that have inspired me. The things that inspired me were guest speakers, using my band stand to allow my head to not be flexed forward while reading, my own injury, and TBI. I look forward to continue being inspired for school.

The third new thing going on in my life is my job. I started a new job at the Meijer’s just down the road from where I live. I will be working Friday’s, Saturday’s, and Sunday’s starting the next scheduling period. I love my job and I am so glad to have the extra money coming in.

Last but certainly not least WWW update. Today, I came home to find the husband had dinner finished and a box. It was from WWW (Wounded Warrior Wives) and it was full of so many things including a tote bag. I am so proud to be apart of Operation Home front and WWW. I am also looking forward to being a group facilitator. I will not be blogging about the support group that I will hopefully have up and going soon on here because it is a private support group. However, I did want to share with you what I got today in the box. If you would like more information about WWW just click the tab at the top of my blog that says Operation Home Front -Wounded Warrior Wives. I love my new tote and look forward to possibly going on a retreat with WWW in the future.

My goal over the next few weeks is to find a balance. A balance between my school, work, family, WWW, and my own leisure pursuits. I am so thankful to my husband for the past three weeks of support, love, and care. He always goes above and beyond.

Thank you wonderful husband.

Your loving wife.


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