Thursday, July 2, 2015

I Am The Phoenix

A summary of my diary (minus the personal stuff) 
~February 20-June 30, 2015.~
If this sounds like a whole bunch of whiney boring crap to you, imagine what it was like to live it.


The Allergies

It all began the day after a friend's birthday party at Dino's at the end of last February. I was crushed by a brutal allergy attack (I totally blame Dino's) that lasted 8 long miserable weeks. I tried to tough it out with no medicine but it just wouldn't go away. The local news said it was the worst allergy season Las Vegas had seen in many years. I concur. I began having what seemed like random hot flashes. I couldn't handle extreme temperature changes or bright light. This caused me to have a total breakdown on a friend's birthday party bus. A neighbor gave me some allergy medicine to try and assured me that it was non-drowsy formula. He was wrong. It took me 10 days of extreme lethargy to figure that out. Doctors didn't want to give me a steroid shot because I'd already had so many of them in my lifetime. Eight weeks later, the allergies finally began to go away.

The Spine

The same week the allergy attack came over me, I was scheduled to begin physical therapy to correct the (lack of) curve in my spine caused by 23 years of being a manicurist hunched over a table. I spent over an hour at a chiropractor's office including 20 minutes of cervical traction and adjustments 3 times a week before work. The allergies left me exhausted while my spine and muscles were fighting to heal. Between that and the allergy medicine, I was sleeping 10+ hours a day. Not only did I manage to keep up a full time job and take care of a household at the same time,  I somehow also managed to move my nail business to a new location one weekend in the middle of all this. Unfortunately, I ran out of insurance, time and money before a proper curve in my neck could be fully achieved and I had to discontinue my appointments after 3 months of tri-weekly treatment. I will return for more treatments after the first of January 2016.

However, in the midst of all this physical exhaustion, a real miracle occurred...
When I was 13, I was sent to the doctor by the school nurse with the suspicion of scoliosis in my spine. This really crappy doctor, whom to this day I still credit with the death of my grandfather, didn't think this odd curve in my spine, located between my shoulder blades, was scoliosis but had no solution for the problem besides putting me in a brace, which I declined. I was under the impression at this young age that I was born with this deformity in my spine and it was just something I had to live with. It sometimes felt like I had a hook in my shoulder blade. I was unable to rotate my right shoulder backwards without feeling this "hook." For 20 years, assorted massage therapists tried to rub the knots out of my upper back but relief was only temporary. About 2 months into the cervical traction treatments, I noticed one day while driving that I very suddenly couldn't feel the "hook" in my shoulder blade anymore. I moved around in every direction, nearly doing the chicken dance in my car and it was GONE! I mentioned it to my chiropractor and he said that the x-rays showed that my spine was twisted in that area so apparently, the traction and adjustments must have straightened it out. He told me that it was likely caused by something violent like a car accident. Immediately, my mind went back to being 10 years old and deciding to run down the side of a large sand dune at Lake Michigan. I was a fast runner and I wasn't going to let my friends beat me to the bottom. I didn't understand the law of gravity + velocity and so my feet flew over my head and I tumbled violently, end over end down the side of the sand dune. As I layed there feeling broken, afraid to move, I knew something was wrong. My 10 year old mind wondered how they would get an ambulance to me in the sand. Instead of getting help, a bunch of adults told me to get up and walk it off. I'm convinced that was the incident that caused 30+ years of back problems for me. I've always been physically awkward, off balance and unable to dance but now for the first time in my adult life I move so gracefully and feminine!! I am grateful for this every single day and I feel like I have a new body.

The Water Leak

Just as I began to recover from the allergy attack, I was pet sitting for the neighbor who lives in the condo below me. I went into his bathroom to take care of the litter boxes and discovered a bubble in the ceiling, an apparent water leak coming from above, from my home. Two weeks later, demolition crews were tearing apart the walls and floors of both my bathroom and bedroom. My quiet home, my sanctuary, looked as if it had been turned upside down, shaken and covered with a thick layer of dust. I sneezed for weeks. I tried sleeping on the sofa but that was a bad idea. I would come home every night to this mess and want to cry. I eventually went numb. Construction workers, plumbers, contractors and estimators paraded through my home for 5 weeks. I was lucky if I got more than 6 hours of sleep on any given day during that time. It took me another 26 hours to clean, paint and reassemble everything with no help from any other human beings. Coincidently, the bathroom that was destroyed was the one room in desperate need of a remodel. This mess was a blessing in disguise paid for my homeowners insurance. It was a nightmare but I came out better in the end.

The IRS

This is the last place I ever plan on getting political so let's just say I'm NOT a fan of Obama. Nonetheless, the ObamaCare funded affordable healthcare is one of the greatest things to ever happen in my life, financially. Being self-employed I was paying nearly $300/month for average health insurance with a huge $7500 deductible. I was insurance poor for many years, paying more for health, car, homeowners & life insurance than I paid for my mortgage. The first year government funded health insurance became available, I miscalculated my monthly credit in their favor which meant I was owed more credit than I took. My accountant said, "no worries. that just means you'll get a bigger tax return." Awesome! At the end of February, I found out how much I would be receiving and decided to use that money to pay for the part of my physical therapy that insurance didn't cover. How perfect. But then, the money never came. I got the runaround with the IRS for 3 months and they even had me thinking I was a victim of fraud before I finally learned that they were doing "a line by line" review of my tax return since I was getting back more than I paid in due to the healthcare credit. I just now, finally received my tax return money after all this time--plus interest!

Conclusion

The last 4 months have been quite a test for me physically, emotionally and mentally. I found myself getting very angry over the smallest things. I had no patience. I got into verbal fights with strangers, stormed out of an office, pissed off a co-worker (who still refuses to speak to me) and began living off donuts and coffee. And I don't care who you are, keep your annoying kid away from me or you will see ugly that you didn't even know existed. I had no regulator on my mouth (speaking or eating!) and I didn't care. Who am I?? I am PISSED that I had to deal with all this shit completely alone with nobody to help me, nobody looking out for me, nobody checking in on me and only one local friend actually offering help. Amazingly, all my local male friends went MIA and so did most of the people I thought were my best friends. My faith and my clients were my source of daily strength and my out-of-town friends/family were compassionate listeners. During this time I began having hot flashes. Being one of those people who is cold all the time, I went to my doctor for a blood test thinking with all this rage, I surely must be menopausal. The results came back perfectly normal with high cholesterol. (I blame the donuts.) I discovered that deep down I really am just an angry person who can't handle stress. Even through all my prayer and praise and faith, I became a numb, angry, impatient, hateful person. If this was a test, I definitely failed it emotionally and mentally.

It's all over now. Looking around me, I see that my home is better than it was, my back is better than it was, my business is more successful and my bills are paid off. Even though I knew it all would eventually work out, for the first time in months, I actually FEEL grateful, FEEL calm, FEEL normal. I went to sleep last night with a smile of victory. And I woke up the same way....LIKE A PHOENIX.

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