Storms rolled into Austin a few days ago. Rain, Thunder and Wind rolled in. Performing natures #1 hit. I found myself on the balcony listening to its magnificent tune. The best surround sound experience one would ever receive. The breeze rushing in at just the right angle for me to enjoy it without the rain giving me a second shower. I called my mom and talked while the storm rolled on. At one point I actually had to walk in due to the severity of the wind and lightening. We will call in half-time.
While talking with her, we brought up old wives tales told to us about how lightening will come through the window and “git (get)” us if we fail to lock the windows, bring down shades and sit in the middle of the room. If one were brave enough and open a window, we need a second window open on the opposite side of the house so lightening could pass through without wreaking havoc on us. We had a good laugh and finished the conversation. All the while, my brain was shifting into writing mode.
I lingered outside for a little while with a glass of tea and a snack. The sound of nature was just like listening to music but more peaceful. Sometimes, in songs, the music is drowned out by the lyrics and tempo. Almost as if the musical instruments hardly matters. Listening to the storm was like listening to a sweet and beautiful tune. No lyrics, no pattern, or tempo.
As I listened to the storm I started to drift off into peaceful meditation as if the storm was calming the some sort of storm inside. I sat there thinking about how I never really appreciate the present as much as I should. Do I ever just… STOP? or SLOW DOWN?
A lot has happened in my life and I forget about that sometimes. I haven’t been fully appreciative of where the past sent me. I worry so much about that journey and miss the enjoyment in its destination.
Where I am
So I sat, listening, breathing, being, not just existing but ACTUALLY present. I took the time that I deserved to relish in the beauty of life.
I feel that it’s times like these where the universe shows me what I can be. It’s like a trailer to a movie with an unknown release date. I’ve come to realize that I just need to slow down. I want to truly feel alive. To meditate in consciousness and gratitude.
When did I become so complacent? So disconnected? When I sit on the balcony I want to be a part of the environment around me. When I eat, I want to take time to chew and enjoy. When I am driving in the car I want to bring my awareness to the beauty in the scenery around me.
To sum it all up, I don’t designate enough time for connection with the universe. The storm brought a reset that was a long time coming. I sat in reflection. I will let this be the starting point.
We all go through our share of ups and downs. Things that go right in our lives and things that go wrong. Those ups and downs are inevitable. What isn’t inevitable, is how we react to them.
It was a tough day for me. When running this business, things can happen that negatively affects my business as a whole, and in turn, negatively effects my psyche. I lost a client today because I didn’t check after an employee at a house we were cleaning. There were issues with crumbs on the floor and table. I got so wrapped up in my own work that I didn’t think to check after the person working with me.
This caused a rather large client to end our business relationship. I was devastated. This was one of the only times I have had issues with a client and the first client I have lost because of it. I just sat in the house I was cleaning allowing all the pessimistic drivel enter my mind. I wanted to give up everything and change careers. I started the negative self-talk, thinking I am not good enough to run a business, that this is the start of the end.
I am still feeling it. I am depressed, upset with myself, my confidence dwindled to the back wash in a cup once filled with pride for my work and accomplishment.
I am at the crossroads of thought. Choosing to either: make a negative situation into a complete dismantling of what I built, or spin things around and turn it into a positive. But how? How do I turn this around when I am already spiraling downward into the abyss of despair?
Choosing to not go further
I can’t allow myself to sink any further. Like quick sand, the more I try to move and panic, the quicker my demise. I have to stop and think on this. Process what happened and the mistake that was made. Not using the thoughts to tear myself down, but use the time to meditate on the emotions I feel. I want to place a mental location pin on this moment and decide that I want out of this hole.
Stop beating myself up.
It takes a lot of discipline to not beat myself up. I conditioned myself years ago to think: “everything that happens in my life, is because of me, that I was broken. Most of you already know that I was a alcoholic and a drug abuser. Now that I am a year and a half sober, I have the mental stamina to see past the self-loathing and discover my own self-awareness. I am human, we all have our flaws, we all make mistakes. It’s going to happen to us. ALL OF US. Why do I beat myself up for something that we all do?
Think of all the good
I take a lot of time dwelling on one negative thing. So much, that the the good fades into the background. One bad situation, makes everything else irrelevant. One thing I am figuring out that I need to still see the bigger picture. All companies have their issues. It will NEVER be a smooth process. There will always be hookups. I had to start thinking about all the clients who are pleased with my work. Clients that are happy with the service I provide. I have all 5 stars on google. People are thrilled with the work I have done in their home. This one bad day does not define all the good ones. This one failure does not compare to all the accomplishments I have made building this company up. Now that my mindset is focused on the good, I feel better about the bad situation because good things are still to come.
Get back to it
The whole “falling off the horse” statement is a huge cliche but it’s still true. It is not the time to give up on what I have built. It should never be a time to give up. When running a business, If I throw in the towel after one lost client then there is no hope of me making it at all in this world. Everything has it’s moments of frustration, anger and sadness. However, relief, joy and happiness is right around the corner and I choose to not sit in the shit if you will. I am prepared to make this business even better. I am prepared to improve myself as well. Changing gears and moving on.
If anyone is going through something similar or have the similar display of emotions, I hope this helps you. Whether it’s a business, new job, school, relationship…etc, the wheel of emotion flows through all of us and its turned by the things that go on in our lives. This system of thought can help process our emotions.
Stop and let yourself feel these emotions. Meditate on them.
Reflect on all the good in the world. In your world.
Get up. Start again. While your heart still beats.
It helped me just to write this. I am not going to continue to let this get me down. I am going to let it motivate me to grow and be better. As a business owner, as a lover and as a human.
“I Love You”. Three words that we say to people we care about. Friends, Family, Animals, your favorite meal, without a second thought.. However, when we say it to or have it said to us from a significant other, those words in the same english language, now take on a completely different meaning.
Being new to the relationship life has been a struggle for me. The only other relationship I’ve been in basically was me moving a guy in without money, car, job…etc and was basically supporting the both of us while dealing with his alcoholism and my travels down that same road. We were both very toxic to each other. I only became a meal ticket and a place to live.
This has been much different.
We have been dating for some time and realizing how well we match. Love was something that both of us were taking out time on. We didn’t want to rush into anything but LJ especially, was taking things slow due to the past and from just being out of his last relationship.
My feelings grew quicker without any control. I don’t quite remember the first time I knew but it definitely came quicker than his.
I have never been one to waste time with anything. Not saying that taking it slow is a waste of time but for me, if I know what I want, that settles it. I knew a little while after meeting him I knew that he worth trying. Love just happened in the midst of planning for my long term goals. I refrained from expressing my feelings to allow LJ the space he needed to figure his out.
We recently decided to move in together and we are officially making the move next week. Though it isn’t happening the way we’d like, we are moving forward with our plans anyway because we know it’s right.
Today, while shopping for furniture, standing in the middle of the showroom floor embracing each other.. getting excited about our future.. I hear LJ say without hesitation “I love you”. I never knew that the “butterfly feeling” was real. I thought it was a fake emotion and I’ve never felt it before. However, standing in between beds, nightstands, and marked down price tags.. being stalked by the sales department drooling for commission.. Those words hit light lightening and the butterflies were in flight.
We looked at each other and I said “Wait, are you serious?” he shakes his head and I am overjoyed. We are in love with each other. I said “I love you too” and we embraced.
I am not going to drag on the mushy drivel..
I wanted to express that I am not moving in with a room mate. I am not moving in with just someone I am dating. I am moving in with the love of my life and I am excited to see where we go from here.
Like a creek flowing through the meadow, trickling live artwork of tranquility. Then, without mercy, heavy rains force this ever flowing beauty. It causes the creek to overflow and turn a once beautiful meadow into a valley and mayhem.
I like to think of this comparison when I try to take control of my life.
Living the life of recovery, I have realized one thing: There is someone or something guiding my life. It’s leading me down the path of life through its many twists and turns.
When I want something, it’s so hard for me not to take control and try to make it how I want it. In the past I forced my hand in situation only to gain a 50/50 result. There were times where it worked out, and other times when I fell flat on my face
I can’t help but think about the time when I tried to drink responsibly after going down the path of no return. Stents in rehab meant nothing because this time was different. I tried to lie to myself and say that I had control over my drinking and I can be like the social drinkers. Slowly but surely however it was proven that I could not. Between the drinking and drugs I found myself back in the hole that I brought myself out of.
I realized that I never filled that hole back in with common f**king sense.
After living my life with over a year in sobriety I’ve found myself feeling complacent in my life. Even though so many things are happening in my life for the good since moving to Austin, I still feel like I need to do more. To force more success.
I have to catch myself every effing’ time and to sit back and relax. Most recently, my partner and I have decided to make the jump to move in together. We are in the process of house/condo/apartment hunting and while it’s happening in a steady pace I find myself wanting to rush things a long.
Some personal things have led to the need to find a home sooner than planned. Being me naturally, I am trying to get it done yesterday.
Now, more than ever, it’s the time to sit back and let things fall into place and stop trying to fit a corner puzzle piece in the the middle and expect the rest of the puzzle to be complete. It takes time to finish a puzzle and if I try to complete it without fitting the pieces where they need to go, it will make the puzzle chaotic and lack sense and meaning. Much like how I see life going every time I try to force my unsteady and naive.
The “Powers That Be” know what they’re doing. They’ve had practice since the beginning of time so they are clearly the experts.
In the end, I am human and like to take control. However, the best control I could ever have is to give it over. Control the situation by making the best decision possible and STOP.
To let go of control…
Mostly I wrote this entry to help center my feelings of anxiety and situational depression. I realized trying to gain control caused me to lose control in other ways. My emotions started to unravel and my feelings started to get in the way of enjoying this period in my life. I mean, I am moving in with my boyfriend! This should be a special moment and I wasn’t allowing myself to feel it. I was allowing my need for control steal the joy away from me.
So I’ve decided I will just let things come and go as they are meant too.
No use creating a rain storm when the creek doesn’t need to water.
Life has been hectic for a while now since resigning from my security job to work full time for myself. It is something that I never knew could be possible. I thought my time would be freed up to write and create more. However, that has not been the case. The business has me working long hours and I come home tired. By then, I hardly want to move let alone think and write.
I am not complaining. I love that I have a growing business that I can work toward something greater. Work on my dream instead of slaving away for someone else’s. It does take a lot out of you though.
I feel like things are changing now. I feel the wind shift in the direction of productivity again. Inspiration has granted me words to write once again with its magic. Listening to my storm sound machine (because we hardly get stormy weather here), the doggy sleeping at my feet. I sit in front of this laptop once again.
That Guy Who Cleans (my business) is at a great new high and it’s my hope that the momentum doesn’t die. I realized that this is not just another cleaning company. I am not here to wipe a counter and collect a check. I have seen lives changed and relief come over people when they see a clean home. I have seen pure excitement when someone sees a once cluttered mess into a clean and breathable home to enjoy.
I always knew I wanted to help people. How was I to know as a young child that cleaning would be my outlet? From a social worker working for the state of Delaware, to the owner of a company in Texas. I feel that this is only the beginning of what I am meant to accomplish.
Time is just the only factor.
That’s all for now. Nothing to share. No useful information. Just me blabbering on about life. Take care!
I have noticed that I have developed a habit of bringing and keeping a sparkling or mineral water by my bedside when I go to sleep. It started happening not too long after moving into the sober house while dealing with the arthritic flare that kept me in pain most of the day. I would bring it with me so that I would have something to drink when I awoke throughout the day (I work night shift).
Now that I have moved to a new home and my pain is under control I have noticed that I still do this. Every day when I go to sleep I keep a sparkling water by my bed. I didn’t think anything of it until my roommate called it out. “Taking your *Brand Name* with you?” He said as it was a continuous ritual. Then I thought about it. “Why do I do this?” Not a water, not even a soda. I take a mineral water with me to bed and so much that it’s noticed.
At first I thought it was a habit that I had developed back at the sober house but I realize that it started a lot earlier than this.
THE OLD ROUTINE
Every night, when I was heavily drinking I would, like clockwork, have a routine. Pretty much starting when I got off of work from my second job. I would make my way to the liquor store, grab my 6-10 vodka shooters and 2 tall beers and make my way home.
Once there, I would make sure the house duties are complete. I would feed the cats, scoop out the litter box, remove hair off of the furniture and vacuum. Once these tasks were completed, I would fill up the same cup with cold water and head to the bedroom with my shooters and beer in tow. I would turn on the Apple TV, switch on the same show/s and started the drinking part of the ritual
I would take a shooter and either chase it with the beer that I bought or the water. I would usually wait until the first one hit me before taking the second. The process would continue until I eventually pass out. This would happen throughout the night: waking up, turn the show that I was watching back on and take another shooter, maybe two then pass out again.
THE NEXT MORNING
When morning came I would wake up either still drunk or horribly hungover. I would maybe have a shooter or two left on my bedside table. I would take the remaining drinks and get ready ready for the day. Luckily I worked from home so I didn’t have anyone around who could smell my breath. I would usually drink the remaining beer or two and when my day was done, I was free to start the process over again.
I thought this was freedom from my past but it was just a prison of the present. This was no life.
I realize that the mineral water I would take to my bed was a replacement for what I use to do. A new, healthier habit built from the foundation of the old.
Same motion, different potion.
– Gus Glaros (Maybe not just me but too lazy to look)
I wonder if people would argue whether this was healthy or not? Living out the same habit but changing what tool I used. I am pretty sure some experts would approve, others would not. Regardless, I am still sober. So something is working.
Looking back on it now, I am so grateful to be free from the shooter shackles and the beer bars that held me captive for so long. Now reaching new levels of sobriety, I can’t help but wonder how I got by for so long just coasting on fumes. I was a dead man walking. A rotting corpse chained by the fear of reality.
Now that I am sober I have a new hope and a new sense of purpose. I changed my life and as a result, my new life changed me. The sparkling water by the bed is a symbol of rebirth. I still have this same life, the same breath in my lungs, the same body. I am still the same person I was before, I just have a new lease on life. I replaced bad habits with good. I have made myself a better person.
So, I am happy now. I will keep that drink by my bed so long as I need to and that’s ok. It keeps me hydrated and keeps me sober. No expert can tell me different.
This life that we live is uncertain. Anything can happen in a moment and we none are prepared for it. A death in the family, an unexpected bill, I don’t know, maybe a global pandemic? We are none prepared for something we can’t predict.
Nothing rings more true than the discord between Ukraine and Russia that led to full out war. The chaos and what it has brought to the countries are traumatic for all involved. War is never good and never solves anything but brings bloodshed and turmoil to humanity *End of political spiel*.
With everything going on with the war and the lingering effects of COVID 19, it’s so easy to let ourselves get stressed out. With that, comes so many secondary emotions like anger, sadness and anxiety. It disturbs our inner peace because all we see are negativity happening. When we let those outer circumstances affect how we feel, we become overwhelmed. I sometimes feel these emotions as well and it gets me to a dark place quickly if I don’t check it.
So, how do we handle our inner thoughts and emotions when the outer world seems to be out of control? I know that I don’t have the answers to your circumstances as each person is different, but I do know what has helped me. So I am hoping these things will help you and maybe you can adapt these same thoughts and practices in your own life.
1. Inevitability is Inevitable
Unexpected things will happen and we have two choices when they do. Give up, or keep going. The unexpected is inevitable and the sooner we come to realize this the better. This is probably one of the hardest things for me to do. The realization comes with a consistent and sometimes a daily mindset practice to adopt.
2. Accept what we cannot change
Some would argue that this is the same as step one. Though it may seem similar they actually work in tandem with each other. Realizing that something is inevitable is not the same as accepting. You can realize that the world is in a bad place right now and that can cause you to react in sync with the world. That leads you down the dark road I explained earlier. Accepting that we can’t change the world is hard but to release control of the whole world is a big relief. We are not God, we don’t have the “World in our hands” as the old Sunday school song would say. We can only control how we react to these situation.
3. What can we change?
If anyone reading this has ever been to an AA or Al-Anon meeting, you probably know the terms I am using. The serenity prayer. However, these practices are things we as humanity should adopt as our own. “Accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can”.
So what can we change? What can we do when the whole world is on fire and we have no way to put it out or control it?
We can change how we react to these unexpected and uncontrollable situations. We can reshape our thinking by simply acknowledging that we can’t change the situation. It makes life so much simpler.
4. You need to breathe.
Back in my church going days there was a song that really stuck out to me. It’s a song by Jonny Diaz called Breathe. The first verse talks about a person going about their day. So many things keep happening at once and this person doesn’t know what to do about it. The person gets so stressed out to the point where they feel like giving up. In the chorus (minus the biblical undertones) just simply says: “Breathe, just breathe”.
That is a powerful statement because even though we need it to survive, so many people forget to really breathe. More so rather, we forget to pay attention to our breathing. We forget by just taking deep breaths, it helps provide oxygen to our brain and lungs. In an article by Urban Balance it reads:
“Simply put- extra oxygen does wonders for the body and mind. It cleanses, opens and soothes different parts of our being and is overall something extremely healthy we can all do”
It reads on to give a list of all the benefits deep breathing has. So, when you are feeling out of control. Remember: Stop what you’re doing and BREATHE. Take a deep breath in and out. Remember what you can control. The breathing, your mind, your spirit, your life.
5. Do something that distracts you.
Do you like to draw? Write (like I do)? Do you like to read or maybe even binge a Netflix show? In times of high emotion, it’s best to do something for you. Get a massage, take a walk or maybe go to the gym. So many things are available to us when we feel stressed out to the point where we feeling those secondary emotions like anger, fear, anxious…etc. creep up. It’s never good to “sit in your sh**” as some would say. It causes you to dwell on those negative thoughts and emotions. It may cause you to develop a bad habit or even can cause health issues down the line. So it’s always good to take your mind off of the craziness by doing something that you love.
6. Tell Someone.
It’s never good to sit in your misery, as not so eloquently stated above, especially alone. It’s in those moments when it’s best to reach out. We sometimes feel like we are alone in our feelings. When, in fact, we are not. More than likely the person you get in contact with is or has felt the way you do now. It’s those times when you call and become truthful about your emotions.
Bad sh** is going to happen, instead of dwelling on “bad sh**” work on becoming a “bad a$$”. Sure, it won’t come over night and things can easily get you down. That is also inevitable. Never push the emotions away, instead: acknowledge it and try to let yourself feel it. Just don’t let it linger and let it float away like a leaf on the river. We all go through hard times. It’s best not to sit in those times forever. We lose years of our lives living in constant worry. We need to take a step back and observe what we are doing. Remember life is inevitable. Having acceptance to forgiving what we can’t change and changing what we can, we just breathe, promote self-love and tell someone about your issues.
Once you do these, I guarantee that your overall life will feel a lot better. It won’t solve our problems, but it will help you react to those problems.
It seems like just yesterday I was barely coherent in my friend’s explorer in the parking lot outside of Recovery Centers of America. I was chugging my last swig of vodka before going in for the long road of detox. If I wasn’t so drunk, I would have ran away. Hell, if I wasn’t that drunk I wouldn’t even need rehab. Yet, there I was, in all my (haven’t showered in a week, don’t know when I changed last) glory.
Another stent of rehab. This would be my 7th stay in the last two years. I like to say tours because it sounds like I was in a cool rock band or maybe a army vet (no disrespect to armed forces I was trying to make myself feel better). Not an alcoholic. Not a problem drinker. It also added a little humor to what may be the lowest point in my life.
From Death to Life
No doubt during my relapse this last time I didn’t want to come back from it. I wanted to drink myself into oblivion. The finale would be epic! Maybe I would get the courage to find my way onto the roof of my apartment complex and jump off. “No” I thought, “my luck I would be a vegetable. I wouldn’t be able to talk and my family would keep me sober and alive thinking I would want it this way”. “NO, BITCH. Put that vodka in my IV and send me off when I am nice and toasty”
I thought about shooting myself, but I didn’t have a gun. “Maybe if I drink enough, I’ll die from alcohol poisoning. THAT’S IT” I thought (I tend to think a lot drunk). “The perfect ending to this fucked up situation”. Obviously, that didn’t happen because I am still alive writing this blog post. Thinking about it now, that would probably be the most disgusting and most painful way to go out of all the options I thought of. So, I am glad I didn’t let drunk me decide my fate.
No, this journey takes a different road. Luckily I had good friends who made sure I got the help that I needed, again. Regardless on if I wanted it or not. They would never take no for an answer and would probably chase me down the street to get me there (true story, that happened before). While in the lobby of this rehab center waiting in agony as my BAL lowers enough that I don’t die in their possession, I still wanted it to end. I didn’t want to face the world to let everyone know that I relapsed, again. I didn’t want to admit that I still had a drinking problem. There was nothing I could do about that now, though. I was here, there was no going back. They told me I should to rehab, and I didn’t say no (I love you Amy. Rest in peace).
When I finally came to (which was probably around 3 days later), after all the shakes were gone and the night terrors subsided, I had a shocking revelation. I didn’t want to die after all. I wanted to live. Now more than I ever have.
This new desire to be and stay alive rattled every fiber of my being. “WTF is this?” I thought (I think sober too). “Why did I change my mind so drastically”. The reason was simply: I was sober. Not just sober regarding my blood alcohol level. I was sober minded. It’s strange how quick you realize how precious life is when you almost lose it. I was lucky. Not everyone gets the chance to come back from the fatal decision.
New Sense of Purpose
When contemplating what to do with this new sense of purpose I knew one thing was certain: I needed a change. Not just a move to a new apartment change, I needed a full “needing to start a new life” change. So, I made the very scary decision to leave Delaware. Now that my mind was made up it was a question of “where?” that had me stumped. I really wanted to go north, like John Snow in Game Of Thrones. I knew winter was coming and I love snow. Getting there was only half the battle. I had this crazy scenario about a guy moving to Maine and living in an old beat up SUV with his dog. Until he finds the guy that makes his life change for ever. Real, happily ever after Hallmark shit.
I always try to imagine what life would be like for the characters in those movies after the ending credits. Would it really be happily ever after or would it end in some messy divorce and fighting over custody of their 2 kids. Anyway, I digress. Much like the expectations of everything being sunshine and sparkles, it simply is not a realistic way to live. I wouldn’t be able to live that way.
After talking manically with the therapist a few days in a row at RCA she kind of talked me off the ledge, and I finally saw that clarity. She suggested that it might do some good going to a music bases recovery program. Hello, music man here, she got me hooked. Thus this move changed my whole direction. I linked up with Recovery Unplugged in Austin, TX. Yes, complete opposite from my first thought. Instead of going all the way north I would make like Daenerys Targaryen (reference of the day: Game of Thrones, not sponsored sadly) and go all the way south. I came home, packed up some belongings, got on a plane and flew down.
My new changed life
I realized once I got here that the energy just felt right. I had a bit of a disappointment when I first arrived here and realized the “Music” program wasn’t what I had imagined it would be. To be fair, it was a great program over all and it was my fault for having these anticipating expectations much like a flowery hippie sober music fest of peace and love in my brain. So I pretty much set myself up for that disappointment. Either way, it was just what the doctor ordered. After adapting to their program and realizing I had an eating disorder (that’s a whole other blog post for another time) and loving the vibe I decided to put my resume out and look for a place to live. “If it doesn’t work out then I can just go back home” I said to myself. So, it did work out. I found a job, a sober house and I decided to make the move.
I resigned from my job of 5 years, broke my sketchy lease, with the slumlord millionaires, of the ghetto ass apartment complex, in inner city Wilmington, *takes breath* and made that leap of faith.
Aside from getting Covid on the travel back down in my car, losing my taste buds moving to a food destination and having to change careers within the first 6 months of being here, everything else has been great. Word to the wise: Always expect the unexpected because nothing is certain.
Now that it’s been 9 months since that last vodka chug in the rehab parking lot, I still haven’t taken a drink since. I have not gotten high (aside from caffeine which to anyone who has seen the amount of caffeine I consume, MIND YA BUSINESS. God’s not through with me yet) and you know what? Everything is okay.
I have not needed a drink of a drug. If I ever get to the point where I “need” to drink, if I ever catch myself saying that I “need” a fix, it will be time to check myself. I will always remember the road it has led me on in the past and how far I have come since. Life is never easy. Whether you decide to drink, use drugs or not, the problems that drove us to it are never going away and chances are, they are probably going to get worse with it. It just delays the inevitable.
During hard times I know and can see the lure. However, I can’t handle my alcohol and when I feel that sense of escape I will always be chasing that first time feeling that I will never get to. Much like, let’s get real, losing our virginity. I have learned now that facing my problems with a sober mind is way better than letting a drunk and inebriated brain try to handle my tasks because, it has never ended well and I am almost certain never will.
It’s time to stay a grown up and grab life by universes’ balls and manifest my dreams. As I said above, nothing is guaranteed. The future is not promised. I know that I need to continue my streak of sobriety.
Will I never take a drink again? I am not sure. What I do know is that it serves no purpose in my life and that shit can be expensive. So for now, it is not in my near future.
Ok, so this post is a little different. It’s partially a story about what’s currently going on and the other is simply asking for advise about the current situation. Right now I am at a crossroad and I don’t quite know which path to take. Fear tells me I should turn around and go back, but I know that’s never usually the wise decision. This crossroad is a scary yet exciting one.
I am currently working as a Loss Prevention Officer with a hotel in downtown Austin. The job is great for the most part and it has taught me to get out of my element. However, I am working overnights, so it can be pretty hard not having the energy to really do anything during the day. Even though, I thought I would have plenty. It’s a pretty easy job. The pay could be better as most jobs. Hotel life has treated me well and the bosses and supervisors like me and want me on the team for as long as I am willing to be here. So it’s definitely a job I don’t take lightly
What I Want
So, I have had this dream of starting my own business. I have this beautiful dream of not working for anyone but the people I am servicing and myself. In whatever capacity that is. So, right now my biggest step I made to doing this was deciding I was going to start a cleaning business. I have the name, the DBA, Business Account, SAM number, DUNS…etc. I have made major steps in accomplishing this. I want to be a successful business owner and have something built that I can be super proud of. There’s an issue that keeps me from doing it right now.
Here’s the issue.
I thought that I would have all the time in the world to make this happen because I was working 3rd shift. I could get off, do everything done that I needed to, come back to sleep for a bit and then head into work. Clean houses in the morning into the early afternoon and sleep enough to ready myself for the next shift. This has not been the case for me. It may have a lot to do with the Prednisone I have been taking (you can read about how I got to this in my previous post The Pain and the Solution) and the side effects they have. It seems lethargy and weight gain is two huge side effects that are kicking my a**. I get home and I immediately want to go to bed and a lot of times I do. My rational thinking tells me that I could sleep for some of the morning and have plenty of time and energy during the afternoon. However, this usually would turn into me sleeping way longer than I wanted to. Then I’d get mad that I slept so long. Then because I feel as though the whole day is gone, I think “why not finish out sleeping the rest of the night. So I usually do.
Can I get advice?
I am looking to hopefully get advice on what to do. Each decision set in front of me all have pros and cons. Should I quit my job and work for myself? Do you think its reasonable to push myself and work both full time and try to run a the business? Can I trust myself to maintain stability and try and only own part time at this job if they offer insurance and try and compensate my income with doing food deliveries?
What would be the best course of action. Please leave a comment below on the WordPress comment tab and/or the Facebook comment tab. I appreciate any suggestions or advice you may have to offer!
This past year has definitely been a roller coaster of emotions. Some good and some bad, as you can see in the Previous post “What This Past Year Has Taught Me“. However, nothing could prepare me for Christmas 2021 going from someone happy and health to being crippled over in pain throughout my entire body.
Everything was going great. I had two full time jobs and surviving on the little sleep that came with the constant busy work life. My goal was to do this for about 6 months, pay off bills and live without fear of debt riddling my life unmanageable financially. I didn’t have a life anyway so aside from living in sober living, I just didn’t really have much free time.
December 23rd rocked my world. I was dealing with progressively worse bouts with foot pain. Sometimes it would be when I get up in the morning, sometimes it would be by the end of the day. I knew something wasn’t right but I just ignored it thinking it would go away on its own. I have had flare ups before and they just go away after some time. I have arthritis that I was diagnosed with about years ago. I also have Raynaud’s and unspecified myalgia (whatever that is). So the combination of all three if working in sync can F U C K my life up.
December 23rd did just that. I woke up in the morning in excruciating pain coming from both hands and both feet. I went to get out of bed and was not able to walk or even stand. I looked down only to notice that my feet were swollen like balloons leaving them unrecognizable:
My room was on the second floor in the house and with no way to get down stairs, I felt paralyzed and powerless. Luckily some housemates were gracious enough to give me some water and Ibuprofen. After about an hour I was able to get up with limited mobility. I had to call out of work which was a very rare occasion for me. Finally making it down stairs I took myself to the nearest walk-in clinic. This was a 4 hour ordeal for them to finally call me back. Holiday hours and the increase in Omnicron cases did not play in my favor. They were able to give me a steroid shot and wrote me a prescription for Prednisone.
This seemed to do the trick for a while. I was able to move effectively and while I was still in pain, it was most certainly manageable. Christmas rolls through and it was back. It was clear that my body was unable to deal with the long work hours putting consistent stress on my body. I unfortunately had to give up one of the jobs. Though it was a job that I really cared a lot about, it was for the best. I stayed with the job that offered health insurance which basically made all the difference in my decision making on which job to give up.
Fast forward through Christmas and after the separation of my job I found myself stranded in my car. Not being able to move my hands from the steering wheel, not being able to get up and walk. Here I was sitting in front of whole foods. Hands gripped to the steering unable to take them off the wheel. The picture crossed my mind of Cruella Deville from 101 Dalmatians and her final war with the pups.
I took myself to Ally Medical ER. They actually had to wheel me in because I was unable to successfully stand up to get out of my car. They gave me another steroid shot and even more prednisone. The battle with this issue continues throughout the next couple months. I had honestly thought that by now, after so much time, the flareup would have ceased. However, this was not the case. I have now been on prednisone going on 3 months now and it has only gotten progressively worse. I tried multiple different types of therapy. Cryotherapy, Chiropractic and Acupuncture. Nothing seemed to work. I know what I had to do. I had to see a Rheumatologist.
The Battle Begins
The worst battle you have to fight is between what you know and what you feel
The first step, now that I had health insurance was to find a primary care physician. This was not really hard to do. I was able to get a referral from the ER so it was no time at all until I got that established. From the first appointment I knew that my doctor was the right fit for me. Aside from him being very attractive both physically and vocally, he listened. He wanted to figure everything out. What he couldn’t figure out, he was getting me in touch with someone who would. I received a large round of bloodwork and the office basically gave me a physical and explained what his plans of care were with me. This helped me take a deep breath and I knew I was in good hands.
Next was the referral. He scheduled me with a rheumatologist for 3 weeks out. This was from the same practice, just up in the north Austin area. I was ok with it because I needed this pain and swelling to end and I needed to move on with my life. The doctor came highly recommended by the practice. My PCP also recommended him “highly” but he never actually met him before, nor heard anything aside from his title and location of practice.
The day finally arrived when I had my first consultation. This was going to be the start of something good. I just knew it. I show up 30 mins early and began to fill out my paperwork. The staff at the front were nice but robot like. I filled out the paperwork and waited patiently to be called. Finally after 25 minutes I was called back height, weight and vitals. The nurse immediately was very nice and respectful. However, she did seem new and flustered which was fine by me. I wasn’t here to see her. She took my vitals and all my other needed information and she gave word to the doctor that I was ready.
This is where my experience takes a drastic turn. The doctor comes in and I was already off put by his cold demeaner. It was almost like I was wasting his time. However, this was fine by me, I didn’t want him to waste my time either. I already had a diagnosis and they should have already had my records from the previous Rheumatologist back home as my PCP ordered for them to be released. All I need now is the medication. This was not the case with him. After explaining my situation and that I was already diagnosed with PsA (psoriatic arthritis) he began to say that he wasn’t sure if that should be the diagnosis and that further testing is needed. I knew this was going to be the game plan because it has been three years so a new round of tests were imminent. What I was not prepared for, was for him to completely reject the diagnosis previously provided. He stated that the medical records were not sent over and it would probably be quicker just to get started over again. Out of desperation, I conceded.
Upon his exit and over hearing him tell the nurse “tell him we will see him back in 3 months” I lost my mind on the poor nurse. Not at her, but more venting to her about my issues and how I can’t wait 3 months. I am pretty sure my exact words were: “So, in the next 3 months does he suggest I chop off my hands and feet off or jump in front of a bus, dealers choice” She brought him back and he stated that the nurse heard the wrong time. Stated that he said “3 weeks”. I know I heard this man say “3 months” but I was just glad he changed the timeframe. So I got my labs, my x-rays and left with more questions than answers.
The results started populating in my patient portal almost immediately. The x-rays and bloodwork were back in a matter of days. Eventually after around 2 weeks I ran out of prednisone and I was in a constant state of pain. I had zero intention on drinking, but if I did, now would be that time. I reached out to both my primary care and my rheumatologist for a follow-up. I reached out via the patient portal to see about getting either: extension on my prednisone or a sooner appointment to get started. This is when my attitude changed.
The answer that doctor gave me was heart wrenching. My primary care office stated that I should have had enough and they cannot prescribe me anymore. The Rheumatologist stated that based on the bloodwork and x-rays, there was not enough evidence to show arthritis and he would not be prescribing me the medication that I actually need. He said I needed to come in on the date of the already scheduled appointment and he will put in a request for an MRI. I was furious. I told the Rheumatologist that I would no longer use him. I advised him that his bedside manner was horrible and his lack of empathy and understanding was infuriating. He was only out for the money. I wholeheartedly believe that to be true. As I picked up on it the day of that appointment. It’s hard to trust doctors these days anyway but it makes it real when you actually see the injustice for yourself. So I fired my rheumatologist and was back to square one.
The New Referral
Luckily my primary care listened to what I had to say about the experience and put in another referral. I asked if he could find the rheumatologist with the earliest appointment he could find. We agreed on one with an appointment time that has potential of 2 weeks out. This is contingent on the referral going through and the records being transferred over. After about three tries and three different fax numbers, it finally made its way to their office.
Unfortunately, this was not the end of the craziness. As luck would have it and not hearing anything back from the doctor I was referred to, I called them. Apparently, there was a mix up in the system. I had an appointment and it was for 2/22. The date was now 2/24, another crushing blow on my road to health. They had the wrong number on file so I never received alerts about this appointment. So, I missed it. I wanted to cry, this was after waking up hardly able to move, use my phone, drink, chew. She said that we would have to reschedule the appointment.
Just when I thought that all hope was lost, a light at the end of the tunnel revealed itself in an amazing way. About the time we were rescheduling the appointment for a few weeks out, the nurse stopped and said: “This may sound unreasonable but would you like to come in at 1:45pm today? We just had a cancelation.” Before she could finish the word cancelation I immediately said “I’ll take it” She stated that the weather played in my favor but I know it was more than that. Whatever you believe, just know that something is out there helping us and I really don’t care who or what. I am just glad they are there.
When I get to the doctors office a little before 1:30p I started filling out the paperwork. It was nothing over excessive. I gave the nurse my insurance card and took a seat. It was a little past 1:45pm when I was called back. We got my weight and she asked me the normal questions. She then stated that the doctor will be in shortly. The waiting period was about 10 mins. I notice on the door there was a sign stating that all new patients must remove their shoes and socks. So I wrestled with the high copper fit socks so the waiting didn’t really seem like a wait. More like a intermission with a wrestling match between shows.
The doctor walks in with a colleague of hers. She introduced herself and the girl with her and stated that she would be her “transcriber”. Totally different experience from the air headedness of the previous Rheumatologist. She had a transcriber. Someone to document what was said and done. Someone to be held accountable to. She starts asking for my back story and I began telling her. Everything from the being overweight, to the rheumatologist back home, my experience with the one prior, the swelling and the amount of time I had to wait for this day, EVERYTHING. A far cry from the cold no care attitude of the previous doctor. I felt things were different. She starts the examination and it took her all but 5 seconds to look at my hands to say “you definitely have arthritis”. FINALLY, someone who listens, someone who sees, someone who knows. She is someone of understanding and compassion. She starts calling out swollen fingers and toes.
She stated that she has my records from the Rheumatologist back in Delaware and wanted to know if I was ever started on the medication that they had previously requested. I told her I couldn’t due to COVID and how they wanted me to get vaccinated before starting the medication. That after the vaccine, life changed and everything led me here. Then she said something that I did not expect her to say at the first visit: “Let’s get you one the medication”
There was finally some resolution to this long awaited moment in time. This was something I didn’t know was possible. I felt myself losing hope for a normal life a little every day. Now, I have the answer I was looking for. I told her how grateful I was of her. She was someone that brought hope to my life. I was approved for treatment. Autoimmune disorders are nothing to take lightly. With this arthritis I went from being a normal person, being able to run every day, walk and stand for long periods of time… To hardly being able to walk, being on prednisone everyday which feels like a prison sentence. The resolution is here. The solution is just in my grasps
Next is just a waiting game. I have to wait to get the approval from the pharmacy and then schedule my IV infusion. This is something that will always be a part of my life. However, I am ok with it. I rather be on medication for the rest of my life but be able to function, then to become crippled and unable to lead a normal life. The next part in my life is just around the bend. The end of the joint pain. The start of my new life free from it.