Today, I "thought" I might try some sorting through old papers in my office. How I love my office! My husband built the whole office system for me, it's rustic and cowboy-looking. I am truly blessed with it. I need to find an old file cabinet at a 2nd hand store, however. I don't have one, and I have my files in old U-Haul boxes, set up with the hanging folders end-clips over the sides of the boxes to hold the folders.
I found two, large 4-subject notebooks filled with journals I'd written from 2005 through late 2006. I had hoped to read a journal entry in the later one that would tell me the last date I rode a horse. I don't know when it was because I kept trying to ride (I'd ride, but would go shorter distances and then pay dearly when I got back) until I saw Dr. B in NY in Jan. of 2007, and he told me that riding was suicidal for me. "If you fall off, you die." I went home and never rode again. I've only truly been tempted to break my rule once, and that was last summer.
I read a few entries in my journals and I became a bit blue after reading my words. Because I could see true evidence in front of me, in my own handwriting, that I have been suffering pretty much the same way for far too long a time! I was better off back then than I am now, I could do more, but the perspective was the same.
April 2005..."much of my work is at ground level (landscaping) and when I work bent over, I feel energy sucked out of me, I feel headaches and lightheaded."
May 1, 2005..."Didn't sleep that great and felt wide awake with looping thoughts, so decided to get up early and write. I guess I'm upset that even after more than a year, I am still plagued by so many problems." (My injury was April 9, 2004)
As I read through the entries, I'm seeing how confused I was all the time about what exactly was wrong (the docs knew I had suffered the C1 frx...but were telling me it had healed straight and fine...)
May 16, 2005 "Later in the day, felt very fatigued all day. At times, I felt shaky. It seems like I am right back feeling the way I did before." (After my injury, I convalesced 7 months before being allowed back to work (I begged to be sent back to work) training horses. That would have been in about Nov. of 2004. Back on horses, the movement of the horses caused chronic flare ups in neurological symptoms, but I couldn't reason through that because I was being told everything had healed fine, and sometimes was told my symptoms were "emotional." At this writing, where I'm saying I feel worse than before, I'm saying I am feeling worse than closer to the injury date! Before I went back to riding horses. Though at that time, I didn't really understand the impact of riding upon me.)
As I read during this time, I'm amazed at how much I was doing, and to ME, I was doing so little! I'd always worked so hard and fast, loved working, and so as I listed the things I'd done in a day, to me, I was doing little, and I was wondering why I was getting so tired.
May 17, 2005..."I started off kind of okay. Did some housework and practiced half of the May 28 set [I was in a bluegrass band]. I did feel a bit weary, but went out and worked Jedi [the horse I was riding when I broke my neck] a little bit. I was so happy with his willingness and how he's progressing.
"Then I cleaned corrals and filled fly traps and watered fenceline plants. Came in for a quick lunch, then went over to the orchard, put up "Scare Eyes" and mylar on cherries and almonds [to keep birds away] and treated lake [for weeds].
"Came home and painted some on the wainscoting. Made green chile for supper, but started feeling worse and worse. Sleepy, worn out, yet antsy. I went out to the barn and brought in horses and fed them, and then just broke down. Completely. Cried and cried. Felt so much worse than I have felt in a very long time. I still feel terrible as I write this.
"My head is tight and burning. Off and on, my scalp crawls and off and on, I feel numbness in my lips.
"I need to see some kind of specialist! I want to be well. I was so happy on Friday and Saturday, felt strong and clear-headed. I slipped so easily into my old self."
How my words reflect my inner struggles! I didn't want to be replaced on the ranch. I worried about my job and if I couldn't do it, how we could live without both incomes. I worried about not keeping up with all the chores I had done pre injury. Worrying about the band and letting them down if I could not do a gig with them. Worried about watching another horse trainer do my job, watching them riding "my" horses out my bedroom window.
June 7, 2005 "By the time I came inside from mowing weeds, everything seemed to deteriorate. While mowing, I had burning pain on the outsides of my upper arms. Later, I hardly had any grip, and my feet were the worst! Weak, especially on the bottoms and at my ankles. Hands weak. Strong burning and tingling in right ankle, leg and foot."
June 15, 2005 "I felt pretty good all day. I did work Jedi, though I felt pretty weak. During the riding, I felt very weak and uncomfortable, sometimes painful. Now, trotting feels painful and tiring, and cantering is worse. I always like to ride a horse "outside" after arena work, usually riding across the river or across the road. Today, all I can muster is a quick trip around the house.
"It is hard to see what you love slipping away."
June 18, 2005
"Hate to report it, but how awful I feel just now. My bosses will be here in 30 minutes to ride. I have Jedi and Shadow saddled and in their stalls eating hay. I am sitting under the porch of the barn where I catch the northern breeze which is rustling through the fruitless pear trees.
"I probably did too much yesterday. I felt good enough to do it all and I felt it needed to be done. This morning, I did saddle four horses and four children took some lessons. I did tell my boss that I was just too weak to stand in the arena [to give lessons].
"Now, I feel very weak in my feet and legs, my feet now are painful and I feel fatigue all over.I feel too tired to even write. Normally, at a point like this where I'm waiting for riders, I'd be "making good use of my time," cleaning corrals, pulling weeds, straightening up. But my legs and feet have progressively gotten so much worse. I do worry that whatever this is...is it going to become worse and worse to where I'm in a wheelchair? "
Back to the present, and what hit me as I read this journal earlier today was: I've been suffering for a long time! That was four years ago, and I'd been hurt over a year earlier. And what I thought was suffering back then, it was nothing compared to today.
What will my journal read in another five years?