A few years back, I was challenged to stop complaining on facebook. It was around thanksgiving, in the spirit of gratitude, and was a challenge that stuck. I became conscious of it to a degree of extremes. Until I looked at the title of my humble little blog and thought… shit. Do I need to stop complaining on here? But then I realized… I don’t complain to the level that people whine and complain on facebook. I don’t feel the need to fish for poor Kellis, make petty requests for coffee delivery because I’m tired or have a cold, or think my life is perfectly awful, or perfectly perfect for that matter. I’m a tough cookie. I’m honest. My life is real, and I try to exemplify that on all of my platforms. I write like I talk. If people have questions about my life, I answer. I don’t hide behind the perfection or the bullshit. You want to know something? Ask me. I’ll talk! Get two beers in me… I’ll talk more.
Over the last year, my story has taken an odd turn — not everyone gets the varying degrees of the Invisible battle I’m fighting. Those that do, ask, care, and respect that. Those that don’t know, may simply not know because I haven’t blurted out “Have you heard about my fucked up pelvic floor?! I have a dozen charlie horses in there!” And then there’s an entirely other subset that knows… and just ignores it and/or gets the heebee-jeebees hearing/talking about it.
Uh-huh. Imagine living with it, bitches.
So far, 2015 has been an exhausting juggling act… I have many fantastic things rolling — a few things have come and gone already! But through it all, this damn pelvic floor myalgia is reminding me that life is not as fun and simple as I’d like it to be. Certainly isn’t easy to describe what I’m dealing with at the drop of a hat. I’m trying my damnest to be positive… but it’s not always easy to commit and say yes to everything that pops up.
One of my biggest tests came when I was scheduled for surgery the day before the Michigan Winter Beer Fest.
What’s that? I shouldn’t have been drinking after surgery? Oh yeah… I didn’t drink as much as I normally would’ve. Believe me. It wasn’t a typical beer fest for me.
Let’s get into the day before the fest first…
I needed injections to help relieve my intense pain.
Yes. There –> my pelvic floor. My physical therapists were telling me I had developed an incredible level of pain tolerance. I had been driving myself to/from injections every 6-8 weeks in the office like a fucking rock star — but they were no longer effective. My issue has gotten so bad that I now need injections in an operating room.
So, 24hrs before I strapped on copious layers of ski-gear to go drink amazing craft beer in 10 degree weather with some of my favorite people… I was put under anesthesia so my urologist could attempt to give me some level of relief from this debilitating pain.
I got through it. Without complaining. I embraced the Vicodin buzz on Thursday in bed with my kids and best cousin in the world, and never announced my surgery on social media (until now, apparently). It killed me not to be able to go out to the GRBeerWeek events that night, but wtf could I do?! I slapped a smile on my face, snuck in a few early week events, and told the select few that were attending WBF with me — I was ready and willing and open for any scenario… but I didn’t want the head tilted “are you ok?!” comments from more than my tribe.
Friday morning I woke up feeling ok. I sent the kids off to school and went with the flow. I brought a sling camp-chair to sit by one of the fires — which was something I had never done for WBF before — that was huge. Whenever I felt the need to sit and put my feet up for a spell, I did.
But the most important aspect? My friends kept me in check. They never left me alone, they made sure I had what I needed. They supported me. They respected me. They loved me. They made sure I ate. They sent me to a hot tub after-party. They still managed to have fun themselves! Which is exactly what I wanted. I didn’t want them to pity or feel sorry for me! I was fairly numb and did feel pretty good… especially compared to the days that followed. I came home with quite a few tokens in my pocket… but still tasted some damn fine beer and hugged awesome beer folks. Going on Friday helped too; I avoided the long lines and crowds as well. Saturday would’ve been super stressful for many reasons — especially for someone who just endured surgery. Yeah, it was cold… but it’s the MI winter beer fest! Michiganders aren’t allowed to complain about the weather!!! I dressed appropriately — and if you didn’t… whoopsy!
I have recently realized my tribe goes beyond my peers, because my 10yr old has made me feel very supported and cry happy tears. After my mother stormed into town uninvited to supposedly celebrate my 7yo’s bday — but didn’t want to hear about my issue at all (*see heebee-jeebees above) my oldest started asking me simple questions over lunch. And yes, on some level it inspired me to write this very post!
My daughter’s inquiry went a little something like this — completely out of the blue:
“So, Momma, what exactly is your condition called?”
“Pelvic Floor Myalgia, or a Dysfunctional Pelvic Floor.”
“Is there a cure?”
“No, honey… as far as I know it’s a fairly new diagnosis they can only treat right now, not necessarily cure.”
“But they are treating you to try to get you to feel better, right?”
“Yes… that’s why I’m at the doctor a lot, or in the shower, or doing yoga, or drinking a beer… I’ve found lots of different ways for me to try to feel better so I can try to be your mom.”
“Well, if there isn’t a cure, I’m glad there are ways to make you feel better, especially beer! 🙂 It’s not contagious, is it?”
“Oh no, it’s not contagious.”
“I didn’t think so… but I hope they can find a cure soon.”
“Me too.” :,(
“I’m sorry to make you cry, Momma. We don’t have to talk about it anymore.”
“You can talk to me about this anytime, Natalie! I’m crying because I’m grateful you’re talking to me. That’s helpful. Some people get weirded out talking about it because they don’t like talking about pelvic floors and vaginas… but it’s just another body part — you can talk to me about anything, ok?!”
“Sure seems like a painful thing.”
“It’s like a porcupine is having a party in there!”
Then she said “But, ouch… that’s… awful momma. I’m so sorry. I’ll try to help out around here more. I love you.”
Every day can be a struggle… and I’m sure it can be for everyone on some level!! Perspective!! But there are moments when I can see the light — even if these rare, positive moments aren’t fixing anything permanently. It’s better than the alternative.
Was the beer fest a “good idea”? Better than sitting on the sidelines at home and crying in my beer alone!
Look, I’m not someone who has the patience to wait for everything to be perfect before I act. Some may call me impulsive… others may call me stupid because I may pay for my actions in the long-term. I’ve learned that I have to soak in the temporary fixes — consequences be damned!! I have to embrace the positive moments, because those smiles, those heart-leaps, those glimpses of YAY! when you’re struggling mean everything.
If those moments can magically whisk the pain away for an hour… or five minutes — I’ll take it.