The Wagon never leaves you

Well I knew that it had been a while since I last blogged but I had not idea it’s been 18 months!!  I’m almost ashamed of myself but at the same time, we have to be reminded that we can’t change the past, only change the outcome of our futures.  With that being said, let’s start with a condensed version of the last 18 months for me…

A few years ago, my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  We never had it in our family so this was the first time experiencing it head on.  My grandmother and I were always close and once upon a time, when I was in my early 20’s, I lived with her and my grandpa for a couple years to get back on my feet.  (That’s a whole other day of storytelling.)  Since I moved out, I lived fairly close to them in Santa Clarita.  When she was diagnosed and the symptoms progressed fairly rapidly, I was at the house constantly, helping her take her meds, keeping her occupied with conversation and eventually to calming her down when she had episodes of sundowners.  It had been rough for a couple years as she progressed but soon after my last post when it turned for the worse.  Around Jan and Feb of last year, she was constantly in an “episode.”  I was working two jobs at the time and I was blessed that both jobs knew the circumstances and so when I got a phone call that meant me dropping everything and heading to her, they understood.  It got to the point where I worked all day and then came straight to the house after work and would stay there til 10 and sometimes later, until someone in the family came to relieve me and stay the night there.  (She started wandering at this point and was no longer safe overnight.  And yes, there was the night at 2am where Erick and I were scouring the neighborhood with flashlights because she went missing only to find out she went across the street to the neighbors house.  While this new routine became daily, when I WAS at work, it was constant phone calls for benefits, finding her a place to love and dealing with daily phone calls and group text with updates on their visits with her.  In February, we finally found her a place to live in a memory care facility.  Initially believing this would relieve a lot of stress and daily pressures, it only continue on from that.  Erick and I moved into their house to pay the bills, since the family could not afford these new facility costs and their house overhead.  We literally moved a 1100 sqft apt into a house that was fully furnished with 80+ years of furniture, items and knicknacks.  I should have taken a photo of the place.  Queen mattresses on Dining room tables, doubled everything.  You couldn’t even walk into the place.  On one hand, I wasn’t at the house everyday for 5 hours gma sitting, but now, after working two jobs, we would go to our apartment and pack til late and then come to our new home and sleep, get up and repeat.  Every Saturday for the next three months, family came to the house to box stuff up to eventually sell and clean.  Every Sunday was spent back at the apartment packing and cleaning and bringing stuff over.

One job which I have had 4 years now, stuck with me every time, understanding and would ask for updates and never complained about my time there because somehow in the midst of all this, I still got the financials submitted to the investors on time, every time.  The second job, however, was another story, they were making changes, it was constant chaos and it was starting to create horrible stresses.  They would call me on weekends and nights over things having nothing to do with me, but wanted someone to blame.  I kept my head down and kept pushing day in and day out.  We finally got the apartment cleaned out the end of March and now spent a couple months still working on the house.  I started selling stuff on apps and I was doing so well, it was becoming a 3rd job.  Now I’m meeting people at work, bowling alleys, in the valley, and all over the place delivery items sometimes for $1, sometimes $100.  I was stoked to be raising money to put into Gma’s account and when feeling helpless that you can’t help someone physically and mentally, I felt I was doing SOMETHING to help.

Then in May, it came to a screeching halt..

I’ve had anxiety before, with the chest pains and the beating chest and the nervous feeling in your gut, but never in my life had it every literally crippled me to my knees.  For two weeks, my life was turned upside down.  I couldn’t function, I couldn’t think and I could barely breath.  I ended up in the hospital 5 times in that two week span because I was convinved I was dying, had a brain tumor or whatever else Google told me I had.  After the 5th time, the hospital said I needed to see a Psychiatrist.  I was given Prozac and Ativan and it took a week or two but I finally started feeling better, I could have thoughts again.  I was still afraid of every headache forming or any small thing, because I feared this would turn into another panic attack.  I was forced out of the group texts and gma business for a couple weeks, despite me fighting it, because my health became a problem now.

A couple months later, I was “me” again, laughing again, focused again and on the right path.  I noticed my clothes were fitting differently though, and not in a positive way.  By now its been about 2 1/2 months and I stepped on the scale and I had gained 25lbs!  25!!  Since my surgery, I had never gained a single pound, ever and now I gained 25 pounds in 2 1/2 months?  I freaked out and I saw my weight loss Dr.  He told me it was more than likely the Prozac causing it.  I met with the Psychiatrist and told him I want off.  That I realize the medication was necessary at the time, but I would like to wean off of it and see what happens.  I told him my concerns about the weight and he said it wasn’t the meds.  He also said if I don’t take the meds, I will have debilitating panic attacks like I had for the rest of my life and it won’t ever go away.  I was disgusted by that.  I knew this happened because of what I was going through at work, at home and with gma.  This was an isolated incident based on environmental factors and I knew in my heart that if I made changes and relaxed more, that I would be fine.  I was weaned off of them and now its been about a year and I have been set free and never again will allow myself to get to that place again.  I’m not anti meds, because I definitely needed them at the time, but I believed I could overcome it and come out the other side and I am happy to report I did.

Okay, so I guess even my condensed version was still long but now we come to present times.  I work 3 jobs now, but I make my own hours and schedule and now I have control over my work load.  I still found myself running ragged with Gma as she continued to progress work and rapidly.  On Good Friday of this year, she is now at peace and forever in my heart.  During the months leading up to that, I was never home and constantly eating on the go.  I couldn’t remember the last time I made a home cooked meal.  I have since gained a total of 30 lbs from my lowest weight and last blog post.  It’s been a few months since she has been gone, but eating habits became the new norm of eating out all the time.  I can’t use that lifestyle as an excuse anymore and moving forward, I have to take care of myself, get back on track and break the new “old habit” we have created.  I went to the market yesterday for a solid food shop for the first time in forever and started meal prepping again.  It felt so good to be in the kitchen again and it’s amazing how full you get eating solid proteins compared to a bag of chips that only makes you hungry again a short while later.  I’ve been back at Pinterest and saving recipes and made the first one last night and excited for the new one tonight.

The point of this blog is not to have you feel sorry for me, but to realize we all have shit in our lives that can easily derail us.  The great this about the wagon is it never goes anywhere, it’s always by your side and at ANY moment you choose, it’s right there to get back on again.  Yesterday I noticed the wagon and I hopped on.  We are good to go and I’m so excited to be back in the mindset I once was, sharing recipes, helping others on their new journeys and providing motivation for those when they feel down and out and in their “darker” place.  I’m back guys and I’m excited!

Grab your wagons and we shall ride together!

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