3 year mark this weekend

IMG_1042So, I hit the 3-year mark this weekend. May 28th. Ugh.

I don’t know what to say to all of this. I remember how I felt right when this all happened. I remember pacing in my apartment in San Francisco, talking to my friend on the phone. We were discussing the fact that I was supposed to go fly to see my brother’s baby being born in 2 weeks and I had no idea how I was going to do it. I know I could make the flight, but watching his daughter who was one at the time? I had no idea. She would want to run, and jump … and have me pick her up.

The worst part??  I wasn’t at my worst yet. This time 3 years ago, it was just the upper back ligament tear. No lower back involvement yet. I could still drive. I could still sit. With as bad as the pain was, I had no idea how much worse (much, much worse) it was going to get.

I can not wrap my brain around how much pain I have been in and for how long. Day in and day out. Constant. No relief.

What I wouldn’t give for one day off. One day where I could manage my life. Get on a plane, move someplace that was cheaper. Everything just involves so much work because there is so little that I can actually do.

I think I want to give myself a little credit though. It’s been so long, I really don’t know how I have coped as well as I have. I know I don’t always cope as well as I would like to, but overall, with the shit that has been thrown my way? Seriously, not as bad as I could be handling it. I have lost my marriage, my house, my friends, my dog, my job, my city … and on top of that, I’m in constant pain.

IMG_0497I feel like I could be angrier. I’m pretty angry, but I know I could be raging mad right now. I could see how I could let the bitterness overwhelm me. Bitter for all the things I lost and all the things I will not have. I’m mad at my family for being so unavailable to me. They are so selfish and so uncaring. The irony is, if you asked them, they would say they care a lot — just as long as they don’t have to do anything about it. I’m pretty sure I will have to be absolutely homeless for them to take me in. Forget the loneliness and the pain and just wanting family around when you need them most. That just simply doesn’t compute to them. I will need to be penniless for them to help me. Then, I’m fairly certain it will crush me to have to take their help. Does that make sense? If I took their help a few months back, I would not have felt so demeaned. The thing is, if it’s when I have no money, it’s because they will have to. That’s what will be crushing. They certainly will not help me out with emotional support.

I only have my brother. Both my parents are dead.

As for friends, I’m not super angry about that. I get that people have their own lives. I’m fairly comfortable with that.

IMG_0355I’m sad I will never have a dog of my own again. Maybe, if I got married again someday, they could manage the dog. Even if I had my own house, how would I pick up the inevitable messes dogs make? I wouldn’t. So I’d have to wait for a husband. Considering I’m home bound, I really don’t see that happening.

These are the things that make me shrug after 3 years. It was fine to be somewhat delusional the first year — even the second. I kept having so many setbacks I kinda left a flicker of hope that my eventual return to health was simply delayed by all the setbacks. But, it’s been 3 years now. Now, this is just the reality.

I think it’s hard on my few remaining friends to fathom that I’m not getting better. It’s just a back injury — lots of people have back injuries. Why am I not getting better?

I don’t know.

I’m just not.

Mostly, I’m sad. I often think of my death bed and looking back at the life I could have led. I’m sad for my niece. I wish I could be the aunt I was before I hurt myself. I’m sad I’ll never be able to adopt. I’m sad that I won’t be able to watch my career grow. I’m sad for all the places I won’t see. I’m sad to realize my brother and his family are assholes. I’m sad because I actually liked my life before this happened. I’m just sad it all had to stop. All of it. No adjustments … just everything. Everything stopped.

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Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook atmadelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

New website — lots of work

I had to switch to a different website because the old WordPress site was just giving me too much trouble. I had to then transfer over 2 years worth of blog posts! It took more than 8 hours to transfer them all over and hours worth of phone calls to realize that I would have to do it manually as opposed to a transfer service.

 

It was interesting, moving over all the old posts. Mostly, it was sad.

 

I’ve been at this for a long time.

 

It was interesting to see how much hope I had in the beginning. Maybe as a casual reader it wasn’t as obvious, or maybe it’s because I could be transported back to that time through the posts, and remember how I felt.

 

I do know that this was my biggest fear, that I would be three years out, with no hope on the horizon, and my spirit broken. I’d like to say that I’m still hopeful, in part I am, but I don’t think it’s hope. I think it’s wishful thinking at this point.

 

I do know this. This blog helps. To put down my feelings like a type of journal. That perhaps someone, somewhere might be reading it and not feel so alone.

 

May 28th will be three years. I can not fucking believe it.

 

Be well …

****

Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook atmadelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

Social Security Hearing Denial – The Reasons I Was Denied

I feel alone

As promised, here are the reasons listed that I was denied.

First off, it seems that I did not have a social security approved diagnosis. Here is what they have listed for spine (copied and pasted directly from the social security website):

1.04 Disorders of the spine (e.g., herniated nucleus pulposus, spinal arachnoiditis, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, facet arthritis, vertebral fracture), resulting in compromise of a nerve root (including the cauda equina) or the spinal cord. With:

A. Evidence of nerve root compression characterized by neuro-anatomic distribution of pain, limitation of motion of the spine, motor loss (atrophy with associated muscle weakness or muscle weakness) accompanied by sensory or reflex loss and, if there is involvement of the lower back, positive straight-leg raising test (sitting and supine);

OR

B. Spinal arachnoiditis, confirmed by an operative note or pathology report of tissue biopsy, or by appropriate medically acceptable imaging, manifested by severe burning or painful dysesthesia, resulting in the need for changes in position or posture more than once every 2 hours;

or

C. Lumbar spinal stenosis resulting in pseudoclaudication, established by findings on appropriate medically acceptable imaging, manifested by chronic nonradicular pain and weakness, and resulting in inability to ambulate effectively, as defined in 1.00B2b.

I do not have any of these. This does not mean that I am not suffering (for those of you who don’t have a spine issue, but who want to know what the social security administration views as a basis for diagnostic approval click the link). I can not believe that they disregarded all of the 900 pages of medical records that I submitted just because I did not have one of these three spinal issues.

Also, as of note, the first diagnosis, if you have that severe of entrapment of the spinal cord or the nerve root to cause cauda equina that is emergency surgery. That is the loss of bowel and bladder function. Also, for the record … YOU CAN HAVE SURGERY AND YOU WILL BE BETTER! Therefore, you wouldn’t need prolonged social security pay. It’s mystifying.

A second reason I was denied was my age. Apparently, you truly can’t be this sick and get social security at 35-38.

Third, they pulled from my record that I rode a bike. I know, I know. You’re thinking .. you rode a bike?!

Yeah … at physical therapy. For 5 minutes. Without the power on.

So the administration went through 900 pages of documents and pulled from my physical therapy sessions that I was “riding a bike” and was therefore not credible.

Want to know what’s not credible? Combing through someone’s medical record and taking something out of context. Being able to ride a bike for 5 minutes at your physical therapy’s office with no resistance at all does not constitute a person being well enough to work an 8 hour day. The administration pulled that piece of information without context. It was like they were searching for something. So disgraceful.

Fourth, they discredited my doctors. This is the one that I am always mystified by. How do people flat out discredit a doctor’s opinion? It makes no sense to me how a judge, who studies in law, can tell a doctor they are full of shit? What was stated was that in some instances he said I could walk ten minutes and others less than that. Well, guess what. Some days are better than others. I think the point that they missed was that it’s never over an hour combined. I just don’t understand how they didn’t look at the overall picture that was presented. Instead, they went searching for something to discredit me for.

In next week’s blog, I will tell you how I think that you can help your case to win social security based on my experience. I don’t want what happened to me to happen to others. Just think of me as I am living out of my car …

Be well …

****

Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook atmadelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com