How’s Fearsome?

A treasured reader asked us through the comments the other day how we were doing post surgery. I appreciate his concern and appreciate even more his gentle nudge to open myself up and express myself more. I’m grateful to be part of a blogging community that is just that…community, a community that cares.

We are doing well. Fearsome survived uncut and unscathed. I got both scoped and cut.

The surgeon cut in order to open the top of the shoulder large enough to remove the rather large cyst that had developed on top of my right AC Joint. He then scoped into the AC joint and removed the end of my clavicle in order to clean out the arthritis that had caused the cyst to develop and then took a look at my bicep tendon as well as my rotator cuff. Both the rotator cuff and bicep tendon were in good shape so I got away with just a cyst removal and the clavicle clean up.

Pain has been tolerable and I am doing well as long as I don’t really do anything. So do nothing right now is the key I have discovered. Stitches come out this Thursday and I’ll be able to finally shower. Physical therapy will begin April 15th.

So during my do nothing time I sleep and I watch films. I also indulge in YouTube clips and just found this one. I’m not a religious man but I do enjoy a well performed gospel tune. Oh honey… is this performance fabulous. It’s truly a work of art that moved me to tears. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Leslie Jordan featuring Chris & Morgane Stapleton – Farther Along – 2021

Reflections

Time to pause.

Gratitude is what I feel when I stop to reflect on the fact I’m a sober man. 

Gratitude for the fact that I’m no longer hiding from myself and others that I have a problem that I can no longer handle. I had driven myself to the edge of a cliff and had a choice. Thankfully I chose the choice to give up self destruction for self recovery.

Today I pause to remember, be grateful and to continue forward on my current path. It’s a path that is working for me. A path of growth, serenity and honesty.

9 years – November 7, 2011

2557 Days

Seven years ago today I got sober.

My seven year chip

Thats 2557 days of uninterrupted reality.

I stay sober 1 day at a time. May tomorrow be just another one of those days.

You see I don’t drink like regular people. If I take a drink I have no idea where I will end up. Once one drink is in me, I go to the bitter end of fucked up drunkeness.

Therefore I choose to not drink at all. Life is better for me that way. Not everyone is like me, but I am.

Right shoulder report

My surgeon found no tear in the right rotator cuff once in there with his scope. No tear had showed on MRI, but then again no tear showed on the MRI of the left a year and a half ago when they found one once inside with the scope. Therefore this surgery was much less involved. My surgeon simply removed the bone spur, cleaned up the impingement and drilled the bone to stimulate my stem cell release to reduce any arthritic inflammation.

Last time I couldn’t shower for a week and was completely immobilized for 5 weeks before starting physical therapy at 6 weeks. Today at two days post op I am out of the sling and already had a shower. I return Friday to have the stitches removed and start physical therapy. I am already using my arm for easy light tasks. Movements are limited but improving already. Pain meds are at a minimum.

I was prepared for the worst and I am relieved. Compared to the last surgery this one has been a walk in the park thus far. Fingers crossed I’ll be baking my coconut cake for Christmas dinner!

Six years

Six years ago today I woke up a broken man. A man that didn’t yet know that he was about to go 2192 days without a hangover. A man that had no idea what lied ahead only that I could no longer live as I had been living.

Today I woke up and received this six year token for living six full years of uninterrupted reality. I am humbled.

May tomorrow be day 2193.

The Pain of it All

This is getting old, really old.

Get a little better, get a little worse, get a little better, get a little worse. Fuck this hurts!

Look here… I prefer life on the sunny side. I am very blessed with every aspect of my life. Blessed I’m telling you. I focus on the blessings. I feel gratitude. More and more wonderful things come my way. The more I focus on good, the more good I get.

Why the hell do I want to write this down? Why do I admit pain?

Once in a while we all must take a moment, acknowledge the less than perfect aspects and then get on with moving on.

My shoulders both hurt dammit. Both.

The left post surgical is getting better little by little and is mostly just sore with challenging movements it hasn’t yet mastered since surgery. Expected slow post surgical recovery sensations.

The right, and formerly good, shoulder is driving me batshit crazy. Damn it hurts. The impingement burns and feels like a ripped open gaping wound. Reaching for anything is agony and don’t even think about turning it.

When both shoulders act out at the same time it can be defeating, debilitating.

Today is not a good day…however…I will focus on healing and tomorrow being better. I will get better in time. This, too, shall pass. I’m a healthy guy. I’m blessed with good health insurance. I’m blessed with a positive outlook. I’m blessed with love and support. I’m blessed with the ability to recover from life’s little bumps. This is just a little bump.

Setbacks? They are just setups for life’s greatest comebacks!

Watch out life, here I come!

Darkness

I don’t often write about depression. I try my best to always stay on the sunny side. I believe that on which we focus our energy is what we will experience the most. I prefer a positive outlook and experience, thus I focus my energies on that path and rarely on the other.

I do believe in feeling ones feelings in order to heal and move on from situations or moods that are less that Pollyanna. I’m less than Pollyanna at the moment.

I’ve avoided writing about it, as I just expressed my belief about focus. Yet I also just conveyed the necessity to allow feelings as a method toward healing. I recognize this moment’s need to heal.

There are circumstances beyond my control which affect my psyche that are now coupled with frustrations in the s-l-o-w and sometimes painful recovery that is my shoulder surgery, the trickiness of a fifty something lower back that due to surgery recovery misses its regular yoga (read: spasms, sciatica & pain), the persistent pain of the overused other shoulder, recent death of my brother,  a lackluster year of sales performance and the mounting pile of work ahead.

Another blogger just posted about playing the slots. This week when I pulled my one arm bandit’s handle instead of a line full of cherries, my playline came up with all the forementioned jokers.

Once upon a time I experienced a long lasting depression that required medications and regular counseling. Those days are long gone. For many a year now the occasional depressive cycle is short lived, say a week at maximum, and thankfully rare.

I had almost forgotten the darkness. The utter black darkness.

My experience of depression manifests as follows…

…Everything appears darker as in a lack of light. It is harder for me to see and I mean physically see. I can only see a small area in front of me as if I have blinders on and peripheral vision is completely lost. I feel as if I am in a tunnel. I feel closed in as in claustrophobic. Everything is slow. Then everything is fast and I am slow. I cannot focus on tasks or thoughts or vision. I think irrational thoughts. I feel isolated. I cry easily. I take things personally. I loose my sense of purpose and motivation.  I think about self harm (no worries I don’t do). I wonder why? I hurt. Every task seems hard. I’m easily distracted. I get anxious then complacent all in one moment. I want to nap. My temper is short. I am self conscious. Everything is my fault. I’m deafeated. Color drains from my world and my usual sense of wonder is replaced with a sense of doom.

If you are new to Fearsome Beard you may be clicking off of here about now.

Don’t.

This is not our typical post. This is a cleansing.

How do I now change my mental state? How do I flip my switch? How do I get back to me? How do I regain that fun loving positive smiling wonder filled person that I love?

I take a step. Today I decided that step is to come clean and reveal that my beloved Pollyanna state that I relish is just that. It’s a state, a cycle, a mood, an outlook, a feeling that I move in and out of. It is a state that I choose. It is a state that I can manifest and spend MOST of my life experience in, however my experience does cycle. I am human. I am not perfect. I can only improve myself as I’ll never perfect myself.

Hell, I would never want to be perfect.

I have shared in previous posts about vulnerability and my belief that we can develope strength through vulnerability. I am vulnerable right now. May this vulnerability build just a little tiny bit more strength in the fabric of me. Through sharing, may this vulnerablity touch someone else.

The best, and truthfully only, way out of any dark hole is to start to climb. Often if I can give or be of service to others along that climb I find the climb easier and faster. When I find something, just one thing, I can be grateful for … that will bring gratitude into the climb which will make it even easier. If I can be kind to myself and forgive myself for simply being human, my climb becomes more efficient.

I must remember that I am the only one who chooses my thoughts, perceptions and reactions. I am the only one in control of my beliefs. I am shaped by my thoughts, perceptions and reactions which in turn help me define my beliefs. What I think right now, can and will become my tomorrow. The only way to change tomorrow is to change my thoughts today. My thoughts really do become reality.

Pain, Death, Depression, Anxiety …and Hope

Let me just lay it all out on the table.

Most of the time I spend my Bearded life on the sunny side. Optimist, Pollyanna, Light Hearted, Happy, Positive, Uplifting …these are just a few adjectives that come to mind when I think of how I prefer to live my life.

I truly believe that most of the time I can stay in the positive mindset.

However at this moment I am being realistic. By realistic I mean that I have to admit I am not perfect therefore I will occasionally stumble. My stumble is a slip into negativity. Realistically I can stay positive for the majority of my experience with a rare and short lived negative experience.

My post surgical arm hurts bad this morning. The bicep burns. It woke me up at midnight, I found myself in a pool of sweat and laying there for an hour before giving up and taking a pain pill. I hate pain pills. I am recovering from a head cold. My Big Brother is still a breathing corpse with my poor mother, his wife, my nephew and the Middle Brother all there on death watch. All I can do now is call them and offer long distance support.

This morning I found myself in pain, feeling defeated, feeling helpless, crying, sweating and overwhelmed with anxiety.

Right now I sit on the couch after a good conversation with my friend Catherine. She helped to calm me as does Abner, my little one eyed poodle, who rests in my lap.

This is life. I must walk through it. Most times are good. Once in a great while things will be less than preferred. I must accept that life, like myself, is not perfect.

I now choose to move on as this too shall pass. I choose to inhale. I choose calm. I choose to go with the flow and accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can and to work toward the wisdom to know the difference.

Through my current illusion of fear, may I find the truth of hope.

Sober Beard

Earlier today we swore. We swore using several F-bombs due to pain.

We went to physical therapy and were referred to our surgeon probably because I was sweating and crying tears as the shoulder was getting checked out. Fearsome did his duty and just absorbed the tears into beard oblivion.

The shoulder and bicep are ok. The bicep is still attached to it’s screw and didn’t separate as was feared. Dr. Surgeon felt it best I step down the intensity of PT (trying to be the perfect patient I apparently overdid it a bit) and re-start on pain meds. As he put it “take these and get some sleep”.

I filled the scrip. I came home. I had lunch and took a pill. Now instead of in fucking pain, I am fucked up. Seriously fucked up. Pain is better but I’m dizzy, giggling and half in the bag. I remember feeling this way on the way home from the surgery itself.

Since getting sober almost five years ago this surgery and associated meds are the first time my consciousness has been altered in all this time. I can say that I do not like this altered state and am grateful I not longer live in it.

Why do I write this? FearsomeBeard is our journal. It’s a place for our fun, feelings, opinions, likes, dislikes, love, humor, sadness, anger, attractions, affections, inspiration, motivation and self realness. This post is self realness. A post to remind me if ever tempted to break my sobriety purposefully, that I don’t like this inebriation. A post to reinforce my sober life. A life lived in full unaltered experience.

God knows I had 35 years of altered experience. I did enough of anything and everything I wanted and more. It was fun, it was bad. It is part of what made me who I am today. I have no regrets. I have many beautiful days of sober clarity ahead.

Getting into Comic Con

Its that week, Comic Con 2016! WooHoo!

Fearsome has the Golden Ticket of all 4 days plus preview night! Too bad he has to rely on me and the recovering shoulder to get him there. Don’t get me wrong we will not miss one day of attending but our attendance time will be limited by the need for a shoulder’s rest.

We will post photos to keep all of you in the know of just a few of the fabulous scenes, costumes and frivolity at the San Diego Convention Center over the next few days.

Shoulder updates are this….we are recovering well as long as we rest and keep the left arm immobilized. We see the surgeon again next week. We are loving the fact we can now shower, it was a week without…ewwww. Physical therapy will start in a couple weeks. We will be able to start driving next week (on the sly) but still must keep left arm immobilized. This was way more of an ordeal than I thought it would be but it’s done and we are better each day.

In the mean time let the boys show you just what it’s like trying to get this golden ticket that Fearsome scored more than 6 months ago…

 

Resentment

Through my own experience I find that one of my greatest challenges in life is reminding myself that I shouldn’t place undue expectations on other persons, places or things. The only thing in life I truly have complete control over is me. I can control what I do, what I expect and how I react. I control these things through choices I make. I cannot make choices for persons or things outside of me. It’s that simple.

As a human I expect. From past experiences I can project certain outcomes. Since I can think, I can make up outcomes that are realistic and also unrealistic. I can make up expectations. Expectations that are realistic and also unrealistic. In my mind, often without the knowledge of others, I place these expectations on things outside of myself. Things or persons to which I have no control. When theses expectations are not met, I am disappointed. Often disappointments become resentments.

Here’s the rub, I am responsible for creating these resentments. No one else created them. I created them through my own made up expectation and my chosen reaction. I play a part in everything in my life weather I created it or not. The part I play is me. If it’s my life, I’m in it.

I must always remember to examine what part I played, to take responsibility and let go of resentment. Period.

image