Life After “I Vow”

Image may contain: Dani Ahl, standing and indoor
Me, July 1, 2020 at my home… Photo creds: Diego

I originally posted my blog post, “I Vow” with the hope that Diego and I would resolve our issues of many years with a ever so simple vow. I vowed to him things that you would say in your wedding vows along with things that were relevant to our situation at the time. It is one of my most liked and viewed posts that I have on my blog!

If you read it now and look back on what I more recently posted, it seems like the girl who wrote that and myself now are two entirely different people. I attribute that to growing up and realizing that a) a marriage won’t solve everything, and neither would eloping and b) his and I’s needs have drastically changed since then.

April 15, 2020

I wrote this post and texted him my vow to him early that day which he then replies with, “Dani, you’re asking a lot”. I knew I was asking a lot, but I didn’t care. It was what I wanted, not actually what we both needed. I was today years old when I realized that.

I was caught up in the moment, discussing the issues of Diego and I with our mutual friend, Erin. But if I had any chance of making things work at that time, I thought the pursuit of marriage and long lasting commitment would be the key to the recipe.

At the very least, it got him and I talking. A lot, at that. In the next few days, we talked and had sex non-stop. He broke up with his girlfriend while I got rid of my dating apps, sexual content of any kind on my phone from others, deleted old fling’s phone numbers, etc.

May 2020

Just about every day off that Diego had in the month of May was spent making and paying for updates for the house he bought back in March. Before I came around, he had a group of family and friends paint the walls from an off white color to an almost lavender looking gray color. He changed the locks on the exterior doors to an oil rubbed brass brown door fixtures. When May came around, we finished painting the ceiling beams, put in new shag, light gray carpet in the bedrooms and office, the lights were all changed out from tacky, ’80s globe lights to bronze oil rubbed LED light fixtures to match the door knobs. We placed curtains in all the rooms. The curtain rods were, yes you guessed it, bronze oil rubbed to match the lights and and door knobs and I picked out the teal/turquoise black out curtains with a white, sheer curtain facing the exterior of the house. The outlet covers were switched out. The shower heads were replaced in both bathrooms. I think that’s it…

Early June 2020

Once the carpet went in back in late May, we started moving our beds into the rooms, starting moving in our kitchen table, kitchen appliances and kitchenware, desks, and boxes… oh so many boxes! For living with our parents for almost two years and having a home together three years ago, we acquired a lot of junk! But, we downsized and upgraded a lot of our kitchen gadgets, giving up and getting rid of our hand me down china sets and condensed what we had. Our kitchen is now complete and we have storage left over.

While Diego worked, I spent day in and day out transporting our boxes of stuff in my SUV between applying for jobs. I would unpack as I went and Diego didn’t have much to bring at his house besides his video game consoles and clothes, so I left that for him to move.

June 10, 2020

During the moving process, I put all my weight on my left foot when walking down the back door steps, and something just happened. I was in severe pain and pushed through out to keep moving until I could be seen by orthopedic urgent care for this *new* injury. (I had surgery on this foot October 28, 2019. I had three different osteochondral defects in my foot back from a work site injury when I worked for a naval shipyard. I originally got injured August 2, 2018. Basically that all means is that I had three tears to the cartilage that were quite large and the ankle was extremely unstable… I could easily pop my foot in and out of place…) In the months of April and May, I was walking about two miles a day between moving and working out. So workouts wee halted.

June 13, 2020

This was the day that we realized that we had more belongings at the new house than the old so we call this moving day; the day we will celebrate as our move in date, almost three months after he originally bought the house.

June 18, 2020

I got a job working at a hardware store. I work at the service desk where customers can do returns, pick up online orders, run curbside pickup, answer phones, fulfill orders; it’s the hub of the entire store, much like my job working as a cashier at the grocery store with a mix of the shipyard with all the contractors that come in. I primarily work 10am-6pm or something close to it, and the pay is $2 / hour better than the grocery store (even though at the store I worked for a union and journeymen checkers made $20+ an hour while I made $11.40 / hour after five years of working there, working faster and harder than the other journeymen; only getting pay raises when minimum wage went up.)

June 21, 2020

Father’s day. I mentioned this briefly a couple of blog posts ago, but we went over to Diego’s parents’ house for dinner and his mom, Maria, her face was droopy on one side and when she smiled, her smile was asymmetrical. Diego’s sister, Natalie who is a year older than I am, burst into tears, believing she had a stroke. We all encouraged her to go to urgent care the next day (Monday) on her day off from work to go get checked out.

On Monday, Maria took her youngest son, Juan Pablo, who is 10 and has down syndrome and severe autism to his therapies and his therapist called Natalie to come pick up Pablo because they wouldn’t release him to Maria. They also feared she had a stroke and would not release him to her because the therapists didn’t want her driving. Diego called out of work for the day so he could pick up Pablo and take care of him until their dad, Manuel, could get off from work whereas Natalie took Maria to the emergency room.

She was soon admitted and was there for three days. They could not decipher if she had a stroke or a brain aneurysm and her CT scans came back normal. After an MRI, spinal tap, multiple blood draws,etc. They found a tumor in her neck that was causing her face to droop and create an asymmetrical smile.

They admitted her, Monday, June 22 and I believe she was released late afternoon, Wednesday, June 24. She was given appointment times and new medication and was to be seen July 1 with a surgeon to discuss options.

June 23, 2020

After writing about Maria, my struggles seem so minor. I had an MRI and an x-ray on my left foot. The x-ray showed normal whereas the MRI showed the three osteochondral defects in my foot. Two remained anchored together from surgery and were indeed intact. However the medial osteochondral defect was not anchored, which is why I was in so much pain on the inside of my foot, near the heel. I am required to be non weight bearing for one month in hopes that the issue will correct itself. If not, I will need an even more invasive surgery where they take out the cartilage and tendons from my left knee and place it to correct the defect in my left foot.

Now, as much as I have been attempting to be non weight bearing, I am still anticipating surgery to correct the issue so I’m not taking this non-weight bearing thing as diligently as I should. Plus, Diego works 50+ hours a week due to COVID-19, and SOMEONE has to do the housework and continue unpacking which I can’t do on a knee scooter.

June 30, 2020

I get hurt at work. Funny story. I was returning to work from my car after my lunch break and I pulled my knee scooter out of my car, like I always do. After doing so, I tried to get on said scooter, and missed entirely so I flipped over the scooter and landed on my left arm and shoulder. I rolled over, like a potato, and quickly jumped up in pain and searched the parking lot to see if anyone saw me and a few customers did. They laughed at me and proceeded to load up their trucks to head to their next job.

I told my supervisor, who had only been there a year and he said it shouldn’t matter since I was on lunch. I thought that you had to report job site injuries, regardless of severity to upper management if it ever happens on company property. But I didn’t want to get into it with a supervisor so I said thank you and proceeded to continue with the call list and answering phones as I plucked splinters out of my hands and wrists.

I call Diego at work to tell him I fell at work and hurt myself pretty good and he sends me a text a little later saying don’t worry about dinner, he would take care of it. He said he was going to visit his mom and sister and then he would be home.

July 1, 2020

I got to work at 10 a.m. I felt this sort of numbness and tingling in my hand, radiating throughout my arm and shoulder. At the service desk, the phone is on the left side, so I usually pick up the phone with my left hand and type out the orders with my right hand.

As the morning progressed, I had the phone glued to my ear and due to the numbness and tingling in my left hand and arm, I held the phone in the crook of my neck and held the receiver to my hurt shoulder as I cradled my left arm and attempted to type. I got up to find my supervisor, saying I needed to see a doctor.

The HR lady overheard our conversation and asked if I fell on company property, and I said yes. She replied that all injuries must be reported, regardless if I was on lunch or break.

I head to the assistant store director’s office; an office I have grown familiar with. First with my interview on the 18th, then on the 24th when I filled out my limitations paperwork after I got put back in a boot for my foot injury and then today. I filled out L & I paperwork and proceeded to leave work at 1:30 p.m. to go see a doctor.

I called Diego in his check stand at work. I said I was at the ER for the numbness in my arm from falling the day before. He whispers back into the receiver…”she has cancer. I’ll try to leave early…” and hung up the phone.

My mouth dropped open. We thought the tumor in her neck was benign. It was supposed to be benign, that’s what all of the doctors kept saying. And that there was a plan. We had a plan!

Cancer wasn’t apart of the plan.

Well, it may be cancer. They have yet to biopsy anything. They are treating it like cancer to expedite surgery. Surgery is Monday, July 6th.

Me? I was fine. Diego called me twenty minutes later from his cell phone. He got off work due to the bad news of his mother and myself. His mother was not alone, so he met me at the doctor’s office and waited in the car as I was seen.

I have what you call arm contusion neuropathy. So basically the nerves from my shoulder to my fingertips are bruised, but not cut or torn through. With that being said, it is very painful despite the numbness. Nothing is broken or sprained. I was put into a sling and told to stay home for eight whole days since I’m supposed to be non weight bearing and I can’t operate a knee scooter with a sling on my arm. So basically, I look like a very pathetic potato! Ha!

July 2, 2020

Today, Diego and I fought consistently for 4.5 hours. From the time I got into my vehicle after visiting Maria until I fell asleep on him during the fight.

The angrier I would get, the louder he got.

The meeker and quieter I became, actively listening, the louder he became.

The less I said, the rage was seething from his teeth as his saliva flicked onto the floor. He was so enraged, he was spitting.

At one point during the fight, it was about defending myself, stating that he could indeed trust me. But then it suddenly became about him getting the hurt out. All the hurt out. Six years of pain and resentment toward me. Toward his mother. Toward his father.

Directed at me.

I cried myself to sleep for the first time in a long time, something I thought I would never have to do again once my mother was finally diagnosed schizophrenic.

I saw Maria alone before Diego got off of work. I told her how bad he was hurting and wouldn’t talk about it, except to lash out at me. She says, “Dani…”, in a very thick Hispanic accent, “Dani, there is no reason to be mad or angry. I’m not mad, so why is he?”

I didn’t have an answer for her. She then told me that things like nice clothes, nice hair, nails, and jewelry no longer mattered to her anymore. This was coming from a lady who didn’t have much, but always had the biggest heart because she truly believed everyone deserves to be treated the way they want to be treated. This is also coming from the lady who always had her nails professionally done and wore solid gold bangles, rings, and earrings. She said to me, “Dani, those things don’t matter because when you lose your health, you have nothing, except for what matters,” as she points to her husband and Pablo.

Today; July 3, 2020

Day 2 off of work. My mom came over and bought me an iced chai tea latte and herself a redbull spritzer. We watched the Michelle Obama documentary, Becoming, on Netflix. It was very powerful and uplifting, as she addresses racial inequality, gun violence, and her time as the First Lady. Her wardrobe was amazing! Lol.

We discussed Diego and I’s fight and I also discussed it with my best friend, Brent via text message. We all decided in our respective conversations that Diego is just hurt.

Today he seemed morbidly depressed, but he gave me a hug and kiss and said he loved me.

All I know is that everything is going to be okay. But that doesn’t mean I have to be okay. Just gotta look up, chin up. Back straight. Smile. *camera shudders*




Til Next Time,


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Alice says:

    Sorry you’re having such a rough time. I wish I had the answers but all I can think of is “this too shall pass”. Remember to be kind to yourself. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words. You’re absolutely right. I was very discouraged when I wrote this and along with every day that passes, even every moment, life will still move on and my mood has improved and the attitude and jadedness is subsiding

      Liked by 1 person

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