Friday, March 28, 2014

It's Not You...

It's most definitely me. 

My getaway worked ... and yet it didn't.  Mentally, it was wonderful to step away for a few days.  I enjoyed myself immensely while I was away.  However, while I was walking back up to my room on the last night, my chest seized up and I had an unbelievable urge to cry.  It threw me.  I knew I was coming back to work ....

and I didn't want to.

I thought of all the things that upset me about coming back to work, all of the things I didn't want to deal with ... but, then I figured something out.  It was like this dawning, defining "A-Ha" moment.

It's me.

I've learned that I need to work on how I handle certain environmental things.  If people want to be dramatic, lie, be lazy, do something half-assed ... that's on them.  I can't let it bother me because ... it's obvious that my opinion, my health, my life doesn't really matter.  OK, that sounds incredibly dramatic ... I'm just saying, in this day and age, "me" comes before "us".  In most cases, this should be the case.  We should always consider what effect things are going to have on ourselves however ... that shouldn't be at the detriment of the rest of the world.

I realized that people won't change.  They are set in their ways, and they don't think there is a problem.  I noticed that the problem I am having lies within me.  I am the one not able to deal with the idiosyncrasies of the different people I am around.  I am only in charge of myself and my health and well being. 

That being said, I need to put on blinders, I need to wear ear muffs.  I need to focus solely on what is good for me and what is good for my environment.  I will do my training to the best of my ability to help new people get strong legs beneath them, I will do my job to the best of my ability  so that I know when I leave at night I did all that I could and was required to do.  I will take care of my lifestyle for myself.  I don't need to mention it in here 10,000 times so that the people around me give me some sort of validation about what I am doing. 

Everything that I will be doing is for me.  I'm the one who could die.  I'm the one who could be very sick and taken out of work.  I'm the one who has to deal with side effects from nasty medications, with feeling lethargic and out of sorts, with trying to swim against the current every single day of my life.  It's me, it's my problem.

I will also keep it to myself.  I don't need to talk about it unless I'm asked.  I don't need people to be reminded over and over again that I am sick.  I don't.  Why?  Because I can't stand when I hear that stuff around me.  So, if something is bothering me ... I shouldn't do it to everyone else ... and I am not going to.

The resolution starts with me.  IF something is bothering me ... I need to change it, not expect someone to change it for me.  I will face my obstacles head on, by myself, because it is me that has to get over them, not me and an army.    It all comes back to how I allow people to affect my mood, my day, my weeks and my life.  I'm in charge, right? 

Maybe the get away allowed me to come to see that I am in charge.  I stepped outside of my routine and looked at it with disdain.  I let people bowl me over, I let people get on my nerves, I let their actions drive me up a nearby wall.  I let them do this.  If people want to act like complete snots and behave like they hung the moon ... so be it.  I won't pay attention to it and I won't let it bother me. 

I have bigger issues to face ... things some people I know couldn't handle. And, that's fine.  After all, apparently God picked me to fight this battle because he figured I could.  And, on the days that I don't feel I can ... I'm allowed to cry about it.  Why?  Because it's a life or death battle and ... that's definitely something to cry about.   Lord knows I've seen enough tears over a lot less in my lifetime.  Hence, I shed my own ridiculous tears every now and then.

I want to scream to the world ... this isn't about you.  Life is not always about you.  This is about me, my issues, my life, my battle, my world.  What I'm doing is for me, to help me, for me.  I don't really give a flip what you do ... as long as it doesn't negatively affect me in anyway, have at it!!!!

Thank you to my husband for yanking me out of town, for getting me out of this headspace and into a spot where I could see what the real problem was.  It's me.  And, because it's me ... it's no one's responsibility but my own to take care of the issue. 

Man, do I have a LOT of work to do. 



Sunday, March 23, 2014

Runaway Buggy

I get to get out of town. 

Just a quick lil getaway, over the mountain to my favorite spa hotel in Reno. I plan to soak in a giant bath tub, read, sit by the pool (beached whale anyone?), lay in the fluffy bed, play a tiny bit of Pai Gow Poker (while using liberal amounts of Purell), and most of all, try to get ahold of my out of control life.

It's amazing how quickly things can get out of hand.  

When I started to get sick, I had my full focus on getting a bottle of pills, knocking them back and getting on with my life.  Instead I lost a gland in my neck, had teeny pieces of tissue ripped out of my lungs, and a screwdriver jammed into my pelvis. 

I started to lose the upper hand when the  word cancer was dropped in my lap. Then the other two whoppers. 

It was like ... I fell out of the buggy while the horses were running full speed. I got up and ran as hard and as fast as I could after the buggy. For the most part, I was able to keep up. I ran alongside but wasn't quite able to hoist myself back inside.

But then, I tripped and fell. The buggy pulled away and as hard as I tried, there was no catching up.

Recently, I stopped trying to catch up. I sat down, watching everything barrel out of control and getting further and further out of my hands.

How was that for a crazy analogy? 

My mind has been all over the place in the last few weeks. I'm mad at the world.  I'm bitter at the unfairness of things. I'm sad for the things I've lost during all this. I then get mad at myself for having a pity party. I am stressed out because of the extra burden that this illness has brought into my world: paying for a water filtration system, heating for the house, having to fix all that was found upon starting to get the heat put in.   Missing work for radiation, missing work for emergency surgery, having to skip things I love during flu season because of my dead immune system. 

I've been on a roller coaster since February 2012. I've been dying to just get away and decompress since December 2012. I have needed to not go through the same motions everyday. Get up, take pills, shoot nasty yellow chemo drugs into my stomach, grocery shop, do dishes, go to work, come home, wash, rinse, repeat (but change dishes for laundry or vacuuming etc). 

I'm aware that my brain is starting to misfire. I'm having thoughts I DONT like. I've become a cold bitter woman. It's not me. I'm not this depressed, bummed out, despondent person. I find myself saying "I can't take this anymore" several times a day. I feel like I need to lie down and sleep for a month but there are responsibilities that require me to stay on the hamster wheel, continuing to go 180MPH.

I feel like I'm going to snap. It isn't just that I am still trying to get my disease into remission and come to grips with my new life, there are other external factors pushing me to my breaking point.  

I feel trapped and overwhelmed with my house, the bills, and the fear that if I get a lot worse I'll lose my house ... Then what?!

Then, in all this stress ... There's the complete BULLSHIT stuff!!!

People making ridiculous comments about me. People just ... Being annoying. I can't elaborate here. But it was just more stuff tossed onto the smoldering embers, more wind being blown on those embers to turn into a raging forest fire.

I can't do this. I've given 200% of myself and recently learned that someone had the nerve to say that's not enough.  I can't keep going like this but I don't have a choice. I quite literally don't. 

So this getaway is needed. I need to see the mountains on the drive, smell different air, NOT be in Sonoma County or even California. I plan on not giving work a second thought. I plan on trying NOT to think of this bastard illness.... Except when I have to lather the Purell. 

I need to let my mind untwist itself. There are knots that need serious attention. 

I know there needs to be some changes and when I come back, I pray that I will come back with the strength to commit to those changes with every thing I have to give.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Never Give Up On Your Dream

What if you have writers' block?

Ugh.  I've been doing so well.  I was flying through my writing.  I told myself I'd go back and edit, embellish and add once I finished.  I found out a regular book as 250-300 words a page so I was keeping an eye on my word count and how long it was.  I really really want to cross an item off my bucket list and get a rejection letter from a real publishing company.  Or a hundred of them, who knows? 

And now all that seems to have come to a screeching halt.  I came in today and was ready to write.  I pulled up the document and stared at the screen.  I think I wrote a paragraph.  I also started having those same thoughts that this is a stupid book and would never get published.

These are not good thoughts to have. 

The last couple days I've been in an absolutely rotten mood so, that could have something to do with it.  So, I saved what I had, closed the document and I am going to give myself a few days to breathe, clear my head of the nastiness and then maybe try it again.

Honestly though?  The writers' block isn't helping my foul mood. 

I don't want to go into it all here, but I've been trapped in a major pity party of one.  I have been actively trying to pull myself out of it. 

As mentioned before, I think I will give myself a few days to get over this.  I don't want to delete my progress.  I'm halfway there.  I'm further than I've ever been.  If I delete it, I'd be starting ALL over again. 

In my inspiration video (YouTube Video of Tom Hardy and Kenny Ross for the Prince's Trust), hunky Tom says "Never Give Up On Your Dream".  I don't plan on it Tommy Boy.  But, at the moment I'm thinking about it. 

Walk away, take a breather, re-focus and try again.  I mean, it's not like I am on a deadline at all.  The only people I've talked to about it want me to pay and they will publish whatever I send them. 

No.

I want to earn it! Even if I get turned down 1000 times.  J.K Rowling was turned down a bunch of times and look how HUGE Harry Potter was.

My book is no Harry Potter, I'm just saying she was turned down and didn't give up.

Here's to getting back on track after a break and hopefully, pulling myself out of this pity party so I can go back to getting better. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Road Block

I'm stuck in a rut. No amount of turning the steering wheel or flooring the engine seems to be getting me out of it. I'm trapped in this funk, this immense sadness and I can't escape.

When I step back and look at the big picture I'm angry with myself for having this "woe is me" moment. But, the fact remains that I am and it is currently too heavy to lift off myself.

I want to live a normal life and every day I wake hoping that this will be the day that things are normal.  Maybe I'm setting myself up for constant disappointment but, that's what happens.  I long for a day that I don't feel like shit. I long for a day when I can not be defined by what's happening to me.  I long to be just a regular person, healthy as a horse like I used to be. I want regular hopes and drama like a fun vacation or even kids. I want that. I don't want this.

I feel like the universe is conspiring against me. It knocks me down, I get up and dust myself off only to be knocked back down again. I keep getting up but I never have the chance to get out of the way of the swinging pendulum that's gonna knock me on my ass again. 

I don't know what I did to piss off the universe or why it is targeting me. Am I being prepped for something bigger? Sometimes I feel like I'm at the end of my rope. I could list million metaphors for how I feel right now.  They would all mean one thing. I don't know how much more of this I can take.

I'd be a glowing patient, a rock star person who faced this head on and with a bright smile if I actually got to be just that. But, I have to keep going at 150 mph to stay ahead of my godforsaken bills. I can't sit here and give 100% to my health when I owe so much money. This house had SO many problems to be fixed ... My health required SO many improvements on top of that. Then, there's the stupid frivolous stuff. That I take partial blame for. But, that's the small portion. Those bills stare at me, calling to me from the box where I place them til they get paid every month.  Those bills that propel me forward and require me to run at full speed whenever I can.

Except ... When I can't. When part of my body swells up and threatens to harm me, when they cut it out and tell me I have to be off work 1-3 weeks. When work says I need a note that says I can come back. That choice is taken out of my hands ... And I'm left sitting here, helpless and stressed out. 

I'm usually a happy person. I like to smile and laugh. I just don't know if I am happy anymore. No, I know I'm not. I'm angry and upset and confused. I was always taught to be a selfless and giving person. I've given 200%. For what? 

I'm trying to keep this depression from swallowing me whole. It's just that thing I mentioned earlier. I pull myself up and before I can smile again, I'm back on the ground.

Will I ever get out of this?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Tumble

I should know better than to get motivated.  I make plans, lists, draft up goals a mile long.  I plot rewards for reaching those goals.  I get excited and amped up.  I look ahead instead of behind me.  

I smile and I start the climb. 

And tumble head over feet back down to the bottom of the hill.

Awhile back, I decided that my fate was in my hands and I was going to run with it.   Lifestyle changes like clean eating and exercise were going to rule this disease, not the other way around.  I started making changes, cutting out things that are bad for me, gearing up to add better things in.    I took a vacation from work, hoping to hang at home and get some things done.  

On vacation, I got sick.  No biggie.  I'll take this week to rest and kick this cold back to the germ factory it came from.    I go back to work, I get some exercise and then I feel violently nauseous.  There's no vomit, mind you. No, that would probably have made everything better.  Right?  Isn't that usually what happens?  We feel awful and then a good session of trying to turn ourselves inside out makes the nausea go away.  I couldn't make myself sick.   I went to work, I made it through my shift and then woke up the next day for another shift feeling even worse. 

I even pulled over in the parking lot of Whole Foods to email my doctor because something wasn't right.  I got a reply that my doctor was out of the office.  It was alright. It was just nausea.  If it got any worse, I'd go in.  I headed off to work.  A short while later, I noticed I had a voicemail on my phone from my doctor's office.  The nurse stated my doc had called in and wanted me to me seen.  So I called them back and made an appointment. 

I asked my supervisor if they could cover me so I could go.  When she explained they were all going to be in a meeting, I shrugged it off and said "I'll just go in the morning.  It's not like I am going to die tonight."  But, she said that it would still be fine if I went and headed to the meeting.  

I went over to my appointment, feeling lousy but ... figuring that like all my appointments in my journey with my companion Wegener's, nothing would show.  So, when the Nurse Practitioner started feeling around my abdomen, she and I were both surprised when I lit up like the fourth of july.  She tried it again, and I about leapt off the table.  Her response was classic.  "Uh Oh.  Shit"  When I looked at her she gave me a wan smile "That's not what I wanted to find."  

She ordered a CT scan, some lab work (I needed to do my usual blood work anyway so this was all OK with me.) and explained that it could be appendicitis and it could just be a very bad flu.  Either way, I shook it off.  I wasn't in an insane amount of pain like every other appendicitis patient I knew, and I wasn't vomiting like I would associate with "bad flu".  I did my blood work, marched over to the radiology place only to march back to the pharmacy to get a wonderful iodine beverage to drink ... then it was down to the cafeteria to get something to drink my iodine cocktail in ... then back to radiology to try and choke down this whole bottle so that we could get this show on the road and I could go home and rest.  I felt awful still, and kind of crampy where she'd poked me.  

When I was curled up in a chair, drinking my Gatorade/Iodine drink, the radiologist came out and told me once I finished the drink, I'd have to wait an hour before they could take the scan.  

Grrrrreat.  So, I curled back up in my chair, played with my phone and waited.  FInallly, hey took me back, hooked me up to the contrast (yay more chemicals for my body!) and laid me on the table.  I made small talk with the guys, tried to make people laugh and just wanted to be done.  Right as I was leaving, they let me know Dan had arrived to hang out with me.  

I checked my lab results as I walked out and saw that my white blood cell count was fine. No sign of infection.  I must be fine, right?  I met up with Dan outside and told him that all was fine.  I just had to go to the evening urgent care lab to wait for my CT results and then I would be home.   Dan left and I walked in. 
I checked in and sat down and hurt a nurse in the back say my a name. 

"Was that Nicole that just checked in?

"Yes."

"Can you cancel that?"

I stood up as the nurse walked to the door and waved me over.  This was going faster than I expected.  yay! I walked over and was not prepared for what she told me. 

"You're going to the emergency room."

I'm sorry.  What?   She didn't say why, just told me to follow her and led me to a room.  As we passed another nurse, my nurse said "I need a wheelchair, she has to go to the ER.  She needs an appy."  

I watch Grey's Anatomy.  I know that's what they call an appendectomy.  So ... I guess it WAS appendicitis.  
I used their phone to call Dan who literally had JUST left and was plopped into a wheelchair.  This petite little nurse had to push my fat ass all the way to the ER from the West Building.   I felt so bad.   But, she explained that I had appendicitis, I was lucky that it hadn't ruptured yet, she had been reading my chart and they were aware of my condition, and they weren't going to wait any longer.  

I got to the ER, got checked in, got put in a room, changed into a gown, covered in a blanket and then I waited.  My stepmom and her friend arrived.  We chatted.  I explained what was going on.  

Nurses came and went, one jammed a huge tube into a vein in my hand.  The surgeon came and explained and then ... like that, I was whisked off to the pre-Op area.  I remember cracking jokes with the nurses, I remember them doing a sneak-attack with the muscle relaxer ... and then, I was being wheeled to the OR.  

My last thought, before oblivion, was just HOW many people were in that OR.  Lovely.  My lard ass would be splayed out on a table in front of them until they could cover me in those fancy surgical sheets.  

Anyway, everything went well and I was deposited in a bed in the maternity ward to recoup.  I had wonderful nurses who took excellent care of me. Monica came and visited, Dan dropped in for a few moments but then was gone.  I laid there and watched about 6 hours of news coverage because it made me feel like I was at home.   There was an unfortunate incident with my pee and the bathroom floor but that's a whole other story.  It was a pleasant experience ... if an emergency surgery story can be described as such.

I'm not cleared to work until at least Friday.  I have a doc appt on Thursday that will tell me if I can go back.  Why do I bring this up? Because I absolutely can't afford this right now.  Being off for a week, losing overtime.  I say this all the time but it's true.  I overextended myself on my house payment ... and I feel in control when I can make enough money to pay it.  With me off, and then telling Dan he needed to be home with me ... I'm stressed out.  

I felt good,  I was getting my head screwed on straight ... and then something pushed me off the mountain.  I feel like right when I am starting to find my footing, to get a good grip on things, something changes.  

First cancer, then wegener's ... now this ... 

I feel like I am being punished and I can't figure out why.  I'm a good person.  I put others before myself.  I give all of me, I don't ask for much in return.  I work my hours, I pay my bills, I pay my taxes, I donate money, I give ... so what did I do to keep being challenged? Am I meant to make some great difference because of all I've gone through?  No.  Because in the great big reality of things, these are small obstacles on the giant radar of life.  My challenges seem big because they are happening to me.  To others they are probably a piece of cake in comparison.  But ... it still bothers me.  Why can't I seem to get ahead?  What is the message I am missing here? 

So now, I am not a full person.  I've lost yet another piece of my anatomy.  When I get to the finish line, God is going to go through the checklist and I won't all be there.  I didn't lose my pieces in a blaze of glory, they just malfunctioned.  Maybe that's my lesson, I'm not taking good care of my engine, the parts are breaking down.  

So, body, listen to me a minute.  Let me get these changes made.  You can't keep breaking and putting me in the shop.  I will never get you back into tip top running order if you do this.  

But, for now, I must end this. I gave in and took a pain pill since my incisions are screaming at me and those drugs are starting to fuzz my consciousness.  

Goodnight World