Thursday, November 13, 2014

In Search of the Elusive Happiness

I'm not happy. 

There, I said it.  Right now, I'm not happy.  There are a number of contributors to my unhappiness.  First and foremost, I have a chronic disease.  I've been a relatively healthy person throughout my life so this distresses me. But, it's time I start to just accept it for what it is, take my medications as prescribed, crack down on the healthy lifestyle and realize that I am different than everyone else.  

There are some other big ticket items that are weighing heavily on me and making my sunshine and rainbows hide away from me.  In fact, I've spent the better part of last night and all day today weighing the pros/cons of dealing with these things.  Yes, I am being vague because it's something I won't talk about in such a public way.  Let's just say it is something that is "optional" and ... I'm starting to think there is no room in my life for it.  

I'm not happy when I do it.  I had this idea in my head that it would be a certain way and ... it's definitely not that way.  I tried to adjust my expectations  and still ... the discontent continued.  The results of my participation in this was also not pleasing.  This didn't help with the feelings of not wanting to do it.  Toss in a few comments, some strange practices and ... I think I have finally reached my breaking point and need to make a decision on whether I continue to have this in my life or ... if I decide to go in a different direction for awhile.

A clear indicator of this decision came when I was told I would be next participating.  I got the words and felt sick.  I didn't want to do it anymore.  It was the strangest thing. So now, its left me thinking about it non stop.  To me, the cons are definitely starting to outweigh the pros. 

Is there anything about this that I enjoy?  I don't know.  This isn't going to be something I decide quickly. It's not something that I will come to love ... because I would think in the last couple of years I would have fallen in love with it.  Wouldn't I?  How long do you give something before you realize that it isn't for you?   I have people saying I should stick with it but ... it isn't making me happy.  It's actually making me unhappy. 

And for that?  I shouldn't do it anymore. 

Life is way to short to be anything but happy.  I know this better than most people.  I feel like I am constantly walking around with an expiration date.  We all have one but I feel like mine is approaching faster than most.  It isn't about being aware that I could die.  We ALL die.  But, do you know what it's like to feel like ... it's behind you all the time.  I feel like it's my shadow.  Wherever I go ... there it is to remind me.  I feel a little off ... it reminds me.  I go to the doctor for even the most mundane reason ... it reminds me. 

Right now, I am miserable health-wise.  I want to crawl into bed right now and sleep for a week.  I am THAT tired ALL THE TIME.  It takes a lot of effort to do anything.  It SUCKS!  On Mondays, I take medicine that makes it worse.  Not to mention this last injection didn't go well and I felt 1000x worse than normal.  It was awful.  It seems to have subsided but ... Monday will come around again and I'll have to do another injection and ... start this whole process over again.   Welcome to my world.  But hey, I am still above ground, I am able to work a bazillion hours a week, and ... I can still smile even though I want to cry 95% of the time right now. 

I just want to be happy again. 

But, can I make the right decision?  Why do I feel like this isn't an easy decision? On one hand, I'd be over the moon and happy again.  On the other?  I feel like I'll regret it? Does that make any sense?  Oh, why does this have to be so hard?

Partly, it isn't.  I mean, I want to give up something.  I do ... SO badly.  But, my conscience is screaming at me that I can't.  For one, I'm not a "quitter".  Well, not entirely so.  I don't want to just "quit".  But, I am so very unhappy. 

I wish there was some sign telling me what I should do.  But, this isn't a movie so ... it's not like some little fairy is going to come into my life and guide me where I need to go.  Nope.  This is reality.  I'm on my own with this. 

Still wish there was a sign.

Somewhere out there is the right decision ... and I hope that I can find it.  I just want to be happy.  it's not that hard.  It's not like I am asking for a million dollars, but, I wouldn't turn that down if it was offered!!!!

Happiness ... please come back.  I really need you. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fall down, get back up.

Anyone who knows me is aware that I am the WORST critic of my actions.  In my eyes, I can do no right.  It may not be a good thing, it's just how I have always been and how I strive to do better.  But then, there are times where I ignore that nagging voice in my head.  Yep, I completely and totally ignore it.  For instance, I just shoved a brownie in my face.  Yes, a brownie.  Is a brownie good for me?  Hell no!  It's not "good" for anyone. But, I am supposed to eliminate things to keep me from getting sicker. 

But, I don't want to! ARGH! I just posted last night that I was going to crack down on my shitty eating and do better ... today.  Am I doing better today?  Nope.  Remember the brownie I mentioned?  I'm also headed to Chipotle for lunch.  (facepalm)  I didn't bring lunch with me.  That was my fault.  I also didn't want to be stomping around in the house prepping crap while the rest of the house slept.  I made a note to myself that tonight I would prep my entire meal for the next day and come to work tomorrow prepared with ONLY clean/healthy/life saving foods.

I am completely chastising myself in my head.  Oh the names I am calling myself.  You'd be blushing.  It's what I do.  It's how I correct myself.  For once? I am not stopping this internal berating.  It will help me.  You  may think it harsh and uncalled for but ... I know me and what I need to get my rear in gear.  

It's too easy to just fall down and stay down and say "whatever, I don't care" but ... it has negative consequences.  Weight gain and ... inflammation and all the other crap that comes along with these things.  So, I must get back up, dust myself off and try again.

I tried to do a re-write on my latest book today too and that's not working.  I think I am in a negative headspace.  I was super motivated to dive in and then ... I was hating everything about it.  Which, is not the same feelings I had when I finished it.  I love the characters and I want to get back in there and fix them up ... but I am not in a good way.  I don't know why.  For the most part, I think I am in a good mood but the slightest thing is setting me off today.   Oh well, must pull it together.

I'll attempt the re-write again tomorrow.

I'll start back on my healthy living lifestyle tomorrow.

Wow, tomorrow has a lot to live up to. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Happy Face

See that up there?  Isn't it cute? I've been a huge fan of the bright yellow smiley face for a very long time.  It makes me smile. How can you not smile when you look at it?  It's cheery, and it's adorable, and it's smiling!  Are you smiling yet?

Why did I post this ode to the yellow face?  Well, I need to remember to keep that on my own face at all times.  I started back on my nasty gross chemo medications today, as well as starting prednisone yesterday and I find myself feeling very grumpy and punchy.   I feel like crap.  Like, horrible crap, people would normally call in sick for this crap.  Alas, I will have to do this every Monday and I can't just not be at work every single Monday.  No, I can't really change the day that I do it because I work a lot, and ... if I did it on my days off, then I wouldn't enjoy my days off either.  It's a no win situation. It's easy to remember to do it on Mondays so ... Mondays it is. It doesn't make any of it any easier.

I shouldn't complain. I really shouldn't.  There are far worse things that can be happening right now. I have a good doctor who is helping me get through this and stopping this monster before any further damage can be done.  I was the one unaware that what I was feeling was Boris wreaking havoc again.  I chalked it up to a poor diet, not enough sleep, and a plethora of germs in my periphery.  I work in a petri dish, it could only be germs, right? 

Wrong.

I'm not like everyone else.  I am not normal.  I am not invincible like I used to be.  But, that doesn't mean that I have to be upset about it all the time.  It is what it is, and it isn't going to change.  I was having dinner with the husband the other night, and I was staring at my glass of Pinot Noir, sipping it slowly and savoring every last drop since I will not be having any alcohol for the next two years.  Thinking of that made me angry.  I asked him "What did I do so wrong in life?"  And he stared at me like I was crazy.  He was right to look at me like that.   I was being crazy.

I can't chalk all of this up to be some sort of punishment for something I did in another life, because truly things have been sort of bumpy all along.   Life happens to everyone.  Whether it be cancer, or bad relationships, deaths in the family, whatever it is that comes along and stresses us out, it's not for any purpose other than life.  Perhaps, it's a lesson we can actually learn from.  Each time we weather a storm, we are better prepared for when stormy weather returns again.  I am better prepared going into this medication journey.  I knew I would feel crappy within an hour after the injection.  I went grocery shopping and chopped up avocados for future smoothies because of the impending injection.  I planned ahead because I knew what was coming.   

There's no reason for me to be pouty or upset.  This is my life, and ... even though some people truly hate this phrase, "It is what it is".  What I have is incurable so ... I better get used to this because it's never going to go away.  If I let it bother me, I'll never be happy again. 

Can I say with certainty that I'll never be upset about this again?  No.  I am sure I will have moments where I will once again wonder what I did that was SO wrong that I have to go through this.  Especially when I feel like I am a super good person.  I help people to the detriment of my own health.  I try to be kind, I speak friendly to people as much as I can.  I do have my moments of venting.  I work hard to pay my bills, they are never late, I would put food on the table if I had my kitchen back together but I don't at the moment. 

I am a good person.  Unfortunately, bad things happen to good people.  Perhaps, it's nature or God telling me, without a doubt, I am a good person.  He feels I am strong enough to weather this storm.  He thinks I can get through it.  There must be some purpose for all of this. 

So, I will do all that I can to stay on the positive side of my realities.  I will remember that bright shiny smiley face when I want to be mean, and cranky, and throw temper tantrums about how unfair life can be.  I will recall that face and remind myself to smile.  Life is unfair.  Getting mad about it isn't going to do anything. 

Nothing is too great to get past, nothing is too bad that I have to treat everyone around me badly or hate life in general.  I've been given a LOT of reasons to think that life is something to be hated.  But ... it isn't.  The sooner everyone realizes that, the world will be a happier place.

Hot Button Issue: Death with Dignity

I try not to address those big "hot button" topics that stir up opinions and emotions among readers.  It's not what I have this blog for, and honestly, it bothers me that people can be so rude just because someone has a different opinion than they do.  This is the United States of America.  Freedom of speech is one of our rights as citizens.

Anyway, I wanted to touch on something that has been all over the news lately as it sort of relates to me.  Not in the exact sense but, there is the hovering death monster on my horizon. 

You may or may not have heard of Brittany Maynard. Brittany was a 29 year old woman diagnosed with Stage 4 Glioblastoma.  She was given 6 months to live.  Her condition was not something that could be reversed by chemo or surgeries.  This was it.  She could have done chemo and given herself a few more months but, honestly, after seeing so many people go through chemo only to die ... I would think that the suffering isn't worth it. 

Brittany had chosen her date of death, and planned her life around that date.  As it approached, she was feeling well enough to not want to do it that date.  So she didn't, but then her health must have deteriorated rapidly because the next day she went ahead with it.  Brittany had moved to Oregon because she could have the option of ending her suffering.  She knew she would die anyway and chose to not go out in the most agonizing way.  I think it is admirable.

It got me thinking.  I watched my dad suffer for the last six months of his life because he chose to do chemo to prolong his life even if only for a short while.  I mean, he had an 8 year old son.  He had told his doctor that he didn't want to suffocate at the end so ... they had a plan that when he was headed down that path, he would be put in a coma so he wouldn't know what happened.  And, that's what they did.  It's sort of the same thing, I guess.  I mean, my father had a DNR but didn't actively initiate his death.

Would I do it?  I can't say.  I've had so many nightmares since my own weird diagnosis (how do you pluralize diagnosis?!)about my death and how I am not ready.  I'm not.  No way, no how.  I haven't done anything that makes me feel like I have had a full life, like I lived a good life.   Ms. Maynard ... she LIVED!  She has so many experiences and memories that most people in the world would love to have.  You can't look at her life and wish more for her.  Well, you can but ... you know what I mean.  And still, even with all of that ... I still don't know how I could actually take the pills to end my life.

Could I look around at the people with me and be like "Peace Out." even if I was headed that way anyway?  I just don't know.

I have massive amounts of respect for Brittany Maynard.  She's awesome, and strong, and I applaud her choice to take her life into her own hands and leave this world while she was still somewhat coherent enough to say proper goodbyes and do anything she needed.  It takes an insane amount of strength to be able to do what she did. 

I think this is a choice that everyone who has a terminal illness should have.  There comes a point in the process where being alive is unbearable.  Being pumped full of drugs to keep people comfortable usually only makes them loopy and out-of-it.   There's a massive amount of suffering that people can go through as the end of their life draws near.  I don't want that for anyone.  I wouldn't want it for myself.  But, I fear I wouldn't be brave or strong enough to make that decision for myself.  However, I think it is a decision I should be allowed. 

My heart goes out to her family as they face this new chapter of their lives without her.  Even knowing this day was coming would not have made their suffering any less  A death is a death.  This person is gone from your life and no one ... no one deals with that easily.  I hope that they can find some peace in their life, and continue to live the lives that she would want them to have.  Their Brittany gave the world something to hope for, and brought awareness to a situation that everyone should look at. 

If someone is truly terminal, and will die, ... and is actively dying, they should have the right to say when they are done.  They should be able to want to have their goodbyes be something they remember, to participate in.  Doesn't everyone say they wish they could have said all these things to someone before they die?  I know I did.  I still do.  I have hours of conversation I wish I could have been brave enough to have with my parents before they died.  Knowing that day was upon me ... I would have been able to actually do it.  Instead, I believed in my whole heart that if I didn't say goodbye to my father, he wouldn't leave me.  I was wrong.  He had no choice. 

Dying with Dignity is helpful to the entire family.  At least, that is my belief.  You may disagree and that is your right, remember?  But, let us also remember that our lives are our lives.  If we choose to use the Dying with Dignity plan, than so be it.  If you choose not to?  That's OK too.  Isn't America wonderful?

I don't have to face that choice right now, and I may never have to.  With Wegener's ... I figure my death will be a complete sneak attack.  You may not ever have to make that choice either. 

Wouldn't it be great though ... if you could?