Grieving Is a Process

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Do you start grieving after someone has died? Or, do you start grieving the moment you know you are going to lose them? Do you start feeling the pangs of sadness wondering what it will be like when you can’t just pick up the phone and call them? They won’t be at holidays and birthdays, dance recitals and football games. Some people live for every moment they have left and don’t think about what’s around the corner. I envy those people.

I’ve had a lot of loss in my life. My mom had cancer for the first time when I was 11. I look at my daughter who just turned 12 and only now do I see what a baby I really was. She died when I was 14, the age of my older daughter. You never get over the loss of your mother. I mean, you replace the intense pain with good memories, but there are times that it hits you like a ton of bricks and simply paralyzes you. Then there are other times where you can talk and laugh about your memories, finding comfort in them.

I lost my step-father a few years ago. In fact, he was in my life longer than my mother. They were married about 9 years but he remained in my life until I was 45. He was my rock and once again, I was devastated.  In between the two, I lost my grandmother, which felt like losing a mother all over again.

All of this brings me to now. My step-mother (my dad’s wife) has cancer. She had cancer a few years ago but it came back. It’s bad. She had a procedure a few weeks ago for a blood clot and shortly after it was like she had dementia. My dad can’t really leave her alone. They missed my daughter’s birthday. I knew it was bad. I pretended they called while she was out.

I went to the house the next day so my dad could go to his own doctor’s appointment. I’ll admit, I was really scared. I didn’t know what I’d feel like if she didn’t remember me. What if she brought up memories of when I was a teenager and we hated each other. We’ve grown to love each other so much since then. She’s been the most amazing grandmother to my kids. But none of that happened. She slept the entire time I was there.

My dad stopped by today with my daughter’s birthday gift. We talked for a bit in the driveway. He wanted to know all about my son’s golf tryouts. My dad and step-mother are big golfers, and they were the ones who got my son into golf. They take him golfing every summer to their golf club. I offered to go stay with my step-mother if my dad needed to get out because he mentioned that she turned the shower on and didn’t remember doing it. It was then that he told us their friends were coming over on Wednesday so he could go clean out their lockers at the golf club. They would not be joining this year. He told my son that his grandmother wasn’t well enough and he said, “And me, well…” and he fought back tears. Then he quickly left.

I should have done so many things. I should have grabbed my dad and hugged him. I should have said something but in that moment I didn’t know what to do. I looked at my kids who were blindsided by this news. They knew their grandmother had cancer, but I hadn’t told them about the dementia because we hoped it might be temporary after the procedure.

My dad and I are terrible communicators with each other. My dad isn’t a communicator. I think that’s probably why my mom and dad got divorced in the first place. My dad loves me more than the world, but he doesn’t always say the words. We don’t always say the words. I need to figure out what to do to help him, other than just bring food over and offer to let him get out for a few hours.

I need to help my kids and I don’t know where to begin. My son is 15 and he thinks the world of his grandmother. My parents think the world of their grandchildren, but my son goes down there and hangs out with them. They golf together. They watch basketball together. They are very close. He just kept saying, “She’s going to be okay, Mom. She’s strong. She’s going to get through this.” Only she’s not.

And so I’m grieving. I’m grieving what I’m going to lose. I’m grieving what kids are going to lose. I’m scared for my dad. I guess I’m at the age where we start taking care of our parents. My dad is fine physically and mentally. He’s in good shape for the most part, but soon I have to think of him alone. Soon I’ll have to have conversations about him living alone…maybe getting a house with an in-law apartment (he’ll hate that idea). He’ll hate the idea of a life alert thing. Luckily, I’m 1/4 mile away and I can stop by, but our relationship will change a lot. I don’t know that either one of us are ready for this. I don’t know where to start. But seeing my dad cry was awful. Knowing that he’s hurting and losing the love of his life…if we could only have more time.

 

Don’t take time for granted. I think I’d do things differently. I wonder if I tell her how much I loved her right know if she’ll really know. And I pray for my children’s sake that she can have a good visit and remember them, even if she’s not totally herself. They want to hug her and tell her they love her.

I’m a downer tonight but I needed to get this out. I’m sorry 😦

 

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Can’t We All Just Get Along?

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It’s been a long weekend. My older daughter had a dance competition both Friday and Saturday night. Today, I went grocery shopping and did some cleaning. My daughter has a friend sleeping over because tomorrow is a snow day. It seemed to be a nice evening and then all hell broke loose. We asked my son to get off the XBox so his sister and her friend could use the tv. He had been on it for a few hours and enough was enough. He stalled and was rude about it.

My husband told him to get off of it and my son went into his room, slamming the door. That didn’t sit well with my husband who went in there screaming. I’m trying to shut everyone up because we had company. It turned into my husband wanting to shut my son’s phone off for life, my son wanting to call 911 because my husband shoved him into our bedroom to talk (because he didn’t want to be yelling in the hallway). They both over-reacted. I don’t know how to fix their relationship. I actually don’t even think I can.

Was my son rude? Absolutely! Should he have a consequence? Definitely! Would I handle things the way my husband does? Probably not. We are very different people. The two of them are oil and water. My son takes everything my husband says and twists it around into my husband picking on him and hating him. It crushes my husband inside. My husband is a terrible communicator. I know he tries his best, but he doesn’t do emotion that well. My son is like me. He’s over-emotional. I wish I knew what to do. I backed my husband up because my son was definitely wrong and no matter how many times he said that he didn’t mean to slam the door, I don’t buy it.

On another note, I’m blowing my diet. I was doing really well and then yesterday at the competition I saw a photo of myself. I wanted to cry. It was like all my hard work and the fact that my clothes were feeling loose didn’t matter. All I saw was huge. Today I ate like 10 coconut clusters. I don’t even want to admit this to my health coach. I should, though. I’m a damn failure at everything. The only good news is that I ate everything between 12-8 so at least I stuck to that.

I just wanted something sweet and then I couldn’t stop. I guess that’s sugar addiction. I just need to stop sugar all together. I think that’s the only way this will work. I have to pick up the pieces and keep trying. My doctor’s appointment is a month from today and I wanted to be 140 or lower. I need to do this. I will re-group and start again tomorrow. Send prayers. I need all the help I can get. And, if anyone has any parenting suggestions, I’ll take them!

 

Weight Loss Coaching

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I don’t know what I’ve done! I’ve signed up for 6 weeks of weight loss coaching. My friend looks amazing and she said it really helped how she looks at food. I figured nothing else has worked for me so let me give it a try. Today was my first session. We talked about me having too much on my plate, figuratively and literally.

She wants me to keep a food diary for the next few days and try and cut out sugar (she said flour, too, but let’s not get crazy. A girl needs to live.) I am doing the intermittent fasting and only eating between 12-8.  She asked me to try to keep it to two meals with no snacking. Say what??? I was working on eating carrots and celery for snacking and keeping the cookies to two a day. This could be tough.

But, I need to try. So…I need stop thinking about any kind of enjoyment from food (HAHA) and just think about it as something I need to live. I’m sure that’ll work. I also started a meditation series, actually two. One on mindful eating and one on cravings. I kind of like those. They make me happy. It’s all about recognizing when you are having cravings, but not acting quickly on them. Accepting that yes, I’d love 24 cannoli right now, but that might not be the best decision.

So here I am. I’m starting a food diary tomorrow. I’m a little afraid I’ll fail at something again, but what I noticed in speaking with her was that I’m sad. She asked why I wanted to put my energy into this goal and I said that I wanted to cry when I see myself in a mirror. I mean, I’m okay when I do my hair, but when I see a photo or a full-length mirror I want to cry.

I think I might be sad in more aspects of my life than I realized. I never expected that I’d have an autoimmune disease. Heck, I never thought twice about have one. I was teaching many step and conditioning classes each week. I need to turn this around. But then I think, I’ve said this before…a lot. And it hasn’t happened. I need to make this happen. For me. I want to be happier.

Wish me luck. I’m going to have to write down birthday cake in that damn diary. My daughter’s birthday is next Tuesday and we are celebrating with my family on Sunday. One day of sugar a week is what I’m telling myself is okay. Because come on. To say that I’m never going to eat sugar again is stupid. I’ll fail at that.

 

Bloodwork Is a Mess Again

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I haven’t blogged in a while because I suck. But, mostly because I work too much. I have a super fun new job where I get to write about all sorts of things for an education company. I absolutely love it, but it doesn’t leave a lot of time for me to do other things.

I did go to my rheumatologist a week ago and had blood work. My kidney function is once again off. My doctor told me this is my norm and that it has happened a few times and then goes back to normal. I need to stay more hydrated and take as little Alleve as I can. I’ve been soooo much better with the Alleve. And, there are days where I’m freakin amazing with my water drinking. Then there are days like today where I’m pretty sure I only had one glass of water! I need one of those light up water bottles, but instead of just lighting up, I need it to flat out yell at me!

So, I have until the beginning of April to fix it. I’m also trying to drop 10-15 pounds by then. I can’t stand looking at myself anymore. I’ve been doing yoga a few times a week and I really like it. I’m just doing videos at home. With three kids in all sorts of activities, it’s what I can fit in right now, and it’s a tough workout. That’s all I care about.

So there are goals. There are cut up vegetables and protein balls in the refrigerator. I’m off to a good start. But then there is stress…did I mention we are renovating a bathroom? I may lose my mind before the end of the week and it’s absolutely freezing out so I’m going to do the math for you. Freezing temps + open walls and ceilings = my cats coming into the bedroom and dropping a dead mouse on my purse this morning. They were so proud until I screamed like a maniac and dropped all sorts of f bombs. My daughters didn’t know what was going on. HAHA! It was not the best start to a day!

With the freezing temps also comes stiff joints and RA pain. My hands have the worst of it. I’ve been doing a project for a book and I’m sending a million emails. My pointer finger just locked up last night. It was very painful. It comes with the territory of winter. It could be worse. I think it’s Michigan or Missouri that it’s like -30. I’m trying not to complain with 10 degrees. (Okay, I’m complaining, but I feel awful for anyone that’s in those frigid temps!).

The wonderful update is after 6 years of denying me, my insurance finally approved my migraine medicine. My doctor’s office appealed it (again) saying I tried three different meds and nothing worked. It took weeks, but I got 10 pills of Maxalt, the only thing that’s ever worked for me. December was hellish with migraines. I had one Christmas and was in bed the entire next day, then had another two-day migraine a few days later. All I’ve been doing is ice. I’m so happy to be able to take something again. Praying it still works as well as it did.

So that’s my update for now. I still need to lose weight. Still not feeling overly pretty. Still have RA and I’m really hoping not to have kidney issues. More soon!

 

 

When Your Friend Is an Asshole

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So I had an argument with a friend about two weeks ago. It shouldn’t have been an argument, so I was caught off-guard. You see, my friend used the word “retard” in a text. I simply said that the word is really offensive. He said it was just a word and that he had no intention of not using it. So, I said that I respectfully asked for him to not use it around me.

It was around then that he lost his mind saying I let a word have too much power over me and I’m a snowflake. I believe I’m also a few other things. I could go back and look or maybe they’ll come to me as I write. The point is, he wouldn’t let it go. He said I should respect his right to use the word.

I said, great could you just not use it to me? Is it that important of a word to you, that you need to use it to me? Apparently, it IS that important to him. He said, “I want to use that word and you are asking me to censor my feelings.”

I stopped responding which was when he started in with calling me immature for being angry over a word and that I allow a word to have power over me. When I stop acting like a child, let him know. You get the idea. I wrote back that I respect myself enough to know when to walk away from a situation and that’s the last thing I said.

So why am I writing about it now? Honestly, it bothered me a LOT that night. Not the loss of the friendship so much. This person has drifted in and out of my life at his convenience. I wish him nothing but the best. I was upset that any person felt so strongly for their “right” to use a word that’s so hurtful to others. Like they need to use it. They have some sort of point to prove and that point was worth a friendship. It’s kind of sad, yet kind of interesting. People are odd.

Listen, I know there are racist people, prejudice people, unkind people, etc. I’m not naive. But usually, these people deny the fact that they are such things. I guess what I can say is he doesn’t pretend to be something he is not. But, I definitely don’t need to be around it.

 

Parenting Dreams

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All parents have dreams for their child. Mine started when I was pregnant. We didn’t find out the gender with my first baby (my son), but when I was pregnant for the second time I knew I was having a girl. Immediately the hopes and dreams of dance recitals, braiding hair, and dress up filled my head.

While I have experienced all those things by now, I’ve also been a football mom, a baseball mom, and now a gold team mom. There’s nothing more exciting, thrilling, and sometimes heartbreaking than to see you child participate in a sport or activity. With my son the up and downs have been over play time on the field and kids being assholes. With my first daughter the ups and downs have included seeing her perform solos (something I never thought she’d ever do) and several lows when she didn’t get roles that she has wanted in Nutcracker.

My youngest daughter took a while to find her “thing.” I think she naturally did dance because her older sister did. She likes dance, but when she tried gymnastics it was clear that is where he heart was. It’s been an exciting ride.

I’m proud of all of them for different reasons. Both my girls chose to step out of their comfort zones and switch studios/gyms to further their training. My son has worked really hard to be a better player and went into his freshman football season confident in his game. Unfortunately, when you have a parent of twins as a coach, and one of the twins plays the same position as your son, we learned it just doesn’t matter how well you play. Sometimes you aren’t getting that playtime and it’s not always fair.

While this made for a difficult and emotional first season, I’m proud of my son for not giving up, even when some of his teammates were complete assholes. Since my son was beating the “twin” out in practice, that boy’s friends did whatever they could to knock my son down. Definitely a tough lesson but a good life lesson. Bosses aren’t always fair. Teachers aren’t always fair, and yes, coaches aren’t always fair.

So why am I telling you all of this? Because I don’t want to be the pushy sports mom. None of my kids have even been a huge standout in their activities. My older daughter is a beautiful dancer, but there are many beautiful dancers on her team. My youngest thinks gymnastics is life, but there are a lot of girls in her group that don’t have the fear that I sometimes see in my daughter.

It’s really hard to know what to do in these situations. With my son and football, it was everything I could do to reign in my anger and not want to punch some 14 year old. I made a decision to let him handle the issue on his own as much as possible but it was so freakin hard to have your child get in the car in tears that the whole team hates him. Did the whole team hate him? I’m sure not. But at the time he felt like he didn’t have any allies.

It’s hard for me to sit and watch my older daughter on stage for a solo. I spend the whole time praying. Praying she doesn’t fall; praying she lands her turns, etc. I thought it would get easier as the season went on, but it didn’t.

With my youngest, I think I need to pretend I’m not nervous for a meet. She took the year off competing after switching gyms and recently just started on a competitive team again two weeks ago.

I think I was always aware that there would be stress parenting tweens and teens. It’s a whole different world from the stress of having three kids under the age of 4. I realize it’s a bit ridiculous that I’m stressing out over my kids’ activities and it’s something I want to change. It’s hard. I’m emotional and I just want my kids to be happy. They don’t need to be the best, but they need to do their best. I’ve learned that I’m not calm when my kid isn’t being treated well by a coach or teacher, but I’ve also made a conscious effort to take a step back.

Parenting is freakin hard. My son is finally having some happiness with sports on the high school golf team. He’s a really good golfer and it’s nice to be recognized for his talent. I think his most exciting moment so far was when a junior asked him (a freshman) to help him with his golf game. My son was so excited to help someone else and that the kid even would ask him. It was that type of complement he’s been missing in his sports.

As the seasons are all winding down and before they start up again in September, I’m trying to remind myself that it’s not about me. I can’t fix it. I can’t change it. I can just encourage my  kids to do their best.

So how do you deal with the parents who think their child is going to the Yankees or the Giants? Smile. I’m telling myself just to smile. Perhaps they are living vicariously through their kids success. I don’t want to be that person. I want to sit an observe (and maybe pray) that all goes well.

Lord, I wish there was a rule book for this crap.

Where the Hell Is Spring?

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It’s April 16th…and it’s sleeting. Last year during spring break it was 85 degrees. We had one nice day in the 70s and now we’re back to cold, windy…and SLEET! WTF! For anyone who has rheumatoid arthritis, you know this is the worst type of weather. The damp, cold. It’s awful. My hands and feet ache, my back is stiff and even my knee hurts, which is odd for me.

I need some warmth. We aren’t going anywhere for spring break and it’s not going to be a nice week, which translates to a week of my kids telling me they are bored in the house.

We’ll figured something out to do, but let’s face it…it’s not Aruba or the Dominican Republic.

I’m almost feeling depressed today. I’m in a bit of a funk and I know the weather had something to do with it, but I’m sick of not feeling good enough in several aspects of my life. I’m sure living with an autoimmune disease plays into it. No one sets out thinking hooray, I hope to get one of those! I hate that I have to slow down sometimes. I hate that I think I’m huge. I hate that sometimes I need a nap for seemingly no reason, but my body is crashing and I don’t have a choice.

It’s tough to explain to people. I end up feeling lazy if I need to lie down. There are always a million things I could be doing, but when it’s that kind of exhaustion just hits and I’ve found if I push through, I end up making it worse.

I keep telling myself I’ll cheer up with the sun and the warmth but to be honest, I am not sure that will happen. I’m scared it won’t. My kids are at a stage of life where they are super busy and I’m constantly on the go driving them to this activity or that. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am already fearing for the day I don’t have anyone to drive around.

I guess I’ll allow the funk for a bit and then pick myself up. I don’t feel sorry for myself very often and I know I have things very good in comparison to many others. I have some days with no pain. They aren’t often, but they happen and for the most part my pain is manageable. I’m trying to count my blessings tonight as I’m watching my hands swell. This week has got to get have some bright moments. It just has to.

 

 

The Results Are In

If I’m being honest, the results were in a week ago. My surgery was on the 19th and everything went really well. Last week I got a call that everything came back benign and I can finally close that chapter.

My surgeon was amazing. I’m very glad I made the decision to use her, and I had very little pain afterward. The worst part was when they had to place a wire in directing them to the exact spot to be removed. That process was long and incredibly un-fun. Think about your boob being in a mammogram machine for 10 minutes at a time while they target the spot. It didn’t hurt, but it wasn’t fun.

I just wanted to share my news and relief. Now back to the craziness of daily life…

 

The Plan Is Set

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I have a plan. It’s a start anyway. I had an MRI and have met with two surgeons. I liked them both, but decided to go with the one that dropped the f-bombs because I like a person who is straight-forward. She is highly recommended by several friends who have used her and I just felt very comfortable with her.

So I’m letting her take out part of my boob. The bad news…well I guess the whole thing isn’t great news…but the first surgeon was putting a radioactive seed int he day before and I felt like — Okay, I have a theme song, Radioactive by the Firm. That will get me through. But now they are sticking a wire into the area the day of the surgery instead. You try coming up with a song with the word Wire in the title that doesn’t suck.

So I asked one of my dearest friends to help me with this dilemma and she thought for a moment and said, “I don’t know, maybe Sledgehammer??” Then she profusely apologized and said she was sleep deprived, but I couldn’t stop laughing and now my surgery theme song is Sledgehammer.

I feel like everyone should have a theme song for life events. At the moment I’m not scared. I’m done with the testing and the waiting for the moment. Though the biopsy came back benign, I’m prepared for all case scenarios. The surgeon does not like the way it looks, but it could be nothing. It could be atypical. It could be stage 0. All of those things require no significant treatment. It could also be stage 1 or beyond cancer and I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

Right now, the focus is on making my kids feel secure that I’m going to be fine. My son has a fear that I’m going to die because he’s 14 because my mother died when I was 14. So telling him I’m having surgery was not easy. I’ve spent a lot of time assuring them that I know it’s all going to be fine. I pray I’m doing a good job of that. I will deal with whatever is coming my way, but the less they have to worry about, the better.

So surgery is the 13th. Theme song is Sledgehammer (thanks Colleen). And I will probably not panic until the 12th. You can stay tuned for that blog soon. Right now, I’m happy to have a plan and a doctor I really like.

 

Tomorrow Will Suck

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I’m trying to be positive about the breast biopsy I need to have tomorrow. I really am. For the most part I’ve stayed off the Internet, other than to diagnose myself with Stage 0 pre-cancer, which for me, is very positive. I’m usually jumping to death very quickly.

But at the moment it’s the procedure itself that’s scaring the crap out of me. It’s called a stereotactic biopsy where they can do a mammogram guided biopsy. It sounds dreadful. Picture a padded table where you  lay face down with your boob in a hole. Then the boob is squeezed and the table is lifted. Honestly it all sounds like something from 50 Shades of Grey.

Then someone else told me that while they do numb the area, when they take the tissue, it sounds like a loud gun and scares you. Awesome!

The office called this morning and the place I was going to now cannot do the procedure. The doctor that looked at my mammogram felt like I need this special machine because the suspicious area is so small. That’s a good thing. Small is good. They changed the appointment to a different nearby hospital that apparently have this new piece of equipment.

I need to get through tomorrow and then that’s step one. I spoke to a friend today who had her first biopsy come back normal and a second one come back stage 0. She had a lumpectomy and now they just watch her closely. They did want her to go on a drug called tamoxifen. That scares me because it affects your hormones.

Every drug I’ve ever tried that impacts hormones has been hell, including the pill. I’m not on a very low dose pill, but I have horrific migraines on my week off the pill with the hormone drop. Nothing about adding a new medicine into my already full group of RA meds sounds like fun.

The good news about the appointment change is that it is now at 8:30AM vs 1pm. I have no time to stress about it before we leave. I’m not a morning person so it’s basically wake up, shower, and go.

I’m taking for positive thoughts for tomorrow. Being afraid of the unknown sucks.

 

 

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