The Cleanse

Not long ago I heard a lady saying she was doing a cleanse.

Hello dear reader.

It’s 2:00 in the morning and I’m doing the prep for the colonoscopy I’m having on Friday. Since the last one failed, I have to do it for two days this time. I didn’t even get a cute little prep kit this time. What’s a prep kit? Check out the post called Prep from a few weeks ago. It even has pictures! 😉

Not long ago I heard a lady saying she was doing a cleanse. That sounded like it could be nice. You feel better after cleaning yourself on the outside. It would probably feel even better after cleaning your body on the inside. So I googled how to do it. It’s not nearly as nice as it sounds.

So I’m sitting here in the middle of the night with my stomach bubbling and churning, while getting a short break between rushes to the bathroom. All I can think is why would anyone do this to themselves voluntarily? But since I have to do it, I’m going to call it something nice.

I’m doing a cleanse.

On another topic, I try hard to check out the blogs of everyone who reads mine. Most of them are so good that I follow them. But now in over my head. I’m following so many (plus trying to read the new ones) that I can’t keep up. So I wanted to take a moment to apologise. If I haven’t made it to your blog in the last few days, I will soon. I’m trying. There’s a lot of really good writing out there! That said, I also want to thank those of you who read Finding Life Through Pain. It truly means a lot to me. Thank you!

Until next time…

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Mixed bag

My goal is to focus on the positive as much as possible.

Hello dear reader,

It seems everyone is as stumped about renaming this blog as I am. I honestly didn’t expect it to be so difficult! But I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

So what’s new with me? Actually, there are a couple of things.

The one I’m most excited about is that I’m going to enter a short story writing contest. I’m taking a brief course on writing short stories that has already opened my eyes to some things I had never really thought of before. Of course, dear reader, when my entry is complete I’ll be sharing it with all of you 😏.

I’m also taking a course about WordPress called “WordPress Apprentice.” There are tons of courses out there, but I’m a technotard and end up more confused after the class than I was before I watched the videos. This is the best one I’ve found. I’ve been trying to learn more about the website part of things, and just kind of winging it in the meantime. I’m certain that’s been obvious. Now you can look forward to the site improving slowly but surely from here on out.

I interviewed a possible new caregiver. I need desperately to find one. I simply can’t keep up with even basic housework these days. (Anyone looking for a job with a really great boss?) I’ll let you know how that turns out. 🤞

So there’s the exciting stuff. It obviously doesn’t take much to excite me these days 😉.

The not so exciting stuff is that I’m stuck laying in a dark room with a massive headache again. Today’s day two. Hopefully there won’t be a day three.

And last but not least, my PC doctor had me do this thing called “Cologaurd” so I could avoid the colonoscopy that I’m about three years overdue for. They mail you a kit, you put a stool sample in it, and mail it back. Easy peasy. They look for DNA markers for cancer and /or other issues. Mine came back positive. That does not mean that I have cancer. It does mean that I have to do the colonoscopy I was hoping to avoid. The procedure itself isn’t that bad. It’s the prep that sucks! They want everything sqeeky clean (not that I blame them) so I’ll get to spend all of the night before running back and forth to the bathroom. Such fun!! 🤪 I’m scheduled to have it done on the 27th. I will, of course, let you know how that turns out.

So there you have it. My goal is to focus on the positive as much as possible. Learning new things and writing both make me feel happy and productive.

Anyone who has thoughts about short story writing, how to set up a really good website, a new name for the blog, or any other thoughts… Please feel free to share them.

Until next time…

Trying to live

So I’m not dying, but I’m not living either. I’m simply existing in a world of pain and exhaustion.

Hello dear reader.

It’s been quite a while since I posted on here. Much has happened and I’ve been trying to figure out how I feel about things before I post about them on here. Months have passed and my feelings are still all jumbled. I don’t see that changing in the near future.

So you, my friends, are going to get things the way they are…confusion and all. I’ve always been honest with you and that will never change.

Here’s a quick recap of where things stand: In February I got pneumonia, which set off a whole chain of events. I wasn’t getting better no matter how many antibiotics I took. While I was finally able to get the fever down, I was not able to get my oxygen levels up. After more pictures and blood tests, my primary care doctor found a spot on one of my lungs and was very concerned it might be cancer. Next stop was a pulmonologist. He looked at the pictures and told me it wasn’t cancer. It was COPD and I was terminal. I went through the nightmare of telling my family and friends that I was dying. That was a horrible experience. 

The pulmonologist ordered more tests to give me a better idea about how long we were looking at. Those tests had some unexpected results, so he sent me for more tests. These were on my heart because he thought I might have cardio-pulmonary edema.  After everything had been looked at, I was told that I have emphysema. I was not terminal.

This was very happy and exciting news for everyone….well, almost everyone. I had finally seen a light at the end of the tunnel. There was an end in sight to all of this pain I’ve dealt with for so long. Then the tunnel got dark again.

I knew I was supposed to be happy about my wonderful news. Everyone else was thrilled. However, nothing changed. I’m still in pain 24/7. I still have no energy at all. So I’m not dying, but I’m not living either. I’m simply existing in a world of pain and exhaustion.

I’ve been trying very hard to push through it all, to get up and get something done no matter how I feel. I have to start somewhere, right? But for every two days I’m productive I spend four in bed in too much pain to move. I sleep 20 out of 24 hours. It’s two steps forward and four steps back.

I don’t know where this is going to go. I do know that I’d like to bring you along on the journey if you’d like to come. 

Until next time…

Courage

Yes, I go to a therapist. I truly think this world would be a considerably better place to live if everyone did.

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Hello dear reader.

This message literally took my breath away when I saw it. I originally looked at it because I thought it was such a beautiful picture of a lion. Anyway, I had to read what was written there several times before I really grasped it. So go ahead, read it again. Let it truly sink in. I honestly believe that this is the best and most accurate definition of the word Courage I’ve ever seen.

It’s more than a coincidence, in my opinion, that I was discussing this very concept with my therapist just last week. Yes, I go to a therapist. I truly think this world would be a considerably better place to live if everyone did. So I wasn’t saying it nearly as well as this picture does, but I was doing my best to express this sentiment. My example was that so many people are quick to say “I’d die for my (insert children, spouse, best friend, etc. here).” That’s quite a statement of devotion. But the more difficult question, in my opinion, is Would youlive for that person? The way things are right now, dying would be much easier than living is. Every morning when my consciousness returns but before my eyes are open the pain hits me. I reach for the pain meds that are on my nightstand just for this purpose and I take one. I wait about 20 minutes and decide if I should try to get out of bed yet or if I have to take another one. In the meantime my bladder has decided that I need to be in the bathroom NOW! My full bladder begins to yell at my legs, back, neck and head to get over the pain and let’s go. My legs, back, neck and head yell back to my bladder that it needs to quit yelling at them and talk to the blood stream about getting the medications to them. You get the picture. This is the very beginning of my day. It doesn’t get much better from there. It roars during every moment that I’m awake.

Here’s the flip side. I have children and a husband and incredible friends. I love all of them more than words can say. I can’t do much to show them how much I love and appreciate them. Hell, I can’t even keep my house clean. But they are the little voice at the end of the day that drowns out the roaring. I do the only thing I can do to show how powerful my love for them is. I live.

Until next time…

Strength

I believe that if you’re looking for strong people you should look for the people who see the worst of it and love you anyway.

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Hello dear reader.
I hear a lot about what a strong person I am. You have a genetic disorder? You are so strong! You’ve had five surgeries on your head? Well you look wonderful! I don’t know how anyone deals with constant pain. You are so strong! How does that make me strong?
If I have a day or two that I get really emotional and cry at the drop of a hat, is that weakness? If I have to cancel on something I promised to do or say “No” to something I really want to do because the pain won’t let me do it, does that make me weak? What if I turn off my phone and escape into a book because if I have to talk to one more doctor about one more new thing that the Chiari has caused I will scream? Does that mean I’m weak?
Personally, I don’t think any of that has anything to do with strength or weakness. I deal with the pain and all the rest of the crap because I don’t have any choice. If you know of another option, I’d dearly love to hear it! I get emotional and cry because I don’t have a choice. I hide in a book as a survival mechanism, so I can spend some time not crying. I turn off the phone to keep from losing what little bit of sanity I have left. That’s not strength or weakness. It’s survival.
I’m no stronger and no weaker than the next person. If you found yourself in the same situation that I’m in (God forbid!) you would do whatever you had to do to get through a day. You would search for anything positive you could grab hold of. You would try your best to enjoy the good days at least 10x more than you hate the bad ones. Mostly, you would handle it in whatever way works best for you.
One last thing….I believe that if you’re looking for strong people you should look for the people who see the worst of it and love you anyway. They watch someone they love going through hell and can’t fix it. They hold your hand and let you cry and keep trying to find a way to make it better. What makes them so strong? They don’t have to go through it.
I don’t have a choice about what I have to deal with, but my husband does. He still comes home to me every day, checks on me if I’m in bed too long, helplessly watches when I’m in horrible pain, and makes me laugh EVERY day. He’s the strong one, not me. Thank you Tim.
Until next time…

State of mind

I have much to be thankful for. Sometimes I just have to look harder to see past the hard stuff.

Hello dear reader

People say that happiness is a choice. I agree with that only to a point. You can choose whether to focus on the positive things in your life rather than on the negative. That I agree with.

However, there are several reasons why someone can’t be “happy” no matter how hard they try to focus on the positive. Depression can be situational, but is often a chemical problem. When someone is suffering from depression, telling them that happiness is a choice can actually make things worse…much worse.

Depression is a deep dark hole that gets smaller and more confining every day. It robs you of energy and smothers any ray of hope and/or happiness. Guilt weighs on you because you’re depressed, which makes you feelmoredepressed.

Can you imagine feeling that way and then being told that it’s your choice? Or being told to “just cheer up?” Do you think that would help your state of mind? I can promise you that it would have the opposite effect.

So I wrote about depression yesterday. Why am I still going on about it? I don’t really know, it feels important.

Moving on…. tomorrow is my oldest daughter’s birthday. She’s almost to the end of her 20’s. I am constantly amazed at how quickly life goes by. I’m also amazed at how fortunate I feel to be her mother. I loved being “Mommy” when she was little, and I love being “Mom” now that she’s grown. Our relationship is very different now, of course. I’m no longer the person who knows everything, can see through walls AND the back of my head, and always knows when she’s having a bad day. I can no longer solve any problem from a skinned knee to a broken heart with a kiss and/or a cheesecake tart. But I can listen when she needs someone to. I can laugh and/or cry with her. I can give her tips on anything from a roast to a relationship. I can (and do) know that she may or may not follow my advice. She’s a grown woman who can think for herself and make her own decisions. I am so proud of that. I’m thrilled that she asks my advice, whether she takes it or not. In some ways it’s harder to be “Mom” than it was to be “Mommy” because I still want to protect her from the world. I still want to fix anything that hurts. But being “Mom” is wonderful too. I can be her friend now, and she’s a great friend to have. You can’t be a child’s friend and protect them. There are too many times the word “No” has to be said.

I know. I’m ranting again. But these are the things that keep depression from winning. These are the positive things that I try to focus on. I have a great life….a truly amazing husband, great friends, and some great kids (even the ones that aren’t really mine). I live in the most beautiful place there is. I have much to be thankful for. Sometimes I just have to look harder to see past the hard stuff. Sometimes the hard stuff is just too big to see past.

Until next time….

Stigma

There should be no more stigma attached to mental illness than there is to physical illness. 

Hello dear reader

Note:  There were some issues with publishing this post. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

I try very hard to keep a positive outlook on my life, and most of the time I’m fairly successful. But I have to admit that I’ve been in a really bad place recently.  It’s hard to explain, but I just gave up. I didn’t follow up on getting my teeth fixed, or doing the mammogram or colonoscopy my doctor ordered a month ago. I stopped wearing any jewelry or make-up. I didn’t care what I wore, just pulled on clothes because it’s what I had to do. I didn’t keep up with housework or laundry, just did what absolutely had to be done. Nothing mattered. I didn’t want to do anything but sleep. I felt done.

The thing is that I didn’t realize what was going on, or didn’t care. I’m not certain which. Maybe both.  But I woke up this morning and felt different. I got up, took a bath, thought about what I was going to wear and got dressed, and started cleaning the house.  Yes, I know. It was classic depression.  But what I don’t know is where it came from and where it went. 

I’ve dealt with depression for the majority of my life and have been on some kind of antidepressant or another for years. I know the signs and symptoms. I know things that help and things that make it worse.  But I cannot see it when I’m in it.
About three weeks ago I woke up at 3:30 in the morning with a high fever and having convulsions.  My husband rushed me to the hospital, where they diagnosed me with pneumonia. They gave me a prescriptions for antibiotics and home oxygen and told me to follow up with my primary care doctor, which I did. I spent the next week and a half in a LOT of pain and completely exhausted. The one good thing that came out of it was that I quit smoking. I’ve tried so many times and ways. All of a sudden I simply had no more urge to smoke!  Almost worth the pneumonia… maybe.  The point to this long story (yes, there is a point) is that there’s a possibility all of that happening had something to do with the depression coming on.  I say possibility because I believe the depression started before the pneumonia and all that went with it.

So I still don’t know where (why?) it came from or where (why?) it went. I only know that I’m very glad it’s gone and that I have a TON of catching up to do.

I think the reason it’s important to me to put all of this out there is that there is still a stigma about mental illness, which depression is a form of.  But I don’t choose to be mentally ill any more than I choose to have Chiari Malformation or chose to have pneumonia.  There should be no more stigma attached to mental illness than there is to physical illness. 

There needs to be conversation about these things. Only by talking about them can people understand what mental illness is and is not.  Communication is what will bring us out of the dark ages and the fear that goes along with ignorance.

Until next time….