I’m a wreck

I want to note for the record that I’ve been on anti-anxiety meds since August 1st because of the wedding stress of having to deal with my father, brother and father’s wife. I’ve been on muscle relaxers since August 27th. The muscle relaxers are because my bulging disks in my neck have started to act up again, definitely due to stress (and possibly also due to my job). When I worked for the computer industry, my neck/shoulders would go out four times a year from all the anxiety I endured. So I know anxiety sets it off.

On Friday I called my brother and found out that ma has a hernia. She called me the next day to describe it to me; said it’s in the crease where the leg meets the pubic area. She said it only hurts if she stands for long periods of time, so her work has been affected. She said she got the hernia from coughing too hard because she got sick from a co-worker (a bug is going around, everyone I’ve talked to in Michigan has a cough right now, tis the season). I can’t remember how long she said she’d had the hernia for. Could be a couple of weeks AFAIK.

This morning ma called to say she’d been to a surgeon, who had diagnosed her with what sounded to me like a strangulated inguinal hernia, and so she has to go for emergency surgery this Thursday. I say ‘what sounded like’ because ma couldn’t tell me the actual lingo. I had to go on where the location of the hernia is, her pain level and the urgent instructions from her doctor to come up with this diagnosis. A friend helped me pin ‘inguinal’ as the type of hernia.

Mayo Clinic says that “A strangulated hernia is life-threatening and requires immediate surgery.”
Under “Risk factors”, Mayo Clinic says “A chronic cough, such as occurs from smoking, increases your risk of inguinal hernia.”

Wikipedia says, “As the hernia progresses, contents of the abdominal cavity, such as the intestines, can descend into the hernia and run the risk of being pinched within the hernia, causing an intestinal obstruction. If the blood supply of the portion of the intestine caught in the hernia is compromised, the hernia is deemed “strangulated,” and gut ischemia and gangrene can result, with potentially fatal consequences. The timing of complications is not predictable; some hernias remain static for years, others progress rapidly from the time of onset. Provided there are no serious co-existing medical problems, patients are advised to get the hernia repaired surgically at the earliest convenience after a diagnosis is made. Emergency surgery for complications such as incarceration and strangulation carry much higher risk than planned, “elective” procedures.” (boldface mine)

My ma has been a pack-a-day smoker for at least 40 years, and began smoking when she was about 12 years old. Two of my ma’s siblings have Emphysema, with one of her siblings at end stage disease, on an oxygen tank, AND STILL SMOKING. My ma calls smoking her recreation and like her siblings, laughs when people try to tell her the risks of smoking.

Ma says she will meet with the anesthesiologist before surgery to go over how the surgery will be done. She couldn’t tell me if it would be local or if she’d be knocked out. I have no idea – I ASSUME she’ll be knocked out for this.

My question is, because she is an emphysemia candidate, would she be refused gas anesthetic? Would the surgery be refused altogether?

And because she is an emphysemia candidate, and because of her family history*, and this surgery is deemed more risky anyway, how likely is it that my ma might not make it through this?

*Her own mother died of Chronic Heart Failure (CHF) due to old age, she was not a smoker. Her father died of heart failure also, but I do not have documentation as to the actual diagnosis. He was not a smoker from the time I ever knew him.

I was of the mind to fly home ASAP to be with my mother, but spent the day talking with my father, my sister-in-law, my fiancé, my chosen sister, and a bunch of friends on the Internet…trying to figure out my head.

This evening when ma woke up, I called and was able to get her to tell me her doctor’s number, so I’ll be calling her doc in the morning. I found out that my ma drove herself to the appointment with the surgeon today – my brother did not accompany her as previously thought. As a matter of fact, he may not even be able to take her to surgery on Thursday – ma is thinking of taking a cab!?!@##$%

I asked ma again all the questions I asked her this morning. She told me that she has a ‘groin hernia’ (so yes, it is an inguinal) but that the bulging area is not discoloured (so no, it’s probably not strangulated). She said her surgeon gave her a booklet and said if she has any nausea, to go to E.R. (cuz that means strangulation). I asked my ma if she was told to get emergency surgery and she said no. This differs from what I was told between Friday and this morning. So I think she’s just softening the news for me to not worry about her.

I talked with my sister-in-law, who told me they wanted ma to come stay with them after surgery, but she refused, because she doesn’t want to leave her cats unattended!
My sister-in-law also told me that she can’t stay with ma cuz she works 12-hour days at another hospital and then has two sons who HAVE to go to football practice. And my brother can’t stay with ma cuz after 4 hours in that house of hers, he damned near gets an asthma attack from all the cat dander, dust and 25 years of chain-smoke in an ill-ventilated home. Ma keeps her windows closed and the air conditioner running ‘to clean the air’ inside the house. She also has HEPA filter fans but she’s never changed the filters on that or the air conditioner. You might just picture the ‘sloth’ house from the movie Se7en and that’s similar enough to the house I grew up in.
Needless to say, ma is a bit mental. I’m a bit protective of her for this reason.

Oh, and after the whole ‘sorry can’t help’ crap from my sister-in-law, and radio silence from my brother all damned day, I get a text message this evening from my SIL telling me not to worry, that my brother and his wife will take care of ma, and that my brother will call me tomorrow.

How will they take care of her? They live nearly two hours away with their 12+ hour days and two boys who NEED to get to football practice. …

And he’ll call me TOMORROW? After not a word all day today? His job clearly takes precedence over our mother. And you know what, our mother takes this stance as well. She DEFENDED him when I bitched about not hearing from him all day today. Dad was waiting on him as well because of the whole ‘have to book plane tickets for the wedding’ – apparently my brother promised my dad he would go with ma to the surgeon’s appointment to get the official lowdown on her condition, then update our dad so he could determine whether or not to include ma on the flight out for the wedding.

While the wedding and travel plans for said wedding don’t matter to me at the moment, I can understand why dad would be pissed off. Another verbal promise broken by another fellow family member. It’s the norm in our family.

I talked with my chosen sister, who said she would be able to look in on the cats if I can convince ma to go stay with my brother after surgery. But my chosen sister also has a family crisis of her own – her husband’s grandfather is also in the hospital – he’s critical – and her relatives are likely coming to stay this weekend. It’s all such bad shit right now.

If ma does not want to leave her house, then there’s no one to take care of her in the 48 hours after surgery. My ma is a hermit – she does not have any friends to come look in on her. Not even neighbors. She doesn’t trust the house key to anyone. She never leaves her house outside of going to work at the grocery store. She works the midnight shift and sleeps during the day.

Long story short:
I’ve decided that I’m going to go to work tomorrow.

I’m going to call ma’s surgeon from work and get the lowdown.

The only thing that will prevent me from getting to work tomorrow is if girl do0m comes for me or if ma’s condition worsens.

Depending on what the surgeon tells me, and whether or not my spidey sense is still tingling, I may hop on a plane by Wednesday night. That means I run the risk of not being there til after ma gets home from surgery. But at least I’d be there for aftercare. I don’t care at this point that I will also be in great pain from the girl do0m, which, if it doesn’t arrive Wednesday, will arrive by Friday. I have my drugs and heating pads, and I’m not afraid to call for backup assistance if it comes to me having to lift my mother. Whereas ma just doesn’t let people know how bad things are for her. I still know two neighbors in the area. I may even still have their numbers and if I don’t, I’m sure ma does. Of course, I’ll be knocking on their doors to give them a heads-up anyway…

So that is the plan.

George is late but not…

It’s still easier for me to refer to my illness as ‘george’ when I am discussing the illness, hence the subject line. It’s simpler to say ‘george is late’ than to say ‘i started bleeding later than expected’. It’s more polite in a way – people don’t want to go right into a conversation hearing about blood. But hearing about a person being late to something, that’s tolerable. ;)

Tuesday, August 12: Warned the lady I sit for that I was feeling severely fatigued and achey and I didn’t know if I’d have to go home early or miss work that week. Started pre-medicating with Ibuprofen 600 as of Monday or Tuesday. One per day.

Wednesday, August 13: The lady and her husband were late to work because of me – well because of a misunderstanding. I told them I’d call IF I couldn’t make it in to work. I didn’t call, so I went to work. Still very fatigued and feeling crampy but less so than the previous day, so I went. Turns out they were just covering their asses and wanted to be sure I’d show up, so they waited on me. They didn’t appear upset with me.

Thursday, August 14: Got my energy back – took the baby on two walks that day. I started spotting around 10pm and was sure george would arrive full on by morning.

Friday, August 15: George is officially due but doesn’t arrive. But all day I was tired and had mild to moderate cramps again. I was still taking Ibuprofen but took 2 over the course of the day on Friday. I had very light spotting on and off.

Saturday, August 16: Woke up at 6am with severe low back pain. Decided to ride it out instead of getting up and eating some food just so I could ingest Ibuprofen (taking Ibu on an empty stomach causes me severe stomach pain – causes most humans stomach pain). Got up because of the pain every hour after that until 9am, when I got up for good, ate some breakfast, and took an Ibu600. More spotting and light cramping on and off. Pain ramped up a bit Saturday night, especially in the low and mid-back region. By about 9pm I took a Tylenol 3 rather than deal with the pain.

Sunday, August 17: Up again from back pain and this time uterine pain too, every hour from about 7am to 10am. Full on bleeding and cramps started by 10:30am.

So my question is, did george arrive one day early, on Thursday, or did he arrive two days late, on Sunday?

In either case, I’m happy to report that I still have a full week clearance around the wedding. If I continue to be good to my body, george will not be early in September or October, either.

I know a lot of women must fret a bit over the whole getting their period on their wedding day thing. But the general populous of women don’t outright panic over getting their period on their wedding day, because most women can just take birth control pills or the morning after pill to stave off the menstrual cycle, or they can just not even care if they get their period because it’s such a non-issue for them.

But for women with endometriosis, I’d wager a lot of us look at our looming wedding day in abject fear that it could be ruined, all because of the pain and heavy bleeding we go through.

It is because of my illness, and also because of my father and my brother, that I spend about half of the time not looking forward to my wedding day, and just want it to be over with.

The other half of the time, I promise, I really am having a blast with my man planning for our wedding. We’ve gone on several wine tasting excursions because we want to serve locally produced wine. We’re about to burst with anticipation because next weekend is a big sale on last year’s surplus Halloween stock at a local boutique, and the weekend after that are the Scottish Highland Games, where my man hopes to get the rest of his wedding ensemble put together.
We have worked together on creating our own wedding invites and reply cards. My chosen sister gave us a sinister idea for favours that we ran with like children squealing in the park. We tasted cake until we were bored with the ordeal, because nothing was appealing enough to us as the expensive cake we wanted. So we finally gave in to that. Funny thing is, the expensive cake wasn’t expensive for being a wedding cake (the dreaded ‘wedding tax’ just because it’s for a wedding) – it’s not a wedding cake at all!
It’s just that the design and shape of the cakes this particular baker does is so much work that she has to charge accordingly.
We can’t wait to show people what we chose for our wedding cake!!!!

Back to the reality I am in at the moment – bedridden from the Endometriosis pain and hopped up on Tylenol 3…
Because the pain and bleeding did not start on time last Friday, this has messed with my weekend and at the same time denied me the upcoming work week.
Had the bleeding and pain started on Friday like it was supposed to have, then I’d have been bedridden Friday, Saturday, maybe Sunday, and feeling better by Monday, then returning to work as scheduled on Tuesday.

But no.

Now, with the pain starting today, I am bedridden Sunday, Monday, likely Tuesday, and feeling better by Wednesday but not sure if I can return to work Wednesday or Thursday.

When I only work Tuesday – Thursday right now, this means I lose pay this week. This in turn gets me pissed off at the company that fired me all over again, because although a settlement was reached, they still have not PAID it out. I am still waiting for these goddamned people. They still hold the upper hand and have the last word as it were. They are still harassing me in this regard. They are still abusing and taunting me.

And I want them to combust for it.

I hope they get caught up in a hostile takeover and then parted out.

The Downtime, it begins

This is how it starts off – where previously I could do a three mile walk at a medium pace no problem, for the past two days I’m suddenly so tired I want to cry, and my walking pace has sunk to nearly a shuffle. My body is preparing for what I call Downtime. My limbs are super heavy. I get out of breath just getting up off the couch. Is it the water retention?

I’m severely distracted. I look at my chores list and have to read it five times to comprehend anything. Same thing with grocery lists.

Oh, and I’m cold. All this week I’ve been alternating between freezing cold and overheating. It could be 80°F outside and I’ll be shivering and asking for a sweatshirt and slippers. Earlier this week, it took three blankets and a heating pad to warm me up when I went to bed – and I didn’t get warm enough until all this had been applied to me for over an hour.

That’s of course when I’m not having a hot flash. YES I do get a mild case of what menopausal women do. This has been happening since I was a teenager. My hormones are whacked during girl do0m and so I’ll go from freezing to boiling and back again. Doesn’t make for a pleasant mood, let me tell you.

Yesterday I didn’t want to accomplish any of the chores I’d set for myself because as I said, I was so tired I wanted to cry. I’ve had enough sleep. My body is just demanding more sleep at this time.
Thankfully?!? I got some of my energy back after a call from my father’s wife (‘Ol Johnny Rotten sez Anger Is An Energy ya know), and so B and I went grocery shopping.

The grocery shopping is because it is imperative that I get easy-to-make foods for Downtime. When I’m in Downtime, I’m bedridden, I’m listless, I’m an emotional wreck, and I’ve no way to think about what meals I’m going to be consuming that day. It has to be such that I open the refrigerator, I see readily-prepared foods, and I grab something, shuffle to the microwave, and press the button. I cannot function further than that during Downtime, whether I’m drugged or not.

One time, I tried to make tea in the teapot.

I remember the smoke alarm going off – all the water had boiled out of the pot – did I even hear the whistle or was the heat not turned up high enough? – and the bottom of the pot had begun to disintegrate, releasing smoke.

So uh.. it’s just me and the nuker. It’s safer that way. No cooking on the stove or using the oven when in Downtime. Even the toaster oven is highly dangerous for me.

Now, regarding pain and medication…

For the past three days, I’ve been premedicating with Ibuprofen 600 (Motrin). On and off I have had low dull uterine pain, and when I came in to work yesterday, I wondered if I’d make it through the day without the pain and bleeding arriving. I made it through but when I got home, my legs were swollen. It’s that damned water retention around this time of the month. So I elevated my legs after a shower. Then as I said my father’s wife ruined my evening (my eyes still hurt). Because of that bitch, I needed 1.5mg Lorazepam to calm the hell down to be able to sleep last night.

This morning, I have slightly less fatigue (but still exhaustion overall), and now the uterine pain is back. I keep checking again to see if girl do0m has arrived. Once the do0m does arrive, I’ll be eating 1-2 Tylenol 3 pills every 3-4 hours, PLUS a Motrin every 8 hours. I will be using my rice bag heating pads.

Tomorrow is Friday. Tomorrow is the actual due date for the do0m. I will be missing out on a fun Tiki weekend, complete with zombies. Firstly cuz we can’t afford it and secondly because of the girl do0m. I’ll be down for the count from Friday to Tuesday at the latest.

After next Tuesday, I’m golden again and will be wanting to go to Gaslight Emporium on the 23rd and possibly the 24th, and to the Scottish Highland Games on the 30th. There may be some Death Guilding in there somewhere, too.

I WILL have my life back. But right now I am Persephone and I need to make a trip to the underworld. I’m down there nearly a quarter of the year all told.

Fever dream

I was very drugged on pain meds and trying to sleep, but my man came into the room to tell me that ‘Steve’ was here to see the place. I was very groggy and tried to ask who ‘Steve’ was because I just wasn’t remembering. But my man left the room. He was busy with something and didn’t want to deal with Steve, and more to the point I got that he didn’t like Steve.
I was annoyed by this so I staggered out of bed and went to greet Steve, who was this guy with short reddish hair and a short reddish beard. He was dressed pretty normal if I recall correctly. I couldn’t place how we knew him.
I showed him around the house because I was paranoid that he might take something of value if not watched closely, simply because I didn’t know him. He refused to talk the entire time I showed him around the house. He took pictures of the place. His room would be in the basement*, so I showed him that. My friend Evil was also visiting, and I realised then that Steve** and Evil were also friends, and that Evil must’ve told Steve that we were subletting our place.

As I was showing Steve back upstairs, I shot a look over my shoulder at Evil, who had accompanied me through the house. He gave his usual smirk and shrug, and was not about to explain for Steve why Steve wasn’t talking. Steve was nice and smiled graciously and all, but just wouldn’t talk or answer questions.

We got back upstairs and I noticed that Evil was sitting in a recliner chair in the living room, and that there was a woman and young toddler in the room. They were waiting for Steve. He went to them and the woman began asking questions, and he nodded or shook his head to the questions. He may have talked to her but I never heard a sound.
The family went out the door to their van parked in front of the house, and started to pile in. I began to wonder if any of them took anything of value from our house. I was very mistrustful because my man showed no trust or liking towards them.

When I turned around to face the far end of the house (the living room became the kitchen which then became another sitting room or living room), I found my Aunt M had showed up. I was surprised by this, what brings her here, I wondered? I ran to greet her and hugged her and she hugged me back and we smiled really big at each other. And then my ma walked in (there was another entrance to the house between the kitchen and the second sitting room). What a surprise! Hi Ma! I gave her a great big hug and she was all smiles for me. And she looked great! Ma was wearing what looked to be a brown leather skirt – Aunt M pulled ma to her left side and went to zip the side of ma’s skirt, because the zipper was slipping. I stepped back and realised ma’s top was brown leather, too – a two piece. And ma was all skinny with firm taut younger skin and looked great as I said.

Next thing I knew, Aunt J was right there behind my ma, so I went to give her a hug but she was all standoffish as usual. She thrust out a card and some flowers but I managed a quick hug for her anyway. ;)
She’s one of those people who hates but wants the affection. She’s like a cat that way. It always makes her uncomfortable but she appreciates it when people try for her.

Then my Uncle E came into the room from the same direction everyone else was popping in from. He’s a tall man like grampa was. I gave a polite smile up at him but I wasn’t too thrilled about him being there. And then who was to emerge from behind him, completely concealed until Uncle E stepped aside, was gramma***!!!!!

It was at this point that it finally dawned on me – everyone was showing up for the wedding. The thoughts ran through my head…the wedding is still a week away****. People are much earlier than they said they’d be! I wasn’t ready to receive people, yet! But since they’re here, I’ll just have to make do.

Gramma was still pretty short but her hair was big and permed like it was in the early 90’s. She smiled big for me and held out her arms. Someone held out a drink to toast the family all being here but Uncle E told us to “wait, let’s all get a drink so we can all toast”. I rolled my eyes and gramma snapped, “We just came from the sandwich shop and so you still have to work off allll THAT jazz!”
I grinned ear to ear, and gramma smiled back at me, and we gave each other a big long warm hug. Gramma congratulated me on my wedding.

Next, my brother, my dad and his wife showed up. I hugged both my ma and my dad’s wife simultaneously cuz they were standing near each other. They had their back to the living room, and when I squeezed them a hug, I looked over their shoulders to see Evil and some of my Michigan friends sitting in the living room. Evil was still in the recliner chair, and everyone else was clustered around where that Steve guy and his family recently had been.

I was just so happy that everyone was here all at once, and yet a bit panicked because I knew that the wedding was going to happen Real Soon Now!

George woke me because he was threatening to leak all over and stain the bed. I was very groggy. When I came back from the bathroom to crawl into bed, I realised I could not get the dream back. I grabbed my phone and went to call my mom, but my mind was still on gramma, and I punched in ‘g’ on the phone pad. It was only then that all the emotions spilled forth. I left my ma a very teary voicemail letting her know that her ma had come to visit me.

I miss my gramma so much. It wasn’t a sad dream. I’m still very happy. I’m still blessed with her visit and congrats and hug. But I know, emotions are strange things. I am crying anyway.


* The house in my dream was a cross between what Evil’s house looks like and my friend Blau’s house looks like. It’s nothing like what the house I actually live in looks like. And only Evil’s house has a basement.

** I still don’t know ‘Steve’ in real life.

*** Gramma passed away in 2003.

**** The wedding is actually three months away.

Very tired from a long weekend

Overall, I had a nice weekend!

Friday in particular was great, because I got a lot of good news that day.

I was told that the company that fired me will settle for the last dollar figure I threw at them, PLUS they will revamp their disability training, PLUS they will remove the ‘fired’ status from my record and call it a ‘voluntary quit’, PLUS they will give a good review for me if employers call for reference check.
HOLY CRAP THOSE THINGS ARE THE VERY LAST THINGS I EVER EXPECTED TO COME OUT OF THAT COMPANY. This excites me to no end to know that they will restructure how they treat disabled people.
I can’t help but wonder if fellow coworkers finally found the bravery to step forward and also complained about how they were being treated.

On Friday, I was able to get a wagon and a boombox on loaner from a friend to use on the AIDS Walk, which I participate in every year.
Also on Friday, I went and did what I threatened to do – go looking for a wheelchair. I posted on freecycle.org looking for a wheelchair – someone actually had one right here on the island! I went and picked it up – it fits in the trunk of my car! I nearly cried, I was so relieved at having found a wheelchair, that it was free, that it was local, and that it fits in my trunk. I had no idea the amount of stress that would be lifted from me in just knowing I have a wheelchair handy in case I’m too debilitated at any event now or in the future. It’s not admitting defeat to my illness – it’s being prepared. *big happy sigh* I just didn’t know what a weight that would lift. I’m so happy.

We spent all of Saturday running around town, preparing for the AIDS Walk and a friend’s birthday party. And then we stopped in at the local German restaurant to see a friend who was celebrating her graduation from massage school. It was a coincidental delight to also see my other friend’s friend playing there that night – his band is called the Frisky Frolics.

We got home with sore feet last night and wondered if we’d be up for the AIDS Walk, after having such a long exhaustive Saturday running all over town. Our feet already hurt from that alone.

But we did it – we got up bright and early this morning and packed up my car with the wagon and a portable ipod speaker system that we got (we decided that would work better than the old boombox, and we can use the ipod thingy for the wedding, too), and we drove off to San Francisco for the AIDS Walk.

We met up with our friends – there were only six of us this year but we still got recognition from some of the other walkers who see us there every year, and we got compliments on our team shirts as usual. :)

I have blisters on my pinky toes after completing the 10km walk, but otherwise my feet and other toes survived just fine, as did my calves. All that walking the baby around town for my job has really paid off!

I had mild cramps on and off today – mostly when I *wasn’t* walking, but taking a rest. George showed up when I got home and went to a friend’s birthday BBQ party. I have been premedicating with Motrin so when the cramps did finally hit this evening, it’s been mild overall.

Oh! One last thing! This weekend I went to two different places where alcohol was present, and I did NOT take a full drink. I had nothing to drink last night, and today I only had a couple sips of peoples’ homemade vodkas, just to see what each tasted like. Never even came near catching a buzz. Even in the highly charged social situation where I ran into two unexpected people who at one time hurt me (one much worse than the other), I was not driven to drink. I am very proud of myself for this.

Now if I can just get through the wedding and dealing with family without needing to get drunk. Shit, THEY’LL be drunk, they’re promising it. They’ve said it’s not a wedding if people (themselves) aren’t trashed. Emotional cycles with certain people take longer to change than with others.

feeling better

Both my man and I slept through the night. He slept for a total of 13 hours he says. I slept for about 11 hours.

Today we both feel better. Still tired, but the nausea is gone. I’m still bleedy and crampy but continuing to take the medication on regular rotation. I’ve only slipped up once so far, cuz I forgot to wake up in the middle of the night and take more meds. I woke up at ten to six in the morning and was in a lot of pain. I’m so glad to be back on the Tylenol 3 because it kicks in so much faster. I also remembered to eat something with the medication cuz I didn’t wanna chance stomach ache again.
While I’ve not been pain free on this cycle, and while I’ve still been bedridden, the being bedridden is mostly due to fatigue because of george and the meds, not the debilitating pain (except for that little bout I had around 6-7am this morning due to forgetting to take meds).

I can’t decide if I’m just going to sit on the couch all day or if I’m going to take up my Ma’s suggestion (we talked by phone yesterday) and ‘get a hobby’ so I don’t think about the pain. I told Ma that I do have a hobby of organising all my photos into albums, but that for some time now I’ve not had the money for more albums, so piles of stuff have been sitting around. It was then that the idea came to me – just scan all the damned photos and memorabilia and put it on web-based photo albums for now, until I get the photo albums I want. That way, I’m still DOING something instead of just being on the Internet in chat rooms and on LiveJournal and on this journal all the time.
I could also start really WRITING my life story, or other novels…again. I start, stop, start, stop.

And I can also continue working on my astrology business. That’s pretty important, but while I’m in pain and on pain meds, much more difficult to focus on.

Oh, something else I need to mention – once again with the forgetting.

I panicked yesterday because I have no memory of phoning my father on Christmas Day. I called his cell and left a message but he didn’t call back. So last night I called his wife’s cell. She laughed, said she doesn’t remember, either, and then declared my forgetfulness to be the onset of menopause. I told her I’m only 36 years old, and NO, it’s not onset of menopause because I still have a very regularly-spaced period. I told her I hadn’t really talked about it openly with friends and family until this year but I have a HUGE problem with my memory ever since The Car Accident in ’94.
She remained convinced that it’s onset of menopause, so I let her have her view of reality and then talked with my dad. He assured me that I did in fact call him on Christmas Day.

However, I had neglected to tell him about Uncle B. So I broke the news. Dad and and my Ma’s sister used to be buddies, and my aunt still has fond memories of my dad, so I told him he should give them a call. He said he would.

Anyway, the forgetting still pisses me off. I truly panicked – I truly had no recollection at all of having phoned my dad on Christmas Day. My dad’s wife doesn’t help matters by saying the obvious, “it’s not going to get any better, you know”.

YES. I KNOW. THANK YOU. This is why I often wonder if I’ll have early onset dementia.

Blah. Anyway.
Right now, someone is outside clipping trees or flowers or something outside and it sounds like nail clippers, a sound I hate.
And it doesn’t help that I have a headache from having drunk only a little bit of tomato juice. Guess I’m still allergic to tomatoes after all these years. I get this lovely headache every time I have tomato soup, too.

*deep breath*

*exhale*

Ok.

My man is home all day today. It’s Saturday afternoon. Life is good, honest.

Status on my uncle, and Endo history to share

I just spent the past hour talking with my aunt and uncle. They got the Budwig books, yay! Uncle B says Aunt B has been really reading through them since they got the books yesterday.
He says he’s keeping a positive attitude, and he sounds like he’s always sounded. His laugh is still hearty, too.
I told them about my friend’s sister-in-law, and how she beat the doctor’s death sentence by five years. Uncle B really liked to hear that, and said he’ll read the budwig books too.
The only bad thing though – Aunt B says their doctors have told them to AVOID fresh fruits and vegetables, because of all the contamination scares in the last couple years!!!
Aunt B says she’s afraid of not washing a fruit or vegetable thoroughly enough, and having Uncle B get even more sick from that.
*headdesk*

Kinda defeats the whole idea of the Budwig diet, I said. But she replied, “Well it’s something to think about.”

I know she’s saying it out of fear of losing him sooner. There’s no way to convince her that she will wash the vegetables thoroughly enough – the doctors know all, of course. And come on, this is Michigan. Even I grew up on canned goods. Fruits and Vegetables have always been wilted, half rotting and small in that state. Confirmed when I went back for a visit in 2004 – nothing’s changed. Unless it’s an apple – Michigan is known for its apples – the produce is crap. But you know, there ARE farmer’s markets there. Lots of people go to them. And again, you CAN be trusted to thoroughly wash the fruits and vegetables, honest.

Bah. Anyway….

I admitted I didn’t know what to say or how to act because our family and our culture is not equipped to talk about cancer for some reason. Aunt B told me it’s totally ok, she understands, and thanked me for my sincerity.

Here’s the timeline of Uncle B’s illness:
October, 2007: Began having stomach pains, so he’d run out to the store to get some Advil or other pain medication. The pain would go away, then crop up again in a different location a day or so later. This went on intermittently for about a month.

November, 2007: Went to the doctor when the pain wouldn’t go away. Was prescribed antibiotics and vicodin. Had a cat scan. Went back two weeks later for the results – they couldn’t find anything wrong so gave him more antibiotics and vicodin, and sent him for a colonoscopy and other tests.

December, 2007: Before finishing his second round of antibiotics, aunt B had to take him to the hospital because the pain was so bad. He had a second cat scan, and something showed up, so they kept him for observation.
While in the hospital (around December 13 – 15), he was given dilaudid but it didn’t work, so they put him on morphine, and then gave him his own button for it. Eventually they would give him a break from morphine and instead give him more dilaudid and vicodin.
They performed a biopsy of his stomach, and put him on an epidural for that. Uncle B really liked that a lot, hehe.
Uncle B wasn’t allowed to stay on epidural so they gave him a fentanyl patch, along with methadone and continued dilaudid.

When the test results came back after the biopsy, it was stage IV stomach cancer of an unknown primary, with six weeks to live.

Aunt B went through all the ‘what if’ stuff, and even got mad at Uncle B for not having gone to the hospital sooner. They were both totally sideways emotionally, trying to grapple with the news. Definitely normal and expected.
They talked with the doctors and the doctors told both Uncle B and Aunt B that they did in fact do all they could in a timely fashion, given the symptoms, and that there was nothing else they could have done. So that has set Uncle B’s and Aunt B’s minds at ease, at least that’s what they say to me and the family.

Uncle B got out of the hospital on Dec. 15 and has been home. Three of their four sons live in-state and have come home to be with their dad. I’m not sure if the fourth son has come home or is on his way.

So I’m feeling good because they’re feeling good. I told them to come visit California and start their world tour to live life like there’s no tomorrow. They liked hearing that and said they’ll see what they can do. ;)

I’m sad but not devastated. I know Uncle B is in a lot of pain – he and Aunt B have told me so. But they sound so upbeat, so why should I be mourning – he’s having a good day today and that’s all that matters – the here and now – from moment to moment. And so I will be happy in this moment. It’s all good.

Regarding the Endometriosis, Aunt B says oh yeah, she definitely had that since she was a teenager. She went through all the symptoms (heavy bleeding, massive pain) and what happened to her (doubling over in pain, puking from the pain, actually passing out from the pain, sitting cross-legged and rocking and crying from the pain, praying for death, etc…), and I said “yep!” and we shared horror stories. We also cracked jokes about my Ma (her sister) being so callous to the pain we were in. I told Aunt B that my Ma once said, “I used to laugh at my sisters cuz I couldn’t believe they’d be in such pain, until you started having it”. But still, my Ma would tell me to shut up and take another Midol pill, and that it was part of being a woman, so she never even understood what I went through, either.
Aunt B understands and says “your mom was a bitch back then!” LOL
She was though! She had no clue. Aunt B told me that my Ma once told her about childbirth – she said “oh I had some lower back pain and I went to the hospital and I was in labour and I had the baby, no big deal.”
Aunt B says she called my Ma several names, hehehe

Though Aunt B says for her pain, she got on The Pill and that lessened the pain, and then later when she started having kids, the pain was reduced further. Aunt B says that from time to time, she would get really bad pain again but not consistently every month and to the degree that she did before getting on The Pill and then later having children.
I told her about her other sister J and J’s daughter, about her other sister M, and about her Ma – how they’d all told me in 2002 that they too suffered from really bad monthly pain. I wish there was a simple blood test that could confirm an Endometriosis gene, so I could map it out and rule out whether it runs in the females of families or what.
But for now, my gut says yes, they all did have Endometriosis. For most of them, childbearing helped. For gramma, it didn’t. It’s different for every woman.
But this info is good to know.

I won’t be passing this disease on to a new generation if I can help it.

factors

I’m a 35 year old caucasian female, born to an Appalachian woman and a Polish/Scots/Canadian man.

I was raised in and around Detroit, Michigan within sight/walking distance of factories, auto plants and chemical processing plants.

I grew up in a family where most, if not all of the adults smoked heavily. My mother was a pack-a-day user inside the house. My father was probably half that but tried to keep it outside of his house (my parents divorced when I was four).

I grew up in poverty, so we ate a lot of cheap red meat, government cheese, and refined sugars and breads.

I got my period for the first time when I was fourteen. My ma never prepared me for what to expect, but thankfully my friends and my schooling did, otherwise it might have been a scene right out of Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’. It was bad enough that my ma is Christian Fundamentalist and that the kids in school made fun of me and called me ‘Carrie’ anyway because of my long straight red hair.

The pain associated with my period began within the first year. I used to vomit from the pain and had to miss school because of it.

I asked my ma if she ever had that kind of pain. She said no, but her three sisters and her ma did. My ma told me she used to make fun of her sisters because she didn’t understand what they went through and thought they were faking it. …She never knew that there could be a real problem occurring until I started having the same symptoms.

I began drinking alcohol when I was sixteen. My ma kept Johnny Walker Red in her dresser drawer and I’d swipe a sip every now and then. My friend introduced me to cheap vodka and orange juice and we drank screwdrivers whenever we could get ahold of some.

When I turned nineteen, my friends and I began to go to Canada to get drunk every weekend. I developed a fondness for rum and coke. Rum is made from sugar. Coke is made from corn syrup. Sticky sweet toxicity.

When I was twenty-five in 1996, I saw a gynecologist about the severe monthly pain. He told me I hit every symptom in the book for Endometriosis, and told me I should have a laparoscopy to get an official diagnosis. At the time, I was too afraid of surgery, so I put it off for awhile. When I did decide I was ready, I was told I could get the procedure done in Spring of 1997.

That’s when my boyfriend at the time got hired to work in California, and asked me to go with him. I’d have six weeks downtime I was told post-op. That ran into the packing and moving, so I again rescheduled.

Due to having shitty jobs that provided shitty HMO health coverage in California, it took ten more years before I’d finally get the surgery to diagnose me.

In that time, I’ve been a social alcoholic since about my late sophomore year in college, ironically after I was accused of being alcoholic by the doctor who treated me for pancreatitis in 1993. Self-fulfilling prophecy and all that. I still love rum best and drink it straight or mixed in fresh fruity stuff a la tiki bar.

I became “ovo-lacto-pesco vegetarian” in 1999 but continued to eat sweets. The pain never stopped. I found out I have gluten intolerance in 2006 so I went back to eating meat to give myself more food options.

In 2002, I interviewed my maternal grandmother and two of my aunts about their painful periods. I was given very similar stories to what I go through. Grandma used to be bedridden for a week at a time!! My grandma had nine kids and the pain never let up. She unfortunately couldn’t recall what menopause was like. My aunts had anywhere from two to four kids and their pain never went away, either. They had trouble with menopause but told me they thought it was normal, so I don’t know for sure. They’re Appalachian – they don’t like to give too much personal detail about stuff like that.

This is my background environment – all of the above contributes to my illness. Even though it’s largely hereditary in my case, other factors exacerbated over time and continue to do so.

Where do I go from here? Will I ever see relief?

I fluctuate between accepting my fate, being bitter at my ma for not knowing better and continuing the genetic line, and being diligent at trying to find a workaround to the pain.

george status

So george was due Tuesday and never showed up as far as bleeding goes. But he had me bedridden most of Wednesday, and cramping at work on Thursday and Friday.
Friday also started the ass pain.

With the hormone therapy, I had one month free of george and ass pain and all those nasties related to that bastard, but at what cost? I nearly ended my life. I won’t try a different hormone again, just to go through the gradual brain changes that I don’t even know are ganging up, which make me want to kill myself.
No. Twice in my life is two times too many on the damned hormones.

So I wait for george to show up. I hold my breath that the pain I’ve had so far is the extent of pain I’ll endure, and that the surgery really helped me. But truth be told, my gut tells me that once the bleeding starts, it’ll be the same hell as it ever was.

I know I do not have any other choice in life, so I would rather have that hell than be suicidal.
Here is where I get all with the reincarnation again:
This is what I signed up for. I did this to myself. I can blame my mom for bringing me into this world with her shitty Appalachian genes, but it’s not her fault. I chose her to be my mom because I had shit to learn. And boy howdy am I still learning it.

Why do we continue on once we have an inkling of what we’ve done? When we’ve realised that we’ve come here to learn a lesson – when we finally Awaken?
Well, not all of us do continue on. Some of us say we’re not up to it, that we can’t handle it AGAIN, that it wasn’t quite the mission we signed up for.
I’ve done that route and pressed the reset button in so many lives that I’ve developed a strong stubborn streak to just get through it because it has GOT to be better than last time. It has GOT to propell me to something better. This is how I got through high school. This is how I got through college. This is how I got through living with my mom and brother, living in the “unibomber shack” as I call it:

The house I grew up in.

And I credit my dad for this strength. I chose him for that reason.

Before I leave this incarnation, I will have learned how to get past the bad karma I create, instead of just creating more, saying ‘BAH!’ and pressing the reset button when I can’t handle the pressure anymore. I will take this into the next incarnation. I can do this. And having the pain I have is part of this lesson.

Now, all that psycho hippie woo woo shit(™ Justin) aside, I often wonder if the mindset I have created on this whole reincarnation thing stems from my fundamentalist upbringing.

People who are raised in cults (and christian fundamentalism IS a cult) often end up being susceptible to other cultish mindsets throughout life, even after they’ve escaped.
So I wonder if after being raised with the idea that menstruation is punishment because of Eve’s curiosity – because she took the forbidden apple and was punished by G*d to bleed monthly forever more… I wonder if I have developed the idea that I’m here in this incarnation to endure the pain of endometriosis is an extension of my fundamentalist upbringing. Enduring == punishment == karma and all that.

People raised in cults often need strict rules and structure to replace what they had, once they’ve escaped said cult, otherwise they feel lost, helpless and vulnerable. I am no exception. Therefore, I have wondered if finding Tibetan Buddhist principles appealing in the mid 1990’s, along with Wicca (laugh all you want, but I fired Wicca by 1999), is just a natural next step in recovering from the upbringing I had, and perhaps there IS no next life, and the idea of reincarnation is just as silly as all of Christianity’s ideas.

And if it is, then why am I still here, dealing with job after shitty job, financial instability since birth, and 21 years of wrenching menstrual pain? Why not just say ‘Aww SCREW IT’ and press the reset button?

Because I’m too attached to people, places and things.

And well if I’m going to become a good little Buddhist, I’m going to eventually have to learn how to not be attached, and yet enjoy just being.

This is the part where you think of ME and BUDDHISM in the same sentence, and the next thought through your head should be of Edina from Absolutely Fabulous.

ME? A Buddhist, sweetie darling? Chanting as we speak? I’m every bit as hypocritical as Edina. Every bit.

I guess the first step is Knowing.

And knowing is half the battle. :p

Annnnnnyway….. back to george. Yesterday I had a sudden hypoglycemic attack. I realised that last month while on the hormones, I didn’t have such attacks. So I know for sure that what I read in one of my endometriosis books is true – that the hormone-rich uterus can screw up one’s endocrine system and cause hypoglycemia around the time of menses. It’s proven now for me. I’m going to have to learn to like all the hippie foods recommended in the endometriosis books.
On that note, the lady who lives in the unit directly behind ours is a practicing health coach, now. I’m scheduled to meet with her next week for a free health consultation and get dietary tips. I will once again be trying to manage my pain through diet. I can do this.
I will also be joining the gym my man attends, and I am going to find a yoga class to sign up with. I can do this.

I can do this because I can’t go on just waiting for the pain to hit and overmedicating with dangerous prescription meds. I’ve wrecked my body enough over the years with medication.

Don’t get me wrong, now. Underneath all this ‘can do’ attitude, I’m still screaming at the world, “IT’S NOT FAIR!!!!”

But merely screaming and pounding fists never really gets one anywhere, does it?

Finally Friday

George began to fade last night, giving me hope that I was getting better. I enjoyed the company of some friends at their house just around the block, and felt thankful that I have friends living so close. I REALLY need to stop being such a hermit and take full advantage of the fortune of friends living within walking, as well as short cycling distance on the island.

I was sad to feel that george returned this morning. Today is therefore day 5 of george. I know that when he fades and comes back, that he’s about to kill me. So I’m not looking forward to today.

My dad called to check on me last night when I got home from work. I told him how I’d gone in to work and made the best of the situation. He then wanted to know my mental state. I was honest. “I feel like shit, dad. This was a hard week for me. I’ve been in a lot of pain.” He softened a bit, and was happy for me when I told him that I found out the company I work for has an anti-discrimination policy in place for people with medical conditions.

You’d think I was a teenager the way I go on about my dad and how hard he pushes me. Is it healthy that I still feel that young? Is it healthy that he still treats me like I’m that young? I know I’ll be a basket case and I’ll need a very reliable life coach when my father finally leaves his mortal shell, cuz he’s IT – he’s the guy who coached me through living in poverty hell with my mom, through college, through my jobs, through my financial crises.