Getting To It and Leaving It

Yesterday I worked on my kitchen.

I’ve been tearing it apart for days, preparing to repaint, ripping off wallpaper, scrubbing walls, repairing busted plaster, cleaning up old grease & fuzz (can we all say GREASE FIRE?? Geezus) off the tops of the double oven & cupboards.

And, after 10 hours of painting, cleaning blinds from the windows, moving fridge & stove repeatedly, I ended up with this.

It might not look like much difference, but it really is.  It’s now all a soft, dove gray, except right behind the sink, where I’m working today to put the back splash.

Far from finished, but I’m getting to it. There’s a lot more painting to be done. The cabinets will be getting painted as well, but the doors have to be removed, the pulls taken off & replaced. And I’m doing it alone, so it takes time.

And….. I had a phone call yesterday that – fucked me up for a while.

My mom called.

I have such trouble typing this, because I haven’t really let myself deal emotionally with it, yet. And I can’t allow it to take me over right now, either. So I have to push it down, bury it in a box deep in the back of my brain, for now… Until I can think about it without losing my shit.

My mom’s baby brother’s cancer is back.

My Uncle J’s esophageal cancer, which we all thought was in remission. has come back – with a vengeance. It has spread. To lungs, back, bone.

There’s a period at the end of that sentence.

I’m leaving that for now.

I can’t.

My head is so full of pain and rage about this… And I can’t.

I won’t.

I won’t let the pain and rage win.

I’m going back to the kitchen.

Fuck this.

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Fear, Blessings & Change

There are days when I fear.

I think about the fact that I’m soon going to be 47, and that I’m in the upper-middle portion of my life. I’ve had a hysterectomy, so, no more children, which is both a sadness and a blessing. There will be no more warm little bundles combining my DNA with someone else’s. But, then, there will also never be anymore sleepless nights of feedings, diapers & the stresses of teenage years. I’ve come to accept this, & I am not only Ok with it, I’m happy that part of my life has passed me by.

But, there are also negatives that have come with the maturation process.

I have osteoarthritis, mainly in my hands and wrists, & over the last few months, it has come to be a large focus for me.

My hands play such a vital role in my life, and I fear what this change will bring to me.

My job consists of working with computers and files. I type…all day long. The arthritis has restricted me in many ways, making my job a lot more difficult. I have trouble handling heavy files, as they put a lot of pressure on my inflamed finger joints, and the medicines I take for it don’t completely mitigate that pain. Typing all day puts stresses on my hands that I never thought would be this complex and painful, but I have learned a lot about my limits & my capabilities, including my tolerances for pain. 

And then… There’s my art.



Things like these take a LOT of hand-work. I twist wires with the help of jewelry pliers & locking wrenches, but the bulk of the work is done by MY hands. On days when the barometer fucks with my arthritis, it can go from uncomfortable, shifting to painful & excruciating.

How can I continue to do what I love, when it can cause so much pain? 

How can I express my visions, my imagination, my passion, when I can’t manipulate the medium I work through without crippling my tools – my hands?

This is my fear…

That the arthritis will steal my gift.

That it will destroy something I love…my art. 

And I will be left without it’s comfort.

Where is the blessing in this change?

…….I continue to search…..

2 Graphic

To continue my surgery story.
Again, if you don’t like reading about surgery- in detail- move along. This ain’t fer you.

When the day of my surgery arrived, my Mom drove me down to the hospital. It was a 2 hour drive, as I trust the local hospital about as far as I can throw the building.
We had to get up at the butt-crack of dawn, about 4:30, due to Mom forgetting her medication at home the night before. So we drove there first, then headed if for Bismarck from the old hometown, taking the back roads & struggling to stay awake.  It was…interesting,  exhilarating terrifying, as Mom almost put us in the ditch a couple times (sleepy driving, not a good thing), but we made it with a few minutes to spare.

Check in, pre-surgery labs, & a walk halfway across the hospital later, I was sitting in the pre-op area waiting when my doc came in to see me.  He briefly went over what they’d be doing, & left, only to be followed by the anesthetician,  who asked about the normal stuff, allergies, reactions to meds, blah, blah.

And then it was time.

Gathering my lovely designer patient gown around me, I followed the nurse into the operating room & got up on the table, scooched myself into place, & listened as the techs/nurses told me what would be happening.

Then the anesthetician told me it was time for the oxygen & put the tubes in my nose.

I laid my head down.

And woke up as they were pushing me into my hospital room.

The nurse was amused when I asked her if she wanted me to move to the bed, or if they were supposed to move me, but I surprised her when I slid myself onto the bed without any help.

It wasn’t the last time I surprised the nurses, but then in my family, the women aren’t much for being helpless or dependent. (I can hear snorting in the background as my daughters laugh at that)

Mom & Schnicklefritz  (the grandson) came and went, they brought me flowers & a little plaque the midget had picked out for me.

image

image

Both chosen by my grandson – he’s got good taste for a 4-year old!

Mom told me some of what the doc had told her, that the endometriosis was pretty advanced & wide-spread,  & that my uterus was so enlarged that they had to take it out in 2 pieces, but that there hadn’t been any major complications.

I looked down, once I was alone, to realize that I only had a small, 1-inch incision right at the base of my belly button, glued shut, and a catheter still in place.

Yeah, kinda gross & uncomfortable,  but necessary, since I couldn’t move much, & certainly couldn’t get myself to the bathroom.

Pain meds every 2 hours intravenously meant I spent quite a bit of time loopy or sleeping, so when supper rolled around, I settled for oatmeal & a chocolate shake.

And then I asked to go for a walk.

They do want you to get up & walk as soon as you feel able, but the nurses hadn’t quite expected me up so soon. But the nurse on my watch helped me up, & we shuffled slowly down the hall, further than she thought I’d go the first time around, but, I felt alright about it.

I got up & walked 3 more times throughout the night, once at 2am, since the pain meds threw my sleeping schedule  all to hell. But I was determined I was going to recover as fast as possible & get out.

The next day, it was time to prepare me for going home, & after they took out the catheter, I figured I was done. Wrong. They insisted I had to “self-cath” for a while to completely empty my bladder, or I’d end up with an infection. So, the nurse brought in the tools, & told me what to do.

She said that she’d give me 2 tries before she’d help me insert the catheter, that no one got it perfectly right away.

So, when I got it right on the first try, she asked if she could take me to the other patient rooms to show me off.

Um, no thanks.

Finally, the doctor came to see me, & told me that besides my uterus being enlarged, I’d had 13 inclusions of endometriosis (kind of a lot), & that he could understand totally why I’d been in so much pain prior to the surgery.  (Actually, he said he couldn’t believe I’d been standing upright when I got there)  They took my uterus, the fallopian tubes, & my cervix, but left the ovaries, to help hormonally. He also said that the cyst I’d had on my ovary hadn’t been the cause of my pain,  but the endometriosis that had been attached all over, especially around the pelvic region.

And then… blessedly, they let me come home.

It was a very long drive home.

2 Graphic

To continue my surgery story.
Again, if you don’t like reading about surgery- in detail- move along. This ain’t fer you.

When the day of my surgery arrived, my Mom drove me down to the hospital. It was a 2 hour drive, as I trust the local hospital about as far as I can throw the building.
We had to get up at the butt-crack of dawn, about 4:30, due to Mom forgetting her medication at home the night before. So we drove there, first, then headed if for Bismarck from the old hometown, taking the back roads & struggling to stay awake.  It was…interesting,  exhilarating terrifying, as Mom almost put us in the ditch a couple times (sleepy driving, not a good thing), but we made it with a few minutes to spare.

Check in, pre-surgery labs, & a walk halfway across the hospital later, I was sitting in the pre-op area waiting when my doc came in to see me.  He briefly went over what they’d be doing, & left, only to be followed by the anesthetician,  who asked about the normal stuff, allergies, reactions to meds, blah, blah.

And then it was time.

Gathering my lovely designer patient gown around me, I followed the nurse into the operating room & got up on the table, scooched myself into place, & listened as the techs/nurses told me what would be happening.

Then the anesthetician told me it was time for the oxygen & put the tubes in my nose.

I laid my head down.

And woke up as they were pushing me into my hospital room.

The nurse was amused when I asked her if she wanted me to move to the bed, or if they were supposed to move me, but I surprised her when I slid myself onto the bed without any help.

It wasn’t the last time I surprised the nurses, but then in my family, the women aren’t much for being helpless or dependent. (I can hear snorting in the background as my daughters laugh at that)

Mom & Schnicklefritz  (the grandson) came and went, they brought me flowers & a little plaque the midget had picked out for me.

image

image

Both chosen by my grandson – he’s got good taste for a 4-year old!

Mom told me some of what the doc had told her, that the endometriosis was pretty advanced & wide-spread,  & that my uterus was so enlarged that they had to take it out in 2 pieces, but that there hadn’t been any major complications.

I looked down, once I was alone, to realize that I only had a small, 1-inch incision right at the base of my belly button, glued shut, and a catheter still in place.

Yeah, kinda gross & uncomfortable,  but necessary, since I couldn’t move much, & certainly couldn’t get myself to the bathroom.

Pain meds every 2 hours intravenously meant I spent quite a bit of time loopy or sleeping, so when supper rolled around, I settled for oatmeal & a chocolate shake.

And then I asked to go for a walk.

They do want you to get up & walk as soon as you feel able, but the nurses hadn’t quite expected me up so soon. But the nurse on my watch helped me up, & we shuffled slowly down the hall, further than she thought I’d go the first time around, but, I felt alright about it.

I got up & walked 3 more times throughout the night, once at 2am, since the pain meds threw my sleeping schedule  all to hell. But I was determined I was going to recover as fast as possible & get out.

The next day, it was time to prepare me for going home, & after they took out the catheter, I figured I was done. Wrong. They insisted I had to “self-cath” for a while to completely empty my bladder, or I’d end up with an infection. So, the nurse brought in the tools, & told me what to do.

She said that she’d give me 2 tries before she’d help me insert the catheter, that no one got it perfectly right away.

So, when I got it right on the first try, she asked if she could take me to the other patient rooms to show me off.

Um, no thanks.

Finally, the doctor came to see me, & told me that besides my uterus being enlarged, I’d had 13 inclusions of endometriosis (kind of alot), & that he could understand totally why I’d been in so much pain prior to the surgery.  (Actually, he said he couldn’t believe I’d been standing upright when I got there)  They took my uterus, the fallopian tubes, & my cervix, but left the ovaries, to help hormonally. He also said that the cyst I’d had on my ovary hadn’t been the cause of my pain,  but the endometriosis that had been attached all over, especially around the pelvic region.

And then… blessedly, they let me come home.

It was a very long drive home.

A Handful of Days

The nightmares are getting worse. The dreams more vivid.  I know it’s because of the pain meds,  but there’s nothing I can do, other than trying to suffer through.

Either I’m in pain and lose sleep because of it…

Or I take the pain meds, have nightmares, & wake in the middle of the night because of it.

I choose the nightmares.

Clones, aliens, time travel, villains, monsters, venomous snakes, horrible family arguments. 

Yeah, I’ve seen all of these behind my eyelids, lately. Vivid, so real that I’ve woken up crying or shaking,  or yanking my feet up to my chest (that was the snakes…Fucking cobras, don’t judge ).

I have only a couple weeks to go until I get the issue solved. 

Only a few more days…

Just let me get through them.

Pain and Relief

“Have I seen you before?”
“No.”
“Hmm, you look familiar.”
“Well, you’ve seen my mom…”
“And her name?”
(I answer the question)
“Ahh, yes, I know her.  Now, I hear you’re in a lot of pain. Well, that’s understandable.  I’ve looked at your test results, and you have a significant cyst on your right ovary.  We’re going to take care of that.”

Tears of relief sprang to my eyes as I heard the doctor’s words.  The first person, well, the first doctor, anyway, to believe me, to really listen to what I was saying, and the first one to tell me that, not only is my problem more serious than any of the others stated, but he was going to make sure that it didn’t bother me anymore.

I’m still in pain for now.
But not for long.
Blessed Goddess, not for long.
Thank you, Dr. H.

Destination, Determination, Deliberation

I’ve been re-reading the Harry Potter series of books again lately.

And have a phrase stuck in my head, as I sit here, struggling through the remnants of today’s migraine. 

It’s rather like fighting through a sticky spider web, only the web has thorns that unexpectedly jab me in the head & neck…so forgive me if I ramble a bit & sometimes fall off my train of thought altogether.

I have an appointment with my regular doc on Thursday. Since the “specialist” told me that my abdominal pain is not kidney-related, I don’t have much choice but to begin the whole investigation process over.  So, it’s back to the first square on this freaking chutes & ladders game I’ve been stuck in.

image

Always, you think you’re getting somewhere, when suddenly – the ground opens up & you’re on a chute headed for the beginning again.  Milton Bradley, you’ve got some explaining to do about that deal you made with Satan…

Anyway, I’ve got this phrase in my head “Destination, determination, deliberation”… which is used in the HP books when the kids are learning about Apparition – or the means of traveling instantly from their current place, to a destination of their choosing.  They have to focus their determination – see themselves with their mind’s eye, standing in the place they want to be… and use deliberation to get them there, meaning they force the magic within themselves as wizards to move them, displacing time, space,  and probably about 12 other laws of physics.

So, you ask, how does this, in my pain-med riddled brain, equate with my doctor’s appointment?

Well, I’ve decided that I’m going to make my Dr. sit & listen to ALL that I have to say, so we can actually get to the bottom of whatever it is causing my pain. 
My destination is to be pain-free.

My determination is to not leave her office until she hears everything, & agrees that I need to have different tests run, something that will encompass the whole area that is governed by my pain, not just one small organ.

My deliberation?
Well, there my path diverges slightly from norm…

As I told my mother the other night, I’m going to make my doctor see my pain, by circling it in Sharpie.

Yup, I’m going to pull a surgeon’s own modus operandi, & mark the areas of pain.

What the hell do I care if my belly has permanent marker on it for a few days? If it’ll get the doc to really look at me, see what it is I’ve been trying to tell her?

Not like there’s anyone I’m trying to impress with unblemished white skin, lately. 

So, fuck it.

I’m making myself a walking incident report.
Let’s see her ignore that.

Deliberate enough for ya?