Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Life, 40 and Facebook...

A friend of mine recently commented on the end of social media. Here's my response:

As you well know, I was not a social creature before the social networking phenomenon. I think that FB has helped me become a bit more social without the actual in person dealings with being such. FB allows one to be social without the invasion of personal space. I am a big proponent of personal space - large, in all directions personal space. There are very few people that I want around me in person, and even then, I'm somewhat relived when I have alone time. I live on a 4 way stop and there are times that I resent the people driving through because to me, they are encroaching on my personal space. I realize that this is not the healthiest way to feel, but I'm good with it. I would be perfectly happy to live in a location that could not see another building in any direction.

In a long, round about way, I'm saying that social media is here to stay. If nothing else, it has allowed family members that are separated by distance to keep up with each other without having to deal with the family neurosis of face time. Also, I like to think I'm not the only one who FB has helped become more social without the actual need to have personal, physical interaction with other people.

On his dealing with his birthday:

I've been 40 for  quite a few months now. No bullshit - it really doesn't bother me. Of course, I'm realistic in that I don't expect to live much past 60 due to family medical histories. Does that mean that I roll over and let the next 20 just pass me by? Hell to the no! Does it mean that I'm going bungee jumping or parachuting? Again, hell to the no! ;) What it means is that I appreciate the day I'm given - troubles, stress and all. I'm trying to recognize the good more than the bad and hold on to those memories more so than the stress.

Maybe if I hadn't been sitting at the bedside of my dad who was dying, the actual birthday would have hit me harder. As it was, I spent a miserable day understanding that I was quickly losing my remaining parent and the ever-present protector of me. I was Daddy's girl and while I didn't live with him, he was my cheerleader, supporter of ideas and protector of my safety. He was the last of the soundboards that understood me like none other. I spent the anniversary of my birth watching another parent lose the battle with cancer in a hospital room.

I have to go dry my tears now. After that, I'm getting back to living my life - one day at a time.

Take care - Me

PS - HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARCUS!!! I love you and am very happy that you've made it to 40 and hope to celebrate your day of birth for many more years!! :) If it helps, just look at it as yesterday was Tuesday, today is just Wednesday, and tomorrow will be Thursday. Just like every week.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Where the good Lord split ya...

So, 2011, let's chat one last time. Let me just start by telling you that you seriously sucked! Big, fat, rotten, putrid, maggot-infested suckage. I normally go with flow, bounce back and smile about all the crap that's been dealt me. I say it's character building, faith strengthening and so on. Right now, I say fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

Bone growths sent me to an arthritis specialist - X-rays and blood tests - no known reason for the growths, nothing to be done but wait until they're large enough to really bother me, then surgery to whack them off. Good news - no cancer, not rapidly growing, no real harm done.

Brown recluse spider bite - multiple doctor trips, 8 weeks of antibiotics, 3 months not being able to wear a shoe that touched the spot, a few weeks of painful walking, major swelling, poison in my lymph system, cellulitis, major ugly spot on foot still there and probably always will be. Good thing - no major surgery needed and I now have major sympathy for someone who says they got bit by a spider.

Daddy's cancer - He went in for heart testing and upper GI scope on July 25th. He died December 1st at hospice. I was Daddy's girl. He worried about me driving even if it was just sprinkling out. He worried about me being too stressed out. He worried about my migraines, bone growths and any time I sneezed. He and I had multiple conversations about my dog, Annabelle. I had taken her to him when the kids were born. He kept her. I asked for her back... multiple times. He said she was just fine where she was and there was no sense in moving her. Good news - I suppose I can say it's good that he's no longer suffering.

Female issues - Should have had surgery in August. I postponed, which turned out to be a good thing. Who knew if a large cyst on your ovary burst, that you wouldn't need to have it removed surgically? Finally had surgery a couple of weeks ago and had a mole removed at the same time. Surgery went fine, stitches out when they were supposed to come out for the mole site. Mole site opened up during my sleep, I refuse to get more. Good news - all path reports came back noncancerous.

ER - six hours, 3 days before Christmas. Not fun to feel and think you're having a heart attack. Scared the crap out of everyone that knew about it - all 4 of us, not the kids though. Some kind of swelling around my ribcage causing pain with deep breaths. Good news - not heart attack, not pneumonia, not blood clots. Appointment with internist in my near future.

Annabelle. The straw for me this year. 14 years ago, I lived in Memphis, alone. I heard about some Great Dane/Lab mix puppies that were being mistreated. I got the call about the owner being drunk and allowing folks to get the puppies. I hauled ass in the pouring rain and thunder and picked her up. She fit inside my jacket. I even took her into Walgreens to buy her puppy food and water dish that night and no one knew. I went through a very dark time around then and she rescued me. She kept me sane and taught me that I deserved love and that I could love. I often said that she was my first child. Her health has been declining lately and the Monday after Christmas, I made the decision to let her pass on. I held her in my arms, sobbing and telling her thank you over and over. Telling her I loved her and that she should give Ganny and Papa a kiss for me when she got to heaven. Her head was on my heart and I do believe that she left this world trying to comfort me. I will not be the same after losing her. Her death shut me down. I made it home driving through sobs and tears. I went to bed as soon as I walked in. My children and husband hugged me and tried to tell me it would be alright. I told them, not this time. I did nothing for two days but sit around and cry. Good news - I have none.

These are just the items that I can recall off the top of my head, they don't even include migraines, kids, and general life. So, 2011, bite my lily white ass. I am walking, talking, and sometimes smiling again. I have no desire to initiate conversations, be social or have an upbeat outlook. Yes, I know I'll make it through this. Yes, I know it'll be OK. For right now though, I don't want your encouraging, well-meaning jokes and platitudes about positivity. I don't have the thought that 2012 will be better. I thought 2010 was pretty shitty and had the whole, it'll get better attitude. Look where that got me.

So, 2011, see ya! Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya on your way out!

Take care - Me

Saturday, November 12, 2011

39 years ago...

Hey Mom,

As you know, I'll turn 40 tomorrow. I'll spend it at Daddy's bedside wondering how much longer we'll spend on that little bench praying for mercy.

I wonder what you were doing the day before I was born. I wonder how my sister felt and what you saw through her eyes as I was getting ready to come into this world. What did you think I'd look like? What did you think I'd be when I grew up? What kind of person did you hope to see, hope for and love as I grew up? 

I think of you I miss you more than I think of you. I wish you could hold my hand and let me lay my head on your shoulder, even if just for a moment.

I wonder how you handled it when your children hurt your heart as we grew up and made mistakes. I wonder about the advice and encouragement you could tell me. I hurt for what is unsaid when I question the emptiness around me.

I know that my sister and I will make it through what we're going through with Daddy. I worry about who I'll be on the other side though. Watching you die almost broke me. Watching Daddy die slower is harder. I wonder how many angels are holding us, and giving us strength that we didn't know we had.

Finally, thank you Mom. Thank you for raising honest, sincere, thankful girls. Thank you for raising girls that feel they can make it through anything, even when we don't want to. Thank you for your love.

Your baby girl.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I want off now...

I would like to get off this ride now. Please.

So, how have all four of my readers been lately? I speak to a couple of you somewhat regular, but would like to know about my other two. :) You see, I'm very good at avoiding what all is going on in my life right now. I sat down to type my life out and I wind up asking about yours. I know everyone has something in their life that's going on. I also know that I'd rather deal with your life than mine right now.

Here goes:
Since July 30th:
1. My dad has Stage IV Colon Cancer with mets to the abdominal wall and lungs. He's also got a 3.9cm abdominal aortic aneurysm and he's late stage COPD. Surgery is not an option. He had a port implanted and one round of chemo. The port became infected (MRSA) and was removed. He's now too weak to have another port implanted and he's too weak to attempt the chemo. That chemo schedule is 48 hours long every two weeks - for the rest of his life. The original time frame given for that life without chemo was 3-6 months. That was almost 2 months ago. He's been in the hospital since July 25th when he went in for heart testing, blood transfusion and scope. Tick, tock, tick, tock...

2. I was bitten by a Brown Recluse. On July 30th, they think. I still cannot wear a shoe that touches that spot. I was in the ER three times in under 3 weeks. I spent four weeks on heavy duty antibiotics. I had it cut out once. I was miserable and angry that a small arachnid took me out of commission for so long. As a lovely side gift, I also developed cellulitis. The venom traveled through the lymph system of my right foot, ankle, leg and groin. I was not in a happy place. I am better now though and want to say a huge thank you to my nurse friend who tolerated my paranoia and frustration via emailed photos, rants about having to have my foot above my head and my general grumpiness. Thanks Lo!

3. We've started homeshooling. The kids have had strep off and on, poison oak, general illnesses and the normal back-to-school blahs. It's grand. I regularly look up the phone number for our school system and think back to my morning cup of coffee in a quiet house.

4. My thumb is hurting a bit more, and the growth on my other hand at my middle finger has enlarged a bit. I choose to believe that it's due to my restraining from flipping people off. I know that there's nothing to be done about either joint unless I want another surgery. I think I'll pass on that for now, thank you very much.

5. We thought Speedy would be moving to another city 3 hours away. We checked into apartments, logistics and were fully prepared to split our time between two cities. His current employer chose to beat the other offer, so we're staying here full time. I'm still trying to decide if I'm happy about staying here. I'll get back to you on that one.

6. My first child, a Great Dane-Lab mix, is seriously ill. They thought she had an abdominal cancer. She's got colitis. She is almost 14 years old. Yes, I'm well aware that she is really old for the type of dog she is. Yes, she is deaf and half blind. Yes, I cried like a baby when the vet told me about the cancer. Yes, I cried in relief to find out it was not. She's not out of the woods yet, but at least I didn't have to make the decision to put her down just yet.

7. I seem to have lost my shit storm umbrella. If you would, please, look around for it. I will travel to have it back. Also, I realize it only lasts for about a year or so when I do have it, but I've realized that things quickly embark in a hand-basket when I don't have it.

So, that's all I can think of for right now. I have to get back to my hair-pulling, lip-blubbering corner now. If I've missed something, feel free to leave it in the comments. I'm hoping to one day look back on this post and realize how good that day is. To see where I was, where I've been and where I've come to.

Thanks & Take care - Me.

Edited to add at 11:41am on 9/27/11: We just got word that Daddy also has focal pneumonia. Crap. That is all, carry on.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wherein I almost get put in Juvi...

In the state of Mississippi one must go to the truancy office to fill out a card stating that you are homeschooling your children in order to legally have them not enrolled in the public school system. The deadline for this is September 15th and the only thing you legally have to put on there is your child's name and address.

So, normally, I have filled my cards out before our public schools ever start back. This year I've had a wee bit going on and only just remembered yesterday evening that I've failed to do this yet. Today, I set out to get this done and made my way to the Juvenile Center where our truancy officer has their office. Yes, Juvi. As in, you must go through the metal detectors, past the armed officer to get your cards to fill out. The children decided last year that they would prefer not to go with me again as last year I fortuitously chose a court day unknowingly. It was not a pretty site or experience.

This year, I did luck out and arrived on a day & time where I was the only one in the waiting area. Until they walked in. They, being a grandmother, mother and young girl. They needed two cards and each of the older ladies proceeded to fill out their cards. At some point, the mother says to anyone listening that she cannot remember her address and she asks her daughter. I thought that it was a "teaching/learning" moment, until the daughter replies, "Mom, you know I'm not smart enough to remember that kind of stuff!" I did not engage in conversation. I am just nonsocial like that. This did not stop the younger lady from talking to me.

She asked if I belonged to the local Christian homeschooling group. I replied that no, I did not and that I'd chosen to join a group called PEAK, which is an all-inclusive group. Yes, I used that term. No, she did not know the definition. Yes, she asked. Yes, I explained that it boiled down to my group accepting all people, no matter what their religious affiliation, or lack thereof. This means that we have Episcopalians, Catholics, Baptists, Methodists and even those that chose not to believe in a higher power at all. Yes, I said all of this with a smile and used my ma'ams when called for.  - Crickets could be heard chirping. - Large, looming eyes staring at me. - Indrawn breath. - Silence.

I continue to fill out my cards and figure that would be the end of that.  Instead, she actually asked how much it was to join this group. Me - free. She asked how she could contact them. I replied that we have an online forum and a Facebook page. - Silence. Large, looming eyes again. - She then informs me that they don't believe in using those computers. (As if, you know, spawn of satan would come through a keyboard.)

At this point, I lose all sense of proper social etiquette and any desire to attempt such. I explain that I really don't feel our group is for her. She really needs to stick to the Christian group where her required statement of faith will give her some semblance of backbone. I know people in that group, some of them I consider friends and some not. I tell her she will fit in just fine there and that PEAK is not for her and her closed mindedness.

I am now done filling out my cards. I get up, walk to the bullet proof window and hand over my cards to the young lady who is laughing her so hard she can hardly speak. I apologized to her for any disruption, which she answers with, "Honey, you have made my day!"

Before I can make it out the door, I hear the mother asking where to put the curriculum that they will be using. The desk lady explains that she can just write in Abeka, Sonlight, etc. at the bottom of the form. The mother explains that they are using the exact same books as our public county schools.  - HUH? WTH? Why would you choose to use the exact same books as public schools at your house? No, I do not ask these out loud. See previous nonsocial statement.

I walked out, got in my Honda and realized that the good Lord I believe in had just clearly answered one of my prayers. I had been thinking of joining the local Christian homeschool group because they have a wider range of children whose ages are close to my kids. I truly feel the Lord told me today that this is not the group for me. In no uncertain terms. I also feel that there were those looking down at this thinking, crap! I was looking forward to the fireworks when she joined that group! ;) I am also fairly certain that my mom got called to the "office" on this one. Knit for Knot Mom, please come to the office. Knit for Knot is at it again!

Take care - Me

PS - I know that there are some things that I will be blogging about on here soon. Right now, I am not really in the mood to start talking about the cancer journey again. For those who don't know, my Dad has been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer with mets to the abdominal wall and lungs. Three years ago, we lost my mother to pancreatic cancer. I am on the same road as then basically, just a different view.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Not too wordy...

Well, I suppose that one cannot accuse me of being too prolific with words on this blog. ;) I have not been wasting anyone's time or eyesight by updating unnecessarily.

It is also very difficult for me to believe that it's been so long since I've posted anything on here. I do believe that we've entered some space-time continuum.

We're all doing quite well. As with anything in life, there's ups, downs and in-betweens. The main thing is we are still hanging in there and doing the very best we can. I'm coming more and more into the mindset that life is what you make of it. Shit happens and if you let yourself solely focus on that, then shit is what you'll get out of it. I'm trying to stay out of the shit - it stinks, is hard to clean up and leaves a lingering smell and yuck factor.

The kids are doing great. Racing has started back and already we've been to Talladega for Rokimus to race. A wicked fast, 1/4 mile, high-banked track where, in both classes, he qualified 5th and finished 2nd. He turned a 10.95 second lap in one of the races, so that'll tell you he was going pretty fast. :) My gray hair count went up significantly this weekend. Moosie will start her racing season this weekend at our local track race night.

Speedy has had some job changes as his hospital got bought out at the beginning of the year. There's always an adjustment period, but he's hanging in there and putting feelers out for jobs in other areas. With his dad being gone, we don't feel comfortable moving too far away yet, so we'll have to see how it all pans out.

Homeschooling is still happening and I'm happy to report that I'm much more laid-back about it this year. The kids are in charge of their own time management, and while it's not the perfect scenario every week, they are doing pretty good with it. For some reason, they don't like the idea of having to complete schoolwork on the weekends at the track in between races. ;)

I've had another bone growth on my other hand come up in the past month or so, and have gotten an appointment with the rheumatology center in May. The hand doc that performed my last surgery seems to think that's the direction we need to head in. Right now, it's not terribly painful or large so it's pretty much a non-issue other than finding out why in the world my bones feel the need to produce like rabbits in places that have no need of extra growth. On the other hand, (no pun intended) I'm really not concerned with osteoporosis.

Well, that's enough babble for now. Hope all four of you that read this are doing well. I know that three of you are, but for my anonymous reader that emails once in a blue moon - I really hope life's going well for you! :) Look me up on facebook if you'd like. I'm much more (sporadically) likely to update there.

Take care - Me

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom...

I miss you.

Much has gone on in the last few months. Racing season has started and I've even tried my hand at kart racing. I'm really looking forward to trying it again. I feel if I could just stop giggling while racing, I'd do much better! I also was offered a deal with a kart racing magazine for my photos. Pretty exciting stuff.

Then the bottom dropped out - again. My father in law, Grandaddy Chief, passed away suddenly a few weeks ago. He died exactly how he'd always said he wanted - fast & in his sleep. He was such an amazing man. Patience, acceptance, knowledge and understanding inhabited his very being. He was pretty much the center of my children's world and I didn't mind one bit. He would call when we were schooling at the store and see if he could pick them up. He just happen to "need" to come to town and thought he'd get them if they were done with school work. I think I always said yes. Telling our son and daughter that he'd died was the hardest, most heartbreaking thing we've ever done. I felt my son's heart break. I felt my daughter's world crumble and there was nothing I could do about it.

We are getting better, but there are moments when I just want to rage at the higher power. Why? What are we supposed to learn from this? What possible benefit could there be in taking the two most cherished grandparents from my children? I just don't get it.

So, on this, my mother's birthday, I find that I'm between anger, tears and an almost empty, hopeless feeling. There are two less people in the world that accepted me as is, did not try to change me, and loved me unconditionally.

I miss you. I miss your voice in my ear, your hand on my shoulder, your guidance for me and my children and most of all, I miss your love.

Take care - Me