Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pre Mid-Life Crisis?

So in the past 19 months with my current therapist, I've danced around a variety of topics. Most of them pertained to my father and his illness, and after December, obviously around his demise. I finally wondered aloud if my dad was the only reason I was there...and she said that, with the background info she'd pieced together, most likely there were more issues to delve into. Uh, thanks...I think. Well, I knew deep down she was right. Let's see...self-esteem, self-worth, a teensy bit obsessive/compulsive (but not the wash-your-hands-10,000-times-a-day/have-to-check-all-the-locks-at-night-kind-of-OCD), control issues, etc. etc. etc. What can I say? I'm a complex kinda gal.

Through all the gobbledygook, brilliant therapist said "Do you think that maybe you're struggling right now because you don't have a "greater goal" in mind?"


I stopped talking and just...absorbed. Could it be? Hmm. Well, after high school's swarm of activity, I entered college and of course, always had some sort of goal/assignment/hellishness to complete. Once the B.A. was done, there was the checklist with "get a real job" in bold print, right on top, followed closely by "move out of parental house". It took a little over a year to achieve that one (after hundreds of resumes and a few interviews...elementary teachers of the non-minority variety were a dime a dozen). There was also the short term outcome of "find a man better than that piece of crap that cheated on you with a snow cow" that was checked off...since I met the man who would become Molly's Dad. Then I moved in with him ($22,000/year employment by a charter school does not pay for a solo apartment, utilities, car payment, and student loans. Damn.) and we began wedding planning. Next goal? Getting through the hellish first year of teaching, after which I decided something else needed doing - it was a reeeeeeally sucky year. I took the GRE (after a prep period of 2 weeks) and applied to the speech path program at a local university - and got in for the fall semester. Okay! So then my next 4 years was filled with short term outcomes leading to the big goal of graduation. I was busy and mentally occupied...life was good. Check.

Next goal after the M.A., naturally, was get a real job. Didn't have to wait long for that; I started R.J. 2 weeks before physically graduating. So then? STO was to get to the end of the CFY (clinical fellow year) and take/pass the certification test. Check.

And then baby planning came into play. As with everything else in my fracking life, this child was ├╝ber planned and, while she wasn't conceived exactly when I would've liked for her to have a spring birthday (stop rolling your eyes. I have issues.), it worked out just fine. I changed jobs so as to have a shorter workday and work year (although I was giving up a job I otherwise loved), and we moved along. STO at that time was to not be a shitty mom and sink or swim in the world of speech path in the schools. Check.

The spring after M turned 2, husband started getting a bit tired of his micromanaging boss and decided to look for other employment options. This was before the fall of Detroit (and I'm soooo glad he got out when he did...his company was in a contract with one of the car companies that went bankrupt this year so who knows what happened with that contract?). I was super tired of living in metro D and we were clearly outgrowing our tiny tract bungalow, so when he found a job on the west side of the state (an hour away from my hometown), we decided to go for it. I found a job in a fairly short amount of time. Check.

Then my dad got sick. I knew this would be a hard journey for me, being a daddy's girl. But the next 14 months were spent basically waiting to hear results of PET scans, letting go of breaths when all looked well, and just holding on. Then the bottom fell out of my world and I've been just sort of floating here ever since. No STOs, no goals...just to stop my mind from manufacturing crazy - staving off horrific anxiety, depression, etc.

The fog has started to lift ever so slightly. I can see light at the end of the tunnel. My laugh comes a bit more easily these days. But now? Now I need to see what the next goal will be. I am not one of those women who lives and breathes solely for her family...I love them to pieces, but I cannot function that way. I (selfishly) need a goal for me. But I don't know what it is.

Any of you, whether you normally read this (crappily boring) blog or whether you just happened upon it. Any ideas for a new life goal? For a pre mid-life crisis? I wish it were just as easy as a hot pool boy to look at or some plastic surgery, but it ain't. So give me your two cents. How do you guys handle this? Do you even run off little goals like that, or am I some kind of freakish robot like human? (Wait, don't answer that part. I'm still sensitive.)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Post That Took Me Seven Months to Write...

It's been a rough 7 months. The roughest 7 months I've ever known...or ever want to know again. There were many, many days I had to really reach inside of myself to find the strength to keep going. The depression and anxiety that were probably always lurking (even though I went to therapy for the first time after being diagnosed with postpartum depression) went gangbusters in my brain.

This all may be pretty normal for someone who's lost a parent, right?

My father, since his suck-ass diagnosis, had been a trouper (or is it trooper? I've never really known.). He took chemo like a champ, and I think did WAY better than any of the doctors thought a crusty 77 year old man could do. PET scans showed that the one involved lymph node was no longer swollen. There were no metasteses to any other organs. Even the activity at the main lesion was quieted. There was only one area that was still lighting up on the scans - a spot on his sternum. As the heavy chemo meds were taking a toll on his aging kidneys, his doctors recommended a break from chemo last summer. His hair grew back (my husband was jealous), albeit now more white than the salt and pepper it was before. Other than the fact that his job was not calling him much - obviously the car industry was doing a swift tanking. The dealer did not need him to pick up any new cars or go to any auctions. This was probably the first step.

He noticed a bump beginning to form on his sternum.

This grew a little more, and the doctors did another bone scan to try and get a better idea of what it was. The radiologist thought that it was just "superficial", and since it was starting to cause some discomfort, they decided to try some radiation. His heart was doing better, so it was felt to be safe.

I don't think they really, truly explained and made sure he understood that radiation, especially to the chest, can be damn uncomfortable. I wish they had.

He began a cycle of radiation last November, traveling the 45 miles back to the cancer center and hoping winter weather would hold off a little longer. I never really knew how much he was hurting, but my mom started mentioning that he was coughing a lot, and it hurt to cough. He also started having trouble swallowing (something he'd never even had with a lesion in the esophagus) and would gag on his food at times. My dad did NOT like to be pampered and did not like people to see him get sick like that...even his wife of 57 years. He went back to the oncologist and they mentioned how painful the area was. The oncologist, knowing their medicare prescription coverage was being stretched to the limit, mentioned that Hospice would be able to supply pain meds.

That was the wrong word to mention in front of my strong willed father.

I never got the chance to tell him that the oncologist probably didn't mean HOSPICE the way it seemed...that he was, against all odds, doing pretty darn well for his age and diagnosis. I never got the chance to ask him to please hold on, for me, for my daughter, for all of us.

I'm not sure exactly how long it was after that conversation with the oncologist that my father made his decision, but I know it wasn't terribly long.

On the morning of Sunday, December 21, in a horribly awful snowstorm, while my mother was at church, my father ended his own life.

That'll bring the conversation to a halt, won't it? No wonder I don't advertise. No wonder it took me so damn long to write a post about it. I almost didn't.

It hurts me deeply to write those words. I feel like people will judge him for choosing that end. I feel like people will judge me for being the daughter of someone who would choose that end. I'm devastated. And sad. And PISSED. If you'd asked any one of my family members whether we'd ever thought that scenario possible? ANY one of us would have answered hell to the NO. I'm still in disbelief.

So now, we try to heal. It's been a long, hard road...the anxiety and depression have had a grip on me like no other while I try to beat them back. I don't want to be dependent on medication, although I know there may come a time where I will have to have it.

The winter this year was long. My family was scattered off in different places this spring. So, on July 5, we brought a second step to a close. We buried his ashes in our church Memorial Garden. In a way, I felt just a wee, teensy, microscopic bit of weight lifted off my shoulders after that.

But it has been a HARD 7 months. 7 months that included too many "celebrations" without my dad. Christmas for starters. M's 4th birthday in February. What would've been my dad's 79th birthday. Father's Day. 4th of July, when we've always had a (paternal) family reunion. Too many celebrations that I just wanted to be left out of, to cry and mourn a little more.

But I have to start living again. And realize that, even as I mourn, I can still enjoy life, and laugh. My dad loved laughing. I need to honor him that way.

*I apologize if this post sounds scattered. There were so many ways I wanted to set it up to tell the story, but I never took notes or made any damn outlines or blah blah blah. It says what it needs to say, and that's it. Period.*

Friday, June 26, 2009

Heading Out...

With a friend to drive with her back to Colorado. I'll stay out there for a week, then fly home (first class with my miles upgrade - when else am I ever going to be able to fly first class?!). See you all next week!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Huh?

Hey! I'm FOLOTD today, which is total awesomeness! Thanks for stopping by my little crapholio blog. Haven't posted anything of note in quite a while (dealing with personal stuff that you might be able to deduce whilst reading), but feel free to browse.

Thanks, Cary ; )

Monday, June 1, 2009

Monday Morning Funny...

Just sharing something that made me laugh hysterically...hope it puts a laugh in your belly as well! I don't remember this video being that strange, but I was 11, so what did I know?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj-x9ygQEGA



*I needed a laugh today; it would've been my dad's 79th birthday...*

Monday, May 25, 2009

I'm going slightly mad...

I should probably go see my therapist more often than once a month.

Anyone who has ever lost someone close to them would know that what I am going through is most likely "normal". This cycle of semi-good days followed by several crap days. Crap meaning I might get up and shower, but am not motivated to go anywhere or do anything. I feel overwhelmed to even make a grocery list, much less actually go to the grocery store. The only thing I'm able to do consistently is go to work - and that's only because I can't afford not to. I've been so pissy the last few days, snapping at both husband and daughter...probably because if I don't snap, I'll cry. My sense of humor is MIA, and I used to be one that loved to laugh - stupid humor, pratfalls, bring it on!

The stress at work has been a problem as well. This time of year is bad no matter what - having to get through a bunch of IEPs; getting new referrals and having to figure out what to do with them over the summer; report writing up the yinyang. And to top it off, I had another speech path be a complete and utter jackass to me. I was trying to do this pinhead a favor - I have given him WAY more than I have to give the other SLPs I work with (these are people that our little ones are transitioning to after they age out of the early intervention birth - 3 program) because he doesn't understand my report. Keep in mind that no one else has EVER had a problem with understanding my reports or the goals I suggest. After this kid's IEP, I actually sat down and wrote out the sounds this kid can do (which is NOT the primary concern...language is b/c the kid is not saying as much as he should) and can't do (the can't do's were all developmentally appropriate, meaning we can't really expect him to say these particular sounds yet). I got a really nasty, rude, obnoxious reply that made my blood boil. I forwarded it to my boss, who forwarded it to her boss. Now we'll see if anything comes of it. This guy is unreal. To top it off, I can't find him in the directory of nationally certified SLPs and his teaching certificate expired in 1998. So what credentials does he have? Nothing, besides being the biggest assbag on earth. That happened last week and it still makes me furious. I should not be holding onto it like I am.

And then, there's a holiday weekend. Ah, bliss! A long weekend to leisurely sit around, get things done around the house, etc.! W-R-O-N-G. To me? Well, I don't really know what my problem is, other than the fact that I think it's because my Memorial Day routine has been upset. My dad isn't around anymore to go to the (10 minute) parade with. I just plain don't have the motivation to get out and do anything big. I don't even really want to go next door to have a BBQ with the neighbors; it just means that I'd have to expend energy to be social. Anyone that knew me back in the day knew that, while maybe I didn't care for huge gatherings of people I didn't know well, I would at least jump at the chance to be around my friends. Not to mention that I almost feel like my friends are avoiding me - but maybe that's just some weird paranoia. Or maybe I really am starting to get weird.

I don't want to be this way. I HATE grieving. I hate mourning. My dad would be the first one to tell me to knock it off. It's been 5 freaking months, and I want to be done with this. But, as my therapist told me recently, while I think that, she sees it as "it's only been 5 months". It's hard to cut myself some slack. I feel isolated and damn lonely, being 2 hours away from the friends I was around for 10 years. I don't have the gumption to go out and meet new people - pretending to be "normal" when I so. don't. feel. normal.

Is it ever going to get better???

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

WW - Copping a feel


From last Tuesday, Animal Kingdom's Camp Minnie Mickey. I hope Mickey won't need counseling after this.

**I'm trying to return to the blog world...slowly. I was trying to compose a post about the December life events, but decided I'm not ready to go there just yet. Facebook has also been quite the time sucker, which any of you that also have Facebook accounts can attest to. Thanks to everyone for your care and concern...**