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Category Archives: dreams

Silent

I have been silent. Sad and silent.

In my head, I have written about five blogs. I compose them, I edit them, I reconsider what I want to say, I think about it some more…and then I don’t actually write them. They might still happen, but they might not.

I have been dealing with more pain recently, which hasn’t improved my daily outlook. My husband had been dealing with work issues. My brother is just starting a (contentious) divorce. My father has been to and from some of his doctors to make sure he doesn’t have any kind of advancing dementia (which he does not, thankfully).

I am the (supposed) steady in the family. Despite my issues, my family still comes to me for support, reassurance, an ear…etc. No matter how I’m feeling, I still seem to be the one they all gravitate toward. Even my few (and far away) friends seem to feel that way.

I feel sad, ya’ll.

I’ve been dreaming about my mom. I had a long dream about her, then I thought I woke up (and I really believe I was awake) and I had a vision of my mom standing next to my bed looking down at me. It was so vivid and so real I could have reached out to touch her. But it was extremely upsetting for me because she was looking sickly, with her post-chemo peach-fuzzy kind of hair, and she said to me, “I’m tired and aching…”

I emailed T that very morning and although she helped me make sense of the dream, the vision still bothers me. I don’t know why she came to me that way, in that manner, and with that particular message. It’s been over a week and I still can’t get past it.

I still hope to write the blogs that need to be written. I want to think that what I’m dealing with is only grief, but I feel like I’m having some mild depression. I don’t want to do much of anything. I do what needs to be done. I fake what that world expects to see. But in the end, I just feel sad.

I know I feel overwhelmed, and so some of that might be the cause for feeling kind of shut down. Hub has been sick, on top of everything else, and my pain has been escalating. So that all makes for harder days and nights, especially since the pain interrupts my ability to get as much sleep as I normally do–which isn’t even that much.

For no reason, some pictures I took one evening last week.

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The men-all-pause

I was really concerned about my surgical menopause, after having my ovaries removed in the second surgery. Everyone talks about hot flashes and night sweats (which are apparently hot flashes but at night) and moodiness. Among other things, of course, but those are top issues that women report. I wasn’t sure how soon I’d be feeling the effects of the surgical menopause, as anecdotal reports varied, depending on the individual. I figured mine would be slightly delayed, because of my weight–fat around your waist especially is full of estrogen, and that would likely keep me from falling into the surgical menopause immediately. But even women who are overweight often have menopause symptoms immediately after surgery, so you just never know.

I had one hot flash (so far), I think. I’m not sure if it was because I was getting a fever from an infection, but it felt like what I’ve heard a hot flash feels like. But beyond that, I haven’t had hot flashes, per se. I just…get hot. And then I get cold. And then I got hot again. Especially at night, I go through this cycle of having the ceiling fan on and an oscillating tower fan right next to the bed, and I start with my sheet and comforter on top of me. Then I get hot, so I throw off the comforter, then I throw off the sheet. Then I get cold, so I pull the sheet over me, but that’s not enough because the oscillating fan is blowing RIGHT ON ME, so I have to pull the comforter over me to get rid of the chills. But then I got hot, so I get rid of the comforter, but I’m too hot for the sheet, so I throw that off again. Then I’m cold, because FAN BLOWING ON ME, so I yank the sheet over me again, and then the comforter. And then I repeat this cycle. At some point, I know I fall asleep, though I don’t think there’s been a pattern of whether I have the sheet and/or comforter on or off me. I just know that repeatedly through the night I wake up and go through the cycle of hot cold hot cold sheet comforter sheet comforter hot cold hot cold. And no matter how many times I wake up and go through the cycle, it keeps me awake for about an hour as I cycle through the hot cold sheet comforter routine. I don’t really SWEAT like a lot of women talk about (sweating through their night clothing and/or sheets), my internal thermostat is just messed up. But really, I don’t sweat too much anymore unless it’s really humid out and I’m working my ass off at something, then it’s like face sweat and, well, boob sweat, but not all over sweat. So maybe I just don’t sweat enough to have night sweats. Either way, this hot cold cycle is annoying and unfortunately affects my sleep, but it’s manageable. Because I don’t sleep well most of the time anyway, so this is nothing new.

I thought for a while I was having dry mouth from the SM, but that went away about a week after my last round of antibiotics (from the incision infection). I am having some headaches, which could be the SM or it could be allergies. I’m pretty new to these spring and summer allergies, so I’m still trying to figure out what is an allergy symptom and what isn’t. My hair isn’t falling out, yet, and I’ve had no moodiness. None, zip, zero, nada, zilch. I thought that would be a big thing for me, because I do trend to moodiness, but nope. No crying jags, no anger, no swing from happy to sad. I’ve been pretty okay–moderate–and I keep wondering when it’s going to hit me. More than the hot flashes, even, I thought it was going to be moodiness. I warned Hub, and apologized before I even went into surgery. My fingernails, though, are bad. I’ve always had issues with my fingernails, but over the last ten years or so, they’ve been pretty good. They would grow fast, and if I kept them trimmed to a certain length, they weren’t too prone to breaking. And they grew at a pretty good pace. Now they’re breaking all over the place, and not growing back very quickly.

What is most distressing for me at this point is the fact that I’m losing words. Or not being able to find the words I want. Hub has found himself jumping in to try to finish sentences for me when I stop to try to find the words I want. The words that might be just out of reach, or totally out of reach. I find myself pausing a lot, searching for words when I speak, searching for words when I’m writing something (an email, a blog post…doesn’t seem to matter). I feel like something is wrong with me. I mentioned it to Hub who suggested it might be the hormone shifts, and I think I read that somewhere, but I’m not 100% certain. Whatever it is, and I hope it’s SM, it’s scary and frustrating and distressing. I’ve always been someone who thinks thoroughly before I speak, but I’ve never had this much loss for words.

I have had much more muscle pain, which can also be a SM symptom. I saw the massage therapist last week and she beat the hell out of me. I was actually hurting for three or four days before it started to recede. But again, I do have myofascial pain syndrome, which is a muscle disorder, so it could be that I’m in a flare because of all the hormonal changes (and the physical stresses I’ve been under because of the surgeries and because of the care I’ve had to give to Butthead after HER surgery). It’s so hard to tell what is SM and what might be something else.

I’m having lots of dreams and nightmares…much more than before. Prior, the dreams would generally happen in the morning, after Hub got up but before I would get out of bed. Now they’re happening all night, and when I wake up and go back to sleep, I fall back into the dream/nightmare again. They’re vivid and uncomfortable dreams, and they generally leave me feel unhappy and distressed.

Oh, and the hormonal acne shit is driving me a bit batty. I thought with the lack of hormones, the monthly acne would go away. Nope, instead it has gotten worse. It’s all along my jawline, my chin, along the sides of my nose and nostrils, and around my mouth. Prior to the surgery, I would have one or two pimples per month, but now I’ll have several at a time. It’s frustrating because I don’t know what to do for it. Before I would wait it out because, well, hormones. Now, if I don’t really have hormones, when will the damn things go away? Bleh.

It’s still possible for other symptoms to crop up at any point. I have my fingers crossed that nothing gets worse and everything gets better, but I’ll do my best to cope no matter what comes.

 

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Pre-op appointment completed

I had my pre-op appointment this afternoon. I spent more time with the nurse getting the EKG setup than I did with the doctor. I don’t love my primary but I don’t hate her. Today, unfortunately, she seemed really uninterested in my being her patient. She asked me one set of question twice because she “couldn’t remember if she had asked them already” and she’d be in the room less than five minutes. What the hell? But on the up-side, they were on time taking me back to the exam room, the majority of my wait-time was minimal, and I was done less than 20 minutes later–five of which were taken up by checking out and doing a survey of how my appointment went on an iPad. Also, good news, despite my white coat syndrome, my blood pressure wasn’t terrible. And no nurse chased me down the hall to tell me she was really worried for me and here was a flyer on a low salt diet (true story, this actually happened the last time I was at the primary’s office when I saw the nurse practitioner to see if I was dealing with allergies or a sinus infection…my bp was slightly elevated which I KNEW was because of WCS but the nurse chased me down the hall after my appointment yelling WAIT WAIT! and told me she was so worried for me and handed me the papers). I mean, good on her for caring, but my BP is pretty normal at home and I know (and tell them all) about my WCS so they don’t freak out and try to put me on BP meds.

After my appointment at the doctor’s, I had to drive to the lab to get my blood drawn (stupid insurance won’t let me do it in the doctor’s office but rather I have to go to an independent lab to do it). It actually went REALLY quickly where normally I have to wait an hour or so to get in. I was in and out in less than half an hour, with the longest part (almost) being walking to and from the parking lot to get to the lab. I was glad it was all over and now I have to hope that the blood work gets completed in time to get to the hospital an entire 24 hours before my surgery. This was the soonest the primary could fit me in and I couldn’t get the blood work done without seeing the primary and getting the order put in. Bleh. Not much I can do, but it still stinks.

I mowed the lawn again yesterday. It was actually a really nice day again, with just a little sun, a nice breeze, and cool temperatures. I was proud that I got the lawn done again, but last night when I was ready to go to sleep, I realized that my neck was really hurting. It gave me trouble all night (along with the dogs who woke us with furious crying and barking at 2:30am) and has plagued me today. It’s a muscle pull where you can’t turn your head in one direction? It’s very uncomfortable and I hope it goes away quickly. Not only is it giving me more trouble sleeping (like I don’t have enough issue with that), but it’s bothering me even when I’m just sitting.

My sleep still sucks. I feel like I’m up every hour or so. I’ve gone to sleep late the last two nights in the hopes that I could fall asleep more quickly at night and sleep later in the morning. It’s not a good habit to be in because I can easily get into the habit of staying up late and NOT being able to sleep in the morning. I’ve been yawning all afternoon. I am going to go back to my regular schedule, even though my pattern isn’t working too well in the mornings. Plus, my PVCs are bothering me at night, which keeps me from falling asleep in a short amount of time. That means every time I was up, I have trouble getting comfortable and getting back to sleep. I’m also having weird dreams and nightmares…still. What’s up with that?

That’s it for now. I gotta go put my heating pad on my neck.

 

 

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Here we are

Mom had her 8th radiation treatment today. It was the second time she was scheduled to see her doctor after the treatment, so I went with my parents to sit in on the appointment. Luckily, Mom hasn’t been experiencing any side effects yet. She’s taking an anti-nausea pill every day just in case, and so far it seems to be working. Unfortunately, I think it’s affecting her taste buds (she had the same problem with the anti-nausea pills during chemo), but if that’s the worst… They did say that the fatigue and other side effects might not start until three weeks into treatment, but we’ll see. I did think it was interesting that Mom told the doctor that today she was 1/3 of the way through treatment. But if that’s how it works for her, that’s fine. Mom says she’s still taking her gratitude prompts to her appointments every day, so that’s good, too.

I’m just about eight days out from my surgery. I have been trying to find lounge-dresses to wear after surgery so that I don’t have to wear pants that might aggravate any incisions I might have. I went all over on Monday and found nothing. I was so disappointed. I do have a whole list of what I want, so I guess I was really narrowing down my options. But mostly the two places I went had nothing long. I really want an ankle-length item to cover my legs in case I have company. Plus, if I’m going to be sitting in my recliner in my family room, I want to have my legs covered or Butthead will try to lick my legsĀ all the time. And YUCK. Today Mom and I went out to a discount store to see if they had anything. I was surprised at how much clothing they had in my size, but everything was polyester, and I really don’t like the way polyester doesn’t breathe. In the end, though, I bought something that felt like jersey but was polyester (for a whopping $8) and another that was the rayon/spandex mix that I was really looking for (which was $20). Mom was so happy to be able to help me go out and find something. She’s still upset that I’m not really wanting her to be at the hospital with me, but I need to know she’s taking care of herself and that she and my dad will be taking care of our dogs. I am both hopeful and worried that I’ll be home the same day, so it won’t be a long, drawn-out stay in the hospital where people will need to come and go to visit me. Mom was in the hospital for four or five days, so we came and went a lot. Like I said before, my doctor said if I go in early enough in the morning, I might be able to go home the same night.

So the deal is, I’m nervous. But I’m not panicking and I’m not anxious. I feel like I feel like a normal person who would be nervous before surgery. I’m keeping my information-gathering to a minimum. I haven’t started packing (or thinking about what to pack) or putting things aside to take. I haven’t looked at the pre-surgery prep (bowel-prep) information. I’m trying to take all this one day at a time. I got my lounge wear, I’ll go the library this weekend to get a bunch of books. I have yarn. I can watch movies on our on-demand. I have good pillows and blankets and I’ll be sure to have lots of water to drink and pretzels to snack on. We’ll go to the grocery store this weekend and make sure we have enough easy-to-prepare foods. I already have a bench seat in my shower, so if I need to sit to shower, I’m okay.

I’m okay. I hope my health anxiety doesn’t spiral during recovery, but I can’t do anything about it now. I’ll have to work on that as it comes. I do, however, have to stop taking my digestive enzymes and probiotics before surgery (starting tomorrow), so I’ll get to see if I really need to stay on that stuff to keep heartburn away or if I am able to manage without it.

My PVCs are plaguing me tonight. What’s up with that? They haven’t been too bad recently. Some issues trying to fall asleep, a few here and there. But tonight…more often. I could do without that annoyance. Ferreals. Also, my sleep has been really crappy recently. Dreams, nightmares, etc. I’ve also been waking up earlier and earlier. That’s really frustrating for me since I’m going to sleep at the same time every night. I really need some sleep. But hey, after surgery they say I’ll be napping a lot. Maybe I’ll make up for the lost sleep? Until then, I’m just tired.

Tomorrow I’m planning to mow the lawn. The weather is supposed to be 70s and breezy. My kind of lawn-mowin’ day. Mowin’ zen, here I come!

 

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Missing in(action)

I didn’t really realize how long it had been since I posted. I know a lot of stuff has (and hasn’t) happened, but I was genuinely shocked to note that it’s been a month since I last blogged.

Update on my mom. She’s still feeling well, which seems to surprise every doctor she’s seen. We’ve had multiple “second” opinions from a couple of doctors who are top docs in her particular type of cancer. After our pretty crappy experience with the first radiation oncologist, we requested new referrals for her to other facilities. After some extended time waiting for the referrals (holidays, etc), we finally got in to see a local radiation oncologist who is about fifteen minutes from our houses. Since she’s going to have to go 5 days a week for almost six weeks, we wanted to find something a little more convenient than the first doctor…plus, he was an asshole. Fortunately, the new doctor (and all the staff) at the new place were pretty great. My mother is really comfortable with the new radiation oncologist, and that’s all I need to know. Their facility has TWO hospitals backing their technology and research, so we’re getting some really great, cutting edge treatment technology. In truth, this doctor pretty much said the same as the first radiation oncologist–aggressive cancer, likely to spread even if they can kill the current recurrence–but the presentation was different. The aura was different. The intent felt different. I don’t know, it just all felt different, and like I said, if Mama’s happy…

So they had to study all her pictures and test out different treatment applications to see what would be best for HER situation. This week we go for the “dry run” so they can do a walk-through of the test to make sure everything is set. I would guess next week will be the start of the treatments if everything works out for the dry run. And from what we’ve heard, she’ll start feeling side effects in the first 2-3 weeks. But one step at a time. Right now, like I said, she’s still feeling good so she’s playing in the garden and cleaning the house.

Update on moi. I go for my surgical consult with the surgeon next week. So far I’ve been able to keep everything in perspective. The results of my hysteroscopy were mostly inconclusive. They grabbed a polyp but it was benign, so that was good. Beyond that, they didn’t get enough tissue to figure anything else out. So I go to the surgeon without that information even after all that. If I had known I would end up with inconclusive results, I wouldn’t have done the damn tests. The CRNP had told me that I really needed this test before I saw the surgeon, but now she’s saying “Well you’re getting a hysterectomy anyway…” Way to back step, lady. They also wanted to do a repeat ultrasound to make sure the cyst in my ovary resolved. Which I did and it did. Then the tech said, “But oh now there’s one in the other ovary.” Dude, they’re SUPPOSDA be there every month. She said the doc would probably want to follow-up on the new cyst, but the CRNP didn’t say that when she called to update me with all the results. So like I said, it’s off to the surgeon to see what he says. They already sent all my test results and the notes from my exams and tests to the surgeon.

My PVCs are greatly reduced. I notice them mostly at night when I’m trying to sleep. They’re manageable. I wish they weren’t there at all, but I can deal with them like this without them really infringing on my mental state. My sleep still sucks. I’m having crappy dreams again. And I’m waking up multiple times in the night. AND I’m waking up early in the morning and not able to get back to sleep. I HATE THAT.

I’ve been doing some hats here and there. Hopefully soon we’ll have enough to send to the infusion unit. Mom has been doing some other projects, so she’s slowed down on her hats, too.

It’s been feeling a lot like waiting around here. Waiting for her referrals, her appointments, her tests. Waiting for my appointments, my tests, my results. Hub has been dealing with some medical issues (minor), so that’s been on our front burner recently.

I’ve been seeing T on my regular schedule. Sometimes I feel like the appointments are just me chattering and not resulting in much. I wonder about that. But other times I know I need to be able to get help for something that’s bugging me. I still think this schedule of once every other week is good.

I’ve NOT been back to my massage therapist. She had to take six weeks off for some knee surgery and when she came back, I was right smack in the middle of all this …. waiting. So I told her I needed to see Mom’s radiation schedule and MY surgical schedule before I made any appointments with her. On one hand, I miss the massages and I know my body does. On the other hand, I’m functioning, so I know I can do without the massages. So I’m sort of iffy about that…

I’ve written a little bit. I did some work on a story and felt okay about it. I wish I had a good direction for it and I wish the characters didn’t seem so SAD at the beginning of the book. I don’t like to start a book that way. But even so, writing is writing and I felt good about what I did.

So now you know. I’m okay. I’m just mid-action.

 

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Struggling

I’m still struggling. Last night was a bad night. I ate something that did not agree with me and for the remainder of the night, I was awash with anxiety. It was a typical gluten’d feeling: hot face, feeling hot and cold, anxious, antsy, wired, and thinking about my health. The few times I managed to doze off, I had terrible dreams that stayed with me even after. When Hub went downstairs to work this morning, I dozed again and had more dreams. Bad ones. Unhappy, uncomfortable ones. I’m tired, and I feel down. At the moment, I’m struggling not to cry.

On top of already feeling like crap today, two different times on tv they were talking about women’s health. The first one was heart health, and how women’s symptoms of heart attacks are different from men. When I saw that the segment was upcoming, I took the dogs outside and stayed out for at least half an hour so I would miss the whole thing. It’s too much of a trigger for me. But then as we were getting ready for dinner, there was a local report about breast cancer and how women are just skipping their mammograms. Since my mom was diagnosed with uterine cancer, I’ve been struggling not to dwell on the potential for the hereditary impact on me. I’ve never had a mammogram, though I’m 42. The year that it was first recommended to me, I was unhappy with my gyno, so I didn’t follow through. I’ve not been back to any gyno since that whole episode, so there’s been no one to write me a script to get one. And truthfully, I’m afraid of what might come of it. Now with my mother’s diagnosis, I’m even more afraid of cancer than I was before. Even though my mother did pretty well (relatively speaking) going through her surgery and chemo, I’m way more sensitive to everything than she is, and I’m afraid of everything surrounding the potential of cancer. Surgeries, chemo, pain, nausea, etc etc. But still, the segment on the news triggered me, and I feel anxious and upset. I know part of it is because I’m really tired, but part of it is because I am me.

Tomorrow I go back to the dentist for a cleaning. I’ve enlisted Hub to drive me to and from. I expect he’ll sit in the waiting room and wait for me, even though the dentist is only 15 minutes away from home and it’s only a cleaning. And if they let him, he’d come back and sit with me while I got the cleaning. I haven’t had a cleaning in about 3 years, and prior to that I was in and out of the dentist’s office fairly regularly. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. But my anxiety is worse now than it used to be for me. And this dentist is new to me, as is the hygienist I’ll be seeing tomorrow, so I’m apprehensive. I’m not anxious yet, but we’ll see how the night goes. Unfortunately, my back has been bothering me all afternoon, but I’ve already rescheduled once and I’d like to get this over with. I know the anticipation is worse than the actual appointment will be. I’ve had enough cleanings to know that they are generally uncomfortable, but not life-threatening. However, this IS the first time this hygienist will be dealing with my frakin’ baby tooth. Urg.

I had my session with T this past Friday. I ended up crying in session, because I told her how much I miss my writing. She keeps telling me that I need to get back to it, because it is my purpose. Without it, she thinks I’ll continue to be stuck and struggle. I want to write so badly, but it isn’t working. I’m angry that my books don’t sell anymore, and that no one ever gives me any feedback. It’s like dumping a child out into the void, never to be heard from again. It’s hard to continue to put yourself out there and never see any kind of return. In that same vein, I made a hand-made crocheted gift for a friend, sent it to her, and never heard back from her about it. WTH. It’s painful for me to say, but I want to be validated. I want someone to say THANK YOU. To say, “Whoa, you put your heart and soul in that. That’s awesome.” What I get is radio silence. And it makes getting motivated to do stuff very difficult. It used to be that I’d write for myself, but that doesn’t seem to be enough for me now. I need to find that kind of satisfaction for myself again, and quit worrying about other people validating me.

I do feel like I’m a bit depressed these days. I’m tired and angry and stuck. I’m in pain. My tinnitus is acting up big time. My weight is still an issue. I have anxious moments. Is that reason enough to be sad? Or is this a depressive episode? Does it matter?

 

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Still here

I’m still here. It’s been a busy couple of weeks as we prepped for our charity event. Then immediately following, I was with my Mom as she went for another appointment to find out about the results of her CT scan (good!) and to get blood work drawn for the trial she is participating in. I got to see the nurses again, and in particular give one of them a giant hug for taking such good care of my mother through all of her infusions. We were lucky to get the same nurse for 4 of the six infusions, and I say lucky because she was really fabulous. I hugged her a couple of times and tearfully thanked her, and then I gave her a hat that I crocheted for her. But I reminded her it was a winter hat, not a chemo hat…and that I hoped it would remind her of the wonderful work she does for the people who come into her care.

On a slightly more BLEH note, I’m unhappy. In therapy with T, I’m telling her that I feel stuck because I don’t want to fail. If I don’t pick a path, then I don’t have to think about failing. I’m tired of failing. I have a whole list of failures behind me, and when I think of what to do next, I just feel like I can’t take one more failure. So if I don’t DO anything, I don’t fail. T wanted me to sit and think of the good things that came from my “failures” because none of them are really failures, they are lessons learned. I’m still in a place where I disagree, so I guess I’m not ready to broach that with myself. So T suggested that she thinks I’m afraid to hope…that this is what is underlying the failure. But I don’t know what it is I’m afraid to hope for? Not failing? Ech.

Another failure is that I’ve gained a bunch of weight. From the time we adopted Butthead in May of 2013, I’ve been slowly gaining back the weight I lost when I was sick and not eating in fall of 2012. I’d maintained a 45 pound weightloss right up until we adopted Butthead. Then I was so stressed and wanting some kind of pleasant distraction from her that I ate. I slowly gained ten pounds. Then ten more. Then when I got that crappy cold a few weeks ago, I ate so much (salty) pre-made soup and broth and stuff, that I gained more weight. I thought it would ease off when I stopped eating that stuff, but instead I’ve been snacking on junk. I think it’s because I’m not wanting to deal with stuff in therapy and eating is a distraction from that, too. Plus, the release of a lot of time spent focusing on my mom’s infusions is gone, too. Now her recovery is stretched out over months and months, and I’m at a loss as to how to figure out my own life again. And I feel like crap. I feel bloated and uncomfortable, which is making me unhappy and cranky. I’m also having some pain flares, so that isn’t helping me either. Bad dreams, not sleeping. What else can I add to my list? Oh yeah, and a couple of anxiety issues, mostly overnight or late at night when I should be sleeping and instead am sitting up feeling anxious.

Hub is stressed with stuff going on at work and I feel like there is so much falling by the wayside here at home. Which stresses me out even more. So I’ve been avoiding everything. And eating. And wondering what the hell I’m going to talk about at therapy on Friday, because I have no answers. No path. No idea what direction to go in. Just stagnant and stressed.

Woo hoo. NOT.

 

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