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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 legs 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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Changing dreams

Last night, I had strange dreams/nightmares again.

Remember my old dreams where I talked about driving around either searching for an exit or when I’m on a highway and I can’t find the right direction to go? I haven’t had those in a while, but that does happen. Sometimes I’ll go months without them, and then they’ll pop up and happen every night. I’ve had similar type dreams where I was coming out of a subway train and couldn’t find the right direction to get out of the station, or where I’d be out of the station but not able to find my way home from the station…etc. But last night, the dream was different.

I was out of the station already in the dream, and I did a bit of searching to find a taxi cab. Guys, I haven’t taken a taxi cab since I was in high school and had to take a cab home from school when I was “sick”. Anyway, I hailed a taxi and got in, and immediately gave them the address of my current home, including very specifically my zip code. I then had thoughts about how much this was going to cost–how expensive–and some thoughts on what other options I had to get home. But there was no real feeling of distress or being lost. I felt very on-track and like I was in control of where I was going…but I knew quite clearly I wasn’t driving. I gave the taxi driver the address and that was the end of it. No worries or discussion over how to get there, and no fear that we were heading in the wrong direction or taking the wrong exit.

On a weird note, I then found myself in a dream with Hub (no longer in the taxi, but still trying to get somewhere) who was carrying a large, bright orange or red and black backpack. Inside the backpack was something we were trying to bury (we kept looking for someplace to bury what was in the backpack, but no place seemed secure enough or hidden enough). I have no idea what was in the backpack, but we were hiding it from people and trying to find a place to bury it. Then Hub disappeared and I was left with the backpack and people kept trying to look at it and/or pick it up and carry for me, but I wouldn’t let them because I knew we needed to keep it hidden.

Guys, I believe our dreams have meanings, but that we don’t always understand them. Sometimes I think it isn’t important to understand, just that the dreams are trying to get things out of your head and away from you. Sometimes I think they are just reflections of what is going on in your life.

I think part of this dream…the part where I was able to get out of the subway and into a vehicle and head for home? I feel like it’s because I’m doing better with my anxiety and my control stuff. I’m not searching so much for the person I want to be…I’m not so lost. When I woke in the middle of the night from that part of my dream, I actually felt like “Oh yeah, it’s because I’m on the right track. I’m doing the right things to be a better, more grounded me.” Then I got up to pee and went back to bed. 🙂

The second dream? I have no idea where that was going. It was a new one for me and it made me feel more uncomfortable. I rarely have dreams with Hub in them for some reason. So what’s going on there? I just don’t know yet.

 
 

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Some days

Some days I have thoughts that hit me hard.

I had a terrible night last night. Hub woke me about 3am because I was screaming in my sleep. He said it had gone on for over a minute solid and although he hated to wake me, he was worried that I wasn’t really getting good sleep anyway. Also, I think the screaming freaked him out…which is completely understandable. I was having one of those horrible snakes were biting me nightmares and I knew I was screaming Help me! Help me! in the dream. You know, those kind of muffled screams where you know you’re dreaming but you aren’t sure if you’re really screaming in the dream or in real life? Yeah, it was not pleasant. It was just as well he woke me, because I was entirely terrified in the nightmare. On the flip side, I wasn’t really able to sleep much all night. I’m back to having trouble sleeping, which is sucky.

Yesterday, I was really busy in the kitchen. After we went grocery shopping, I had a bunch of things I wanted to accomplish while Hub was running errands outside the house. It was all pretty much cooking and/or prepping food. I’m usually not good at doing multiple things like that at once (especially keeping track of things cooking and not burning), but since Hub was out, I took my time in concentrating and was able to do everything I needed to. When Hub came home and we were getting dinner ready to go on the table (which I’d spent part of the afternoon prepping and cooking), I was taking dried apple slices from our dehydrator and putting them into plastic containers…for the dogs. See, we’d bought some dried fruit dog treats for Le Moo and Butthead in the past, and I realized it’d be a lot cheaper and less worrisome (no preservatives or chemicals) if I went ahead and dried fruit at home for them. And I already had the dehydrator because we’d tried this in the past for Sweet Pea. Unfortunately, we didn’t follow through for SP because she didn’t like the way the fruit came out for some reason. I think it’s because I didn’t know how to do it properly, but I’ve figured that out now. So the dehydrator has made its way into a kitchen drawer that I can reach, and I regularly dry fruit (mostly apples, sometimes pears at the moment) slices for LM and BH. Which they enjoy immensely (as does Cray-cray Lab when I have overage to share).

So I was standing in the kitchen with Hub, plucking dried and cut apple slices from the dehydrator and dumping them into plastic containers. And it made my heart hurt a little. So I said to Hub, “Do you ever feel like we didn’t do right by Sweet Pea? That we didn’t give her the best of the best like we do for LM and BH?” My explanation to you readers is that we are extremely careful these days about what we feed LM and BH. They get relatively expensive food that is made in the USA and is grain free (LM has sensitive skin), that we have to order from online because it isn’t available in local pet stores. We also only buy natural treats (or make our own!) with food sourced and made in the USA because of all the issues with dog food/treats made in China. With SP, we bought a higher end food available in pet stores, which turns out to be a pretty crappy food. We bought her all kinds of crappy treats, made in China and who-knows-where…and treats just filled with chemicals and crap. Why? Well, mostly because we didn’t know any better at the time. And also, society wasn’t as informed on all these issues at that time. But seriously? Now we don’t buy treats without reading the labels, and the majority of what we have in our house are treats made from human-grade food, with everything made and sourced in the USA. And I say “majority” because there’s some stuff that I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole, even though they say it’s made with human-grade ingredients. Also, I make low-fat doggy ice cream every couple of months for our pups…along with the apples (every couple of weeks), and we often pop plain popcorn for them as treats. We’re uber careful these days. Back with SP, we shared McDonald’s french fries with her (they were a favorite occasional treat), we gave her that fake Beggin’ strips bacon crap all the time, and other low-end, chemical filled treats. I shared cottage cheese with her sometimes, and later in life we gave her crappy american cheese in order to get her to take her pills every day. (I still can’t eat that cheese that comes in single-serving plastic pouch things? The sound of that crinkling plastic makes me cry. We gave her that cheese every day for so many years…I just can’t.)

Don’t get me wrong, SP was spoiled freaking rotten. And we loved her to no end. I still grieve her, and I sometimes still cry when I think of her. I still feel like there’s a part of me missing every single day. That dog was my heart. But we didn’t know…we weren’t as educated, nor was society. But it does hurt me that we didn’t give her as good a life as we’re giving LM and BH. I know it may sound strange to some of you, but these are my thoughts.

Hub reassured me that we gave Sweet Pea a great life, and did everything we knew of to make her happy and healthy. In my heart, I know it’s true. Sometimes it is harder to convince my mind, though.

I struggle with feelings of guilt a lot. With relation to my family and to my dogs. It’s something I’m still working on, because I’m well aware that not one person in my family (alive or not) would want me to live riddled with guilt. And not one dog (well, maybe Le Moo)–if they could understand–would want me to live that way either. It’s all in my own head…and I will continue to work to conquer it. But some days, it sneaks up on me.

And now, some pictures. Enjoy!

It’s all fun and games until Butthead is awake.

Don't let that innocent look fool you...she's plotting something horrible...

Don’t let that innocent look fool you…she’s plotting something horrible…

Look at that face, would you? (That’s Cray-cray Lab one day when she was hanging out with us.)

I luuufff you...where's MY dried apples?

I luuufff you…where’s MY dried apples?

Guilt-monster, that Le Moo. Both beds are equally nice, but the one in the corner was hers originally, and she does prefer to lay there. Every now and then we catch her lowering herself to sleep on Butthead’s bed.

2014-01-25 10.20.45

She’s on MY bed and now I have to lay on this horrible bed that smells like HER

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2014 in anxiety, dogs, dreams, feeling lost, grief, guilt, in my head, loss, love

 

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Double dose

Last night was bad. Among other things, I did not sleep at all. Why, you ask? Because when I turned out the light and went to lay down, I felt my heart pounding in my chest, harder and faster than I was comfortable with. And this triggered the first of two anxiety attacks that I fought overnight.

**TRIGGER ALERT** for those who get distressed over descriptions of anxiety attacks.

I haven’t had an anxiety attack since I got off Prilosec back in January. Have I had anxiety? Yes, I have. But not to a point of what happened last night. The kind of anxiety I’ve been dealing with has been low-level, during the day, and mostly related to pain. And I’ve been able to handle those issues consistently, and with less time and focus as the months have gone on. Last night was reminiscent of past anxiety attacks, when I was back on Prilosec. It was not as bad because I tried very hard to use the tools I’ve learned since then, but it was worse than it has been in over eleven months. And it’s frustrating. Even ignoring the fact that I slept roughly half an hour’s worth–all of which was taken up by nightmares that started a new slide into an attack–it left me feeling defeated. And sad. And angry. And upset.

So I went to go to bed last night, doing the same routine I normally do. Lights out, ceiling fan on, radio on, blanket off my legs to keep me cool. I tried to make myself comfortable, and I went through my thankfulness list, which is how I turn my brain off at night. Or at least, how I attempt to turn my head off. But last night, after I went through my list of why I’m thankful, I realized that my heart was beating really loudly. And that lead me to realizing that it felt like it was beating fast. I tried to ignore it, but I couldn’t get comfortable. I sat up, I rolled over, I changed positions over and over. I couldn’t get the heavy, hard, beating in my chest to go away. I felt the anxiety roiling up over me, and I knew what was happening. But I remembered what happened to my husband with his too-fast heartbeat, and the anxiety increased. I put my finger to my pulse in my neck, even though I knew it was a mistake, and felt how fast my heart was beating. I tried to do diaphragmatic breathing, I tried to relax my pelvic floor, but neither wasn’t helping. Kind of as a last resort, I tried EFT tapping, even though I was making up the words as I went along. I used the correct meridian points, but I was just talking to myself about how I was feeling the anxiety, but nothing was hurting me. It seemed to work somewhat, even though it took several rounds of it. I think I drifted off a while later, only to have a nightmare within 30 minutes of falling asleep.

I woke again, with the pounding heart, loud and fast, and the anxiety. I felt warm–was I sweating? was it my heart? was I dizzy? nauseous?–and I forced myself to get up and go to the bathroom, to clear my system and put cold water on my hands and face. Back in bed, I felt the racing, pounding, loudly beating heartbeat again. And it started all over. I breathed, I relaxed, I tapped. And I tapped. And I tapped. And I think I dozed again. When I woke up at that point, it was 7:30, the sun was up, and Hub got up to take care of the dogs. And I lay in bed for about 2 1/2 more hours. And I talked to myself about what had happened. A lot of the things I’m saying here. I realized my heart felt okay, even though I still wonder if it’s beating faster than normal. The issue is, when I feel normal, I never touch my pulse to see how it feels. Under other circumstances, I know that my heartbeat is fine, because I’ve been tested over and over again in the past. But when I’m anxious, it feels fast–hella fast–which is so scary to me.

Upon the light of day, post sleeplessness, I didn’t want to get out of bed. Even though I felt–once again–betrayed by sleep, I wanted to stay in bed and wallow in what had, and what almost, happened. But I roused myself and got into the shower, pushing myself to go forward with what I planned for the day. And as I showered, I try to remind myself that sometimes these things are because of body-memory. History of what has happened to you, physically, is embedded into your brain. And I am trying to be hopeful that this was a result of body memory…in that my unconscious reaction to the hard-pounding, fast heartbeat was to become anxious about it. It’s the only way I know how to react, I guess.

When I went downstairs after my shower, I told my husband what had occurred overnight. He immediately hugged me, then reminded me that I should have awakened him so he could help me. And truthfully, I did think about it when I first started feeling my heartbeat, but I felt ashamed. I felt like I needed to handle things on my own to prove to myself that I could. I don’t know that having him awake with me would have helped, because his ability to stay awake in the middle of the night is, to be nice, sucky. And then I would have felt more alone because I would feel like he’d purposefully abandoned me when I needed him. This morning, when he got up to go let the dogs out and feed them, I almost asked him to come back to bed afterward to stay with me, but I didn’t want to feel that weakness.

So on a positive note, I guess the fact that I didn’t go into a full-blown attack either time is good. The fact that I was able to use the tools I’ve gained to stay in control is good. The fact that I was able to handle things was good.

The fact that it happened at all SUCKS.

(**bonus note, I had no anxiety the following night when trying to go to sleep, so that’s good)
 

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