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A Brief Leave of Absence July 30, 2007

Posted by thelastresort in cancer, life, Mom, writing.
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Mom passed away on June 4, 2007.  I was by her side.  I’ve got a lot to process, which I’ve begun, but have a long way to go.

I will be back in September – or who knows, maybe earlier.  My house is a sauna, I’ve got a lot to process, and a lot of things to go through.  I’ve just begun going through my apartment and trying to be honest – do I really need this?  Or if it’s mom’s – do I really need this to remember her by?  I haven’t even been to her apartment yet, nor dealt with her ashes.

So much is going on…and Pablo is back in my life.  He was really a great support during the last couple of months of mom’s illness.  I finally got tired of the emails and calls and picked up one call and we started talking.  He was really a life saver for me – I didn’t feel like there were a lot of people I could talk to.  Everyone has their own problems.  Besides, people hear the word cancer and flee.

As far as what’s going on in the world, I feel like I’ve been living in a plastic bubble.  I don’t like feeling disconnected from the world.

So, I shall return.  Any words of wisdom would be appreciated!  


Time takes it’s toll… April 10, 2007

Posted by thelastresort in cancer, depression, life, Mom, Uncategorized.
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Well, mom’s cancer and my depression (and loneliness, boy do people drop out of sight when illness is in the picture) has really caught up with me.  So, this will be short.

Laura had to go back into the hospital last Friday (so much for Good Friday) because her blood clot in her leg isn’t going down…maybe even got worst.  She spent the weekend in the hopsital (where we argued by phone constantly), and then she got transferred to a different nursing facility.  The other one was giving inadequite care.  All we seem to do anymore is argue.  I know it’s because I’m the only one she has to fight with, but it really hurts.

I don’t know how to deal with any of this.  What if she stays in the nursing home for the rest of her life?  She hates life and wishes she were dead, and I can’t blame her.  But I don’t know how to deal with this by myself anymore.  I feel this huge depression falling over me.

The fact that I have little family except for Uncle Clinton doesn’t help.

I heard from my friend.  I don’t know what to make out of it.  When I get him on the phone he’s chatty Cathy, inevitably, it’s a bad time for me, and we both say for me to try later, and I always seem to get his voice mail.  Called him on Easter while I was at my friends house figuring I’d get his voice mail – and he answered.  Scared the sh*t out of me.  He did come right out and ask me how old I was.  So, I lied.  I would tell him eventually if things went anywhere…

And I’m so low, (how low are you?), I answered one of Pablo’s emails.  I know.  Big mistake.  See what happens when I hit bottom? 

A little fun… March 27, 2007

Posted by thelastresort in beginnings.
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Well, as of Sunday, my “fun list” went down one.  It wasn’t one that was listed – every gal has to have her secrets;)  It was just step one, but for me it was a big step.  Although sometimes I surprise even myself.  Wish me luck all…

What the future holds… March 23, 2007

Posted by thelastresort in cancer, fibromyalgia, Mom, Uncategorized.
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I haven’t had the time to update the blog.  Haven’t had the time to talk on the phone.  Haven’t had a minute to myself.  And I’ve been very depressed.  And the fibro has been really bad.  By the time all the CNA’s leave, the nurse, the social worker has left, I feed Mom dinner, change her, etc., I just want to fall into bed (only to be awakened several times during the night, which doesn’t lead to restful sleep).  I try not to think about the future because I just can’t handle it right now.

Thursday Mom was admitted to the hospital with a good size blood clot that was from her groin to above her knee.  Since she can’t get out of the hospital bed, she’ll be prone to them.  She spent the night in the hospital and then was admitted to a nursing home for a week to get her started on blood thinners.  I acted like it was nothing to worry about, but I was scared out of my mind.  She thinks this is the end, and there’s no talking her out of it.  She’s very depressed and nothing has helped.  She’s also very angry and bitter.  She’s having trouble swallowing her meds, so she’s not taking her anti-depressants.  I don’t know how to handle her mood swings, her bitterness – a lot of which is aimed at me.  I understand I’m the only one she can aim it at because she knows I love her, but it still hurts.

And so I continue to try not to think about what the future holds.  Denial is so much easier.

The house is still a wreck – it’s very difficult to get into the computer room with the mattress in here.  I get claustrophobic.  Enough!!

Things personally have been … somewhat overwhelming.  I feel terrible making any plans for myself or my future.  On the stressful side, I’ve received about 4 or 5 emails from Pablo asking for an update.  Today I got an message on my cell phone.  So I finally felt safe enough to respond (unfortunately he was at lunch and answered, but my response was the same).  The doormat analogy was perfect!  For the first time in a long time I felt strong!  It turns out my prior thought on the subject were correct.

I’m tired.  For those I haven’t been in touch with, please understand that things are crazy here…  

A little fun for once… February 24, 2007

Posted by thelastresort in beginnings, life.

I have about three started posts, but for whatever reasons have them saved and may salvage them at a later date.  But with the changes going on in my life and everyone and their uncle telling me to think about the future, I decided to start a list of things I’d like to try and at least start, if not accomplish, by 2008.  The list will be expanding, so check back every one in a while…

1)  See and spend a lot of time at the ocean this summer – haven’t been in 11 years and I’ve no excuse, I live on the east coast.

2)  Travel.  The west coast, Mardi Gras (Well, a little late for that, but plans for next year.  For Robbie.)  Russia, Egypt, England, somewhere in the South Pacific, warm and wet – oh hell anywhere!!  And France (Russia, England, and France are old family stomping grounds – my history).  Cambodia, Thailand, Spain, Italy…oh, is there any place I don’t want to visit? 

3)  Get off the pill merry-go-round that has started again (I went 7 months without pain killers…now I’m living on pain pills, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills.  Overwhelming stress will do that to you.

4) Try to resolve things with my mother in a better fashion.

5)  Learn to play piano (I took lessons once…) or drums…like Keith Moon 🙂 

6)  Attempt to return to school, even if it’s one course at a time.

7)  Regain some sense of control over my physical health.

8)  Try scuba diving.  I used to be a good swimmer.

9)  Take up photography again.  Maybe an art class.  The product of two talented painters CANNOT have created offsping that even sucks at pencil stick drawing.

10) Read again, and more.  I started this year, but it’s frustrating with the fibro fog, not to mention that I’m sure my meds are affecting my memory and concentration.

11)  Be easier on myself.

12)  Lose weight – meaning getting in better shape.  Not for looks, but for being healthy.

13) Establish/reestablish closer friendships more in line with my way of life.

14)  Get more involved with those issues important to me.

15)  Live more authentically.

16)  Figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

17)  Let go of the old me ideas that no longer fit.

18)  Get back in touch with my spiritual side.

19)  Learn to Tango!

20)  Learn Arabic … how’s that for reaching for the stars from someone who took 5 years of French and can barely remember how to say …oh geez, I can’t even remember how to spell in French! 

21)  My God!!!  How could I have forgotten???  I have wanted to learn how to fly since I was 6 years old!!!

I’ll expand on these and add to them in the future.  Right now, I’d like to get some rest.  Any suggestions?


Another day, more shit… February 20, 2007

Posted by thelastresort in cancer, depression, Mom, Uncategorized.
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My sleep these days suck.  Most fibromyalgia patients tend to be late starters – early for me is about 11.  By then I can usually get my bones to start working.  This is the first winter in several years that it’s been this bad.  I was even dreaming in my sleep how badly my knees hurt.  My sleep sucks – 2 sleeping pills and a cup of warm milk or not. 

My last dream I was skip tracing in my dream with bad knees!  I haven’t worked collections in over 13 years!!!  Skip tracing I think I had a 95% find status, it was the collecting I sucked at, which is why I got out.  Capitalistic fiends!  So what if someone in the family had AIDS, or cancer, or they were about to lose their house – we were supposed to convince them to send us their last dime. 

I’m tired, rundown.  Can’t find my flipping check book. (Like everything else in the house)  I wonder if I’ll be able to take care of Laura when she does come home.  But this is where I want her to be.  I just feel myself spiraling into this very dark depression, and I don’t know how to stop it.  I am literally scared of not being able to come back up.  Not even for air.

Everyone, including my therapist (you really didn’t think I didn’t have one, did you?) keeps repeating that I have to take care of my self, but that’s not so easy.  I don’t actually have a bed, it wouldn’t fit anywhere with the hospital bed, so when Laura comes back I’m back to sleeping on my summer chaise lounge with a lot of blankets underneath it.  As it is, sleeping in her hospital bed, I wake up at least 3 or 4 times a night.  The puppy downstairs doesn’t help (“duh people, you have to take time to train him, you can’t just throw him outside”.).  And my brain just keeps moving at a thousand miles a minute – what am I going to do?  The social worker from the hospice company recommended that I choose and contact a funeral company for when the time comes. (“Yes, mom, we’re still going to try to do things, excuse me while I make plans for your funeral.”).  I’ll have to go through her things, get my apartment livable – and what everyone keeps asking me – or in Linda’s case, keeps telling me – I need to make a life for myself in the future.  Do I want to stay in New England?  Do I want to move?  Unfortunately, I have a fibromyalgia clinic a half hour away that is highly recommended, and RI has excellent social services.  I try to take it one day at a time, one crisis at a time, but it all inevitably evolves into this huge over analyzed process.

On top of that, one of my mother’s bunnies (all rescues, all house rabbits, all litter box trained – or at least until all of this started) has an eye infection.  It looks like he’ll lose his sight in that eye – he’ll do okay, he’s bonded with a female who takes care of him.  It’s just that rabbits are VERY quick to go downhill.  Very delicate creatures.  The vets we usually take them to is in Wellsley, MA, about an hour and 30 minutes from here.  I still don’t have my license.  A friend took me last Fridays and will take me tomorrow for his recheck to a trusted local vet, but our vet in Wellsley graduated from Tufts with her specialty in rabbits.  If something happened to this little guy (well, he weighs about 11lbs) I don’t think my mother could handle it.  I don’t think I could handle it.  The last time we had a bonded pair and we lost the white male, his “wife” passed away shortly after, basically from a broken heart. 

A hesitant restart… February 19, 2007

Posted by thelastresort in cancer, depression, Mom.
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It’s been an awful 10 days.  First of all, I have only come close to being that violently ill one other time in college – with my brave roommate Maria by my side every step of the way.  I don’t know if I could have done it.  Bless her soul, she became one of my dearest friends, my maid of honor, and someone who still holds a very special place in my heart.

Still having some symptoms, so haven’t been able to visit mom in the hospice, and I miss her incredibly.  She is extrememly depressed and can’t wait to come home.  I’m worried that her friend Linda has filled her with all of these ideas of things she may be able to do if she “just eats right”.  Um, Linda, that’s the problem with pancreatic cancer – you can barely eat and what’s eaten doesn’t stay in.  Just once I would like to look at Linda and very calmy say “Linda, shut the $%&* up.”

I haven’t gotten anything done in the apartment.  It literally looks like someone drove a steam shovel through it.  The last straw was the day we got the hospital bed.  They deliver and set up the hospital bed, but you need to remove the other bed.  So between my mother’s CNA Thelma (who could pass for an Amazon woman), a volunteer, and myself we got the box spring wedged in the bedroom against a wall, and I had to – literally – just through heaps of stuff onto a table I have in my extra room so we could fit the mattress in there.  There is stuff everywhere.  There’s boxes of my stuff from the bedroom sitting in the kitchen.  I can’t tell you the last time I vacuumed.  It’s just so overwhelming.  I pick up a box determined to go through it, and gee, item #1 goes in the cabinet now blocked by the table moved for the mattress to fit in.  And from there it just goes down hill. I had thought of storing stuff in a storage rental unit, but got talked out of it by a semi-friend.  Next time, I go with my gut.  There’s no where to fold clothes, no where to put clothes away once I get them back from the laundromat, no where to start sorting things for junk, donation, etc.  I get anxiety attacks just looking at the mess.

There’s just too much on my plate (like, when isn’t there?)  And each item is just another way to avoid another item.

A friend wrote how odd it seems that life just seems to keep on going when you’re in the middle of a crisis and how surreal it seems.  I watch the news, I look outside, and I talk to people and it does seems surreal.  I come back into my world and realize once again that I’m falling apart, that I’m losing my mother.  My bed seems so much more appealing.  It’s not that I’m not thankful for all I do have, I look around at the pictures from Iraq, from the remnants of Katrina, from Darfur…damn it! …from those doing without in this country, the richest country in the world and I want to cry.  But it doesn’t change the grief I’m going through.  I just feel guiltier.

And the hole in my heart just gets bigger.  

Too many options… February 15, 2007

Posted by thelastresort in cancer, fibromyalgia, Mom.
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So far, in the six days since my mom was put in the hospice center temporarily while I was sick (and now she is too) at least four or five people have said, with all good intentions, that maybe it’s where my mom should stay.  Less stress on me, plus she’s be getting full care.  It brings me to the point of hysteria every time.  I should be taking care of my mother.  She should be home, surrounded by myself and the animals she loves that bring her such joy.  I want her to be here when the time comes for her passing, not in some home where nothing looks familiar.  I knew it wouldn’t be easy.  But this week of being sick has given us both some time to relax and catch up on sleep.  This is where I want her.  And she sounds so depressed at the hospice center.  She was in tears the other day.  I know most can’t understand, but our “four legged babies” mean the world to both of us.  They’re what keep us going when the light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t seem to be shining.  Obviously, if it DID become too much, if her mind goes first, I may have to reconsider.  But right now, she belongs with me.  Is that so selfish?  That I WANT to take care of my mom through this?  She saw me into this world, I’d like to see her out.  Any comments would be appreciated, as I’m so confused right now as to what is best for her.

I’m still sick as a dog.  Waiting for the rest of the symptoms to subside.  I hate the way my body rebels against me when it feels like it.  Haven’t had that major of a problem with my fibro in some time.  Since this weekend, and the storm,  I can barely move my hands.  I’m so sick of this shit.  My knees are cracking every time I move them, and my back feels like someone took a hot poker and just poked at a few discs.

I think I’ll slink back to bed…

Brief Respite February 14, 2007

Posted by thelastresort in cancer, depression, Uncategorized.
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Have been violently ill since Saturday.  Mom staying, temporarily, I hope, at hospice home due to my inability to take care of her as well as fear of her catching whatever it is I have.  House very lonely.  Frightened of what is to come.

Finding a little peace… February 7, 2007

Posted by thelastresort in cancer, Mom.
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I think – and I say think because I’m not sure of anything these days – that I’m finally coming to a place of peace over what’s going on in my family (i.e. my mother).  No, I don’t want her to die.  I want her to be here for at least another 20 years so we can bicker and laugh together.  But seeing her so sick, and so depressed, bitter, and angry makes me think maybe she’ll find some peace.  I like to believe there’s another world besides the physical one.  I’ve pretty much always believed in some way or another – depending on my religious or spiritual stance at the time – that the soul continues.  Maybe life continues in a different form.  There are so many theories, such as reincarnation, parallel lives, the string theory, etc., that I just cannot believe our souls die when we leave our physical bodies.  Perhaps she’ll find some peace in another form of life.  I certainly hope so.  And I certainly believe I’ll see her again.

I’ve tried to stop flipping out over everything.  My getting more stressed doesn’t help the situation.  I’ve also been trying to find some time for myself, too, so I don’t meltdown again.  It’s not always easy.  Meditation would really help right now, but I’ve got monkey brain.  I need to find some more time to write in here, but it’s difficult.  There’s just so many things going on.