Tuesday, July 28, 2009

life has been tough

these past few days. I am feeling fine on the weekends because I have nobody to answer too, cannot give out dumb answers, don't have to "remember" a thing, can sleep if I like, and then along comes Monday and before 7 in the morning I am crying and anxious and feeling like someone is forcing me to do something I desperately don't want to do. Go to work. Actually, it's not even about going to work - it's about leaving the house. I can see why people become agoraphobic - I really can. If I could figure out a way to get the groceries delivered I do believe I'd stay right where I am. How I'd pay for it is another thing - but it would be my wish right now.

I had an emergency meeting with my therapist today. She is concerned I'm not sleeping yet even though I'm on Klonopin 4 times a day. I was still wide awake at 1:30 this morning and my poor dog is looking at me as if he is wondering are we ever going to bed? Then I laid there and just thought about so many things. I did some praying for people that are in need, I prayed for myself, I thought about my sister and how angry and hurt I am feeling by her actions, and I must have finally drifted off to sleep because I did wake up to the alarm. I planned on getting right in the shower, do not turn the TV on, don't talk to Henry, don't do this, don't think about work - just go, and the next thing I know I am about paralyzed with fear and losing it. I cannot lose my job because I need the benefits because of my cancer history - it doesn't appear I can to inpatient treatment because I'm not suicidal, it doesn't appear I'd be a candidate for disability benefits and it would be like 100 days until you know if they would be approved. I'm just stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I am taking my medicine as ordered, I have stopped watching the news so things don't upset me, I haven't been listening to NPR on the radio unless it's something like a cooking show or the car talk guys, I keep to myself, I don't lie to people when they ask me what's wrong, and yet I don't feel any gears shifting yet. I know it takes time - but come on, how long do I have to wait?

My therapist told me today that my goal for the morning should be to get to work - she doesn't care if I sit there all day and just stare in to space, she wants me to go. She believes that is what my boss is trying to get across to me as well - they don't care if I might sit there and cry, they just want me in my chair. They don't want me to lose my job. They are doing more then any employer I can think of would do. I'm only the secretary for god sake - but Gary did say something today that I may have to think about seriously - I work in probation, and he wonders if all the negativity I see day in and day out is somehow affecting me in a bad way. I work with criminals 8 hours a day and sometimes it's the same ones over, over and over. They never get it. Sandy has been saying that to me for weeks - that it's my job - but until Gary said it the way he did this morning, it just may be true. Who wants to hire a woman with a history of ovarian cancer and would insurance even cover me? God who knows.

Nobody is following this blog and that's ok. I am writing as an outlet because I miss writing on the Caring Bridge site. My parents don't know about this site so I can be truthful in my writing and not "edit" myself so they don't feel hurt. I have to do what is right for me.

I do have some prayer requests though - and believe me, I ask my Aunt Penny for prayer requests all the time as she has a Blue Angels prayer chair that she is part of - but as far as my being a religious person, I'm not really. I believe in God. I'm Methodist now but grew up Catholic and still carry my rosary around in my purse (old habits die hard), and I believe there are many angels that watch over me - Heidi, my grandma Jean and my great-grandma Leskie especially. But today I learned that Lyndsie from the website danielandlyndsie.blogspot.com most likely is dealing with her 3rd bout of ovarian cancer. She is 23 years old, just got married in April to the man she has loved since she was 14 and moved in to their new home. She is a Godly woman - inside and out. Her MRI is scheduled for Thursday - pray, pray, pray it is just a little fluid and not another mass. She needs to be well so she can live the life that she's dreamed of for such a long time. And pray for my Aunt Patricia as she has surgery tomorrow to take out a mass from her colon - they are hoping it is non-cancerous - and I so hope that will turn out to be true. She had breast cancer back in the early 70's. Breast, Ovarian and Colon cancer tend to run in families - and on my mom's side we've had them all. Makes me sick.

Oh and pray that I make it to work tomorrow - I AM GOING!!! I just need to tell people that I'd rather not discuss why I've been gone - it's so raw. I never in a million years though that this would be my life - I don't ask why - I just watch it from afar and think wow - what next.

Peace til next time...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Another Saturday

What a few days it's been. Hard to believe last Saturday I was lounging at my "spa" and celebrating my two year survival from Ovarian Cancer.

I went to meet the nurse practitioner yesterday regarding psych drug management. He added Wellbutrin to my growing list of "keep me sane" meds and adjusted how much Clonopin I take and how often. We'll see if this does it. I am so ready to stop feeling so damn bad all the time. Oh, and he thinks I do NOT have an anxiety disorder just (ha - just) major depression. So I guess that is good news.

My 10 year old nephew won one heat today at the All American Soap Box Derby Races in Akron, Ohio this morning. It was the first time he made it to the big leagues and something like 66% of the kids that make it do not get to race a 2nd time - it's single elimination. So for him to do it twice was such a big deal. I'm so excited for him (and my brother). Now they are driving back to Des Moines all day tomorrow as they have the National Soap Box Derby Races in DSM this year starting on Monday and Steven has qualified for that also. Busy, busy, busy. I hope they have a safe trip home and that Steven is proud of himself.

My oldest niece turned 13 yesterday - hard to believe! And just this past Monday they found out there mom is divorcing their step-dad of 10 years. All I know is that they need him and he needs them and my sister better keep her promise that Marty can be in their lives.

Take care out there.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

almost made it

I almost made it 2 whole weeks to work - but could feel myself going down hill last night and woke up feelings as if I had cried in my sleep during the night. I found out my sister and bil were getting divorced on Monday - TOTAL shock/surprise for everyone. And today I found out my sister is having an affair. I am so angry, hurt, shocked, pissed off, and sad that I could scream. I have been so worried about my niece & nephew, Marty and his family, my sister - and then today I discovered that last weekend she told her husband she was coming to spend the weekend with me because of my depression AND that she would be taking the kids because I didn't want them to see me this way. That's how her lie was discovered - she wasn't here, I had called my bil to see how he was holding up and when he asked me how "our" weekend had gone I said, you know this is Kris right? your sil? and then he started to cry. I havc spent the entire day either bawling my eyes out, sleeping, yelling at people, or just feeling as if a car had hit me, reversed over me and then went forward again.

Why do people do such things to one another? Why couldn''t my sister LEAVE before she started an affair? Why did I have to be brought in to it and now feel as if I am totally violated and can't trust a thing she says to me? I am devastated for everyone involved. I can't deal with it -

2 more days until I go to the doctor - it can't be too soon. I need some comfort, I need some zest for life back, I need this depression to lighten up, why can't it just go away?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Loving the new book

by Jennifer Weiner, Best Friends Forever. Have read almost the whole book today since noon - just love her! Will have to make room on my bookshelf for ANOTHER book. Oh what a complaint to have.

I must say, today is about the best I've felt in a long, long time. I don't know whether it is the fact that the anniversary date has gone by and I've made it through or what. Maybe the meds are finally kicking in. Or maybe it's just that today has been a quiet day here at my house - no phone calls, no TV, just reading and enjoying the beautiful breeze coming in the windows. Wait - I did talk to my son who was going golfing with his girlfriend and her family. It makes me so happy that he is so happy these days. Every parents dream I know.

Not much else going on - tomorrow is a new week of work and we'll see how I do once all of the things I have to remember go. That's when the anxiety really hits - when my memory doesn't work - that's why I love the weekend so much.

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

It's Here

It's here. The 2nd anniversary of my being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Cannot believe it. Seems like yesterday. Seems like a life time ago. I believe I am still in disbelief of what my life has been like for the past two years - it is nothing that I would have imagined for myself. Ever. It NEVER happens to you, right? Right? My friend S says Cancer Vacuums. She's right.

I have been dealing with such dark days the past couple of months and I really wanted to "celebrate" my way this year. Alone. Ate junk food, watched hours and hours of HGTV and The Food Network (I don't get those channels) and cooked out. All by myself with my weiner dog Henry as my companion. P loaned me her home while she was on vacation. I am so thankful.

Last year S and I celebrated by doing random acts of kindness on the 1st anniversary. It was so much fun!!!! I made up little cards that said "You have just received a random act of kindness. Please pay it forward when you are able. Thank you for celebrating my one year of survival from ovarian cancer." We went thru drive throughs and paid for the cars behind us and the cashier would give them the note, we went to the zoo and paid for a family of 5's entrance fee, we went to a restaurant and paid for someone's meal, we went to the local photo developing place and pulled a name out of the box waiting to be paid and paid it for them, we stopped by a bus stop and gave $20 to some young boys who looked like they were hungry, we gave money to two families on the pediatric cancer floor who needed assistance, left a $20 tip for the waitress, paid for a family to go to the swim park, and paid for somebody's gas (it's was $3.50 something a gallon last year, remember?). It was the BEST DAY and most fun I've had in many, many years.

Lest, you think I have money. Please. I barely make $25,000 a year, am single, had just gone through a year of hell on earth, etc. But you see, I have the most amazing support system that you could ask for - and the previous March my friends had got together and had a benefit for me and raised almost $9,000. I used some of that money to celebrate random acts of kindness - because there was no better way for me to give back - and it felt as if every single person who had bought a raffle ticket, or came by to have lunch, or bought a dollar ticket to win a prize was with us that day and paying it forward again.

When my beloved cousin Heidi was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma she eventually lost her job because she was hospital bound for 13 straight weeks the first go around - which meant COBRA insurance until they could get her on disability. I had friends, who had NEVER before met Heidi pay for that insurance for the 5 months it took for her to get disability. And they said pay it forward when you can. These are the same people who paid for my cell phone bill so that I would not go over on minutes and could talk any time of the day without fear of how much it cost, because I was home for 6 months and I needed a connection to the world.

I've always been a volunteer. I love helping others. I love to "fix" the problems. I love to research ailments. I love to organize get togethers so that our friends stay in touch in this oft-fast paced world. But it is hard to receive. To reach out. To ask for help. To let others know that you are scared. Afraid. Hurting. Yet, still they came. Food brought over. Checked on daily. Rides to the doctors. Days off from work to accompany me to chemo. There to pack my wound sites when I had infections. Listening. Assisting. Even when I didn't know what I needed. Even my beautiful boy - 20 at the time - staying near, checking on me, sleeping on the couch while I dozed in the chair, taking me to the ER in the middle of the night - loving me like a son loves his mom and realizes I might be gone sooner then later. We are so close. Always have been.

I am grateful. I am grateful. I am grateful.

And I am terrified.

Every single day.

That "IT" will come back and this time it'll be too much.

But today I am still here. I celebrated the way I wished too. I am loved. I am lucky to be alive.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

So new at this stuff

I am finding myself to be more and more illiterate when it comes to this blogging stuff. It took me like an hour to put in 4 sites I follow and then others that say "grab my button" - well how does that work? Who knows.

I am obsessed with decorating blogs right now. Read them every night and find so much inspiration everywhere - and am really impressed by the women who have so much talent and put themselves out there day in and day out. Congrats to each of you.

Today I was so exhausted I could not keep my eyes open in the morning. My dear friend K who calls each day to be sure I am awake and with the living seems more tired each day she calls me as well. She is an hour behind me in time - so she's really getting up with the birds. I just keep focusing on July 24th which is the day I meet with the psychiatrist for the first time and see what I need to do. Have checked in to acupuncture as well and apparently insurance WILL pay for that. They won't pay for genetic testing but they'll pay for someone to put needles in me - I'm not sure what I should think about that.

I woke up really shaky this morning and have had stomach issues all day long. I had to have my gallbladder out in April and have been doing pretty good. I'm not even eating stuff that is high in fat content so I'm confused as to why the stomach things - although my therapist did ask me if I was having diarrhea because that is a symptom of anxiety. Also sweating a lot - did you know that? Some days I'm find and some days you wonder if I had even washed my hair because it is still so wet by the time I make my way to work.

I am writing this site for myself but it would be pretty cool if somebody found my site and left me a comment. One of these days. Could be the low self-esteem/depression/anxiety talking though. I usually don't care about stuff like that.

Heading to bed. Another long day tomorrow - but at least book club is tomorrow night and that should be fun. I love those ladies!


Monday, July 13, 2009

Making it Through Monday

For anyone that has gone thru a cancer diagnosis or a serious illness of any kind I wonder if you go over the days up to that diagnosis when it comes around to the "anniversary" date. I do. People will tell me to "just let it go" - but how do you let something like that go when it has forever changed your life?

In September of 2006 I lost my dear friend & cousin, Heidi, to Multiple Myeloma. 42 years old. She was diagnosed end stage in July of 2003 - and she fought that awful disease with everything she had until she finally let go on the 26th of the month. I thought I had an idea of what cancer was because I had been one of her caregivers. I didn't have a clue.

January of 2007 I found out my good friend Linda had been diagnosed with Stage IV Ovarian Cancer - she died June 1st. WHAT? 5 flipping months? Our kids grew up together, she was just an amazing woman, so kind, always there for you - and gone just like that.

Imagine my surprise on July 16th, a mere 6 weeks later, to have gone to work in the morning as usual, went home for lunch, came back from lunch and started to have short bursts of pain on my right side whenever I would reach for the phone or turn to greet someone at the counter. The next morning I could hardly stand up straight in the shower, so I went to work, called the clinic to make an appointment. I thought they were going to tell me I was constipated - not that it was a problem for me before - but that's what my friends and I decided. I left for my app't at 9:00 a.m. on July 17th and returned to work at 8:00 a.m. on January 2, 2008. Stage III Ovarian Cancer. Again, WHAT?

So this is the "week" leading up to my anniversary - and 2 years out I find myself physically ok (or that's what my blood work says any way), but mentally I am a bigger wreck then at any point since my diagnosis. When does the fear leave? When do you start just living life again as if you've never been through 2 years of hell? Is it truly different for every person? Are my supporters sick of me being sick? 'Cause I am. It's horrible. I need to work for the insurance but I would much rather stay home and figure out what I can do to best fight this thing called cancer, how to help others during their own journey, to assist others through the paperwork that becomes a full-time job in and of itself, to research on the internet for new drugs, new things to try, etc. Why can I take care of everyone else but can't seem to get my own act together?


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Can't sleep

It's Sunday night and 11:24 and I need to be up and going by 6. Does that make me anxious? Yep. 'Cause I'll wake up and start stressing about all I have to do at work tomorrow, why am I so tired, I should have gone to work this afternoon and got some more stuff done, but couldn't make myself do it. I did go to my friend P's house though and she grilled out and that way Henry (my doxie) could run like a crazy man. He loves go to his aunt P's house - her animals don't so much like him being there - but it's only for a while.

So my advice today was K was to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. My friend S called and said I need to try acupuncture - that it would definitely help. I just want to feel better.

My sister called to check on me too. I hate that she is having a hard time and then feels like she can't talk to me or lean on me because I'm feeling depressed. It's not fair to her or to me. I have lots of good advice and am a good listener (although I may not remember a damn thing you've said because of my short term memory loss) - but I try!! lol It is a vicious cycle.

I hope if people start looking at my blog that it'll become a place that can be free to speak what is on your mind. Have a good week - I'm praying that I will. My goal is to work every day this week - then celebrate my 2 year survival of ovarian cancer next weekend.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Waiting for help

Saturday and my "helper" called me at 9 to be sure I was out bed already. I am so lucky that she cares about me and is worried about this bout of depression I am going through - but sometimes a girl needs to rest! When I was going through treatment K always told me - rest will help you heal. Apparently that no longer is part of the regimen.

I went in to work as promised and after 3 hours could feel myself starting to be anxious. Got sick to my stomach, and just couldn't concentrate any longer - all because I had emailed my boss and asked him a question about a report I was doing and he asked if I could get the staff meeting minutes done this weekend also. The staff meeting was at the end of May - I am almost 100% positive that I will pull the notes out, look at them, and wonder what we were talking about or why did I write that. My short term memory has continually gotten worse since chemo started in August of 2007, that plus all of the meds I had to take on top of it - it's just shot. People laugh and say I do that all the time. Yeah well - I never used to and it really bothers me.

It was a gorgeous day here today and I promised K that tomorrow I would go up to the arts festival here in town and walk around a little bit. She will be "with me" in spirit. I wonder what time she'll call me tomorrow.

I am writing this for my own benefit only because I NEED to - but if anyone ever reads it I would love to know if you ever suffered from severe depression or anxiety after your treatment ended and what you did about it.

Friday, July 10, 2009


I am so thankful it is Friday - but since I only worked 3 days this week I'm not as exhausted as normal. I do, however, need to go in and make up 8 hours of time this weekend as I am so behind on reports. Will do 4 hours each day as it will only add to my stress when I start thinking "it's the weekend" and now I have to work.

I had dinner with my best friend tonight and we were talking about why you cannot receive in-patient treatment when you are dealing with a true clinical depression that is severe yet if I had a drinking or drug problem I'd be let me as soon as a bed opened. Apparently treatment is only needed if I were suicidal. Maybe if I found out tomorrow that my cancer had returned I'd feel suicidal , but this point I don't and that's a good thing.

I am preparing for my 2nd year anniversary of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Last year I was so joyous at making it a year. This year I live in fear, daily, that it will return. I'm perplexed as to why my anxiety and depression are this severe kind of late in the game - but have started to realize that I made it through treatment - but I didn't live through treatment. Does that even make sense? Probably not, but I am patiently waiting to get my meds adjusting as they need to be and then I can begin working on finding some joy once again.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A New Way to Communicate.....

I used to have a CaringBridge site while I was going through treatment for Ovarian Cancer - but unfortunately, my parents would rather read the site then call and talk to me personally. I could not stand not being able to be open and honest with all the people that followed my journey because my parents also took everything personally and instead of contacting me to discuss whatever the situation was - they would call the people I wrote about and complain to them. I just gave up.

So 18 months into remission now I find myself in a deep, dark hole of depression and anxiety and I need to write. It doesn't matter if anyone ever reads what I write - it just matters that I am being proactive in my health and doing something good for myself.

My first blogging post - wow. Who knew?