Living… Loving… Learning…

It’s been a while.  Exactly how long I can’t say.  We seem to mark time right now with the passing of appointments and the periods of time between appointments.  So, using that formula; it has been three appointments with Phil’s diagnosing and prescribing psychiatrist since I last wrote.

Much has happened since then.
Phil has been prescribed a medication and has gone through four dose adjustments.  He’s sleeping well, eating well, exercising, and loving life.
Wee has grown, changed, grown, and learned to ride a two wheeler bicycle.  She has a new bike now and the Easter Bunny brought her the cookbook from her favourite YouTube baker Nerdy Nummies.
I have been working…  Working as much as I can.  The pain in my body has been bad; bad to the point that we’re desperately looking for ways to find me relief anymore.  But my head is calm; my demons are resting.  Whether that is because of Phil’s new normal or because of my new meds, I can’t say but my demons rest for now.

Other than that, it’s been learning to live with Phil’s new normal…. And my new normal…  And Life’s new normal….

A lot of learning.

Since Phil was medicated, we’ve had some minor ups and downs with his moods….  Today was big and hard to handle.  Thankfully it didn’t last long; 6 hours I believe.  If this right now is his new normal, I’m happy with that!

And for me, it’s just about adjusting to my new body and limitations since my hysterectomy.  No, life is NOT the same since that.  No, my body is NOT the same since that.  No, I will never be in the same physical condition I was in before that.

The fact that I have a new reality to live with and adjust to pisses me off…  When is enough enough?  I’ve had enough….

Why wasn’t I told about physical limitations and changes that I would face post surgery?  Why?  Why was I not told before they cut my baby baker out?

Fucking hell I’m mad.

But at the same time, it is what it is… Deal with it and keep on keeping on….

One minute at a time if necessary…

But never stop….

We’ve all come too far to stop now.

And Life Still Marches On….

It’s been a while….  almost 2 months since our quiet wedding ceremony on the bridge over the Thames River…

Almost two months…..

And it’s been great!

Our family has settled into a routine of sorts that is never really routine because, well, what kind of routine can you really expect in life when you have a seven year old, three dogs, and two cats?

Trust me, there is no routine to be had in that!

Aside from that…  there have been other adventures that have guaranteed that life is never ‘routine’ around here…

– My ex of course; he still loves to throw a wrench in there on occasion….
– Work for me; that can always be an adventure of trying to balance the workload as well as the needs of the family….
– Phil’s work; working in the restaurant industry, your schedule is always an adventure….
– My physical and mental health which, thankfully, has been pretty stable….
– Wee and her dental appointments….
– And our dear Phil and his shit.  SOMUCHSHIT.

Unfortunately, his shit was a total surprise to, not only him but also to me…

And trust me, there has been a lot of shit.

You see… It goes back…  Back quite some time…  Years back…  Perhaps his entire life.  He can’t say for certain.  All he knows is that, man alive, he’s got some shit to deal with.

Fortunately…  Or maybe unfortunately…  He happened to realize that his shit was not quite right and that he needed to get help here…  In this home…  With me…  And, since I am no stranger to the Mental Health Care System, I was able to point him in the direction that he needed to go to get the help that he needed.

Looking back on the last two months… It all started so innocently…  So innocently.  But I guess that can be said of most things.

We don’t fight.  We don’t yell.  We’re not fighters and yellers.  We’re talkers.  But we’re not fighters.  Not yellers.

I started to notice a pattern in our talks…  And one day, he made me mad and I mentioned the pattern…  I told him that I could expect to be having this very same conversation that we were having right at his moment in about 10  to 15 days….

And it happened.

And then one day…  One day I looked at him and I asked what was wrong?  What was going on?  I said you’re a stranger to me today….

Really, I forget exactly how the whole ball got to rolling.  Philip may be able to tell you; his memory is much better than mine….

However it started though, it ended up with him telling me that he needs help.

Help, when asked for, when wanted, is something that I am very good at providing.

I told him where to go.  I told him the easiest way to get the help he wanted; the help he needed.

And he got it… In record time.  He, fortunately, got counsellors who listened and who were concerned, he got doctors who listened and who were concerned, and they all gave him referrals…

Thankfully.

And he followed through.  He did the work.  He made the phone calls.  He went to the meetings.  He was honest.

Very honest.

For that, I am very proud of him.

I know from personal experience that admitting that something isn’t right is the hardest thing to do.  I also know that sitting down with a bunch of strangers in a clinical setting is even harder…

I know that getting help for your mental health is not easy.  I know that asking for, begging for the help that you need takes more strength than most people think they have.

But he did it.

And while he went through the process…  Wee and I were still here.

Wee has no idea what exactly is going on.  All she knows is that, some days, Phil is a little extra tired….  A little more sad…  A little more grumpy…  And that we have to colour Phil’s ‘sleeping patterns’ on charts for Phil’s doctors….

That is all that she needs to know.  That is enough.

Me, on the other hand…  I have seen it all.  I have heard it all.  I know exactly what is going on.

I have held him at night while he cries and rages against his uncontrollable thoughts and moods…  I have cared for him during his terrifying ups that are getting worse every time he swings up… And his frightening lows that are getting lower.  I have listened to him, wiped his tears, supported, and been brutally honest…

I have been the voice that he hears when everything feels out of control.

My days have changed, altered, shifted…

My day starts with me checking in with my demons…  What did we do last night?  Did we sleep?  What are their plans for the day?  Are they hanging around or are they leaving me as dawn approaches?

Once I have those answers, I roll over to see ‘who’ is in bed beside me.

Is it Phil?  Is it happy, over the moon, super elated, doallthethingsallatonce Phil?  Or is it Idon’twanttogetoutofbed Phil?  Is it Dark Phil…  Or is it Scary Phil….

Coffee…  Reassess…  Gauge my day and what I will have to shoulder…  Recheck with my demons… Reassess Phil and which Phil is with us today….

Get Wee ready, on the bus, and off to school…

Come back…  Feeling the weight of whatever my day is bringing…  Sometimes lollygag at the bus stop if I just feel too small while the bullshit feels too big.

And trust me, the weight that I’m carrying through this is fucking heavy.

It’s hard to go through the process, go through the work, do the work, be brutally honest.

I personally believe it is just as difficult and just as mentally and emotionally trying and draining to be on the outside; watching it happen… Watching someone go sideways… Watching them struggle… And not being able to do a fucking thing to help them.

Sometimes, I just breathe and wish…  Wish that I had known of any of this, some of this, even a portion of this before…  Long, long before.

See, at least on Phil’s end, he had the knowledge of my illness… He had the choice…

I honestly feel, some days, like all of this was dumped on me and now, now I’ve been expected to deal with it.

I’m sure, had Phil known how sick he was, he would have told me….

The problem is, not even Phil knew.

He had glimmers of issues but he would self-medicate through alcohol, cigarettes, medications that weren’t his to take, illicit drugs, or yes, even massive amounts of coffee to ‘manage’ his feels and the thoughts that he had…

And no one ever stopped him and said “Hey man; you doing okay”?

As I have told him before, the sick rarely ever know they’re sick; mentally or physically; until they go to see a professional…  And usually that doesn’t occur until something occurs to alert them to a problem; blood in the urine, a chronic cough, a pain that won’t quit…  Or someone asking the simple question “Hey man, are you okay?”

But no one in his thirty-seven years ever asked.  No one sat him down and said ‘Hey…  You’ve been a little sideways…  Are you okay?’

Until one day, in the kitchen, I didn’t even recognize the man that I was talking to.

Now it’s been almost 8 weeks since this circus, this hunt for help started….

Phil is doing ‘well’….

He saw his Psychiatrist for the second appointment yesterday.  He was diagnosed; labelled; and the medication trials have started.

And, anyone who knows about the crazy meds will tell you, this will be the hardest part of this whole process….
Being patient.
Being accountable.
Struggling through the pain and the sickness and the feeling that you just want to curl up and die.
And staying compliant with your meds; no matter how much you fucking hate that bottle, you have to stay compliant.

We talked last night… And it was a big talk…  The ‘what if shit goes sideways’ talk…

And we’ve had this talk a few times over the last 8 weeks….  When it became apparent how sick he actually is, we had ‘the talk’.

We really just altered a few things in the original talk and I reiterated the fact that, if he fucks up…

I hate to sound cold and callous on this but, really, I think it’s important that we all step back and take an honest look at the situation here.  I am a mom of a beautiful and bright daughter who doesn’t need her world tossed upside down…  And I will do whatever it takes to protect her ‘safe place’; and her safe place is in her home, here with me.

Her home here with me is her safe place because I did the work…  I did all of the hard work and I got myself healthy; and I keep myself healthy by keeping in touch with my healthcare team and staying compliant with my meds.

The last thing someone with my mental condition needs; the last thing that my daughter needs; is some asshole who thinks that he’s better than the healthcare system and the doctors; coming in and fuckign up everything that I’ve worked so hard for.

I have been blunt.  I have minced no words.  I have told Philip flat out that we will continue to be in his corner and we will continue to support him; as long as he plays the game by my rules.

He knows my rules.

He has promised absolute compliance.

And I trust him….

Because he asked for help.  Help was not forced on him.  He asked for it….

And he knows, if he slips… He’ll lose everything that he has worked so hard to get…

And he knows he has too much to lose.

 

Life Moves And Changes….

One day you think you have it all figured out…  You think you have your shit together…  You think all your ducks are in a row…  You think you know exactly what the next day will bring.

Boy was I wrong…  *laughs*

Time has marched on…  As it always will.

Seasons have changed…  Days have passed…  Hours have felt like minutes…  Minutes have felt like forever.

That’s life.  That is definitely life as we know it.

There have been many changes in the last while; everything from a new dog that was taken from us because the rescue felt that we weren’t responsible dog owners…  To a new puppy coming along within days of the sudden departure of the adopted dog…  To a friend over for Thanksgiving…  To then falling so insanely in love with him that moments without him and his smile and laughter feel like an eternity….  To an engagement ring being placed on my finger…..

Enter a new family…  Complete with a mom and dad who love me and my Wee dearly…  A man with a heart made of absolute gold.  A man who has made his mistakes and paid for his mistakes…  A man who has lived, and laughed, and learned…  A man who loves Wee with all that he has and loves me more than he ever thought possible…  A man with his own set of flaws who embraces all of my flaws.

A man who I fall more in love with every single morning.

And a mom and dad who love us dearly…  A mom and dad!!!!

*Sigh*…  It doesn’t get better than this.

The new puppy is growing like a bad weed…  She is 19 weeks old as of mid-last week.  That put her up almost four pounds from her vet trip two weeks previous.  She’s already 17 pounds…  She’s definitely not a Chihuahua… But we love her dearly…

Wee is doing well in school.  She’s doing more than amazing with piano.  She’s looking forward to getting back to swimming now that I have recovered from surgery….  And she loves her new Grandma and Grandpa…  And loves Philip with everything that she has.

And me…  Well…  I’m happy to no longer have to have a specialist look up my lady bits every two weeks to cauterize everything that was left…  I’m content…  I’m happy…  I’m finding peace…

Philip is managing to take all of my broken pieces and help squash them back together….

I’m far from perfect…  But I’m perfectly content.

And in life, the what’s what truly matters.

Happiness.

Words And Actions…. Actions And Words….

People say a lot of things in life.  They say these things, whatever they may be, because words are easy…  Few calories are burned and, unless your words are found to be untrue and then you are held accountable for them, then they are something that can be forgotten as quickly as they are said.

The true judge of a person and their character…  Actions.

Actions speak volumes.

If someone’s actions are leaving you with doubt, if their actions don’t match their words, listen to their actions.  Actions are always the truest picture of a person’s character.

And pictures speak thousands of words.

If someone’s actions are leaving you feeling like less, your actions should speak to them in volumes in return; your actions should scream that you are worth more.

You are always worth more than bad behaviour.  You are always worth more than empty words followed by disgustingly stupid actions.

Never sell yourself short.

Never let anyone sell you short.

If you’re in a situation where someone’s actions are speaking to you and you don’t like what they’re actions are telling you; straighten your fucking crown, wipe your damn tears, and stop putting up with their shit.

You deserve it.

 

Life And Death And Everything In Between…

Well, I have thought.  I have done my thinking and my pondering and now it is time to write.

We all know about life.  We all know about living it.

We all know about death.  We all know about the sorrow in it.

We’re all faced with life and death every day.

Unfortunately, sometimes, life and death, well, they collide unexpectedly.

An accident….
An illness….
A surgery gone wrong….
A birth that takes a life.

Life happens.  Death happens.  We all know that.

One thing that no one seems to be eager to openly talk about though is Dying With Dignity; otherwise known as Assisted Suicide.

Suicide…  Such a secret word.

We’ve made it into such an ugly word.

It’s a word that’s rarely talked about openly….
It’s a word that is hidden….
It’s a word that, when we say it, we do so with our heads down and our voices lowered.

Why should it be this way?

Really, when you think about it, suicide has touched us all in some way.

Perhaps you know someone who tried…
Perhaps you know someone who was successful….
Perhaps…..

It has touched us all in some way.

More often than not, it is the move of a person who has been in physical or mental pain for so long that all they can do is pray that their smile hides their tears from the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, most of those who are successful with ending their lives end up doing so all alone.  Completely alone.  Isolated from their family and friends.  Completely without anyone to support them through their turmoil.

Why should it be this way?  Why should those who we love have to wander off by the light of the moon to find peace from their pain?

Why should those they love be left calling the police, calling the public, asking for help, searching…  Only to find…

Why should it be this way?

Yes, we have an Assisted Suicide Law in Canada now.  That’s one step in the right direction.

Unfortunately, the hoops that you have to jump through are so great and the standards that you have to meet to even be eligible make it impossible for those suffering the worst to find peace any other way than by taking life and death into their own hands.

Why should it be this way?  For any of us?

Suicide is legal.  Why should we have to sneak away and be isolated in our pain though?

I’m not saying that everyone who is feeling blue should be able to jump on the list and end it all.  That’s just nonsense.  But if there was a waiting period….  If there was accountability…. If there was honest thought put into it and honest accountability taken, why shouldn’t anyone who is suffering be able to say ‘Enough is enough.  I can’t do this anymore.’?

Let’s take an example shall we?

I know a family (whom I won’t mention) who recently lost someone dear to them to suicide.  Great family, strong family.  Great friends.  Amazing friends.  Great people in a great community.

The person who succeeded in ending their life was receiving treatment for their pain.  They had a support network all set out.  They had people they could call at any time day or night.  Everything was being done right.

But the pain persisted.

Slowly, the end was carefully, thoughtfully, and secretly planned by the person; last wishes were written down; the final moments visualized.

And then the call was made; ‘Something has gone wrong…’.

A search was launched…  But they were too late.  As with most successful plans, the call was made not to say ‘come save me’ but instead to allow the person to be found with as little time passing and as little trauma to friends and family as possible.

The end of the story goes the way all stories of suicide go…

Someone who was loved died alone….
Someone who was loved felt that the only way they could end their pain was to sneak away by the light of the moon and end their life….
The people who loved them are left behind….
They are left with the questions.

Why should it be that way?

Why couldn’t the person have looked at their doctor and said “I can’t.  Please, I’ve had enough.”  Left the office with instructions to talk to their loved ones and come back in ___ days.  If they still felt the same after ___days, they get a prescription; post dated for ___ days.  They then have to take that to the pharmacy.  When they are there, they need to look the Pharmacist in the eye and say yes, this is my choice.  The Pharmacist takes the prescription and puts it on hold until the fill date.  The patient comes back at the fill date and picks up their prescription.  Then life and death is in their hands.  If they choose life, great.  If they choose to take the medication, they can do so in the comfort of their home laughing and remembering life with their loved ones.

Wouldn’t that better than the questions?  Wouldn’t that be better than sneaking off to leave your loved ones to launch a search for you?

Wouldn’t that be better than knowing that someone we love is in pain and suffering?

There have been studies done.  There are so many people out there who have considered ending it; the pain is too great, the quality of life is lacking, there is no life for them to live because of the pain.  There are many of those people in our midst.  They drag from day to day and pray that no one knows their inner feelings.  But they stay around because they can’t see a way to easily leave this life without leaving a mess; and they don’t feel that they can just walk up to their friends and family and say ‘Help me tidy up my life so I can die.’…

They can’t do it.

So they stay.  They drag from day to day.

And then there are others who have gone so far as to make all of the secret preparations for their exit; final wishes, wills, even the means…  And then they get what they need to end their life in their hands…  And they find power in that.  They find strength in that.  Eventually the item that was to help them end their life ends up in a closet, in an attic, in the basement; dusty and forgotten…  But always in the back of their minds…  It’s their choice.  Life is in their control.

And why shouldn’t it always be that way?  Why shouldn’t we all have the power to choose?

Why should any family have to go through the trauma of a secret suicide?

Why shouldn’t everyone who is in pain be afforded the luxury of Dying With Dignity?

To Talk Or To Stay Silent….

Controversy.  It seems to be everywhere anymore.  Every subject can be taken and twisted and turned into some form of a controversial topic.

There are two subjects that I feel very strongly about at this moment.  Both, of course, are very controversial to many people; and on these subjects, there are few grey areas or fence-sitters; everyone has an opinion on them and everyone thinks their opinion is the RIGHT opinion.

If you ask me, those are the most dangerous controversial subjects because everyone has already made up their mind on the subject and no amount of discussing is going to change that opinion.

So, now I sit here….  with a million words that I’d like to say on at least one of the two controversial topics running through my head wondering, do I say them?  What will the backlash be if I do?  If I do speak, how can I do it in a way that won’t have me scrutinized and judged by everyone who reads it?  And if I am judged; how far will that judgement of me go?  Will it stop at me?  Or will it reach out and affect my whole family?

Because of these questions, and the uncertain answers that lie at the end of each question, I will sit here and think my thinks…  I will weigh the pros and the cons.  Once I decide if speaking is the prudent course of action, then I will write.

And not a moment sooner.

The Humour, The Tears, The Bargaining….

Well, I had another appointment today with my new Gynecologist/Surgeon.

I don’t think he appreciates my humour as much as my PCP does….  I was in full comedy mode at one point during the appointment but all I managed to get was one eyeroll and a small chuckle.   The eye roll came when he said that he was sorry, he’d have to use the bigger speculum because the small one wasn’t allowing him to see what he needed to see.  I said:
“After I’ll I’ve been through since May, I’m not really shocked that my lady bits have become a deep, dark cavern.”
The small chuckle came after he had tortured me getting the larger speculum in place and then he had to adjust the light:
“It’s a bit dark in there; but I guess that’s normal.”
“We could always decorate my lady bits with patio lanterns to make your job easier.”

Honestly, I think the man thinks I may be a little bit crazy.

But I’m okay with that.

He promised today that he wouldn’t give up on me….  So it’s okay with me if he thinks I’m crazy.

Really though, I think it’s less that my crazy is showing and more that I really do just need to get back to my life.  My life as I know it…  Our life as WE know it.

This has all had a huge impact on my Wee….  I’m not happy with how frustrated she is becoming with all of this…

Especially with the fact that we still really don’t know WHAT is wrong…  We only know that things aren’t right.

After going over a bunch more test results and scan results and ultrasound results today; after once again giving me a full exam and applying silver nitrate to the areas that aren’t healing, my doctor looked at me and said we had a choice to make.  There were two options; we had to choose one:
“Ride this out a bit longer or go in and see if we can find the problem.”

I cried…  Again….  He handed me Kleenex…  Again….

I begged for relief.  I begged for my life back.  I begged him to help me.  I even begged him to cut out more stuff and just sew it all up.

He asked if I would be willing to go back and see my old surgeon; the one who did the initial surgery and told me that ‘I was fine’.

I flipped my shit.  I told my new surgeon that hell would freeze first.  I told him that I don’t trust my old surgeon.  I told him that he didn’t listen to me.  I then looked him dead in the eye and said “I don’t trust him.  I trust you.”

He nodded, said he could understand how I felt, and said he won’t give up on me.  He then recommended an exploratory surgery.  He said he can’t guarantee that I’ll wake up feeling any better but, hopefully, I may wake up with some answers; some direction for us to travel.

Right now that is important.  Right now, we have nothing.

He booked the surgery, he booked my next appointment, he upped my pain meds…

He said I’ll see you in two weeks…  after that, I’ll see you just before you go to sleep for me.

I cried…  Again.  He handed me Kleenexes….  Again.

I thanked him.

Now me and Wee hold on to hope…. Hope that when he takes a look, he’ll find something.  Even if it’s nothing he can fix, at least we’ll have something….

Something is better than nothing.  Something gives us some kind of hope for a fix.

Nothing leaves us feeling hopeless and helpless.

Hopeless and helpless…  it’s a sucky spot to be in.

On a side note to all women out there:
If any medical professional EVER says the words ‘Silver Nitrate’ to you; tell them that you’d rather have a red hot fireplace poker shoved up your lady bits….