The challenge..

Today was difficult overall. It started like a crazy hectic day from the moment I walked into the office. I took it in stride and then it all went downhill from there. My father racked up a few thousand dollars in international charges. I have been paying it down slowly but its affecting my lines. Then, I received a notice that because I forgot to schedule a payment they were going to turn off our lights. That was hard. I made the payment but this all happened in a span of a few hours/minutes from each other. I wound up taking lunch not doing my homework for class and just walking out and sitting in the church next door for 20 minutes. I needed peace, I needed solace.

I’ve been on my medication for the SLE for about a week. Its hard, I sometimes forget, and I don’t feel all that well. I feel tired and most of all achy. It varies on the severity. I stomp around the office trying to work and focus, but some moments my focus isn’t there. My focus is on the pain in my fingers and ankles or wrists and not on what I’m working on.

I compare this revelation of the SLE diagnosis to driving your entire life at 100 mph and slamming the brakes at once and now driving 30 mph. I’ve been trying to figure out my life and figure out what to do with myself. I was and always have been driven but now in the face of my own mortality, I am questioning what I want. All the money I wanted won’t fix what I have. It will make me happier in a lot of regards but it won’t cure me. As I sit here typing, I am thinking about my school work. I have to do something today but the truth is that I just want to sleep and maybe try to sneak in a game or two..

Today was stressful but tomorrow is another day… live to fight another day..

Coping..

When I was younger in my late teens, my parents became friends with this lady who had a daughter that was wheelchair bound. Her daughter had lupus. She was the first person I ever knew had that. For a while I’ve felt like utter shit. I’ve woken up struggling to get to work to get dressed to function. Pain in my bones that felt like my bones were snapping. Last week I had a bad week. That’s the shit. I don’t feel bad all the time. Just sometimes. Last week was bad. Friday I was miserable. I hadn’t slept well because I had pain in my body to the point I couldn’t sleep. I went to work and it was just a shit day. 

The thing is that it’s hard to explain to others what you feel. Not because I can’t express myself but because they wouldn’t understand. I was enraged when I recently found out that I might have lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. I was enraged because this is exactly what I’ve been begging doctors to test me for. I don’t feel good. I feel tired. My joints hurt incredibly. No you’re okay. You’re a mom, a student, an employee. 

Well I’m not okay. I hate pity parties. At this moment I’m sort of basking in one as I process what this means for me. Law school? Legal pressures? Can I have a longstanding legal career with its stress since stress is something that I need to reduce? I feel like Dorothy’s house flying around the eye of the storm. I was angry for a moment. Angry that I have to go through another challenge after all of the challenges I have faced. I know I’ll get over my pity party. I know I’ll keep trucking. I just have to reach that point where I’m okay. 

My significant other is clueless. He seems to think people on the train are my biggest stressors. No he is, work is. I feel unsupported but the hardest part is that I feel misunderstood. That’s the killer. I feel like no one understands what I feel and it’s hard because it’s something your battling in silence. It makes you feel isolated. 

Dr. Who?

With all the things that my dad is going through health wise, I decided to suck it up and go see a doctor. It turns out that my PCP who I love and reminds me of the little man from UP has retired. I’ve been mourning him for 2 weeks now. What really pushed me to seek medical help was I got food poisoning the week before last, then I wound up with some viral cold/flu that kicked my ass and had me towing crossing over.  I admit, after my time working for a personal injury firm and seeing hospitals in New York failing epicly, I’m sketched. The bulk of my treatment and my daughters is in Long Island with surgeries in Manhattan and Long Island. I’ve never been treated by doctors out on the other boroughs that are affiliated with any local hospitals. Its not to say that there aren’t amazing doctors, but the level of care is just vastly different. NYU compared to Woodhull before the purchase. If you don’t know, once upon a time, Woodhull was a nightmare. You might check in, crap shoot if you check out. You couldn’t pay me to check in there.

So the moral is that I know better. I don’t get injections from basement doctors or get medicines out of zip lock bags. Normally, I do my due diligence. When I was super sick last week I decided to call a doctor because I really felt like I was dying. I got ahold of an office that scheduled me for a week later. Mind you, I had searched for a PCP in my area. Time passed I showed up to my appointment yesterday. Of course, it wasn’t drama free. I looked like a crazy person exchanging words with the car service that picks up my dad from dialysis. My dad called and they were an hour late, telling him they’d be there in 15 minute increments. By the time I was done I had ripped them a new asshole and threatened them if something happens to my father in his condition.

I proceeded to go into the office. Hindsight is amazing. I filled out the paperwork which was unremarkable and waited patiently. When I was called in I gave the nurse my entire history. Food poisioning, etc.  when the doctor came in I gave him the same run down. He asked if I had anxiety, I told him that it’s possible at this time. Long story short he proceeded to tell me to strip down and put on the gown. They were going to run a panel for HIV, STD’s and thyroid. This should’ve been my first clue that something was off. In fact for a minute I paused and repeated his instructions. Yet, I still sat down waited for him and the nurse to return and had a vaginal exam.

I went to work and told my bestie about it. She was hilarious because her first question was if there was a nurse present. I responded yes, I don’t think I was molested. Long story short, I had not made an appointment with a PCP. It was an ob/gyn. No wonder he was like okay crazy person, when I proceeded to give him my entire medical life. Today, I was cleaning out my bag and found the business card. Sure enough further evidence that I had gone to an OB/GYN. What throws me off is that the person that scheduled me could hear that I couldn’t talk. I had a hell of a sore throat and told her I was coming in because I was so sick. Maybe she thought I was pregnant and dying of a cold but we were clearly both mistaken… and that’s the story of how I got my vajajay checked when I was really trying to treat a god damned cold…

What they don’t tell you..

I’ve had moments of insanity. I call it insanity because for me personally children are cute but even better when they go home to someone else.  I have occasionally thought about giving my daughter a sibling. For health for life a sidekick to share life with. I love my kid. She’s smart, hilarious, ambitious and the list can go on. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t have days this week I wanted to get my passport and sail off into the sunset without her. Does it make me a bad mom? I don’t think so. In fact, I think it’s normal to think that and feel that way. I think women tear each other up over feeling like this but I think more moms think this than they let on. 

I am an only child. Because of this everything falls on me. I’m not complaining but what I am saying is it’s hard. It’s hard to juggle your life and become your parents caretaker. No one tells you these things. You go to college think about a career but who prepares you for your parents ailing health. Was it a given? Did I skip that lecture? If I had a sibling maybe I wouldn’t be playing circus like I am right now. 

This is what makes me feel like I should’ve given my daughter a sibling. So that the day I am gone she is not alone. So that the day I am not well she has someone to help support her through it. 

Because life is hard. There are no easy choices, and even harder challenges await and as the adage goes: “life waits for no man.”

The caretaker..

Being a caretaker for a loved one is challenging. It far exceeds or at least matches caring for a child. Except it’s an adult. My father died litterally and came back. The miracle in that isn’t lost on me. What I am however is overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed with my work responsibilities, my motherly responsibilities and my responsibilities as a daughter. Normally my weekends are lax. But since my fathers critical condition I’ve been running ragged. To the point I opted to not see him for a few days so I could sort of rest. This weekend I tore my house upside down to try to make more room for my dad and make it more comfortable than it was. He has now reached end stage kidney failure and has stage 4 heart failure with high blood pressure and pulmonary hypertension. 

He started the road to dialysis. It’s a long road and a hard one. One he adamantly did not want. For now, he’s complying and taking his meds and I’m happy. But as I think of the daunting work week and treatment week I know we’ve still only just begun. Although I’m at home today, I can’t help but wonder how he will manage tomorrow. 

The light..

My first inclination is to run. Break out into a full on sprint, music blasting while the sidewalk pounds the soles of my feet. I’m far from conventional by any means. People say that but I mean it. My emotionless state is what makes my life so easy to deal with. If I sat there and drowned myself in emotions, I would be a hot emotional mess. So I opt to shut it down reign it in and as I tell myself suck it up buttercup. I’ve had many challenges. I’ve always surpassed them. 
My fathers health is ailing and a lot of it is a result of his own doing. This doesn’t make it any easier although my strength and resilience make it seem as though it is that simple. 

What I didn’t know when I wrote the paragraph above is that my dad would flatline and come back. That I would realize a hospital to be a place of a lot of sadness for those who are ailing or passing, some hope for those who are saved and some joy for those that are born. 
I couldn’t do what they do on a daily basis. I couldn’t stare death in the face every single day. It’s not that I fear death necessarily it’s that I want to live. In the face of mortality I pale. I pale at the thought of what I hope to do, what I want to do and what I haven’t done. I think of death like the times I’ve had surgery. Where they give you an anesthetic lights out.. not here nor there just out…

And I don’t want to be out..

Clearly don’t learn..

Have you heard of rats that get shocked everything they try to eat the cheese as a sort of conditional response or experiment on brain patterns? That’s me I try it every god damn time even though I know it’s not good for me. A few years ago I suffered from gall stone attacks. I would rather give birth three times over than to experience that. Right after I had my daughter I had my first attack. I was laying down in bed and I had so much pain I remember falling to the floor panting. I felt like I was going to pass out the pain was so crazy. We called an ambulance somewhere between that time I had thrown up and I was just fine. I chalked it up to bad food. Fast forward about 6 months later I had a second attack. They started happening so infrequent that I never correlated  the issue to fatty foods. That is until I started having these attacks once a month almost every month. I went to a first doctor that diagnosed me with gallstones. He alleged that my stones were not that serious to him to intervene. Mind you, at this point I was having attacks about every month with consistency. I went to see a second specialist, who again re-affirmed that I had stones. He said that unless it persisted he didn’t see basically why I needed anything to be done. I was outraged and at that point I knew that it was the foods, like milk, or my fave Alfredo that were setting these attacks off. I tried to minimally eat anything with dairy and it worked at least 85% of the time. When the second doctor told me hang tight, I was ready to go get a bowl of alfredo and go manja in his waiting room so that I could just toss my cookies and go into a full attack in his office, so he could tell me if it’s still not enough for medical attention. This went on well for about 2 years.

The symptoms got progressively worst. One time, I literally shit myself in my beetle. My VW beetle that is, in the middle of the attack. I had gone to the hospital in the beginning stages of an attack. I felt like I was going to pass out. I told the registration office and they told me no urine sample no treatment. So I tried to drive myself home. Clearly, that didn’t work out well. If you’ve never had a gallbladder attack, here’s what it’s like. It’s like the combination of pain going around your back and your stomach but at the same time it feels like your having a heart attack while an elephant sits on your chest. The moral of my story is that I went through this for years on end. Until I found a doctor about 3 years in and at the point I was living off water and small snacks that removed my gallbladder. The surgery was successful. Now fast forward, I developed a bit of lactose intolerance. I still eat ice cream and dairy products. Every now and then though there are foods that fuck my life up. Yet, sometimes I do it knowing the risk. The other day I had this great restaurant called melt shop. They serve, what else but melts with cheese. The hilarity is that knowing my gastrointestinal issues, I followed that shit with ice cream. While I was getting my nails done, my stomach was fighting like it was the movie 300. I remembered the beetle incident. As my eyebrows were getting waxed all I prayed for was to not be the chick that shit herself on the eyebrow waxing table..