Thief

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Chronic illness is a thief. It takes from those who suffer many, many things. It can feel as though your whole life has been taken away from you. Your loves, hobbies, and often times your happiness. One of my hobbies that I love so much is photography. I used to take photos of everything almost daily. The world around me, my children, myself. Everything that I love, I would capture piece by piece, image by image I would take stills of my days so I could remember these moments forever. The last few months I have been so sore and stiff that I have not been able to do photography as much as I used to. There are many times I look around and I think, Leaf in rain “This is beautiful! I should photograph it!” But this means opening the clasps of my camera bag. Taking the protective caps from the lens, and the camera. Putting the lens on the camera. Adjusting the settings. Then I am ready to take a photo! This sounds like maybe 15-30 seconds of work, which would be accurate for the average person, but when your hands hurt and your joints are stiff, this takes much longer. Not only does it take longer, it hurts. I use my hands all day for various tasks. Zipping sweaters. Buttoning pants. Tying shoes. Then I get to work and I type, click, and navigate my computer. It doesn’t seem like much, but my hands can hurt and ache by 10 am.

Today is a dark and rainy day. My whole face hurts, to the point that it even aches to move my eyes. My hands, feet, elbows, and knees all feel like they have been stabbed and prodded with a screw driver. Long story short: I am in pain. But looking outside… it is so beautiful. I love the rain! I love what it does to the world, and I wanted to capture it! I decided I was going to ignore these pains. That I am going to take at least ten minutes outside and photograph this dark, dreary, beautiful day! The following images are creations from me. These are the result of about 10 minutes outside in my parking lot, and another hour or so of picking up and putting down my laptop for editing. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Leaf on gravel

Reflection of my house

Greasy Water

Aches

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Tonight my heart aches. It aches for that love I wish I could express. It aches for the person who holds my heart. It aches to let go, and just move on. It aches for me to be healthy. It aches for me to be better… what I was.. who I know I am. I ache tonight, and I will ache tomorrow. I just want the aches to stop. I want it all to go back to what it was. 

I keep thinking if I did so many things different, I wouldn’t be where I am. Please.. just let me be what I know I am. Let me be healthy me. Fix my knees. Take away this RA. Take away the pain, the swelling, the body I can’t live in anymore. Take it all away and give me what every healthy person has. I want to jump, and run. I want to dance ALL night again. I want to climb, and push myself to the brink! I want to look down from the top of a mountain and know that I got myself there! I just wish these aches… would go away. 

Four Pounds

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Over the last two days I have been on mostly liquids, diuretics, laxatives, and pain meds. This sounds extreme.. because it is. The blockage and irritation inside my intestines is just exacerbating the issues and pain associated with the cyst on my ovary, and we are doing what we can to clear it all out and relieve some pressure. So, needless to say.. I have been miserable. The amount of time I have spent in the bathroom is far more than I would ever like to spend there, especially while at work. I have been through worse than this before, but generally I do it at home. Since I have bills to pay, including but not limited to my medical bills, I have to go to work and push through it (no pun intended). It is not exactly fun to be running back and forth from the toilet at your place of work. Luckily I am well enough acquainted with all of my female coworkers that it’s not a huge deal for them to walk in and deal with me. In fact, oft times they offer to help me in any way possible. Get me some water, or something else I need. I am actually pretty lucky to have people who care for me in my place of work.

This morning when I woke up, I decided to see what two days of liquids and misery had done to my weight. We are trying to decrease the inflammation, and increase the flow of natural function. I hopped on the scale and took a look. Wait.. what? I hopped OFF the scale, let it reset, and stepped back on. r-GLOBAL-FAT-SCALE-large570 No. There is no way I GAINED four pounds in two days! What the hell? I know that when you are “starving” your body goes into survival mode, and stores everything that you take in. However, I know that I have not even taken in four pounds of anything, so seeing that I had gained that much frustrated me. Don’t get me wrong, I am more worried about getting this cyst to shrink or burst, and less worried about my weight, however I am so annoyed that even going through suffering like I am, I am still gaining weight. Over 50 lbs so far this year, and for what reason? I eat healthier than most people I know. I don’t eat gluten, I drink a lot of water, and I LOVE my fruits and veggies. I take in little dairy, and I eat meat maybe once a week. If that! I can’t help but be at least a little annoyed. I know we have taken me off the plaquenil, which may have been part of the reason I gained so much, and decreased another medication to only half dose.. but why do I keep gaining?

Each and every day that I have to face, there are more and more things to be sad about. Four pounds of weight on top of the weight I have already gained is just icing on the cake. I noticed some new stretch marks on my breasts today, which is no surprise. They have also almost doubled in size, and my clothes are getting smaller and smaller on me. I look in the mirror, and I barely recognize this body I am in. This wilting, bloated, fluctuating body that I have lived in for so long, but barely even know it anymore. I often forget what I look like on the outside during my day to day activities. I remember me how I feel on the inside, and passing mirrors or reflective windows pulls me out of the self image I keep in my head. I am often told how beautiful I am. Hot. “Bangable”. I got that one today.. but I just don’t believe it. I am covered in sore. There are small cysts growing under my skin on my neck, and face. I have 80 lbs of extra weight sitting on my bones. I just can’t look at myself and say, “You are everything you should and can be.” – I know what lies under what others see, and I wish I could show them what I know I am under this.. mask of a person I am. I have a lovely shape. My smile can radiate for miles! When I walk, heads turn and doors open. Tabs get paid, chairs get pulled out, and boyfriends get slapped. Men remember their fetish for redheads, and my eyes pierce through the toughest of shells. I know I am in there.. I know under these four pounds, upon four pounds, and MORE pounds.. I am still in there. I may be sick, weak, fat, and blistered right now but one day.. One day I will be me again. Right? I will be me?

Will I be me again?

It’s Not A Tumor

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I don’t really consider myself a person who likes to be a pity whore. I am the type of person that talks to people about my life (to a certain extent), and that extent varies from person to person. I blog because I can vent and let it all out without having to deal with direct questions and/or feedback from my friends or family. I like having an outlet that has nothing to do with my daily life. I am aware there are some people I know that read my blog, however they don’t talk to me about it, so I am ok with it. This last weekend was pretty rough on me, and today was just the cherry on top.

I am a person that will pretend everything is ok when it really isn’t. The amount of pain I endure on a regular basis would kill the average person, however I am not one to walk around all day telling everyone about the severe pain I am in. There are times it is obvious I am not ok, and thus people inquire as to my current state. I tend to brush it off, letting them know there is pain, but it is fine. I cannot say how many times I have said, “I am fine.” when I am nothing close to such. Anyone with any type of chronic illness or pain completely understands what it is like to do this. We all fake how good we are, and even when we admit that we are ill and that we are in pain, we still aren’t completely honest about the extent of pain. We brush off most inquiries, and claim our pain is manageable. 300_1324156 The funny thing is, when we finally cave and end up whining about our pain, it is then brushed off as us being dramatic, or just wanting sympathy. How does this even work?? You are only concerned when I appear in pain, however claim I am fine? But when I am in pain and admit it, I am being dramatic? This seems a bit ridiculous to me.

Over this last weekend I have given the “I am fine” multiple times, and though I wanted to be fine, I was not. I got the eye from a few close friends who knew better than to believe me. Kay, at her son’s birthday party. She knew better than to believe that I am fully ok when I claim I am. This girl has celiac, and other illnesses that causes ongoing pain and discomfort. She also knows when I am not ok. Cheryl (one of my closest friends) at her baby shower. She kept telling me that “my presence was her present”, and I knew she could see the pain I was in. She double checked with me this morning on my work chat about how I was doing. “I am fine” doesn’t pass with her. I was not fine this morning, and everyone at work who knows me could tell. Even those who barely know me could as well.

Since Saturday, I have been having a stabbing pain in my belly button, and dull aches through my right side. I told myself that it was all just because I was starting my period soon, so it was no big deal. There are times where I can’t stand during my time of the month, and I am pretty much used to it. I could tell that this pain was different, but I kept trying to tell myself that it was ok. That it was the same, and I was going to be fine. There was nothing going on. I was wrong, as much as I wanted to be right. Yesterday I was in and out of sleep all day. The shortest nap I took was 2 hours. I was going back and forth between being over heated and being cold. I was in quite a bit of pain, and it was pain I hadn’t felt before. Recently I had developed an odd pain on my right side that would come and go randomly. There would be a dull aching and swelling feeling; This would radiate for an hour or two, then slowly go away. I have been bloated off and on for over two weeks, however I couldn’t tell if it was my pelvic congestion issues, my fibro, my celiac, or something else. It is so hard to tell what is going on with my body all the time. There are so many different things going on inside me at one time that I cannot keep up with them all. It is so hard to tell what is a new symptom, a side symptom, and underlying symptom, etc.

This morning when I woke up, I was in a minor amount of pain. There was a lingering radiating sharp pain in my belly button, and surrounding areas. I told myself I was fine, got ready, and went to work. Once there, I could feel the pressure building up, the shooting pain in my belly button, and the urge to vomit become overwhelming. By 10am, I had thrown up four times, and was convinced to call the Dr and make an appointment. The first assumption made by all parties was that I had appendicitis. I was in so much pain by the time I had to leave the office, I had a coworker of mine drive me to my Dr’s appointment. The pain was overwhelming, and I felt like I was going to pass out. Not from the pain, but something was draining me, and I could barely keep my eyes open. I went back and forth three times today for various tests. First for a physical exam. Then for a blood test, and finally for an ultrasound. They had to rule out infections, appendicitis, etc. What it all came down to was an ovarian cyst, and some intestinal blockage. Not a fun thing.

Now, for someone who suffers through pain and suffering each and every day, to add additional pain on top seems like it shouldn’t be such a big deal, right? No. Not right. I am already fighting a daily battle in my own skin to keep myself alive. My body not only is aching, but it is also attacking itself, attempting to shut certain parts of itself down, and slowly degrading. Something simple like a menstrual cycle can cause me unbearable pain at times, and adding a cyst on top of that is no fun. The Dr described this cyst as “plum sized” and stressed that I need to try to keep my intestines as clean as possible, and see if it will burst on it’s own. Anyone who has had an ovarian cyst (I have) knows that it does NOT feel good when it finally ruptures, and trying o function for the next few hours after is absolutely nearly impossible. post-15-Ovarian-Cancer-pain My last cyst was about the size of a pea, so I can’t imagine what it is going to be like to have a PLUM sized cyst burst inside me. Like a mini explosion inside my body. That sounds great, when I can feel each and every little thing that goes on inside. Having nerves that are overactive, constantly in pain, and exhausted from all of what I deal with each and every day.. I am dreading when this thing bursts. I have been told that worst case scenario, it doesn’t burst, and I need to have it surgically removed. I am sure that it will burst on it’s own, just like the other ones I have had in the past. I recall what those ones felt like, and I ended up in the emergency for one, not knowing what was going on and only being told that it was a cyst bursting later.

Tonight I am on as many pain meds as I decided I could handle, and a few glasses of wine. I can still feel the pressure inside my body, and the pain radiating off of it. I have to return to work tomorrow, as I cannot afford to miss any additional work, and I cannot afford to lose my health insurance due to not hitting my hours. I am already planning how I will manage working through my day. What actions I will take. What clients I will work with. I have a meeting in the corporate office at 11am, and need to dress nicely as we will have partner clients in office. Tomorrow is going to be rough, but I have to do it. Tomorrow is going to end the moment I am off work, but I really have no choice. I am dreading tomorrow completely, but I have to take it one day at a time. I have been through worse, and I will likely be through more. It is late at night that I do most of my thinking, but lately most nights I am too tired to blog about anything. Tonight it has taken me about two hours from start to finish to write this blog. I have set my laptop down many times for various reasons. Pain. Tiredness. Kids. Needing to use the bathroom.

Tonight I am in so much pain, and I am dreading tomorrow. I am going to push through it, however, because I am that person. Because I am that mom. I am that worker. I am going to grit my teeth and deal with it. Will I have moments when I cave, bend over, clutch my side and whine? Of course. But I will keep going. I will have moment that are not so clear, and moments where I will take extra time to remember what I was talking about, but I will do it regardless. I am good at what I do. I am good to my clients. Even half awake, and half delirious, I am good for my company. I can, and I am going to do it. In pain, exhausted, and god forbid, not so pretty, but I will do it!

Man UP!

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Tonight I came across a blog that addresses the way parents are coddling their children these days.

You can find said blog here.

It speaks to letting your children deal with the world, and stepping in only when you are truly needed (within reason). I have often been criticized for the way that I parent my children, as I give them much love, but very little “support”. Now, when I say that, I mean that when my children scrape a knee, I do not come running with a bandaid. When someone calls them a name, I do not run in with comforting words and fighting my child’s battles for them. Here is how those conversations go.

Offspring: “Billy said I am ugly!”

Me: “Well, that was rude. Do you think you are ugly?”

Offspring: “No.”

Me: “Well, just because Billy said you are ugly doesn’t make it true. People say mean things. You’re fine.”

End conversation. This is the same if they call them stupid, or dumb, or anything else. My point to my children is that people say terrible things, however this does not mean that it is true, and if they are perfectly aware of the falseness of the statement they should simply move on and ignore said rude child. I do not feel like I need to constantly coddle, and shield my children from the world they are going to have to face one day. They are already facing the world every day, and it only gets more and more cruel! bullied-girl Now, if my child calls another person ugly, that is when I am stepping in! My child being cruel to another is NOT going to fly with me, and my child will get scolded, and punished accordingly. I am not raising a “Billy Bully”. I very much agree with her when she says:

“Your child, who you cater to every need, who you shelter from all things “evil.” How will this child react when he or she grows into adulthood? “Debbie” graduates from high school and goes to college. She writes her first paper and meets with her professor about that paper and the professor tells her that it’s junk and it will get a failing grade. How will Debbie cope with that if she’s always been made to feel that no one should ever make her feel sad, or criticize anything she does?”

There is nothing wrong with being a sensitive person. They is nothing wrong with being a soft, kindhearted, SWEET person! But if you can’t handle a day in reality, then there is a problem. You can be all of the above! A sweet, kind, soft person who CAN handle life as it is thrown at them. You can be that person. I am not one of those people, as I can’t help but have this hard shell I have developed over time, but please don’t think I am bashing on kind, sensitive people. I am very sensitive to the needs of my children when the NEED is REAL. Hurt feelings are very much real, but when you are deeply hurt because of the cold hard truth, that is about the time you need to suck it up. If someone is saying something simply to be cruel, you need to learn to walk away and let it go. When someone insults you, it says nothing about you, but MANY things about them. We have all had our times where we have been bullied, and even BEEN the bully. (Don’t pretend you haven’t!) At the end of the day, I want to raise women (3 girls, remember?) that are strong, but sensitive. Bold, yet sweet. Smart and brave, yet kind. THIS is what she is getting at, and THIS I agree with wholeheartedly! To quote her once again:

“Everyone parents differently, and I respect that. The current generation may be one that expects nothing less than everything from this world. But I know of two gentlemen that are going to be able to accept failure and move on having learned something from it.

Gentlemans-Gazette-photo I know of two gentleman who will be hurt emotionally, but who will be able to work through the hurt and carry on with life. I will cushion the emotional fall as much as a mom can, but I will not completely prevent it from happening. They will not expect whoever hurt them to be punished. Heck, I might even teach my children the power of forgiveness.

These two gentlemen will understand the value of hard work, and know that hard work is required to get where one wants to be in life.

They will, while understanding the need for caution, appreciate that not everyone out there is out to get them. Not everyone is out to do evil things.

These gentlemen will understand that there are about a gazillion people in this world. While they are incredibly special to me and my family, they are not special to the world. That probably sounds terrible, but people! It’s the harsh truth, and it needs embraced!”

I may be a hard, blunt, and often crass woman, but I will say this: I am doing my damnedest to raise my girls as this woman wants to raise her boys. I let my girls play in the dirt while wearing pretty dresses. We do our nails, and then play trucks! We take our dolls on motorcycle rides, and if we crash, we brush ourselves off and we get back up! I once held my oldest daughter’s hand in the ER while she received 120 stitches in her right hip from crashing a bike. She bit her lip and she SUCKED it up! I was so proud of her (and annoyed that she wasn’t watching where she was going on her bike and crashed into a car) that day, watching my girl keep her shit together while even I wanted to fall apart. We held hands, and she pushed through the pain. I am almost positive that I am the only one that cried that night. I stood my ground, and I was the brave mommy my baby needed me to be, but after all the lights were out and that baby was sound asleep and all stitched up, I cried my big mommy tears. THAT is what I want my girls to be. As many flaws as I have, I want them to grow up being thick skinned! I loved this woman’s post, and I hope that there are more and more people who stand up and say to their whiny kids, “MAN THE FUCK UP!”