Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Pity Party

Maybe I need to secretly up the dose of my "I don't care" pills, maybe it's the change in season, but I'm not in the best frame of mind. The following unrelated events have been nagging at me lately:

  • I've been more forgetful: Some would say not to worry--that it is just because of my age, and it happens to everybody, or "at least you have an excuse." But I do worry, because of my cancer. When I have a "brain fart", it reminds me that I am disabled, and like everyone else, I'd rather forget that. But today, I forgot an appointment. Yesterday (Wednesday) I thought was Thursday. My Friday volunteer job has been maxing what brain I have left. I would like some small sign of competence, but I don't have it (competence). I should continue to be grateful I have an excuse (for my lack of competence), and grateful I'm not dead yet, which brings me to my next point.

  • My husband lost his job, and doesn't know what he's going to do: He's not feeling competent either, and I remain very frustrated at my inability to help him. He applied for a job at Dell, and is considering a change in career from Software Manager to Financial Adviser, but right now is having too much self doubt. Not good when I'm in that space too.

  • I have a pre-teen with a "tude": On top of everything else over which I have no control, there is my son, a smart boy who wants to be just like his dad, and like his dad, thinks he knows everything. I'm not supposed to parent him, you know, do things like tell him to wear a coat, pick up his room, which resembles the contents of my head. I'm supposed to wake him up, so he can do the homework he should have done the night before. Some decisions I make about him are vetoed. For example, my husband and I both wanted him to go to grandma's funeral, but at the last minute, husband decided that Austin didn't have anything appropriate to wear, so dropped him off at school instead. But I'm digressing.

  • I'm having too many thoughts about death: Watching my grandma fight death made me think about how I want to die. Of course I don't have control over the circumstances of my passing. In all probability it will be from my tumor, but back to grandma. Despite having faith and being told by her favorite priest that she is okay in God's eyes, and despite the fact she lived for 95 years, she didn't want to go. It got me to thinking: Do I want to slowly deteriorate, or would it be best to die suddenly, like in a car crash? Will my passing be made any easier for me or those I leave behind, if I become a person of faith? After watching my grandma, I would have to say my answer to the first question is that I would rather die suddenly than the way I most likely will die, and regarding the second question, faith didn't seem to help my grandma. Also the notion of my husband or son having to feed me, change me, remember my appointments, and so on scares me. I wonder if it scares them?
  • What it all boils down to: I don't know but at 42, I'm going through a transition in my life, and I will be happy again when I've made it through--made peace with my illness, and the uncertainty and depression it can bring.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

labels and disables

There are days I don't feel sick, where I feel like I have a full-functioning brain, but then my brain just stops, even while I'm doing my volunteer job. Brain just says, "Stick me with a fork. I'm done!" It can't process any more stimuli, and switches to impulse power.

The sad part is, mine may be the best brain we have in the house, and we need a better one. Husband is unemployed and can't get off the computer, I have officially earned the label of "disabled", because I went and got brain cancer. Son is an eleven-old-boy, and is making the most of his time to be selfish, and dependent, and as such has no interest in becoming more independent.

I recently asked my husband to tell me when it's time to worry (about not having work, insurance, my cancer, our son, or anything). He lives in his own world, and seems very happy there. He must know something I don't, and I wish that blind faith over to me. My little family seems to be treating the unemployment issue like it did my cancer: It's not a problem yet, and therefore not worth thinking about. I do wish I could support my family with my idiot brain, but I can't.

These are scary times. I just hope they don't get scarier.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


This is a piece I wrote from a writing group I just joined. Members of the group picked a word and wrote what came to mind. My word was "debt". Here's what I wrote:

Owe too much money
Have the recession blues.
Where has all the money gone?
Did it go to good use?

Do we need what we have?
Do we have what we want?
Do we have enough?
Yes, we probably do.

When did money become so important?
Can we ever pay back what we owe?
Some things don't have a price tag.
Those that mean the most.

Will the World come to an end?
Is this debt like a tsunami
Drowning me and carrying me away?
Can we ever pay back what we owe?
Can we ever stop thinking of what we are owed?

Can we ever stop saying, "I want, I want?"
And instead start saying,
"There is enough. I am content."
Yes, we probably can..Someday.

Does debt matter when there are other important issues?

Not Really.


Time to give up material things and perhaps pursue more spiritual goals.
Can you do that?
You have to now!
You are in debt!

Pay the Piper.
He won't wait.

Because Just Because

GV's favorite song. We sung it together every time I saw her! Sometimes twice. RIP.

GV, I hardly knew you.

Grandma passed away this past Wednesday, and I have to say I feel grief and relief. Grief because I hardly knew her, or any of my grandparents for that matter. Relief, because she is no longer fighting a losing battle to stay alive.

I do wish I had known her better, and I wouldn't have known her at all if not for my sister, who found her using the Internet. During the time I had with her, we did enjoy singing together, playing word games and even talking politics. Grandma was pretty progressive. She was very pleased to see Obama win the presidency, for example. I don't know why, but I was surprised that she had any political opinions. I was raised to believe that grandma was ignorant, but she had more intelligence and creativity than she was given credit for.

I find it curious that all of her four children are estranged from her. Only they know what GV did to alienate herself from them. Being a grandma requires different qualifications than being a mother, I guess. It is likely none of them will be present at her funeral this week.

I will always believe that she lived so long (to age 95) hoping that she could mend fences with them. She never will, sadly.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

GV update

For about two weeks now, I have been watching grandma (my dad's mother) die. These final days do not appear to be the spiritual wonder that she perhaps hoped they would be. In fact, just a few days ago, she declared to her priest, "I don't want to die!"

As of today, she is peeing blood, due to kidney failure. She is on oxygen, but is struggling to breathe. Her breath smells like poo. Her mouth is open and her eyes closed. It's hard to tell if she knows that I am there, but a hospice nurse did tell me that she thought grandma can still hear.

Since she doesn't want to go, she's fighting, and the fact she's a woman of faith is not easing her final journey. I wonder what she is fighting for. Perhaps she would like to mend fences with her four estranged children. It's clear though that her faith is not getting her through this. She may not be suffering, but if she is, she can no longer communicate it.

She has to meet her maker on her own terms, but if I were her, I would not want to live in the state she's living.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mason and the teacher

When I went to the last brain tumor support group meeting, I thought the guest speaker was going to talk about Social Security Disability benefits. Instead he was an attorney who specializes in the rights of the disabled, and knew little about Social Security or Washington law. Very unfortunate for our Washington brain tumor patients.

But I'm babbling, and I'm not even talking. Before the speaker was to perform his well-rehearsed power-point presentation, the moderator of the group asked all of us to tell him our experiences with Social Security.

When it came time for one man to speak, his voiced quivered as he noted that he used to be a "Vice President for Mitsubishi," but now has "only two good hours (a day)." Wouldn't it be nice, if one didn't need his brain.

In contrast, another lady who is a teacher, is struggling to keep up with the demands of her job, and she is worried what her employer may do about it. She has too much on her plate: a new marriage, a new baby, going to school, being a teacher. She's trying to "prove" that her brain tumor isn't affecting her.

But how can it not? One of the hardest things to do as a brain tumor patient is to admit he or she is disabled, if not physically, then cognitively, even if the difficulties are hard to notice. It was an easy call for me to make when I was taking chemotherapy. I felt flu-like symptoms all of the time it seemed like. With my husband being out of work, and my being off chemo, I had this fantasy of going back to work, and got a reality blast during an informational interview, at which everything that could go wrong--did. The interviewer was late. I was tired and ergo was not articulate. I used to be an employers wet dream. I would work long hours, cover others' shifts, and I was competent enough. Really I was.

But that was yesterday, and this is TODAY! And today is my DAY! To do what, I'm not sure.