Side A


In 2014 I had a much different story to tell, a story that is now a part of my life, but no longer my life. I struggled with the thought of continuing my story under goblueblog and it just didn’t feel right.

I am now blogging at www.behindtheglass.blog … where I plan to build upon the life that was created out of the chaos of losing my husband on so many levels. It feels like forever ago but in reality its only been 2 years, 4 months, 28 days… and yes, I do still think about time, it’s just not as all-consuming as it once was. 

Welcome to “Side A” of my life (I wonder how many will understand that reference?!) where it’s not about starting over, but starting again.

 

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Same Book, New Chapter


Well, as I’ve said before, we all have a story. My book just got a new chapter and I will start from the beginning. Pack a lunch because this is going to be a long one.

On May 18th, I realized I lost my sense of taste and smell – it was gone- literally gone. I thought maybe it was because I had eaten some rancid nuts the night before. My co-worker thought as much, I thought as much, my parents thought as much. I also noticed that the whole left side of my body felt numb. I could feel pressure but I couldn’t really distinguish a rough or soft touch. I consulted Dr. Google but I really didn’t match anything because I didn’t fit any of the symptoms – the loss of taste could be an allergic reaction, and I didn’t have a pins and needles sensation.  My boss & coworker encouraged me to call my real doctor which I did and they were pretty casual about it so I was casual about it and had an appointment with Dr. R for the following Thursday.

I went to work the next week and noticed that my writing was a bit off — just not as fluid but couldn’t really pinpoint anything except it seemed “off” and my eyes just didn’t seem to want to work together. When I saw the physician’s assistant that Thursday, she asked me all the normal questions related to stroke and determined that I didn’t have a stroke and not really knowing what to do she checked with the doctor who wanted me to get an brain MRI. So I made my appointment for the following Wednesday.

I had planned on taking the Friday before the holiday off so that I would get a four-day weekend. Each day of that 4-day weekend, my vision got worse. I started becoming dizzy, unstable, and started seeing double. I put medical tape over one eye to keep the double vision to a minimum. I was a site to see trying to walk the hallway – bouncing off the walls!

On the Tuesday after the holiday, I returned to work – mind you, it is a crazy busy time for my desk and there were things that had to be done. But when I got to work, I started to cry — I shouldn’t have driven, I was having a hard time seeing, my body was numb, I still had no taste and consequently no appetite, and a new symptom–my right (dominant) hand was having a hard time using the mouse – critical to my work load.  My boss kindly “asked me to go home” and we had a not-so-fun conversation. I later learned that she had talked to my co-worker and the big boss and wanted a note from a doctor that I was OK to return to work. Plain and simple, she was really worried about me. She encouraged me to go to see Dr.R sooner but my MRI was the next day and he wouldn’t know anything until the results were returned to him 48 hours later and I was scheduled to see him on Monday anyways… so again, I was following his lead- very casual. I had already planned on switching doctors anyway and in the meantime was scheduled for a new patient visit with Dr. H the second week of June.

So I went to my MRI appointment and then thought since Dr. R won’t give me a work release because I really didn’t emphasize the trouble with my eyes, I would go see Dr. C, my ophthalmologist. They got me right in on Thursday and after checking my vision and sharing that I had a fourth-nerve palsy said to me “I’m going to fax Dr. R a note right away and he may want to see you sooner or send you to a neurologist. He will have this note in an hour”.  I have to admit that was the first time I got a bit nervous. No one had considered it that urgent previously. I still didn’t get my work release!

I invited my boss to my follow up appointment with Dr. R the following Monday so that she could make sure I was OK to return to work even if I had to be driven everywhere and was wearing a fancy adhesive eye patch (ahoy matey!). Dr. R was again casual not having even looked at the MRI results or even aware that Dr. C had faxed a note on the Thursday  prior. As he read the notes of the MRI he started mentioning things like “lesion, right lobe, swelling, demyelinating disease, MS, palsy, Lyme disease.  He asked me which neurologist I would like to see (as if I know of a neurologist?!) and my mom, boss & I agreed we had heard of the doctor on Baxter Street. They were going to fax over the paperwork to them and that neurologist’s office would call me to schedule and appointment the following Friday – a week later. *For the record, I called them not hearing back and noticed that I was actually scheduled with Dr. E at a completely different neurologist office and they didn’t have anything from Dr. R’s office so I called Dr. R’s office, asked that the referral be resent and when Dr. E’s office called they only had the 21st open, so I took that date. I share this only because this is really where I start to see God’s hand in play. 

The following Tuesday was my appointment with Dr. H. As I had discovered just a few days prior, she was married to Dr. E!  She took one look at my new patient paperwork, asked a few questions and then promptly said to me, “You need to see Dr. E sooner rather that later,” and she called Dr. E’s office and got me an appointment for the next day! Oh, hello Jesus.

On Wednesday… now a full month of little to no taste, minimal feeling on the left side of my body, double vision and tremors in my right hand, I finally saw a neurologist. He showed me the video of my brain and two lesions on the right side which were causing my left side problems and lack of taste issues. He said the right side problems were a “leak-through” problem of the right side lesions and it could just have easily affected my mobility or speech. He sent me out with a stack of paperwork about 1/4 of an inch–saying that he wanted to rule out MS and lymphoma. Lymphoma! That wasn’t even on my radar — it was the first time I cried – and I tear up now feeling those emotions again. He wanted an urgent MRI of my spine to see if there were more lesions present and an urgent request for lumbar puncture.  The past two weeks have been a whirlwind. I have been paying people to poke me with needles – whether it be blood, contrast for the MRI of my spinal cord, or the lumbar puncture.

I received a voice mail from the nurse –good news! The nurse doesn’t call with bad news–that’s the doctor’s job. Turns out my Vitamin B test came back low and I just needed to take a B-Complex with B1 and B12. I was thrilled to hear this. The eye doctor could also fit me for a prism lens which would help that fourth-nerve palsy. She said the doctor would be in touch as the rest of the tests came back. And at 4:30 that same day, I got a call from Dr. E directly. Two of my labs came back abnormal -two that were prime indicators of MS, two letters that have changed my world the past couple of days. He said that based on those initial tests & his experience, he recommended I get in immediately for three days of an infusion drip of a strong steroid to see if we could lesson the symptoms — but the anticipated long-term prognosis remained — multiple sclerosis.

So yesterday, today and tomorrow I sit in an infusion room getting my drip. I have a port in my wrist so that they have only had to prick me once. On the plus side I have a cool looking Michael Jackson medical gauze glove! But my eye-sight has improved, my hand tremors have stopped, my feeling and taste are back. The doctor is waiting for a few more cultures to come back but so far all arrows lead to MS. I’m not the typical candidate but then again who is? Like cancer, it doesn’t discriminate and what I can do now is manage they symptoms and try to control my body from destroying itself. The doctor, based on my labs, does not feel its infectious, viral, or bacterial. Mine is likely the result of an auto-immune attack. 

To those who would say that I don’t deserve this, I would say I agree but here it is- the start of my new chapter and while it caught me by surprise it didn’t catch my God off-guard. He is still the same God yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And He is still a God of healing and miracles.

Brain lesions pic courtesy of Lucyand3cats.blogspot.com

A Rocky, Stinky, Sweet State of Normal


My therapist told me to keep writing. I haven’t been faithful to that request. I have been doing a lot of stuff outside of the blog. I’ve been living. Living a new (another) life and finding what has proven to be a rocky state of normalcy for me. In hindsight, perhaps keeping up with the writing would make it feel less rocky.

I have started attending a divorce support group. Last year, I went to one meeting right after M left–it was the week they talked about anger.  I left that class and told the facilitator that it wasn’t the right time for me.  I didn’t “act” like what they showed angry to look like. I had anger in me and wrote about it, but I wasn’t fired-up angry, if that makes any sense. I certainly wanted with everything in me to hate M, to hate her and I didn’t, I couldn’t and I still don’t. I wondered and still do- what’s wrong with me that I don’t have any feelings of hate toward them? Wouldn’t THAT be normal? Don’t normal people lash out and break things and scream at  the top of their lungs until their face is red. Don’t they start fires and burn pictures of past memories and toss belongings onto the lawn, don’t they try to retaliate? And yet, I had none of those feelings. I would share that with folks and they told me I was numb, they told me it was because I understood the love of God for me and therefore could show compassion to those that hurt me. It didn’t make me feel normal to hear any of those things.

In one of my question and answer sessions with A, he came out and asked me one night, Do you blame God? I paused. I cried. I said yes.

I’m a “good, Christian girl” so of course I’m supposed to believe that nothing slips through the fingers of God without Him knowing or allowing. I’m to believe that God is sovereign and that nothing catches Him by surprise. And yet I couldn’t wrap my mind around how five years ago the Lord allowed me (and M) to lose our worldly belongings and have nothing but our family to cling to. Yes, my “family” was quirky but weird as it was to others, it was mine. It consisted of me, M, and our two dogs. Then in a matter of 13 months I lost one dog, then the other dog, and finally M. I lost all of “my” family. I remember saying to God, I don’t understand. What’s next? What else am I going to lose? What’s left to be taken from me?
I was scared to know the answer.

After a pause, A replied Yes, God allows everything but don’t confuse that with Him being the author of it.  And I realized that was an answer my soul could accept. I didn’t want to hear it but I needed to and I didn’t like hearing it anymore than I liked that M and her had an affair and continued to spread lies about me even after they got what they wanted.

I’ve realized I was angry but that my anger was misplaced and the reason it didn’t “look” like what anger should look like, is because how do you “show” anger at the Creator of the Universe when He is the one that I desperately needed comfort from? It’s like biting the hand that feeds you… you may not like what is being served for dinner, but if you’re hungry enough you will eat.  In all of this, I was still counting on the Lord to be my source of strength and to live up to the promises His Word says about having a hope and a plan for my future (Jer 29:11) and that I would have a table in the presence of my enemies and MY cup would overflow (Psalm 23:5).

In my support group, we are in week two of the “trifecta” (anger, depression, lonliness) and I realize that I’m never going to be able to slap or punch M, (and it’s not prudent to do that to her either) but I can be angry at M even though he isn’t here anymore. I have things I would like to say to him, things I want him to know but there are all sorts of ways to work through that. My display of anger isn’t so unusual–anger takes many different forms. Television’s depiction of anger in divorce was what was guiding me to believe I wasn’t handling this normally but I’m handling it as normally as I would handle things.

So my new sense of normal has currently got me in a raw state–like an onion–all my layers are being peeled back and I’m learning a lot about myself. I just hope that it’s not so stinky that I offend anyone, but rather, maybe I will be like a Vidalia onion… sweet and bloomin’!

GoBlueBlog – 2014 in Review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

August 2014 I started goblueblog hoping to just have an outlet in what I intended to be an open letter to M. A letter I was going to share with him the day our divorce was finalized. I never did share it with him and just 62 days after our divorce, sharing the blog link with M became a moot point.

Blogging has been an amazing experience and I recommend it (along with therapy!) to anyone looking to find their voice. You’re not as alone as you may think or feel and you never know the folks that will walk along this path with you…many never to be known.  WordPress provided me with my little blog’s year in review which I will share for a bit with you too. May 2015 yield God’s blessings upon all of us and all the love we can absorb from friends and family.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,000 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Legally Divorced, Emotionally Widowed


Legally divorced and emotionally widowed….there is no other way to say it.  It’s the only way to describe this chaotic, conflicting, non-sensical way I’m feeling.  I was barely getting used to not referring to M as my husband and now he’s gone.

Eight days ago, I was mentally & emotionally stable.  I was in a good place; happy with where I was at, the progress I was making, the fact that for once in a very long while, I was happy–maybe not all day every day, but every day, I was truly happy.

Because the divorce happened so quickly, its natural for people to think of M and then think of me. Now that he’s gone, I feel that people are looking to me to be the representation of him. I wonder if they think of me as shallow and hateful because I’m not visibly a puddle of tears wondering how I’m going to move forward.  What they don’t see is that behind closed doors or in the comfort of my closest friends, I am a mess–confused by the emotions that are within me.

I had been telling M goodbye for 4 months. I had been mourning the loss of my marriage for 4 months. I had realized that the person I loved stopped existing 5 1/2 months ago and I didn’t know this new person claiming to be M. I don’t know why he chose the path he did, why he started making the choices he did, I just know that four months ago, he told me about his affair and 9 days later he moved out.

And yet, here I am, once again, telling him goodbye. Here I am walking through the stages of grief once more. Here I am, replaying different scenarios over and over again in my mind. And mostly, here I am again … angry.

This time my anger is much different. I know that this time it’s a defensive anger – an anger that exists because even in death, I have heard more lies that M told. Really M?! Really?!  You had the nerve to tell co-workers that I wanted the divorce, that you still loved me and that I was the heartless one?! Again, I say Really?! I want to just plaster billboards all over town with the link to this blog. I’ve spent the past four months working out some hard emotions because you scoffed at the idea of reconciling or rebuilding our marriage.  I’m angry because it doesn’t matter now – I have no one with which to be angry, I have only the memory of you getting the last word.

As for “her”… I am conflicted because I want to say to her that she flatters herself if she thinks that what she did or said caused M to make the choice he did 7 days ago, but that’s not fair — I don’t know what she is feeling and its not my place to tell her how she should or shouldn’t feel.

Mostly I don’t want her to feel the pain or confusion as to why he did what he did. Three years ago when we lost a friend to suicide, M and I talked about his depression and the struggle he fights each day to stay this side of life. He talked about his past suicide attempt many, many years ago and how it had nothing to do with anyone else. It truly is that the person experiencing the anguish is at a point of seeing no other options.   I don’t know why, but I find that having that conversation in my heart brings me peace.

90 days ago, we were separating our stuff, making new lives for ourselves – now in a few days, his stuff will be distributed and donated and deemed worthy or unworthy of being retained by family members. Legally I have no say to anything regarding M or his property and yet I am probably the one that knew him best. Emotionally, I am having a hard time pulling my heart back into sync with my head and returning to my state of mind just eight days ago.

I feel like I’m more of a widow than a divorcee… 60 days to divorce and 62 days to a “forever-goodbye.”  Who the heck can even make sense of that?

Where Did You Go? pt. 2


My prior post can be interpreted a couple of different ways especially since the focus of my blog is my life and how it has evolved since D-Day.

Readers, sadly I share that I wrote that poem to M after learning that he took his own life in a very tragic and painful way.

I “lost” M 4 months ago….. I have been saying goodbye to him and I have been mourning the loss of a life that we shared. I have spent countless hours crying and trying to understand who this person was that existed since June — I don’t know him, I don’t know that man. What I do know is that M’s choices were M’s alone. I’m not ashamed to admit that it has taken many hours with a professional to come to that conclusion.

I am absolutely hurt that he is gone and I am crushed that he felt there were no other options. That he felt that he had no friends and that he was alone in this world. I (we) will never know where he was at with God when he chose this option. I witnessed him walking the aisle and being completely broken before the Lord and I take comfort in the thought that I believe he was saved. However, the enemy is going to take whatever stronghold it can and M let him take hold of his mind and as such his pride and then as such his judgment and ultimately his actions.

“My M” was my world for 11 years…. good bad ugly and beautiful. But I get to answer the same question each day that he did… Who am I going to live for today? And I choose Life. For better or worse in this rotten world that we live in, I choose Life and I TRUST that the only thing holding me now and keeping me from being crumpled up in a ball in the corner is the grace of my Heavenly Father who knows and understands the loss of his own Son.

M’s family and his friends can use our prayers and loving thoughts. They are left with many questions and are trying to fill in the gaps. But the answers that they are searching for are not going to be found.  It was not “one” thing that caused M to make this choice, there was no “nail in the coffin” sort of conversation. M was somewhere that very few people ever get to– utter despair and he went to a dark place.

Yes, the person I loved didn’t exist and that is no longer figuratively but literally. I weep now for the loss of a life, the loss of a friend.

Rest in Peace M, rest in peace (M. 1974-2014)

Recalculating


Life’s like a road that you travel on; When there’s one day here and the next day gone. Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand; Sometimes you turn your back to the wind.
Tom Cochran, Life is a Highway

I haven’t posted in quite awhile because I am finding that my Mac is pretty much so outdated that adding a post is starting to become a bit of a challenge. A new laptop is just one more item that I recognize I need to add to my new life and I can’t help but recall that just two months before D-Day, my parents gave M a new ipad for his birthday and how I now know that FaceTime was just one of the ways he communicated with her thanks to that gift. He disgusts me.

Recently I had an opportunity to get “out of dodge.” I needed to go some place where no one knew me or my story and where I could just go and be without constantly wondering if that was his car or her car or if I would see them around town. My friend K made arrangements to get her parent’s timeshare and we were off to Myrtle Beach for the weekend. As I was planning to go, it occurred to me that I no longer had a GPS or luggage. M took all the luggage on his way out of the rental as well as the GPS. To be fair, he did ask me if he could take it and of course I said yes (smacking myself in the head now!)

Within two hours of arriving in South Carolina, we went to a local pawn shop and I sold my ring. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Make no mistake, sure I was sad and had moments of “wow, I can’t believe this is it” but for the most part, I really haven’t looked back. It probably also helps that I’m not going to be scoping out women’s hands looking to see if they are wearing that ring, nor am I wandering into a pawn shop here and seeing what my life is worth based on that ring.

As K and I drove around town and were talking, she filled me in on what the dating world is like these days. I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit scared. We had a great laugh over dinner as she shared with me some of the craziness that she is witness to when it comes to men and the way social media and texting play into it all now. It’s definitely going to be a challenge for me to get back out there and while I do miss the thought of someone to love, I’m definitely not ready to drink the Kool Aid just yet.

I shared with K some of my concerns about dating. I made the comment that I sure didn’t feel like I was a “catch” now… I’m 44, divorced, I have bad credit due to the chain of events that moved us from Arizona to Georgia 4 years ago, not to mention that I’m back living with my parents. But she said something to me that I have taken to heart over the days as I’ve let it sink in. She said “You are a catch. You know what you want and you know what you won’t settle for now.” She’s right– everyone has a story, and in mine I’m not going to relive my past mistakes. I’m working on becoming financially stable and right now that looks different for me than it might for someone else. I’m very aware of red flags and already more trusting of myself when I see them, even in people that I am just getting to know on a friendship level.

So, how’d I spend the money I got when I sold my ring? I bought a GPS. Sort of symbolic and ironic since I’m working on recalculating my own life, not only literally with a new budget and new adventures with old and new friends, but also emotionally and spiritually. I AM a catch and I work hard each day to remind myself of that–some days I’m not successful at it, but I keep trying.

For my friends reading this blog, should I start to get down about things and start to drift back into “romanticized”memories of my life with M, I’m counting on you to say to me “Recalculating” so that I know I’ve wandered into the past and its time to focus on the road to reality.