New Normal?


Today is the best I have felt in awhile. It’s one of those realizations where you don’t know how bad you were feeling until you start to feel good kind of realization.  When asked how I was doing, I simply said, “today is a good day.”  I actually worked six hours today and was not too tired at the end of the day and for once I didn’t need to take a nap after taking a shower.  Interestingly enough, the fatigue has been a fun symptom – one minute I am alert and ready to go, the next I can fall asleep at a moment’s notice.

I am still a little scared. What will my next bout of symtoms look like? I can easily see myself being dismissive of them. What is that fine line of recognizing its just a bit of a twinge or knowing that its the start of another episode?  Additionally, I am a leo, who also happens to be a high achiever. High achievers need to be measured and my measuring stick is my job. I identify with it, I love being part of the backbone, the consistency…what happens when I don’t feel like I can be that?  In the midst of my recent craziness, I was still checking and responding to emails – even if it meant typing with one finger and closing one eye in order to see the screen. I didn’t want to be seen as not pulling my weight. I shake my head now thinking about how I even paired an infusion appointment with a delivery to our mailhouse so our organization stayed on track and no one had to go out of their way– who does that? Me, apparently.

Alot of people have been shocked by the initial diagnosis…none more than me…but even with all the conflicting information out there, it seems like one consistent thing to keep the symptoms at bay is good nutrition. There are several things recommended to avoid. Of specific mention are white sugar, refined flours and saturated fats–(sigh)– the best desserts are made with all of those! Earlier this year, I starting to eat “cleaner” so some of it isn’t that much of a change for me but realizing that every bite means I am either feeding the disease or fighting it gives me a bit of a new perspective. I try not to think of all the days that lie ahead but rather just focus on the one that is in front of me. 

Tomorrow I have a video conference call with our former Arizona nutritionist. M met her during one of his physical therapy appointments and she used to come to our house. The reality for us was that trying to save money where we could meant taking advantage of a program at our local food bank. While we would come home with a lot of food most of it was bakery items, canned meats, sugary drinks, and lots of pasta noodles. If you were to look in our pantry at the time, you would have found plenty of refined flour products, lots of sugar, and plenty of things highly processed…but things that were just pennies on the dollar. We once told her during a home visit that eating healthy was expensive and she remarked, “do you know how expensive a heart attack is?” Ha! Be it known that I have never used that excuse again.   

I am just going to have to make myself pause and remember that I am the only one responsible for me and normal will no longer be normal.

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Mirror, Mirror


I have been more reflective lately. I’m not sure if its because the numbness is wearing off or if my normal routine is feeling more normal, but every now and again I’m brought back to the beginning by a question that cues up the memories.

Even harder than the question of Why? which I have no control over, I’m often asked by the professionals in my life the questions of possibility…. Do you want to harm yourself or others? Do you think about killing yourself? Do you think of hurting or harming yourself? Are you planning on doing anything reckless? 

When my therapist started asking me these questions I was just numb and answered too honestly. She made me sign a piece of paper – a commitment saying that if I found myself in a dark place that I would call a friend to take me to the hospital. I rolled my eyes, and even now if she makes reference to it I simply respond… it’s just a piece of paper. When the doctor gave me a “standard measure of depression test” and got to the question on harm, I told him I refused to answer.

In my divorce support group I expressed my frustration with the constant repetition of these types of questions. I guess what makes me so frustrated is the fact that there really is no right way to answer them. If you say No then you aren’t facing your real emotions. If you say Yes, then you’ve got to learn to control your emotions. M saw a therapist every week for the past five years and what purpose did the answer to those questions do for him. No signed piece of paper or affirmative response prevented him from picking up a gun.

When the pain hurts so much that to breathe take a constant reminder to exhale, you will think about every possible way to make it stop. That’s the answer I want to give — but finding someone who understands that level of pain to understand the intent behind that answer is harder that just dealing with the pain. What is the right way to answer those questions and is there a right way? M chose to make a decision that while to me seems negative, at that moment it was positive.. for him… at that moment it was the right thing to do… for him. But it was his choice.

Today for the 190th day in a row I made a positive choice… for me.