Thursday, September 11, 2014

Friday Earworm -- Just a Tad Early

Been working like a dog. Well, not my dogs. They mostly lay on the bed, unless the ice maker goes off, and then they run to defend me, barking furiously.

Here's the earworm around our house right now, and the song we sing really loudly in the car. (Well, when I get the boys to stop singing Billy Joel -- today it was "Moving Out.")

Meghan Trainor is pretty adorable. Dare you not to dance.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Seriously?

Pre-op check-in went fine. I guess. My EKG was good, and they took more blood, nose swabs, and a chest x-ray. They have a nifty red binder all about me, so hopefully I won't wake up missing a kidney instead a large, creepy mass. I will say that every healthcare professional I have dealt with since I first went to a GP to treat my depression about five weeks ago (and this whole merry-go-round started) has been really good.

Various people spent various length of time telling me various things, like I can't take a bath after Friday -- showers only. Chicken noodle soup is NOT the same thing as clear broth. They were going to try to make me drink apple juice, but relented when I insisted on cranberry.  Blah, blah, blah. Paperwork.

Finally after about 3 hours of being shuffled from one cube to another, I was released, and got on the highway to come back to town.

Anybody who wants to guess what happened next may form a polite line and raise their hand.

The clutch on the Vibe started to slip. Not on every gear, just third and fifth. And not all the time. It only did it every time I decided it wasn't going to do it again and was just an aberration. (If you would care to read more of my adventures with the Vibe, see this post  --

http://spectralobelisk.blogspot.com/2011/01/bad-vibrations.html#links
Some have said it's one of my finest rants.)

I was near a panic attack when I pulled into the Sonic to get a drink. I might have freaked the girl who bought the tray out just a little, because by the time the order was up, I was really crying.

Because, seriously, that's exactly what I need at this exact moment. I really, really need the car to break down, necessitating a costly repair that I REALLY can't afford since A) I just had to find a small fortune to pay my medical bills, and B)  I'm supposed to be taking a week or two off work after surgery.  (And the bad thing about being your own boss is that there is no one to pay you when you don't work....)

So, seriously, whoever is in charge of handing out catastrophes, FUCK YOU.  I'm going to find where you live, and when I do, I will not be playing anymore.  I. WILL. NOT. BE. PLAYING.

I'm calmer now, and I suppose I will deal with this when I have to, just like I've dealt with all the other bullshit that has been shoveled my way this summer.  Because I'm not stopping now. Nope. Although I don't promise I won't come out of surgery, put on a serape and start roaming the countryside seeking vengeance like The Man With No Name. Or put on a track suit and some Tiger tennies, and grab a samurai sword.  No, I don't promise that at all.

And with those pleasant thoughts, I will leave you with a one of my favorite movie clips of all time. (Coincidentally from the director who brought you the awesome Guardians of the Galaxy). As it usually does, this pretty much sums up my innermost thoughts and feelings. Enjoy.




Monday, September 8, 2014

I Wanna Get Better

It's been a rough couple of weeks. There has been some good news, some bad news, and some things that are unclassifiable because they're just so far outside of what you expect to happen that there is really no way to handle them or even fully process them.

Tomorrow I go for my pre-op check-in. I've been informed of the costs I will incur to have the cancer cut out of me, and I've found a way to pay for it. I have some trepidation about the surgery, because I don't know exactly what they're going to do or exactly what they're going to find. It could be great news and it could be dire news. But I am eager to have it over with. By noon on Monday, I expect to know my final prognosis.

I did not think a few months ago that at this point of my existence I would be at a terrifying, life-altering crossroads, and that I would be standing at the crossroads alone. And I know I'm not totally alone. I have my mom, my brother and sister-in-law, my kids, my friends -- both my RL friends and my on-line friends, clients, and fellow writers. And I am grateful beyond words to all the people who have been so wonderful and supportive during the darkest period of my life. Still, inside my heart, I am alone.

I understand now what has happened, and have a name for the thing. That gives me a certain power, because the naming of things is powerful. It has allowed me to let go of the concepts of blame and regret, because those are useless and only cause more harm in a situation that has harmed everyone enough.  I know now that what happened had nothing to do with me, and there is nothing I could have done to prevent it. There is nothing I can do now to change it, although I'm told that it changes on its own, given time. But the important thing is that I can't count on the change or when it will come, I can only get on with my life.  I know that the reason there is such hatred for me at the moment is because there was such love for me for so long and I am so fortunate to have had that, because love like that is not guaranteed to anyone. Even knowing what I know now, I would not change one moment of the joy and love I have known.  I know that the worst aspects of the situation will burn themselves out, sooner or later, because that's the only future of things born of bitterness, fear, confusion, and sorrow. There is an abstract comfort in knowing how the most troublesome aspects will end, but sometimes abstract comfort is no comfort at all.

I have found some peace with what has happened. But it is a delicate and uneasy peace, and sometimes it seems to dearly cost me. Sometimes it is so damn hard.

One of my favorite bits of poetry is an American proverb:

For every evil under the sun,
There is a cure or there is none.
If there is one, then find it.
If there is none, then never mind it.

I would give almost anything I have or will have to have the person I love most in this world return for just one day, the one day that seems the fulcrum on which my past and future balance. I feel I am owed that by fate, but some debts are never paid, and we grow old and bitter waiting for recompense.

Still, my love is bruised, but undiminished. I will lock it away and keep it safe, in case it's ever needed again. I will be faithful. I will be forgiving. I will try and repair the things in me that need repairing, and hope that the rest takes care of itself. I will try and be generous in thought and deed, and charitable to those who need care. If the phone rings in the middle of the night, I will pick it up and I will listen. I will stumble and I will fall short, but I will be strong and true, and never give up.

I am leaving my bitterness behind me. I will find the cure for the things I can cure, and never mind the things I can't. I will tell myself this when I am alone in the dark, or when I feel a cresting wave of despair or anger. I will tell myself this when I am faced with the memory of what is lost, and the fear the future holds. I will tell myself this when I am in a situation where grace is the only thing that will serve me. I will tell myself this when the people who would harm me seem so callous or careless that I feel I will break into pieces. I will tell myself this when I do what I know is right, regardless of what it costs me.

I will tell myself this until I believe it.



Friday, September 5, 2014

Random Thoughts 9.5.14

(Disclaimer -- these random thoughts are all my own. Therefore they may occasionally be totally nonsensical. But I swear there are no secret codes contained in anything that could conceivably fuel any conspiracy theories. They should not be taken out of context, despite the fact there is no context. And I do not know the Yellow King and have never been to Carcosa. You may proceed.) 

I forgot how good listening to Al Green makes you feel.

Binge watching FX's Fargo this week. It's awesomely bizarre and darkly hilarious. Not least because there are several characters named Knutson. How about some hot dish, eh?

I've been watching videos of robotic abdominal surgery, since that might be what I'm getting next week. This is both awesome and a little scary, because the robot looks like a giant gleaming spider covered in plastic. I imagine somewhere in my brain that image is being filed away to be produced in some far less appealing context in the middle of the night.

If I could teach the cats to answer my emails, I would be roughly 150% more productive. 

Although it is annoying, it's also funny when someone parses my every utterance to see if I've said something to upset them. Of course, even if I didn't, they'd make something up. But, still, the power of words, baby! Apparently I have the most awesomely terrifying intellect in the country.  I wish that paid better.

Kids told me last night that Orlando Bloom punched Justin Bieber. I'd buy that for a dollar.

Do the people on Facebook know that if they comment on somebody else's post that it will show up on the timeline of anyone they're friends with, even if the original poster is not friends with them? I don't think everyone does. Or else the world would be a much less interesting place....

Speaking of Facebook, you know how they have Throwback Thursday? I think they should institute Fuck You Friday, where you're allowed to grouse about anyone who is currently pissing you off. And then they can't get mad at you, because it's, like, a meme.

(Warning -- The Bridge spoilers ahead. Skip to the next paragraph if you did not watch this week's episode) Watched The Bridge this week (did I mention how much I love that show?) I was tremendously upset that Fausto Galvan's men shot both Cesar and Hank, although apparently neither Cesar or Hank is dead yet. DO NOT KILL CESAR OR HANK. Also, too, despite the fact that Marco saved her at the last minute from either being shot by a contract killer, bitten by a rattlesnake, or dying of heat prostration (depending on which came first) Sonja is still disappointed in Marco. Because Sonja is disappointed by everything and everyone. Soon Sonja will run out of people on the show to be disappointed in and will break the fourth wall and be disappointed in random viewers. Mark my words, it's coming.

Three (three!) days without a panic attack. I'm thinking about making a workplace-injury type of sign to post by my desk.

The new trailer for Sons of Anarchy is insane. And adds to my belief that everyone on the show will be dead by around episode seven and the remaining episodes will just be a live cam of Kurt Sutter snoozing in a hammock or sipping a drink with a little umbrella in it. 

 It is very annoying that, due to the fact that I live in an Internet black hole, I can't play a YouTube video and attach a file to email at the same time.  The wonders of technology (she said sarcastically).

Maybe I should add (she said sarcastically) to everything I say.

Certain things are not a good look on certain people. Said people rarely recognize this, and hence are unaware of the people either quietly laughing or sadly shaking their heads behind certain people's backs. But pretty soon everyone is thinking the same thing, and they tell you they're thinking the same thing, because it's too much not to share,  and then it stops being pathetic and starts being really funny.

Kids believe that I have bought so much almost-expired meat from the Piggly-Wiggly bargain bin that we are all now immune to any zombie virus that might pop up.
 
I feel a little guilty, but, yes, it is satisfying when you find incontrovertible proof that someone is as dumb as you thought they were. 

Nicky's joke from last night: "You know if you go to jail in Canada, they only feed you maple syrup. No waffles." Of course it was much more adorable and hilarious if you saw him say it.

While I would not recommend my weight loss regimen of stunning heartbreak and cancer diagnosis, I have lost 40 pounds in two months and this morning drove the kids to school wearing my next, next smallest pair of jeans. At this rate, by Halloween I'll weigh less than when I started high school. Oh, and I have a great idea for a costume, but don't know if I have the guts to do it. But it would be hilarious.

I imagine all my random thoughts are being said in a Jack Handy voice.

I think I may be entering a manic phase of manic depression. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Or perhaps the result of the anti-depressants I'm taking interacting with the almost-expired meat I've been eating. Maybe soon I will exhibit another superpower besides sarcasm. 

There is a great relief in knowing that a wide sampling of people you talk to share your opinion about something contentious. It makes you feel like you're not crazy or unreasonable, even when that accusation has been thrown around.  Repeatedly.

I still do not know who all the Russian visitors to my blog are. If you are a Russian visitor to my blog, please leave a comment. Although you probably shouldn't leave it in Russian, because I can't read Russian. (Or as Yakov Smirnoff would say, "In Russia, comment leaves you!)  Seriously, despite the whole Putin thing, I love Russians. So, say hi or something.

Cankles will never go away, no matter how much you exercise. Luckily I was genetically blessed with the feet and ankles of a foot model. So I have that going for me.

Okay, I have run out of things to say. Until I post this. Then I will immediately think of something else.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Yes, I Suffer From Clinical Depression

You ever have that feeling that you're stuck in limbo, like maybe you're in some hyper-realistic dream that should end at any moment, and you'll wake up and everything will be normal and mundane and you'll kind of laugh to yourself about the crazy thoughts that must have bubbled up from your subconscious?  But it would be a nervous laugh, because sometimes the lines get really thin and move unexpectedly and you end up in uncharted territory, and you don't wake up, you never wake up, and eventually that surreal, dream-like feeling of unease, of holding-your-breath-waiting-for-things-to-be-okay is all you have.

Sometimes the things you know with absolute certainty turn out to be untrue. Sometimes the people closest to you turn into strangers. Sometimes you are weighted down with a knowledge or a burden or a bright slice of pain that feels like a weight you can't find a way to be free of, something tethered to you so fast that you'll never become untangled from it before it takes you down where the light doesn't shine and you drown.

Jeez, but that sound morose. Which doesn't make it any less real. Today is the National Alliance on Mental Illness Day of Action.  A commenter on a blog I frequent put out a call for people to spread the word.

So, let me tell you something. I suffer from Clinical Depression and Adjustment Anxiety Disorder. It's relatively new to me, just a couple of months. Of course time has become frustratingly elastic and those months seem impossibly long, with the time ahead seeming impossibly longer still. Right now I'm not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel, even though I keep trying to squint hard enough to make it out. People tell me it's there. Sometimes I even believe it's there. Most times, though, it is all pain and darkness, and dragging myself from one minute to the next, distracting myself with work, with helping the kids, with doing the everyday things that need to be done for us to keep functioning.

I'm seeing a doctor and a therapist. I'm taking an anti-depressant and I have something to take when the acute panic attacks blot out everything but the pain and I squeeze my eyes shut so hard because I just can't stand to look at anything, because everything is bad and wrong and agonizing and impossible to bear even one second longer.  The feeling passes, but the specter of it hovers over me often, and I feel the beginnings of it creeping toward me, and I never know what might set it off again, because my world is full right now of hidden pits filled with sharp sticks, so well-hidden that I can't always see them and then suddenly I am falling.

The story of how I got here doesn't really matter much. Some people know some of it. A few people know all of it. In short, something really awful happened -- unbelievably awful -- which was quickly followed up by something else slightly less awful. And neither of these were just events -- like the unexpected death of someone you love, or a singular traumatic occurrence. These are ongoing things that I'm carefully trying to negotiate, sometimes with people who are not negotiating in good faith with me. So each day brings something new and hurtful and callous and unexpected.  I suspect I am becoming somewhat numb, because numbness may be all that's left as my defense. I suspect that someday I'll just write it all out, every bit of it, because I'll have nothing left to lose, and keeping it inside may be part of what is poisoning me.

Someday I may get better.

Why am I saying any of this today? Because, like so many "unpleasant" things, depression and other forms of mental illness are kept in the shadows. Lied about and covered up. Ignored. Looked down upon. Too much for certain people to deal with, and so they abandon those who need them most. I had a specific life experience that led to my depression, but many people don't have something that they can point to -- it just is.

And if you are feeling that way, or know someone who is, you are not alone. It is not your fault. Keep trying to help yourself, in whatever way you can. Seek out others who can help you. Don't be afraid to be open and tell people how you feel and what you need. Don't give up.

Someday you may get better.

Don't give up.


For more information about NAMI and #act4mental health click here



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Random Thoughts (Now with more Harvey Specter) + HOCKEY

This is the best website I've found lately. Just a simple thing.

How Many Days Until Hockey

Which will tell you how many days until opening day, how many days until preseason, and if you choose a team, how many days until certain events for that team. This is helpful because I often forget what day and, occasionally, what month it is.  And if you're interested, right now it's 35 Days Until Hockey, or more importantly 36 Days Until the First Avalanche Game.


Just finished binge watching Rectify on the Sundance channel. If you haven't seen it, you really should. Watched the Season Two finale last night, and found that I was actually holding my breath for the last couple of minutes of Daniel's "debrief." It was mesmerizing.  Admittedly, it not the feel-good show of the season, but it's a really elegant, gorgeous, well-acted thing. Thankfully it's been renewed for Season Three, because it was a real cliffhanger, with all the little plot threads from the past two seasons suddenly woven into what feels like a noose. Also, it's got to have the most interesting and apropos soundtrack of any show on television, which is saying something. 

I am still pissed off that Rick Hoffman did not get even an Emmy nomination for his role of Louis Litt in Suits.   And if I could figure out how to do it, I would have Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter saying "What have you done?" as my ringtone for every single incoming call.  It's got just the right note of incredulous exasperation that is so, so familiar.

Speaking of TV: The Bridge is a show I would watch every single day. I especially enjoyed Mexican drug lord Fausto Galvan's "Have you ever been to Norway? The fjords look relaxing." I think I'm going to make a t-shirt logo for that. And I'll have to find a recipe for Monte P. Flaggman's (Lyle Lovett's) three-bean casserole. The show is actually bursting with so much really bizarre yet somehow compelling STUFF, that it's hard to focus on any one thing.

The kids and I are also enjoying The Strain, especially Kevin Durand as Vasily Fet, the Russian exterminator, and the always excellent David Bradley (Broadchurch and Game of Thrones) as Abraham Setrakian, who knows everything about the creatures. Of course he keeps telling the hapless CDC protagonists what he knows and they keep not believing him, because they are idiots. And so he says, kind of in the Harvey-Specter-exasperated-tone, "I've been right about everything so far, so why do you stupid people not believe me?" The stupid people have no answer for that, because they are stupid. I feel his pain.

Excited that Sons of Anarchy starts next week, but sad that there's only 13 episodes left. Of course at the rate that Kurt Sutter kills off characters, we may just be looking at an empty chair by the time the last episode rolls around.  And, really, after last season, I'm wondering what bit of envelope there is left to push. I am very happy that we'll see the return of Venus Van Dam, because Walton Goggins is maybe the best thing on TV.



Not TV-related: Pete is the worst cat in the world. He is the cat that, if he feels you are not paying attention to him, will jump on the highest shelf and begin batting down whatever looks breakable. He will also perch on the back of my desk chair and bite my head if his food bowl is empty. But he is extra soft to make up for the extra evil.

My comma splices are a style choice. So sue me. 

Some people make other people worse people just by being in proximity to them. They're like plague carriers. The terrible thing is, these people often seem like perfectly nice people until you scrape away the surface and see the ugly stuff that lies beneath. Like Twinkies filled with poison fungus instead of cream filling.   But there are always people who only see the spongy outer cake covering, either because they are invested in only seeing the outer spongy cake covering, or because they just haven't really bit down hard enough yet.  There should be a warning label, or maybe if you get close enough, a Harvey Specter voice intoning the dire consequences of allowing these people near you. In fact,  Harvey Specter should just narrate everything.

In closing, if you are having a bad day, think to yourself, "What Would Harvey Specter Do?" Or maybe visit Norway. I hear the fjords are relaxing.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Giant Tumor Update and Rant of the Day

Today was another one of those days. You ever get blamed for something you didn't do, or were even aware of? It's exhausting. And maybe you start to think, "Hey, if I'm getting blamed, I might as well get some satisfaction by actually doing something." But then someone will see you had that thought and then preemptively  blame you for something that hasn't even occurred yet. (Oh, yes, I'm being blamed for things that will happen in the future, because I'm actually the first female Doctor and I've disguised my TARDIS as a desk chair.)  So I guess there is no winning. And you know what, I'm so freaking tired from working 14-hour days and dealing with anxiety attacks and dealing with the kids' anxiety attacks and having this giant freaking tumor that I don't have time for half the shenanigans someone would blame me for anyway. And so I say to all the special snowflakes out there: there are things in the universe that do not pertain to you and, in fact, have nothing to do with you, regardless of how earnestly you believe that everything revolves around your very, very special snowflakeness. YOU. ARE. JUST. NOT. THAT. IMPORTANT.         /end rant

Now that that's out of the way. I saw the oncologist today -- and I really, really like her. Both the tests for cancer markers (CA 125 and HEP4) came back within normal range, and although the tumor is a complex cyst, it's possible that the nodules are confined to the inside of the capsule since there's no outright evidence that the cancer has spread. She said that bigger means it's more likely to be benign or low-malignancy, because if it was a carcinoma this large there would likely be other areas of obvious cancer.  She also said that radiologists love to jump the gun and she would smack the radiologist who read my CT in the head if she every met him/her.

So tomorrow I'll set up surgery for some time next week, at which point they will scoop out anything I'm not using anymore. There's a chance they'll be able to do the surgery with endoscopy and a robot -- which would be really cool, and also not nearly as invasive, but it's a long shot. I'll probably still have to have a full laporotomy. So I've consented to both procedures and she'll decide once she does the endoscopy. They'll see if it's malignant during the surgery, and if so, stage the cancer and do biopsies on whatever organs and lymph nodes are handy. But there's fair chance it may be benign or an enclosed low-malignancy cancer that will be cured just by removal. So that's what I'll go in thinking.

And for all my writer friends -- I've stocked up on books for my hospital/bed rest: the Stephen King JFK time travel book (which is huge and I can't be bothered to remember the actual title right now), the new Jonathan Kellerman, two James Lee Burke Dave Robichaux novels that I somehow missed, and Neverwhere and American Gods by Neil Gaiman, which are books I was meaning to read anyway. So I shall be in fine company, even if I end up alone.

That's all the news that's fit to print and probably more than most people wanted to know about the bad Lifetime movie my life has become. And now I have to go back to work, because I still have 20 client projects unfinished that need to BE finished before I hit the hospital, and those 14-hour days don't work themselves.

Thanks again to everyone who has been so swell and supportive during the recent troubles. It means more than I can say.