Getting it Together…

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Well the last couple of weeks I have found myself getting organized.  I put to use a book shelf that was supposed to be purposed elsewhere but I got tired of it standing backwards in my dining room so I turned it around.  My dining room table is now mostly cleaned off!  It looks awesome!

I have printed off a number of old partial manuscripts and put them into a binder so I can re-read and edit and, if possible, finish them… one at a time of course!  I have also written down some other new ideas and, as expected, continued to journal.

I have spent my weekend in a LOT of pain.  More pain than I’ve had in a long time.  It has taken my breath away at times.  That said, it’s been difficult to focus on anything for any length of time.

I’m also planning on getting away to the trailer for a weekend by myself.  I really need that time that’s for sure.  Still won’t be enough but it will be a good start.

I also applied to that Artist Residency for January.  I got that application finished and sent on Wednesday.  It felt good to do that!  It felt normal, like I’ve done it a hundred times before!  I’m also trying to figure out where to send a short story I wrote in the fall.  I have it sitting here and I have edited it and it’s waiting for a place to put it.  As I was editing, I was wondering about a sequel… a series of short stories… like a TV show because they are short rather than long.  If I string them together then I might as well just write it as a novel.

Now I just have to figure out where everything else is taking me.  Life has a way of needing sorting out once in a while, just like all the writing we’ve spent months working on.  Some things just take longer than other things.

Somewhere, in a notebook far, far away is the memoir I started close to 2 years ago I think.

I also want to release Confessions in the Mural to Kindle come July 1.  Figure it’s a good day to do that!  Released the novel January 1 so why not?

Lots of plans… now I just need the time to IMPLEMENT!

I feel like writing!

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Yesterday I had the intense feeling to write.  This is a first in a very long time!  I don’t even remember how long.  I published book number ten on January 1st this year.  In the months leading up to that I was editing.

I have tried to get started again but have had a lot of false starts.

I have been journalling a lot lately trying to mourn and and process and digest.  That, for me, has helped some but not entirely.  I think I’m getting there but, of course, have a long way to go.

Work is not easy.  As much as I tried to open my mind, it’s not so easy when you are mourning losses in life including your boss retiring.

So I suddenly wanted to write yesterday and I didn’t. have. time.  That seems to be my unwanted mantra of late.  And it also seems that everyone has forgotten that writing is my thing to do.  They suck away more and more of my time like it’s nothing.

Then this morning I was enjoying my weekly Funds for Writers and came across a residency that I’m interested in applying to.  I’ve never applied to anything like that before so I’m trying to figure out where to start.  I may have to go back and try to remember how I applied to the Sustainable Arts Foundation grants in the past.  Then not do that since I clearly failed!

I don’t have very long either… May 31 is the deadline.  The first thing I have felt excited about in a while

One of the many things I have actually been thinking about has been where I go from here.  I realize that I will likely have to change jobs because even if I can see things changing and calming down at work I also can’t decide if I want to continue in health care or venture from the norm and find something else to do. Something else that will use my vast knowledge and make me happy which family health care has not for a few years.

One thing must happen at a time and I’m at a crossroads because I really do need my vacation so do I want to start something new in the middle of summer?

I find it difficult to accept things when they happen because I hate feeling out of control.  Maybe that’s mostly related to not having a lot of control over so many things for so long now.

Faith…

I’m trying to have faith!

The Roller Coaster of Life…

Thursday I got an email notification that Netflix had added a movie I might be interested in… the movie was Parenthood!  That movie was awesome!  Maybe some of you disagree but I’m not here to argue likes and dislikes.  Having raised a teenager in the time since that movie came out in 1989, and aged almost 30 years, it holds many more lessons than it did when I was what?  15.

Close to the end grandma talks about how much she always loved the roller coaster (and for the sake of this, I do NOT, nor would my back be able to take that or my balance centre but that’s another story).  The fear, the exhilaration, the surprise, the excitement, the “oh my God I’m going to die”.  She was telling to to her grandson and his wife who had 3 kids and were suddenly expecting a fourth.  And when I was 15 that really didn’t mean much.  28 years later, I get it, fully.  Life is a roller coaster and we are just along for the ride.

It doesn’t make what we go through any less of what it is.  We are emotional beings and we have this stuff thrown at us to teach us lessons.

My biggest issue is that so much has been thrown at me at the same time that I can’t register it all.  I’m finding that trying to work through it all and digest and accept is nearly impossible.

As you all know, my boss of almost 11 years retired a week ago.  That added more emotions to the potion and that potion isn’t sitting too well.  Let me tell you, this past week SUCKED!  The new boss, not very user friendly.  Everyone keeps saying to hang on and maybe it will iron itself out… the trouble is, having been included in the “deal” only until the end of August is not much comfort especially the way things have gone.  I can’t afford the rent on 55% of my salary so I think it’s time for me to light the fire under the job search.

So there’s one more thing to add to my list and, unfortunately, I’m not in any way prepared emotionally to start a new job.  But, as humans, we just push forward.

As for my cancer, well, I saw the specialist yesterday.  He did in fact miss some of the precancerous cells.  That said, he did go on to say that the cautery does kill off about 4mm of the surrounding tissue that is not included and sent to the lab so there is a possibility that the cells seen at the margins were, in fact, killed off.  BUT… we won’t know until we do another biopsy.  This time we wait and that will be August 30.  For the next 4 months (almost) I get to sit in limbo.  I get no further answers.

So I will carry on.  I will mark my calendar and I will try to deal with everything else.

How am I?

That seems to be the ultimate question.

It’s a question that I can’t entirely answer.  I’m having difficulties getting in tune with what my emotions are… I can’t seem to define them well these days.

Everything just seems to be rumbling around in my mind.  Monday was the realization that this is the last week with my boss and that made me over-emotional.  I struggled to keep my tears at bay for most of the day.

Everything just seems to keep piling up–I keep carrying everything inside.

As for being positive, well, it’s not like I’m BEING negative but rather I’ve had negative dumped on me and I have no way of working through it all at once.  It’s like jumping into the deep end and you hope you can swim back to the surface before you run out of air.

I’m also starting to count down the days until I see the specialist for the “official” results, even though I already have them.  We’ll see what he has to say about the cells he missed.

My boss retired Friday.  The party went off in spectacular fashion and so many people complimented me on a job well done.  I have a way of managing these things very well!  I always have.  I enjoy planning events like that and seeing them succeed.

But I worry about what tomorrow will bring with the “new guy”.  What changes he will make, what his expectations will be and how much I will have to push back and/or find a new job.  So if anyone hears of anything in nursing, or even event planning, let me know!  I’d like to at least take a look.  Of course I have my preferred list of what I’d like to do but I can evaluate each job posting.  I get job alerts from Workopolis, Indeed and Trending Jobs but you never know what is out there that isn’t advertised.

There’s even a position at the KW Art Gallery that I’m considering putting my name in for.  Why not?  It doesn’t hurt.

I think what I’m really holding out for is to see if Conestoga College is looking for a full-time professor in something I can teach but that wouldn’t be until September now.  And that’s fine… I can squash all my vacation time into the summer!

So much going through my mind.  If nothing else, sitting and writing this helps to put it out there.  Some of it you see, most of it, you do not!

I’ll keep you posted on what the specialist says on Friday.

 

 

“Happy” Easter!

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The first holidays after a death in the family are always difficult.  Easter was my great-grandmother’s favourite.  Grandma, I think, loved them all.  My favourite is Christmas.  There’s something about the season that draws me in and lifts my spirits and my hopes.

I can’t believe we said goodbye to my grandma only 2 weeks ago.

So here we are, now, at Easter.  A day that is supposed to bring hope around the world.  We will have a family dinner later today.

It’s amazing how life just keeps on going.  Whether you come out of the hospital doors after having a surgical procedure or you walk out of a nursing home after your grandmother has died and everything and everyone else is carrying on as usual while your life seems like it has come to a screeching halt.

Then you are expected to catch up to that world and carry on with it meanwhile your heart and your mind are left behind.

I had to bring home a folder full of referrals that needed to be done because I was 4 days behind and I could NOT find the time to get them done.  So now they are done and tomorrow morning I can put the phone on hold (or change the answering machine message to say we will be open at 2:15) and go in and print them and fax them.  That doesn’t totally catch me up but it gets me a lot closer!

I continue to journal as it seems to be the only way to try and identify my thoughts and feelings.  It’s interesting that I seem to only be able to do that when I’m alone.  I know that, with great excitement, that he got all the cancer cells out!  Those margins were clear.  I went back and had another look (because I remember seeing something… you know that nagging feeling) and he did leave some of the pre-cancerous cells at the margins.  Uncertain as to what he will suggest but I might get to go through all of this again… but at least I know the horrible monster cells are gone.

I tried writing the last couple of days… even if it’s a bit of an autobiography.  I didn’t really care, I just wanted to dip my toes in.  I actually took a look at 2 of my sequels, well, as far as I had managed to get when I stopped.  The Mystery in the Attic was left at page 123 and the third installment, the book to follow Confessions in the Mural, sits at only 14 pages.  I’m hoping that by reading one or the other that it will stimulate my brain into writing again.

Well, it is Easter, that time of hope… so maybe this time, I can get my mind back into writing.

So I wish you all a safe, Happy Easter wherever you are and wherever you are going today.

A tough, Tough Week…

The last four months, from today, have felt like a tour through hell.  Four months ago I got the voicemail message that started it all!

I can’t say things started to really spiral until I got the first biopsy report and had my follow-up consult.  The last 3 weeks have put me at the bottom of the pit!

Grief has consumed all of me.  I know this will pass and it’s better to work through the stages then try to sweep it all under the carpet.  But I don’t get a lot of time to try to get in tune with my feelings.  I haven’t even felt like writing.  Anything.  The only thing I have taken to doing is a bit of journalling.  Just my feelings on paper.

Yesterday I called Medical Records because my Pathology Report still hadn’t arrived.  I’m glad I did.  Apparently we were somehow left off as CC so I’m not sure what happened there.  Anyway, I had to get a translation done but I saw what I needed to see… the margins are clear!  That translates to: it looks like he got it all!  Of course I don’t see him until May 5 but I think I can rest easier.

It’s great news but I’m on emotion overload so I can’t be as excited as I should be.  I know I”ll get there and experience the feelings I’m supposed to.  I want to tell everyone!

I can look at that daffodil from the Canadian Cancer Society now because we beat it.

She’s gone…

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My grandma fought a hard battle her entire life.  She worked hard to get to where she ended up.

At the end, she fought another hard battle for a week.  Yesterday we were called in because her breathing had changed.  We wished her well on her journey and she died peacefully.

I have had a full plate these last few months and my emotions have been on a roller coaster.  My plate is full and I can’t handle anything more!

As we get older, the oldest generation dies.  My grandmother was the last of that generation and now my parents and their siblings are the oldest generation of our family.

Often that adds a dimension to us.  It causes us to reflect because all of a sudden we realize that we really are getting older!

I can definitely say my grandmother was a trooper.  She prevailed through things that most people couldn’t, or wouldn’t, at least in her time.  Being a single parent in the 50’s and 60’s.  Being a working single parent at that!  Her faith never left her and she went to church until she couldn’t any longer.

There was just one thing… she thought many people didn’t like her.  I wonder why that is?

I will leave my post at that as I take the time to mourn.

If it’s not one thing…

Well, here I am… the procedure went as well as it could have, I guess.  Other than the fact that he was late and then he started before the freezing had a chance to fully take hold!  He’s pretty certain he got it all but nothing can determine that better than the pathology report.  So I still hold my breath for another 10 days or so until the pathology report arrives.

I spent the rest of the day resting though I didn’t have the opportunity to sleep because my mom was called to the nursing home because my grandma wasn’t doing well.

I have been extremely fatigued the last several days.  I’ve been going to bed early and waking up as late as possible.

Overall, today is about the best day I’ve had so far.

I spent 2 hours at the home visiting my sleeping grandmother.  She is palliative.  Her lights are off and there are two carts in the room… one holding water, juice, coffee and tea as well as lemon loaf and vanilla wafers.  The other cart holds a CD player, a diffuser, lotion, an adult colouring book, gum and a number of other “comfort” items.  That’s really cool and it is comforting.

It’s just sad to know that her life is not only ending but ending in this way.  A woman who used to be so active and vibrant (though she had her share of “complaints” about the world) is now less than 100lbs and her body is shutting down.

So as though I haven’t had enough going on with my own body, I will likely be spending more time at a funeral home than I’d prefer sometime in the next couple of weeks.  It doesn’t seem like it will be long.  Like the nurse said, she has her own agenda, all we can do is make her as comfortable as possible and let it run its course.

My emotional roller coaster continues…

Seriously?

So as you are all fully aware now, I have a carcinoma in situ which means it sits in its own little bubble.  Next Wednesday, by this time, it will be gone!

It doesn’t mean that I am not on an emotional roller coaster.  Monday was a tough day for me… I felt very down.  Yesterday was so-so.  Sometimes I’m down, sometimes I’m angry.  I am going to go through the stages of grief, or at least some of them… it’s normal.

Plus I’m scared of next week’s procedure.  I’m probably more scared of what will follow after… how much pain will I experience?  How fatigued will I be?  That question stems partly from what will be my own adrenaline rush and following crash PLUS that of the epinephrine (adrenaline) that will be in the anesthetic.

But everyone thinks I should be just fine about it.  Nobody thinks I should be experiencing any emotions other than joy!

Cancer has landed on me… SPLAT!  Yes, I get to have a procedure that will make it go away (as long as he gets it all) and that will be the end of it!  YAY!  I agree, I’m one of the extreme lucky ones.  But I will always have that shadow.  I will always have to check that extra box on a health history form.  There is a 20% chance of recurrence.  As an RN, I have seen the big picture more times than I want to.

So I have to say that I feel I’m handling this the best way possible.  Other than my fear of next week and the procedure itself, I do feel lucky.  We’re going to get this little monster and make it go away.  Period.

But am I not permitted to feel apprehension, sadness, anger and some bitterness too?  According to most of those closest to me… No, I’m not.

The feelings will start to fade once I know the margins are clear which means we got it all.  But there will always be that small part of me that always wonder if there’s something lurking in the shadows.  I haven’t talked to a survivor yet who doesn’t think about that.

There is faith and hope… it’s all we can have.

Ding, Ding! Round Two…

Well, it’s official!  I saw the specialist on Thursday morning.  I knew that I would be having another procedure and I assumed, correctly, what it would be.

He did confirm that it is actually malignant (cancerous).  Luckily, it’s “in situ” which means it’s still in its own little bubble.

On March 22 I will be having a procedure to remove the entire section.  As long as the margins are clear it will mean we got it all and then I move on to monitoring.

It has been a hard journey.  I think there were a few people who were trying to protect me by not telling me… working in a doctor’s office I had the pathology report sent to the office so I could see it at two weeks rather than wait six.  And, in turn, I think I was deluding myself because I wasn’t getting the whole story… of course I was also trying to protect my loved ones so they weren’t freaking out.

So I’m glad, in some ways, that it’s out there now.  This is what I have…

My newsletter arrived from C. Hope Clark yesterday and she’s having a tough time with things and I feel the same way!  I haven’t been able to write anything outside of my blog.  She recommends spending part of the day burying yourself in a good book or writing a new one!  Alternatively write about something positive and if you can’t do that then read some positive stuff like Chicken Soup for the Soul.  It’s unfortunate that the only Chicken Soup book I have is for the Nurse’s soul.  Right now, I’m the patient… that sounds sooooo weird!

There are a few things I’d like to write but more about the state of our health care and how MY situation should have been completely diverted!

Maybe I’ll start there first!