Posts tagged ‘Cancer’

September 19, 2013

It’s been almost two months!

One month, three weeks, two days, 2 hours, 57 minutes and 24 seconds. 811 cigarettes not smoked, saving $236.65. Life saved: 2 days, 19 hours, 35 minutes.

And I am still smoke free! I am also very stable again. I was hoping I would be before school started and I am. I was working very hard to be as stable as possible before the pressure of school. I am taking three (yes 3!!!) math classes and a sociology! I am driving over and hour each way to school four days a week and working about 30 hours a week.

But I am sleeping a full 7 to 8 hrs every night and riding my bicycle every morning about 7 to 8 miles.

After reading this I am not sure how in the hell I am able to squeeze all of this into one day, but I do. It is amazing how much you can do if you do not watch TV or play on a computer.

I love being a non-smoker. It allows me to be a free spirit. To wonder into areas that I would have never dared. To do things I would have never done! OK OK so maybe that is a little over board… but really that is how it feels sometimes!

August 24, 2011

Normal?

It is hard to gauge, when you have a history, what is normal and what is not. As I mentioned in my last post I was not sure if I had the will to be OK. I felt as if I were cracking into pieces again.

The first months after my Dad died was very tough. The truth is it would have been tough for most people. The difference is history. My history!

As each day passed I began to sleep, which as I have mentioned is a big part of the battle!

But after a month of struggling I knew it was time for action. First order of business – call Sinead and make an appointment. Sinead helped me gauge where I was. That is – where I was in the grieving process.

Everything that I was describing to her was normal. A normal part of the grieving process.

I was not creating chaos. I was not overreacting. I was not staying up for days at a time. I was not agitated. I was not irritable. I was just sad.

I was going to be OK. But once you have been down the road such as mine you know you must still be proactive.

In order to continue on the right path I needed a voice. A voice to finally say so much I had held onto for so long. My Dad was gone and he would never hear what I had to say, but I needed to be able to say it anyway.

I started this blog, one year ago, August 27th.

I choose my path – not bipolar disorder, not my Dad, not depression.

I have chosen happiness. I have chosen to remove all the labels!

And through this blog, I have chosen to no longer live in the dark. I live in the light, and I love every single moment of it!

August 18, 2011

Cleaning out the freezer

My Dad had a freezer in his garage.  It was not a working freezer.  It was chained and had a massive lock on it to keep people out.

It was full of guns and stuff that was special to my Dad.

I was not in charge of cleaning out the freezer, however I was there.

Inside the door was an envelope full of pictures.

Pictures of children.

I destroyed them the minute I saw them.

I was numb. I was mad.  I was sad.  Lastly, I was in shock!

I had no idea…

My Father was not only a molester of little girls, but also little boys.

I cracked just a little bit more! Broken all over again. That night I did not sleep. Over the next couple of months my will would be tested. The will to be OK without medication. The will to not jump at the chance to be manic, where my world felt so good and exciting. The will to not crash. The will to overcome. The will to make good choices.

August 4, 2011

His final words

He told me he would die soon. He said he was ready to die. He said the cancer had won, he hurt all the time. He was tired. He would shoot himself soon.

We made small talk for a moment.

Then…

He told me how much he still loved my Mother. He told me about when they met, what he first thought when he saw her (an injured bird), and how he fell in love with her the moment he sat eyes on her. He went on and on for what seemed like an eternity about Mom. When he finally stopped talking I said,”It is so sad that she died so young.” He replied, “Yes, but that was the way it had to be.” I responded, “She just could not stop drinking, she was so drunk when she died.” And he said…

“Actually Veronica (he inhaled and sighed), when I saw her, she wasn’t that drunk.”

I never followed up. I never asked, “What does that mean.” I never said a word. I just sat there, dumbfounded.

He then changed the subject and asked me if I really thought I had a chance at finishing school. I did not answer right away (still in shock I guess). He then said, “You know Eva (my step sister)… blah blah blah” that is all I heard. Then he said, “Well, I guess so far at least you have a good GPA, maybe you will finish, who knows.”

He took a breath…

I said, in a whimper, “Yes, I think I can finish school.”

He said again, “Well, maybe you can.”

He changed the subject again. He talked about how proud he was of Jake.

And just about that moment, my son, Jake walked in.

He and Jake started talking.

I just sat there, feeling numb, disconnected. It was as if I was watching the two of them from somewhere else.

In that moment, all of the pieces that I had worked so hard to put back together felt as if they were fracturing. Chipping away.

My adrenaline was pumping. My heart began to race. My brain started banging around inside my head. My thoughts were flying fast. I was trying desperately to keep up with their conversation.

At some point, I interrupted their conversation, and began to argue with my father, over..? It had something to do with politics… really? Nothing, it was over nothing. Yet, it was an argument over everything!

He became irritated and ask me to leave.

I did.

About a week later, he shot himself.

July 27, 2011

Before and after my Dad died

I was numb. I was shocked. Although I knew it was coming, somewhere in the back of my mind I just could not process the thought of him dying. Not only dying, but committing suicide. But after he did kill himself I was OK with his death. I was not hurt or angry that he had killed himself. I understood why he would and he had explained why he was going to do it.

But when we got a copy of his will, that is when I became angry and hurt. It is not that I wanted money. It was that he left my step-sister pretty much everything. He left my brother a bug chunk of money as well (which I expected). But me and my sister – $500! And that was not the hurtful part.

What hurts?

1) When your own father misspells your name in his will.

Yes, he did not even spell my name right!

But, two, was the conversation I had not long before his death that hurt the most!

I thought I would have the opportunity to go back to him and readdress what he said.

But that day never came.

July 11, 2011

8 Questions I wanted to ask. . .

but never had the courage!

  1. Do you love me?
  2. Do you know that you hurt me?
  3. Does it matter to you that your hurt me?
  4. Do you understand that for many years I was actually beyond hurt, I was broken?
  5. Do you know what that means?
  6. Do you know that I hurt so bad that I wanted to die?
  7. Does that affect you, knowing that you are responsible for that kind of hurt?
  8. Who hurt you, why are you so broken?

Instead, I learned to play bridge and he and I would meet to play often, I met him for lunch, I helped him come up with a diet program, I listened to him when he needed, someone other than Elly, to talk about his cancer, I listened when he told me he had bought another miracle cure on the internet and I never – once judge him for it, I took him food that I had cooked or baked, I took him supplies after the hurricane, I cried for him when he told Nanny, his mother, that he was dying of cancer, and I listened when he told me he was going to kill himself: I never criticized him, I never told him not to do it, and I told him I could understood why he would commit suicide.  

What was my payoff?  Today I can tell myself that, despite him, I was a good daughter.  And why that matters to me, I really have know idea.  

June 8, 2011

The Family Reunion

As that day in September of 2008 approached, I was filled with anxiety.  Not only would my Dad be there, but so would my Nanny and my sister (who I had not seen nor spoken to since 2005).

In addition, I was completely off of all psychotropic medication.  I was managing my life well, but still lived in fear of having a setback.

I had a plan on how to handle almost every situation that came at me while I was there. If my Nanny made mention of my relationship with m Dad, I would just tell her that we would talk about it later and that it was her birthday and I was there to celebrate her. If my sister would not speak to me, I was OK with that too. I know at some point I had hurt her enough to where she no longer felt comfortable with me in her life. I was OK with that, I had felt that way about others in my life and, although I was not sure why, I could understand not wanting chaos in my own life. My Dad, well he had a way of getting under my skin… my weight. All of my life I had been to fat in his opinion. And when I lost all of that weight, every time he saw me, he would say how great it was that I had finally lost some weight. It is sad really, because as thin as I was, I was very unhealthy. However, by 2008, I had started gaining weight back. The ultimate plan was to leave. Mike and I, even today, have a deal… if ever one or the other wants to leave a situation – we will leave together. No matter what.

As we arrived my Nanny was driving up as well. (That’s right, on her 95th birthday she was driving up!) As I greeted her the first thing she asked me was if I had seen and talked to my Dad. I replied I had not but I was sure he was inside. I am sure my discomfort gleamed on my face. She just gave me a hug and then walked inside. She never mentioned a word to me again that day about my Dad.

As I finally made it inside I saw my Dad, my brother and my sister. I felt this incredible sense of dread come over me. But as I got closer my brother hugged me and whispered in my ear “Everything will be alright.” My sister then gave me a hug and said, with tears in her eyes, that she had missed me. I told her I had missed her too. Then I made my way round to the rest of the family, giving hugs and asking how everyone was doing. And then I saw my Dad.

Dad, “Hey there Pooh (my childhood nickname) you look like you are gaining weight.” I replied, “Dad, I love you, but my weight is none of your business.” I remember Mike reaching for my hand. My Dad turned red then said, “well you look good.”

Then I noticed his leg! It was awful looking and for whatever reason I immediately ask if his cancer had returned. He hushed me and said he just thinks it is a cream he used. But you could see it in his face, he knew what I had said was probably the case. Then he said he was going to the doctor next week.

My Dad’s own words “At Labor Day the start of September my right leg began to swell and look very muscular. I guessed because that was where I was rubbing testosterone gel on it and it was just becoming muscular and strong. I was so wrong. By the middle of September the leg had changed to a blue-green-yellow color and my wife had me go see my favorite GP-MD. When he saw the leg he said CANCER. Another PSA was done and came back at 51.6.

In October my right leg began to bleed and produce a whitish liquid. Pus I guess. This lasted a few weeks and then cleared up.”

That day will live in my mind forever, it was the beginning of the only relationship I ever really had with my Dad and it was the beginning of a renewed relationship with my sister. It was also the last celebration I would have with my Nanny.

The relationship with my sister is still alive today. Sadly, I do not believe it will ever be what it once was. My heart was broken when she left in 2005 and cut me off, and although I am sure she had her reasons, I can never suffer that hurt again. So I will guard my heart forever. It will always be somewhat fragile. Broken pieces put back together, no matter how strong the glue might be, are never as strong as they were when the heart was whole.

The relationship with my Dad was a ruse. I had no idea until his death that I was a pawn in his life to get the attention he needed and/ or wanted from his wife. In addition, I believe he knew that without some type of a relationship with me he would never get to know my son. And being a grandfather to Jake was something he really wanted. Despite that, I am glad I had it. I learned so much during the time with my Dad. Although, in the beginning, I was just a tool to gain attention from Elly, as time went by I think maybe for the first time ever he began to see me as his daughter. And for the first time possibly ever, I think he felt remorse. Not only for what he had done to me and my sister, but for what he had done to my Mom. A week before he died, he disclosed his part in her death. Something many had suspected over the years.

He was there!

April 4, 2011

Depression

According to the World Health Organization depression is a common mental disorder.

Facts
Depression is common, affecting about 121 million people worldwide.
Depression is among the leading causes of disability worldwide.
Depression can be reliably diagnosed and treated in primary care.
Fewer than 25 % of those affected have access to effective treatments.

According to the Mayo Clinic there are numerous depression treatments available. Medications and psychological counseling (psychotherapy) are very effective for most people.

But is medication really a treatment or a tool?

Medication serves a purpose. If someone is so depressed that they can no longer function or have become suicidal it can be a used as a tool. It can help a person to be able to get to a place where they can start to understand why they are depressed and how to not be depressed.

But a treatment?

You cannot treat years of abuse with a pill. You cannot treat a lifetime of dysfunction with a pill. You cannot treat low self esteem or self worth with a pill. You certainly cannot treat self hatred with a pill.

Depression is insidious and cannot be cured overnight, in a week, or even in a month. And it cannot be cured with a pill.

So how is depression cured? In my experience, with the right tools. You all have read about “The Shovel”, which I had been using for years the only way I had ever been shown to use it. I not only needed new life tools, but I needed someone to show me how to use them!

Building a life tool kit! Finding someone to teach you the correct way to use life tools!

Step one – find a therapist!
Find a therapist you feel comfortable enough with to share. Find a therapist you feel uncomfortable enough with that you do not feel like they are a friend. (We tell friends what we think they want to hear).

Step two – Tell your therapist what you expect from therapy and that you need their help so they must be able to demand your honesty.
By setting the stage of what you expect from your therapist, you are setting the stage for real healing. I told Sinead “I am done with feeling like shit, I want to be happy and I need for you to be tough and help me do that!”

Step three – do it!
Be honest! I used to find a therapist and just give enough information to get through the session. Why? Who was I helping? Not me!

Step four – do the work!
If you come up with a plan of action with your therapist, follow through! As I discussed in “Toxic Relationships” I rehearsed conversations with Sinead. I also came up with several plans with Sinead and I followed through!

Step five – do not stop until you are done! I have been through a slew of therapist over the years. I never really got anywhere with any of them and never saw the same one for longer than a couple of months. But I saw Sinead for years. And even though I have not seen her on a regular basis in a couple of years I know if I need her she is a phone call away. I actually went to see her soon after my father killed himself.

March 26, 2011

Toxic Relationships – my Dad

Some can’t be healed!

To much hurt to heal.

But I loved my Dad.

Last night I attended Relay for Life.  It is an event to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

My Dad had prostate cancer.  I could not light a candle for him.  I did not add his name to the list of those to be remembered.

I cried last night.  I cried for those who had lost their children to cancer.

I cried for those who had lost their siblings, mothers, grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers to cancer.

I cried because my Dad fought cancer but I could not bring myself to honor his memory.  He just does not deserve it.

I cried because I could not dare place his name beside the little girl I was there for, to honor her memory.

One day, as this blog moves forward I will go in depth into my toxic relationship with my Dad.  It was so toxic the best I could do was attempt to set some boundaries I could live with and still have him in my life.

He remained on the outer edge of my life until he died.

I cried last night.  And I am OK this morning.  Happy to have the day to enjoy my life!

January 7, 2011

Lunch

I met my Dad for lunch in June of 2002.  We met at Schlotzsky’s on 1960.  I remember walking in and ordering and thinking how odd I felt.  I had an enormous sense of doom that was almost overwhelming.

Dad and I sat down at a table that  was away from everyone else.

There was no small talk… no “So how has your day been?”  Or “How is everyone?”  The minute we sat down my Dad said, “I went to the doctor this morning and I have cancer.”  We sat in silence for a moment.  I had no idea how to respond.  He continued to tell me that it was prostate cancer and that he had told no one else and was not sure if he would.  He informed me that he would not do any conventional treatment.  He would cure it on his own.  He had also informed the doctor which responded, according to Dad, that he would be dead in 8 yrs.

These are my fathers own words from his blog on YANA ( http://www.yananow.org ) …

“When I was a fifty-nine year old 175 pound white male (now 170 pounds)., my Doctor discovered my cancer in June of 2002 ( PSA 2.3 ng/ml and Gleason Score of 7 with 3 out of 6 samples testing positive). I started following the plan I set out below and it took only one-hundred days for all my systems to return to normal(my cancer was very aggressive and I had many symptoms – painful ejaculations, an overwhelming urge to urinate, frequent trips to the bathroom, pain in the groin, and blood in the urine. ). A follow-up examination found a 20% decline in my PSA (it changed to 1.7 ng/ml). Your oncologist may tell you that you will be dead very soon if you try this treatment. I have refused the conventional treatment of surgery or radiation and my Doctor gave me eight years to live if I tried this new treatment. All four other Cancer Doctors that I have consulted said, if I can keep my PSA low I will be OK (nobody gets sick and dies with a PSA under 10). Seventy percent of seventy year old men have PCa.”

When we left he gave me a one-armed hug.  The only kind he ever gave.  Stiff as a board with no emotion attached.

For weeks I felt this additional heavy burden come over me.  Not because my Dad had cancer, but because I did not feel anything.  I was not sad.  I believed I should have been and the guilt of not being sad was heavy.

The first six months of 2002 was a hell.  Not only did I carry this burden all by myself, I was working 70+ hours a week, visiting Nanny every chance I had, Mike and I were fighting almost all the time and I was fighting off my boss.

I felt hopeless… and went through everyday in a haze.

Then the week after July 4th, 2002 I finally crashed!  And I crashed hard!

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