It’s WFH Wednesday!

I’ve been feeling pretty good lately.  I think there are several reasons for this.

  1. I’ve attended two Support Group meetings and it makes all the difference in the world to be able to sit with other cancer survivors and talk about what’s bothering us.   We’re patient with each other and everyone has a different story to tell.  I didn’t go this week because it was Husband’s birthday and I wanted to make him dinner.  But that’s how it works.  People come and go as needed.
  2. Spring is here.  Even April snow showers haven’t defeated it.  Last weekend was beautiful.  The birds are chirping.  Flowers are blooming.  The ice cream truck comes around.  It’s wonderful. A couple weeks ago I went on an impromptu walk with Bestie. Last Friday it was in the 70s and I spent the evening sharing margaritas and pizza with a good friend on their deck.  We stayed out even after dark with the help of her gas fire pit.  (Although it’s a little nippy when that sun goes down.)
  3. I booked a flight to visit the kids in Arizona.  I’ve been missing them so much.  All of them.  And the Nugget is growing so fast.  I can’t stand the thought of her walking around and my not seeing it.   A more intelligent person would have put it off to build up the savings first, but screw it.  It was making me too unhappy.
  4. Work is going well since I decided not to worry about being promoted.  It’s been nice to sit back and sigh and do the work that’s assigned to me.  And leave on time.  My mind is clearer.  I’m able to do my job better.  Lather, rinse, repeat until this lesson sinks in.
  5. I’ve been drinking lemon water.   A friend suggested it for my reflux.  She said it really helps her.  Since my insurance no longer pays for the script I was taking and I cannot afford to buy that much OTC meds, it thought it would have been a nice alternative.  It’s actually working pretty well.  I can still tell when I’ve been eating too much spicy, acidic foods, but I don’t wake up at night with my throat on fire.  Plus I’m pushing the water which makes everything else work better.
  6. I found a new PCP doctor.   He came recommended by a friend and gets good reviews online.  So when I saw her Saturday I asked how long the wait was and she said she hardly ever waits more than 15 minutes.   I haven’t made an appointment yet because I want to get my blood work on file first.  Then make the appointment.  Then do the insurance company thing.

Who knows, maybe this weekend we’ll even make it to the dog park.  Bobo would really like that.

Progress Not Perfection

So much for keeping up to date.  It’s been a crazy busy month.  But I like it.

I took my mother to Frankenmuth for her birthday at her request.  It was a nice trip and a long day.  We left at 9am and met the boys back here for dinner at 5pm.  I think it was 8pm when I dropped her off.  That’s a lot of having my arm slapped every time she thought of something new to tell me.  But it was worth it to see her enjoying herself.  And she’s becoming so frail.  More and more I notice it.  I think it frightens us both.

I haven’t been doing as well on the weight loss front as I’d like.  These meds are making me so tired.  Or maybe it’s the fat and lack of exercise that are making me so tired.  I’m trying to do better and am, a little.  Been keeping better hours at work. Been pushing the plate away a little more.

This week has been an interesting one.  Around the holidays I notice a lump in my right “breast”.   When I saw my Oncologist we agreed I should have an ultrasound and see my Surgeon to have a look, but since I have no actual breast tissue and my recurrence numbers are so low, it was most likely nothing.   Both the Ultrasound Tech (Anne, who is wonderful, but who I should not know as well as I do) and the Radiologist thought it was nothing, but wanted my Surgeon to look at it to be sure.  And my Surgeon thought it was nothing but wanted a biopsy to prove it.  I had the biopsy on Monday and I could tell by everyone’s attitude it was nothing.  I got the call from my Surgeon this morning telling me so.

So all is well and good. Except this every six months panic was one of the things I was trying to avoid with the mastectomy.  And the lump I’m feeling is a lymph node that is fine now, but they want to keep an eye on it.  Which means it’s going to be in the back of my head for six months.

I attended my first support group meeting last night.  I’ve rearranged my day working from home to accommodate my needs, for a change.  It was a very small meeting, which was great for me.   The facilitator is very warm and inviting and the three members I met were very open with their stories.

One woman went through two years before she got a diagnosis and each doctor kept telling her there was a 1%  chance that it was any kind of cancer and it was absolutely just a benign tumor.  For two years.  And not only was it cancer, it was a type of cancer for which there is no treatment and almost always recurs. She’s two and a half years out but will have to have period scans for the rest of her life and each time the probability of her having a recurrence increases.

That’s the part that I need help with.  The fact that no matter how many doctors tell me it won’t come back, I won’t ever believe them.

But it also means that I am determined – no matter how many times I have to start over – to not let my job interfere with my health and to rid myself of some of the bad habits I’ve let myself return to in the last year.   And I’m trying to balance kindness to others with kindness to myself.

It’s a work in progress.

Me & My Meds

This weekend was so full of ups and downs, I felt like I was on a teeter totter!

I ran out of my meds a couple of weeks ago.  I don’t know why.  I would have thought the script would have covered me until my next visit, but that’s not the case.  Either the doctor or the pharmacy screwed something up.   I called my Dr. last week to get a new script called in, but she hasn’t managed to do that yet.  (I just called and it’s been approved by the Dr. but not called in yet. Grrr.)

So, being unmedicated has my moods swinging and if it goes much longer, I’ll either need a new job or a new husband.

It isn’t that it makes me irrational, it just brings up the things that I’ve tamped down.

Over the weekend I had both some great together time with the Husband and a stupid fight.  Complete with yelling and throwing things by yours truly.  The argument was more about his madness than mine, but normally, I over look it and kind of zone out.  The problem is his, not mine.  His constant negativity is killing me.  He’s taken to complaining about Monday’s work on Friday at 5pm now.   He’s done it twice just as soon as I come in the door on Friday.  I don’t understand it.  I hate Monday’s, too, but I don’t usually get down on them until Sunday night.

But Sunday was a nice day.  Pretty and full of exercise.  I was exhausted last night while working on my art journal, but as soon as I put my head down, I just kept a steady stream of horrible thoughts going.  The last time I looked at the clock it was 3:30 am and I decided I would work from home so I wouldn’t have to worry about driving while so tired.   And I also wouldn’t have to worry about my tired-trigger making me lose my job.

Speaking of the Art Journal, I’m enjoying it.  I’m trying to use little bits and pieces of time to add to it.  Like when I’ve been away all day, I usually drop my coat and shoes near my craft table, so I will spend a few minutes doing things.  Last night I spent all my TV time cutting out shapes to use as masks and templates.  I’m still tending to use her examples, but I think I’ll branch out soon.  It feels good to get back into the creative swing of things.

Well, I’m starving, so I’m off for lunch.

Inky Fingers

Sunday was March 1st.   March is my month of creativity.  My month of fun.  My month of doing what needs to be done for me.  My month of not worrying about other people “missing” me while I take some time to completely immerse myself in play.

Sunday was my class with Dyan Reavely.  She taught us her methods for Art Journaling.  I have always loved her work.  It’s all about bold color backgrounds and black and white graphics on top.  She’s like a rock star, herself.  She dresses like a punk-pinup with clown-red long, beautiful hair and beautifully tattooed arms.  And she’s a grandmother.  Easily my age.  I love her way of being herself and not even worrying about people caring.

The class was odd for a “craft class”.  Since art is such a solitary thing, I always find it interesting when a group of artists/crafters get together.  It’s like, “Oooh!  There’s more of me!” and we all start chatting like we haven’t seen another human in years. (If you’ve hesitated doing something like this, I recommend it.  I’ve met some of my favorite people in this environment.) But Dyan has issues.  She has ADD and OCD and some sort of hearing issues and she cannot have distractions.  It’s kind of like being in 3rd grade again.  She asked us to be completely quiet and not doing anything until she tells us to. She cautioned us not to work ahead, since the sound of turning pages could distract her and throw her off track.  She told us someone whispering in the back of the room could distract her.  She used the “Tell It, Show it, Do it” method.

Anywho….I enjoyed the class and even though I don’t seem to quite have her techniques down, it’s made me break out some tools I haven’t used before and that’s good news!

I also went to the Yoga class at Gilda’s Club.  THAT WAS AMAZING!

The class was just what I thought it would be: a room full of middle aged women.  There was one man, but it was mostly women my age.  The teacher did not look like what you’d picture a Yogi to look.   She was just as dowdy and lumpy as I.  I started out very stiff and the muscles in my back ached just from sitting on the floor.   But by the end of the class, I was a big sweaty mess and my back didn’t hurt at all.

She complemented me on following so well since it was my first class.  I wasn’t a genius.  It just turned out that the stretches I’ve been using to relieve my neuropathy happen to be Yoga poses.  Who knew?  It gave me such a rush.  And that rush lasted all day on Friday.  Which was good because Friday was a long, long day.

There are a couple of things I’ll do different next time.  I’ll bring a towel and some water.  I’ll pull my hair back.  I’ll clean off my makeup.   And I’ll need something to save my knees.  That’s the only pain that lingers.  My knees appear to be the only part of my body that is low on cushioning fat.  And I do want to go back.  (Next month, when I am not quite so heavily scheduled, I want to try one of the groups.  For now, the Yoga is enough.)

We had a company meeting Friday.  There is nothing to suck the productivity out of a workday than a 3-hour meeting detailing how last year really sucked.  I was not surprised.  We spent way too much time on projects that didn’t end up gaining us much revenue.  That knowledge and the fact that our President keeps running around asking if we can bill for our projects yet kind of sealed the deal.   But it makes me angry that my Director lied to me about my promotion.  Instead of just saying, “We can’t afford to promote you this year”, he made me think it was something I was doing wrong to be asking.  That makes me not want to trust him.  It also makes me angry that he thinks I only care about money.  I wanted the promotion, not necessarily the cash. (I’ve had many jobs where promotions don’t necessarily come with raises.  Shit, The Husband got a promotion and we still haven’t made up the money he lost when he went salary.)

All in all, it’s helped me stop caring so much.  I want to do good work, but if they don’t respect me enough to tell me the truth, then I don’t see the need to make myself sick over anything.

I will finish up by being grateful for the weather.  Temps were above freezing yesterday for the first time in over a month.  There was sunshine and melting loveliness.   Today’s snow and sleet will not temper that in any way.  There is hope for spring.

Be lovely today!

Keeping On

Things are better.

It did me wonders to get out to see my Bestie and my favorites.

I’ve been calling my mom more often.  Checking in on her makes me feel better about the type of daughter I am.  When it snows.  When it’s super cold.  I call her and check on her.  When I’m going to the movies.  I ask her to go along.  It’s better.  I still get annoyed.  But it’s better.

I went to the meeting at Gilda’s Club and I want to attend some of the groups, but the times are all either too early or two late.  I didn’t go to Yoga last week, so I hope to go tomorrow.  I bought special clothes.  I should go.

I’ve been trying to get out of work earlier lately.  And it’s been pretty effective.  Up until this week anyway.  This week has been all screwed up.  But I’m trying.  And when I’m working late, I’m trying to make sure it’s because I want to accomplish something to make myself feel better and not because it will make someone else feel better.

I am slowly – very slowly – making improvements to the way I eat.  I don’t have any candy in the house right now. I bought fruit.  I bought some vegetables.   I ate some of them.  It’s a start.

I feel better.  And it’s almost March.  March is a month I can deal with.  February is not.  I hate February.

And March has many wonderful things in it.  My class with Dyan Reavley (this Sunday!).  Scrapbook Camp.  Utefest.

It’s going to be amazing.  Just wait.

TUESDAY IS ME-DAY

The last week has been pretty productive in my journey to a saner me.

I had a frustrating call with my mother regarding snow removal that ended in me deciding she’d be a lot less frustrating to me if I were just a better daughter and called her when I know she could use some help instead of waiting for her to ask me for it.  Cause she won’t and she’ll try to do things herself and she’ll end up hurting herself.  And then I get mad.  Which is silly.  Just a phone call a couple of times a week, and when it’s extra snowy, and when it’s extra cold, or there was a horrible storm that maybe knocked her power out…and things will be better.  It won’t make her any less self-involved, but it will make me feel better about what kind of daughter I am.

Last Tuesday, I saw a therapist.  She wrote furiously as I told her about my history and my stress and my health.  Then she suggested I see her weekly.  Which would be fine if I were rich, but I’m not.  My insurance has a $1500 deductible for mental health that is separate from the $2000 deductible that applies to all my other doctors.  And the visits are $100 each.  So, that’s not going to happen. Finances are one of my stress issues, and I would much rather put any extra money toward tickets to visit our kids and granddaughter.

At work, I talked to my boss – informally – about how I just need to step back a little.  It’s obvious to me that the promotion he told me I’d be getting is just going to be put off and put off.  My tension over this has backfired, causing me to be the kind of complaining, whining, difficult employee I hate.  So, if I haven’t already shot myself in the foot, backing off is going to be the only way to handle this.  I just need to go back to working and not fighting against all of the things I would do different.

I’ve proven to myself that longer hours don’t make me more effective, either.  (Some lessons need to be learned over and over and over.)  I worked 11 hours straight last week on a problem.  When I made it worse for the umpteenth time, I put my computer away and went home.  After a pretty good night’s sleep, I went back into the office and resolved 90% of my problem in an hour.  Ugh.  But the simple act of putting my computer in my desk instead of taking it home with me allowed me to decompress and come back refreshed.  We’re not technically on call in our office, but there’s more 24 x 7 communication than makes me comfortable.  So I’ve taken to shutting down the office one night a week.  Making it so I couldn’t work if I wanted to and thus keeping the wheels from turning in my head all night.

I’ve also decided that Tuesdays – my work from home day – is going to be my scheduled Me-Day!  I’m going to use it to catch up on my personal things and take a step back from the pressure at work.  Don’t get me wrong – I will work.  I just will spend some of that time multi-tasking in ways that make me feel better.

I’m going on Thursday to a new member meeting at Gilda’s Club.   It looks like it may be interesting and a way for me to connect with other people and get support for my post cancer issues.  It may be nice.  It may be not.  I’m just going to keep exploring things that may make me feel better until something sticks.

It’s improving.  Day by Day.

Time and It’s (Mis) Uses

Yesterday the entire Mitten was under a cloud of blue – snow as indicated by Weatherbug.  It never stopped snowing all day.  It started out looking like it would be underwhelming since the snow was very fine.  But we did end up with over a foot in the end.  Poor Husband.  He gets so upset about these things that are outside his control.  I was disappointed, too, as I had plans to have lunch with friends.  I am missing my much-needed girl time.  It happens in the winter months. And if all else fails, I will see a lot of them in March.   Instead of pissing and moaning, though, I read a few magazines and did 30 crosswords.  I ticked another movie off my Oscar list via thanks to HBO and tried out a new series.  I spent the day in unconstrictive clothing, slept in and took a nap.

It was a pretty awesome day.

Today – as it turns out – is a vacation day for me.   I’ve been struggling at work.  A lot.  I’ve become angry and resentful of the way things are going.  It shows in my attitude too much.  So much that Boss Man has taken to sending me patronizing messages when we have a “productive conversation”.  (They’d all be productive if he’d do things right.)  Seriously, the problem is me.  I’m not able to focus.  I’m exhausted. My eyes seem to roll on their own.  It’s not only coming across to the staff but to the customers.  So it’s time to get my shit together.

Today turned out to be the perfect day to do that.  Husband and Boy are both working all day so I have no distractions but my own. I got up near my usual time.  I’ve been enjoying the quiet all morning.  I’ve had a big cup of coffee.  I’ve caught up on facebook. I deleted all of the games from my phone and left my crossword book downstairs.  When I finish this entry, I’m going to get dressed and start checking things off my list!

  • I have phone calls to make.  Some that I’ve been putting off for a while.  Some that I’ve been planning to make for a couple of weeks but just haven’t made the time.
  • I’m going to set up an eye appointment with my friend’s work.  I feel like being able to see out of both eyes would go a long way toward lessening this horrible fatigue.  I know it would help with the headaches.
  • I’m going to call my Dr. and ask for a hormone level check for my Oncologist.  If I’m past menopause, we can put me on another cancer med that will allow me to go back to my previous sanity cocktail.
  • I’m going to call my insurance company and ask what is required to see a therapist.  I didn’t want to spend the money previously, but now it just may be necessary.
  • When I do all of that, I’m going to reward myself by signing up for a class (or two) with an Artist I admire.  Something I haven’t done in ages and I really miss.
  • I’m going to go through all my “weight loss” bag and see if I can get my mojo running.
  • After all of that, I’m going to make dinner for my family and do the dishes while the Husband shovels.

It is all about the mojo, people.   I have been wasting so much time just sitting around and using my brain to get to another level of a game or do another crossword puzzle.  It’s insane.  I know how this works.  You have to spend energy to make energy.

I haven’t been doing as well as I’d like with changing my habits.  I did give up soda, but it took weeks longer than I planned.   Giving up soda has curbed my fast food visits again, as well. One bonus thing that happened:  My insurance company stopped paying for my GERD pills.  I worry because I know Acid Reflux is very bad, but I haven’t had the problems with it I thought i would.  Instead, I’ve found that I feel full faster.  And I seem to have less urge to continue to eat once I feel full.  It’s helping me push away the plate now and then.  I’ve also been trying to stop at one nighttime snack.  (This one is a particularly hard habit to break.  And I’ll always be a little mad at Husband for getting me started so long ago.)  And I didn’t by any more SweetTart Hearts!!

I’m being quite conscious of the way I feel while I make these changes.  I need to get back to the person I want to be.  I need to use the time I have to do that.

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