Monday, December 8, 2014

One of those Days

I can't sleep.  I'm having one of those cycles where it feels like my life is a whole brain fart and caving in on me. I'm having low level, chronic anxiety. It's nothing major, it's just a bunch of little things that add up to make one whole uncomfortable mess. Some of it I can talk about and some of it must simply remain with me.

This fall is peppered with scams by contractors for me. Is it miscommunication?  Partly.  But it is also - what - people trying to make a buck?  In one case, the repairman clearly did not repair the machine and I was scammed for part of the cost of the repair and would have been out the whole cost if I hadn't put a stop payment on the last check--buyer beware--use a credit card, always. In another situation, the contractor did a great job--but his ending cost and his bid were so different that I felt scammed again.

Then there is the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York -- more scam artists if you ask me.  The reason paid employees exist is because there was a need to better serve the volunteers - you know, people like me. Now it is all about making that cookie money so they can pay themselves. Get more members, sell more cookies, keep your job.  The problem is they are not very good at serving their members so they always have to hustle to get more members.  When our cookie mother went to the meeting to get the cookie information they thought we only had 2 registered girls--NOT.  We have 12 registered girls and 9 registered adults and I sent all the forms and the money to them in a timely fashion and did several follow up emails and phone calls--and still they couldn't get it right and put me in the position of having to dig up everything again--so we can sell more cookies and they can keep their jobs.

Oh and the janitor who calls himself a Super who doesn't really do a very good job of being a Super--and why do I have to be in charge of him anyway? Oh, yeah, I'm the treasurer......

Then there is the continuing saga-drama of my partner's younger brother who can't or won't get his life together and how she worries and cares and hopes the best for him and throws money at the problem and the problem never goes away. A perpetual emotional drain on her and a continual obstacle for me.  At least recently, besides feeling sorry for myself, I am starting to have some empathy for her.  There isn't really much I can do to help her. It's funny though, how some people can party, and drink, and smoke and pleasure themselves and follow their passion and figure out how to get a college education and get food stamps and medicaide, but can't figure out how to get a job...

Speaking of jobs--I sure wish I could find something else to do. I am grateful that I have been gainfully employed all these years, but it is becoming a little hazardous to my health--and honestly, it is sooooo boring....but again, at least I am working.  And some things about working for others that I cannot really discuss that is causing me some agita.

And what else? Well that's really it, except for worry and concern about the failing health of my mom who recently had colon cancer and then my sister-in-law's dear mother who is also gravely ill with stage 4 lung cancer. How we hope and pray for the best outcome for both.

And then there are the events happening in the larger community, like the poor man on Staten Island and the young man in Ferguson, MO. While these things don't affect me directly, they indirectly affect all of us.

Well, I still can't sleep, but I feel better now that I got this off my chest.  Thanks for letting me share. Surely I have much to be grateful for and most of this is small stuff....

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


CS Lewis says we shall not cease from all exploration until at the end of our days we return to the place we first began and know it for the first time. Thomas Wolfe says we can't go home again. Well, I'm home and I think I know it and I am sure this is not quite the end of my days, but perhaps the end of my days as I know it.  I left home a long time ago.  I wasn't really driven away as much as I was driven by a desire to explore the world--or at least as much of the world as I was willing to venture out into.  And now I am home because my mom is in the hospital. My partner insisted we come, or maybe I would have stayed in my home. Like the good Girl Scout I am, I help where I am needed. So, I didn't really need too much prompting.

My mother's surgery went well-quick, got the part of the colon with the mass out, no colostomy bag, no ventilator tube. But there is pain and lots of it-which she didn't want. She's uncomfortable breathing, sitting, moving. Her COPD creates more problems. By night time she is unfocused, disoriented and difficult to speak to. No doubt this is because of the medications and the lack of oxygen going to her brain.  It is stressful to be here and painful to watch.

I always thought I would quit my job and come be with my mother in her last days--not that these are necessarily her last days, but they could be.  She asked me to stay and I am staying as long as I can which is really only a week.  And, of course, I will come again for another week here and a weekend there. I will help to clean up the house and find all the papers and do the taxes when the time comes. A band aid, really.  My little sister Yvonne and my brother Ray will do the heavy lifting.  They live here and will be here to make sure she gets into rehab and visit her and carry out her wishes.  I think I am unwilling to quit my life, or maybe I am just inert. Hard to say.

Lots of mixed emotions. No real answers for me. Not quite my grandfather hiding behind a tree crying as his wife, my grandmother, lies dying. Not quite my mother who had a little baby to care for and couldn't make it to the hospital often enough to satisfy her mother's friends but who in the end had to step up and take on all the responsibility of her mother's death.

Am I really dumping this all on my little sister? I try the best I can to show up, but is it enough?

I don't know.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Cancer Survivor Handbook

My friend Beth Liebson has written a book and I think it is worthwhile to check out The Cancer Survivor's Handbook:

The Cancer Survivor Handbook 
by Beth Leibson
According to the National Cancer Institute, there are an estimated 13.7 million living Americans who are cancer survivors. The institute expects that number to rise to almost 18 million over the next decade. The Institute of Medicine notes that patients diagnosed with cancer have an estimated 64% chance of surviving five years, up from 50% three decades ago. And most of them have lingering symptoms, both physical and emotional.

The Cancer Survivor is a companion and guide for those millions of individuals who are finally done with treatments but are still on the journey to wholeness. Beth Leibson completed her chemotherapy and radiation in 2007. She had beat cancer, but was left with lingering memory issues, exhaustion, depression, pain, and the fear that at any point, the cancer could return. Here she tells the story of how she rebuilt her life, and shares advice from other experts, addressing the emotional, medical, and professional challenges of life after cancer. Here are the questions you’re afraid to ask (“When will my sex drive come back?”), the questions you hadn’t yet considered (“How do I reenter the work force after a ‘break’ of a year or more?”), and those you know you should be thinking about but haven’t had the energy for (“What supplements or alternative therapies should I be taking to regain my strength?”).

Warm, honest, and full of sage advice, this is the book Leibson wishes she had had when the nightmare of cancer treatments drew to a close and the overwhelming reality of starting life over again began.