Thursday, December 30, 2010

disclosure - work

I think it might be time to disclose at work. I did not want it to get to this point but life here at work is really impacting my health. It's been 3 months since our second counsellor left- with no new hires. I've been doing the job of two people and it's getting to me. It doesn't help that my office is on the second floor. Sure I can limit how many times I go up and down those stairs, not so bad. But when (if) another counsellor ever gets hired I'll be going back and forth from the basement office to the "classroom" (main floor) to my office on the second floor. Not going to happen, hence I've got to out myself.

So instead I went to the only confidential staff person on sight to feel out my outing. He cannot say anything to anyone, including my boss or HR: He's bound by G-d. And of course when I told him what I have (I simplified it and said heart failure, none of the big/birth words), his reaction is exactly why I haven't told anyone including my boss. When one says heart failure, one knows what that means. Immediately he said "if I was your boss I'd want to know that I can't be calling you down to my office every hour (between clients and classes) only for you to have to do those stairs again". Ok, but here's the problem: this is neither government, nor union run. I have no job security. Essentially the only thing that's keeping my job secure is that there's no one else here right now to do what I do. And I do a lot, and it's getting to me, because I'm becoming more limited in what I can do. I am only getting by this week because there's no programming. It's "professional development time". Except in adulthood PPDay doesn't mean a day off, it means updating curriculum and files and cleaning out my office.

Before I went to see our chaplain I had to stop half way and take a sit. I couldn't make it across the building. The painful sloggy edema made me stop and rest. Even with my legs raised (only by 12") under my desk I feel like my feet are planted in a sea of water. This isn't fun anymore. I'm so glad I said no to another contract. The same people that call me every year around this time to do mental health research called me last week, and even though I was working full time last year, I took the contract anyway. I packed the hours in during the weekends and mornings. This year, although the money is tempting (could pay for my divorce), I finally said no to work. Yes me, my father's daughter. I need to live a little longer, please?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

saying what I mean

I'm at a place I was almost 2 years ago, emotionally anyway. Well, sorta. Two years ago when I was in the "heart hospital" I was given new to me information: that I was now in heart failure. And so even though it's difficult to tell "how long" one has, they did give me a range: a few years left (whatever few means is up to the universe, the individual etc. to interpret). So here it is a few (2) years later and as much as I'm working full time, no longer walk with a cane, etc. I'm facing new limits - because of where I'm at.

Two years ago it was a bit 'easier' to accept what was going on. I love life, I don't ever feel ready to die, or to tie it all up (who does?) but I could come to some sort of peace inside knowing that I was with "the life of my life" (at the time) and felt that ok, if it's coming, at least I've been able to have 8ish years with her (at the time). Although there was eternal love, we weren't that happy (no surprise). Not that any of that made it easier to accept limits and eventual death, but it did in an eery kind of way.

Today I'm not in the same place. I am happy, very happy, in a new relationship that has barely had time to get off the ground and am feeling very robbed. At least if the end happened with the Ex, I gave her many many years. With la femme francaise I feel like I am abandoning her. I have a great sense of guilt. I know it's her choice to be in a relationship with me at the late stage of my life. Every time she chooses to show up and stay - not out of pity. There's love: kind, wholesome, giving and patient love - on both our parts. It's easy. And it's sad. So soon in a relationship with this many restrictions - shit we haven't even discovered the world yet. My Ex got my "best" years (physical health). A while ago I would have been very resentful over that. I'm starting to come to peace with it. It still feels unfair, that la femme francaise gets the scraps, the left-overs with growing limitations. Right when we're at the beginning of a relationship, the ending of my life is forced to the forefront (shit, 2 ER visits in 5 weeks with her?!). Anyway, my Ex knows how I feel about her - I still love her, even though we broke 'it'. How can you throw away 11 years?. That's the thing with hospitals and growing symptoms, you say what you need to say because with no remission for what I have, one never knows. So even though it was la femme that brought me, it was I that called the Ex to come because I had some important stuff to say to her.

ER take 3 for 2010

I'm quite tired of being sick. There are less moments in my life again where I'm not affected by my restrictions in one way or another. Trips to the ER are in greater frequency these days. In fact, I've been there 3 times the past 5 months. With my most recent trip being last night. Last night's trip was the fastest of all: everyone else was busy eating xmas dinner, too busy to be getting into MVA's or hurting themselves or others. So within 3 hours I saw a cardiologist. That's fast- especially for a specialist.
I'm not quite sure what's going on since I no longer have my ex to interpret, although she did join us at one point. La femme francais brought me: new symptoms (that I was told to look for over a year ago) popped up and caused great concern. So, in the end, I was almost admitted to the heart hospital. They wanted to admit (just like in January almost 2 years ago) but then the cardiologist made a deal with me: I take the next few days off (done, I have them off anyway) and stay home and *rest* like for real rest, not my kind of 'ya ya I'll take it easy' kind of rest. And you know, I can't do much more than anything else right now.
Things are continuing to have difficulty to pump - my heart is having a hard time sending the blood where it needs to go: it's starting to back up. My neck vein was distended - a sign. I hate signs. My kidneys are having increasing difficulty filtering things out: more edema, gout is waking up again. So far no water in the lungs. Thank g-d. really, thank the universe. I don't want to drown to death.

My blood-pressure was really high (for me), my pulse rate too low (for me) and when measured my blood potassium level was higher than high. It was on condition of that returning to a manageable level that I was released around 8 in the morning, after an uncomfortable night.

Being xmas and all I was all emotional - xmas is not my holiday, but there's somthing about being in the ER, with two very important women by my bedside and more new realities about my health. At one point each love-interest were standing on each side of the bed. To break the heavy nature of the moment I joked that I once was the ghost of xmas past and the other the ghost of xmas future. How lucky I was to be surrounded by so much love - even love gone wrong. But how sad I was knowing how precious time is.

The same nurse recalled me from 5 weeks ago: the young one in heart failure with the girlfriend and wife!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cardio appointment: not stable

So I had my winter Cardio appointment the other day. It did not go well - well... it did, in that the results of what my designer drugs are doing are fabulous. I can work... yeeee!!! But, I can't travel... booo!

Apparently I am not stable enough to travel. Which sucks because I have another item on my bucket list planned: Israel. And now Cardio-man is saying I can't go. He's saying that the last few ER visits mean something (even if some people think it's manipulation: what do they know, they are not cardiologists!). He says that the stress that's getting to me does pose a real danger. People have had real heart attacks because of stress, people have died because of stress. He wants to see the stress levels decrease, or at least it's impact on my body lessened.

That recent trip to the ER, with chest pains etc. - that same trip that I was accused of manipulating - was a concern for Dr. Cardio man. To him this is all serious. Stress can kill- I know that, commercials tell us that, most people know that, yet some medics think they know everything because they work in medicine for 2 decades. I encourage any who even thinks for one second I use my health to milk support to spend 10 minutes with my Dr. Cardio man - an actual doctor, a man who's spent his life dealing with cardiac patients. Not some judgemental folks who have nothing better to do than judge me for what they do no understand. Just 10 minutes.... that's all I ask!!

Yes, I am astounded. I am amazed that others who are healthy enough to not understand, judge. Judge me, my need and desire to have a tribe, to experience that sense of belonging that others so freely get, to experience that sense of living without limits that most people take for granted. I don't think I'd be questioned as much if I was in a wheelchair or walked with crutches everywhere - in fact, people might actually be politically correct and try to avoid judging or challenge themselves on issues of dis/ability.
But I have limits and needs. My limits are real and I can't do everything alone.

On the one hand I'm being told I'm not stable enough right now - these episodes are taken seriously yes, but. On the other hand I'm told to put the trip off until I'm more stable. However, I'm also being told that time is limited. It's been almost 2 years since I started counting full moons (since I was admitted to the heart-hospital). I am astounded where I'm at today. I appear healthy, and yes, I can work full time again, walk without that cane, have less edema etc. but the Dx hasn't changed. I am still declining. I still have more and more limitations imposed on me but now with less and less support. I continue to ask questions. There are no clear answers. He only continues to tell me that "I'm a pioneer and they don't know" but that my recent trips (to the ER) tell a lot.

So, I could go (to Israel) and take a big risk. At least if I die, it will be in Israel - I could be buried in my spiritual homeland. If I don't go and wait, I keep declining and may never be stable enough to live out my bucket list.

Or I could go, and nothing could happen. It's a really big risk... risks like this that "normal" people don't have to weigh.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cardio apt.

I had my twice yearly cardio appointment. I hate those days. I didn't even have time between the appointment and work to take some time for me to digest the information. I had to run to work... Work is the major source of my stress these days. The other source is being without community. I found out recently that I haven't been on glue thinking I've been blackballed, it was confirmed that I actually have been.

When I shared it with a supportive person they said "and you called them 'friends'". Yes, I'm learning just because you love people and call them your friends doesn't mean the sentiment is returned. The years of community building are down the toilet as I continue to get shut out - at least it's to my face now.

That's stressful.

What does it have to do with Truncus Arteriosis. Health, being well, being ill, have a lot to do with community and community building, friendships, loved ones etc. It becomes a safety net, a place to play, love, share, grow. Without that one is virtually isolated, filled with loneliness, no way to play out the stress and of course, no support. I'm not looking for pity. I'm expressing the reality of not being well, not having those supports around that others have. It makes it that much more difficult.

Like for example, I had someone move in the other day and a piece of furniture they needed was in the basement. I couldn't lift it. There's no family to call, no "community". It's extremely hard living with tight limits and being without tribe. Extremely hard.

And so I, let's get back to the stress that my dr. Cardio man wants to see lifted in my life. That recent trip to the ER, with chest pains etc. - that same trip that I was accused of manipulating - was a concern for Dr. Cardio man. To him this is all serious. Stress can kill- I know that, commercials tell us that, most people know that, yet some medics think they know everything because they work in medicine for 2 decades. I encourage any who even thinks for one second I use my health to milk support to spend 10 minutes with my Dr. Cardio man - an actual doctor, a man who's spent his life dealing with cardiac patients. Not some judgemental folks who have nothing better to do than judge me for what they do no understand. Just 10 minutes.... that's all I ask!!

Yes, I am angry. I am angry that others who are healthy enough to not understand, judge. Judge me, my need and desire to have a tribe, to experience that sense of belonging that others so freely get, to experience that sense of living without limits that most people take for granted. I don't think I'd be questioned as much if I was in a wheelchair or walked with crutches everywhere - in fact, people might actually be politically correct and try to avoid judging or challenge themselves on issues of dis/ability.
But I have limits and needs. My limits are real and I can't do everything alone.

In fact, dr. Cardio man has told me that my health is not stable enough for a transatlantic trip. He does not approve of my trip to Israel. It's a good thing I didn't buy my ticket even though I now have a rough idea of my trip. I'm very sad and disappointed. And confused.

On the one hand I'm being told I'm not stable enough right now - these episodes are taken seriously yes, but. On the other hand I'm told to put the trip off until I'm more stable. However, I'm also being told that time is limited. It's been almost 2 years since I started counting full moons (since I was admitted to the heart-hospital). I am astouned where I"m at today. I appear healhty, and yes, I can work full time agian, walk without that cane, have less edema etc. but the Dx hasn't changed. I am still declining. I still have more and more limitations imposed on me but now with less and less support. I continue to ask questions. There are no clear answers. He only continues to tell me that "I'm a pioneer and they don't know" but that my recent trips (to the ER) tell a lot.

So, I could go (to Israel) and take a big risk. At least if I die, it will be in Israel - I could be buried in my spiritual homeland. If I don't go and wait, I keep declining and may never be stable enough to live out my bucket list.

Or I could go, and nothing could happen. It's a really big risk... risks like this that "normal" people don't have to weigh.

Friday, December 3, 2010

death and the sacred wheel called life (recalling Thomas)

As I write, Avro Part's Speigle im Speigel plays in the background. it had become my quick release, but now seems to make things all the more bitter sweet. Check it out if you've never heard it. The most beautiful piece of music in the world (piano and violin).

Experience has taught me that life is suffering... I could have discovered that without painful experience by reading up on Buddhist philosophy. Oh wait, I've done that. It doesn't sink in until you really live it, or bear witness to it.

The other day I was in the Bay - I don't usually shop that much, but I was there nonetheless. I had to walk through the boys section to get to where I needed to go and sadness struck me as I recalled shopping for holiday gifts for Thomas. I think about him often, pray to him, have his picture on my alter or by my bedside, often wondering what he's doing in his spirit form, and often feel him visit. So do my cats. They talk to him I'm sure of it.

His entire death process is coming to the surface again as a client of mine who's loved one is in the process of dying describes what and how this person presents. Even if my client is in denial, by his descriptions, I know she is not long for this world. Oddly enough it is no longer triggering - Thomas' whole process is in my heart, especially the night I witnessed spirit take form. I might have written about it, or I might not have - with all the grief I didn't write much about the beauty of death. But here goes.

One night, probably about 2 or 3 nights before his final breath I sat between my (ex) wife's legs reading from my orthodox prayer book (of all things). The room was dimly lit and Thomas was sleeping (or so we think). The sun had not yet gone down but was probably on it's way. The tree outside his window would often obscure the view of the sky. He had been doing his usual choking and coughing that day. His medication at this stage already at his tolerance level: they weren't lasting as long and giving him relief. He wasn't choking or coughing much this particular time I'm describing. Everyone around was sleeping or in another room. (or, if they were around I was paying absolutely no attention to them as I was deep in prayer, meditation, reflection. My wife was laying sleepily on the back of the chair as I leaned a little into her. I only barely noticed his more favourite person in the whole wide world walk into the room. As she sat down beside him, a peaceful stillness and calmness entered the room like breeze flows through leaves. It seemed that he had waited for her because when I looked up from my prayer book I witnessed what I call a miracle. Science can call it whatever it likes but at that moment this young man looked up at her and smiled. Now scientifically it could have been a twitch, or synapses firing, but they don't fire without some sort of stimulus. She was his stimulus - enough to make his face "twitch" into a smile. A peace washed over me as I realized that no one else caught this - or at lest that's how fixated, how still I (and the room) was. Some of the ones in the room were asleep. It was one of the first tranquil, peace-filled moments being with the in laws. It was the most sacred exchange between cousins, best friends, soul mates that I'd ever witnessed. (and it's also that moment that I got in shit for later on when mother in law noticed how cuddled into my wife I was, calling my lack of distance inappropriate and sickening. Yah, the lesbophobic pounding that came afterwards was more than I could bare, but suck it up for the wife I did. Ironically the moment she complained about, was in prayer reading from my orthodox siddur of all things!)

That stillness I feel now and again, and have felt before in my life but not as prominent as when Thomas "awoke". His face, the light glowing and radiating off his pale skin, his blue eyes gleaning towards the girl, all were so angelic. No tubes, no illness, no coughing or pain. Only peace.

It's that stillness that covered the counselling room as my client came to a quiet acceptance of this pending death that I felt the sacredness of the work that I do. To bear witness to someone else's turmoil, having been strong enough to go through my own or carry my loved one, my life partner (at the time) through all the bullshit of in laws, the heart-ache, the sorrow and grief. I am no longer with her, we no longer talk, she no longer wants to be wed to her partner in life, but I journey with others and realize that this is where I need to be. I have given enough of myself to those that do not nor will not recognize that gift.

Endings are full of sorrow. I am full of my own grief and loss over losing a life mate, a soul-contract. Our ugly divorce process makes me wonder where that tenderness went. It makes me wonder how love could turn so ugly, and when I think back to that "miracle" in his room that night, all I felt was family - not the "family" concept of my in laws, but family as in my step-son on his death bed, peacefully leaving, and my wife holding me holding her.

I have no family now. She is gone, my siblings and I have not spoken in a year. My parents. when we speak sporadically, continue to shame me for my broken marriage. I no longer contact them- why call to be shit on? I was raised catholic- you don't divorce, in fact, you don't question your religion, sexuality, faith, or anything else. I, by virtue of following my heart, soul and spirit by choosing my own paths have, according to them, rejected them. And so they continue to reject me. It is especially painful during (Jewish) holidays. I have no family to go to to light candles with, no one to cook latkes for, (or create a passover Seder), it's lonely being a single (lesbian) Jew. Yet I light my hanukiah anyway because it's about me and my Creator - no matter how lonely it feels.

Death isn't just in losing a life to the other side. The death of family, of that sense of 'home', and of stability I once had. Perhaps it's because I am alone yet again, a year later in a very big very empty house. I am finding I am avoiding being at home again - the same behaviour I employed last year to get through the first few months of being in "our" house". Well Dec. 14th is fast approaching, the day she signed it all over, almost a year since it's been "our" house and I am still having a hard time when it's empty. I was graced with a friend living with me during the summer and fall, but, here we go again! I'm in the same situation, wondering what I will do, getting angry again that I am living a life I did not choose. I recall laughing at the lawyer when we bought the house, signing a clause about "if we divorce". I felt like someone was questioning our love and said to him 'there's no such thing as divorce' in my heart. Who knew five years later I would be seeking my own lawyer!

We are so attached to the containers we call people, but without those people life is very empty, very sad. It's too bad we take "people" for granted.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

1 year - a good anniversary

It's my 1 year anniversary: at work. I can't believe I've lasted this long. Not because I don't like the job or I might not have fit but because I didn't think I would have the physical "stamina" to work full time at this stage in my life. Of course the year has witnessed 2 trips to the emergency room, lots of sickness when I first started working (I worked at an out-patient street level for the first 9 months) and a wicked summer cold/sinus infection. Not so bad for someone who's living with/dying from heart failure. Not so bad.

The past 3 months of my job was supposed to be more "cushee" moving to a quieter residential setting but that's where I've been run off my feet, being virtually the only counsellor for the entire time minus 3 weeks. Someone started, then left. Just not the right place for her I suppose.

I'm grateful that my benefits kicked in, covered my designer drugs and continue to provide me with massages and other stress relievers since my work stress has increased due to shortage of staff. I'm hoping that the new year brings new help - really. I'm working late and running the minute I get in. It's really not good for my health, as I learned with my latest trip to the ER a few weeks ago: stress is getting to me.

When I started work I had lost 20lbs due to my break-up (and 20 pounds on me was a big deal). It took a full year but I've gained all the weight back. I am at my heaviest (original) weight ever - and gaining (I hope). I have to start buying new pants if this trend continues. I've noticed because I am warmer (I was freezing all the time last winter, colder than my regular cold-self), and even have hot-flashes (yes, it may seem too soon, however perimenopause can start even earlier than my almost 38 years old). I've always had blood-sugar issues being hypoglycemic, but now that I am eating loads and loads of food (at work) my sugar seems to crash regularly and harder. It's as if I can't get enough to eat. I'm afraid to check it out because the blood tests require fasting and I can't do that. The last time I tried fasting I was in a hypoglycemic shock by the time I made it to the hospital clinic; speaking gibberish, almost passing out, not making any sense except that I pointed to my medic-alert bracelet. If it weren't for that I'm sure they would have thought I was just another crazy person escaped from the locked ward. So ya, I don't want to fast, nor is it wise for me. Perhaps I'll just keep eating (mmm, food).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'm a femme, not handy, not able-bodied

I'm a little cranky today... realizing I don't have much help. I used to live in illusion called community. I think said community really meant being married to a handy-person. I can count on one hand how many of those old dyke friends have called me in the past 4 months. For social or otherwise. And yet I can't do things alone. And mundane day to day shit, shit that just needs to be done. I'm not talking about renovating my home or making things pretty but just shit that's got to be done. Like for example, last month I was gifted with some beautiful Hostas from a friend only to bring them home to realize I can't dig. I can't do it - something as simple as taking a shovel to ground - most healthy people take that for granted - but I just can't do it. I know, I've tried and I get about 2 inches into the earth after much effort. So said wonderful Hostas went to my neighbour: I obviously didn't think it through. I am alone!

And it's in the small things that I notice it. Since I've been left with this house I've rented both rooms to not loose it but the rental just barely covers the basics. I am underpaid at work and normally I wouldn't be resentful because my meds are covered 100% but the past 2 months I've become resentful because I am doing the job of 2 people and nothing's being done about it (well, I'm sure they are interviewing but the applicants have been slim: who wants to do what we do: group therapy, case-management, individual therapy; and be paid peanuts. I digress, my point is I cannot afford to hire plumbers or electricians etc. for the small things that the Ex (being handy that she is) used to do. The basement bathroom has been out of order for over 2 months, same for the dimmer in the basement etc. etc.

And maybe it's because I'm burnt or maybe because I hear through the grapevine community-folk helping community out again and I'm getting so resentful. When's it going to be my turn? Those Wed. nights I'm lugging overweight trash to the curb I think to myself: till death do us part eh? Yeah, 'till she doesn't feel like working anymore. Yeah I was a nag - someone had to beg. Even 2 weeks before our wedding we had a fight: yeah I was sick of doing all the arrangements. From making and designing the dresses to doing the hand-made invitations, arranging seating, thank you cards, arranging the potluck, securing a site, companies etc. etc. all she had to do was show up in said dress with her vows. That's it. Oh and make the ring pillow. I was afraid the wedding would reflec the marriage - oh, and it did! She had it so easy with me. I was her social calendar, I introduced her to everyone I knew, I introduced her to bowling, she married into a house, stability and family values. That's the problem when you just give freely to people, they just take everything for granted and take you down. In the process I gave myself up for nothing but broken love. Not even anything nourishing.

And so now I'm left with a tonne of bricks and luggin out the overweight garbage myself. Someone living with heart-failure luggin out garbage...cut me some slack, today I am not practicing acceptance very well. I'm cranky - I'm doing all the self-care I could possibly do (even had a massage after work today) and damn it I'm alone. It's no wonder my yard has gone to shits. My house is slowly following. It's just too physical for me to do.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

they met

Called in sick today - had to get some sleep today since I did not sleep at all last night because I ended up in the ER - encore. This is part of my norm, nothing to get all twisted in knots about...fear sent me there. Every time a different kind (than past) of chest pain emerges I get scared. The same old same old chest pains don't warrant a visit to the ER, only new ones I've never had before cause concern in me these days.

Perhaps stress is coming out sideways in my life lately. I met with a mediator and my ex last night. Then we went for coffee which in the end turned out good, and that's when the pain struck. Perhaps I got up too fast I don't know but it started shooting out my chest, down my right arm. And the nausea came. I couldn't drive so my Ex took me to the ER, calling la femme francaise in the between times. What a way to meet each other, but in a sense, how appropriate. I'm sure it was civil, I was minding my pain, trying to keep consciousness, and not throwing up. Once the dr. finally came for a visit he asked who the women were and I couldn't help but feel a little funny "this is my soon-to-be Exwife and this is my girlfriend". It's so not like it seems. Then again, I'm getting too tired to care what people think.

Once they said tests would take until at least 4am the Ex handed me off to la femme. At first I did not want la femme there, afraid of the 'drama' that I'm bringing to her very calm, drama-free life. But this is my life, and the ER is part of it, every so often (although I really do have to stay away). According to my Ex, my last night's ECG was much better than when I was in in July for the possibly mini-stroke but not quite a TIA. July's was pretty ugly. That sounded pleasing to all the work I'm trying to do to keep myself relatively healthy all things considered.

I recalled the ECG tech from when I was there almost 2 years ago in January (when I first started writing). I remembered her because of her accent, because she knew what I had. I recalled that in her home country she dealt with Truncus babies when she was (is) a peds cardiac doctor. This is precisely why I don't like the immigration laws: here is this dr. now ecg tech who knows what I have and has dealt with it yet some of the (newer, younger) cardiac nurses do not: what a waste or knowledge! I told her I remembered her and why. She was very nice and gave us a copy for my records (how do you think I keep track of everything!). I hope it made her night that she was remembered. It made my night that I had her again (under the circumstances).

Anyway, once the Ex left my symptoms got worse, I ended up fainting in la femme's arms, and soon after I came to, I ended up barfing where-in she decided to clean it up. There was only one nurse on in that dept. (for 20 patients) and la femme decided to be helpful. That's when I broke down, feeling the epitome of humiliation and vulnerability knowing that the romance was gone: cleaning up some-one's barf is over the top for me. As tears rolled down my face, buried in the bed still burning up and fighting consciousness I asked her to leave. Ya, stubborn Ox I am. It's one thing to write about vulnerability, it's another to witness it. And of course, she did not leave.

She continued to stay by my side until I was discharged, bringing me home, and getting some shut-eye this morning.

The result is that I did not have a heart attack, my enzymes are fine, and stress really does impact the cardiac system. If I want to keep working full-time, my life has to get simpler. And that means cutting the bull, the negative, the toxic. I still love the person my Ex is. One doesn't have someone in one's life for that long (11 years next week) and not care, but I'm getting awfully tired of being the bad gal. It took two to break us, and for (her camp) to see my health as another tool of manipulation is pushing me over the top.... I'm done with other peoples' drama/accusations/judgements. I'm done with those who don't understand what I have and could possibly think I manipulate people with my health. Only those who could even think it are themselves capable of doing such thing. My mind and conscience are clear, my focus is my health and my life, and no longer shall other peoples' baggage or tainted opinion of me matter. It saddens me because it means that she goes too. I am grateful that she brought me. I know there's still love there, but right now I don't need their drama or judgement. We both did and said hurtful things and I will not allow (them) to punish me any longer even if that means cutting her out of my life. The complication just isn't worth my health anymore. Besides, if I was out for coffee with any one else, they would not have wanted me to drive either and bring me to the ER.

Love should not be measured by what a person says, but by what a person does.

Monday, November 15, 2010

that was easy

I have today off... came back from a 3 day weekend away with la femme francaise in beautifully old Quebec City.
I'm not looking forward to returning to 'normal life'. Tomorrow will be packed with clients back to back and no breathing space for case notes. Then off to start the legal process with the former love of my life...I don't know if it's irony or what, but I happened to be away with la femme francaise on the 1 year anniversary of my break-up. I wore my wedding ring (on the other hand). And there were had absolutely no issues with me wearing it. It's a grown-up relationship.

I'm not looking forward to any part of the day tomorrow including the part where we start legal closure. Right before I left for this little getaway, I was also given some very bad unexpected news concerning my finances so now I have to start dealing with that or else. It's going to be a long journey to balance (what isn't?) but am starting to believe that I can do it - it will be stressful to say the least and/or could result in an entire lifestyle change for the worst to say the most. Hoping for the best either way but leaving the worrying to my Creator. It's I that has to get busy with the ground work cleaning up the potential disaster.

Speaking of best, I had a fabulous time walking, talking exploring, eating, in Quebec. I brought my O2 tanks and even needed them. In fact, la femme francaise picked 'em up for me before the trip (the location is closer to her end of town). Anyone who knows me, knows my pride often gets in the way of asking for help and this was a big deal. But it was done, easy.

There is something very heartwarming/comforting about dating at this age: all the bullshit is gone. All that wanting and needing to impress is gone - doesn't mean we didn't have manners etc. not at all, but I didn't have to be a hero and walk up a hill if I couldn't. In your 20s people are so fixated on youth and ability that disability is thought of as something less, the focus is on the ability you're 'missing' (the stuff you're lacking). When you are older, more mature it's not what's missing, it's what's left that counts. It becomes about what and who's in front of you. When you are past mid-life as we both are (due to illness or natural life expectancy) it's all down hill from here. And that is not such a bad thing. It means that all the illusions of having some trivial things in common doesn't really keep a relationship together if the values are not aligned. It just doesn't matter if we see eye to eye in taste in music, clothes, even sports or leisure activities if one is doing something that is completely against the other's values. At this age it's about mutual respect, kindness, tolerance, love, care, etc. I was floored when she, after ordering bacon at brunch, said if this progresses where it seems it could, that she would never have pig or shellfish in the house. The instant respect that came without so much as mentioning it (she knows I'm a Jew but I never talked about being kosher) knocked the wind right out of me - and not the hill-climbing kind of out-of-breathness that usually stops me in my tracks, but the omg, this is so easy kind of amazement. It wasn't about giving up herself... she'd just eat it over at her bud's. It was about what she called respect. Plain and simple. No fight, no lossing of the self, just looking at the bigger picture.

And it was so easy...the entire weekend....was just so easy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

numbers are so binary

In exactly 4 months today I will be 38. I am absolutely beside myself that I am this "old". It's also starting to scare me again. Every so often I Google Truncus Arteriosus just to read what's out there. Some medical journal at some Mass. University made me laugh the other day. It's fun (but sad) to read that adulthood (20s & 30s) for TA patients is an improbability. I spent some time showing la femme francaise these articles, not to scare her but for humour: oh they say they don't live past xx eh: hm I'm right here, or am I? So I laugh, laugh at science because it's not the end-all-be-all. It's not 'proof'. I laugh because I'm still breathing, proving them all wrong. Then some days when I feel weary and tired, I get very sad and scared recognizing that I am pushing even the limits of what is known. To be 38 (OK, in 4 months- I really shouldn't count my chickens before they hatch though) with this and still working, breathing, laughing, loving, living is an incredible miracle. Some days I'm so filled with gratitude that it will be me that will probably (stubbornly) break the records for oldest TA patient when she dies. Other days I wish there were more like me - maybe get more information because I'm so tired of being in the dark (what can I take, do, what are the limits, etc.).

I'm working so hard at keeping myself alive, being able to continue to work and breath and move around in this world that it's becoming so tiring.
I haven't taken my BP in a while, or my pulse rate. I know the numbers have been going up (resting pulse) and down (BP) and have been avoiding "seeing" it - keep myself in denial that much longer. There are days at work I have a very hard time. There's so much stress, I am in effect doing the job of almost 2 people. Yet again we are short staffed, actually 2 people down on our team, and one other counsellor short over on my side. I am burning out. I knew I've been heading down this road so upped my massages etc. to twice a month to get me through this crunch, more bubble baths, even a retreat thrown in there for good measure. Yet the stress is still getting to me.

I am not as jovial, just sluggish, and right now, not working one bit. I should be catching up on case notes but cannot recall a thing from the session. My mind is as heavy as my heart-beat. It's during times like this I wish I was still friends with my Ex. (well, aside from wanting peace and still loving the person, etc.) I wish I knew how to get a 98 beats per minute resting pulse rate down... without the aerobic exercise (as suggested when I Googled the topic). I can't be doing aerobics - my Dr. Cardio man forbids it, besides, 2 flights of stairs can be aerobic enough. Not sure how I can elevate my BP where it was an 88/56 last night. I look back at my records and they continue to decrease despite my efforts at health. And I feel it at work too. I could be in the middle of group, get up to right ont he white board and I feel like I'm about to collapse. I've tailored my teaching style somewhat and count myself as lucky that I am with a small group where I can teach pretty much sitting. My last position at this facility I could not, I had an audience, and a hard-core energy sucking unsafe street-level group. I loved it but couldn't be "on" all the time.
But now because of these designer drugs I can't even do whatever I want when it comes to herbal supplements. Almost everything's been refused from my Naturopath from my Cardio NP.

I have another appointment again tonight. It might be my last if there's no treatment plan. She says she actually has something that was OK'd by them. I cannot believe that even my prophylactic use of vit C (2,000mg/day in winter) was refused because it apparently affects the meds that much. Hm, interesting commentary from the same cardiologists that don't "believe" herbs etc., can actually do anything.

That's the other stress in my life right now... the legal journey is beginning and it's stressing me right out. My life is quite binary at the moment: lots of good: la femme francaise and I are heading to Quebec City for a romantic weekend-getaway later this week and yet the old love of my life and I are no longer on speaking terms (unless through a hired professional). At work I'm becoming really comfortable in my new position (my boss called me a rock star last week) but on the other hand it's a source of great stress right now requiring much more than I can give. It seems to be good or bad - whatever happened to all the grey-zones? I suppose life is about finding balance in the extremes. I dislike binaries.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

invisible disability

Well it was bound to happen eventually... there's only so much I could put off not "letting" her see me wearing my O2. And so it's happened and I'm still alive (of course). You'd think that since I've been sharing all my health issues to the greater world I wouldn't still have problems letting someone (new) in. Well, it's just as difficult - if not more so. I can write here and not give a care in the world what you/others think, but la femme francais, not so much. Of course I care what she thinks- I'm still human and still fear rejection.

But I'm not being rejected. It's so weird and I have to fight all that self-sabotage baggage to not push something so wonderful away. I also don't want to be "cared for" in that helpless patient kind of way. It's kind of a relief that she knows more about the technicalities of planes than the technicalities of the human body! Sometimes it's a little disconcerting.

So we're planning a trip to la ville de Quebec soon and I guess it's about time she get used to the O2 issue cuz if I'm gonna hang out in her old stomping ground I'm gonna need to bring my travel tanks (old Quebec is all hill). It's a quiet pleasure to have someone consider accessibility issues without even asking (old inns with no elevators vs locations of b&b's in relation to the major hills). It doesn't seem like a burden right now (although in all the literature on couples & family therapy that I've read, it indicates that what you originally fall in love with in someone, you eventually hate). So maybe right now it's not an issue... but there I go resorting to doom and gloom and not accepting what IS right in front of me. What is, is.

We walked a trail yesterday. It was cold and wet and we went slow. On the way back I turned to see how long I walked and couldn't believe that I did almost the entire trail. I am, at my own pace, returning to a pace I could handle about two years. It's a lot slower, but I can do almost as much. It was so cool to walk the trail... OK not at regular speeds, but go further than even a year ago.
Something we've talked about is self-care. How some people don't take care of themselves and take their health and life for granted. I feel appreciated for my efforts to still live an active life - perhaps not her level of active, but there's no comparison because she is healthy and super-fit and has to be (for work). We all have choices she says, and I could choose to sit in front of the TV on a cold and grey Saturday morning rather than walk the forest. But I don't. That's the joie-de-vivre she sees and acknowledges.

Perhaps disability is not as scary to some as it once was. The more it's talked about, not hidden, the more sensitized people become. I think right now it's that reason I continue to write. My reasons have definitely changed over the past 2 years. Originally I did not want my 'ex' wife to be alone with the huge burden of living with someone who was in the process of slowly dieing. Since we're all dieing on some level I'm not sure that's such an issue anymore. Sure there are still days I cannot for the life of me catch my breath and have to end all activities or leave work early, but they are less frequent and last a very short time in comparison to the past.

My joie-de-vivre is reawakened. I spent the past 11 months opening up to it, finding me again, and now I've found someone that speaks the same language. Literally. It's incredible. There are words I thought I had forgotten long ago that were buried so deep, that in some cases go back to childhood (with us having read the same french cartoons etc.) that just bubble to the surface. (And she doesn't make fun ofhte fact that my grammaire is atrocious- just loves that I try). I had thought it dead and like a slow burning fire it's re-emerging realizing it was never gone, just buried. Perhaps this is why I could do that little trail in the cold rain yesterday. I'm not sure I can snow shoe but I am so grateful for the opportunity to be able-bodied enough to still go outside and walk in the universe, breathing in the fresh air, milling about slowly in the pine and birch forest.

I'm excited to return to one of the most romantic cities in North America but with her. I've wanted to go back there the past few years. Now I can be shown around rather than lead the way. Ahhh.... I am so blessed for the ability to open my heart once again! May it continue to repair itself, both metaphorically and medically.

(Meow-Meow I intend on keeping that pact: 53!)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

living her words/ living my words

Not quite sure what to write lately - just feeling very blessed - living, breathing, being well-ish enough. I'm having moments of pain, but am able to cope with it. I guess it's "easier" now that my lowered baseline of the past year or two has been the new norm. Well, my norm. I know not to expect much. That doesn't mean I'm giving up, rather recognizing that "it could be worse" (I could have to use a cane again, most of the time- and right now, I'm not!!). It's still some getting used to for la femme francaise but I'm getting a sense that it's "ok". The thing about dating at this age (and hers) is that health issues flare up, unlike when you're young and in your 20s raring to go with nothing the heck wrong with you. At our ages there are bad knees, arthritis etc. that creep in. Boy am I ever grateful for that! That and being with someone who accepts that everything after trauma (or who's been through their own wars, literally) is manageable - not like, "a walk in the park" but, a gift nonetheless.

Yes, she now knows about my DNR, and more health stuff but little by little she hasn't run away, only grabbed my hand in support. I'm beginning to believe that I've been forgiven by my Creator for breaking my vows/my promise to my Creator (maybe not to my ex yet). What I was wrestling with on Yom Kippur seems to be slowly resolving itself, not without pain and reflection, but perhaps a gentle acceptance or letting go that sometimes we do turn our backs on g-d and that like a parent that will always love their child (whether they like them or not), I am also accepted as a child of the Divine - that I too make mistakes. Afterall, it's the same Creator that put la femme francaise in front of me when S/He did. What a gift, what a way to say "you're allowed to be happy KAt, you're allowed to move on, you failed this person but here's yet another chance". At least, that's what I've been getting in my last few meditations.

Another friend reminded me tonight of something I said in July "we're not together but I'm together". I was amazed that it was I that spoke those words - and that someone who also went through a major break-up is going around quoting me! Some days I wonder who's standing in the mirror! This was not me 3 years ago on a dark night in November, or even a year ago. So much has changed - some very painful stuff has happened, but nothing that has killed my spirit, only made it stronger. And yes I will add "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger".

Work is good, stress is increasing as a direct co-worker is leaving and my workload will double again - however I am getting much better at handling stress and anxiety - to the point that I'm very sensitive to other friends' inability to deal with stress and anxiety- I end up needling their ears just to help. I am grateful to offer such a gift (and have been gifted with that training from work). My close friends have put up with a lot of late-night crying, self-pity, pain, etc. from me earlier this year that I feel so fortunate to be able to offer such meager gifts (not that friendship is a score card, but separation/divorce/grief tore a few strips off me that I really couldn't get through without them and want to offer my gifts back: perhaps taking care of the ears that listened to me all these months!). In my own world am so fortunate to have benefits to pay someone to help me relax (massage, accupuncture, etc.) if I'm not able to get their on my own (be it through whichever self-care means I choose). Anti-stress is essential when you're looking to optimize your health. And my life is SO full, I mean SO full that I don't have time to let stress get the better of me. I forgot how much time relationships take!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

discloure pt 2

So circumstances have indicated that it was about time to start disclosing some truths about my health/life sentence to la femme francaise.
Of course, I didn't go into details because it would have been be too overwhelming all at once, but the situation called for honesty, deep sharing etc.
She knows I probably won't see her age (she's significantly older than me).
And of course, she's not oblivious - she's noticed my nails, my inability to keep up, etc. etc.
Her reaction: it's not what people have, it's what they do (or don't do) with what they have.
We'll see if her words match her actions when my health flares up. This is a lot to handle. Not many people are built to deal with someone else's serious illness (even though vows suggest in sickness and in health, most people bolt when it gets tough - I know).

But for now...I'm in so much trouble!

Friday, October 1, 2010

medication meltdown

Landed safely in Toronto... with only a disastrous medication meltdown. I was due for another shipment of my designer meds on Thurs. since I was supposed to be on the road to TO after Friday's afternoon (work) group. So today I get a phone call from purolator at 7 am telling me that the meds have not yet left Toronto and can they deliver them Saturday morning. Um - NO. I have exactly enough meds to take me to TO but none thereafter. I gave Puro an Ottawa friend's address to be delivered by 3pm (departure time) while I was at work. So Purolator said they'd get in on the next flight out. Fewf - it's only 7am, there's still time before 3pm.
So 2pm comes and my friend still hasn't received anything. I call the pharmacy in TO just to double check. Not sent out! WTF. I explain my situation, telling them that I'm in training all day and that I won't be able to pick 'em up in Toronto even though I'm there. So we arrange for a 7am Sat. morning delivery.
They call back and low and behold my life-enhancing meds are in the air on the way to OT - and I'm on the way to TO.
Life is a little crazy sometimes - and sometimes I just don't want to be the one organizing it all.
I've been practicing assertion the past couple of months so at one point when Puro called me I told 'em (not to go f*ck 'em selves even though I really wanted to)... I told them to work it out with the TO pharmacy because I was no longer available (TO pharmacy had my entire itinerary).
And, because even though my life can get chaotic, I still have angels, my meds were delivered to my friend's place in TO by 8pm (not 8am next day)!
So here I am, meds, belly full of super good, super cheap Indian food and my first weekend away from la femme francaise in over a month.
Good food makes me content!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Naturopath take 2

So I saw my Naturopath last night. She also does acupuncture. Now I originally wanted to go to a friend's colleague's place but got lazy... I want to keep all my services under the fewest roofs possible. I'm so complex that I don't need to be opening files all over town regarding my health.

So since we are limited in what we can do we are looking at simple supporting of my organs, hence the acupuncture. She started with points on my feet last night: big mistake: I'm a Pisces and touch of any sort on my feet can be unbearable. After the third needle she had to take one of 'em out. I felt like I was going to throw-up, pass out etc. She said I wasn't kidding when I tell her that we have to take kid gloves with me (children's dosage for any herbs, etc. ).

Anyway, she is now linked up with my Cardio-nurse so she can get the back and forth info. I didn't like being the one in the middle. i know a lot about my body but started getting lost when they Cardio-nurse was explaining the chemical compound of a certain herb/plant etc. then I would have to relay this info to the Naturopath. It was getting a little crazy. At least now they can come up with a plan together! That's what I pay the Naturopath for anyway (although it's covered under benefits, which I have yet to receive reimbursement. I hate insurance companies sometimes).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bye bye summer: Fall brings the return of pain

Ok, so my spiritual health has been on the up and up but my pain and edema decided to come back. I've been blessed to enjoy a relatively pain-free summer. Today I'm having a hard time walking so I'm going to soak a warm bath.
I hope this isn't any indication of the fall to come. Fall and Winter are usually very hard on my body (and extreme summer heat, but we haven't had much of that). The Naturopathic support is pretty useless because my Cardio Man and Cardiac NP kibosh everything I send them! I'm feeling a little stuck in what I can do. They've even warned me against my high-dosage of Vit C when I get sick (5,000mg). Seriously, I'm not well anyway.... I just want to feel better.
There - the pain has spoken!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Autumnal Equinox/new year brings a calm wind of change

So meeting new folks means looking at issues around disclosure, especially if said people are becoming important or if they'll hang around for a bit.

I could always choose to not disclose. I am "lucky" to be able to hide my disability, but hiding also means I come across as lazy, poor sport etc. when being invited to hikes, long walks, dances etc. So I make the choice to disclose, a bit at a time. I don't want to depress people, scare them off or overwhelm folks - especially one person in particular. That last thing I want to do is scare her. How fair is that to meet someone and say "um, I probably won't ever experience your age" (she's older than me).

The thing is, if I wait too long to disclose, I'm withholding. In my value-system withholding is a form of lieing. If I disclose too soon, it may scare her and she may run. But I guess that's a choice only she can make.

Right now though it's not too much of an issue as our walks seem to be more leisurely - stop to look at the rabbit, watch the heron take flight, observe les grenouiles (sorry forgot English word)....
Tonight's walk, under the autumnal equinox' full moon was breathtaking. We went (back) to her favourite spot which included a bit of forest, a bit of water and a bit of beach. I couldn't have had a more perfect day. At work I got paid to be on excursion by a lake. It was a beautiful day which ended with an equally wonderful walk with a beautiful woman. I am so filled with gratitude and serenity, I never thought this day (feeling at peace with oneself) would come! And the thing is, it's here even before she walked into my life. Some days I just don't recognize myself as I am not the same woman I was even 11 months ago. She wants to get to know me, I'm still getting to know me, the authentic me. It's an incredible journey to be on, for myself, never mind if I end up with anyone else. And at this point I don't want to "be" with anyone. I like my life, my space, my career, and not rushing anything - time is precious, but so is just living it. Just living in the joie-de-vivre encore!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Yom Kippur, forgiveness and vows

It's ironic that the "sermon" during our Kol Nidre services tonight talked about vows... I've been thinking about vows all week. Vows and values.

Vows should not be made lightly for they are serious, in the eyes of the law, morality, g-d, etc. Vows are more than promises, they are solemn declarations of honour, respect, loyalty, monogamy (for me), commitment etc. etc.

Each of those values are also ladden with so many interpretations. People think (marriage) commitment is just about staying with something. It means so much more than that. It means committing to what you've committed to of course, but also to better yourself and your relationship with g-d (Creator, Universe, etc.) to enable you keep the commitment; which means committing to yourself and self/spiritual development. Staying with someone just for the mere fact of stying is not committing. It is not working towards the greater goal set out by a vow, a declaration, a contract.

The further I travel down this spiritual path the more intrinsic my values become. They are no longer shallow words or ideals - they are how I live, breath, think and want to be. I can no longer separate my values from who I am anymore. For me and in my life and what I've been raised with, I value marriage as a legal, emotional, moral, sexual and spiritual vow. Five vows in one. That's commitment. The vow isn't just to someone, or some legal arrangement, it's to yourself, your higher self, your commitment to keep yourself growing and "able" to keep healthy etc., and a commitment to the one that created you (your g-d) that will, if invited into your marriage, care for and nurture your commitment and loyalty to a person/unit/team. There's a reason religion is part of a marriage ceremony. In my value system divorce makes a mockery of my relationship to my Creator and the values S/He entrenched in me. I have been reflecting all week on how I can forgive myself, and hope for forgiveness for my transgression of my value system being, well, shat on. This broken vow was not of my making yet it is I that is praying to my creator, the being who breathed life into my lungs, my soul, for forgiveness for the the gift of these (MY) values. It is I asking for forgiveness in making a mockery of marriage even though it is not I that chose to break the vows, but end up with them broken nonetheless.

(This in no way reflects anyone else's decisions to divorce, cut their losses, etc. For me this is about what's acceptable between me and my creator - that is all. Kinda like the abortion issue: it's only how I feel given the values I inherited, not about demeaning anyone else's choices based on their own value system and what is acceptable for them- except of course for one other person, the woman who made the vow to me- then again, perhaps it's my mistake for believing her value system was in line with my own despite all the grave warning signs that indicated otherwise).

So, pray I do. I wrestle deeply with knowing that I was given warning signs along the way and chose to ignore them: parent divorced, etc. In my meditations this week I've come to realize that these warning signs can still be respected again, for (my) future involvements. Dating at my age has become a series of interviews with blunt questions such as: Do you believe in something greater than you? Do you smoke? Are your parents still together? What do you really think about marriage, loyalty, commitment? How do you feel about change and self-development? Is marriage important until it becomes inconvenient and you aren't "capable" of doing it anymore? What happens if that arises in you (and it will, because g-d knows in all couples who've been married as long as my parents have, it happens. We are only human, we are creatures of escape. But we are also creatures that seek to pair up and be known intrinsically for who we are, wanting the support and sacred connection that marriage provides).

And so these are the questions that are shaping me and my search for someone who really, I mean really, shares MY values. And not only when it's convenient.

Because a vow kept when convenient is not a commitment, it's convenience. It's when that vow becomes inconvenient: do you bolt because you can't deal, reshape and regrow or do you stick through the growing pains and act as a person of integrity and honour? And does it mean that I am a person without integrity and honour because I am a (soon to be) divorcee? Can my creator forgive me for what I, in my value system according to and for me, consider a wrong-doing? I'm not at all trying to play the victim here; but I am not the one wanting out of the marriage. I am not the one that didn't not mean "till death do you part". With Yom Kippur upon us I ask these soul-barring questions of myself and to my creator. What is my role in this transgression of a broken vow?

And how will I take my intrinsic values into my new life - even though it is not a life I chose (I made a clear, committed choice 5 years ago). Now that I have a life(style) I did not ask for, what shall I make of it?

How can I live with integrity among a society of people that accepts divorce just because "half of us get one anyway". And a system that makes it easy to break those promises with rarely a consequence. How can I as a woman of her word, her honour, as a woman that values marriage, be a 37 year old divorcee seeking similar values? I almost feel like a fraud: "I believe in marriage, just ask my ex-wife!". It is those kind of gut-wrenching, soul-twisting questions I'm seeking answers from my Creator.

It requires skills, knowing yourself inside and out, knowing that anything less just won't do and knowing that you are worth it.

And so, the interview continues. The woman who I've been out with every weekend since, well... She (la Femme Francaise)) has passed the first level of questions: believes in something, parents are still married, doesn't smoke, is loyal (same career for over 25 yrs, I'm already "approved" by her BFF of 30 yrs), driven and a woman of honour (is very, very high in rank in her career), but there are still other make or break questions to come.

And if those answers do not reflect my values I will no longer settle for anything less no matter the kind of attraction that may be felt. I did it once, I have to slowly forgive myself and ask my Creator for Her/His forgiveness for not heeding the warning and sticking my ego-filled-will in the mix. I would rather be alone than with someone who believes in marriage until it is no longer convenient or until they are "not capable". I am worth more than a tossed towel in the pile of someones life-heap of broken promises. If that means conducting interviews than so be it. Romance is over-rated. Ok, it's not, but it can blur your better judgement. There's a time and a place for it, once I learn the person's core-values then romance can begin!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"Just gonna stand there and watch me burn..."

So as usual I'm keeping a very different pace and lifestyle these days - and am very happy. I'm still doing what I love and yet trying new things with new folk.

Last night at my labyrinth walk I had another insight (they're good for that). I decided that since I'm schooled in psychoneuroimmunology and neuroplasticity then why don't I start believing it. So I decided that I'm going to live past 43, that I'm not going to die just yet: I still have too much living yet to do. (Hence one of the reasons I'm getting back into alternative medicine: I want to live, so how can I support myself?)

That is so different from where I was last year, mainly because of these new meds, but partly because I was probably with the wrong person. I am very much a free spirit, one who loves to do things, one who creates her own destiny, and I spent the latter part of my marriage almost begging to live/be alive. I get that G-d/Creator threw us a lot of curve balls, but seriously now, we're here to live, not join the land of the dead. To be fully authentic, genuine and soul-filled, with all the ups and downs life throws one. Now out of respect for the other person involved, I won't go into detail or claim it's her fault. It's not. I was the one that also chose to "light myself on fire" to get noticed. Hence where the title of this entry comes in. When I was driving home last night, I heard the (new to me) Eminem/Rhianna song - I had to pull over because it basically described the ending of our marriage: "just gonna stand there and watch me burn, and that's alright cuz I like the way it hurts."

G-d I feel so grateful to throw away the matches. I feel a new life in me that I don't have to do that anymore. I feel 10 feet tall, I feel that my sparkle in my eyes is back - and people just notice it, without begging. Not to sound cocky, but with my new hair style etc. the past 2 weeks people have been telling me how incredible I'm looking. It's only reflecting what's going on in me: it only reflects how I feel. I'm no longer burning up!

Hence the decision that I'm not going to die anytime soon. It's not about denial, it's about my belief in neuroplasticity. I teach my clients every single day that their lives and behaviour can change if they change their thinking (and I show them how) so why can't I change my body, my attitude to want life again? Put the matches down, and live. It is such a relief. I was sharing with my guys research on survival and the power of the mind and hope with regards to Holocaust survivors. Those with hope (and "luck") survived... The spirit is so incredibly resistant. I see people day in and day out suffering incredible losses. Those that make it are willing to work through it, have faith and hope. Those that aren't connected to a greater sense of *something* don't make it. I don't want to be one of those, and for years I wasn't one of those. There is no biological/medical reason I've lived this long. Sure, I've got great collateral circulation, but that only accounts for 10 to 20 years of living beyond birth. It's always been my spirit (or, as some call it, my stubbornness). I will be stubborn and keep a hold of that character defect thank you kindly, it has served me well! The other defects have been melting away over the past 7 months. Maybe that's where the release comes from?

So, I pick up my joie de vivre where I left it: Today I went for a walk in my favourite forest with someone that doesn't need begging to go out, despite her incredible work schedule. Excitedly, I wrote last week that she showed me her favourite greenspot (espace vert preferer), so this weekend I showed her my favourite greenspot. I'm not sure what will come of this and even if it doesn't get serious, I am enjoying washing my soul of the matches. I'm enjoying feeling alive again! There's only one reason to burn in flames: with passion, not desperation. I feel sad (but relieved) for the me I'm leaving behind (that's all I knew for several years). I feel even more sad for the ex who's still there: it must be really hard being lost. I wish her peace and serenity and meaning in life.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I'm making the most of my benefits.
I started with a naturopath yesterday. The first visit was a consult and of course over an hour long. I think I may have scared her with my entire list of Dx (diagnosis). By the end of the session when it was apparent that I'll be a learning curve for her she actually took me on. Probably because my own goal and expectation of treatment is not to cure but to support my body and health.
Having benefits rock and being able to treat me with something is better than being sick for two weeks. We're going to begin with immune system enhancing. I like that she is willing to work with my (western) practitioners and cc's them on things.

It became more apparent when I was filling out forms and reached the "in case of emergency" line that I really need to get on that. I guess I just have to bite the bullet and ask - all a friend can do is say no, then I move on. It's better to ask then have absolutely no-one. Otherwise people usually resort to parents and they are NOT the ideal ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact. My ex is no longer an option - I can't trust her to care for herself, let alone be there for me. Makes me sad. I hope she finds serenity one day.

Will keep updating as to how this is going. I don't see her again for 3 weeks: I'm too busy to squeeze her in the next 2 weeks and she needs time to get acquainted with my physiology. High Holidays start tonight and well, life's been incredibly busy (but fun!) - that's another post :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

baggage - doesn't have to weigh you down

Being ill can be heavy baggage to carry into new relationships - both friendships and romantic.

I've been meeting new folks since spring and really embracing my recent growth and allowing myself to really enjoy life again. It helps to have a "normal" schedule for the first time in eons, really! It's a whole new world to come home from work and have the ability to have dinner, go out with friends, and do nothing but social stuff on the weekends! To the point that... I'm trying all sorts of new things and pushing my boundaries again. And yes, there's inspiration for it.

The group of women I'm hanging around are incredibly fit - to the point that they climb mountains, and hike the Adirondacks for fun. Meanwhile I'm not able to walk more than 2 km's in nature. It's been difficult managing the baggage of limits without well, dragging it all in, especially when I look fit (thin, active attitude etc.). Take for example last weekend... a few of us were supposed to go kayaking. I decided to join in because someone I am smitten over organized it. I guess Creator didn't want me to go because days kayaking was cancelled due to Mother Nature. So instead her and I went for a walk at her favourite conservation area, followed by dinner the next day. I am in so much trouble, feeling alive again (with her). I've waited for active participation for so long then someone who is so incredibly active that I can't keep up, pops into my life. I've divulged little limits here and there because no one wants to hear the whole truth, and I don't need pity. I love my life, I love where I'm at, and that I've lived this long. I don't mind sharing if it comes to that, but for now I can bring an open, curious attitude (that I once had) to anything I ponder.

So maybe we'll go kayaking after all. I am hoping that kayaking is like walking: you can do it at your own pace. I guess I will find out. And no, I'm not silly enough to push myself beyond healthy reason just for a girl. I'm too old for that and respect my own self too much for that. It is satisfying though testing those boundaries again - see where they're at since the last time I "tried something new". Who knows, I may actually be able to do this, afterall I used to canoe with my ex. I was told a kayak is much lighter. We'll see ;)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

letting go of western medicine

Alright so I finally had my consult with the stroke clinic and as I thought I'm OK - within reason. So I most likely did not have a TIA says the dr. but he also didn't want me to leave thinking I was in the clear. He reiterated how my body's blood-making is getting out of hand and that there's no coincidence that whatever did happen that Sunday evening in late July had nothing to do with my highest hemoglobin ever. He wants me to be having phlebotomy's more often! Blarg.

This just goes to show that ER doc's are so hyper-focused on relieving ALL problems that they don't actually know what the real problem is. All these specialist later and my own cardiologist is not worrying- then again, this is part of the course for him. It's these ER docs that just don't know what to do with someone who's out of the norm. They're used to comparing a body to homeostasis. Like today, at the stroke clinic they took my BP and it was 73/48. They took it numerous times because they thought they got it wrong but each time it was within 2 points.... had I seen a triage nurse int he ER she would have flipped right out. I'm not going back to western medicine's ERs. I don't have to now that my western-medicine ex is no longer in my life. I suppose I did it to make her happy but time and again the visit proved to be absolutely pointless. And perhaps the stubborn part of my went also to show her just how limiting western medicine is. It can't do everything, it doesn't know what "normal" is, all the machines in the world won't help if you don't understand the body-whole.

Having said all that I have an appointment with a new naturopath next week. I have a working knowledge of the stuff through my years of self-study and working with a herbalist in my 20s. it's about time I let someone else's knowledge work for me. Damn I love benefits!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

still sick

Nine days with this "summer cold" turned sinus infection. I was away on vacation last week and was sick during it too. Not fun being feverish on va-ca, not at all.

This sucks not being able to take any meds or anti-biotics. I was never a big fan of them and believe they are over prescribed, but 9 days later I'd like to sleep through the night; I have a lot of work to do (day shift and evening shift in the same work day).

Been downing an average of 3,000 mg of vitamin C a day and have recently tried "oil of oregano" just because this is awful - my face hurts so much I can't make certain expressions.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Incredible news re: DD

So my benefits at work kicked in. They cover 100% of my meds, with no yearly limit. When I gave my cardio nurse my new policy number she forwarned me that this Designer Drug is an anomoly and even the most generous of plans don't cover all of it. It's a class in it's own.
So in dealing with the TO pharmacy that dishes out my meds I gave them the new number and they said the same thing. So, we did another 3-way call, this time to the new insurance company. Low and behold, ALL of my script is covered, with no yearly limit.
I am beyond floored, so much so that when I was on the phone at work, I started crying with joy. That means that once the balance is payed off (from the spouse's insurance for which I'm still legally entailed to), I won't have to use any more of my income for meds. It can be used for, um, saving for Israel, or, um, living!
I am still floored.
I would have screamed but my throat is still so sore (not able to take anything for this latest bug I have). So alas, I shall let the tears of gratitude flow.

Monday, August 9, 2010

dr.s are not g-ds

So I've got some sort of summer "cold" or something or other. I went to a walk in clinic just to make sure it wasn't strep and to kill the bug before it starts to tear down my immune system. Usually I'm given antibiotics (because I'm allergic to Penicillin) and so that's what I was given to day. I wasn't familiar with this new antibiotic, so I asked the dr. if it had any contra-indications to Tracleer. Of course she wasn't really familiar with it and said my pharmacist should know.
Great... this sounds like a wild goose chase in the making.
And so it was.
When it was filled, I made sure to ask again, about any contraindications. One pharmacist never heard of what I'm on, the other was a little familiar. I gave them my Cardio man's number to phone it in. In the end, I'm out an hour and out anything to treat my little infection. And this is precisely why I became interested in alternative medicine when I was all of 16: because usually I can't be treated by the mainstream stuff anyway.
I took it upon myself to fax the walk-in clinic a complaint. Had she taken the extra 30 seconds to check her CPS (any medical professionals "bible") I wouldn't have to run across the city, spend an hour waiting to see about these meds, and perhaps she could have scripted me something else. Now I have nothing else to treat this (at least I have a dr.'s note for missing work).

So I'm back to my traditional way of doing things: zinc, iron, and 3-4,000 mg of Vit C, tiger balm to ease the throat. This better go away fast: I don't want to be stuck in the US with some bug. Oh wait, I have benefits now!!! (I still don't want to be stuck in the US with anything).

Thursday, August 5, 2010

bureacrcay is why people stay sick

I really really hate bureaucracy!

My "designer drugs" come from a pharmacy in Toronto, couriered specially to me (a $4000 box wouldn't be sent through the mail after all). They take up to a month to process payments (my insurance, Trillium and my personal payments I send). I'm due meds today and I don't have 'em because these "people" say I'm behind three payments (um, bitch at me once you've spoken to your accounting dept!). I've been fighting on the phone with them all week saying I've sent it in etc. etc. and they refuse to release meds. My Cardio nurse is on vacation and can't advocate on my behalf.

They don't get that it's not my fault they take 4 weeks from the day they receive my cheque to process the damn transfer payments. I just don't understand why Trillium just doesn't send them a cheque directly and sends it to me instead to forward to them. Bureaucracy makes NO sense.

So to try and figure out the mess I was on a 3way call with the TO pharmacy, Trillium (and me). Ah sweet justice... the stupid pharmacy that thinks I'm hiding something heard it from Trillium - they they're still processing!

One day someone will realize that double processing is a waste of time and maybe just maybe some efficiency expert will make changes: it's the government, I doubt it.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

more sarcasm

So here's the best part of my haemoglobin being ridiculously high (number of red blood cells in the body): I'm anemic (according to medical def. means not enough red blood cells being produced!)
Perhaps that's why I'm being sent to the haematologist: my rbc's are screwing like bunnies but not actually producing or carrying any haem.
Gotta love the human body!

On the positive note, I actually have a strong immune system and my wbc (white blood count) is right on target). I credit my mud-pies (when I was little) to being able to fight off dirt and germs today. That and the place I work. I'm exposed to street level 'grime' and intense diseases everyday. Kids today are not being exposed to dirt and germs due all the "antibacterial" products out there. We're going to have some very sick teens and adults! One germ and their systems will spin out not knowing how to fight it, never having had to build antibodies in childhood. If you want a strong child don't sanitize everything.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

more adventures in the ER

I went to the ER yesterday, because I have nothing better to do with my time.

Yeah, I'm full of sarcasm. It never fails when I have big deadlines or lots of stress that my health just flairs right up. I feel like a broken record to those I am accountable to: ah, here's a doctor's note... yada yada yada.

This time I presented with what felt like to me a migraine but with very odd, new symptoms. Anyway, long story short, I knew it was neurological because certain things just weren't adding up. It wasn't hypotension, low-blood sugar or my usual moments of loss of control (dizziness, blurred vision, confusion etc.)

So ya following these symptoms so far? Yeah, they sound a lot like a TIA (transient ischemic attack) otherwise known as a precursor to a stroke. Now of course I'm no doctor, just a girl who knows her body very well so I let the dr. be the judge.
This new generation of doctors don't seem to realize that Truncus Arteriosis is a cardiac condition! I had to remind dear young dr. that even though we're looking at neurological we can't rule out influence from TA. He politely reminded me that I'm a young woman and my arteries are totally fine: no cholesterol, no blockages or other things you'd look for in older people when you're looking at ruling in TIA etc.. In his opinion TIA was highly unlikely.
I politely reminded the lovely dr. that although I'm "young" I'm actually very old for what I'm living with.
So, he does the tests... the blood tests and the CT scans.
CT is normal - just as I thought. It's not my lot (in life) to have TA and some weird brain lesions or tumours.
Blood tests on the other hand were not normal - not even for my normal. And that's when the lovely young dr. became more serious and decided to refer me to the stroke clinic and a haematologist (for which I already have an appointment with tomorrow!). Some of my numbers that I've followed since as long as I've been recording my numbers, were really high. Not the usual high for a TA patient, but the highest they've ever been in the history of me tracking them (over 22 years).

So, naturally I have to have yet another phlebotomy stat. I hate them. I know it's a really simple procedure as simple as giving blood but this time they are likely going to take a litre from me. I know I won't get away with wiggling out 750ml (last time my Cardio man wanted a litre, I asked for 500ml, he met me in the middle with 750). I know I'll probably be thinking clearer within 2 weeks of having it but it's going through it that I just don't want to do.

I am really tired of being sick. I'm really tired of this flaring up at the most inopportune times. I was absolutely shocked over my numbers because I thought these meds (the designer drugs) were doing such good things in me. And perhaps they are, but my body still does what my body will do: make up for my broken heart.

So in the end, the dr. that thought my neurological symptoms had nothing to do with my cardiac condition was wrong. It was interesting watching him go from being so sure of himself to so confused to realizing that mybody just isn't normal and that even though my vessels may not have plaque build up that perhaps, just maybe I have way too much blood to be pushed through my healthy veins.

I'm amazed at how fast I'm being seen at the "blood clinic". I guess they think this is another emergency. But I'm not amazed that in the end, it all comes back to my TA. It's systemic and I don't understand any doctors that could think any other way. Perhaps that's also my background in Holistic health: it all has a role to play in your overall total, complete health.

My chronic illness has become such an inconvenience. Perhaps I've had a really great few months where it hasn't really gotten in the way. Now that I'm used to it being a bit more stable I am functioning at what looks like normal: working, supplying my own benefits (rather than be carried by someone else), living a little, working with deadlines and sick days etc. As it stands I have a giant deadline looming and of course, my blood decides to multiply itself at a rapidly increasing rate.

I don't have time for this!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


So I did a 2km walk(hike) in nature today... some of it with elevation, much of it having to stop and drag my ass up the hill but I did it, and just under an hour! I know, the average for a regular person for 2km is 30 mins but I'm not regular!

Although I'm tired from the walk/hike I know it's not something I could have done last fall. One kilometre maybe, but 2, nope. In fact, I've been to that park years before and I still chose the one kilometre walk over the 2k one. I think just to keep my own circulation going I'm going to try to walk once a week in my neighbourhood. (My goal is to walk daily - if I can make the time, but starting with once a week is something I can commit to at this juncture of workload). Practicing the diaphragmatic breathing that I teach my clients during our anxiety group is something that has helped on my walk today. I'm not going to outsmart this illness but I want to live *with* it now.

Next I'm going to look into zip-lining... chances are I might not be able to do it, but if there's a kiddy-line and my Dr. Cardio-man ok's it, then off I go zipping through the forest. I feel alive, in my twilight years: this would be my retirement years according to my life expectancy and I want to live out whatever I can. So even though I still have to work, I am lucky that I love my work. Which is another area of my life going very well (keineinhoreh). Lots of exciting things including my art therapy group getting off the ground. This stuff makes me very very happy.

I'll be contacting my cardio-nurse again because I'm noticing that I'm cold. I've always had a hard time warming up and always felt cold but now-a-days I can't even wear shorts or a dress I'm so cold. I go to work wearing the same stuff I do in winter, minus the long-johns. (Yes I wear long-sleeved top, sweater, pants, socks etc.) I'm wondering if it's another side-effect from the meds. I've learned recently that anemia is a possible side-effect/complication and I am that now. Looking at changing how I eat: getting back to better... for a while there (when the wife left) I ate frozen stuff, the meals served at work (full of salt) if I ate at all. I've gained most of my weight back but struggle with the healthy cooking from scratch thing I used to do. It was so much easier to cook for 2 then. I'm looking forward to going to a Naturopath to help support my healing. Benefits still haven't come... papers still haven't been signed, but unless I hit a client or touch inappropriately, I know my job is mine. Just would be nice to have those papers signed. My new bed can't be purchased until I know for sure. That's my 6 months gift to myself. Finally after all these years a new mattress - new karma (it's my ex's from long ago and her marriage broke into pieces around the same time mine did!).

I like this taking care of me thing... it's so freeing that I'm finally enjoying being single.
I can't wait to tell my mother I'm going to the Middle East!! hehe!

Monday, June 14, 2010

death; entering a hard time of year

Today sucked. Not even at work 10 mins. when I find out one of my clients was beaten to death.
Tomorrow marks the 1 year anniversary of Thomas' first death - yes there is such thing as more than one death. You know, when you actually die, but technology decides to revive your heart beat... then your body dies later, when there is no more reviving. G-d takes us when we're done. Humans revive them because they're not ready to let them go... or other weird phenomena.

That's why I signed that lovely DNR paper a while back. None of this 2 deaths thing for me. Just one thank you. Not putting loved ones through all that.

Sad, tired and a little burnt out. Booked the day off tomorrow, and of course, July 13th. In Jewish tradition there's yarzheit when we remember on the day of death. But what do you do when there are 2. This may not be kosher, but I'm honouring both. Every day from June 15th to July 13th I'll be spending time in prayer for Thomas.

As for my client... he is no longer suffering. I am sad that he just could not get through some of his trauma(s).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


On request of a friend, I've been visiting a guy at our hospice part of work the past few days... he's dying of course and he's starting to look like Thomas. He's thin, bone thin, his cath bag is full of blood etc. It makes the 'good deed' rather difficult. But I don't think anyone should die alone and this was the belief of said friend, the only person he knew. So her and I go visit - when she's off work and when I'm off work.
I would only hope that when it's my time to go that someone does such a thing. I can't speak for him, but I hate feeling lonely on this planet.

Sitting there the only thing that comes to mind when I think of Thomas is this: thank G-d he wasn't conscious. I couldn't imagine what this gentleman is going through watching all the sings of death, staring at the walls, losing vision, voice etc. I'm not sorry if it sounds mean but I think it's by the grace of G-d that T was in a comatose state.

It's coming close to the date when he first "took ill". I have that day "off". I can't afford to do what I want (donate a memorial bench) but he's been on my mind of late again.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

travel- bucket list

So I re-found my bucket list I wrote when I was barely 19 years old. I wrote it then because I was told I wouldn't live to see 30. Well, 7 years later, I'm still here and most of the items on my list are, happily, crossed off. Some of the items are so mundane and ordinary (for the alternative girl that I am) but "daring" to white sub-urban folk. Like, having blue hair, which I've done not once, but several times. Same with green hair, a mohawk... you get the picture.

There are of course several items I won't be able to do because of cost - not health. I used to think I couldn't climb pyramids - but I did. OK, I never reached the top as a direct result of my health, but I reached more than 2/3rd of the way up; enough to look across the sea of green tree tops. It was awesome (until I looked down from the very narrow/steep steps). I pushed myself that day and the photos show (swelling, etc. afterwards) but I did it! Heck, my sister didn't even climb and she's as fit as a mountain hiker (which she does in Cali/Venezuela). I think the one or 2 things I probably won't be able to do are jump out of planes and bungee jump. I've always joked that I'll bungee jump, when I know I'm on my last day, that way if the jumping kills me I would have been on my way out very soon anyway.

So as far as travel is concerned: I started actually looking at fights to Israel, even though my trip fund is only half way there. Damn seat sales they tease me. I started looking at Safed and all the sacred sights I could possibly go on. This is exciting.
Heart disease be damned, I'm going to the Middle East! Not sure when (as I'm not booking anything until those papers are signed and I have a much higher balance in my travel account). I'm hoping before next Pesach. I just have to make sure I break the air time up with short flight (3 stops is much better for my health than 2 long ones etc.) (embolisms).

I even have the itch to just make Newfoundland a reality, until I factored in the cost of the ferry. Oh well, it's something I can let go of, for now. I justify my bucket-list item of driving from coast to coast as "land coast" - which I've done.

I continue to pray that these meds continue to work a miracle in my life AND that I continue to have whatever coverage is necessary for me to acquire them.

Now to learn stick so I can drive a sexy cobalt blue Jeep YJ across a dessert (New Mexico??)...

Most of all though, my work is fulfilling my other life goal: have a fulfilling career related to my education that helps others and stretches my soul. I'm teaching this summer semester for the 8th year and it's actually not tiring me out. I get to talk about what I know and teach others how to use it. How freaking awesome is that?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

my OWN benefits!

Well, today marks the day I started full time employment 6 months ago. It's still another 2 or so weeks before the actual probabtion is up and benefits start (because I was part time the first 2 weeks I started because I was ending my other jobs). But, I'm still here...

I think back a year ago to where I was health wise and I feel like a miracle has taken place in my life. I am able to work full time (more than actually, due to my little workaholism issue). I feel like I'm 33 again. At 33 I was much healthier, didn't need oxygen every single day and could work full time. That's me today. I know though that it's not "getting any better" only because some days (but not many) I come home feeling like shit, legs all swollen and having a hard time breathing only to find my little designer pill in my compartment: yup they have that much impact - my dr. cardio man knows it.

I'm excited to have my own benefits, to start accupuncture to support my kidneys, my liver etc. I'm excited to have holidays. I'm excited to be looking forward to taking a holiday: a real live trip to Israel, to carry out some of my "bucket list" while I still can.

My workplace doesn't know about my serious health issues. They know I have something akin to asthma, but while still under probation I don't think it was wise to disclose such info. Besides, the more I learn about work environment in other counselling agencies, the more I love mine. Sure mine's more fast-paced, in the trenches kinda work (frontline) but the self-care that's almost indoctrinated is really appreciated. There was an agency whose work I really valued, an agency I held as a sorta sacred golden cow - somewhere I'd picture myself in 2 years (if these meds help me work then). Recently I found out through informational interviewing that agencies' work policies for counselors: there are no clinicals, no debriefing, no CISD (critical incidence stress debriefing), no team building, etc. and even though their rate of pay is of course higher than mine (by only a few dollars) I realized that I would be better off to stay where I am. Not only will my mental health love it (we are also encouraged to practice self-care and take days off to avoid burn out), but my physical health will too.

You know, I gotta tell ya, I really don't feel like I have limited time left. Perhaps practicing mindfulness/awareness has also brought me closer to the 'here and now' that I'm not overly concerned about tomorrow. Either way, it feels very freeing. And exciting (accupuncture here I come!!)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

moving on

So I haven't written much lately for several reasons. One of which is that I am extremely busy between school and work that I don't even have time for Facebook (aside from the 10min visit to see how every one's doing via status update). Another reason is because I'm a little stuck in what to write about. I've been doing lots of academic writing that this free-flowing experiential stuff's got me stumped right now!

The final reason, that has the most impact is that several weeks ago someone very close to me (no one knows this person!) challenged me. I'm finding that since that day I'm walking a very fine line in writing about living with the limitations of illness versus just plain pity seeking. I've never wanted pity from anyone. I've wanted to be understood, but not pitied.

So, when I approach this blog to write about challenges to house-keeping, living etc. with what I've got I wonder, "what's the point". If this one person sees it this way, could it be that other people do to (don't answer that, I'm not writing for answers). Perhaps what this person said should, in the end, have no bearing on what I write. Perhaps this is yet again, another case of the healthy don't comprehend what it's like to live without health. Like, the other day I commented to a new friend how this summer will be a summer spent in the city. No more camping for me (right now anyway, until I meet someone else). And, of course, I got a blank stare. I had to explain, how, even with car-camping, the whole outdoors experience takes a lot out of me and that without a spouse (or g/f) I can't lug tent and gear from car, even if it is only 15 feet away . Setting up tent tuckers me out. I would be blue the rest of the weekend. I feel like I'm trying to "convince" people, that no, 15 feet IS a long way to lift heavy equipment, and that NO I CAN'T do it, no matter how much you poke me and say "aw c'mon KAt it's just a tent!" People don't want to hear it. But, I should be used to that by now right? Not really. I was lucky that I had people around me who knew, or if they didn't know, would be polite and accepting that sure, despite what I look like, I hae limitations. When you have new people in your life you have to explain everything all over again. I am tired of doing it, but when I don't I find I'm being bugged for being a poor sport not joining in in their fun.

I've also realized that this year I won't have a garden, the weeds are already out and I've not plucked them. I wonder who I will get to do my lawn. It's those things that healthy people take for granted: the ability to go camping! I'm sure I could bug my mother once in a while, but my parents are no spring chickens either. Otherwise, there's been no one else around, no one else that's even half as close as a spouse was. I'm making new friends and I just don't want to have to start the whole health-disclosure thing all over again. So, these people have absolutely no idea just how fragile I am. It's hard turning down invites to go dancing because I can't actually dance nor do I have the energy to stand all night. It makes for a lonely life. Makes me think seriously about that Phd. I am after all juggling work and school now. I'm also seriously thinking of moving into an apartment. I can't handle having a yard. With spending nearly one fifth of my income on these meds (thankfully I have some coverage), I'm not sure I will be able to afford snow clearing next winter. We were freakin' lucky that we had next to no snow this past short winter.

So, I'm living in this new world, filled with newness but carrying the same old burden of heart disease, but this time alone. I'm the only one at my cardio appointments now, the only one looking at my notes, ECT's and not understanding and not being able to get clarification from my ex-medic-ex. My cardio-nurse has expressed concern that know one else has "access" to me (whatever that means). Ya, I'll just give my parents power of attorney and access to my files. NOT. Never in a million years.

Every day I deal with homeless addicted men. Nine times out of ten when we retrace steps to their downfall, a divorce is usually in the picture. Now whether the end of a marriage came before or after their full throttle battle of substances is not relative. The loss of that kind of support means a loss of a relationship of course, a social community, social standing, sometimes job-loss, loss of children, loss of love, loss of a dream and loss of a sense of family. The impact of divorce on this society is so devastating. My wish for future generations is this: spend the money on couple therapy. It is always worth it; even when you think you can't afford it. You can't afford divorce more. Trust me. Divorce takes so much more away than the ending of a relationship. When you're sick, you're doubly screwed. Be it sick with physical illness, or mental, in the case of substance abuse (yes, it is a mental illness according to the DSM-IV). (get this, the apa wanted to put codependency in the upcoming dsm-v but realized after much debate that to do that would mean that every human could be found in there; which; imo everyone already is). And also just to clarify, I'm not blaming divorce on these men's substance abuse issues. There are loads of other traumas that are at the heart of the need to escape ... however, marriage did provide a stability that they once had to be able to cope with said trauma. The breakdown of a marriage in the case of my homelss guys, almost always lead to homelessness which plays havock with addiction issues (usually spiralling it out of control- then again, there is no such notion of control when it comes to addiction).

I never 'believed in' divorce then, and I still don't. It is devastating on so many levels, for so many people involved, not just the couple.