Category Archives: medical

Been gone so long. Update on me & my FNL w/Pancreatic cancer

An update for my readers

Sorry it’s been so long. I’ve been busy with my oldest going back to school. Third grade now! I’ve also had some pretty rough days with my fibromyalgia and the tumor in my back since I’m still not on any medications for the fibro. The tumor pain is from over doing myself out back with my fall planting. I guess I still haven’t figured out how to pace myself.

We spent a week away from home last week. We spent most of that time in WI with my in laws. My father n law gave us some bad news. He said the chemotherapy he was on isn’t working and the cancer has gotten bigger and spread to his spleen and prostate. His pain is MUCH worse. The morphine he’s on isn’t taking care of the pain right now so this I know is VERY bad. He started a new chemotherapy this week in hopes it will prolong his life some but sadly it is soooo hard for me to be optimistic with this situation. I guess I am like that because I’ve lost so many to cancer and have no happy survival stories. I just pray every night that he is given the time he needs and that he is not made to suffer too long. I believe in prayer so that keeps me stronger then I think I would be otherwise. Faith keeps me above water.

I cried when we left. I am so worried about him. I feel helpless too and a part of me says to myself none of it is my place. I’m not his kid. I’m just his daughter by law. He has however always treated me great from the very beginning. Ten years I’ve been with his son and he’s never treated me bad. It is just sad to see someone you love go through such a bullshit thing like cancer. The worst part of it is no matter what he does he’ll lose like so many others….

I had to take a trip to Chicago while we were visiting the in laws. I was made Godmother of my nephew JJ. My husband was made Godfather. We are not catholic so it was a bit nerve racking in the beginning but turned out good. I’m a believer so I guess that is the bottom line. I believe in Christ.

It was a very rough trip for me though. I didn’t sleep and my pain level was extremely high the entire time we were gone. It isn’t anyone’s fault for that. I can’t expect everyone to have an outrageously priced mattress for me to sleep in. It did take me a few days to get my wind back. When I did get my wind back I over did it out back with my fall planting! Another two days to get back on my feet. Except this time I could not walk for two days. I can walk some today so I am thankful it wasn’t a long stretch of being bed ridden.

I have a lot of writing to catch on with the novel I’ve been writing for what feels like ages now. It is a slow process this book and I don’t understand why. I was thinking of maybe taking a breath from it and come back to it later but then I was thinking if I do that I will lose connection with my characters there…there is also the possibility of gaining more insight for my characters. Maybe I have too much mental stress right now to even think about putting out chapters. I just don’t know.

Right now I’m going to go and drink a hot cup of coffee, relax, and enjoy my toddler. Until next time…BE SAFE! God bless.

Writing through a fog…

I’m writing through a fog here. Hell I live in a fog what am I talking about. I’m lucky to remember my name some days! I was asked for my phone number yesterday or the day before that (hell I don’t know for sure when it was now that I think of it) but anyways, I completely drew a blank! I had NO FREAKIN’ CLUE! I had to say give me just a moment, and it took me what felt like a lifetime to remember what the hell it was to give it to the lady. After that I programmed the number into my own cell phone so that if that happened again all I had to do was open my phone and access the first name in my list. Isn’t that sad? I was so embarrassed! I cried after I got off the phone with the lady because I felt so stupid that I couldn’t recall my own damn number.

I had been having problems for a few days leading up to that event with my memory. It’s fibro fog I know but it can be pretty damn scary. Sometimes it makes you wonder if you are forgetting shit for good. I panicked a lot when it hits me suddenly. That just makes it worse. Lack of sleep is the cause. I am lacking some MAJOR sleep right now too!

I won’t even recall writing this in the morning I can promise you that. I wonder sometimes if this is some sign of early dementia! It really does freak me out at times the shit I can’t recall that I know I know. It is hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t actually been through it.

I’ve been very tired this past week. I had a cold for about four days and it really kicked my ass. I’m finally over it now but think it might rear its ugly head again since I’m not sleeping well.

I have not slept worth a damn in a few weeks so I guess it’s catching up to me again. It’s a cycle I’m getting use to. I will go to bed and wake up throughout the night a few times and at 4am I wake up and can’t get back to sleep so I lie there for an hour or so until finally I figure what is the fucking point and I climb out of bed aching to hell and back. I get up for a few hours suffering with pain, waiting for my pain reliever to ease my aches and I’ll fall asleep again for maybe an hour. After that I must be up for the day because my little one is up for the day then.

Now that my oldest is in school I probably won’t even go back to sleep when I get out of bed around 5am or 6am since she gets up at 7am anyway. I’ll just wait until after she goes off for the bus and hopefully catch my hour before my little one wakes for the day. I don’t use sleep aids this time of year because I want to be able to get up and function with my oldest daughter.

I went off the lyrica, and I quit taking cymbalta a few months ago. They were great for relieving some of the fibromyalgia ailments but with the tumor in my back I couldn’t take the side effects that came along with them. I HAD to quit taking them sadly. I gained over 40 pounds excess weight I just can’t carry simply from those medications. It is taking me a little longer then I thought to lose all that weight. I can’t do exercise due to the tumor in the back so I have to be more patient and work a little harder to lose it.

So far I’ve lost 15 pounds. I couldn’t believe I got up to 189 pounds on those medications! Most of my life I had never weighed more then 125 pounds until right before my back surgery in 2005 I was ordered by my doctor to gain enough weight to put me at my normal weight. I was 20 pounds under weight then. I did what they asked and got myself up to 140, which is what I am supposed to weigh with my height. After surgery I was diagnosed with FMS and put on some wicked medicine lyrica and cymbalta were two of them. They just packed on the pounds within ONE month I was blown up like a cow.

I have been setting small weight loss goals so that I’m less likely to be discouraged. I’ve seen a huge difference already and I really am excited about getting the other 30 pounds off. Not only will it benefit my heart, but also it will ease some of the back pain I have from carrying around all this extra weight. It will relieve some pressure on the tumor so that pain will lessen. Not to mention I will feel sexy again!! I’m already starting to feel sexy again…it has been a while.

I’m not sure what I am going to do about the winter months. They are a nightmare for me. They were even a nightmare for me when I was on lyrica and cymbalta so I can just imagine what it is going to be like now that I’m no longer taking them. I have to find a solution soon, winter is right around the corner for me here in MN and they show no mercy for anyone.

I wish I could just pack up and move south! Unfortunately that isn’t feasible so alternative roads must be traveled right now. I do plan to get the hell out of MN though. I can’t stay here with the winters. I’m hoping next spring my house will be updated enough and the housing market will have come back enough to at least allow me to put my house on the market. We’ll see what the future holds. Deep down I want to move to South Carolina. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to live there close to the beach but that is probably NOT going to happen. You have to go where you can make it financially so it might be southwest instead of southeast. I wouldn’t mind moving closer to Louisiana so that I’d have more of a chance of seeing my nieces there. I miss my old friend Kim too, their mother. I had some great times with her.

Right now though I have to come up with a plan to survive this MN winter.

I am going to try some supplements and see if they can help out some. Most medicine doctors want to put me on for fibromyalgia have major side effects that I can’t take, and the main one is weight gain.

I have to get ready for a road trip soon. I am going to be a God Mother to my nephew. I’m excited to see him and my niece. They are darling children! I haven’t seen my niece since she was just a baby and now she is two. I’ve not even held my nephew yet! The downside of living out of state from family is you miss the children growing up.

Since my pain level has been so high lately I’ve been trying to listen to Enya as much as possible to keep me as relaxed as I can. Been using heat when feasible and meditation. Most of the time though with that damn tumor it doesn’t work.

I’m so tired now I think I need to try to get to some sleep even though I know I won’t. I will still lie down to relax my muscles. Until next time…

God Bless!
JO

Help me STAND UP TO CANCER!

It was 1996 when I lost my dad to lung cancer. A few years before he was diagnosed I lost my uncle Johnny to cancer. In 2005 I lost my aunt Eve to ovarian cancer. I have an aunt right now fighting to keep cancer at bay. Have you lost anyone to this awful disease? Do you have someone fighting right now with it? Please help me, and millions of others stand up to cancer and one-day find a cure.

All you need to do is click the Stand Up To Cancer Icon on the right sidebar and rate a video sponsored by Sprint. Leave your name with a message and they’ll donate to the cause! It really is that simple! Then if you wish to you can join social vibe and help like me get others to support a cause you believe in.

Thank you!
Rachel

Don’t stay back there! You’ll get lost!

We all have those times when we get lost in the past. You know those times don’t you? Times when you think about some decisions you’ve made in your life that you consider to be mistakes. You feel guilty about some memories that haunt you because they scarred you in some way. So you continue to carry about the baggage even though you know you shouldn’t and it destroys everything around you. The stuff that prevents or provokes you from finishing projects, beginning projects, staying in relationships, staying in bad relationships, finding peace in the day, loving freely, trusting anyone including yourself, preventing you from living life and enjoying it to the fullest.

Why do we do this to ourselves? We feel as though we should punish ourselves because of the wrongs in our past. We sit and dwell on what if this, what if that? We’re human that is why we do these things. That really is the only answer I can come up with.

We yearn for perfections. We want a perfect world. We want a perfect life, perfect love, perfect home, neighborhoods, friendships, childhoods…ah perfections is what we ache to acquire but we never own.

Flaws are a unique part of every one of our personalities, lives, and world’s within worlds. The flaws are what make us who we are. The fact I was raised in a very poor household makes me the giver I am. It makes me more compassionate as a person today then I think I would have been if I’d grown up differently. Even though some of my past is very hurtful it has made me into the woman I am today. Sure it would have been lovely to have not had those terrible things happen to me but it happened and staying back there isn’t going to allow me to go anywhere in the future. I will get lost back there. I have been lost back there many times as I’m sure some of you have been lost in your own past. Wondering how to get out, how to stop thinking about certain times, memories, wishing you had some sort of way to fix what had happened to you, wishing you could have made a different choice. There is no way of fixing it, forgetting it, changing it. All one can do is learn to live with the fact it happened and accept the fact it’s shaped them forever.

Certainly you can’t go forward if you are too busy looking backwards. I’ve learned that the hard way. I held on to my past for so long and so tight thinking that if I didn’t hold onto I’d NEVER get over it. Well, let me tell you first hand that is not the way to get over bad choices, regrets, abuse, scars, and loneliness. You have to let go. You have to embrace it, work through it, and LET IT GO!

We can start to feel sorry for ourselves too at times and we end up right back there don’t we? It is bound to happen from time to time. The key is not to stay there for too long. You have to get out of there as quickly as possible. Being back there saps your energy, your future views and dreams, it reminds you of things about yourself that are easy to hang onto instead of allowing you to view yourself as a survivor. It’s harder to see yourself as a survivor because ultimately you still have self esteem issues. If you didn’t you wouldn’t be dwelling on those past issues still today. It’s so easy to see yourself, as a screw up isn’t it? So easy to see yourself as a loser stuck in a life you’re unhappy about isn’t it? So easy! I know I’ve been there many times too.

It’s hard to see all the great things you’ve done, especially when you get low and want to go back there. It’s hard at times to see how much good I bring to my children at times. It is hard at times to see that I’m a great wife to my husband. It gets hard to see those things when you feel so low I know. You really have to fight it and try hard to see those things. Find something that will help guide the way for you. Could it be bible verses? Could it be dance music? Find what brings you out of the lows and surround yourself with that. Try to avoid what brings on your lows. I know eventually one will come on no matter what you do. The lows still hit me at times. I write a lot of those times. Maybe you should try that as a release of those past demons. You have to learn to recognize them lows and go to what brings you out quickly. Sometimes lows can be very dangerous. If you feel like you are not coming out of the lows soon enough or feel suicidal you should seek professional help immediately. You might have a chemical imbalance that needs medications to level off. Please don’t delay.

So while you’re back there visiting your ghosts, demons, joys, memories, or whatever it is back there in your past….just remember not to stay long because you can’t go forward looking back. Also those things you see back there made you the wonderful you that you are today. God bless.

Dear Dad,

August 4, 2009

I know it’s been a long time. I have only tried to go on with my life and savor every moment possible. I’ve been chasing you for 13 years but not wanting to die. I’ve only wanted to live dad, do things that would make you proud. I wanted to let you go but feared of forgetting your face. I’m sorry but I’m tired of running the race. I know I can’t find you in a book, a store, or a show we use to watch on TV….I’ve finally come to see. You’re gone and not coming back to me. I’ve let you go but not forgotten.

I’ve got some things weighing heavy on my soul. I’ve got nowhere to run away too and to you is where I’d want to go. So here I am once again writing to a ghost from my past that I loved with all my soul.

I found a lump under my arm. At first I thought what harm? It doesn’t hurt just leave it be, but then a sad memory came back to me. I remembered how I begged you and pleaded that you’d go. When you started feeling ill and wanted no one else to know. You refused to seek help for something that was growing inside. Then one day it was too late, my senior year you died. Now I’m left with this memory inside my heart, and we are so far apart. It reminded me I have to go.

I did decide to go to the doctor after that memory floated on by. I kept hoping that this wasn’t an omen for the life I’ve lived. I went in with a brave face and your memory held tight. After the exam the doctor gave me quite a fright.

Dad he told me I could have cancer. Boy was I scared. Boy did I want to run, I needed to call you to hear that you cared. I just wanted to hear that voice of reassurance that only came from you. Yet again I was alone in my thoughts holding so tight to you. I thought about my husband, memories of how things were with you, thought about you dying and how hard that was to go through. I thought about my little girls and how I needed to be around for them. I thought about your funeral. I thought about Eve. I thought about all the what if’s that were passing me by…Eventually I just had to break down and cry.

Dad I’m scared! I don’t want to die! I know the facts aren’t in. I know it isn’t certain to be cancer there….I can’t help but think of all I’ve had to spare. All the things I’ve missed with you gone and how life for my girls like that would be so long….it would be so unfair…my husband couldn’t do it all alone. I go Wednesday to have a closer look. To see what that lump is there. I pray that isn’t cancer I don’t want to be the one in that chair. The chair you once sat in. Evelyn sat there too. It’s the chair where the doctor told you they knew…you only had a certain amount of time to live. It’s a chair my father n law sat in not long ago…it will hurt like hell to let him go as well.

I know life ends sometime dad. I remember all the things you told me before. I remember you telling me that life will go on. I know you told me to be strong and live life, go on become a mother and a loyal loving wife. I’ve done those things and wouldn’t trade them for the world but how can they live happily without a mom within reach? I have so much goodness I want to teach. I want to share your wisdom and my sense of faith. I want to see them do things that you never got to see me do….Oh God how I miss you.

I have only told a few family members about the lump there. I figured I’d wait until I knew for sure what is going on before I bring them into the scare. Maybe this will be it and my time will be paced like yours. I’ll have to settle a lot of things and even some scores. Pass around forgiveness and let be what will be. Maybe this is it and God is coming for me. I’m not ready to go anytime soon. But I do know that death is there waiting one day I just don’t want that to be now.

I want you to keep my seat warm there in heaven where I know you are. In the future I’ll be next to you sitting on a star but lets hope God doesn’t let that happen too soon. I got a job to do here with my girls. I love you dad. Pass on a good word to God for me while you’re sipping coffee and playing those cards. You’ll forever be in my heart.

Love Rachel Ann