Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Ways November is sucking so far, as of today, November 2nd, 2011.

Three months ago, my soon-to-be-sister-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer - they say, even though she caught it really early and, according to her doctors, "saved her own life", that it's late stage one, and very treatable. Today is her first day of chemotherapy, which she is (quite reasonably) terrified of. STBSIL and I aren't as close as I would like - We have some tensions based on her perception of my illnesses (see exhibit A), plus she mostly seems to think my brother is an ass, and (even when I agree with her), that can make it difficult for us to discuss really intimate type things. Added to that, our relationship is just now changing, because LilGirl is in school now, so I don't see her or her parents every couple of days, which is basically how it's been for 11 years, and it's very odd to try to figure out where our lines are now, and how to communicate with each other and all that. So it's hard for me to know how to 'be there' for her - she'll talk to me if we're in the same room, but since I don't drive and she can't right now, that's not happening all that much. I'm not a phone person, but I am trying to put that aside in this instance, to be supportive, and to let her know I can help with things, but she doesn't come right out and say what she needs, so I don't know what to offer help with. It's frustrating, this not being able to help thing, and I don't know what to do with it. But, for today, I'm mostly just hoping that the chemo turns out to be easy peasy, and, if it isn't, I'll figure out a way to help her in the way she needs help.

I'm feeling useless when it comes to other people in my life as well: For some time now, my mom has - quite obviously - been battling depression. It's mostly been presenting (to me) in the 'I can't get motivated to do anything but sit here/I'm thoroughly exhausted just looking at the shopping list' vein, but I can tell there's a lot going on there, and very little of it that she's willing to share with me. She's seeing a therapist, and is trying different medications, but ... so far there's been little improvement. This is challenging to me in a couple of ways - The most important being that she is miserable, and I can't really do much about it (I do send lots of Internet links and things that give her brief smiles, since I remember how important those felt to me when I was at the bottom of the pit, but that's about it). Further down on that list is that there are a million things that should get done that aren't getting done, and I can't physically do a lot of them (laundry, dishes, dusting, meals), so they sit there, taunting her (and me), and as they accumulate, so does the stress and pressure - both internal and from other members of the family. It's another hard reality of my diseases - like not being able to just drive down and sit with my STBSIL - that I can't help out with the heavy lifting, when other people get tired of it.

Which leads to yet another, and more selfish, problem I'm having - with Mum as my PCA, a lot of the things I need help with are falling by the wayside too, and I'm stuck with having to a) ignore them and pretend they don't need to be done, b) add pressure to her by requesting that they be done, or c)try to find somebody else who can do them for me. You'd think c) would be the easiest/smartest choice, but you'd be forgetting that the money Mum makes as my PCA contributes greatly to our household income, not to mention that to find somebody else to do things means I would have to fire my mother , while she is suffering from depression. Oh yeah, that'd feel wicked great.

There are numerous other household issues, too - my sister and her husband are way tired of picking up the slack, which I don't blame them for, and yet can't help worry that it is harming our relationships, on the whole. My dad is feeling crappy because he has RA, and he just started the medication for it. No Longer Youngest Nephew and his dad (Only Brother) are having huge conflicts lately, and I can't understand why my brother won't just back off a little and cut the kid some slack, which is causing conflicts between us. SisterCh seems to be in some newlywed bliss, complete with ability to ignore everybody else for weeks at a time. SisterK is both thriving and homesick in Iowa. SisterS is off in her own little world with her boys again, but still manages to send Facebook barbs about how I'm not making the right life choices. Grandmother is lonely, and I can't stop spreading germs long enough to get over there. And I'm sick. Again. Newly. Always.

(Note to you: Do not read the following paragraph while eating, since I talk about things that may negatively impact your ability to do so. Sorry!)

Three weeks ago, I had a sinus infection, on top of my injured back still hurting so much I was having trouble wearing clothing. Two weeks ago, my back started to improve a tiny bit, but my sinus infection rebounded so that I had to have another round of antibiotics. Last week, I had an MRI, which caused a setback with my back, and then I either screwed the pooch with my migraine meds or caught some stomach bug, because I spent three days throwing up, and haven't stopped being nauseous in over a week. During that time, I did something really wrong to my insides - I thought at first it was a gas bubble from not eating for two days, then, when it got worse and hurt so much three days later, I figured I'd pulled a muscle or something, what with all the puking. It's a very odd pain - sharp, just underneath my right ribs, worse when I'm breathing (which is wrong, because I usually do deep breathing to help with pain), and radiates up behind my right shoulder blade sometimes. It was so intense those first days, I kept wondering if it was possible for an appendix to grow back - but because I am stupid stubborn, I refused to go to the Emergency Room again (it would have been my 4th trip! In under 3 months!) I still don't know what it is, but after today's appointment with Zack, he's leaning toward yet another part of my body revolting against me: this time, my gallbladder.

Are you kidding me, body? What did I ever do to you? I'm scheduled for an ultrasound, ultra-early in the morning, and that's going to be SO MUCH FUN. And then... well, we go from there, and see what's what. However, I think we can all agree, given this rundown, that I might have some real grievances here.

And those are just some of the various reasons this November, this special month dedicated to counting your blessings, is sucking for me so far. You've got 28 days left, November - you're on notice, and you better start improving.

Maybe tomorrow, I can try to write about some happier things. Or, alternatively, I will be on so many pain meds post-ultrasound - I know they don't bother other people, but for me, with FM, and the fact that wearing clothes or being touched at all significantly hurts? It's painful - that you will get some very interesting prose. Come back and see, and we'll all be surprised.

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