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Thoughts Of Suicide

Confession: March 24th was going to be the end for me. Months with no car, pain, painful treatments, meds screwed up, isolated, low on cash...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chemo Christmas

Just between you and me, this Christmas is awful. There's no tree, decorations, gifts or greeting cards on display. I had to miss helping serve Thanksgiving dinner at the homeless shelter and won't be able to help hand out toys at the children's hospital. I just do not have the strength. I'm neither cook nor hostess this year. Basically, I'm the person people are glad they are not. I'm the one that 'doesn't have her health' this season. I'm fighting breast cancer and unfortunately, it makes a lot of people uncomfortable. I make lots of people uncomfortable. "There by the Grace of God..." and all that.
This has actually been a pretty good year for me. I quit smoking, I started working out and I made a list of the things I wanted to do now that my son is grown and I have an empty nest. The top two things on the list? Returning to critical care nursing and getting books/stories published. The former is on hold and as for the latter, I use some of my 'down time' to write more. Never have enough stories.
I'm making plans to celebrate NEXT Thanksgiving and Christmas. This holiday season is ruined and it isn't even over yet! Can't enjoy traditional family dinners. Chemotherapy made the delicious smelling turkey taste like acid and Granny's green bean casserole taste like glue. Anything that is supposed to be sweet tastes bitter and everything else tastes like dirt. The combination of drugs I receive make the body feel like it's just beginning to get the flu--body aches and no sense of taste. Can't tell Granny that--she'll just tell you to add more salt!
But no matter how many bills come, treatments are received, how sick I get or number of days of lying in bed I have...this too, shall pass. It will. I know it will. Everything has a beginning, a middle and an end. Including cancer and its treatment.
One day, I'll have my final chemo treatment. One day, my experience with breast cancer will help someone else. One day I won't spend the majority of time alone being sick in the bathroom or at the cancer center and I will be waving a final 'goodbye' to all the doctors and nurses who took care of me. One day.
As for now, I spend my time in bed or watching Christmas specials on TV. I write, I blog, I read, I pray and check days off the calendar.  I remind myself just how lucky I am to have found the cancer in a point in time where a woman's breast cancer is treated and not ignored because it's a "lady's thing." Diagnosis and treatment plans are almost immediate--the duration of those treatments, however, aren't.
So I'll just drink my two to three quarts of water a day, enjoy what I can when I can, be grateful and plan for next Thanksgiving and Christmas. Never too early, right?
                                                         MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Monday, December 15, 2014

"Uniform Response"

I am a college educated, registered nurse by profession, mother of one--full grown woman who becomes a paranoid idiot whenever a police car gets behind me. To paraphrase Chris Rock, when a police officer is behind me in traffic, I start wondering if I stole my own car!! My heart beats rapidly. My hands get all sweaty. I do the "check-list" in my head..."what am I doing wrong? is the license plate current? is there a broken light of any kind? did I remember to wear my seatbelt? where is my driver's license? how do I keep calm and drive? am I breathing?" Then inevitably, the officer goes on his way completely unaware of the trauma "he" inflicted upon me. I breathe a big sigh of relief and Life goes on.
I was raised to not only respect police officers but to fear them. Officers I grew up around were larger than life. As those before them, they risk their lives everyday. They have the power to arrest anyone for anything right or wrong and nothing could be done about it. "If anything happens--it's your fault," I was told.  Cops are 100% right and the public is 100% wrong. Even when the cops are wrong they are right. That's just the way it is. Why? Then I started to think about it: Perception is reality.
People treat me differently when I am in my nurse's uniform. At times, they just walk up to me and ask medical questions whether I'm standing in line at the grocery store or sitting at lunch. My uniform implies a certain level of knowledge and accessibility. With my cousin, he is nearly a rock star in his army uniform. People give him 'knowing' looks, salutes, handshakes and hugs on occasion. But not one has yet to ask 'permission' to give the hugs or handshakes--they just do it and he's expected to take it. Why? The uniform.
Right or wrong, uniforms imply certain traits in those wearing them. My hair color and bust line gives some people certain ideas about me when I'm in my nurse's uniform. I 'decide' that a man or woman in a police officer uniform sees everyone and every situation as a life or death threat. While just the sight of an officer can make some folks "get an attitude," that officer is duty bound to protect and serve. Says so on the car!!
We want them running to the bank robbery in progress; stopping the car flying through the school zone; capturing an escaped convict; helping us in any way they can and to be happy to do it. The uniform they wear allows us to expect a hero in every police officer. To some however, it implies there's a doughnut shop nearby. Good cops/bad cops, good people/bad people. Fact is--you can't tell just by looking. They come in all shapes, sizes and...uniforms!