No apologies will be issued for that.

Because we’ve already heard some shitty remarks about photos of us smiling or doing some activity I had to add this addendum to our “press release”:

“If you’ve been seeing our Facebook posts from the last 5 months you may be confused. You may be asking how we can justify taking a long drive, or going to the movies, or sending Christina to Prom when everything we’ve just said is in conflict to those happy images. The heart of it lies in the fact that to us family is everything & indeed it is all we feel we have left to celebrate. We’re trying to do as much celebrating as we can to avoid being completely bogged down & swallowed whole by the stark reality of our situation. We are facing not only losing our present but our future. We may lose our home, our car, our dignity. We may lose our dog. Christina may lose her father. I may lose my husband. Brandon may lose his life. We’re finding happiness wherever we can. Period. No apologies will be issued for that.”

And none will. I will not apologize for the little bits of happiness we are able to gather. Life is too fucking short for that.

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Reality bites

I have to figure out how to accept the statistical likelihood that, by this time next year, my husband could be dead.

I could be a widow.
My child, who has already lost her biological mother through circumstances I won’t discuss here, may lose her father.

Eight years ago I thought I’d found the person I’d spend the rest of my life with. Turns out I may have had that backwards. Four and a half years ago I married him thinking “This is my forever. My past, present, & future all rolled into one”.

That future is slipping away. That present is painful to focus on.

I could be a widow. I could be a widow.

The words repeat over & over in my head all the time now. In the shower. I could be a widow. In the car. I could be a widow. Making dinner. I could be a widow. And it never ever stops.

All the while (I could be a widow.) I’m still trying to navigate life (I could be a widow.). I’m trying to make plans (I could be a widow.), have fun (I could be a widow.), pay bills (I could be a widow.), help my daughter find herself & her strength (I could be a widow.)…

How the fuck does anyone do this?! How do you grant Schrodinger’s Cat level of accepting the circumstances? He might live, he might die, he might live but be so bad off he wants to die, he might live & through some miracle we can still have the life we planned – the house, the kids, the adventures… How does one accept ALL of that? Simultaneously? Every single day?

I could be a widow.

I could be a wife.

Everything is going to be alright.

Everything is gone.

I am lost.

I am found.

I could be a widow.

I could be a widow.

I could be a widow…

Crying pretty

If your childhood was like mine you spent plenty of time watching old movies, soap operas, and Disney flicks. It always boggled my mind that the women shown in each could cry in an attractive way. No red streaks, no snot bubbles bursting… nice.

And I’ve come to the conclusion that anyone can “cry pretty” with enough practice.

I’ve leveled up.

Today… I learned how to cry pretty. This is my crying pretty face.

image

Now if I can just teach my hair that Disney Princess float & flop maneuver….

Helpless

In my state a family of 3, living on $42000/year, with chronic medical problems including: asthma, fibromyalgia, anxiety, PTSD, chronic pain, and cancer… is ineligible for any type of county, state, or federal aid.

Social Security Disability benefits will begin in September. There’s a five month waiting period. They didn’t backdate benefits to the date my husband first applied, in March 2014.

He isn’t eligible for medicare until he’s been on Social Security Disability for 24 months. That makes it March 2017.

Our income is too high to qualify for medicaid. We’re $13000 over.

We are eligible for a Qualified Healthcare Plan. So between the premiums & copays that’s an extra $600 – $1000/month minimum.

And our landlord (my mother) upped the rent.

We don’t qualify for energy assistance, food stamps, or any other services.

We don’t qualify for financial aid of any kind. We don’t qualify for housing assistance.

My husband’s therapist is in an office that doesn’t allow them to write letters of support for Emotional Support Animals so we don’t even have the protection to keep our full family together should we be evicted or otherwise have to relocate.

We are faced with very real choices between necessities & cancer treatment. My medication vs his. Cutting out every ray of happiness & hope we have – moving, getting rid of our dog, yanking our kid out of her tech school during her senior year… and still being met with a curt “sorry, folks, we can’t help you”.

There is no help.
And it feels like there is no hope.

The kids are alright

You know what? I *am* going to be fine. I just dealt with a therapist firing shots to my self esteem. And I’m okay. I’m also a bad mofo.

Yes; Husband has cancer, insurance has cancelled, we’re broke, social security disability hasn’t been approved yet, we’re in danger of losing our home, Daughter is on the terrifying cusp of adulthood, the dog rejected me, I’ve been orphaned, and a trillion other things.

But I’ve already survived worse. That’s why old shit was bleeding through – to remind me how many other times the sky has fallen, how weak I felt, & how forcefully I re-emerged.

The attitude has been changed. The perspective has been shifted.

Thank you, Horrible Therapist, for reminding me how brilliant, strong, & self reliant I am… even if you did it by nearly destroying me.

I’ve got this.
In spades.

Help, or don’t help. There is no “try”.

So my therapist quit…

She quit face to face yesterday when she knew last week she was going to quit, despite knowing that my biggest freak-out is currently confrontation, & knowing that 2 months ago a man threatened me for turning around in his driveway and that I’m still upset over it. So obviously this will just be water under the bridge.

She quit under the guise of wanting to help me (maybe she does) but “lacking the experience” to deal with me. Naturally she wants to refer me to someone with LESS training than she has knowing that I basically have her training already myself.

She then wanted to pester me about why I was crying (I’ve cried every time I’ve been in her office – crying a lot is one of the reasons I felt I needed therapy) & if I was going to be okay (specifically asking me how I was going to be okay). What could have been a phone call turned into 35 minutes of pointlessness that did nothing but make me feel even worse than I did weeks ago meeting with her for the first time.

If any counselors, therapists, or other care workers (doctors & nurses included) are reading this (anybody really) let me impart some wisdom for you… when a person tells you they have trust issues & a fear of all things medical & they have consistently been told that they are the problem and “too much” to handle while simultaneously “not enough”, & they have a history of abuse & they have consistently asked for help only to get none, YOU have an immediate choice to make. The choice is this: Help or don’t try.

This is what I refer to as the Yoda solution (“do or do not, there is no ‘try'”).

You cannot expect a positive reaction when someone tells you they are desperate for help/relief, that they’ve tried everything they can think of, that they know *all* of these coping skills… and you sign up to help them & then fail to do so.

My former therapist could have lined up another therapist to see me (knowing I might not want to see them but still taking the time to have a plan in place for the person who feels tremendously vulnerable). She could have said point blank that I need someone with more experience. She could have used me as an opportunity to further herself by trying new things (workbooks are fine guys, but sometimes when a person tells you that the workbook is not only how they’re already living but what they’re teaching their kid… believe them maybe)

The message I got from this is that once again I am too much to deal with. She feels I am disingenuous because I am educated & familiar with therapy techniques & entirely too self aware. I’m not good enough to be a client. I’m too damaged (nothing to do now but accept the shit storm & be happy about it). I’m not trying hard enough. I’m dismissive (because she couldn’t find a solution I’ve not already tried). There is no hope for me.

Oh but she’ll talk to her boss & get me set up with someone else. Someone with a lesser degree. Someone newer to therapy. Because I’m sure they will have the experience I need to rely upon. Yeah… sure.

Her primary refrain was that I just need to decide that the next event in a pattern of shit shit shit shit shit shit shit is sunshine instead of shit. And I’m all for the power of positive thinking BUT I’m suffering from anxiety (I have inarguable reasons to be anxious – my husband has cancer, we currently have $17 in the bank, sMother has increased our rent, I have chronic pain) and I’ve had a continuous string of trauma which is causing me some PTSD-like symptoms. I am a positive person. That isn’t enough. I have accepted that I can’t change sMother or cure my husband;s cancer or any of those other things I’d love to be able to wiggle my nose at. I try not to be miserable but I have a lot of triggers most of which are unavoidable & I still manage to find silver linings everywhere… but I’m still fucked up. I still need help dealing with all this.

I’m still here begging & pleading for aid. It would behoove you, counselor, to provide some.

In your face

Here’s something you may not know about Cancer. It is unavoidable. No, I don’t mean that you are somehow guaranteed to develop cancer at some point in your life. What I mean is that the Cancer Industry has in fact become an industry. They advertise. They market. They campaign.

For example: When you see something pink (that isn’t a gender biased toy), what do you associate? Breast cancer, of course!

And every fucking movie seems to use cancer as a plot device. In this list include movies you’d have no indication would include triggers like Mad Max Fury Road & The Judge. There is no internet compilation of triggering movies to avoid either, I’ve checked. And, at least locally, even if the movie doesn’t contain cancer references going to the theatre requires you to sit through 5 – 15 minutes of medical commercials for local branches including the Named After Someone Important Cancer Centre. We don’t have cable in part because the commercials are all so damn triggering.

And then there’s all the fundraisers, marathons, galas, bumper stickers, ribbons, jewellery, tattoos…

It’s inescapable. And when you’re already feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, & thoroughly saturated by cancer (yours or someone else’s)…

I’d like to believe that it’s just the synchronicity that occurs in life (you buy a new Mini Cooper & suddenly notice everyone in your town is driving Mini Coopers. The rate of purchase on Minis hasn’t gone up, you’re just more aware of them), except I don’t think it’s that. Every Dr’s office has cancer awareness posters, there are buses running ads, Pandora runs ads, radio runs ads… and a special fuck you goes out to the genius who came up with targeted marketing practices that are based off your search history because they make evading your illness IMPOSSIBLE (I’m looking at you Facebook & Amazon).

It is always in your face. Which makes relaxing & escaping your troubles really fucking difficult.