LungLeavin’ Day – Removing Our Fears

LLD-TalkingPlate

Recently, I was contacted by a man named Cameron Von St. James. He shared with me the story of his wife’s cancer and how they created a day to celebrate it. Eight years ago, his wife was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is a rare cancer caused only by asbestos exposure. She had a surgery to remove her left lung, which was a risky procedure but it saved her life.

In the email I received from this man, he wrote;

My wife’s chronic illness taught us the importance of acknowledging and overcoming our fears, something that prevent us all from living life to the fullest.

This February 2nd is the 8th anniversary of his wife, Heather’s surgery and they coined this day as LungLeavin’ Day. Of this day, Cameron said;

The purpose of LungLeavin’ Day is to encourage and empower others battling their own illnesses and daily challenges to face their fears! On this day we celebrate for those who are no longer with us, for those who continue to fight, for those who are currently going through a tough time in their life, and most importantly, we celebrate life! Each year, friends and family gather at our house around a bonfire where we write our fears on a plate and smash them into the fire to represent conquering our fears.

This year, they have created an interactive page which tell the story of the day and people can do their own smashing of their fears. You can visit the site at www.mesothelioma.com/heather/lungleavinday.

I think this is a wonderful idea and I plan to take part in it. Sure, writing our fears on plates and smashing them in a fire will not remove all of our fears but it is symbolic and sometimes doing something like this reminds us to not let our fears control us. Our fears try to prevent us from living life to the fullest and we need to acknowledge our fears but not let them control us.

I know I have many fears and I think this would be a good exercise for me but also for others. I’ll be participating. Who will join me in smashing our fears?

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November, I Wish I Hadn’t Known Thee

November

November (Photo credit: Joana Roja – work and migraines – coming back..)

It’s been a while since I’ve written on here. Truthfully, it had been a while since I’d written anything. Prior to this week, I hadn’t really written in my book since October 10. There were a couple of days where I wrote less than ten words. That’s a long time when writing a novel. No wonder it’s been over a year since I started writing the novel I’m working on. When I finally sat down to start working on it, I had to read over what I had already written before I could write anything new.

I’d like to blame my lack of writing on all the things I was dealing with the past month, but I know excuses will get me nowhere and it will not get my book written.

A Tough November

Considering Dropping Out

My November was tough. It started before November actually started, with me being frustrated with the college program I’m in. I kept hearing stories of people who had graduated from the program years before still not having jobs in the field and I felt like the program wasn’t challenging me enough. I felt like I either knew all the stuff they were teaching or I could learn it all while on the job. There were times where I felt like I could be teaching some of the classes because people would often ask me questions instead of asking the professor. I was considering dropping out of the program. I even applied for a job in the field I am planning to go into.

Health Issues

Then there was my aunt’s health. She was diagnosed with her metastasized breast cancer last fall, which was her fourth bout with cancer since 1996. In October, she regressed quite quickly and passed away on November 2, which also happened to be the exact day my uncle had passed away eleven years ago. That side of my family is a lot closer than my other side so it was tough. I often didn’t know how to feel either, because I was sad that she was gone but I was also happy that she didn’t have to suffer anymore and she could finally be whole again, living with Jesus, her savior.

A blood test and examination - NARA - 513715

A blood test and examination – NARA – 513715 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All the while, I was dealing with my own health issues. In November, I hadn’t menstruated since August and I knew there was no way I was pregnant. So I knew there was something wrong with me. With the fear of possibly not being able to have children, I finally forced myself to go to the doctor about midway through November. Once I went, it seemed like everything was moving along quickly. At the end of the week, I had a blood test to check my hormones and I thought I was finally going to get my hormones balanced because I’ve believed they’ve been out of whack for a while because of multiple reasons. A week later, I hadn’t heard anything from the clinic, so I phoned there to see if my results had come in. They told me they had but my doctor hadn’t looked at them yet and I should hear from her sometime that evening if there was some concern with my results. It’s been about a month since I had my blood test and I never heard from them.

After not hearing from them, I was very frustrated and down, and even possibly depressed. My dream since I was little was to be a mother and even more so since I spent time in Mexico around children a lot of the time. This would occupy my mind a lot of the time during most of November and I would even tell myself I would never be able to have children. It is very difficult for me to accept that and still is, although I guess I don’t know if that’s completely accurate. One thing I do know, is that it will be even more difficult to get myself to go to the doctor now because of them not finding anything when I know there is something wrong.

Jobless

I mentioned earlier in this post that I had applied for a job in the field I plan to go in to. The application deadline was mid-November and after the deadline came and went, I was wondering if I would get a call from them for an interview. I had people in my family telling me that I was a shoo-in to get an interview. There was no doubt in their minds but there was in mine.

After a while, I questioned whether they even got my email because that was how they wanted applications and there are times when my emails don’t go through but it shows that they did on my email. For two weeks, I had my family asking me if I had heard from the job and I had to consistently tell them no. I got really annoyed with the questions and it added to my frustration during the month of November.

Last week, I found out that they had hired someone already but I still don’t know if they even got my email. But that doesn’t matter at this point.


November was a tough month for me for all the reasons stated above plus a few other ones, such as buses being 20+ minutes late, not showing up, or even driving past me causing me to be late for class, and various body parts causing me pain. Sometimes I wondered if I was being punished for something because it sure felt like it. Since November has ended, some things have alleviated but I’m still trying to put others behind me or deal with another issue that has brought itself closer to the forefront, which is money.

With Christmas holidays upon me, I’m going to try to work a lot on my book because I may not be motivated once the next semester starts. There’s an update in my life and I hope all of your lives aren’t as frustrating as mine has been the past month or so.

 

I Have an Aversion to Doctors

I have an aversion to doctors. I’m not entirely sure why, but I do. I don’t like doctors.

Maybe it’s because I had to go quite often when I was a kid. I got bit by a skunk and had to go to get shots many times. I also had to go many times because I had tonsillitis and strep throat several times in one year.

Maybe it’s because the last how many times, they haven’t helped anything.

Past Ten Years of Visiting the Doctor

The last time I went to a doctor and it actually helped something was when I had my jaw surgery which was almost eight years ago. However, after my surgery, I was throwing up blood, swollen for a long time, had to stay in the hospital overnight and could hardly eat anything for a week. So, it wasn’t all that positive of an experience. The hospital visit before that, I fainted during a blood test.

The next visit after my surgery was for an ear infection and got a prescription for it. The pills I got, gave me a rash and had to stop taking the pills.

Oh yeah, and the time before my surgery, I went to the doctor a month after fracturing my toes, only for them to tell me my toes were fractured, which I had already gathered but they couldn’t do anything about it. The reason I went only a month after injuring them was because my dad didn’t believe me that they were fractured and told me to wait a month before going to the doctor.

Throughout my high school years, I had trouble with pain in my knees. I went to the doctor three times because of this, for them to hopefully figure out what was wrong with them but they never did. I also had one doctor tell me that the pain in my knees was probably just growing pains. This annoyed me because the pain started happening after I stopped growing and the pain had gotten progressively worse over several years, so by the time I went to the doctor, I had the pain everyday and sometimes made it hard to sleep.

I injured my big toes a little over two years ago while playing soccer barefoot. At first the pain wasn’t too bad so I figured the pain would go away. A few days later, I played soccer again, but this time I wore my shoes. After the game, my toes hurt a lot worse than before and I limped for a couple of days which for me, says something because I don’t limp if possible. It was the weekend when I was limping so I didn’t see a doctor those first few days but I did go see a doctor about them early the next week. Yeah, he didn’t do anything or even find out what was wrong with them and they still bother me so obviously something was/is wrong with them.

So, that summarizes my last ten doctor visits in the last ten years. I haven’t been to the doctor, since a little over two years ago.

My Need to Visit the Doctor

I’ve read that some people don’t go to the doctor because they don’t think the doctor will believe them. Maybe this is why I don’t go often and don’t like to go. I don’t believe they will help me because they haven’t in so long.

With some research I’ve done on some symptoms I have, I think I may have an illness that will affect my ability to have children and could lead to a whole bunch of other complications. I find it interesting how the prospect of struggling with infertility motivates me more than the fear of death to get over my aversion to doctors.

I know I need to go to the doctor but I’ll see if I can actually push past my aversion to doctors and actually go visit one and see if they can actually help me with my symptoms and find out what’s behind them.

 

Watching Family Suffer With Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia - schizophrénie

Schizophrenia – schizophrénie (Photo credit: http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca)

Here is a journal entry I wrote last night.

I hate having to watch my brother suffer. He developed schizophrenia about 6 years ago and it still affects him today. I don’t think people realize that. It was extremely tough back when he first got it because we weren’t exactly sure what was going on with him. We knew he wasn’t himself and wasn’t “in his right mind”.

He had been at a sports camp because back then he was really into running and competing in road races and track events. He still runs but his mind doesn’t seem to allow him the joy like he used to have. My parents picked him up early from camp because he had called and hadn’t been having a good time.

It was scary that first night he came home. He was crying and thought he was going to die. Looking back I think he probably had a panic attack but it was really scary at the time. My whole family was crying and not sure of what exactly was all going on with him. My dad called 911 and they took him to the hospital. The hospital didn’t see anything wrong with him but kept him overnight for observation.

The next day he came home. Because this was during harvest season and my dad was a farmer, he was on the field and my mom and oldest brother were at baseball or something like that. (I don’t actually remember where my mom and oldest brother were at this time. They may have been on the field too.) So it was my brother who came home from the hospital earlier that day and my two younger brothers at home.

I remember some of the details of that day very clearly. It was July 27th (it was my oldest brother’s birthday the day my second oldest brother came home from the sports camp). I was sitting on the couch watching a Winnipeg Blue Bombers game. Not long after Milt Stegall broke the CFL’s touchdown record, my brother started acting strange. Strange because it wasn’t normal for him.

Wrapped up in a blanket, he got up from the seat he had been sitting on beside me and walked out the door. I followed him because I was worried about him. He got into one of our vehicles and was going to drive to church because he wanted to be baptized. I tried stopping him and thankfully my mom thought ahead and hid all the keys to the vehicles. That didn’t stop him. He decided he was going to walk to church. We had a two-way radio in our house so we could communicate with people on the field. I quickly radioed my dad and told him what was going on. Then, I ran outside to try and stop my brother.

Just before he could cross the road, my dad drove up in a grain truck and got him back to the house. Later when my mom came home, they brought him to a hospital farther away but was more prepared to handle situations like my brothers. From there he was transported to the mental ward of a hospital in Winnipeg.

It took weeks to diagnose what he had as schizophrenia and it took even longer than that for them to get the right combination of meds to combat his symptoms.

It was a long process for him to get where he is now where most people wouldn’t realize he had schizophrenia unless someone said something about it. Even now when his symptoms start to rear their ugly head most people wouldn’t even notice. However, I know him well enough and am perceptive enough that I could tell they were rearing their head at supper time. He is aware of the symptoms and often takes meds when he needs to.

I’m glad he’s aware of them because otherwise he might have another relapse and that would be difficult for our family as well as him.

It’s difficult to see him suffer. I just wish I could take it away from him. It also occasionally wants me to make those who abused him at camp pay for how they treated him. (I don’t want to necessarily get into what they did as I don’t entirely know all the facts and don’t remember all of the details I had learned back then.)

It’s been about six and a half years since he first was hospitalized because of his schizophrenia and he’s never been the same since. My dad made a comment to me a little over a week ago that character/personality wise he was very close to being the same as he was before he got sick.

I’ve seen it at times too. However when things like this happen, I hurt for him.

Here I am, with tears in my eyes, wishing he didn’t have to deal with this illness.

Back to School Anxiety and Adjusting

English: An anxious person

English: An anxious person (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Right now, I’m sitting in a classroom waiting for my class to start. Today is the official first day of classes while yesterday we had an orientation. I think I’ll enjoy the program but I know that my anxiety will but a shadow on the classes itself.

I’ve wondered what exactly is causing my anxiety so I can better combat it. I think the part that gets me anxious the most is the busing to get to school because there is so much to know and look out for. I need to be aware of which bus I need to take, what time it will be arriving at the bus stop so I can be early, when I need to get off, where I’m going once I get off the bus, etc. It can all be a bit overwhelming for me. Because of it, I haven’t been able to eat much the past couple of days and I’ve actually gone to bed really early.

All the changes and new things I need to get used to, all produce anxiety to some degree. I have to get used to living in a new place, sleeping in a new bed, the noise levels, the unavailability of wireless internet connections, the food, busing, new people, new schedules, a new building and having to find my way around.

I seem to be fine once I get in the classroom with the people in my program, though. So I’ll have to see how it goes. There have been times when I want to quit but I’m not a quitter. I’ll at least stick out the week and see how it is after that.

I know it may take a while before my anxiety is under control for this year because when I first went to SBC, the school before this one, it took at least a week and I seem to think it may have taken a couple of weeks.

I’ve been so tired these past two days, it’s been ridiculous. On Sunday, when I arrived at my aunt’s (who I’m staying with for the school year), I went to bed at around 10:30 which is early for me. Yesterday, I took a nap after I returned from orientation and I rarely take naps. I’ve probably doubled my naps this year. Then, in the evening, I felt really tired again and was in bed before 9:30. When at SBC, I would never go to bed before 11:00 so this is very uncharacteristic of me. It might have something to do with waking up every couple of hours in the night and waking up early. Yesterday, I got up out of bed at 6:30am so it kind of makes sense why I’d need a nap in the afternoon.

Anyways, enough of boring you with the changes in my life and my sleeping patterns. Hope all of you enjoy your days.