Saturday, July 17, 2010

Getting Back on Track

This last class, as I moaned repeatedly, (you all are a very patient group) was haaaaaaaaaardddddd! I don't have a lot of confidence in myself as a student yet, and this challenge really wore me down. By the end of it, really, I was just at a place where, exhausted by the sheer enormity of it all, I found it hard to make myself study at all.

Struggling also to keep my spirit in an extremely petty and reactive work environment was trying as well, mostly because I have a long established pattern of feeling like everything is all my fault. When people are critical and angry with me, it fits in with how I see myself, 'validating' everything that I think about myself.

There is also the stress that comes with each and every medical visit. I'm a person who (yeah, this is shocking...) paid little or no attention to her health before, going to a doctor when something went wrong, waiting for years sometimes, between visits. Now all of a sudden even the taken-for-granted-good-health can no longer be taken for granted. There are symptoms and I don't know what they mean. When I wake up in the night sweating profusely and throwing off the blankets, is this menopause? Is this cancer? Is this simply the hot and humid summer we've been having? I don't know, and I don't know how to tell the difference. I worry about lumps. I can't tell the difference between the scar tissue, which is part of my new normal tissue make up. I find this all discouraging, because I have no confidence in my own abilities to stay on top of this: Cancer snuck up on me once, after all, but when I try to express my concerns and fears, I feel foolish and over reactive. This week, I went back to my regular family doctor for some routine stuff. I've always liked his quiet nature. He said, "You are careful about your BSEs, right?" and I said, "Well, I am, but I can't tell you what's normal and what's not anymore." Much to my surprise, he stopped everything to give me a brief class on telling the difference between scar tissue and cancer. A place that I'd been worrying about seemed not so worrisome to him, and he explained why, and showed me what he was looking for. I was really touched by that, even as I felt foolish. I said, "Thanks. I know it sounds foolish, but these sorts of things will bother me in the night..." and he looked at me mildly and said, "Well, of course they will." Unaccountably, I just felt like crying.

So things are settling down here. The class is over, I've gotten a B. I have a new job, and it seems as if it will be a much nicer place to work. I had a doctor acknowledge my fears and even provide me with knowledge that I can use to breathe just a little bit easier. I'm back on my diet (I majorly crashed and burned on that, gaining back six pounds in the last three weeks of class). So I'm re-losing what I previously lost, which makes Friday weigh-in kind of difficult to explain, so I haven't explained at all. So even though things are looking up here, I'm 'stuck' somehow. Not unhappy, really, just not motivated to get things done. I don't know why. I just want to breathe deeply, and to think, and to read, and to visit with people. I want to be with Tim. I want to talk with my kids (although, Dylan's story about having a gun pulled on him made me wonder precisely why this is so important to me.) I just want to immerse myself in my friendships, in my little family, in a good book. Writing. When the phone rings, I stop what I'm doing and sit down to visit with the friend on the other end (Hi, Stevie Wren!) Even as I'm ashamed of my lack of motivation, I can't seem to find it within myself to 'push' myself right this minute. It occurs to me that maybe, what I am trying to immerse myself in is, simply, life. Maybe I am simply trying to come back to life.

For the first time in a while, I feel like it could happen.


Lydia said...

Sounds to me like you have been pulled through a knot-hole backwards and your are just dusting your self off and getting back on your feet! LOL

I think there is a time to re-group and recover, and I'm glad you are taking it.

Mrs.Spit said...

You want a vacation. You've been working hard, testing both body and spirit, and you need a bit of down time.

Can you take a few days off, an extra long weekend and do nothing? I find it's a big help.

WhiteStone said...

Those darn cancer concerns and questions. It's usually after I get home that I realize I shoulda asked the Onc to explain some remark that I just let fly over my head. I try to be ahead of the game and be ready with questions...but I'm not quick on my feet (my brains) once I get there.

Relax. Enjoy a few summer days.

Me? I'm eating beets from the garden. Splash of olive oil and red wine vinegar on sliced, cooked beets. Oh, Yum! Not bad on raw grated beets, either.

Amy said...

you are way too hard on your yourself. you need to have some fun. i read this blog and it makes me ashamed i am not a better person. i am so lazy in comparison. kindness and compassion are tremendously undervalued virtues. you have those in spades.

steviewren said...

Hi back at ya Debby. I enjoyed our chat immensely yesterday! I'm glad you're able to stop and smell the roses for a little while. Just breath!

Anonymous said...

"I have a long established pattern of feeling like everything is all my fault. When people are critical and angry with me, it fits in with how I see myself, 'validating' everything that I think about myself".

Hi Debby, the above quote made think of the theory of 'Locus of control' have you studied it in your psych classes as yet?

I agree with the other commentors about relaxing.

Take care, DavidM

BUSH BABE said...

Time out. That's what you need - give yourself permission to recover (I feel like I have said this somewhere here before?).

So glad you had a good doctor to reassure you and teach you. A rare and wonderful thing, a doctor like that.

Chez said...

Praise the Lord! At last!
Debby, it seems that you are just finding that time for the very special 'YOU'
I have been asking myself for ages just how you manage to fit so much into your very busy life. How do you prioritise health, home & family, study and work?
Seems to me you are, at last, finding time to smell the roses. Well done!

Anonymous said...

Hi Deb I like Lydia's description of how you must be feeling. Think I know just what she means.
Congratulations on your mark - well done!! You are capable of so much you know and you do so much, so never ever undervalue yourself girl.
I hope also that your new job goes well for you - and that the hours work for you too. Good to hear you have such an understanding and good doctor. They can be rare,(but don't want to put down doctors as they have so much to remember and deal with) but a doctor like that can mean so much at times.

Enjoy your break and rest your mind. Hope your checkups go well for you Love Barb.

Debby said...

Yes, DavidM, we did study Locus of Control, and while we were on the topic, it became crystal clear to me that while some have an external locus of control, and nothing is ever their fault, I have am at the opposite end of the spectrum, believing that everything is always my fault. I realize that neither of these two extremes are valid ways of thinking, but have also come to learn that knowing something on an intellectual level does not mean that you 'know' it on an emotional level. I fumble my way along knowing full well I am ridiculous.

A vacation is what we need. Of course. But neither of us can take off work right now, Tim just back to work, and I'll be beginning a new job next week. I was thinking last night though...really, I should not have been surprised by this. I always tend to crumble after the fact. This has been a prolonged period of difficulty. Cancer, treatment, job loss (for both of us), school, new jobs, even marital problems. Even as these things work themselves out (thank you, God), I've been slipping into a quieter and quieter place. It's my nature, I've come to figure.

Last night, Tim and I were talking, and I said that really, what I wanted him to do was slow down, to take the rest of this summer for us as best we can, given the time constraints. Much to my surprise, he said, "I've been feeling the same way..." It'll be okay. I'm just not at my best place right now.