Sunday, September 25, 2011



     You wouldn't know it if you have read my blog, but I used to be a fairly happy person. This has been sort of an unfair representation of me since I started this blog in the middle of turmoil. But, maybe it is the true me. I have not been without major trauma for very long. That may sound melodramatic but it's true. I had a rough life as a youth, some things my fault some not. Through it all I was able to find some kind of balance...except for these past few years.
     I have come to realize my weaknesses and faults. I have also have come to terms with them and acknowledged what and maybe even why they are, and I'm okay with that. Being okay with not being perfect has been a lifelong journey for me. I once read that perfectionism is the highest form of self-abuse. I believe that but I don't practice it.

    I believe part of finding my balance is coming to the understanding that's it's okay to have weaknesses and faults. It's okay to be angry, hurt, embarrassed, because it's normal, EVERYBODY feels that way sometimes. I have never let it be okay to feel anything but happy and that in turn has made me a very angry person. Ironic isn't it? The one thing I strive to be is the one thing I haven't been able to achieve. I realized I cannot be happy and angry at the same time because good and bad cannot exist at the same time. One is there to recognize the other.

     I am not at optimum balance as of yet, but I can finally feel the right path under my feet. I can feel and not just see the light at the end of my dark, emotional tunnel. I know I will have other trials and episodes that will test my fortitude and I know that I will probably show weakness during those times. But it's okay, it's normal. I finally give myself permission to feel those feelings and acknowledge that they are there. I'm finally ready to move on. I'm finding my balance.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

An Anniversary of sorts...

I have been feeling "off" these past few weeks and I just couldn't put my finger on why or what would be causing it. Then a very wise and helpful friend helped me to acknowledge what was going on with me: I had an anniversary I was ignoring that didn't want to be ignored.

In early September, 2 years ago, Ben went into the hospital and I was told the outlook was grim of him ever coming out alive. The events that followed, the things that happened in the few months he was in the hospital have been not only traumatizing for me but also crippling as well.

After spending 2 1/2 painfully and lonely months in Arizona for treatment of rectal cancer at The Cancer Treatment Centers of America, our young and little family of three came home to recuperate. Within the month, Ben would go back three of four more times for surgeries and follow up appointments. Then we thought we were done...but we were wrong.

After attending a family birthday, Ben was feeling a lot of pain that he was attempting to push off as just another thing he would have to get through and over due to all the radiation and subsequent surgeries. I was a big pusher for the "getting over it" part. We were wrong, I was wrong.

Early the next day, the pain was too intense for Ben and he asked a friend to drive him to the ER. I thought it was going to be another possible overnight stay where he would come home the next day with multiple prescriptions for myriad pain pills. He wouldn't be coming home. Instead, I got a call in the evening that he would be transferred to another facility that could better treat what they feared was something extremely deadly: necrotizing fasciitis.

I have been ridiculed by some with regards to how I reacted to this situation, or even how I still react. Some believe I made too much of a big deal out of all of this or that I blew the situation way out of proportion. I write the next part of my story for myself, to help me get through this time of remembrance; for others that may have wanted to know; and for a way to hopefully put into perspective what really went on daily for me. You can be the judge and put yourself in my shoes and see how you would have handled this part. Maybe you would have handled it better than I did, have. Maybe you just might understand me a bit better after reading it. I can only hope.

The images that still haunt me are the first few weeks of Ben's stay at Mercy San Juan. After being administered into the hospital they saw it best to put him in the Critical Care Unit (CCU). For three weeks I would have to walk through the ICU and watch people going through the process of dying or seeing the aftermath, everyday. Then I would make it to the CCU where I had to don plastic clothes and gloves before being admitted in to see Ben. For two weeks I had to make "life pacts" with him because the pain was so extremely painful he wanted to die. After talking him into living for another 24 hours, Ben would pass out and the rest of my 4-hour stay was watching over him and his vitals, making sure he was comfortable and talking to the nurses and doctors on his behalf.

Before making my way out to the hospital I spent the day worrying about how Ben was doing and what I was going to do with our 6 month old. Not only was I having to raise him on my own now, but I had to think about how to keep it all together should the worst (for me at least) happen. I had to struggle to find people to look after Christopher while I would be away and being away from him was almost as bad as being away from Ben! Fortunately, I had some wonderful friends who had been there for us while in Arizona, come through once again but on a daily basis now, and help me in whatever way they could or I needed.

If having my own crazy thoughts run through my head on a nightly basis because my one and only was not sleeping next to me were not enough, the nightly doctor phone calls were. Every night while Ben was in the CCU his doctor would call after his daily surgeries to "debreed" the necro fasc from his body. These calls came anywhere from 1AM to 4AM and they were never good. I could always hear Ben screaming out in pain in the background as they transferred from gurney to bed. The pain meds would never abate his pain fully. The doctor rarely had good news for me. In those wee hours I would be told that the doctors didn't expect to make it another 24 hours only to be told later in the afternoon that things were "looking up". This happened daily.

To put into a little more perspective my thought processes, family and death are the two most important and scary things for me. You can tell me till you are blue in the face all about Heavenly Father's plan, but my greatest fears in life are losing my family and death. The one thing I have worked the hardest on (my family) was slipping through my fingers and it was all due to death. I could barely keep it together! I am not that close with my own extended family, in fact it is tearing apart as we speak. And I'm not as close to Ben's family as I would like to be, so to me losing Ben would be losing my family.

After enduring 6 months of watching my loved one go through excruciating and humiliating cancer treatments and battling my own postpartum depression (PPD) throughout, I was spent. Because of the hard times for Ben and myself, I did not receive the motherly tendencies one should when they become a new mother. In fact it took me the entire 6 months to be able to tell Christopher I loved him, and mean it. It was difficult to love someone who screamed and yelled when I wanted to but couldn't. It was even more difficult when I would feel an extreme amount of guilt asking my cancer-stricken husband to care for our little screamer when I could not. It was irrational thinking, so I blame PPD, but I blamed Christopher for not understanding. After Ben entered Mercy San Juan (MSJ), luckily the PPD lifted and I was faced with the reality that it was going to be Christopher and I from now on. I held him tight, told him I loved him, and for a while he became my rock, despite the late night crying sessions had by all.

There is oh-so-much-more to this story. All the little intricacies of daily routines and thoughts. All the outside conversations, some helpful, some not. The many thoughts of "what to do if's", that I could go on and on more so than I already have. And if you would like to know I will tell you. But be prepared. I have a lot to say, a lot of emotions, a lot of opinions, so much so, I think I could write a book! And this is my story, in short, of happened to me, Ben, and Christopher two years ago for 3 months. There is after story, but that's for another post. There's a bit of it already written in the "older posts" section and if you want to know more about that, just ask and I will tell you all you want to know...and then some.