Another Loss. More Grief.

My (maternal) Grandma Margaret passed away last week.

I am so DONE.

Now at 38 years OLD (I feel ancient) I have lost both my parents and all of my grandparents. I’ve nearly lost my husband, *twice*. I’ve lost my colon. I’ve lost my house to a fire. I’ve lost babies to miscarriage.

Sometimes I feel like I’m losing my mind.

My life is defined by grief and loss, grief and loss, and more grief…and loss.

I’m now paranoid that ALL the bad things are going to happen. Any scenario my anxiety-riddled brain comes up with seems plausible. I’m struggling to live in the moment while also steeling myself for the next bad thing to happen. Will my husband drop dead? Will he be home alone with 3yr old BG? Will I be lulled into a false sense of security, on a mundane trip to Target, and return home to a hysterical child and unresponsive husband??? Will it be my beloved labrador retriever? Will he develop cancer or kidney failure? Or God forbid…if anything happens to BG…I would swiftly take my own life.

I don’t like living in fear. I do the f*ing EFT tapping therapy to try to stay mentally and physically healthy. But about the time I begin to move on from one tragedy, the next one strikes. It’s like tidal waves of tragedy keep trying to drown me and I keep kicking to the surface but about the time the water calms, another wave hits.

Metaphorically speaking I feel about as desperate as Tom Hanks in the movie Cast Away.

And I have nobody to talk to about it, except you–my internet friends.

XOXO,

MLACS

Grief, Anxiety and Depression (and what I’m doing to heal)

I don’t know where to begin. I’ve been spiraling since my dad died.

I was just starting to get traction in my life after several years of of tumult. My health declining and autoimmune issues usurping my life and finances. Infertility and miscarriages. Mr. MLACS’s heart failure when I was 32 weeks pregnant. Being a new mother and deeply feeling the loss/void of my own beloved mother. Coping with Mr. MLACS being gone for work for weeks at a time. Overwhelming PPA (postpartum anxiety) and coming to terms with cutting off our toxic family members, including my dad (it took 2 years of weekly therapy and a lot of processing). Finally buying our first home–our dream home–only to have it burn down as we were packing to move. Moving to a very depressed area of Louisiana after the Great Flood of 2016, where I knew no one and felt like I didn’t belong.

Becoming ill and spending the entirety of 2017 fighting for my life with no support, because I was too sick to even ask for it. Feeling useless and hopeless at times.

Finally embracing the idea of a total colectomy surgery–having a prosthetic colon for the rest of my life. Finally about to move into my dream home.

And being deathly ill and having my husband drop dead at work, revived…but I am haunted by the way he looked and smelled like death in the ER. The nurses hearing me sob in the bathroom next to his bed in the ICU, as I sat on the toilet bleeding, desperately needing to be admitted myself but terrified to have my surgery because I was afraid I might die and orphan my child. My precious BG and my precious dog so sad and scared despite my best efforts to spare them the grief I felt. My heart was broken into a million pieces.

But I overcame everything. I beat infertility and I have the most precious daughter. I overcame PPA and came to terms with severing ties with my father. Mr. MLACS got a new job where he would be home every night. Our dream home was repaired. My surgery went well and I don’t need to take any IBD medications–I am not “chronically ill” anymore. My husband has a pacemaker/defibrillator and has taken responsibility for his health and lost a lot of weight. We moved into our dream house and I even bought my dream furniture.

I was making a comeback with my fitness, going to Burn Boot Camp and Barre3 classes and I volunteered as the organizer for a local moms fitness group–I was transparent about my ostomy. I was living my truth. I felt brave. I felt bold. I felt powerful. I felt beautiful. I felt like I was going to crush my goals.

And then my dad died.

And after everything I’ve been through–what I’ve overcome–and the fact that he wasn’t even a very good dad, you wouldn’t expect *that* to be the “straw that broke the camel’s back”.

But it was. I have been depressed and anxious. I can’t focus. I can’t think straight. I’m constantly waiting for the next shoe to drop.

I feel alienated from people. Lonely. Broken.

I’m angry because I fought SO. HARD. through the rock-bottom pit of hell that was 2017…

I had just started to feel safe. I wasn’t obsessing over the past or worrying about the future. I was living. I was embracing life. I was open to possibilities. I was all *positive vibes*.

But now I’m struggling again.

Dealing with my parents’ estate is torture. They were smart–everything was deeded to the trust. Every property, vehicle, trailer and boat. Nothing going to probate. Take heed and for all my IF friends who are parents now, make a will and/or trust so your spouse and kid(s) are not screwed when you die.

But my sister and I have never gotten along and now we are co-trustees and must divide everything in half. Meanwhile, there are 20-something properties that need to be managed and bills that need to be paid. And we have to fix up and sell “the big house” (our family home) to settle debts so we can dissolve the trust. It’s daily stress. It’s a daily reminder that both my parents are dead and that I am going to die. And BG is not tolerant of me being on my phone talking or texting, etc. She relentlessly pesters me and then has meltdowns when I snap at her. I can barely force myself to think about or do any of the drudgery associated with the estate, and with BG agitating me I feel like I might lose my mind. I need to put her in preschool and I have her enrolled in one but it doesn’t start until the fall. And I do not even have the stomach to vet preschools right now. I am looking at summer camps but that’s a week here-and-there. Oh and I dread having to take BG back to the midwest with me *without Mr. MLACS* to deal with this estate BS. F*ing nightmare. That is a 12hr car ride easch way, which I cannot do alone so I’ll have to split into 2 says–that is 4 days of travel. Just shoot me.

But I’m rich now. So there’s that. Not a “one percent-er” or filthy rich–like mansion/servants, car and driver, private plane and NY fashion week rich. But like, I will have a monthly income from my trust and it is legacy wealth that I can pass on to BG.

I’d give it all to have my Mom back though.

To have both my parents back, because our family was functionally-dysfunctional until my Mom got sick, which brought out the worst in my dad.

I’d give anything to be one big happy family.

I want peace in my life again. I want to feel like everything is going to be ok.

I am doing EFT tapping and trying to take care of myself, even though I don’t feel like showering or brushing my teeth or going to yoga or doing laundry or vacuming or anything. I’m sort of dead inside–dormant is a better word–I was starting to blossom but now I am dormant like a bulb in the winter. And I hate it.

So I am trying to claw my way out of this depression. I’m weak. I’m scared. I’m vulnerable. I’m confused. I’m frustrated. I’m emotionally drained. I’m distraught. I’m burdened. I’m defensive. I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m apathetic. I’m literally tied in knots and seeing a new chiropractor to try to unclench and untwist my poor body.

But I haven’t given up hope yet. And I’m trying to get better.

XOXO,

MLACS

 

Blunted. Muted. Faded. (Adrenal Fatigue after Prolonged Corticosteroid Use)

Terms which describe how I feel right now. I’m exhausted. I have alot of aches and pains in my muscles and joints. I’m cold all the time, and when I’m cold I can hardly move–it feels like a chore to get up from a chair and go to the next room. I’ve gained weight even though I’ve been eating healthier…

This is Adrenal Fatigue.

Post-surgery and a deadly fight with chronic illness. When does it get better and STAY better? Because I felt fabulous right after surgery…but then weaning off the Prednisone and pain medications revealed that my body is in rough shape and in no way back to “normal”.

It’s good that I’m off the Prednisone–my face has shrunk and I recognize myself in the mirror. My body now has a chance to recover from the damage the Pred did. But how f*cking long will it take to heal???

I’m tired of feeling like sh*t.

And I’m trying to help myself. Been eating more whole foods, way less sugar/processed foods, even though I crave sugar because *adrenal fatigue*.

I started going to the gym again, taking barre and power yoga and lifting weights. I only manage a couple days a week though, so I haven’t seen much results. I’m sore.

I started taking CW (charlotte’s web) brand CBD oil (cannabinoid oil) and it has helped me to feel somewhat better–it successfully weaned me off pain killers, as I was dependent on Hydrocodone (small amount, half of a 5-325 daily). And thank goodness because I have no way to obtain more pain meds at this time. Nor do I want to.

While I like feeling calm and not angry all the time (‘roid rage from presnisone), I miss having energy. I miss having intensity. I feel so lame now.

I read that it could take 12-18 months to recover from “moderate” adrenal fatigue. I really don’t have the patience to feel like crap for another year. I have an almost 3yr old to chase after. I have a house I still need to finish moving into and organize. I have a garage that is full of stuff that I need to declutter (sell/get rid of A LOT). I want to get in shape and look/feel amazing–I also have my 20th highschool reunion coming up in August. We might be moving again (Mr. MLACS is looking for a new position). And if I’m going to TTC, I have to do it soon because I’m 38yrs old already! Plus I want to do more with my life…

I don’t want to just feel ok, I want to feel *good* again. Soon.

XOXO,

MLACS

Coping Mechanisms

I tested negative at 12dpo on a FRER.

I called Dr. Angel’s office and he returned my call and sounded truly disappointed and surprised that the IUI didn’t work this time, he just kept saying “everything looked really good”. I tried not to unleash my full crazy on him, but did throw out several conspiracy theories, “maybe my testosterone is high and I need metformin”, “maybe I need to ovulate sooner, since I didn’t ovulate until CD17, perhaps I need to ovulate closer to CD14”, “maybe my eggs are all bad”, “maybe there is something genetically flawed about my eggs or Mr. MLACS’s sperm”, “maybe it’s the Remicade, since it mediates NK cells and implantation requires NK cell activity, maybe my NK cells are overly suppressed and I need to get off the Remicade”, or conversely, “maybe my immune system is still too active and preventing pregnancy”. I told him “I just wish I knew why”, and “maybe I’m one of those people who won’t get pregnant and it’ll take years to figure out what is wrong”. I know my voice didn’t sound panicked but ordinary people who are not losing their minds do not have these sorts of schizo conversations with their OBGYN after one failed IUI. I am truly special. Dr. Angel ordered a blood draw to check testosterone, progesterone, and quantitative HCG–yes, he went ahead and ordered the beta today at 12dpo because he, like me, feels that the FRER’s are pretty damn accurate.

I cried on and off all day. I felt alone (and I was). And I felt broken (I am). I just couldn’t find comfort in anything or anyone. I had an opportunity to go decorate a Christmas tree with my sister and her daycare kids, but I had to say no. Instead I went to Quest to have my blood drawn and argued with the phlebotomist because she said “now this doesn’t say STAT, so it’s not STAT” (very redundantly) to which I replied “well it oughtta say STAT because it’s a beta and I’ve never heard of a beta not being STAT” (sounding indignant) and then I proceeded to call Dr. Angel’s office to push my agenda, but it was a futile attempt because they were out to lunch. The phlebotomist got a little snippy and said “I used to do a lot of these and they were never STAT” to which I replied “well I’m used to working with RE’s, and they want things STAT” (like, lady, there’s one fledgling RE’s office in this damn town so I wouldn’t expect you to know) and she STFU. I looked and noticed that she had 2 viles for the blood and upon confirming that she only needed two I gave her my left arm because it’s slower–I’ve had so much mf*ing blood drawn that I have a system–2 viles or less you get the left arm, 3 or more the right arm, and I prefer IV’s in my hand. I had one of those “is this really my f*ing life? when did this become ‘normal’?” moments as I sat there watching my blood trickle into the viles, completely oblivious of the phlebotomist.

There was a lady who came in to the Quest office after me, a very frail lady with a hunchback and a walker–I opened the door for her and sat back down. She said out loud, “oh I can’t see this sheet to sign it (referring to the sign-in sheet)” so I jumped back up and grabbed a pen, and before I could ask she said her name was Bernadine. I thought, what a pretty antique name…and I loved her accent–she had a southern drawl–and she said “thank you honey”, and my heart felt a little warmer. I just adore sweet little old ladies. As I was leaving the Quest office I noticed a man on a cell phone standing over Ms. Bernadine, and as I’ve worked in several Dr.’s offices I assumed he must be her transportation. I walked outside and saw a van with the name of a retirement home on it, and my heart sank…does this sweet old woman have no one to care for her? Is she all alone in the world? I wanted to run back in the Quest office and scoop her up and take her with me. I was saddened. The point of this story about my brief encounter with Ms. Bernadine is to give you an idea as to my frame of mind…I looked around at gray skies and snow covered straw-like grass…and I got in my car with nowhere to go and no one to see…and the world seemed like a very cold place. I unceremoniously removed the gauze from my arm and stuck it in my console on top of the gauze from last time.

“What am I going to do with myself now?” I thought. First things first, there was a Starbucks right next to the lab and I always reward and self-soothe with Starbucks, so that was a no-brainer. There was a serious line at the drive-through because it was lunch time so I had a few minutes to ponder my next move. I have a list of things to do around our house but maybe I should try to cheer myself up. I find meandering around Barnes and Nobles to be my most favorite form of therapy, and I thought “maybe a book will distract me from obsessively trolling IF/RPL blogs and lamenting my failed IUI”. Mr. MLACS called while I was in line and he encouraged me to go, so I robotically drove myself to the mall.

Of course I cried on the way to the mall.

I walked in to Barnes and Nobles hoping that I didn’t look like I’d been crying, and could hardly manage a whisper to thank the person who opened the door for me. I wanted to be invisible. I took inventory of the place as I walked in, but my coffee was “kicking in” (and my enema and my milk-o-magnesia…constipated much?) and I had to run to the bathroom. It figures that I would be having a bad day and then be forced to take an epic dump in a public restroom. I cried silently on the toilet, but emerged from the stall feeling like a burden had been lifted (literally). The first book I noticed as I walked by the “New Age” section was by the Long Island Medium lady, Theresa Caputo…not sure that was a coincidence because I’m dying to meet her and get a message from my dear departed mother, but I kept walking.

And now it’s time for a confession: I like to read cheesy Christmas paperback books. You know the ones. They have titles like “A Christmas Miracle” or “The Gift of Hope”. My eye was caught by a Debbie Macomber book (that I hadn’t read) called “Angels at the Table”. Will Lucie Farrara and Aren Fairchild reunite after their chance meeting in Times Square last year on New Year’s Eve??? My educated guess is: Yes. But I’m going to read it anyways.

Then I began circling the “Books Worth Reading” display. And they were all worthy books–Pulitzer prize winners and such. But most of them were too ‘heavy’ for me or I just didn’t like the author’s picture on the back of their book…I discriminate based on this, because if the story is about a little girl’s family torn apart during the Holocaust, then I don’t want to see a picture of some yuppy-looking beatnik dude smirking at me on the back cover. It just ruins the credibility of the story for me, and it seems fame-whorish for authors to put their damn pictures on their books. Unless it’s a biography. Nonetheless, I spent at least an hour reading excerpts from books on this display. I finally settled on one called “Gifted Hands”, about a Neurosurgeon named Ben Carson who spent his childhood as a black youth in inner-city Detroit but ascended to become the director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. Now this, I give a sh*t about.

I went to the ‘Clearance’ section and kept picking up books with storylines that the mother is dying of cancer. WTF. I just can’t…I can hardly read books about mothers let alone mothers dying of cancer (as my Mom did) and I’m thinking “I probably need therapy”. And then I thought…”I’ll have to tell my infertile friends that (according to these books) being a mother is now synonymous with dying of cancer so maybe if we remain childless we’ll spare ourselves death by cancer, ha ha ha”. It sounded much funnier at the time. Obviously it’s not funny in print. Sorry.

I gave up and got in line. While in line I had the presence of mind to pick up a gift card for my MIL. I would say that Barnes and Nobles did not disappoint me today–I left feeling atoned.

I cried as I left the mall parking lot.

My brain felt fuzzy as I tried to figure out the next best use of my time…I just kept driving toward my house…and all of a sudden when I was one street away from my house I decided that I MUST go to Walmart to get the sh*t to make all the Christmas goodies that I’ve promised Mr. MLACS and to complete my vision of handing them out in cute little containers to Dr. Angel and other vital people in my life. I made a U turn. I know it’s ‘cheating’ but I parked by the Walmart garden center because it’s SO much easier to check out there as opposed to the regular lines and you don’t have to feel guilty about not donating to the Salvation Army bell ringer (there are none stationed at the garden center doors)–I should not be sharing this information with you because not many people know about this trick, but you’re welcome.

I proceeded to buy $120 worth of various forms of sugar and Christmas wrappings. Very therapeutic. For Christmas this year, e’rybody gets diabetes.

I cried on the way home from Walmart…FML

XOXO