Sunday, August 10, 2014

Roller coasters , Reality, and Revelations...

One thing that you may or may not know about me...depending on how well you know me or how many of my posts you've that when life starts throwing too many things at me, good or bad, I get really overwhelmed.  Like...shut myself in my room, curl up in a ball, ignore everyone...overwhelmed.  Usually only for maybe a matter of hours...but still.  My life is already a roller coaster ride....I've started to hate roller coasters.  The last week and a half a few loops were added to it. Something good would happen...something would go wrong.  This was seriously my what the Hell pattern for about a week and a half.  Some really big things....some normal everyday things...some little things...but all combined together in this short amount of time? Not so good for me.  I've been thrown into the position of "take care of everything person." To be honest, I like having control, but I HATE this. The man I married is still here.. Yes he is very sick, physically and mentally he is older than his actual age, his memory is bad, he can't drive or work anymore. He has days he's completely out of it  and sleeps for hours and hours. I can't trust leaving our 10 yr old home alone with him for long periods of time.  But...he is still here and he can still function.  There are still things he can do...and I really get no help from him whatsoever.  I haven't worn my wedding ring in a couple of months. It doesn't feel like anything is missing. I don't even feel like I'm married, and it's not fair.

So about a week and a half ago....and I'll try to sum it all up the best I can, because honestly I could probably write a book about everything that happened in this short amount of time... Our oldest son was contacted on FB by his older half sister whom he's never met.  The last time he saw his "mother", was when he was 2.  He has two older half siblings and two younger (that I know of) that he has never met. He has known about them, but none have tried to contact him until now.  He's 19, so it's his choice, and I think it's completely freaked him out. He's not sure how to feel about all of this, and I'm sitting on the sidelines not knowing how to feel about all this either.  I spent years being overprotective of him....maybe too overprotective and now I have to stand back and let him make this decision on his own.  I have to be honest this really sucks.  I hate it.  I didn't want this day to happen.

A couple of days later, I was finally offered a career position at work.  This is a good thing...a very good thing.  Like the best thing that has happened for me in a really long time.  I now have really good benefits and peace of mind, and it is a huge relief...huge.  The only downside, I don't have control of the hours I'm scheduled...don't care, that, I can deal with.

Just a few short hours and maybe 3 hours of sleep after I got this fantastic news, Todd and I got in THE worst argument we've ever had...ever.  Starting an argument with me when I'm tired is a very bad thing.  You're not going to win, and you may get locked out of the house and told to leave in a not very nice way.  All I can say is this, it involved the car and driving, and  I was called a name no woman should ever be called.  In the end...I got the key to to car back that he has been hiding from me, he was allowed back in the house, and I will never...ever put that wedding ring back on my finger again.  He told me I took his manhood away.... No...I was not the alcoholic.  This is where we learn to take responsibility for our actions.  Two hours later, I lost myself in some really loud music at a music festival with two of my kids, and it ended up being a good day.

In the next few days we ended up at the emergency room, because even though I don't want to be married to this man anymore, I am still his caregiver.  Pneumonia again...because he can't quit smoking...add this to our routine.  I also celebrated my birthday, part of the day with my kids part of the day alone.... Good day.

So these were all the big things.  There was one other thing that I'm not talking only concerns me...but combined with everyday life and a lot of little things...I shut down. Two nights ago I walked into my room, shut the door, curled up in a ball on my bed and cried....sobbed actually for at least three hours.  I don't remember the last time I cried that hard, it's been years, and I needed it.  One Xanax and 15 hours of sleep later, I woke up looking like Hell, but I got up and put my big girl pants on, because all of this is reality.  Whether Todd is here or not, I'm still going to be the one dealing with everything.  This is life right now...and I say this all the time...I either deal with it or I don't.  So....I deal and life goes on.

This morning I had a dream, and I rarely remember my dreams, but I definitely believe they have deeper meanings to them.  Basically my dream was this... It was me and three of my kids...Todd and our oldest son were not there.  We were on a flat raft in the middle of these massive rapids.  Waves and waterfalls all around us. We had to stay on this raft , every time we fell off we had to start over from the beginning.  Try after try...fall after fall...starting over, again and again, until finally we made it to a wall...or a cliff.  I don't really know what it was, I just know I had to climb it.  I got to the top and laid down and closed my eyes...I remember just feeling absolute relief.   When I opened them, I looked out at a beautful white beach with calm blue water.  No waves, just still...calm...peaceful...water.  Right before I woke up I heard my kids laughing and playing and saying, "Mom, we need to stay here for awhile." And me saying, "Yea, that's a really good idea."  I woke up feeling pretty good about things.  Interpret it how you want.. But I can sum it up in one word... Survivor...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Just Trying to Keep On....Keepin' On

So after spending four hours on a post that I couldn't make work....walking away for a couple of hours...and deleting it...I'm going to attempt something completely different.  It was a fluff post anyway, avoiding what I need to get out of my head.  I haven't even looked at my blog since my last post.  I've been dealing with a lot of frustrations. Todd's last doctors appointment was...frustrating.  I got absolutely no answers...a shrug of the shoulders...a I don't know why he is sicker than his liver is...a I don't know what to tell you, this is long term...and the doctor leaving the room quickly when me staring at the ceiling wasn't enough to stop the tears anymore.  I'm so sick of crying about unbelievably sick of it.  When the physicians assistant came back in the room... Todd asked him when exactly it would be ok to drive.  The PA looked at me, like he couldn't believe what he heard....I looked away.   He then looked at Todd and said, " can not should not be driving...ever."  He's come back mostly from that last episode....who knows what it was...not me, that's for damn sure. Although, his appetite is worse, he's lost almost 60 pounds and his memory is getting worse.  The problem....yea he still wants to drive. for the last 2 weeks, we have argued about him driving. I am so over having this argument.  He doesn't understand his illness at all. He told me today that his illness affecting his thinking, (which he doesn't believe that it does) has nothing to do with him driving.  That doesn't even make any all.  It has everything to do with it. I've always been a very laid back, easy going...patient person. I've never in my life had anyone push my buttons like he does. I hate it....I absolutely hate the level of angry he takes me to. I'm totally going to the very least, I'm waiting for Karma to kick my ass, for the awful things I've said in the last few weeks.  Why must he choose to have this argument when I'm half asleep? And why....seriously...can't I just walk away?  I missed my family reunion.....I MISSED my family reunion.  Upset doesn't cover it.  I needed that week away.  I can't even talk about, and I don't want to hear how fun it was.  I mean I'm glad everybody had a good time.....I just don't want to see or know what I missed.  Work wise I'm holding my breath....I am closer to a position at work that I've been hoping and waiting for, for 9 years.  I am so close... I need this, and I'm so afraid I'm sabotaging myself with how angry I've been. I'm really kind of having a stomp my foot....this is so freaking not fair kind of a month.  I'm trying so hard.....I'm not even going to talk about the fact that my 19 year old is sleeping on my couch....I can't even go there. Deep breath.... So yesterday I got up, lied to my husband (yea I know) after our daily argument and took the kids to a lake 2 hours away. I needed desperately to clear my head. It was good to just get away for a few hours.  I'm trying so hard to take care of everything...bills are getting overwhelming...prescriptions are getting more expensive, because his insurance is covering less and less each month.  I'm so off balance...and desperately need to feel centered again.   I guess that's where I'm headed with this post.... It's time to pay attention to myself again.  I've got to get back to where I was last summer before I self destruct, I think I finally hit bottom. I was able to have a few hours to really clear my head and I'm ready to get back to me, to take care of myself. To work on walking away before that anger takes over....because it just isn't me. I guess I could say I took a detour that turned into a dead end on my journey....time to turn around get back to the path I was on and get back to doing what I know works....

Friday, June 13, 2014

Getting Used To A New Normal....Possibly

I was wrong, Todd won't tell me I'm crazy when his mind is more clear, and I tell him how this week has been.  It's been at least nine days and he is still sleepy and varying in degrees of confusion.  Sometimes it's not too bad other times it's just awful.  He hasn't been what I'm used to as his "normal" for over a week.  I start to question what could be wrong, because the last time we saw his doctor he said he was probably more sick from his diabetes than his liver right now. I don't have a way to check his blood sugar, because he never really did it himself and his supplies are old.  I feel so stupid to even admit that. He's never really cared, and I refused to treat him like a child. After consulting a couple of people who have seen him in the past week, I decide to take him to the hospital. I'm really starting to hate hospitals. I won't take him again. Everyone is nice of course, and helpful. That's not the reason I hate these places. The guy taking his vitals and putting his info into the computer asks him why he is there. Todd says, "Because my wife hates me." He asks him a few more questions and can tell Todd is not quite with it mentally. I usually have given a big explanation at this point. I'm too tired, I haven't said a word.  The guy looks at me and says, "So who are you?"  I say, "I'm the wife."  "Ahhhh," he says, "I was wondering."  Then he gives me the sympathetic smile I get from everyone. As Todd is being wheeled back to the room, I notice out of the corner of my eye, a man watching us. I don't know if he is a doctor or nurse what his job is. I look at him, he keeps watching me.  I have no idea why I noticed this or why it bothers me.  We finally get to the room and the doctor comes in. He's very young  and I suddenly feel very old.  They start drawing blood, he complains about his chest hurting, so they do an EKG.  I spend the next two hours telling Todd every so often that no, he can't go outside to smoke. He is convinced his nurse told him he could. He puts the monitor that goes on his finger to measure his oxygen levels on his middle finger and flips me off.  He laughs because he thinks he's funny and then falls asleep for a few more minutes. I close my eyes and wait.

After two hours, the doctor comes back in and gives me the results. His ammonia levels are normal. When the liver isn't doing it's job it can't filter the toxins out of the body, ammonia builds up in the brain, which can cause confusion.  The medication he is taking is keeping his ammonia levels normal.  This isn't the reason for his confusion. His blood sugar was also in the normal range.  There actually is no reason for the decline other than it being a progression of the cirrhosis. That's what this doctor thinks anyway. "So," I say, "should I expect this to be his new normal?"  The doctor says it's hard to tell but, it's very possible. It's getting harder to care for him. He starts making suggestions for the future as Todd gets worse. When they discharge him, the nurse hands me information about cirrhosis. I suddenly feel like a complete idiot.  Do they think I don't know what's going on? I just want to get out of there. I know more about this shitty disease than I ever wanted to, and I can't believe I didn't think this was part of it. I feel stupid. Of course his disease is progressing. I didn't expect it to happen that fast. He changed overnight....literally, and I hate using the word literally.  He decides he can walk out of the ER instead of using a wheelchair, it takes what feels like forever. I have a couple of people tell me good luck with everything....and I get more sympathetic smiles. I don't want to look at anyone, I know what they are thinking.  The same man who watched me on the way in, watches me on the way out. I have the sudden urge to turn and yell, "WHAT?!?" I don't. Instead, I look straight ahead, concentrating on the exit, telling myself not to cry over and over and over. Today is no different than yesterday or the day before. I'm kind of in a "what the hell am I supposed to do now" state of mind. I can't take much more time off of work. I can't afford to.  If this is our new normal I need to figure out how to adjust better.

My husband is only 45 years old, and I'm losing him a little more each month. Our nine year old just asked his dad what's wrong with him.  He doesn't understand why his dad is saying the crazy things he's saying.  Is he going to wake up one day and not know who I am? What about our kids? The thought of it breaks my heart.  I don't really want to know the answer. It's too much to think about. How long will he be like this before he gets worse?  We just finished fighting over him wanting to drive the car to the store...he can't even think straight. I have to threaten that I will call the police if he gets in the car.  He hid the damn key and I have no idea where it is. I'm just praying he doesn't remember where it is either. My feelings of hating him and caring about him are constantly  fighting with each other.  I feel sorry for him. I hate him for doing this to our family. I hurt for our kids who will lose their father to soon in life. I hurt for them because I know how it feels. Todd won't be able to tell me I'm crazy, because he may never be clear headed enough again for me to explain it to him. I just don't know. My patience is being tested much too often, and I'm kind of failing miserably in that department. He has an appointment with his doctor next week. I need realistic answers. I need to know my options.  I don't want to think about any of it, but I need to get a grasp on this new reality, before I lose my mind.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

How Am I Supposed To Get Through This?

It's after midnight, and I'm home from work for the second night in a row. I somehow didn't think about the fact that my teenagers were going to be gone Friday night and I had no idea when they would be home Saturday.  I couldn't leave my nine year old home alone with his dad.  This week is a bad week mentally for Todd, he has had only one "normal" (staying in bed for at least 8 hours) night sleep.  The rest of the week he has taken naps here and there, but most of his time has been spent in the garage.  It's just after midnight and I finally got Todd upstairs after being in the garage all day.  He's having a lot of problems with his memory this week. Five minutes after getting him up the stairs, he tells me he hasn't been downstairs to smoke yet. "What do you mean? You just came upstairs!"  "No" he says, "I haven't been down there for awhile." He turns around and goes right back down the stairs...I want to cry. This is the second time we've gone through this pattern this week. I am crying as I write this. I don't want to do this anymore, it's too hard. I hate it. I won't be at work again tomorrow, because I know tomorrow is going to be worse than today. I've already been through this once this week. I'm tired...mentally tired. My paycheck is going to be crap. I can't go to my family reunion this year, and I'm so unbelievably angry about it. He's ruined every reunion for me. Yes, I do blame him. He's sick because of choices he made, and I'm tired of taking care of him. I'm thinking about talking to my doctor about medication for depression. I don't know that I'm depressed so much, as I'm just sick of everything and I've had enough. How am I supposed to get through this, when I've had enough? Don't advise me to pray. I pray all the time. Maybe I'm praying for the wrong things. I just want to go a day without feeling like I want to run away.  I looked up support groups on the internet for caregivers of people with cirrhosis. The first entry I read, made me cry. The woman described what she goes through with her husband. She was describing my life. She said she often has times she says she's done and tells him she's leaving. I've been there too. This disease more than sucks. I'm tired of arguing with him about stupid things like him wanting me to take him to the store at 10:00 at night, because he doesn't realize what time of day it is, or driving, or something he can't find. I'm sure if I were to ask him right this moment what day it is, he would not be able to tell me.

The only way I can describe it is this... It's like dealing with a person who has been drinking...except 24/7.  Which is awesome considering I put up with him being an alcoholic for years.  Sometimes he acts 2 beers drunk, sometimes it's like he's so drunk he is blacking out. All day....everyday varying degrees of this.  He'll tell me I'm crazy if I try to tell him what this week has been like when his mind is a little more clear....because it will be. Watching someone get drunk will never be funny to me....its a good way to escape reality? Give me a fucking break. I actually find it sickening. I'm writing all this in a notebook, because I don't want to turn on my computer. It's now after 1:00am, I have to go downstairs and try to convince him again that it's time to come upstairs to go to sleep. He'll probably end up sleeping in his chair in the garage. I can't argue with him and I can't carry an almost 300 pound man up the stairs. So, one more attempt, either way I'm going to bed. I don't know what else to do. He's driving me insane. I'm feeling a tiny bit better now that I've gotten that out. I'm still tired. I still don't know how I'm supposed to get through keep keep going. I can't just walk away, even though I wish so many days that I could. I continue on day by day, minute by minute, reminding myself to just breathe, because even though I don't know how I'm supposed to get through this, I know I will.  The only alternative is for me not to, and that really isn't an option....too many people depend on me.

It's 8:30am, his side of the bed is exactly the way it was when I fell asleep. He stayed up all night. My  nine year old comes in and lays next to me. He's showing me his latest video he made of himself playing with his trains. I'm smiling, but not really paying attention. I walk downstairs to the garage. Todd is sitting in his chair, the door is open, and he's awake for right now. He looks at me, I close the door without saying a word, and walk back upstairs. I'm not in the mood to argue with him. His wounds are getting worse. They have spread from his ankles, to his feet, to his toes. It is getting harder for him to walk. He still won't monitor his blood sugar, or eat right, or quit smoking. I don't know how he will escape amputation. I have a feeling, it's coming, but I can't predict the future. My house is all stairs, I can't even fit a wheelchair through any of the doors. I'm forced to think about the "what if's" on a daily basis. This week has been too much for me. I'm going to miss my family reunion...I really needed that time away. I hate this house, some days it feels like a prison. I know people are going to ask what they can do for me. Nothing....there really is nothing. I close my eyes, I take a deep breath and tell myself it's time to face the day.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Everything Is My Fault....It's Always My Fault

I don't think I've even turned my computer on since my last post.  I haven't wanted to.  I haven't wanted to be anywhere near it.  Todd is wearing me out, and I'm just trying to do anything and everything to keep myself sane.  It seems like it's all an uphill battle. Despite having two of his doctors warn him about driving, we still have arguments over it.  He had an appointment to see his doctor he sees for his liver yesterday.  When we were sitting in the office with the Physicians Assistant and talking to him I mentioned that Todd needed "the driving" talk again. Todd tried to convince him he was an excellent driver and he knew when he wasn't ok to drive.... The PA and the doctor told him he didn't, and he shouldn't be driving.  "But, SHE won't take me anywhere"...Yea because I do nothing for him (rolling my eyes)..... I sat there with my mouth shut, and a tight forced not even a on my face, while the PA kept looking at me giving me the "I'm so sorry you have to deal with this" look and the doctor suggested relationship therapy, because this is an obvious strain on our "relationship".....LAUGH OUT LOUD! Ya think? I'm not sure what our relationship really is though. The only thing I feel like I even am anymore, is caregiver....that's it. Every..Single... appointment we are in he has to joke or not joke because only I know he really thinks it, that it's my fault for something....anything.  And I get the same look from every person in every office we are in....the same I got yesterday....with the half reassuring smile.. the "I'm so sorry you have to deal with this"..look.   I hate it.... I HATE IT!  Yesterday when the PA left the office before the Doctor came in, Todd sat there angry...saying.. "You would love that wouldn't you? You would love for them to take my license away..." On and on he went....and I got up, told him to find his own way home and walked out of the office..... Ok I didn't actually do that, instead, I looked at him, and in a very low voice I said...."Look I'm sorry you don't like what they are telling you, I'm sorry you are going through all of this, but none of this is MY fault....YOU were the alcoholic and destroyed your life....not with it."  And I didn't say another word to him for hours....because at that moment, I hated him....  I'll admit most of the time I joke around with him during his appointments, just to cover up how much he is pissing me off.  You could kind of compare us to the "the honeymooners"  if anyone can remember that show.  It's really not that funny....and I find myself screaming in my head.... "Just shut the hell up!"  Is he ever going to monitor his diabetes....NOPE!  He lives on ice cream, and pop tarts and cereal.  But....that's my fault too.  News Flash.... I AM NOT YOUR MOTHER!  Is he ever going to quit smoking?  NOPE.... my fault.. I stress him out too much...  I stress HIM out??!! I told him two days before our daughters last orchestra concert of the year, that he needed to get plenty of rest so he could be there....Did he?  NO.  He wants to go shopping constantly but going to watch his daughter play the violin....that's too hard.  He instead did exactly opposite of what I asked him and he was too out of it, too sick, too asleep to go.  I had friends, and family and complete strangers view a video I posted and like it.  Todd still hasn't watched what I recorded for him.  Being mom and having to make up for what dad doesn't want to! Now maybe you know why I can't stand winter and as soon as it's warm enough I live outdoors.  I learned a long time ago I needed to find things to keep me sane.  I don't want to be angry and miserable all the time.  I have a good cry,  I write a blog post.....sorry I really needed to get the angry out today....and that's all I'm doing just getting the anger out......and life goes on.  I have a lot of things I do for myself, I have a lot of ways I try and keep myself balanced, because Todd is always going to be there pushing my buttons, and as his disease progresses, it's only going to get worse.  I have to remind myself that this is why I started my blog, to keep track of all of this, to have a way to vent, to keep track of what I'm doing to keep myself sane, and to remind myself that despite everything I'm still doing ok. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

If You Need Me.....I'll Be In My Garden...

It's that season I love the most....Spring!  Winter is finally over, thank
goodness, and I can finally get out and do what I love most, gardening, and just being outdoors.  OK, I'm not a master gardener, and quite honestly if you were to walk around my flower garden I couldn't tell you
half of what I have planted, however,  I like  that I can make things grow.  Is that weird?   This is a huge stress reliever for me, and it is incredibly relaxing.  So when I've worked through the winter blahs and I'm tired of being indoors and it's warmed up outside enough for me to
want to spend hours out there, I
head to one of the many garden centers around me and I start buying things to plant.  I love bright colors, so I usually choose any flowers I can find in red, yellow, orange, blue,  with a little white thrown in here and there.  I have no plan when it comes to planting,  I dig a hole and put a
flower in it.  I'm not a designer, I'm not that creative.  Mostly I just like watching things grow.  Proof in me
not be a master gardener would be
the fact that I clearly have done something wrong this year with my vegetable garden and the seeds that I planted about a month ago, well......I'll be starting over again
next week with that project.  I can grow a good tomato, but that doesn't
mean I really know what I'm doing half the time.  I need sunshine and I need to be able to walk around barefoot....  I need to live where it's warm year round.  That will probably never happen, but who
knows, life has thrown me some pretty crazy curve balls, you just never
know.  In the mean time I'm just enjoying the beautiful weather we are having, working in my gardens, spending time down at the pond near our house, watching the ducks and geese and whatever else shows
up.  I've been taking lots of pictures, sunsets have become my favorite.
  Everything is so new again  in Spring and it's hard not to smile seeing everything coming alive all around me. I absolutely love it.   So, if you need me, I'll be in my garden, or down at the pond, or taking a long drive, relieving a little stress,
soaking up some sunshine and enjoying the world around me. 

Monday, April 7, 2014


Not gonna lie, I've been in a little bit of a funk.  On the outside I have been acting like I'm fine and life is normal and everything is hunky dory.  On the inside I am.....tired.  I'm going through the motions, I'm trying to do things for myself to help me feel better, I'm....spending money I shouldn't be spending.  Not like I've been on this huge spending spree....I don't really like to shop.  I just don't normally spend money on myself and I hate feeling guilty about it.  It hasn't really helped anyway.  What I need to do is vent a little, because I've been holding it in and I feel like it's been toxic for me... So warning....this isn't the happiest of posts, I just need to complain a little bit...

I'm tired.... Physically, mentally....emotionally. 
I'm tired of being the strong one because I really fake it most of the time I don't feel that strong.
I'm tired of feeling a little bit trapped because of circumstances that are out of my control
I'm tired of having to take care of everything
I'm tired of having my husband be more like one of my children than my husband
I'm tired of feeling like we sleep with a wall between us....Ok we sleep with an actual wall of pillows between us, my side of the bed seems to keep getting smaller. 
I'm tired of my husband thinking I'm not capable of doing things.....some of this is in my head, but I swear if he tells me how to drive one more time I'm going to completely lose it.....that's not true I've already completely lost it with him on more than one occasion. 
I'm tired of being the bad guy and feeling like I have to treat him like a child.  The last time he saw his doctor for his liver, the doctor asked if he (Todd) was still driving.  He then proceeded to give him a lecture without me having to say a word to him about everything Todd and I had been arguing about for months now, when it comes to driving.  He then ended it by saying... "Don't make me take your license away because of medical need to listen to your wife."  I sat there....jaw dropped, because it was like he read my mind.  He is still ok to drive once in a while, but he needs to listen when I say No.   Let me tell you what a blessing it is to know the doctor is in my corner.....and how much it sucks all at the same time. 
I'm tired of doctors appointments
I'm tired of medical bills
I'm tired of being at the pharmacy every other week.
I'm tired of his family being a bunch of assholes (sorry trying to stop swearing can't help it when it comes to them). 
I'm tired of having every responsibility in the house thrown on me even though my husband is still here.
I'm tired of working nights....really, really tired of working nights.  And I hate that I have the opportunity to switch to a day shift....and I can't, because although I'm ok leaving Todd home alone some days, I can't do it every day.  No....there is no way around this one. 
I'm tired of the unknown
I'm tired of having an adult son who cares more about himself than his family....I'm tired of blaming myself for this.
I'm tired of this school year and I really can't wait until summer....6 more weeks...I think..
I'm tired of only being able to sleep 4 hours...having to wake up to take kids to school and then hoping I can fall back to sleep for a few more hours. 
I'm tired of my house being a complete disaster and having zero motivation to do anything about it.
I'm tired of putting more responsibility on my kids when I'm at work than they deserve.
I'm tired....really tired of people who think their actions and what they do, don't affect anyone but themselves.  Get over yourselves....what you do affects EVERYONE around you.  My husbands alcoholism wasn't just his affected all of still does and now I get to take care of everything because of it.  
I'm tired of being a caregiver... I am not good at this....some days I don't want to do this anymore....some days I hate. 
And finally....I'm tired of this stupid disease.....Cirrhosis....and everything that comes with it. 

And now that I've gotten that all out.....I'm tired of feeling sorry for myself, because the reality is, even though this is hard, and I have some tough days, I'm thankful for what I'm learning.  I'm thankful for what I've been able to accomplish.  I'm thankful for strength and growth and learning who I am. And, I'm thankful for knowing that holding things in is toxic and it's ok to vent and get it out once in awhile.