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 sucks....it 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 this.....to keep moving.....to 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 smile....smile 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 me.....deal 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 do....sucks! 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

Tired...

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 reasons....you 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 problem....it affected all of us...it 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. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Laughter and Sarcasm

Ahhh....another week....another trip to the ER.  This time with a bonus admit and overnight stay.   So....because the husband has low blood platelets, due to the Cirrhosis.....blah..blah...blah, anytime there is bleeding and it's more than just a little bit, I start questioning what we should do.  Having extremely low blood platelets, means that he could potentially be at risk for bleeding to death.  This time it was too late to call the doctor.  So back and forth in my head it went....Do I take him to the hospital?  Do I wait until tomorrow?  Do I just not worry about it?  We've been through bad bleeding episodes before...I'll spare you the details....you don't want the visual.  This was not on the excessively bad scale, but it was more than a little bit.  I had 30 minutes before I needed to leave for work, so not the greatest timing and I had to make a decision.  Obviously we ended up at the ER....after a rectal exam (sorry, trust me it was worse for him), the ER doctor determined he needed to be admitted, to find the source of the bleeding.  But....there were  no beds left at the hospital....  Have you started to understand yet why I choose to laugh at my life now?  I could easily get pissed off rant and rave, throw a tantrum...this works for no one...get over it.  We've only started the story, hang in there.  Todd was being a little bit ornery....he was in pain,  he wanted something done, he just had a rectal exam, found out that not only were they NOT letting him go home, he was NOT allowed to go out into the parking lot and smoke, and he was getting transported to another hospital.  While he was in the bathroom before being transported, I was talking to the ER Doc,  I didn't have to tell her anything for her to figure out our marriage.  Alcoholic with a history of drug abuse.... She just shook her head and said, "You've seen it all, you've managed to get through it all, you're now having to deal with all this, and you have an unbelievably good attitude, with a smile on your face.  How in the world do you deal with all of this?"  I still don't understand this question from people....I really don't.   Yes my husband was/is an alcoholic...he was never physically abusive, not once has he ever laid a finger on me in anger, not once....maybe that made it easier.  I just looked at her shrugged my shoulders and said, "I just learned how to deal with it, because I had to, it's not really a choice." You either deal or you don't. What good does it do for you or everyone else involved if you don't deal with it?  I could easily curl up in a ball and be pissed off at the world, and be an all around miserable person every day of the week.....disclaimer...trust me I have plenty of days I get angry and pissed off, I don't hold these feelings in. Would you want to be around me if I was like this?  I wouldn't even want to be around myself.   Back to the story...On to hospital #2  which is in Salt Lake City.  It was about a 30 minute drive for me....Todd was in an ambulance....I drove slow and took the long way....Come on, knowing he wasn't in immediate danger....You would too.  I knew it was going to be a long night looking like he was going to have an EGD (a scope down his esophagus) in the morning.  There was no need to rush getting there, and although he never stayed once with me when I was in the hospital having babies, I know how much he hates being there, and how much I needed somebody to stay with me when I was in the hospital all alone.  Yes...I should make him stay there alone....I can't do it, that's not the kind of person I am. By the time I got to the hospital Todd was asleep, thank goodness, I'll be honest he isn't the funnest patient, unless he's cracking jokes.  I settled into the closet sized room that fit his bed and barely fit the chair I was sitting in and spent all night looking at and posting pictures on Instagram.....angelahhamilton if you ever want to follow along....sorry back to the story...again.  About 1 am doctor #1 came in.  He would be  the cute on call doctor that came back to talk to me 3 or 4 different times while Todd was sleeping during the night. No problem, he kept filling me in on what was going on, and then we would just talk for a few minutes.  He was my favorite, he had a great smile and kind eyes.  Further on in the morning came doctor #2 who told me she was waiting on doctor #3 but she felt it wasn't even necessary that I had brought him in and ordered vitamins....yes I said vitamins for him to take.  I can't wait to see the bill and see how much those magic vitamins are going to cost me,  #2 earned her number.  side note...I started numbering the doctors, to 1..keep track...and 2. because I suddenly started feeling like I was in an episode of "House".  One of my favorite shows, however, my husband does not have a mysterious disease that 4 different doctors need to discuss and figure out....Around 1pmish #3 came in and felt an EGD was needed.  2pm #2 came back and had blood drawn to determine what his ammonia levels where....Okay.  By 4:00pm Tuesday afternoon I finally talked to doctor #4 (We'll call him the boss man), who determined, that it was necessary to bring him in and have him admitted, because of his condition and his history....however....he was going to send Todd home with an order to follow up with his doctor to schedule a time for a colonoscopy.  By the time doctor #5 came in to tell us he was being discharged, almost an hour and a half later, and he may need to see a neurologist....I just looked at her and said, "Yea....I'm kind of done with doctors for today...I'll revisit that suggestion in a few weeks." She turned around said...ok...and walked out the door.  I guess she didn't find me very funny...admittedly my patience was pretty much gone by then.  24 hours....2 hospitals...and 6 doctors later, they determined the bleeding was no big deal.  NOW....do you see why I choose to laugh?  I HAVE to.....because this kind of stuff threatens to drive me insane.  Although admittedly I probably passed sane long ago.  Having to be a caregiver to someone who is sick, is not easy, it is not fun, and I have days where walking away from it all seems like a really great choice.   For the person that is sick....well....if it's terminal?  Yea they're dying....you know it sucks for them.   Why do I choose to laugh and be incredibly sarcastic....because if you haven't figured it out yet I totally am?  Not because this stuff is funny, and not because I'm trying to cover up the fact that it is happening.  I bring humor into all of this, because it helps me, it helps my husband and it helps our children to not dwell on what is happening.  Trust me there are enough crappy moments, they don't all need to be crappy.  Finding things to keep us entertained while sitting in a hospital room that looks directly out into a construction area....is a must....I must find things to laugh about.  I tell the nurses thank you and that I appreciate what they are doing every time they walk out of the room with a smile on my face. Believe me when I say I am ok.....I am.  Believe me when I tell you I have days that are definite "Leave me the Hell alone" days.  However, I NEVER want to be that person that everyone feels sorry for.  Do NOT feel sorry for me....don't.  Do NOT feel bad for me....ever.  Ask me how I'm doing every once in a while, but don't make me feel like what I'm doing is all I am.  Yes I carry a lot on my shoulders....yes I need to learn to let some things go, but I don't feel sorry for myself.  I have my coping mechanisms....laughter and sarcasm, and they help me out, just as much as the great friends and family I have that surround me.  It's alright to find something to laugh about today.....really....I promise you will feel so much better. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Finding My Happy Places...

It's been kind of a crazy week.  Sunday night my husband started feeling sick, by Monday morning he was coughing up a little bit of blood.  Now, I know things like this should make me panic, but this is what happens when for 5 1/2 years you've been taking care of somebody and you see the same things over and over.    Although it means there is something wrong, there wasn't a huge amount of blood, so I decided I would just keep an eye on him for the day.  Tuesday....I called his doctor.  They basically said what I was feeling,  It's not a lot, but, because of his history we want him to go get checked out.  So Tuesday we headed to the ER.  After blood was drawn and a chest x-ray done, it was determined that it was probably pneumonia.  He got some antibiotics in an IV and a prescription for me to pick up the next day, and we headed home, fell into bed and got up the next morning to go back to the hospital for his routine ultrasound on his liver....that was already scheduled that I refused to reschedule.  These are results I hate waiting for, so I try not to think about it.  Being high risk for cancer means we just never know.  Today....we were supposed to go back again for his weekly visit to the wound clinic to get bandages changed.....I ended up sleeping in until 10:30....Yep 2 of my kids didn't make it to school today, and we missed his appointment.  Days like this, I say....I obviously needed the sleep.  I know our house at times can get a little stressful.  I know when dad has to go to the hospital, even if I'm not that worried about the reason, our kids still worry.  So if we have a week that may have been a little stressful and a day when the kids sleep in and I sleep in, I take it as a sign that it was a needed mental health day.   When I got out of bed, I walked to my daughters room, told her to get up and get dressed, did the same with my son.....they were both already awake...and we drove down to the park and walked on the path that goes around it a few times.  Not so much for exercise....although it was a good walk....but more because I needed the sunshine.  I needed to soak it all in and recharge my batteries.  Sometimes that's all it takes. 

Life is hard....life is stressful....life is at times overwhelming, not just for me, for everyone.  For a very long time, I allowed myself to be miserable....yes, I allowed myself.  Why?  Well, because for a long time I resigned myself to believing that life sucked....it was never going to get better....I hated everything because it wasn't how I wanted it.  I put on my happy face for the world, never told anyone what I was dealing with, and going through, and pretended that everything was right in my world.  Behind closed doors, I cried a lot and argued with my husband, avoided people as much as possible, and let the stress of life tear me apart....and I. Was. Miserable.  Some may say it was depression....I say no.  For me it was making choices that during that time I regretted and couldn't admit to because I didn't want hear everyone in my life saying, "I told you so."   That was the last thing I wanted or needed to hear. 

One day I woke up and I was sick of listening to myself whine.  I looked at my life and thought it was nothing but drama.....and holy crap there is nothing I hate more than drama.  The last thing I ever want, is for anyone to feel sorry for me.....EVER!  So I started finding my happy places....we all need them.  Even on the days when it feels like nothing is going to make me smile there is always something that makes me smile.   When people see me smiling now, I can tell you it is a genuine smile, because I enjoy making other people smile.  We are going through some crappy, stressful stuff in our family.  Not everyday is a fun day, but it is important for me to stay grounded to find my happy places so I don't lose myself in misery.  Life is going to go on no matter what.  How I choose to live my life, will determine how I get through every day, whether it's a great day.....or a shit day.  I have a lot of happy places....well events or things that can pull me immediately out of a bad place in my head.   Listening to my kids laughing hysterically.  Music....singing, dancing....letting it just take over.   Spring, Sunshine, flowers, working in my garden.   Going for a walk or working out.  Talking to my best friend for hours.  Going to lunch with friends or my mom and sisters and just talking.  Listening to three teenage boys that I pick up from school every afternoon talk about girls and driving and games they play on the computer...and just kind of laughing/ smiling to myself. Going for long drives and just letting my thoughts wander. Having a stranger hold a door open for me, looking at them and smiling and saying thank you, and seeing them smile back.  Really all my happy place is, is finding something everyday that makes me smile or laugh.  That time when I was miserable because I regretted decisions I made, makes me sad to think about.  I missed out on a lot of life.  Now I look back over my life and say... "Wow.....Look at how much I have learned".  Regrets....no....not one.....they are all lessons learned that have made me the person I am today.   With all the bad things that go on in the world, and in our own lives, we still need to remember there are reasons to smile....everyday....and we need to realize that's ok.  Find your happy places....smile more...a very simple thing, that I allowed to be difficult for too many years.