Sometimes, good friends and casual conversation are all it takes to take the sting out of life. Even if it only lasts for a moment, it’s very healing, and exactly what I needed.
I don’t think that I’ve ever slept well in my adult life, but lately, I’m really struggling. My brain buzzes with thoughts of too few vacation days and doctors appointments and medical bills and all the things I’d like to do before I have this surgery. It’s all a foggy mess – the only saving grace is the calendar function (and my new One Note app) on my iPhone. Otherwise, I’d be late for everything. Unprepared. Disheveled. Downright dirty, some days.
I haven’t overslept for anything in years. I rarely sleep longer than 3 hours in a row, even on a good night… but here I am drifting off at 2-3am and only waking up, long after my alarms were set to toll, because I hear the garbage truck banging around or the neighbor’s dog barking. I’m sleeping just enough to make me feel drained, drifting off in meetings, falling asleep in the shower standing up with the water running on my face… it feels like I’m swimming through my life. Swimming with lead weights wrapped around my ankles.
Especially kitties. I’m glad I’m not the only one struggling with my equilibrium these days.
The final straw to the crying at work saga was reached when my boss said “I know you are hurting inside, but you have to find a way to put on a brave face outside”.
I got an appointment with my PCP for the next day and he put me back on my normal cocktail… numbing, but restraining just the same. The only thing I care about is getting through this… everything else will either be there on the other side, or it won’t. Like I’ve said a million times… all I can control (albeit not well) is myself. I’m trying, and I guess that’s all I can do.
*Updated to be made public on 3/1/12*
I think most days in the past few months I have felt like I’m watching myself do things as if I’m an audience in the most terrible play. I am saying things, doing things, feeling things (and sharing those feelings) in ways and with people I never would have considered before all this started. Every night I lay in bed and think of all the things I said and did that day that just weren’t me. It’s like there’s an invisible force shoving my sensibilities aside to make room for a weak, ugly, pitiable thing that cowers in the corner and craves attention. Protection. Affection. She’s frightened, and she’s lonely….but she’s also not me.
Somehow, after months of pushing out of this pathetic rut, I’m back in the world of waterproof mascara. I cry again. A lot. The kind of tears that actually hurt when you squeeze them out.
Sometimes it’s because I’m afraid: Afraid of the pain that is coming. Afraid of how I will feel, how I will look…or, perhaps more worrisome, how the way people feel for and look at me will change.
Sometimes it is self-pity that seeps out of the corners of my eyelids as I desperately try to rest them night after sleepless night. Is it fair? No, probably not. But, fair or not, it is here. It is a demon. It is a curse. Or, it is a gift. It is a choice I have that the others didn’t.
It is something, that’s for sure.
- Sure, it’s poor timing. Really, though, is there ever a good time to be sick?
- Sure, it makes for a complicated existence. Complete with tense love scenes and questionable motives by everyone involved.
- Sure, it will be painful and scary and possibly even someday kill me.
- Sure, people will leave because they’re scared.
- Sure, people will stay because they feel guilty.
But for now, tonight, in one of many sleepless nights to have passed, and undoubtedly infinitely more to come, I have to remind myself that the only person I can control is myself…even if that seems to be, on the most basic and fundamental level, a daunting task in and of itself most days. I cannot expect anything of anyone but myself. I cannot rely, nor depend on anyone to be there, in any way other than the ways in which they choose.
I am alone. But if you ask the real me, that is most certainly the way I prefer to be.
Don’t ask me to go into the insurance drama, but let’s just say that University of Maryland didn’t feel it was necessary to tell me that they are now “out of network” under my work’s insurance plan.
Their response: “Oh, but you’ve got 80/20 coverage out of network, so that’s great!” Fuck you. I’ve got over $6K in medical bills (most of them from YOU) and you want me to pay 20% of an ultrasound? A biopsy? Possibly a surgery? Are you fucking kidding me?
So… I’m switching. I will officially be a patient of INOVA. I am seeing Dr. Constanza Cocilova (whose nurse has assured me that she will review all my path reports BEFORE recommending an invasive lumpectomy), and I feel a little more at ease. My anxiety about this lump grows daily based on the reaction at UMD when the radiologist did the follow-up ultrasound on 12/28, but at the same time, I feel relieved to have a doctor just 5 minutes away. Don’t get me wrong, I’m apprehensive to switch from an environment I’ve known for the last 4 years (and one that is much more convenient for my Mom) but ultimately, this is better. Much better.
*This post was edited to be made public on 2/23/12*