Chemo K

My girlfriend has a cancerous tumor on her spine, and she is well into a month plus of heavy chemo. The toxic sludge she has to ingest wrecks every part of her body, and is pushing her right to the brink of death. For me, I know there is no way to shield her from the pain, or the symptoms… but I can be compassionate, loving and humorous at relevant intervals. This is what I can do from far away. Empathy, compassion and understanding are my tools. She is now also receiving radiation treatments to help destroy the tumors, with an accompanying set of additional side effects. My heart breaks for her, but there is little I can do to make her day-to-day life less agonizing.

I am eager to get back to Mobile and see her in person, so I can be a physically useful person in her immediate proximity. How can I relieve the biggest burden, the pain, if I am not there to actually carry the load? I’m going to put my tax return to good use and let Uncle Sam pay my way to the deep South next month and get a few days of relief in line for her. Plus, all her friends and family have come out of the woodwork now that she has a diagnosis and many are offering help of some sort. I’m glad she has that support network to rely on.

My therapy session was focused on my role in this new predicament. I feel both glad for the love I feel, and afraid of all the potential negative outcomes. I have anxiety, yes, but it does not own my processes. Worry is healthy, and a response that I feel is somewhat appropriate to reflect the gravity of the subject matter. I love someone who is going to come very close to death, and that’s a scary thing.

I know I need to be there, and I will be for a time. K is unbelievably strong. Her strength helps me keep my mind on the positive, and the inevitable victory she will achieve over this unwanted intruder. I hope I can help her somehow… I don’t really think I do much but distract her. That is relief, at least.

Have a good week everyone.

 

Hi

I’m checking in for the first time in a while. I have been sliding down into a depressed state for many weeks now, and I am starting to use my coping tools to help me find a way back up. I have already begun this turn to some degree but coming back here and writing my thoughts out is a big part of how I process.

My depression is lubricated by the circumstance of K having cancer and engaging in a knock-down, drag-out brawl to liberate herself from it. It’s a very real possibility that she will not be here at the end of this struggle, and that chills me in a cold-knife-to-the-intestines kinda way. I do try to keep my optimism and attitude positive but I won’t hide that I’m scared. I gave her every part of myself that I had to give, and she could be gone. More than just that though, I feel detached from myself like I’m watching my reality through a screen and I have the joystick in my hands. I don’t feel like there is much I can do to influence anything… I feel ineffectual somehow. Irrelevant maybe is the better word. I have lost a sense of what I am good for, what I am doing and why I am doing it. Is anything I do making a real difference? Are people benefitting from the energy I give? Am I even giving enough in the first place? There is a voice of nagging negativity and dubiety plaguing me from afar. Work has felt like a black hole since we lost our office. I’ve had a very hard time establishing a routine since there is no physical location to drive to. I end up somewhere between serious and relaxed, composed and decomposing. I need to get out of this house and I have been contemplating ways I could have a remote location where I do work. I’m actively problem solving my circumstances. Lastly, I just feel that neurochemical imbalance… slow, sad, unexcited, bored, anxious. It’s an all the time stagnant haze which my flashlight only further illuminates rather than provides me with any clarity on the path forward.

Though these thoughts and feelings do haunt me, they are a small fraction of the pervading good that I feel in my life. Many positive things are happening in my world that are cause to be hopeful: I have a wonderful woman in my life who knows me and loves me for who I am; she is with me every day whether physically present or not. I have a loving family that is willing to work on improving their  communication skills. I just traded in my 15 year old Dodge for a new Nissan truck! I have a job where being mentally ill isn’t something I need to hide, it’s something that qualifies me to do the work that I do. We just bought a new house for my mom and dad and I, in a very beautiful area just up the freeway from Sacramento. Life has never been as good as it is about to be.

I have these dialectical thought processes: I take the good and the bad and respect both while not siding conclusively with either aspect. I often proceed with things having considered both the positive and negative aspects of said things (or, I try to). I can love/hate with the best of them. I think this keeps me from being too stubborn, or too closed minded. I like having things to add to either column, and since the balance favors the less objectionable option, I have the ability to be moved on issues where most would be unwilling to acquiesce. It also helps me not get too lost in my depression, because I can still see the good too. I know there is sadness, and sometimes it is the only thing I feel… but I also know that the sadness will pass on to something else if I help it do so. A distraction, or a game, a good conversation, a hug if you can get one for sure but we don’t always have someone to hug. There are things I can do for myself to help me get out of this place and that’s what I’m going to be pushing for in the days ahead.

I need to get this body moving again and continue my better eating habits. I have a plan of action to help restore my vital energy and eccentric spunk I’m so often known for. I am coming back, one doofy comment at a time.

Alabama

Your worry is a shroud of fog that hides a vast world underneath. A veiled reality that the future and events have not yet made clear. I wish I could help you see through to the truth of what can be.

You fret over me but I know this is out of a fear that love will fade as it has in the past; with other men. You are not wrong to fear. Trauma teaches us to be afraid of circumstances expecting an outcome. Those triggers will fire but not be ratified with harm. I am not like the others you have known.

What I don’t think you see is how much you are a part of me now. I know you understand I’m in love, but do you know I feel you in my blood; pumping through my heart? Do you know my every wish is to be together with you? I’d give anything to have that life with you, even amidst the ensnaring mess you find yourself entangled in. Even from this, there is escape. There is hope.

You are my person now, and I am doing everything I can to help you out of where you are. I wish to help launch you into a future you can thrive in. I see you: crinkled, I oppressed and downtrodden. Your life has you confined. Chained. I’m honest in my desire to rid you of those chains forever. One by one, they will be cast aside.

If only you’d believe me. If only I could convince you that it could be real. It’s not a fantasy if it is our reality. It’s only as far off as we allow it to be. I need you K.

I hope this message challenges your doubt for us. I hope it makes you question that fear you have that I may leave. You’ll see my devotion here, my desire for a healthy life. Not just mine either.

Find your rest and reconcile your anxiety. Tomorrow is a day where I take one more step closer to you, and us.

A Gift To Me

I haven’t been checking in as much as I have in the past. I think this is for a couple reasons: I’m profusely distracted with work things and also in love, so everything is a little brighter. I have that ambiance of tranquility around me and my days feel purposeful as a result of my ongoing interactions with K. That doesn’t mean I don’t also feel down, or exasperated at times. Sometimes I just feel worn out, like there’s no tread left on the balding tire of my available energy. These two things, one not outweighing the other, provide me with a version of reality I can thrive within at the beneficence of stability. I find myself continually making moves in my reality to improve outcomes, promote a more prosperous state of mental wellness, and develop a support structure that can carry me forward as life procures new and tragic events, at random disbursements.

I have to be mindful of my mental health as a top priority. I have done a fairly good job of being introspective in this regard. I did have days where I struggled, and felt depressed in the last few months. I had other days where I was happy or content with my situation. I saw no acute peaks and no devastating troughs and did not linger in any one state for too long. I feel remarkably balanced and expectedly fatigued from my life and schedule. I did take time for myself and I’ve, notably, had a harder time getting back plugged in to my routine since visiting K. This has been the only thing I have felt concerned about in any way. Now, the burden of work will lessen as the holidays approach.

On that front, I bought K a round-trip to CA from AL on Christmas morning. She’ll stay for a week and I deliver her to the airport on new years day. Her situation didn’t seem like it would yield the available funds to procure a ticket in enough advanced notice not to be exorbitant in cost. So, I did it. She’s never been out west anywhere before and this will be pretty mind-blowing for her. Our future together is still years apart, but this exchange of company and trips to each other’s worlds was a necessary step in forming a more permanent bond. Being a part of her reality is something I can now actively imagine as I have been a visitor to her world, for a time. Now she will get the opportunity to do the same for my reality.

I am more than willing to demonstrate my desire to invest in a future with K, and this ticket seemed like a good way to do that.  I love her, and I just want to be able to continue taking steps towards a time where we can be together like cheese and tortillas. It seemed worth the money to have her here again in my arms. Money can’t compare to the way she makes me feel: Like exploding sparkle-berries.

Well, have a good day, and I’ll check in with you more often going forward.

Back

In short: it was more than I ever expected. My trip to see K was an affirmation of all the feelings I’d been having and the proof of concept that the physical part of our relationship was good. It was very good. We have a symbiotic relationship with overwhelming sensation and generosity. It’s a functional dynamic I’ve rarely seen in my life. Most importantly, it’s a compliment to our relationship and not the foundation as in times past.

K is the person I’ve been looking for on my journey. A real equal companion. I’m so grateful to have her in my life and I want our worlds to be brought together. I know that day is far off still but worth keeping in mind and working towards.

The threads pull tighter. The affirmations provide strength. The road is long ahead still however.

Going

I’m fewer than 55 hours from flying across the country to see my girlfriend for the first time. We started counting down 52 days ago, and here we are with fewer than 3 days left to go.

I can say I’m very excited. Scared a little too. I’m going far from my safety zone. However, I do know that I will be loved and appreciated where I am going. K and I have been speaking with the frequency of a married couple, and the passion of two halves separated and waiting to be rejoined. I feel a burning for her that, as I have stated, I have not felt in years. Since J.

 

Now that the certainty of our union is nigh, I feel a sense of satisfaction with my situation. Life is stable for the most part. My career is humming along nicely. My mental health is in fair standing (with the occasional blip).

I did hear Sting’s “Why Should I Cry For You” and it tore me a new/old wound. It’s amazing how much love I had for J that the echoes of my hurt still remain to this day. It scares me a little that I feel the same yearning for K. I don’t ever want to hurt like I did when J left me. K is a very different person though. We love, we perish in flames, we are reborn of the soot of our prior demise.

I will have 3 days of absolute bliss. I feel the push and pull of my dialectic, but now, the superior sensation is ecstasy. The only tingle that pervades is that of anticipation for that moment when her apartment door closes, and we are alone at last.

Blast From The Past?

I feel both remorse and jubilation given all the things I have been through. So many tries at love, and a litany of failures to look back at. I always believe the litter of past transgressions can be removed, leaving a pristine landscape once more, but it does require energy, time, patience to clean it away. I have endeavored to do my part but it was never a thing that could be done alone.

I get the distinct feeling J is still out there, lurking. She being liberated of he need to find a resolution or a process designed to heal, I am simply followed by a vague shadow of someone I once loved devotedly. I find this regrettable. My whole trajectory in the last 6 years has been geared towards helping build bridges and healing people… yet, I can’t heal her. I can’t even talk to her anymore without having my soul ripped in half.

I know her accusations are the only thing she has left to harm me with (and she has), as they are an instrument that can affect change. I regret who I was, and I would change any number of things that happened to produce better outcomes… but the sad fact remains that fretting about my past is not going to change it in any way, ever. The only thing I have left is to try and build a better future for myself.

I don’t know how to bridge the vast chasm that now exists. From my peer support perspective, all healing begins with  open, honest conversation. All steps forward that build us up do not also suppress the feelings/emotions/traumas of the past.

In my new life that I have made, I find myself feeling proud of my accomplishments and not ashamed of who I was in an active way. What good does shame do me? I can’t walk forward with it on my back. I can only hope to reconcile the a source for myself since I am unable to control anyone else’s perceptions. My door has always been open, and remains so to any relic of the past who desires to move beyond what was done, into what can be. Shame is not the answer, systemic change is the only remedy.

Maybe because I am feeling these same feelings I had for J that this is coming back. It seems to be a very odd coincidence… I’ll keep you posted if it turns out to be just a Hunter-Seeker.