Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hard to believe...

...but I passed my first semester of "real" nursing school with an A.  I only achieved that A because my professor rounded my grade up: I'd actually ended the semester with a 89.6, but she gave me a 90, because apparently she liked me.  She didn't have to do it, and I know it, and I'm super grateful.

Second semester started (technically) today, but it was a snow day.  We do clinicals in a real hospital, and while I'm super excited, I'm also super-duper scared.  I felt like this last semester, too, and everything was fine in the end, even though there were days when I felt like I was going to die.  I made friends, and learned a lot, and the same will be true for this semester, too.  I'm just terrified.  Understandably.

It will be okay.  Maybe not right away, but it will be okay in the end.  I know it will.  I've made it this far, with all the stumbling blocks put in my way, and I can't quit now just because I'm scared.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

a testament to my time in therapy

So I started nursing school for real-real last month.  I knew it wasn't going to be easy, even without the added complications of everything going on with Sid, and the acting out from Spagett, and the stress of walking into a giant unknown as Sid is medically retired from the Navy...

I thought I knew what I was getting into.  And I was wrong.

I barely passed my first exam.  BUT I PASSED.  However, on my first summative skills check-off, I failed.  At first, I felt all right about it: I get the chance to redo, so it's not the end of the world, right?  RIGHT?!  But when I started to talk to one of my old professors about it, I burst into tears.  Right there in the middle of a crowded hallway, dressed in my uniform, I cried like a wiener.  It was the culmination of all that's come before: Sid's cancer, everything.  And it went on and on.  I went to see our nursing retention coordinator and sobbed in her office for probably an hour.

One thing she said that really stuck with me was that there are student nurses who come into her office in a worse state than me, and they don't have nearly as much bullshit going on in their personal lives.  She said that I was holding it together admirably, that she actually didn't even know how I was managing the amount of stress I must be experiencing.  I told her it must be a testament to my time in therapy, and she laughed.

I walked out of her office, not exactly feeling better, but feeling as though I wasn't fighting this uphill battle alone.  School has only been in session for a month, and I'm already blown away by the support I'm receiving from my professors - old and new -  and my fellow students.  It's been amazing and humbling and inspirational.

Nursing school isn't what I expected at all.  In some ways it's a lot better, and in some ways it's a lot worse.  I can't even imagine what next semester will be like, and truthfully, I'm trying not to think about that when there's so much going on right now.

Friday, June 19, 2015

this wasn't supposed to happen

Sid had an endoscopy done last month, something to do with checking his upper GI tract and GERD and stomach lining and blah.  I don't recall the exact reasons why he had the procedure done.  What is important about this endoscopy is that the doctors found something in his duodenum that shouldn't have been there and they biopsied it.

It is cancer.

We found out yesterday that Sid has cancer.  Specifically, follicular lymphoma.

I will never forget the way the air left my lungs when I heard those words.  I will never forget the way I stood there, looking at him, and he had not heard a single word the doctor had said.  "What's that?" he whispered to me, and I was too stunned to work up the breath to respond.  I mouthed back, "cancer."  He cried.  I didn't.  I still haven't.  I don't know if I can.  It doesn't even feel real.

I went to the grocery store today and felt like everyone would be able to see that I was absolutely shattered.  Like, look at this woman pretending to be normal!  Who does she think she's fooling?  I put things in the cart because that's what you do at the grocery store, but I wasn't paying much attention to what I picked up. I tried to remember that Sid had asked me to get ramen, and Spagett wanted dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets, and we needed more coffee. And the whole time, I'm inside my own head screaming WHO THE FUCK CARES, SID HAS CANCER.  People asked me how I was doing and I said "fine" because that is what you say when someone asks, but I am not fine.  I am a mess on the inside.  I don't know how I'm supposed to finish my report this weekend and do my take home exam and go to school on Monday like there is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary.

All I know is that this wasn't supposed to happen.  It wasn't supposed to be like this.  But it did, and it is.

Monday, August 4, 2014

DV is fucking disgusting

When I was 17, I had an epiphany.  It came in the guise of my stepfather, who didn't like my attitude while I did homework and he shouted at me over one thing or another, tossing me like a ragdoll into the corner of the living room and tipping the recliner that I had been sitting on over onto me.  He tried to hit me, punch me maybe, I'm not sure which, but I remember he must not have been trying very hard because I had thrown my arms over my head and was blocking the blows.  And my mother.  My mother just stood there and watched this happen.  So did my younger sisters.  I don't blame them for not intervening or calling the cops.  But my mother did nothing.  And afterward, when I confronted her about it, she denied the entire thing had happened, that I had overreacted and blown this small spat way out of proportion.  She tried to make exuses for her husband, when his actions were inexcusable.  She tried to gaslight me.

That was when I realized that my mother would deny, deny, deny this man's actions, and keep making excuses for him, until one day she ended up dead at the wrong end of his temper.

He pulled a gun on her the other day.  He's been keeping a girlfriend in the home he shares with my mother and pulled a gun on my mom when she dared to demand a divorce.  She refuses to leave, refuses to call the cops.  She is still making excuses.

She could have died, and she is still making excuses.

I feel sick.

I knew this was coming.  I've known it for 13 years.  And yet I still feel totally blindsided by all of this.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I suck at blogging

Yea verily, truer words were never spoken.

Holy shitsnacks, I have been BUSY.  My first year of nursing school is done (it was all prerequisites, so hold your applause), but I held onto that 4.0 GPA for both semesters and made the deans list.  I took "advanced algebra with into to trigonometry" and walked in expecting a firing squad.  Would you believe I actually fucking enjoyed that class?  I had people in this last semester's psychology class telling me they'd already earned one degree and this was the hardest class they'd ever taken, EVER, and I had no trouble with it.  I feel like I'm on a roll.  I feel stupid for being so scared for so long, when even though it's a lot of work, it's not as scary and awful as I thought it would be.

Never did manage that half marathon, though.  My longest run was 8 miles and then my heart gave up.  No really, it did.  I woke in the middle of the night with palpitations so bad I thought "this is how i die" and it lasted for the longest fifteen minutes of my life.  I'm ashamed to admit that I wanted to pretend like nothing had happened, but the thought of Spagett finding me dead was enough to motivate me into going to the ER.  No pulmonary embolisms, no heart attack, nothing off on the EKG.  Was referred to a cardiologist.  I love this guy.  I really do.  He's a shit-talking little Indian guy who makes me laugh even though I'm sitting in his office with a fucking heart problem.  I've done a stress test and worn a Holter monitor and taken magnesium supplements because I had low mag, and the general consensus at this point is that I have some kind of arrhythmia, most likely AV node re-entrant tachycardia.  But we are waiting to see what another specialist, an electrophysiologist, thinks.

Oddly enough, even though this is my heart we're talking about, I'm not as freaked out by this as I was by Sid's neck mass (FYI, it was totally a thyroglossal cyst, the surgery went fine and you hardly notice his scar).  At any rate, the cardiologist has me on Toprolol to help with the arrhythmia and I have noticed a huge difference.  The side effects are kind of wonky: I have headaches a lot, and not the kind you normally think of as a headache, but an "oh my god, everything is going to hit me in the head" kind of headache.  And the weird-ass dreams I have on this medicine are sometimes goddamn terrifying.  I wake up like "oh thank fuck that was just a dream..." quite often now.  Even though the idea of undergoing an ablation procedure to treat the arrhythmia scares the shit out of me, I think that, long term, it would be a better option than this medication.  I will do it if I am offered the option.

I've been told "gentle cardio only" so no interval training, no massive jumps in mileage.  I run 2 miles sometimes 3 times a week and do a "long run" if it's not hot as balls.  By long run, I mean 3-4 miles.  It's whatever.  I'm just glad I didn't have to stop running entirely.

But, swear to shit, someday I'm fucking running that half.

edit:  I totally forgot to mention the (to me) worst part of this whole arrhythmia thing.  The wooooooorst.  Coffee.  I had to give up caffeine.  Oh yeah.  Yeah, it was not pleasant.  However, I like feeling like I'm not dying, and I like not having to deal with coffee headaches, so overall it was a good thing.  I drink a bottle of water in the mornings instead of coffee: I tried tea but I felt like it was a weak replacement.
All or nothing, baby!  I've adjusted, and I treat myself to decaf coffee or regular tea if I feel like I need a pick-me-up, but usually it's just water for me.  How blah!  Why starky, I do believe you are becoming a bore!

Monday, December 9, 2013


I am struggling.

My first semester of nursing school is coming to a close, and I have straight A's.  That's not the problem.

It's everything else that's the problem.

I think that Spagett has ADHD.

I can't deal with him.  I can't.  I can't mediate between him and Sid any longer.  I feel like I'm losing my mind.  I can't deal with being forced to side with my husband or my child in this bullshit drama that has become our home life.  I can't.

And yet, what choice do I have?

When the time outs have not worked, and neither have the spankings, and Spagett is throwing toys at my head because THAT is his definition of "playing with toys", when you tell him to play quietly and he starts throwing things at the ceiling fan, because hey, it's quiet, isn't it?  When it's mid afternoon and you can see his body is in need of rest and yet he can't lay still long enough to allow himself to nap, when it's midnight and he's still awake because he literally cannot stop running around and we have to be up at 7 am, but if you just lock him in his room and try to go to sleep yourself, he's going to tear everything apart and scream so loud that the whole neighborhood will hear...

What choice do I have?

When Sid has checked out, and all his contributions to the problem involve screaming "shut the fuck up, go away," what fucking choice do I as Spagett's mother HAVE?!

This is not what I wanted for my little boy.  This is not what I wanted for Sid and I as parents.  I feel like somewhere along the way, I have done something wrong, I have made a bad decision, and now every single one of us is paying the price.

So yeah.  Seriously, what do I do?  What choice do I have when I'm the only one left to handle the problem and I've been slogging away at school work for goddamn hours and I still have homework to do, and laundry and dishes, and everyone still needs dinner, and here's my kid who doesn't give a shit how many times you punish him for throwing things and climbing all over the furniture, he's just going to keep right the fuck on doing it, what the FUCK am I supposed to do?

Monday, October 7, 2013

sweet relief and a zombie run

While we still don't have solid answers, the MRI results are in and the doctors are saying the mass in Sid's neck is most likely not cancer, but a benign thyroglossal cyst.  While it will require surgery, from what I understand, it's a fairly simple procedure with minimal scarring, and the likelihood of it coming back is fairly small.  Sid also does not have MS, but a cervical osteophyte: in layman's terms, he's got a bone spur in his neck.  We are so relieved.  I can't even tell you how it feels to not have the weight of that worry constantly bogging me down.

So I ran my zombie race on Saturday unburdened by personal bullshit!  I actually didn't run much of it at all, the ground was way too rocky, uneven, and muddy.  The times I was running, I was full out sprinting and trying not to slip and fall.  I pulled something in my right ankle, which I totally didn't even feel until after the race was over, and my back got wrenched pretty well when I did some hard twists trying to keep my balance in the slick clay mud.  Overall, I enjoyed the shit out of that race and definitely intend to come back again next year.  It was worth every fucking penny: I had the time of my goddamn life out there, belly crawling through stinky mud, getting shocked, and crawling through mucky water up to my neck.  Dirty as hell at the finish, but so much fun.