Tuesday, February 11, 2014

You Take the Good.


The Big C

Aviana had been gone for just over two full weeks. One day, as I was sitting on the patio, my eyes grew wide with a sudden realization. Had it really been just over two weeks? After all this time, and all these years....could it be? 

Not once had I thought about, typed, or searched for anything to do with cancer. I sat and contemplated. It was just as I thought. I couldn't battle one more thing, and most importantly, be there to care for Aviana too. I both smiled and cried because it was as though all of that died with her. I was released. I was finally free - free of the Big C.

That other person felt unfamiliar to me, almost unrecognizable, like someone from my past. It was a very strange feeling. It was as though I had to remind myself of those days, those manic nights. It's nice to go to bed and be at ease.


You're Not 64

Some of the most peaceful days were right after Aviana died.

There was sadness, but there was an overwhelming sense of calm because Dave and I knew we gave our girl what she wanted. 

My entire body felt relaxed. But just like the cancer search, it took me a little while to realize my aches and pains had disappeared. The pain in my shoulder, back, hips and right leg disappeared. They all vanished into thin air. To me, it was bizarre. After all the questioning, I finally had my answer - stress and grief.
  
In retrospect, it made perfect sense. Against my will, my friend Jen thankfully got me into yoga. It's become my saving grace. I had hip and leg problems for over a year. During my first class the instructor put us into a pose in order to stretch our hips. She explained how we hold most all of our stress in our hips! After numerous doctor and chiropractic appointments - that moment, those uttered words - wow! It was as though a wall of wonder came tumbling down around me. 

Right after Aviana died, Dave and I were going to yoga three days a week. Although Aviana was gone physically - in yoga - I could feel her spirit right there with me. So intensely, I sometimes had to almost get up and leave. I honestly can't understand why I fought going for so long, as it's right in line with all of the various things I read and believe in. I am eternally grateful to my friend for keeping at me!

Every time I slip and skip out for a week of weight and step type classes, I find myself falling away from Aviana and everything, which feels good and right in my life. I finally realize something is off. Yoga keeps me completely centered, and in tune with what's important.  


Hair, Skin & Nails

My hair is growing back! Two thumbs up and a z snap for that! It's still pretty dry, but it's coming along. Baby steps. First you have hair, then you work on the hair ; ) I usually put coconut oil in it every so many weeks, but honestly...who wants to sit with that in your hair for hours on end? Not me! But I really need to keep up on it!

My doctor honestly thought my face would get better three months after Aviana. I had serious doubts based on all I've been through with my face. It's been close to four months and while it's a little better, it's still bad. I believe she is going to check my hormones. She thought my cortisol would be high at the time due to everything. We'll see. I'm at a loss. I know I've asked you all before...but again, if you have any new tips, tricks, help...please! Dave found me a new place to go, but I've already been to two...so I'm kind of leery : /

I worked hard and got all the way down to almost half my dose of headache medication. On the day of Aviana's service, I thought it a great idea to cut another 25 mg making it a full half! I was slammed by daily headaches for over a month. Finally after about 6 weeks, I made the difficult decision to go back up the 25mg again. I've been good since! I suppose that was my tipping point. My nails stayed the same. Not as strong, but not half as weak as before!

I can't take Biotin. I tried and it gave me headaches...


Stuff & Nonsense

Above I said some of the most peaceful days were right after Aviana died, and they were. As more time has passed, coupled with some other family drama, and those bereavement classes...I've noticed some of my same symptoms have returned in recent weeks - back, leg, hips, shoulder. It's strange to sit in class and see the outline of a body and read, "How do these feelings show up in your body? Headaches, stomach aches, back and neck pain, chest pain?"

I know it's the right thing to do - to walk through all of this, but it all makes me miss Aviana that much more. It makes me feel her void and realize even more just how much she was the focus of my life for the past 6 years. I come home from the bereavement class and really feel...flat. And then, after three weeks of bereavement, now I feel I need an appointment with someone familiar, someone who has known us from the very beginning - my counselor Maggy.

There are some differences though. I now know exactly what the cause is...so it's a matter of controlling the mind and not letting it spin off. So far, so good. Once again, I got caught in the trap of letting yoga go for other workouts. Why do I do that when I know what works? I haven't a clue, but I'll straighten that out too : )

***

I am committing more. Slowly, but surely.

I did make one giant leap, one that shocked me. I signed up for a writer's workshop in Washington : ) I planned to go by myself, which wasn't a surprise because I like to do things by myself, go to the movies, and other things.

But then, a while later it dawned on me - one of my closest friends would absolutely love this workshop! She loves to write. My gosh...she's been writing all her life!! I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of her, actually I could. My mind can sadly be quite linear at times. I called her and she signed up the next day. So we are now going together! It's in October. My very favorite month : ) I always find it interesting that I lost my two best girls in October - my favorite month, which holds my very favorite holiday. There are no coincidences!

***

I am making lists of things to do everyday and actually marking things off. Against my urge to throw my hands up and smother Rainey in kisses, I force myself to stay focused! All in the name of an increased attention span! Look at me, it's like I'm learning to be an adult all over again.

***

Dave helps me greatly with my worst-case scenario stuff. Much of this has subsided since Aviana died though, which I am grateful for. I feel my former self returning, and with time, only hope to continue in that direction. I also look to friends and mentally take notice - they have things go wrong and usually don't get sick, injured, or die. Check! I am going to talk to my counselor further about this. I need a pep talk.

***

All of the bad doesn't hold a candle to the good! The bad will resolve itself and become a learning experience as with everything else.

For all Aviana has given, all of this really is nothing...

There were times when I thought, "I wonder how many years this experience has taken off my life?" But then my very next thought was, "If my years are fewer - at least they will be more meaningful than they previously ever would have been! Or better yet, I wonder how many were added because of the ways in which Aviana changed me!"

23 comments:

  1. Jen, thanks for continuing to share your thoughts and struggles. It's good to know how you are working through and processing your grief. You and Dave experienced much trauma, as you watched your child go through her own trauma. I'm learning more and more about how stress and trauma can effect people. Little wonder, as life can bring events that shock us out of our own reality. Continue to take care of yourselves. As I read about Dave, and know my own husband and all he does to help keep my thoughts and emotions headed in the right direction, I'm thankful he is there for you...and your for him! It sounds like you have an amazing marriage. What a gift to have each other to go through this journey with.
    Nancy in the Midwest

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    1. It's amazing, isn't it...what stress and trauma can do to a person. It continues to amaze me. It's all about rebuilding now. It's so strange though to shift from (what feels like) one extreme to the next.

      I truly thank God everyday for Dave and our marriage. I am grateful beyond words for both. 'Gift' is the perfect descriptor for what we have in going through all of this Nancy. Thank you!

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  2. A couple more thoughts. One thing about trauma is it truly is a shock to us that we are living or lived what we just did. Reality tells assures us we are living it, as our emotions a big, and we walk through the physical steps of dealing with the issue at hand. In our very different situation here, God gave us the grace to take those steps and deal with the reality as it needed to be handled. But along with that at the time, and even still very much now, come the thoughts that it is unbelievable, what we are or did have to deal with...that it happened to us. Not that we should or could be any more insulated from the danger or evil or accidents of this world...nor that we it shouldn't have been us...just the shock that it WAS us. It hits me at odd moments, these "Did we really go through this?" thoughts. Your situation lasted for years, ours did not, though the repercussions may be life long. Not thinking I have any answers, except to encourage you to believe God is there in the midst of all of life, loving you and giving grace, as we learn to depend on HIm. I'm so thankful my faith (hubby's, too) was as strong as it was when our own family issue came to light. Everything I already knew to be true about Him proved even more true. One of my biggest prayers during our struggles was that I/we would only say things that are true about God. People had their opinions or "answers", but I didn't always agree that theirs matched up to what is true about God according to what the Bible has to tell us about Him. Some things we will never understand from this side of life. There are no pat answers for the "why" of some things. As I said, I'm so thankful, in spite of our own traumatic situation, one constant was my faith. It wasn't shaken, though I felt free to ask God a lot of questions...to which I don't have answers, but was reminded that He was there for us.
    Hope it's ok to share all these thoughts, Jen. I admire you for working through your own grief, and for sharing some of it on this blog. I know I'm old enough to be your mother, so I can say that I'm very proud of you for working so hard and for allowing yourself to feel what you feel and pushing through to more understanding and health.
    Nancy in the Midwest

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    1. I so agree with you Nancy. I was always raised with God, and praying to God. We never went to church though or studied the Bible. I am definitely not religious, and am more spiritual in nature. Through all of this...I have complete and total faith that God has never once left my side. I should rephrase that. God has actually been closer than ever by my side. Especially when I've needed him most, like in this past year. If ever there was distance - it was because of me.

      Yes, my understanding is - we cannot see the full picture in order to fully understand, so to have faith and trust that all will be right in the end. I do believe that with my whole heart.

      I have been completely and totally amazed that when I have asked for strength, calm and peace...I have received. For example, for Aviana's most important Palliative meeting, the 16 days she was actually dying, for her service, and a few others. Cool as a cucumber. Not one butterfly. I wanted to be fully present for these days, yet feel them with my entire being, tears, emotions, whatever - but present in every way. This is a blog post! When I've needed Aviana, He has also sent her to me - in various ways.

      Of course it's okay for you to share any, and all, your thoughts Nancy! It always is. I know you have been through a lot yourself, and I love hearing from you. It's so important for me to learn from you as well. I need to learn from people such as you who have been through trauma too. Gosh, I am so sorry your family has been through trauma though. I wish it weren't that way...

      Thank you so much for your continual love and encouragement. I really appreciate you!

      Jen

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  3. Sorry for the numerous typos...and that just a few more thoughts became so many.
    N in the MW

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  4. Jen, I SO love still hearing how you and Dave and the family are doing. I have to chime in about the skin and hair.....wondering about diet. I know this was your saving grace with Aviana and getting her off all her medications. How are you eating now? Have you tried any single elimination ideas like gluten, dairy, etc? to see if it might help? I have taken a HUGE interest in this with all the little ones (and big ones too) with food allergies, on multiple medications, etc. I know I am preaching to the choir, but I think what we eat is so often the answer!

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    1. Hi!

      Yes! You are so right Erin! I completely agree with you. I had really thought about it after posting, reading your comment, going back to the basics, and thinking about Aviana.

      You are what you eat, right? Or my favorite, "Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food."

      I was so concentrated on Aviana this past year, I took the back burner in a ridiculous amount of ways. While all our food is organic and I barely eat any dairy, my diet was far from balanced. I am a stress not eater. I tend to forget or wasn't hungry because of all I was going through with her. My variety was considerably lacking. The only meat I eat is some fish too...and then I was concerned about the mercury levels so I was cutting much of that out too. Much of what I was getting was Vega One shakes and salads. Sad.

      It's all about rebuilding now and putting the focus back on myself. It's funny, because if I take a few steps back...it all becomes much clearer. I have been working to cut this medication out of my life, but it's going to take time. I know it's causing much of the problem too. It's chemical and toxic : (

      I've heard about the gluten thing for headaches as well, so that could be a double bonus. Thank you so much for your advice Erin. I am going to have to try making more choices towards the gluten free side!

      You are the definition of health and well being, so coming from you...I know it's all right and true!!

      I found this great post about what I am going through and felt like it was geared straight towards me and my face : ) But then I also have the medication to boot...

      http://www.highonhealth.org/suffering-from-hormonal-acne-here’s-what-you-can-do-about-it/

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    2. And...I could never hold a consistent schedule at the gym while Aviana was here. Now I walk Rainey 4 days a week, we take her to the park the other 3...and I go to the gym 5-6 : ) Big difference too.

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  5. It's so good to read about what all is going on with you. I think you are a fabulous writer and will enjoy your workshop/ girls' trip. I took a medication that caused my hair to fall out. At first my part got wider, then my hair just kept shedding and I'd find it everywhere. Then I developed a bald spot in the top back of my head. It got so bad that I ordered some Joan Rivers Good Hair Day and had to wear it like some old lady. I was self-conscious, that stuff really does take the shine and paleness off though. Anyway, I talked to my doctor about it and quit taking that medication. That was somewhere around a year ago and "the spot" has pretty much grown back. My part is still wider than it used to be but it's better. The shedding has stopped. I just wanted to encourage you, once your hair follicles go through their next active phase or whatever the technical term is for that, you will get new growth. Mine has taken a while but I have whispy short hairs especially all along my hairline in the front that are maybe 2 inches long or so. Those are all new since I stopped the medicine. For a while before stopping the medicine I had looked into hair supplements, and I almost bought one. But then I read reviews on amazon that said that it had caused acne. If you are taking any hair or nail supplements maybe google the name and acne. Not all that is good for hair is good for the skin. What's a girl to do?

    I have really oily, acne prone skin. My problem is a lack of exfoliation. I use a glycolic face wash twice a day. The brand is Credentials. I buy it from Dermstore online. It's about $40, but it lasts a while. My dermatologist prescribes me Benzaclin, which is a cream I apply at night. I having been using that for probably 10+ years. I don't think it's healthy and I wish I didn't have to do it, but it's the only thing that keeps my skin semi-clear. With my PCOS though I don't think I'll ever have clear skin like other people seem to have.

    Just a thought - has your breakout coincided with a switching of your shampoo or conditioner? Moisturizing or extra moisturizing shampoos/conditioners can stimulate production in oil glands. Look see if your shampoo or conditioner has an ingredient in it called panthenol. I had an aestheticism tell me to avoid that ingredient (she knows how acne prone my skin is). Maybe google whatever brand you are using plus the word acne. I have read lots of negative things about Herbal Essences brand causing acne.

    Also, just a tip I saw on Dr. Oz years ago. I'm not a huge Dr. Oz fan, just passing along this info. Wash your hair - shampoo and condition, and when you rinse them don't let the suds go all over your face. Don't pile your hair on top your head and let all that run down your face. Keep your chin up and head tilted back so that the products have minimal contact with your face. THEN wash your face & body. That way whatever film your hair care products put on your skin, you will soap off. (You might know this already. I used to soap up first, then shampoo. But now i do it in the order he recommends).

    So glad to read the ways you are trying to take care of you. You and Dave have such awesome instincts. Much love to ya'll on Valentine's Day tomorrow. {{{{{{hug}}}}}

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    1. Thank you Channe, for all you wrote!

      I hope to someday be done with this medication. So many people have written about their hair growing back beautifully after : ) I am really trying most to just recover now from what the Pill just recently took away. I think most has come back, but then I look sometimes and wonder if I was wrong! I don't know...really it's small potatoes in the grand scheme : )

      I thought it was really interesting what you wrote about acne, As I was reading I thought I bet my shampoo and conditioner are safe (Oribe) but then you got me thinking about some other products. I just recently purchased Bumble and Bumble quench because my hair is sooooo dry. I looked and YES! Panthenol!!!! Then I looked at the same brand straight I use, same! The thing is, I used these types of things before I had this acne problem from my medication, but I do think you are right...they are adding to the problem!!! I need to find some same products that don't have the crap in them!! Thank you so much for the info.

      The Dr. Oz tip is a good one. I laughed because I use sulfate free shampoo and conditioner and it drives me up a wall. After so many years of being used to suds and suds...I can't get a sue to save my life, and while I know that's the point...it's a hard thing to get used to!! It's weird because it's still a mental thing - like is my hair getting as clean? My mom read all of your tips and was talking to me about them on the phone - so cute!!

      Thank you for everything you wrote. You have so much information and it's all good! I love it, and you!!! I hope your Valentine's Day was a good one!! I am still going to write you back...I have been away for a little while...from the computer that is ; ) But I'll be back!

      Jen

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  6. Jen, search on youtube gary craig and eft. Eft looks weird but research the science behind it. It can help any (really!) physical or emotional problem/pain/issue. It's based on the Chinese meridians. It calms the fight or flight center of the brain as well. Please, look it up. The reviews are amazing and I have discovered it 3 wks ago and have seen many pains leave. I can't believe it each time it has happened. I've suffered for over a decade. Best wishes always :)

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    1. Wow! So interesting. I looked up the video and the link you posted below. I watched the tapping video. It's like nothing I have seen before. Isn't it weird when you see something you have never heard of or seen? It makes sense! I love Kris Carr and Wayne Dyer too and they both are huge supporters! Thank you so much for thinking of me and posting the information : )

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  7. I believe (right or wrong) that stress plays a huge role in our health. Most of the women I worked with in Special Ed developed some type if cancer. Me, I just ate and developed arthritis. You're young and I believe you're going to figure it out and find the answers that work for you. I'm crossing my fingers and toes for that! <3
    Dixie

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    1. I completely agree with you. What you wrote is terrifying to me. I am going to block it out. No wait...I am going to use it to calm me down ; )

      Thank you for all the criss crossing!

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  8. http://www.thetappingsolution.com

    I forgot to add this before. His book and videos are awesome :)

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  9. Hi Jen!
    I am just like you! I feel your pain girl. I just went through my yearly I am dying phase. Now my symptoms are gone, but if I think about them being gone too long they will come back. I don't even say the c word. Anyway, just wanted to say that you are not crazy, because that would mean that I am crazy and I'm not.. well at least I don't think I am... maybe I should google that, just to make sure though.
    Sending love and hugs!
    Tracy

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    1. Ugh!! I am so happy your year is O-V-E-R! A big WOOO HOOO for that!!! You are so funny, but I know EXACTLY what you mean when you say, "my symptoms are gone, but if I think about them being gone too long..." That's very telling and reassuring though, right? Yeah!! We should remember that.

      Oh my...your comment just keeps getting better with every word! Made my day then, and now again
      : ) Thank you!

      Love you!

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  10. Jen, I enjoy your honesty and get alot out of what you write. I think of you often. Check out my website http://www.myplexusproducts.com and look at the plexus slim. It is all natural and totally gets your body glucose, lipids, etc in check. It gives a clear head and lifts the brain fog. I also have better hair, skin, and stonger nails. We also have a wonderful all natural paina relief and body cream. It is one drink a day and really is a blessing in my life. Energy again when I had none and getting my body in sync.

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    1. Sounds good. I tried to use the link, but didn't get anywhere. Meaning it did take me to a main screen, but I can't see any of the things you are talking about no matter where I click?

      Can you send me another? Thank you!

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  11. Can I ask what you take for your headaches? Just curious. I'm always looking into new or different meds to see how they might be helpful. I've been on Topamax for about 5 years. I too struggle with playing with my medication and wanting to cut my dosage but then I get slammed with headaches, like I did last week :/ Thanks, Lisa

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    1. I too take Topamax. I first tried Propranolol (sp) and that didn't work. I then moved on. I also do Imitrex injections. I have cut my dose to almost half and plan on cutting it all the way down, no matter if I get headaches or not. I guess I'll just continue to do the Imitrex shots like I was before. After years, I finally bit the bullet because of the life with Aviana, but very slowly...I am going to take myself off.

      I have been doing lots of yoga, and am going to try Biofeedback. I have to try and stay calm, which Aviana provided me all the tools as to how. Hopefully I can manage, but if not - I'll have to find another way.

      It's going to take a long time to fully wean though...

      This stuff is crazy, isn't it? Or has that been your experience? Especially in the beginning! I was dumb as a box of rocks!!!

      I'm so sorry you have these nasty headaches too! They are awful! I wish you luck and I'm sorry I am not much help, because I too still struggle!


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  12. Just popping in to tell you that I love you. I miss you. No matter what, I will always have a spot in my heart for you guys. Take care of yourself, as you have been. <3

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    1. Thank you. I so love you too Jillian ❤

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