Another Summer Fades Away

This time of year is always bittersweet.  Summer always goes by so fast, and then the kids are back in school.  My daughter went back to college, and my son in back in high school.

I always have dreams about what we will do as a family in summer.  The kids are older now and doing their own thing so family time is precious.

Trips to see my mother and assist her also compete for my time.  I don’t know if this stage is temporary, but right now my mother’s memory problems seem to make her more relaxed and more pleasant of personality than what she normally is.

At this time of year I often think about how I’d once thought about homeschooling my kids.  I wonder what homeschooling families do when mom gets sick.  I have been slogging through some medical issues since spring and this thought just crossed my mind.  My mom didn’t home school us, but she wasn’t “allowed” to be sick.  When we were old enough my sister and I could help with various chores.  Probably at a certain point we were too clueless to offer help.  My dad would have never thought to vacuum or load the dishwasher or deal with school issues.  What happens to home school when mom is sick?  My dad would have been qualified to teach some high school math and most college math I am sure, but he would have never made the day to day commitment to do so.  He did help us from time to time, but often his answer was along the lines of “You can use calculus to solve this in a matter of seconds”, but since we didn’t know calculus we remained puzzled.

This year my son is taking chemistry and will be reading some Hispanic literature as it was written in the original Spanish.  Two things that are certainly far above my pay grade.  I did take some high school and college chemistry, but most of what I learned is stuck in a locked compartment in my brain, and I don’t have the key anymore.  Reading literature written in Spanish….not in my skill set at all.  I could attempt some French literature, I suppose, but my brain is rusty there as well.  I’m grateful that my son has school and sports to keep him stimulated.

The bloom of summer is fading for me, just as it is for the world.  Time for the next season.

Not All In My Head

I’ve spent a good part of the year not feeling 100%.  It started out with vague GI symptoms.  Many times it was just that burning feeling I’d had a million times before in the pit of my stomach I thought was just caused by anxiety.  The pain in my stomach then started to become vomiting for no reason.  I started taking medication for the pain in my stomach and have as needed medication on hand should I feel nauseous.  Along with the GI problems I felt tired and unmotivated.  Lots of naps.  I am supposed to have more diagnostic testing soon, but there was a long wait to see a gastroenterologist.

I’ve also had some back pain and crampy female type pain, like a very uncomfortable period.  It is a kind of pain I would normally take ibuprofen for, but the ibuprofen would make my stomach discomfort worse.

Once I started having some odd bleeding and the continued crampy pain, my mind went wild wondering if the crampy pain and the GI pain were caused by the same thing.  I made an appointment with a gynecologist, found out I have endometrial cancer, and I will be having a hysterectomy soon.

I’ve feel tired and painful and haven’t had the energy to get done everything I feel I should be doing.  Is it my history of depression influencing how I feel?  I’ve been taking many naps.  Sometimes you read stories about people being diagnosed with cancer who are motivated to do something grand.  A little voice in my head says I should feel this way, but the urge to take a nap and lie down wins out instead.

I feel hopeful about my prognosis with my endometrial cancer and upcoming surgery.  I am just waiting to get everything done.  People I know are supportive for the most part.  One person I know who is more of an “essential oils cure everything” type of person asked me if I had carefully researched what I was about to do.  She thinks I am a poor lost little sheep both for having worked in traditional healthcare environments and receiving care in the same sort of environment.  She’s also worried that I am ruining my lady parts for my husband by undergoing surgery.  I walked away from her and refused to even address any of her ignorance.  I honestly really wanted to laugh at her though.  Are you really that stupid that you think getting a hysterectomy for cancer is that controversial?

I’ve been cranky and impatient.  On one of my last days of work I told my supervisor how I *really* feel about changes they have made that make communication and work flow much less efficient.  If I had not felt so bad I probably would have not said anything at all, because it won’t change anything.  God forbid I as a nurse should want to spend less time with bureaucratic red tape and more time with the people I am supposed to care for.  I am sure I “sacrificed something” by expressing my opinion when it is time for my next raise.  The ultimate irony of all this is that several months ago my employer spent thousands of extra dollars to educate us on communication issues and workplace inefficiency.  I guess my supervisors weren’t paying attention.  Perhaps we need Michael Scott and Dwight Shrute from the TV show The Office to become our new managers….things couldn’t possibly get any more absurd.

Throwback Thursday…Renewed Strength

At work this weekend I met a man that melted my heart.  He was an elderly man with cancer which had begun metastasizing.  Though he was still undergoing treatment to fight the cancer, he was beginning to think that death was nearer than he would like.

Despite his circumstances he was incredibly gracious, more gracious than I would imagine myself to be in those circumstances.  We only spent an hour together.  My role was to help him, but it was he who provided me with awe and wonder. Though the subject of our conversations mostly were on the serious side, at the end of my shift I had a renewed strength in why I had pursued nursing as a career.  Even though there are many above me who dictate what I should do as a nurse and make more money, it is I who provide the hands on care, that receives the real gifts.

I’m not sure if I will see him again, I won’t forget him though.

False Promises to a Longer, Healthier Life

Want to live the longest, healthiest life possible?  Common sense tells us to enjoy all things in moderation, eat your fruits and veggies, get plenty of exercise, sleep,  and have a good support system.

Broadly, of course these are good recommendations.  But then we take them a little too far, especially in the blog world.  It  is easy to find these promises, just research some of the more common diseases we hear about…diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, take your pick.  Of course how could I forget depression?

If you’d believe the internet, extreme diets and supplement usage can prevent most anything. Eat a kale-garlic-watermelon smoothie and you won’t get cancer.  Take a bizarre combination of supplements to ward off your risk of getting Alzheimer’s.  One can “cure” diabetes, if you just buy “my ebook” which reveals to you all the food secrets your doctor won’t tell you.

In some cases, recommendations to prevent disease come from a good place.  It was once thought that Vitamin E and selenium supplementation could prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Of course the real winners ended up to be the supplement companies.

If you believe some of the hyped up claims, do you then blame someone you meet when they are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, cancer or depression.  Do you think to yourself “If only they ate a better diet, and cut out all grains”  Do you stop to consider there may have been genetic or environmental factors that contributed to their disease?

I saw a rather careless post about some super smoothie preventing cancer.  I got really mad. Because in my family tree and the family tree of my husband, it just hasn’t been that simple.

Renewed Strength

At work this weekend I met a man that melted my heart.  He was an elderly man with cancer which had begun metastasizing.  Though he was still undergoing treatment to fight the cancer, he was beginning to think that death was nearer than he would like.

Despite his circumstances he was incredibly gracious, more gracious than I would imagine myself to be in those circumstances.  We only spent an hour together.  My role was to help him, but it was he who provided me with awe and wonder. Though the subject of our conversations mostly were on the serious side, at the end of my shift I had a renewed strength in why I had pursued nursing as a career.  Even though there are many above me who dictate what I should do as a nurse and make more money, it is I who provide the hands on care, that receives the real gifts.

I’m not sure if I will see him again, I won’t forget him though.