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Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Tough Choices


It has been awhile since I have made a post to my blog. Sorry to say, the day after making my last blog, I came down with a nasty throat virus, and then the flu decided to join the party. As anyone with a chronic disease knows, any illness that weakens you, hits someone with a weakened system a bit harder. It makes recovery a bitch.

So, I entered the holiday season not at all in the mood for, or in the spirit of the holidays. One good thing was my brother; who had been living all the way up in Washington state, finally made the move to join the rest of the family. He missed Thanksgiving by two days. Too bad turkey was gone the day after.

The sad news is he also arrived just in time to witness the further deterioration of our mother's health. As many of you already know I am the adult caregiver to my elderly, disabled mother. She has some serious health issues, that up until recently were a problem, but not enough to keep her from living on her own. Well this week that has all changed. I have spent the last several days walking into her apartment each day in dread of what next I will find.

The woman who I once lived in fear of, is now the mere shadow of her. She is confused, doesn't recognize night from day. She forgets to eat, to take her medicines. I find her in stages of undress, lost in a fog, unaware of anything occurring around her. In a week and a half, she has fallen twice. Her falling alarms me, but what alarms me more is that where in the past she was quick to ask for assistance. Now she remains where she fell, not making any attempt to get assistance to rise.

I had to take her to the hospital, and there she remains as of this writing. Come Monday, we begin the process of making the hardest decision. Choosing the skilled care facility to place her in. I know she is going to hate it, and probably me. I can't think about hurt feelings right now, I must think of the best thing for my mother. As much as I would love her to stay living independently, that just isn't a decision I can make. Unfortunately, she needs twenty-four hour care, with medical personnel that can evaluate her daily.

So at this moment I have had to make the decision to put my work on my books, and both blogs on hold until after the New Year. I hope once Mom is settled into her new home and I am done dispensing with her household belongings. I will then be able to concentrate once more on finishing my books.

I hope all my friends, and readers have a very Happy Holiday. And may the New Year bring you Bright Blessings, Laughter & Love.




Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Time To Give.



As I get ready to don my apron and begin baking the pies that will round out our Thanksgiving meal tomorrow. I want to stop a moment, and think about what this day really means.

This is not only a day we give thanks for the bountiful harvest brought in. Or the day we take a say Thank You to all of those we are thankful to have in our lives. It is a time to give also. This begins the season of giving to those less fortunate than we are. It is a time to lend a helping hand to those charities that give to families who have loved ones fighting in foreign lands. Who don't get to see, or be with them because they are fighting for our right to live in this country with the freedoms that we do.

As I write, I have a family member driving almost three thousand miles to join the rest of the family here in Texas. I pray for his safe trip, and for his good fortune once he arrives and begins his new life. It will be good to have both of my brothers here with me.

What am I going to give thanks for this year? Where to begin? First of all I am thankful for having another year with my mother. As much as she aggravates me, and at times makes me want to scream. I do realize there are people who would give anything for another Thanksgiving with their mother. So for this simple reason I give thanks for her.

Next I am thankful for my brothers. We have been more than siblings all of our lives. We are friends. My brothers are two people who know what it was like growing up in our house, and we have a deep connection from surviving those years.

I am also thankful for all of my friends, both old and new. Some I have known it feels like forever. Our albums are filled to bursting with memories, while my new albums are ready to collect new ones in.

Here we come to how thankful I am that I have a roof over my head, and food on the table. I have raiment upon my body, when others are in rags. Sometimes I lose sight of the fact that for all the struggle each month to keep all of these things. There are those who do not have them.

Last but not least, I am thankful for my followers. To those who take the time to stop, and read my posts. You are my future; the ones I hope that will consider buying my books, once they are published. So as you read this remember to be thankful for all that the all mighty has granted you. You never know when it could all be taken from you.

I hope you subscribe to my blog, that way you always get first read. Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.




 


Thursday, November 10, 2016

United We Stand??


Considering the election, I feel the need to write about my feelings on the situation. I am neither Democrat or Republican. I have always leaned toward voting against the top two parties. The simple reason being they both have too much power, and have forgotten the fundamentals that this country was founded upon. For just one election, I would love to see a candidate for one of the other parties win. That would indeed shake up this country.

I sit here watching the news, and reading on different forms of social media about the protests, and the slamming of the opposing side. What you fail to realize is that our enemies are watching too. They are literally rubbing their hands together in evil glee, thinking of the civil unrest in our great nation. They are watching us divide further each day, and in so doing leave ourselves vulnerable to their attacks. What happened to this being called the United States. How can we even carry that name any longer with pride, when our country is far from united? We are at war with ourselves. At this point in time, we should all be joining together to become the once again proud United States. One that our enemies once feared to attack, but now think nothing of it.

We instead of joining together as fellow countrymen and women, lead riots in the streets. Burn the flag we say we love so much. How is burning our flag showing anything, but disrespect for all those who have fought for your very right to stand in protest and burn it. Today is where we need to start taking a good hard look at ourselves. Do we want to become the once proud nation we were, or do we want to leave ourselves open to the tyranny just waiting to ransack our borders?

I know the system isn’t perfect, and it is need of major repair. But until we join, we are doomed to fail. I am an American. I will always fight for the land I call home. If you’re not going to fight for our country, then we are all lost. Only working together will we win. Now more than ever we need to remember why our founders chose to call our country by the name it did. We have already seen what happens when our country divides, do we want to re-live those times?


I am done, I will climb off my soapbox now. I just felt this need to voice some of what I am feeling in the wake of Election 2016. This is after all a blog about things that pertain to my life, and for better or worse, all our lives are going to be impacted by this election. 

Remember all it takes is a small spark to start a fire. So, all it takes is for me to reach out to you, and then you to reach out to someone else. If we continue we will have a chain of people united together. Think about that the next time you’re standing in a line. Look at the differences of each person in the line, but if we held each other’s hand, we would all be united. That’s all it takes. Thanks for stopping, and taking the time to read what I had to say.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Discovery


I was nominated for a Liebster Award by Theresa Jacobs: She writes a blog called the Writer's Life, about well the life of a writer.
When I saw the notification I was a bit shocked. Why you may ask? The first reason is that I have only been blogging a couple months. My second reason was that I had never heard of the award. I clicked on her blog, and read what she had to say. I quickly learned a bit about it there and she gave the link to the website where I could go and find out about the Liebster Award Rules and Information.

One of the rules is that I have to write a little something about my favorite blog. That was a really hard decision to make. I ended up writing them all out on tiny pieces of paper and just drawing one out of a hat. I know, cliché much. The winner just happened to be the one I think may be my favorite when I really think about it.

Every time I open my Tumbler account, I am greeted by posts and re-posts of Count Blogula. This of course is written by a beautiful, creative woman named Jenna Moreci. Jenna released her first book, Eve: The Awakening, in 2015. It wasn’t her book though that caught my attention. It was her blog, as well her vlog on YouTube. In both, she answers questions about almost anything you can imagine, but for the most part writing and her life with her fiancĂ©e Cliff.
Jenna is working on her next book, The Savior’s Champion while helping to care for Cliff, who suffered a spinal cord injury. She holds little back on her blog about what her life is like as a writer, as well as caregiver. She keeps a smile on her face as well as one on her readers with her sense of humor and outlook on life. Add in Cliff to the mix and what can I say you have a brilliantly written blog. 
  
I have finally made it to who I would like to nominate for this award. I never realized how hard it would be to find blogs that I like that had under two hundred followers. I hope as of this post; they still fall in the under range. Here are my nominees:

  1.    A Minute of Time by Cindy Miller- Cindy is one of my oldest and dearest friends, but it wasn’t until she started writing this blog, that I got to know her in ways I never had before. She is brand new to blogging, she has only posted twice, but she is an avid gamer and lover of dragons. She is a devoted wife and loving mother. So that is why she is number one on my list.
  2.    Writing is Fun by Stephanie Corvin- Stephanie is a working on her first book just as I am. We met on Twitter. Soon after we became writing partners and friends. Stephanie has finished her first draft, and a group she belonged to at the time was working on Author Promotion and building your presence on the internet. One of the topics they were talking about was building your website. So we began building our websites within days of each other, and soon after our blogs were born. Stephanie’s blog talks of her daily battle to complete her book. She also writes about everything else that happens in her path to becoming a NY Times Bestselling Author, which is her dream.
  3.    StoryBook Ink by Sue Frye- I have gotten to know Sue through a Facebook group called The 1% Writer’s Group. She is an author of Children’s books and a poet. Her blog is informative for anyone wishing to get better at writing their own book. She writes her blog in a way even a beginner will understand it, as well as someone who has been writing years.
  4.    Inky Wings by Vanessa Preston- Here we have another member of the 1% Writer’s Group. I love Vanessa’s blog, because it is a joy to read. She is close to publishing her first book and her blog takes you with her on the journey.
  5.    Random Notes by a Debut Author byAnni Fife- As you may have guessed, this blog belongs to another member of our group. As the title might suggest it takes us on the journey Anni has taken to publishing her debut novel. She is open with her posts, and I think others will enjoy it as much as I do.
  6.    The Cardamom Tea by The DynamicWriter- I found this blog on my daily travels around Google. The author writes about a little of everything, and I love reading others view of the world.
  7.    Work It, Working Mom by ElizabethDoren- My final nominee is a blog written by a working mom. She shares her views on daily life, while working and caring for her family. 


I was asked to also answer the following questions:

   1. Why did you start blogging? I started blogging because I wanted a way to connect with people, and build a following for my work.

  2. If you can give any advice to a child, what would it be? I would tell them to read. There is a whole world that can be opened up just by reading a book. It not only educates you, it opens your mind to all the possibilities.

 3. What is your dream for life? My dream is to continue to write, and if everything works according to my plan. I hope to see my books published and making a nice profit. I also see myself travelling, and watching my niece and nephew grow up.

 4. Where is your favorite place to travel? I have only traveled within the United States. I loved living in the Pacific Northwest, it is so beautiful there. I have a bit of gypsy and I just love to road trip everywhere. No matter where you go, you can always find beauty and a heartbeat unique to that place. I am still looking for that place that says HOME to me.

5. What show did you last binge watch? The Ranch on Netflix. The reason? Two words. Sam Elliott.

6. Do you have a favorite book you read over and over? This is a hard question. I have several books I have repeatedly read over and over.

7. What was the last lie you told? The last lie I told was to myself. I told myself I would work on my blog. Oops. As for lying to someone else? I really can’t think of any, except maybe, if they asked if I was okay. My answer is automatically “Yes”, even when I’m not.

8. What do you want everyone to know about you? That I’m not as strong as I let everyone believe.

9. What was your first thought this morning when you woke up? “What the hell was that dream about?!”

10. Who do you admire?  My nephew. He is an amazing young man. He just turned 17 yrs. Old. He is Autistic. He is also non-verbal; but for someone who really doesn’t speak much. He says so much with just his personality, his facial expressions, and he has this uncanny knack for knowing how to make you smile. On top of autism, he was dealt a random card in his deck of life. He also has Neurofibromatosis Type 1, this is not a pretty disease, but he doesn’t let it slow him down.

And we finally are drawing to a close, with the only thing left being the questions for my nominees to answer.

  1.If you had to choose one sense (touch, taste, smell, vision or hearing) to lose, which would you choose? And why?
  2.What would you advise to anyone just beginning as a blogger, or to potential bloggers?
  3.What did you want to be when you grew up?
  4.If you could choose any point in history to live, when and where would it be?
  5.What is your passion?
  6.What is your favorite television show or movie?
  7.What is the first book you remember ever reading?
  8.Where in the world would you love to travel?
  9.If a child asked you for your best advice, what would it be?
 10.What makes you smile?
 11.When was the last time you cried?

And we are at the end. Once again, I want to thank Theresa for the nomination. I hope you enjoy checking out my out everyone's blog. As for my nominees, remember to go check out the rules or guidelines, if you accept the nomination.Here is that link: http://theglobalaussie.com/the-official-rules-of-the-liebster-award-2016/






Saturday, October 1, 2016

To Close To the Sun.


For the last week and a half I have felt off. I thought it was because of the tooth infection I had. Now a couple days later, the swelling has gone, and the pain is no longer an issue. And yet I still feel off. Not quite here. Just can’t seem to motivate to do anything. All I want to do is lie in my bed, curled around my hugger pillow and sleep.
Today it finally occurred to me that I had forgotten that being Bipolar brought mood swings. Sometimes, several within moments of each other. It also sinks you into deep depressions and then reverses into  moments of exhilaration. Those moments you feel if you fly high enough you might actually touch the sun.
I had been riding the cycle. Going through the ups and downs of the rotating moods for so long, I didn’t realize I wasn’t rotating to happy. My record had a scratch, and I was repeating the same mood. Only with each day the scratch went deeper, and as it did, my mood went darker. Laughter was waving goodbye, as fear and anger tried to find a comfortable seat.
I think what woke me up to this depression,was having a PTSD moment. I just had a quick flash of memory that sent me hurtling back to a tender age. My feelings of panic, hopelessness, and fear once more sending me into a grand panic attack. I still find it amazing how something that happened so long ago,still has such power over me. You think you have beaten it, and in one quick flash you realize you were wrong.
This moment happened a couple days ago, and even while I write this, I feel my heartbeat quicken in remembrance. I think that when my depressions are in full swing, that is when I am most vulnerable to the past and all the ghost residing there. It is why I work so hard to avoid them, and how when they hit, I want to deny them. It’s bad enough fighting that feeling of being sucked into a muddy bog. The ooze slowly working it’s way up your body, the gooey, clinging feeling of it as it weighs you down. You fight to keep yourself held up so that it can’t wrap around your ribcage, because once there it won’t let you draw a deep breath to scream.
That is how I usually know my depression is lifting. The ooze slides back down my body and then one day, I am able to take a step without feeling as if my feet are weighed down with sandbags. I can take a full breath. I can see the sun peeking from behind the clouds. Then comes the worry that I will swing in the completely opposite direction, and go through what they call a manic phase. Sometimes I think these scare me more than the depression. During these times, my line from above comes so close to the truth. I try and fly to close to the sun.
And as Icarus, I also pay no heed to the wax melting and my feathers falling away. Just as I outstretch my arm to touch the burning flames, my wings fall away from my body, and I go into free-fall. During this time anything can happen. I have no fear. I am just fascinated at the blisters forming on my burnt fingertips. Never grasping that the ground is not going to make for a happy landing.
When I am in manic mode, I make rash decisions. I take chances in ways that I usually know better than to do. I make choices that later will come back to either haunt me, or bite me in the ass. Ask anyone who lives with this disease, and they will tell you each day feels like you are the tightrope walker. One slip either way can cause serious problems. Some like me find the medication helps, but for others it doesn’t. Each person is different and so is their journey. I found therapy also helped. You can say “well I talk to my friends or family”, but it is different in therapy. Within that brief moment, you can lower your shields and be honest.
I know you think you are honest to your friends or family, but in my case, I have never been able to let down my shields. I love my brothers with all my being, but I will never be able to talk to them about what haunts my mind. I am hard wired to protect them, and our past has some dark corners that are left better hidden from their view.
There are also parts that they, Thank God were never around for. I think those moments are the ones I keep held locked away, hidden so deeply, that it is only in those moments like the other day, one will break free of its chains. It then comes thundering back, just to bang on my door, and let me know they are still there. Reminding me that I can never be free from my memories. Never free from those defining moments, that affected me on such a deep level that it changed me completely. I have found the most powerful weapon against us is our own mind.
So, being said, that is why I prefer to spend my time within the sanctuary of my therapist office. When I dare reach deep inside and put key to lock on imprisoned memories.
Somehow this has become twisted as my mind. I started writing about my depression and here I am discussing things other than it. This is how closely linked my mental illness is to my well being. How things in my past brought into play new factors. Each person’s journey is different, but not always that far from each other.
This is how we find support from like minded people. They may read this post, and think I know that feeling. I agree with what was said. This is the reason, I put myself into my blog. Why I let people inside what I am feeling. Because this is what I look for when I am reading about someone else’s journey. I want to say “yeah, I know what you mean”. I want to feel a connection, know that here is someone that understands the everyday battle. The fight to try and fit in, the fight to get fair treatment; we all know Mental Illness is still taboo.
We all know the fight to find the right medicine, the right treatment,even the right health coverage. Which is another pet peeve. Trying to get the help you need, when so few doctors accept low income patients. Or worse fall in my hellish hole of care, I have insurance that covers therapy, but has a high co-pay, and my income low enough that I cannot afford to pay. So for people like me who thrive receiving therapy, we are left out in the cold.  My therapy becomes a blog about my illness. I guess those who read my blog, stop in and make this group therapy session. I hope if I do touch you in some way, you feel you can leave me a comment.
Either way, I am blessed for all who stop by, and take the time to read my attempts to put word to page. To open myself up, and step outside my comfort zone. I am hoping as we slip fully into my favorite time of year, my depression slips away with the remnants of summer. And you come back to visit me again.

I hope you have a blessed day. Happy October!!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Remembering Days Gone By


I was just sitting down to start to write this post, when I heard my niece yell. “I’m going to the creek with K. I have my phone if you need me.” She then headed out the door.
An innocent statement. One I hear almost daily. Today it just struck a chord with me about how time changes. Yet it doesn’t change.
I know, I’m confusing, but as I flashed to when me and my brothers were the age my niece is now, of how many times we ran out the door making much the same statement.
The difference being; that we didn’t have the small piece of technology that seems to govern my niece’s existence. Well, that is how it seems when the threat of it being taken away is used as punishment.
Our way of being contacted was what I called the Neighborhood Mom Holler. Let me explain.
I grew up in a mid-sized town, where everyone seemed to know everyone else. My mom would stand on either the front porch or the back steps. It all depended in which direction we had said we were heading when we left. She then would yell (holler) our name.
Now some of you are probably smiling because you know what I’m talking about. For the unenlightened, her holler would be picked up by mom’s up and down the street until one of their voices caught our ear and we hollered back.
Now all of us kids knew, you had better holler back that you were coming. Or you were sure to get in trouble for making mom stand out there yelling for you when she had better things to do. Like yelling for the next kid on the list, to get home for supper, church, chores, the list goes on.
You had better hope that you heard her holler too. Because if by some chance you went beyond the boundaries of her holler network, well let’s just say I grew up when switches still grew on trees. And we had better bring a good one for what was coming.
Now days all a mom has to do is look up their kid in contacts and either send a text or call them. Some parents even have those nifty apps that track the kids phone. Guess who came up with this easy way of getting our kids attention, that’s right us. It was those of my generation, that began the innovations our children enjoy today. Those things we grew up wishing we had, we then grew up and invented.
I’ll step back from that discussion and save it for another time. This post isn’t about that. This post is about how time changes, yet stays the same. We tell the kids our “when we were their age” stories, but in a way they are just the new improved version of what we were told by our parents.
Do I miss the Neighborhood Mom  Holler? My answer to that is a resounding yes. I miss those days, when people were friends with their neighbors. Our parents weren’t worried about letting us kids run around the neighborhood.Why? Because they knew the people who lived all around them. They were our Mom’s eyes and ears watching out for us just as our mom was that for the other parent’s.
I miss when you played outside until the streetlights came on and then you came home. You weren’t worried someone would snatch you, because guess what. People actually sat out on their porches and talked to each other. They weren’t locked behind closed doors buried in technology. There was always someone watching your back so to say.
So yes, I miss those days, because they did seemed less stressful. There was a sense of community that is sorely lacking in this day and age. Maybe if we went back to that feeling. There might be less fighting, and instead of gunfire and hatred. We could once again hear the sound of the Neighborhood Mom Holler.

Friday, September 9, 2016

New Project: Tales About Touching Lives


A couple days ago, in an effort to keep my Mom's memory sharp, we were talking about her old job. My mother had dreams of being a nurse, she was in her first year of college when she had to leave school to care for my grandmother, who had been diagnosed with cancer. Mom never did return to school.

Even though she never became a nurse, she did become a nurse's assistant. She in fact was working as a nurse's assistant at the same hospital, my grandmother spent her last days in. She worked on and off in this occupation all my life, right up until the day she was retired medically with a disabling injury. 

It takes little to take my mother back to the days of working with her patients and the ones who in some way or another touched her life. As we spoke I remembered having similar conversations with my paternal grandmother. You see, my mom's mother passed away three years before I was born, I never knew her. 

I guess you could say I come from a family of women in the nursing field. In fact at one time I thought to follow in their footsteps. My grandma was a LPN, I know they don't called them that anymore. She was a licensed practical nurse. She worked in her profession until she retired. For most of my life, she also held the title of Charge Nurse at the last few nursing homes she worked in. Years later when I went to work in those same homes, the residents still remembered my grandmother's kindness and care. Many remembered me visiting her as a child.

I never went far in the nursing field. I became a Certified Nurse Assistant and did work for a few years as such. I even worked at a couple of the same nursing homes at the same time as my mom did. So we had patients in common we remembered. It is these patients that I use to spark my mom's memory. So while we were reminiscing, I thought of all my friends who also work in the field or have worked in the field. And I felt an idea start to percolate.

To gather those stories. Some happy, some sad. Some that are even funny. To gather them all together in a book, celebrating the way people touch our lives.  As people in the nursing field, we see people at their lowest and some at their best. We watch family interactions and we see families forget. These are the tales I want to tell. To let the world know that even for a brief moment in each of our lives , we touched.

I am asking those of you who are my friends, family and even if we don't know each other but you also work in the field, to please send me your tales. If I choose to use your story, I will get in touch with you by email with more details.  So please look back through your own memories and if there is a good one, sad one or a heartbreaking one, please share them.

*Note: If you would prefer to share your story to me privately feel free to email me at catseyegang5@gmail.com 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Hello September

This has not been a good month so far. Great way to start my blog post huh? Well it's the truth and this is all about my journey as a writer and in life also. So yeah, major crappy first week.

You're probably asking yourself what could make my week be so bad. It has been a week of getting next to no writing done because every time I sit down to write some new thing pops up that needs my attention more. Anyone who gets paid once a month will understand the payday madness that comes with the first of the month. You have to sit down and decide where you are going to send all your money and once all your bills are paid you are left with this small stack that is supposed to get you through to the end of the month.

It rarely does.

Also September is the last month of the third quarter and I set quarterly goals and I took a look at my list and realized, out of ten goals I had only finished five. that means I have five goals to accomplish this month. And all but one revolves around my mother. It seems getting things done for her is becoming a bigger hassle as time goes by, but these are things that need to get done. That is the whole reason I listed them as a goal in the first place. I guess even that fire wasn't hot enough to move me into action.

I do have to say I am proud of what I have accomplished in the last two months. Those goals were to get all my social media accounts setup and get my blog started. Now I have done all that and have not one but two blogs. Now I just need to get to my writing goal for my book. I'm close but not close enough.

We had a holiday, Monday. The official end to summer some say. I got to spend  the night before in the emergency room with my mother.She fell and I took her  in to make sure nothing was broken, they had done the x-rays and gotten the results back when the nurse asked how my Mom's head felt and she said her neck still hurt and the nurse checked to see what the cat-scan showed just to find out the Dr. didn't request it. So we got to stay longer, The diagnosis: Arthritis. hell, I could have told her that and saved us the trip. So as you can see a great week.

The worst part is that my Mom lives in a security building, that has a lock down system that activates at eleven p.m. each night. Since my mother in her wisdom pulled her emergency call button instead of me, the ambulance arrived before I did and they had already gotten Mom on the gurney and had her out in the hall and had locked her door. I was not thinking clearly and forgot about the stupid security measures. You have to have a remote to get into the building after eleven, guess where the remote was.

Yes, indeed it was. Locked inside my Mother's apartment.  I realized this as we sat there in the trauma ward around one am in the morning. So long story short, I had to bring her home and give her my bed, and I got to sit up all night until eight am the next morning,so we could get into her building. I didn't go to bed until around ten am on the fifth. 

Usually this would have only been a mild aggravation in the life of being my mother's caretaker, but Monday's are when I post my newest post on my The Adventures of The Cat's Eye Gang blog. so as you can imagine , I didn't get it written, so I had nothing to post. Her it is Tuesday night and I just now finished it at a few minutes before midnight. So tomorrow there will be two post releases. It will be interesting to see those numbers.

Well I guess I am done with my griping. Oh just FYI, sitting in a ER chair for over seven hours and then sitting up the rest of the night, does not make CFS symptoms go away, so I am fighting them as I write. So now I am going to find my medication and try to get some rest. 

I hope all of my readers have a blessed September and enjoy the kids going back to school. My favorite time of year is just around the corner, so I am looking forward to that.



Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Decisions & Plans


I was trying to decide what my subject would be for this weeks post. Usually the idea has germinated by now and I have it half written in my mind or on my Inspirations page on my website. This week it didn't happen. 

This week my brain has been in this kind of sleep mode. It hasn't wanted to engage to write much of anything, which most writers understand. It is getting over the hurdle and just sitting down and writing. And then you hope that what words you put to page actually form a cohesive idea and are something that your reader will actually want to take the time to read.

I am also in the middle of trying to decide if I should start doing a carbon post here on this blog, of my blog I put up on my website. I want to increase traffic between the two and keep the momentum and growth going up. I sometimes feel as if my other blog gets lost on my website, and people forget it's there. These are the things that keep me awake at night. I want to build a strong readership, not only for my blogs but for when my books are published also.

My brain is always cranking out these plans, but if I have no readers, then where does that take my plans? Straight to the recycle bin? I want to be more engaging to my readers and offer them something of value to read, something that brings them back each week wanting to read more. I thought I had found the perfect approach with releasing the first three chapters of The Cat's Eye Chronicles, as I wrote them in their drafting stage. 

You know, a little bit of how a writer goes from just putting the words to page as it flows from their mind to the tips of their fingers onto the keyboard or through the writing apparatus of their choice. I had even thought to do this with the whole book, and then step away for the editing phase and beta phase, then return with the finished and published book.

The ones who had been with me through the process would I guess be my pre-betas, so to say. What do you call the step before beta? Great a new question to explore. (takes out notepad, scribbles what is before beta?) Where was I? Oh, yeah. My ideas, the things that percolate late in the night as I toss and turn trying to sleep.

I have actually thought of moving my blog from my site to it's own space on Blogger. And since I also put stuff up on Wattpad, that I would just move the book to it. And just make the blog on my site a monthly one, leaving this one my weekly one. Like my title says decisions and plans. All this while trying to write my MS "Wild Grows the Rose". 

I guess the answer will eventually come to me or some of my friends will offer me some much needed advice. That is what friends are for, right? Also as you, my readers are the ones who I am trying to keep coming back and to even subscribe to not only my blogs but my website. I welcome your thoughts on this.

And as I end this weeks ramble, I just want to say thank you for checking out my blogs and my website. I am always trying to keep it fresh and up to date.  If you would like me to write further on any of my subjects that I have covered before, please feel free to let me know in the comments. Hope your day is filled with joy & laughter. 



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

When Did I Become...?


This week’s post is on a subject that nobody ever thinks will happen to them until one day they wake up and realize that it has indeed happened. I am talking about becoming the caregiver to your elderly parent. I had that wake up a few years ago, when I realized my Mom’s memory was getting really bad and she was forgetting how to find her way home while driving. Let me tell you that is not a fun call to get, you hear on the other end this- Mom: Rita, I need you to come get me. I forgot where I was supposed to be going and I am somewhere I have never been. Then you spend an hour trying to figure out exactly where she is at.

 That was when I had to make the tough decision and convince my Mom to give up her license. The time had come when I had to take a good look at my Mom’s life and her health. I actually had to stop looking at my Mom as my Mom, but as a stranger. I had to take a really hard look at the woman before me and see that she just couldn’t do it all anymore.

I found out around the same time that my mother had liver disease to add to her already long list of ailments. Diabetes being a major one. I was told she would not get better, only get worse. She just wasn’t a good candidate for transplant. That she would most likely die from it. Yeah, not good news to be sure. It was because of the liver disease combined with her other ailments, that she would become confused. So that is when it happened.

I became my Mother's caregiver. Somewhere along the way, I became the parent of my parent. I know many that can attest to the feeling of panic in that statement. I had just reached the time of my life when I should have been enjoying my own life, and I was left caring for the needs of an adult who resented the fact that I had to help her. 

She hated having her freedom curtailed by the loss of her license. She had to sell a car she had worked hard to get after divorcing my Dad. She had to make appointments with me to go do what she needed to do. She eventually had to hand over her finances because she kept overdrawing her bank account. She would forget to put a check in the registry or she would forget to pay a bill. Every step of the way was a battle with her, me trying to convince her that she needed the help, her thinking I had it in for her and wanted just to steal her money.

Every visit seemed a fresh new battle, at least to her. For me, it was the same one we had the last time I had been there. Her memory continues to deteriorate; I have just begun to feel that it may be more than just dementia. Some days I wake up and wonder “why me?” When did I draw the short straw? I was never her favorite child, and Lord knows I was never a Mommy’s girl. I was Daddy and Grandma’s girl. Yet here I find myself, the one doing it.

I go each day wondering what new incident will occur involving my Mom. Will this be a good day, where her memory is good and she can socialize with her friends? Or will I get the confused call asking where something is, or when are we doing something, or God forbid, that she has fallen and needs me to come help her off the floor. This is the life of an adult care giver. You become so engrossed in their life that somewhere along the way, you own life gets put on hold. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to run errands, take her to the doctor, clean her house, do her laundry, go grocery shopping, the list never seems to get smaller. Stuff just gets added as each new thing she can’t do becomes your job. You go home and you are just too tired to participate in your own life.

It finally got bad enough that I had to take a step back. When my own health began taking a turn for the worse. I kept going, ignoring the signs until I did myself injury by not getting treatment and resting. That is when I found that I wasn’t the only “parent of a parent”. There were others, who like me had to take a step back and realize we do have our own lives. I found out there are agencies out there with the sole purpose of helping adult caregivers. I found there are support groups that I can join so I can talk to others like myself who feel overwhelmed at times and don’t know what to do next
.
I found there have been books written by others just like me. I could actually take a breath and think again.

Since I have found the Department of Aging and Disability, my mom now has a chore girl, who comes in to clean her house and do her laundry. I still act as her taxi to the doctor’s and I do her shopping and handle her finances. And yes, she still fights me on that from time to time. But we are finding our groove, and I am slowly taking back my life. I live each day on a positive note, hoping that this is another day I don’t have to take that next step, which is 24-hour care as she has entered end stage with her liver disease. I know that there is help out there for me and where to look for it. If you are perchance just finding yourself in this situation, stop and take a breath. It isn’t going to be easy, and it will be emotional, but you can do it.

Here are some the sites I found helpful. I hope you will too.

Elder Care:

www.caregiver.org  Supports and assists families and caregivers of adults with debilitating health conditions. Offers programs and consultation on care-giving issues and free publications and support online.
www.caregiveraction.org  Educate, support, empower, and advocate for those who care for their ill, aged, or disabled loved ones.
www.ec-online.com  Online support community for caregivers.

www.CaringBridge.org   Websites to connect family and friends during serious health event.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Exhausted

Bone weary. You hear people say this, but have you ever actually thought about what they actually meant when they would say it. I do because I have different levels of weariness. Of an exhaustion so profound that it takes every bit of energy you can muster to pick up your arm or take a step. A vacuum that sucks the sparks that fuels you. Leaving you feeling like a fish out of water, fighting to breathe.
I have fought this through most of my life. I got to the point, I got tired of telling my doctors that I always felt exhausted. It took everything for me to get up each day and go to work. Forget doing anything after work, I would just be too tired. I had to fix supper in increments. Too weak to fix it all at once. There was no such thing as a quick meal.
It was not so bad until I contracted a serious bacterial infection, that came close to ending my life. After I recovered, it seemed like the exhaustion became more pronounced and would last longer. It took longer for me to recover from simple illnesses such as colds, the flu, etc. They just seemed to drag on, taking longer and longer to recover from.
Don’t get me started on trying to go out for the day with friends or family; to do some shopping, go to the mall, go to the fair.  I would need recovery days from these things that once I took for granted. Now I would wake up the next morning exhausted, tired to the bone. And I would hurt. It would actually hurt in my muscles, just from me being active. Doing an everyday thing. I would sit on the edge of my bed perplexed. Wondering if I had done something to hurt myself and had just forgotten it. But no, it was just I was tired.
It wasn’t until I started noticing that I was losing a lot of weight and not doing anything to account for the fact. Sure I had kicked the soda habit, but that had been a couple years ago. No, this was several pounds in a few shorts months’ time. I was also losing my hair. This I think concerned me more than the weight, because I have always been overweight, so knocking off fifty pounds was a hallelujah moment. But losing my hair, that upset me. I have always prided myself on my hair. I have baby fine hair that was never thick to begin with. Now when I looked down at the bottom of the shower, I was seeing fist-sized clumps rushing towards the drain.
I would sit down to comb out the tangles and a small auburn animal would appear upon my desk. This is when I knew I needed to talk to my doctor. Early in the year, I had some blood work done by my neurologist, because we were trying to determine the reason for me having Idiopathic Peripheral Neuropathy. People who have Diabetes will recognize the term, because many have to deal with it. As I am not diabetic, the doctor was trying to figure out what could be causing me to have it in not only my feet but also my hands. To this day the cause is still unknown and we may never know.
          One of the blood test he ran was to see if I had Lupus or some other type of autoimmune disease. When my ANA (antinuclear antibody) test came back irregular, he was concerned and sent me for more intensive blood work. Apparently the first test had read high for some reason, but now it was a bit above normal, but nothing to be concerned about. This was the first time I had ever tested positive for this. And I had been checked before because of my family history. I walked out that day not knowing the cause, and was just started on a course of medication to help alleviate my symptoms.
Now after all these months, I was at the doctor again. Telling her how I felt and mentioned the positive ANA. She told me it could be nothing, but she wanted to have some blood drawn and see what was happening. It might be a simple vitamin deficiency and nothing to worry about. So I visited the vampires and had my blood drawn and went home to wonder and worry.
A couple days later the doctor’s nurse called and said she was referring me to a Rheumatologist. That my blood work had come back and had caused her some concern. Now I was concerned. What had my blood work shown? So I went into my patient portal and pulled up my blood test and compared them to the previous doctor’s visit. This time my ANA was back up and my SED rate was high also. I began to worry that I might have Lupus. It had been diagnosed in the family before, so I knew a bit about it.
The day came for my appointment with the rheumatologist and with a fair bit of apprehension I made my way there. I wanted to know what was wrong with me, but on the other hand, did I want to know? The doctor was a nice guy who put me at ease, and I felt good about asking him questions. He told me what all could be possibly wrong and that he would be with me every step of the way. He sent me for a very comprehensive blood panel, I ended up with two vampires working over my poor depleted veins by the end because of all the vials needed. Now it was time to go home and wait, and wait, and yes, wait some more.
A month later I went back to see him and find out what the tests had revealed. The first thing he told me was no, I did not have Lupus. Here I took a deep breath; I hadn’t even realized I was holding my breath. And then he said that I didn’t have RA (rheumatoid arthritis), which had been up on the possible list. He told me that my blood work showed I had arthritis and that I would show a positive ANA from now on. I also still had a high SED rate, but that could be due to my arthritis flaring up. He said not to count Lupus out in my future, but for now I didn’t have. I just carried the markers for it.
So here I was back at the beginning point. True by this time, I was no longer losing weight and my hair though still thin, wasn’t falling out in clumps. But still I had no answers as to why I was always exhausted. I didn’t figure that one out until I was going over my paperwork from the visit and I looked at my list of diagnosis’. There in bold black type were the words Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I had never heard of it and none of my doctors had ever mentioned the diagnosis with me. So the inquisitive beast I am, I quickly put it into my search engines and started reading. My first stop was here http://www.mayoclinic.org/disease-conditions/chronic-fatigue-syndrome
The more I read the more I kept saying yes, that’s right. That’s how I feel. It felt good to have a name to associate with the symptoms I had been fighting for over fifteen years. I now knew that it wasn’t in my head, or that I was making it up to get out of doing things. I actually had a reason for the way I felt. My journey of discovery didn’t end with the Mayo Clinic website. It opened up a whole new world of support from people who had been through the same thing as I had. People who I could talk to about what I was experiencing and they understood.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or as it is also known Myalgic Encephalomyelitis has an informative site at http://www.name-us.org. I urge anyone interested in learning more to check out the two sites listed or do your own web search. And if you feel like this sounds like what you are going through, take the information to your doctor so that they can run the tests needed to diagnose it.
As a writer, I sit here sometimes and just the thought of moving my fingers to type wears me out, but I have decided that I am not going to let my health determine my destiny. I will fight through the exhaustion. And yes, there are days it kicks my butt and I have to back down. I have to step away from the computer and go lay down. You know, I don’t let those days make me feel less anymore. I let them make the good days feel like I am the best. And that I can do great things. So until next time. Stay positive and healthy. And keep doing what makes you happy and fulfilled.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Steps.

   
  In my life, silence has always played a very important role. You see I grew up in a household ruled by silence. I grew up in a house ruled by Mental Illness. One of the biggest things I remember growing up was that we must always be quiet. As a child you have this instinctive need to run, jump and yell. You are young, you have joy at being alive. Unless it is taken from you that is.
   When I was little, I never knew the name for the disorder that ruled our lives, and when I call it a disorder I truly mean disorder. As I understand it now, that is what my Dad’s life felt like to him. Disordered. My Dad suffered from Schizophrenia.
   At his worst moments, when his demons were so loud in his mind that he could hear nothing but them. When he struggled not to listen to them and follow what they asked of him. Those times when he hid himself away in the back of closets to keep from harming anyone; especially one of us kids. That is when we had to be quiet. We had to in a way hide ourselves away from his demons as to not awaken their attention to us. It was in these quiet moments that I began to write. To slip into my own world where I could be carefree and alive. Not a solemn shadow of a girl in a corner.
   I remember watching my Dad stand in the middle of our bright and cheerful kitchen. It was painted sunshine yellow and had large windows. And he would stand there like a thunderstorm threatening to drive the sunshine away. He would beat on his chest, like if he hit himself hard enough the pain would go away. His eyes shadowed with confusion, as he moved to the wall and started banging his head against it. I think he thought it would quiet the voices, but then he would start banging his head harder and harder. All of sudden our house would no longer be silent; my mom would start yelling at him to stop. And the yelling would scare my younger brothers and they would begin to cry. Chaos would take hold.
   Not long after, I would gather my brothers and go across the street to the neighbor’s house, he would then go back to help my Mom calm down my Dad. We would usually return the next day to begin the silence once again. Never knowing when something would trigger the explosions so prevalent in our lives.
   All the while my Dad battled his demons, my mother had her own demons because she also suffered from Mental Illness. Yeah, I got lucky with my gene pool. Studies show children born to parents who both have a mental illness are 50%-75% more likely to suffer it themselves. I’m glad I didn’t know that until I started group therapy for my Bipolar disorder. It would have really bugged me. 
   You may think my childhood sounds like hell, but it wasn’t. On my Dad’s good days; when he had the demons under control. On those days he was the best Dad. He was loving, had a great sense of humor and let his only little girl put makeup on him and put hair rollers and barrettes in his hair. Some of my favorite memories are of him coming to the dinner table and still have my “makeover” present and usually he had a barrette or two still in his hair. He was the Dad that would let the boys crawl all over him like he was a jungle gym. That’s the thing about being mentally ill, you can still live a normal life. You just have to live it within limits.
   I didn’t know that either one of my parents battled with their demons or anything about what caused them. Not until I was a teenager and I started asking questions about the past and about things that were surfacing in my mind that apparently I had blocked out. Things too traumatic to handle as a child, but somehow had enough impact to cause a change to my core personality. When my own mental illness reared its ugly head. That is when I began the journey back down the rabbit hole of my memories to the quiet; to the act of silence that was my beginning.
  I worried that I would suffer the same disorder, that with one wrong turn his demons would find me. How do you know if it is you or if it is your fears that make you ill. I am sure that this must be a fear many children of mentally ill parents suffer. You wonder if you are projecting their psychosis' onto yourself. 
  Sometimes I think this is where my Anxiety/Panic disorder was born. The constant fear and anxiety I grew up with. I only know that even today, I battle the crippling fear that one day I will wake up and my demons will have started whispering in my ear, and I won't be able to shut them out. I know I will never live my life quietly. I will scream to be heard above the rest. To shatter the silence.

   If you have ever known someone battling mental illness or want to know more, do your research. I found a lot of information at www.mentalhealthamerica.net

   If you ever feel you need to talk to someone please call the Crisis Line, the number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255)