Times are tough. You, me, and just about everyone seems to be going through some pretty rough patches, and we’re running out of ideas for all these lemons we’ve been given. If you follow me on Twitter or have friended me on Facebook, you have a fairly reasonable idea of my woes. About a month ago, physical health problems became an issue for both myself and my husband. First, my husband had some internal bleeding issues that needed serious diagnostics. A couple of hospital visits and one colonoscopy later, we’re waiting impatiently on lab work to answer our questions. Suffice it to say, we’re hoping for benign results and the easiest condition to treat. What’s the worst that could happen, you ask? Why, a diagnosis of colon cancer, my dears. Should that be the case in a week and a half, I think I’ll have all the right to moping about with a “woe is me” attitude.
Can it get any worse than that, you ask? Why, yes it can! You see, a little over two weeks ago I experienced some of the most terrifying pain of my life. Only once in my life have I ever been as scared of pain as I was then — that was when I had salmonella poisoning. (Fyi, NEVER eat Peter Pan Peanut Butter. Yes, I’m still angry over 5 years later.) Actually, I was a lot more fearful for my life this time around. What started out as gas pains quickly escalated into dizziness, cold sweats, light-headedness, and sharp pains that felt like knives twisting around in my abdomen. I curled up into the fetal position on the bathroom floor, gasping for breath and pleading with my children to get their father. My husband tried to persuade me to go to the hospital, but it took another few minutes of pain before I realized it wasn’t going away. I conceded defeat and begged him to call 911. My “I’m uninsured and unemployed” side still nagged me to rethink the “error” of my ways, but it was too late to turn back. Let’s skip past the ambulance ride and time spent in the ER waiting room (because sometimes your fear of dying isn’t as founded as you think it is). One bag of IV fluids, some pain and antiemetic medication, and a couple cups of oral iodine contrast later, I received a CT scan that showed I had a ruptured ovarian cyst on my left ovary. Well no wonder I was in a world of pain! I received instructions to follow up with a gynecologist. Only, I’m unemployed and uninsured.
Whereas my husband has received care for his condition, I have not. As it would seem, a sliding scale clinic may see you and take a prorated amount of your money — but you’ll get what you pay for. I didn’t even get a prescription for birth control pills, which are the first line of defense against future cyst development. They are the least invasive form of treatment. I got about 5 minutes with the doctor before she hurried me along and told me to schedule my “annual.” For $20, I had a doctor tell me common knowledge about most of my issues and brush off my concerns. Even Medicaid will reimburse her more for a patient than I paid for my sliding scale fee. Of course she wouldn’t spend more time on me! Oh, but this post isn’t about my opinion of healthcare in our country. This is about me and my life. This is about more personal matters.
You see, I recently offered advice to a practical stranger on a blog I read just about everyday. Only after I posted it and walked away did I realize I was being a hypocrite. Only after I posted it did I realize that I need to follow my own advice and practice what I preach. I stopped, realized I’m being a fool, and began plotting the specifics of my digital sabbatical. Yesterday I divulged that I will be taking one very, very soon. Lately, I’ve been a wuss. I haven’t had the courage to face life head-on. I’ve not been myself, and I’ve been drifting through the past five months, hoping and praying for salvation. There’s one gigantic problem: I know I’m better than this. Gwen Bell once tweeted, “You have to be fucking fierce with your life. Nobody else will do that for you.” And you know what? I AM fucking fierce. If ever I need proof of that face, I needn’t look further than my HBA2C. You want fucking fierce? I roared with such ferocity while giving birth to my precious baby boy. Fucking fierce? You bet your ass I’m fucking fierce.
Life has been the opposite of a cake-walk — more like a liver-and-onions walk, or perhaps a tripe walk. Hell, walk isn’t even a word I choose to describe it. It’s been an all-out claw-your-way-out-of-the-ditch experience lately. And while the noise out there let’s me know that some people have it worse, some people are going through their own problems, that noise doesn’t make it easier. That knowledge doesn’t make it easier. In fact, it makes it harder because than I feel even worse for feeling like my life’s hit rock bottom. That noise isn’t comforting. It’s down-right stifling. People I love are hurting. People I’ve never met but feel like I’ve know them my whole life are hurting. And I’m powerless to help just about everyone at this point because I haven’t even made the effort to save myself. How can I save the world when I’m ignoring my inner ferocity? How can I make the world a better place when I’m wallowing in negativity on a daily basis? By virtue of being exposed to negative people, I have become fairly negative myself. When I plug in and see all my positive binary faces, I become more addicted to that digital hit. I close the laptop lid for an hour or so before I’m back for my next fix. I find myself living vicariously through those who have achieved more success than me. And then one day, I read something wonderful…
“Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”
I’ve been guilty of this for a very long time. I also realized that I’ve been struggling to be more authentic in my life since 2007, when I discovered Brenda Della Casa. For years she has inspired me to be more authentic, to take more control over my actions and words. And in all honesty, I’ve been afraid to share this post. But today? Today, she encouraged me to “use [my] voice.” Today, I’m using my voice. I’m peeling back the layers and bearing my uncensored self. Today, I’m telling you that life can be pretty fucking hard when you’re unemployed, uninsured, married to a man suffering from bipolarism* and GI disorders, raising three kids, living with your disabled in-laws, and about an hour away from decent medical care and shopping. Life can be pretty hard when you let all the hits knock you down into that muddy ditch. But as Kaileen Elise has said, “It’s easy to get down on yourself when the hits keep coming, but the only choice we have is to jump back in.” Indeed, it is time to jump back in. But I can’t do that with all the noise in my head. I need to unplug. To relax. To dig deep. To ruminate. To review my past accomplishments. To review my life as it is. To live the life I have instead of pining for the life I planned. I need a break. And with that, I bid you farewell for seven days. I won’t be checking email. I won’t be on Facebook or Twitter. I won’t be reading blogs. I’ll get my news from Brian, who seems to have reading news in record time down to an art form. I’m tuning out the world, and tuning into myself. I’m tuning into the 5 most important people in the world to me (I’ve included myself in this count because no one is as important to a person as their own self). See you in a week!
*A post is forthcoming regarding this admission. I’m taking a break, but not before I schedule some delicious words.