Sometimes it seems like my life is a perfect shit storm. Don't get me wrong, I have been incredibly lucky and blessed for most of it. It's only more recently that things have gotten away from me.
I'm still in shock and barely believe that my father passed away so suddenly. It's been difficult on all of us (I have 2 older sisters, 2 brother-in-laws, 3 nephews and 1 niece). One of the hardest things for me to process is that, after many years of being a caretaker to my mom while still working, he actually seemed to be enjoying life. When he wasn't working, he was with family. He mellowed as he aged. It was heartwarming to see how much he loved his grand kids and how he would do anything for them. He would be on the sidelines watching a bunch of 8 years old boys and girls attempting to play a "real" soccer game. He also went to school recitals and birthday parties--this is not something he usually did when I was growing up. All I can say is that his presence is going to be sorely missed. I find myself breaking down and crying because my heart hurts for the trauma my niece and nephews must be going through.
I've had multiple issues going on in my life, and maybe it's just easier for me to put them down in chronological order.
About 5 years ago, my best friend was diagnosed with an illness that scared the crap out of me. A quick search of his newly diagnosed illness made me incredibly sad. Very few people know about it. It's one of the main reasons I don't bring it up. I researched the fuck out of what he was diagnosed with only to learn that the average mortality rate is not great...at all. I can't put into words how heartbroken I was at learning this. Luckily, he has beaten the odds and continues to live a full and happy life. I've never ever forgotten, however, that there is a real chance that he could catch some infection that could set off a chain of events that would cause his death.
I'm not even kidding when I told my best friend that I was going to throw myself on his funeral pyre because his death would render me inconsolable. We have a connection that can't be described. We can read what is on each others mind, finish each others sentences, etc. I named this blog post "she's come undone" because it happens to be the title of our favorite book--we discovered this years and years after we read it. We also learned that one of our favorite movies growing up is a little gem called "the slipper in the rose." The movie is incredibly gay, and my husband finds it enormously amusing that we both adored it.
Flash forward to about a month ago. My dad was not doing well. The medication he was on to treat his cancer basically caused his body to go into shock. It seemed like the worst was behind us and that he could be stabilized.
I can't make this shit up when I say that it was that exact week that my husband was diagnosed with a serious illness that is so devastating that I am unable to write it down. We've spent the last month going to appointment after appointment after appointment seeking out 2nd and 3rd opinions of his original diagnosis.
In other words, my husband learned he was sick at the same time my father was dying.
I've had such guilt around the fact that I wasn't there when my father passed. Yes, I know it was sudden, but it still breaks my heart. I've had incredible remorse and many sleepless nights going over in my head how I could have told my dad one more time how much I loved him. Intellectually I know that my husband needed me to be with him more than my father, but it's still difficult to feel as if I failed my dad by not being with him.
I've spent half my life with my husband. He is insanely wonderful, smarter than anyone else I know, loving, emotive (especially for an engineer), patient, handsome, and I could go on and on. Seriously, can you believe that HE was worried about telling me about his diagnosis because he had been so concerned about how much I've been going through with my dad? I have no words to describe how amazingly lucky I am to have a husband who is so loving, caring, and in tune with my feelings.
I had lunch last week with my husband and my best friend. They have only met once or twice before, but know A LOT about each other because of me.
Because I am so close with my best friend, we both think it is not the best thing to have others around us when we have plans. We both feel like whomever is with us will feel horribly left out or ignored because we have a closeness that basically makes others around us invisible. This particular dynamic was not lost on my husband. Only instead of feeling left out, he got to see first hand how ridiculously close we are, and he "got" that our closeness is really quite difficult to put into words.
My husband wanted to see my best friend in person to let him know, in no uncertain terms, just how much I was going to need his support during his long medical treatment. The word loving doesn't even come remotely close to just how amazing this particular gesture was. Seriously, even in the midst of his own medical crisis, my husband felt the need to let my best friend know that I was really going to need him and his support. The whole situation blows me away and there wasn't a dry eye amongst us.
Learning of my husband's diagnosis kicked my ass into high gear. Who would have known that the contacts I made while working with the HIV positive community would come in handy in my personal life. I called in every favor I had to find out exactly who he needed to be seen by for his particular diagnosis. It just happens that coordinating appointments and speaking to medical professionals is something I am very good at. I've basically been working as his medical coordinator. It helps me feel a lot let helpless. Being well versed with the medical community has helped me negotiate his schedule. Of course, I insist on him having only the very best physicians, surgeons, and treatment team.
I've also learned that this includes both tangible and intangible considerations. Tangibles are the skill of the doctors and how many patients they have seen with this issue. Intangibles are things like how he felt after meeting the individual doctors and if he felt like he was being well taken cared of by a team of specialists. I've lost count of the number of hours we have physically spent at medical centers in the past month. My best guess is probably somewhere between 60 and 75.
We are both relieved to know that a treatment plan is now firmly in place. The road is going to be very rough, and his treatment will last about 6 months. All the medical professionals basically refer to this time as "the lost year".
I know god is mocking me when I went to a follow up eye appointment with my opthamologist this past Friday. I saw him the week before because I was seeing floaters in one eye, and have had it drilled into me that I am at high risk for retinal detachment. It was late Friday afternoon when my doctor told me that he saw a hole in my retina, and was being immediately referred to a retina specialist. I ended up having laser eye surgery to repair the hole. I'm still at risk for retinal detachment and possibly more emergency eye surgery. I've never been a candidate for lasik corrective surgery because of my severe near-sightedness.
My husband left work to gather me from the surgery appointment and was a bit disappointed that I didn't need an eye patch. I think he would have found it completely hilarious if I took to talking like a pirate and say "gaarrr, matey."
I can see how ridiculous this all seems. Most of the time I am consumed with grief that I am barely functional. At least I can occasionally find humor in this clusterfuck.
Sickness and death are complicated and taboo topics for many people. I've learned that my tolerance for bullshit, game playing, and pettiness is almost non existent. I've also learned that wanting to build a mini sex positive empire is so completely not important to me anymore.
The shear amount of compassion I have received by my friends, family, and people in the medical community is beyond touching. Seriously, I have no words to describe just how lovely, compassionate, and willing to help me through these series of issues people have been--it is not something I have taken for granted.
Not everyone has been all warm and fuzzy, however. I have lost some friends during the past few months. I'm usually someone who can very quickly and permanently close people out of my life. I guess I've struggled with a few former friends because I didn't want to believe that I had invested so much time with people who, when I needed them, were simply not there for me.
Believe me when I say the purpose of this blog post is not for you to feel pity for me. I guess I felt the need to let you guys know that there is so much more going on in my life right now beyond my dad's death. My life is completely absurd right now, and work is the last thing on my mind. I'm no longer accepting new coaching clients and have cleared my workshop schedule.
I'm someone who usually always gets back with people quickly. I'm no longer as responsive to people's calls, texts, and emails. It's not that I'm trying to avoid anyone--I'm just coming a bit undone.