just my thoughts

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tunnel vision

Been looking at this tunnel for months now.  This year hasn’t been the best, but I really can’t gripe much, because it could be worse.  Yes, things can get worse.  I’ve had those years too.  It’s been a while since I felt like pieces of the sky were falling, and hitting my head, but this year has taught me that it is time to bring out the safety helmet before the next piece of sky whacks me.

I don’t mean to sound negative, and I am sure that there are plenty of oh woe is me blogs out there, and I am really not that type of person.  Mostly I’ve been numb and just not dwelling on this cancer in my breast.  I am good at avoiding stuff. When things get tough, I have a knack for just not thinking about a problem if there is nothing I can do about it. I have to say, this problem has given me pause though. Time to think about where my life is, where I want it to go, and things I haven’t done that I want to do.  We all think about things that way sometimes, right?  I mean, I know I can’t be the only person who has felt these things.

I feel like I have kind of skipped all those stages of grief that Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote about, and just went straight to numb. As numb as the armpit and shoulder where the lymph node was removed.  I’m glad for small things, like finding out this cancer has a 94%ish cure rate, and that the lymph node was negative.  It almost makes me feel ashamed for feeling this numbness.  But it is there, and I can’t make it go away, so I am focusing now on the light at the end of the tunnel.  And allowing myself to be numb for the moment.  Thinking as I watch the clock tick away and the hours go by until this next surgery later this morning to remove the cancer cells that were missed, and that the tissue biopsy revealed.

So I look at Goliath and wonder what it will be like to have a breast with a crater in it, dread being put to sleep and the loss of control over my own body, dread the discomfort and pain afterward because I am so effing ready to be well again, and not this recovering surgery patient.  I want my effing life back, things back to normal.  I have SHIT TO DO.

So, hurry up sunrise, and let’s get this show on the road.  I have a life to live.

the light at the end of the tunnel

 My parting shot is a favorite Pink song, that exactly fits my mood right now…(alert, explicit language)…

Is there anything in life BETTER than rock and roll????  

 …life is good, dammit, so raise your glass!!… ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter


on pain, sorrow and laughter

It’s August again.  That time of year when I have an emotional meltdown, sort of.  Some years are better than others.  This year isn’t one of them.  So, I’m going to whine a little bit.  I’m not going to whine…these are just my thoughts, after all…

Pain…has become my constant companion.  I have a high pain tolerance, and have endured varying amounts of pain for varying lengths of time, as most people have during their lives.  I have discovered a new empathy for people with “chronic pain”.  I don’t know when acute pain becomes chronic, but I feel like I am approaching that threshold.  I have discovered on my odyssey of pain, that constant pain can wear you down mentally, and cause even the most optimistic person (that would be me) to become bitchy and mean at times.  There are days I feel like I am living someone else’s life.  I literally am a pain in the neck…my neck.  You wouldn’t think it is that big a deal, but as the pain gets worse, the muscles of my neck and shoulders tighten up, increasing the pain, and it becomes a vicious circle I can’t seem to escape.  Steroid injections help for a bit, but yoga has been my salvation, so much so that when I skip 2 or 3 days (like I have now) my shoulders and neck remind me to return to my yoga.  Yoga has increased my flexibility, and keeps the pain at a bearable level.  I don’t do well with pain killers, and would rather have the pain than to have my consciousness altered on a daily basis by a narcotic.  I do take ibuprofen and a mild muscle relaxer (nothing strong for me there either), and indulge in a glass of wine and a spell in the hot tub on some evenings.  All this helps.  But nothing cures it.
Sorrow…August is the month I was born in, and that my father died in.  It’s been 61 years for me now, and I celebrate every year (ok, most of the time I do), and since 2000 I grieve for my father at the same time.  I celebrate my years, not the month.  August to me has become only a reminder of how much I wish I could talk to Dad one more time, laugh with him, hear his voice.  I miss all the loved ones who have died, but August seems to bring it into a fine focus, like looking at your grief under a microscope.  I can’t bear to look too long, because the more I look, the sadder I become.  I am not a weeper (my mum can attest to this) but I seem to do a good bit of it in August.  I guess Dad wouldn’t mind too much, although I only saw him cry twice my whole life.  (He wasn’t a weeper either.)  From Dad comes my airhead behavior, that ability to be among people physically and be thousands of miles away lost in thought.  I also got my sense of humor from him, and my love of books and learning.  He also sent me Maddie Kate.  She has our forehead, ears, and looks at the world like we do…sometimes I swear I look into Dad’s eyes when I am looking at her.  This gives me comfort and more joy than I can even describe.

Laughter…this is what keeps me going.  When things seem dark and gloomy, and I feel like I am sunk into a hole and can’t see my way out, something happens to make me laugh.  Most often it is family, and the family creating the most humor right now are my grand kids.  Jen called the other night to relate her trip to church with the twins.  (The twins were recently baptized and all three of them joined a local church.)  This past Sunday they had their first Lord’s Supper (communion).  In a southern Baptist church, this means you get a tiny hard crust of bread, and a plastic thimble of grape juice.  Jen called to tell us some of the things the kids did and said during the service:

Maddie: Where’s supper?  I thought we were going to eat supper, a REAL supper?

Duncan: We’re going BACK to church tonight? Why do we have to go so much?  We just went this morning!

Maddie: This isn’t bread…it’s a CRACKER.  It tastes awful.  (Jen had cautioned them not to crunch it, to let it soften in their mouths before they chewed it up.)

At some point Jen looked around and noticed Maddie had taken her empty thimble of grape juice and was running her tongue to the bottom of it, licking it clean.  I think she forgot to teach the kids their communion manners.

The twins last statement on the way out of church was:
“That was Jesus’ blood?  It didn’t taste like blood.”

So yes, in the midst of pain and sorrow, there is also joy and laughter.  And this always brings me out of the valley.

…life is truly good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter


beauty is deeper than skin

I am a woman who doesn’t spend a lot of time on skin care. You would think that at my age I would be interested in preserving what bit of youth still lingers around the edges of my face. A face that is beginning to resemble a paper bag that’s been folded one too many times.

Most of the time I can’t be bothered. I don’t even use any kind of cleansing cream. Usually I just shampoo my face in the shower while I wash my hair.

But yesterday I was in a mood. Usually that type of mood means I end up “adjusting” my haircut. Yesterday I decided that I was going to give myself a facial instead.

Just because I don’t use them doesn’t mean I don’t collect beauty products. I have quite a nice little collection of face goops which have promised me over the years to:

1 erase lines
2 tighten skin like a facelift
3 shrink pores
4 peel away dead skin and erase 10 years
5 brighten skin
6 make skin soft as a baby’s butt

(I never could figure out what #5 meant, but I envisioned my face lighting my way to the bathroom at night like a lightbulb.)

I lined up my selection. That was when I made my first mistake. I decided that if one product worked well, then using three would just triple the benefits.

I started with a facial peel. This was a tube of goop that smelled like Elmer’s school glue, and felt like it as I smeared it on. I didn’t bother reading the directions. I mean, you just smear this stuff on, let it dry, and peel it off. Easy peasy.

Easy peasy if I had read the directions that is. (Mistake two.) The directions that clearly stated not to use it around the eyes or hairline. The eyebrows are part of the eye, and are hair. I discovered my mistake when I tried to peel it off and ended up almost brow less with bald spots in my eyebrows. I also managed to pull out some of the hair on my head, where I had smeared the goop too close. Just what I needed. A higher forehead on a face that already looked like a space alien.

I should have quit, but I have the stubbornness born of my genetic ties to my mother, and after the screams died (mine) and the laughs died (Stevie Wonder’s), I forged forward to step two.

The microdermabrasion scrub. Simply put, it’s a jar of sand and goo mixed together that enables the user to scrub dead skin away. What I didn’t realize was that I had just peeled that same dead skin away with the Elmer’s Glue. It went on nicely. A thin layer the directions said (you better believe I wasn’t going to skip the directions again after round one) spread evenly on the face. Let it dry, then wash off in circular motion with a warm wet wash cloth.

Yarright. The harder I rubbed, the more skin I scrubbed away. I was beginning to feel like an onion being peeled, layer by layer, wondering if there would be any onion left.

Finally, I got it all off. And my skin DID feel smoother. Like a baby’s butt. Well, that is stretching the truth, but it did feel better. That was when I made my third mistake. I decided I could fine tune my new skin with a chemical peel. I mean, c’mon, how much skin could I peel off by rubbing a little cotton circle lightly over my face.

A heck of a lot of skin, evidently. I didn’t really notice anything to begin with. A couple hours later my face started to itch. Then it began to burn. Hours later, it had settled back down. I took a quick look in the mirror on my way to bed.

And saw a glowing red reflection staring back at me. My face looked like I had been laying in the hot July sun for hours. I just shut the light off and went to bed. Right after I threw all the face goop in the garbage.

From now on I’ll stick to cutting my own hair, with a good supply of hats on hand.