Disabling Choices

Disabling Choices

 

Living life with any disability can be frustrating to say the least. You add in a couple extra disabilities and a few more obstacles and what was frustrating becomes, well, disabling.
I have lived with Epilepsy since 2006. It is not an everyday occurrence and I have went almost four months before, between seizures. Although, I can also have bouts of repeated seizures clumping together in a day or a months time. This makes life difficult to try to live ‘normally’. I must work when I can and where I can to survive in this harsh world. My memory is affected as well as having migraines from the seizures. One thing it has definitely made worse over the years is my anxiety. Every time I am faced with a new situation such as a public seizure in which people didn’t know how to react or a seizure at home where the bedside table catches my face as I fall into a convulsion, my anxiety exceeds its limit and increases. I guess that could be blamed on fear of the unknown and the ‘what if’ way of thinking. Regardless, thats already two disabling limitations in my life.
Lets throw in the latest obstacle of being told I have the early signs of Uterine Cancer. Initially I responded by crying. Fear or anxiety? Perhaps, but, lets bear in mind I just watch my Grandma suffer with this very Cancer and watched her die just a few months ago. The positive to this is the fact that I am 40 years old and hadn’t been to a OBGYN Dr. since I quit having babies. That was approximately 19 years ago. The American Cancer Society (cancer.org) recommends a pap smear test every 3 years between the ages of 30-65. Maybe it was anxiety that kept me from going all these years but watching my Grandmother die at the age of 83 from Cancer starting in her uterus, inspired me to get checked out now. Part of the problem for her was the fact they quit doing these tests after the age of 65. While a pap smear test in and of itself can only check for cervical cancer, during an exam you talk to the Doctor about anything else of concern. My grandmothers was caught too late. Mine has been caught early enough to do something about it.
I will be having an endometrial biopsy where they go up and scrap the lining of the uterus for a tissue sample (the endometrium layer) and have it tested. (hopkinsmedicine.org) The positive side being the fact that if I hadn’t watch what my grandma had gone through, I would’ve found out too late as well. Instead, I find out when half her age and physically ‘healthy’ enough to undergo surgery. In the early stages and being done with child bearing, it is simple enough to have a hysterectomy and remove the uterus, cervix and ovaries.
This is where more curveballs come in to play. According to The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, you can spend a few days in the hospital and up to 6 weeks to heal. It equates to what you expect after giving birth minus that bundle of joy. I do not come from money nor do I have the money to be out of work for six weeks while I heal. I recently lost a job and I am being forced to look for a new one just to make it in life. At this point I am faced with ‘choices’ if you can call them that. Do I find a new job and lose it because I have to have surgery? Do I try to wait out the probation period of a new job before having surgery (with cancer cells growing)? What kind of choice is that really? The ‘choice’ in and of itself is disabling.
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” (Theodore Rosevelt, govleaders.org)

 

 

 

Bibliography

Govleaders.org, govleaders.org/quotes-leaders.htm.

“The American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Prevention and Early Detection of Cervical Cancer.” American Cancer Society, http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer/prevention-and-early-detection/cervical-cancer-screening-guidelines.html.

“Endometrial Biopsy.” Endometrial Biopsy | Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library, http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test_procedures/gynecology/endometrial_biopsy_92,P07773.

“Women’s Health Care Physicians.” Hysterectomy – ACOG, http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Hysterectomy.

Losing a lifetime friend

By our 40’s we have all dealt with death and loss.

At the age of 14, I was informed the morning after Valentines Day that my friend had died in a horrific car wreck. This wasn’t just some kid I went to the same small school with, didn’t just go to church with, didn’t just live down the street from… this kid was an annoying bratty teen who picked on me only cause he wouldn’t allow anyone else to. He was the one mowing my yard because I was allergic to the freshly mowed grass. This was the kid who walked the country roads with me, having deep conversations. He was like the big brother I never had. Then he was gone.

Over the years, there was one thing you could count on more than anything. If I needed somebody to talk to, somewhere to escape to, somebody to cry to, I’d be sitting at his gravesite. I moved out of  state for about a decade but you better believe he was the one friend I always visited when I came back. Being there was my ‘safe place’. I could say anything and everything and he would never judge. He didn’t when he was alive either. But, I told him everything. I could actually verbalize every last horrible or wonderful detail.

After moving back, at the brink of 40, his actual sister came back into my life. We had always been friends but we were able to get closer and really talk. I began to feel like I didn’t necessarily have to go to a grave when I needed to talk, but maybe, just maybe, I could trust a living breathing soul! I  wanted to believe it, after all, it was his sister! We ended up being in the same field, so rubbed elbows a lot with each other and others who we mutually knew. I was excited to hang out with her and get to know this adult side better. She was more like a sister than a friend. I let myself open up. She used to love the memories I would share about her brother, just happy that people remember him and carry on his life.

That is until one night I said too much. After 26 years or so, and being super close to someone, you would think you could tell them anything. She still got jumpy over songs played at his funeral. I can understand that. A group of us had went out drinking and trying to have a good time. She got upset over a song and I followed her outside. I think I was more tipsy than I normally would get. We started talking about him and I don’t know how it got to the point where I revealed something I had never told her.

I confessed that another friend and I had snuck into the junkyard to see the car. Something inside me just needed to. What I saw that day burned into my memory and I will never forget. I seen the passenger side smashed from the entire front end, into the back  seat. Pairing that with the fact of what I had learned happened to him physically just almost mesmerized me. I knew his legs had been pushed up into him. I mean just imagine what would happen to a passenger if the whole front of the car ended up in the back seat. To make it worse, it was a flatbed trailer, just the metal of the truck is what was struck. I examined the whole car like a detective or something. I don’t think I even cried while looking over the scene. Then I seen it. Brain matter and blood on the car door. At first I didn’t know what it was. I am not sure when I realized what I had seen. Something just kicked in that day or snapped. I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life yet but I knew it was helping people in some way.

Well, revealing those facts to her even on the brink of 40, made her snap. She was no longer my ‘sister’, my ‘friend’ or anything else. She deleted me and anybody close to me. The backlash she gave me was horrid. I didn’t remember the night but tried to communicate with her. But she was scornful and sour. Very bitter and unforgiving. No apologies could do anything. She only lashed out angry, hurtful things. Showing me I should’ve known better than open up to a ‘real’ person. I don’t know if I can totally understand her side. It wasn’t like I was trying to hurt her or anything. just revealing a fact that was decades old. She reacted like a ticking time bomb.

Back to my safe place. The only friend I know I will have my whole life and will never judge me. I don’t mind sitting on the cold ground talking to an old friend. I just wish I didn’t have to lose another one. This one kind of hurts worse because she doesn’t want to forgive. She just wants to blast insults and push me away. Even though she’s still alive, her brother is the only one I can confide in. She said she would always be there for me. But, Ive heard that line plenty of times. I will stick with the one who doesn’t care if I mess up or have skeletons in the closet.

That is one friend I will never truly lose because he lives on in my heart.