The life in the diary – XII

Fiction

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February 24, 2013

I am placed in a new single-bed room; my isolation from the rest of the public, even though not strictly, still continues. No mingling with others, especially pregnant women and babies/children, continuing to flush the toilet twice, using only disposable cutlery and plates. The garbage is collected carefully and placed in a special disposal bag. I did not ask about this this time; “its contents need to cool down a couple of weeks before it can be dumped” I was told last time.

Although this is my second time going thru this treatment, although I have been there before, I continue to feel like a disaster, something harmful, something unwanted… I have 12 more days to go like this. “Being extra cautious, that is all“. The radiation in my body should not be harmful to anyone else as long as I keep my distance. That is what they said. That is what they had said the first time, too.

But this does not mean it is not harmful to me. I wanna scream sometime… Nobody, not even nurses, approached me more than 4 meters in the first 48 hours. I had to take showers at least twice a day; flush twice, suck candies or chew gums to protect my salivary glands from the effects of radiation, drink gallons of water, and furiously apply lotion to my body and hands to circumvent dryness induced by extreme washing. On top of these, I had to calm myself saying that radiation was in fact good for me; it was going to kill the blooming cancer cells. It was my door to cure. This too would pass….Yet, not for even a moment, I could dis-acknowledge that my body, my normal cells, were also at risk.

I was given the radiation in a pill, which I dutifully swallowed. Once I took the pill, I was officially “hot”. The nuclear medicine expert, standing meters away, tried to joke by saying this I guess.

I did not like the nuclear medicine expert from the beginning on. A tall, confident man. Asked me where I was from. I wanted to snap back asking”why?” but answered anyhow. Whoa… It turned out our nations had battles sometime during  the deep, long history and my nation was certainly not one their favourites!! Ok…. why did I need to be told this? I fumed inside. In a moment, I transformed from feeling incredibly vulnerable to feeling like a hard-rock impasse. I took my revenge when he asked me whether he could sit on my bed to start explaining the cons and pros of the treatment and when I said “sure, please sit; you are old.

I broke a large victorious smile.

He?

Startled.

Oh, yeah; I love myself:)

He came with a young fellow, who never uttered a word during the half an hour pre-treatment consultation. I assumed he was a resident or a medical school student shadowing the expert. Before they leave, I wanted to tell him “we are vulnerable and anxious; we need comfort, assurance, and compassion from our medical teams. Please, whatever you do, please do not aggravate your patient.”

I did not say anything but I hugely regret this now; maybe this young fellow would contemplate on what I would say. Maybe it could help other patients.

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The life in the diary – XII

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The life in the diary – XI

Fiction

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February 20, 2013

Now that I have mostly recovered from my surgery, my surgeon ordered my radiation treatment. I am to go to the isolation room and spend 2 nights there. Do I dread it? Last time was pretty boring. This time I am experienced. I was told that the room had a TV and I managed to purchase some treats from the giftstore this morning. And a book. A crime novel. By an author I have no idea about. Nevertheless I am grateful for its distractive potential.

I have been to the “library” almost everyday in the last one week. There are around 200 books scattered around. Seeing them, exploring them excites me big time. I was told I was welcome to read as many as I want. I just cannot take the books out of the room. That does not make me happy at all, but I understand. Ten minutes in it and one can see that this room functions more than just being a reading room; this is where the patients and caregivers find a chance to chat with someone else. Maybe they appreciate this opportunity as they forget for a while where they are, what they are. Or maybe they dislike this “opportunity for distraction” as much as I do; in my experience the distraction  disappears as soon as I leave the library and the heavy thoughts and emotions come back full force. There is no escape from them. Only transient breaks.

I am surprised by many of my reactions to this “new” life here. Faded-blue and battered hospital gowns are no longer bothering me, for example. I wonder whether it is the bathrob I brought with me that creates this indifference in me towards the gowns. And the slippers. One gotta appreciate the little pamphlet they give the patients during the pre-op appointment; there is a section about what to bring in…. Anyways, incidentally, my rob and the slippers are also of blue colour. Yet, they are softer. Much softer. I not only appreciate how casual and comfortable they make me feel, but I am also in love with their thick, slush texture that keeps me warm and makes me feel like an individual. Not another patient in a faded-blue gown. An individual. This thought inevitably straightens my shoulders; I am not a victim; I have control over something.

It is almost 10am. They will pick me up for the radiation treatment soon. I should leave with the nurse whatever I do not wish to be contaminated with radiation. These also include my bathrob and slippers.

I feel a sudden rush of shakiness.

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The life in the diary – XI

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The life in the diary – X

Fiction

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Feb 15, 2013

My boss made a great gesture today and sent me a nice bouquet of flowers! The mixture of green, orange, white, and yellow is a must see! One of my nurses brought them to me with a great smile; “look what we got for you!!!?”.

She is, I am sure, curious. I have been here for some time, had a surgery and am going through further tests. But no one came to visit me. No care-giver, no family, no friends.

They do not ask why. I love this about the nurses – never say or do something that will upset the patient. I feel protected by the nurses. Once when the other patient used to stay in the room and had chatty visitors, one of them had said “please keep your voice low, my patient here needs a rest”.

This patient has been for ever grateful to hear this.

We decided to put the flowers next to my bed. Their smell is very refreshing – kind of dominating the medicine-like scent of the bed linens. For the first time since I am admitted, I feel like normal.

My boss had the card signed by my colleagues – going thru the short messages of good wishes delights me… My first personal encounter with the outside world since I am here. How will I thank them? Tell them how much it meant to receive their generous gift? Thinking about these makes me kind of emotional….

But I have got to collect myself; I have more important things to do.

I finally decided to call my family.

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The life in the diary – X

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The life in the diary – VIX

Fiction

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February 13, 2013

The other patient in the room now is moved to somewhere else. Despite her hopes, she had to undergo another surgery. No idea what happened to her after that. The room has been silent since then.

My nurse offered me to switch the beds; mine is closer to the door and the bathroom while the other one is close to the window. I said I was okay where I am. Plus, I get to see the hall from where I am. How else to spend time in a hospital room? I did not tell her that I did not want to have the space of the previous patient. Feels weird…. What happened to her? They will not tell me, the nurses I mean. Privacy issues. So I did not even bother to ask. I am keeping my bed, at least for now, and I am happy with it.

There are times I regret my decision though. Sometimes I see covered hospital beds moved silently on the hall. I kinda know what they carry. The floor I am staying in has many geriatric patients. I hear them sometime speaking with their nurses, doctors, or visitors. Young people usually, but sometime elderly visitors as well. They all have nice outfits, as if they are going to a special event. I like this in old people – the care they display. One lady had particularly captured my attention; she had gray hair neatly done, elegant shoes, and a red skirt. It was the loveliest skirt I have ever seen. The colour was just right; neither too light nor too dark. It dropped comfortably on her knees. Elegantly meshed with a thin, transparent belt. She usually came with a young man, I am assuming his son, to visit a patient. I have not seen her for a couple of day for now. I do not want to think why. Maybe she is on vacation, who knows? Not everything is bad news. It should not be.

I had some tests the other day. Ah, yes, these…. My pen does not want to bleed ink for them, but I force myself to acknowledge. Lying on cold tables, holding my breath, moving this way or that way with each direction by the technician. People are nice, but I keep thinking; I am just another patient for them; do they care about me?

This de-personalisation felt ridiculous at the beginning. Now I am grateful for it. Helps to convince myself that if nobody remembers me without it, then I should still be keeping my dignity.

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The life in the diary – VIX

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The life in the diary – VIII

Fiction

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February 9, 2013, cont’d

My mind is blank. A heavy depression hit me as my surgeon explained my medical situation. Things will change. Profoundly. I am looking for an extended stay in the hospital. Further tests. Further treatment, possibly another surgery. I will receive my doctor’s note this afternoon. I want to call my boss, but cannot find the energy to do so. An email will be easier to break the news. I have no idea how this is going to affect my job, but I am hoping there is some employee benefits that I was not aware of. Additionally, my boss is a kind type; I am sure he will understand and support me during these times.

As per the hospital and medical care costs, so far I am okay. Thank you Canada for the universal health care and thank you my job for providing me health insurance. I am not worried about the money so far; as long as I keep my job of course. I can mail my cheque for the rent. Utilities are automatically paid, so I do not need to worry about them. Have I missed anything that requires me to fix now? I cannot come up with anything; either there is not anything else or I am not able to think about them. I decide to leave it here and focus on engaging my mind on something else.

I am at the hall again. One of the nurses who cares for me smiles and says “you like to walk! That is awesome – keep doing this”. I smile back and say with my hardly audible voice “thank you nurse – you have been so kind to me”. As if I was telling goodbyes. But I am not, am I? I am neither dying nor leaving the hospital soon. Not for one moment I thought about dying. Inside I know, I truly know, I am going to be okay. It is not one of these affirmations that I keep repeating to make myself, my mind believe. No, I truly know that I am going to be okay. Eventually of course.

But, how to break the news to my family? There is a deep sorrow that hits me hard when I think about it.

I keep the tears in – no mam. No crying. There are people around. I remind myself that I like my own misery.

In an ironic way of course.

I really would like a cup of tea now.

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The life in the diary – VIII

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The life in the diary – VII

Fiction

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February 9, 2013

My surgeon finally showed up this morning. I was trying to eat the magnificent(!) hospital breakfast; pancakes with fruit. I asked for tea, but all I was offered was apple juice. Ok. Fine! Apple juice it is.

Swallowing still hurts; I am not having a great time trying to eat or drink. For some reason the nurses keep bringing me ice water. Each time I ask for just plain water. I do not even require filtered water. Just tap water. Cold amplifies the pain in my throat. Knowing how busy and lovely these nurses are (well, most of them at least) I feel horrible for returning the ice water.

My voice is not getting better. It is so hoarse, so low pitch. I am discouraged. Will it be okay? Will I be able to speak as I did before? I feel sorry for myself. Profoundly sorry… One more thing to do ask to my surgeon. Considering the current state of my voice, I am not even sure I can talk to him. Shall I write my questions down? “will my voice recover?” “what is next now?” “can I get a doctor’s notice for my work?”, “when will be the stitches taken out?”, “when can I get discharged?”

When my surgeon finally showed up, I got tense. well, what did I expect? He will tell me things that are important and certainly not as ordinary as a grocery shopping list! I straightened my back and looked at him anxiously. An experienced doctor would know the meaning of these looks. And he did. Smiled and asked me how I was. I said I was okay and continued to look at him, inquiring information. If these eyes could talk. They certainly would say more intelligible things than me. Arghh.. Anyway, enough with being childish.

When he spoke, though, I wish I had continued being childish.

He said I was not going anywhere anytime soon.

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The life in the diary – VII

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The life in the diary – VII

Fiction

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February 9, 2013

My surgeon finally showed up this morning. I was trying to eat the magnificent(!) hospital breakfast; pancakes with fruit. I asked for tea, but all I was offered was apple juice. Ok. Fine! Apple juice it is.

Swallowing still hurts; I am not having a great time trying to eat or drink. For some reason the nurses keep bringing me ice water. Each time I ask for just plain water. I do not even require filtered water. Just tap water. Cold amplifies the pain in my throat. Knowing how busy and lovely these nurses are (well, most of them at least) I feel horrible for returning the ice water.

My voice is not getting better. It is so hoarse, so low pitch. I am discouraged. Will it be okay? Will I be able to speak as I did before? I feel sorry for myself. Profoundly sorry… One more thing to do ask to my surgeon. Considering the current state of my voice, I am not even sure I can talk to him. Shall I write my questions down? “will my voice recover?” “what is next now?” “can I get a doctor’s notice for my work?”, “when will be the stitches taken out?”, “when can I get discharged?”

When my surgeon finally showed up, I got tense. well, what did I expect? He will tell me things that are important and certainly not as ordinary as a grocery shopping list! I straightened my back and looked at him anxiously. An experienced doctor would know the meaning of these looks. And he did. Smiled and asked me how I was. I said I was okay and continued to look at him, inquiring information. If these eyes could talk. They certainly would say more intelligible things than me. Arghh.. Anyway, enough with being childish.

When he spoke, though, I wish I had continued being childish.

He said I was not going anywhere anytime soon.

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The life in the diary – VII

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The life in the diary – VI

Fiction

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February 8, 2013

It is beautiful outside – the snow slowly painting the streets, top of the cars, the roofs. The red coloured brick house across from the window looks like a famous painting; the mesh of all these colours captivated me. The sight is certainly a must see. The residents on the 7th floor casually walking in the living room, preparing the table for dinner. A nice family of four. I have not noticed anything unpeaceful in their behaviour. Parents are loving and lovely; kids are cheerful and excited. Normal pace of life – nothing rushful. Wishing these family the best; watching them gave me peace. And hope. For some reason.

I feel safe here; away from the life I have had outside. The work, the house chores, people, whatever stressed me out are non-existing here. More importantly none of these itsy-bitsy worries are here with me.

I feel peaceful.

Despite my pain, despite my health condition. I have had the break of my life. Thanks to this surgery.  Irony at maximus 🙂 Alas. I should be worried about the situation but for some reason I am not. I do not know, maybe it is “normal”; maybe this is how “normal” people feel and carry on their lives like. Maybe this is how it is supposed to be. Maybe not. Maybe my mind did just shut down; does not want to feel that existential worry. Or those other possibilities. Maybe, just maybe I am not supposed to cry. Maybe more than anything else, I just need to gather myself; tap into that strength I know I have, but is just battered too badly. Maybe it is what I am feeling right now? Can’t believe in this though…. I wish I did.

Life. What have you done to me?

Or was it me? I was brave once. Young and fearless. I was on top of the world, ready to conquer the life, for once and then all. I had the focus of a hunting lioness, the sharpness of an eagle, and the unprecedented power of the grizzly bear. I could handle anything in life; there was no unpassable hurdle for me.

Then I fell down. I just did. Do not ask why. Or how. It just happened and shattered all I had; the confidence, the focus, the strength. On top of that, I blamed myself for the fall. None went up again.

How could they? By constantly blaming and beating up myself, I mentally paralyzed myself. The child in me. The one who had the zest for life. I do not know whether I became an enemy of the life or myself.

If I am the enemy of myself, then I know how furious I can be and in turn how much I have endured from my own enmity.

Should I be proud of myself?

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The life in the diary – VI

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The life in the diary – V

Fiction

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February 6, 2013 – cont’d

My incision hurts – there is no drain put in place and I am expecting some blood clotting occurring, pressing on my wind pipe, and making everything all difficult for some time again. Why do they not do it? I would rather have a scar than the discomfort. Well, maybe not; maybe drainage hurts more. So let’s leave it there.

My throat is hurting but despite what one of the nurses suggested, I did not request a painkiller. I can take the pain for now. I did not expect to feel all right right after a surgery; it is okay to have some pain. Plus, it is not even my worst concern – eating and drinking is still problematic; it is the most painful of all. But, I have been there before and I can take this.

Lying on the hospital bed is not fun; there is nothing much to do. I had brought a book to read but I am not in a mood to read about “how to get happy now”; that is the focus of the book. Happiness is something I will concern myself with after when I figure out what will happen to me.

They encourage me to walk, which I am happy to do. Boredom is interesting, makes you find ways to enjoy your moments. I like looking out of the window at the end of the hall – it is snowing outside and everywhere is white. I see people hastily walking in the evening under the street lamps – people should be happy to leave the work and getting ready to go home. I have not missed my home yet; I take this change as an opportunity to break my everyday routine. This sounds weird I know, but when all future is more or less blank, you kinda focus on the moment and try to find things that will make you feel good.

I need to feel good.

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The life in the diary – V

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The life in the diary – IV

Fiction

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February 6, 2013

I am in the hospital bed – my surgery was two days ago. I woke up 2 hours after it. The doctor did not visit me yet, but one of the residents did. She said the doctor did a good job and the surgery went well. My vital statistics are good and I am into recovery. I will stay in the hospital a couple of more days just to make sure there is no serious post-surgery concerns before I can be released. The resident says my doctor will tell me the future course of my medical care. I am waiting; it has been two days with no sign. I feel deprived but at the same time, I do not care. If it was a serious issue, I am sure my doctor would just fire the news.

The bed is not bad but the other patient in the room is noisy – I am happy for her that she has visitors; everybody needs that. But I am not happy with the long loud phone conversations. I feel like I know her entire ordeal, which is dare. She has broken her ankle and it got infected. I have seen the foot – it is all brownish, reddish, blackish colour. I felt for her. She hopes to get our of this without losing her foot. I totally understand and wish her good. I seem to be doing better than her.

I feel a lot better now prior to the surgery. I am not shaky or scared anymore. I am sure the surgery removed the bad cells and we will do our best to remove the rest too. It is good that the bulk of them is gone, the task at hand seems easier now. I know deep down that I will handle that well. It will be over sometime.

I have three different nurses come and check me, draw blood to do the tests. They are so nice; nurses should be given a higher level of respect and appreciation. For a patient there is nothing better than a smiling and affectionate look and words. On one occasion each, two of the nurses almost made me cry. The first one was a nurse who was trying to withdraw blood and was not able to find the vein or get the blood in two trials. She had to go thru my hand and she apologized for it. It was thin butterfly syringe that is really kind to my nerves. And when the nurse saw the blood filling the vial, she exclaimed with joy and said “bull’s eye!”. She is a sweetheart and I am wishing the best of everything for her. The second nurse I have seen only once so far and she asked me whether I would like her to help me with my bath and wash my back…. I wanted to cry so hard…. Affection is the kindest act ever. May she find happiness, health, and whatever she is wishing in life.

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The life in the diary – IV

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getting close to accepting the defeat

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I hope, my love, one day you will love someone who loves you at least as much as I do.

I hope you will find the sparks, excitement, happiness, and contentment with that girl who deserves you, your gentle manners, your wonderful character, and your lovely laughter.

I hope she will always cherish, respect, and love you; do the right things for you; make you laugh often; give you a warm hug and keep there when you need it; care for your health and well being; relentlessly support you in all of your endeavours, and admire you like nobody else.

I hope she will love your voice and make you hum happy songs all day long; lift you up when you kneeled down, stand next to you when all is troublesome, and be proud of you when you solve all. I hope one day you will marry her and have the daughters you wish for. I hope my love you will be the one to give me these great news.

Have the determination to open your heart to the beauties around you. Share yourself more so that all can know your greatness and human side. Be happy beyond your imagination. Write those pieces, produce those programs, and take the most spectacular photos. Even if life cuts short and none or only some of them happens, know before we perish, how thoroughly, passionately, and tirelessly you were loved. Despite all. Despite by me.

None has touched both my heart and my life as you have, none has left me with myself so fast, so many different times. I love you. One part of me will always be thinking about you, loving, caring, and admiring you.

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Kate’s short story – XLVII

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The life in the diary – III

Fiction

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January 29, 2013

I went to pre-surgery check up today. I am not a fan of these visits – they ask all bunch of questions, some of them I do not even have an answer. Do I have any allergy to medication? How would I know if I am allergic to something if I have not discovered it yet? I think they have to ask these questions, but it does not help really. I need answers myself. Sadly, nobody would give a concrete answer to what would happen to me; my doctor should know better, this visit is about the surgery. Fine. I will ask her when I am not shaky. In the mean time, they advise me to relax. Sure. Why not? And the usual advise, too; have someone to pick you up from the hospital – the general anaesthesia and the surgery can make you dizzy and weak – better someone gives you a hand. Sure. I did not tell them I did not plan to have anyone with me.

I should thank these pre-surgery visits actually – a little bit anger helps me to keep going. This appointment was better than the first time. I had felt like a victim at that time; now I seasoned. I know what to expect, what to feel.

I did not tell anyone yet about my ordeal – does my boss need to know? I am not ready to talk about it right now. The best thing I can do is to try to finish critical things as soon as possible, if I can, and then let the talking be done at the least unavoidable time. That is the best solution I have right now.

I have a surgery in 6 days – I better take care of the grocery shopping. I need to get slippers and a bed rob for the hospital stay, too. I wonder what happened to the rob I had purchased last time. Cannot remember it at home. I will walk pass the store I had bought them last time. If I am lucky, I can find new ones there. I admit despite all the emotional turbulence and the anxiety, there is something calming about shopping; I feel like I am taking care of myself.

Whether it is shopping, or I am extremely relieved to be out of the appointment, or am angry with the questions and all, I do not know what, but I feel a little bit strong walking. I keep telling myself “I will do my absolute best to support myself during these difficult times. Yes, I will. Watch me.”

Better said than done.

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The life in the diary – III

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The life in the diary – II

Fiction

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January 26, 2013 – continued

I came home. As I predicted, yes I have cried as soon as I left my doctor’s office. There were people around, I am sure they knew why. I did not care – there is a sweet freedom in not caring what others think.

Yet I was shaky; eyes wet, feet dragging each other. I felt the need to distract, pamper myself. I think I bought a cup of coffee and a muffin from the Second Cup located on the main floor of the hospital. Patients, visitors, staff, and nurses/doctors are all mixed up in the line up. It is interesting how we all wait our turn – no matter what we are, how we are. Just yesterday I was in the same line up, all tensed up and absent minded thinking about the work, the issues, and how to get over them. Yesterday, it turns out, had been a fine day.

My misery today is due the prospect of future desperation. What am I going to do? This question is brutal… Particularly when I do not know the answer. When there is no one around to ask a hand. I will have to figure out a lot of things myself… Maybe it is good. Maybe it will force me to get out of my chain of thoughts. What else can I hope for?

I walked up to home; half crying, half hurrying. Home is as usual welcoming and warm. I just threw myself on the couch, holding my face between my hands, my legs crawled to my belly.

I cried like an unborn child.

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The life in the diary – II

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The life in the diary – I

Fiction

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October 8, 2014

I do not know what to say any more – I felt like whatever I thought so far, I put in writing.
Though it is possible that if I had written more,  I could have discovered more. Said more. I just cannot continue.
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January 26, 2013

My doctor is optimistic; she says I will be fine at no time. It came back, so what?  I am not worried, I have done this before. Yet, I know as soon as I step out of the door, I will start crying. Because it feels unfair.

The first days are complete shock. Being told that you are sick and need immediate medical care is….weird or something…..Its meaning is so thick, so heavy; reality does not sink for some time.

After that, it changes you though. Priorities change for one; I do not care about work that much for example; it does not fill in my entire mind or future worries. No. Neither the fences that I was planning to paint nowadays. I do not care. Let them rot. I hope though I will not lose my job along the way; I need the insurance and the salary. That is the most critical thing I need to keep now.

Will I need someone to care for me at home? Will I be able to find someone to do so? Can I afford it? Who will shop or cook for me? Will I be able to find any friends around me?
But no; let’s not think about these yet.

Not yet.

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The life in the diary – I

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there is nothing harder than defending my feelings for you

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I could not convince you and now I cannot convince people who care about me. Nowadays there is nothing harder than defending my feelings for you M. As if you are unlovable. As if I am not capable of loving.

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Kate’s short story – XXXVIII

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Do you know what that makes me?

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You would not imagine the role you have in my inner world M.

Did you know I found strength in you? Knowing that there you are, my heart fills with love, affection, and care? Do you know what that makes me? A happy, excited, and strong person, it does.

Did you know I found a chance to know myself better because of you? Knowing that I can love truly? Do you know what that makes me? A self-appreciating and powerful person, it does.

Did you know I found the courage to dream with you? Knowing that my life can be better, a lot better with love? Do you know what that makes me? A brave person, it does.

Did you know I found a better understanding of how selfish I was, almost as much as you were? Knowing that I had lost our mere chance because of this? Do you know what that makes me? A maturing soul, it does.

Did you know I love you more now because of all these things I have learnt about myself?

Knowing that I have profoundly changed?

Do you know what that makes me?

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Kate’s short story – XXXI

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Sasha – part 5

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The biggest challenge about the anxiety I had was to reverse the beliefs that made me scared.

Once you believe in something, especially if it is something that demands your attention all the time, such as extraordinarily fearful thoughts, then you must get away from it or diminish it. Since it was my mind that made these calculations and found in itself the right to fiercely warn me of the fearful situations, moment after moment, basically  I could not run away from them.  So how do I reverse such strong beliefs?

At first, resisting to the fear acted very strongly against me; the more I resisted to the fears, the stronger they got. That was a horrible experience. That pretty much describes it….

Once you hit the bottom, something moves you up sometime. So, since there was no hope in resistance diminishing my fears, I opted for accepting the consequences of my fears. I assumed in reality I was in that fearful situation. Do you think that feels better? Certainly not – as a matter of fact it horrified me more than anything else. What would I do if my fear become reality? What if I lose it then? Would I cry, scream, or beg? How would be the pain I would go through? How would I stand all of these? There was no relief in it. The end was, well, horrible.

Since neither resisting the fear nor accepting the fearful reality were solutions, then what was it going to be? Establishing what I could do to scare myself less and making new memories and new beliefs were essential in my recovery. This is how I found in myself the courage to calculate the risk; how likely was it? Was it possible to get away from the prompters (those things/people/events that made me remember it), would change in my life be helpful in getting rid of the fears? Was there a space, behaviour, attitude, or people that I would feel safe with? What would I find the strength, hope, and protection in?

That was a turning point. Took sometime, but it is done.

I still time to time feel that they are check me, making me feel like they are coming, but I am not going to let them take over again. Nope. I have suffered quite a bit from anxiety. While this is my wish, nevertheless, if it happens again I am confident that this time I will go through it faster and with much less suffering.

In the mean time, I will go ahead and continue working my mind, have a healthy and relaxing life style, and enjoy my life. I have one life. I mean to enjoy it. Pretty much actually. And that feels good. Great in fact.

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*that is probably the end of Sasha’s story

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Sasha – part 5

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Sasha – part 4

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Life with anxiety forces you to change. I tried very hard to do my best to relief my symptoms. First thing first, I started eating a little bit healthier. It nourished my mind maybe more than my body – there was a little bit excitement and satisfaction in putting the effort to go to the stores, get fresh produce and healthy food; I had felt like taking care of myself, having some kind of superficial control in my anxious life. It helped.

Then, I started exercising – similar to the better eating attempts, that idea was mostly from the books I have read about anxiety. It was not easy at first, but I somehow managed to start cardio activities. Kick-boxing to be exact. It really works; a surprising fact. They say it is endorphins or something, the feel-good hormones and natural pain-killers that are released during physical activity that elevate the mood. Cool. For me, no levels were enough to make me feel better though. But with activity, I at least had the chance to focus my mind on my body and environment – or somebody would come and kick me at the head :). I needed to force myself to focus on something.

Yet, one cannot live at the gym and doing nothing meant listening to my mind. And it was telling me terrible stories. No, I could not be still. So I walked. I walked any time, any day. No rain, no snow storm, no work waiting for me did defer me from walking. Day and night, whenever I had “it”, the feeling of suffocation anxiety gave me; the feeling of desperately looking for a way to escape from it; the feeling of “what will happen to me?” ; the feeling of seeing no no-anxiety day in future; the feeling of having no hope whatsoever to return back to what I was prior to anxiety, I threw myself out. I often cried, too, out of misery.

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Sasha – part 4

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You had what I could not and I had what you would not

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It is true that the more I loved you M., the more I disliked myself. You were kind, nice, full of joy and life. I have never seen you upset or mad. You never talked before thinking, never hurt anybody’s feelings. You always knew the best music, the best CD, the best movie, and the best art show to share. Your manners were exceptional. You always smelled good, walked and talked at the right pace. Your voice was soothing.

You had what I could not and I had what you would not; I could be mean and hot-headed. I snapped pretty easily. I never thought before speaking, and I said whatever went through me. I hurt a lot of people’s feelings just by this. I apologized to more people more often in a single day than you ever did. I walked and talked fast, especially when I was nervous. I hardly was an art-fan or something. I could stink when I sweated. My language was dry, my words were short, and my voice was hoarse. My manners were, meh, just average.

to be continued

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Kate’s short story – XXI

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Sasha – part 3

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Once I identified that it was anxiety I was experiencing, one of the logical problems was solved. At first, I thought I would get better after that. Well, I did not. Not seeking professional help was a huge mistake.

I still needed to deal with the thoughts and emotions going through me; they were strong and scary. I could make my mind focus on literally nothing; I thought if I could use my analytical mind, I would get away from the irrational thoughts and emotions. Yet, my mind worked only at a primitive level and whatever I needed to use it for was hence put on hold. I am certain that my mind was paralysed. It felt like I was suspended in the air with no movement, no effort, and no energy. I was aware of everything around me and beyond, but I had no control over neither myself, my body or life, nor my surroundings. Things would happen to me – good or bad – without my involvement, consent or resistance. My entire well being was at stake, there was no safe place for me, and my fears, the fears that my mind created so generously and vividly, would eventually happen. I knew I was stuck at that invisible corner and I had nowhere else to escape. I was going to be a victim.

Of my own imagination.

-to be continued

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Sasha – part 3

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Sasha – part 2

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Where shall I start?

The beginning is too long ago; but maybe the most impactful will make it. I was mid 30s unhappy with my job. We all thought that we would have opportunities to move up within a pretty reasonable period of time. But we did not. The economy was not good and works for people like us were highly competitive. I had this desperate wish to leave my current work place and move to somewhere else with a better level of job, respect, and financial prosperity.

Well, it did not happen and I got more and more agitated. I started to have problems at my current work place; I was good at what I have done but I was not particularly a pleasant person. So people working with me, specifically my boss, were having a hard time to deal with my career-frustrations. I lost my motivation quite a bit and decided to do something else, mostly to get away from my work place. Hence, I started studying French language. My aim was to have a feeling of how much I could get into it and if I was into it at a sufficient level, then to attend a course to learn it. I was buying the books and listening to the CDs for pronunciations. I could turn the TV on French channels and try to grasp. It was all fun.

What I have not seen coming was that while I was not working the analytic side of my brain because of the less time I spent at work, even though I thought I was as I was studying, my brain would just collapse. Not literally; but that is how it felt. At one point of time, I felt a sudden and powerful rush and vicious, violent dance of all bunch of emotions, not necessarily the positive ones for that matter, into my conciousness.

I was sitting on my couch when that happened and it was a nice afternoon. As soon as it happened, I started to freak out with the strength of the feelings. I did not know what was happening but I knew I was feeling incredibly bad. I was scared by the thoughts running in my mind; I was living in a terrible world created by my mind. I believed every single thing it said. Otherwise was not possible.

With this new “reality”, I walked around as if I was being dragged around with the heaviness in my chest. I could not sleep. I could not find one moment of peace. This horrible state and my lack of understanding of it continued quite a bit. I bought books, realizing it was possibly a mental situation, but focusing was so difficult I could not read them for quite sometime. I thought about seeing a doctor, yet I did not even know how to define it. I could not ask help, I could not focus on anything, and I could not understand it.

Eventually, I identified the core feeling as fear and thus was able to find self-help books on fear. There I realized what I was happening to me was a kind of anxiety. It was a relief finding a name to my situation. It also helped me to see that whatever looked real was not real; I was safe. But in the majority of time when I could not focus on reading and thus understanding my feelings, my mind was busy playing me the worst scenarios over and over, more vivid than ever, and more fearsome than anything. My mind was the worst enemy and finding a way to subsidize it did in fact  prove to be difficult.

– to be continued

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Sasha-part 2

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Sasha – part 1

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I deep down know well that what I am going through is not normal.

I have issues to deal with – my mind, which has been antsy and uneasy for decades, is busy formulating ways to assess problems, even when they do not exist, and frantically searching for solutions. At times when it is too prolonged, too overwhelming, I give up. I give up either the joy of life or the sanity.

I self-diagnosed myself with anxiety a long time ago. At first I did not know what it was; now I do. It is a terrible feeling. When it gets too unbearable, I am grateful for the depression lurking it and eventually replacing it for some time. Depression is equally tormenting, never been happy to have it, but it at least freezes the pain a little bit so that I can take a break from constant fear and worry. To me, it feels better than anxiety. I bet you have never heard about someone who is grateful for having depression time to time. That person is me.

My first anxiety episode was sudden and inevitable. Yet, I have grown up with it and now I can feel when it is close to show up. I slightly panic and rush to calm myself. Lately I have had some success in it. I found that the best way is to keep my mind busy; I am grateful for my job, which lets me work my left brain hard. Yet, work has its own problems, and I have a house, social interactions, and a mental sanity to keep. When all life areas are problematic, it breaks.

I desperately look for something to hold on to at these times. People advise finding something I like; I guess they have never been in the same situation; during anxiety or depression those people and things I like all disappear. Not that they physically go away; my perception of them does.

-to be continued

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Sasha-part 1 

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Changing directions

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In the entire story, two things are constant; the hurt and confusion created by ever changing directions of my emotions. One moment I am so profoundly in love with you; nothing and no one else matters. My entire existence is you, thoughts about you, longing for you. And the next day, I feel simply nothing towards you. Sometimes, just sometimes, I just hate you.

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Kate’ short story – XIII

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while waiting the end of “us”

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I trashed everything that reminded you. But memories are the worst; how do I bury a part of me?

Nevertheless, with a strange pleasure I can say that it has been four days…I was not able to feel anything for you.

Neither love nor hate.

I did not miss you.

I did not even cry.

There has been other times like this before; none so long, though. I had estimated that over time they would get longer and longer. Then, one would be “it”. “It” would be the end of “us”.

While I cry over you, I often find myself humming “Come What May” of Moulin Rouge; one particular line I like – “suddenly my life does not seem such a waste“. It is such a fragile line.. What happens if one replaces the word “waste” with “mess”?

ah, yes..

There will be an end of us.
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Kate’s short story-V

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love comes and goes

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Love comes and goes; that is my observation.

It is such a fragile thing, love is; it is like an unstable chemical that one moment there with all of its intensity requiring all the attention for its needs and then the next time, it is gone … no more the exhilaration, no more the joy, no more the excitement, no more the demands of it.

Nowadays I feel like it does not exist any more and I find a kind of serenity, peace in it. Deep down, though, I know I in fact find a great pleasure for its non-existence towards him. That is possibly my ego talking and if my ego was not strong enough, then I would be deeply saddened by its non-existence; is not my love toward him what I loved more than him?

Things will change soon;  I will choose practising kindness and forgiveness and my ego will subsidize as a result. I will start feeling the intensity of it and its demands from me again. Like someone/something that I cannot say no, I will give my whole attention to ensure its survival. It will drill my heart. I will shed tears.

Human heart is a primitive thing and human mind is a calculating one. This duality is what bothers me most about love.

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Kate’s short story-III

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