Wednesday, February 26, 2014

you make me weak and wanna die, just when you said we'd try

Well, hello.
**shy wave**

I'm intimidated by my own blog.  It's with great trepidation, but also with inspiration, that I am hoping to revive La Vie.

There is so, so much to talk about, it can't all be done in one post and I think that's where some of my overwhelming desire to avoid my blog comes from.  It's like the blanket I haven't finished crocheting.  I don't really want to, but I know how happy I will feel if I just start working on it again.  I like to crochet, as I like to write....and yet?

A good friend of mine once wrote the most beautiful passages on his blog and then one day he just stopped.  He said he was tired of it, that everything just seemed so negative.  While I begged to differ:  I found his posts honest and haunting and meditative, I understand now that to be able to mix and match the words in an honest and haunting way you often have to feel a sense of that within your world, in the same way that gives form to your words.  When you feel like shit, it gets hard.  And my dear readers (I've another idea! The dedication of this blog...I'll come back to this), I have not been feeling too well.

The past year has been nutty:  lots of changes in ole Shan, most not for the better.  You might recall the collapsed lung (lobe), the many hospital stays, the oxygen, THE VENT, a short period sans oxygen post vent, and then kind of a dull and dreary but mostly boring late fall/winter.  Things were boring in the sense that facebook wasn't going wild with pictures of me from my youth because a machine was breathing for me; in fact, I think I was only in the hospital once (?) post vent?  But inside this little bod things were still a bit amok. It may just be that we had a good run, but Shanny's CF lungs (honestly, I cannot complain, they served me well) have had their day.

I used to write so openly about dying and fearing death and coming to grips with my self and my disease.  I think I did a pretty good job of it all actually, but kinda it was a bunch of hogwash because I can tell you right now that when I was writing about death at 70% lung function it was all so esoteric and deep but what did I know about dying?  What do I know about it now?  I know with much more conviction that I am a lot closer to it. I know what it feels like to pass out from hypoxia, to have doctors say they don't know how else to help you, to have to plan your day strategically around walking and breathing and rest.  But still. Still, inside, I still just feel like me.  I don't feel that death is prowling around the place waiting.  Should I?  Will I?  I expect that I would, but who knows?  Think of how many people are here one minute and dead the next.  You can't tell me they all saw it coming?  Maybe they did though.  Maybe it's not about seeing it but how long before it's upon you that you are aware of the dark sleep coming on?  That I can believe, just as how in one year my life and lungs have changed so minutely to me that it seems so fast and yet such a logical progression both in the same time - like growing hair, if you will. However if you had not seen me for some time, perhaps you might be quite surprised in the changes?

I digress.  What I want to say but haven't been able to spit out is that I am aware of the fact that I am in end stage lung disease and I admit that I am dying.  Once I began to (and can I, really?) see that blur on the horizon not as the start of a new day or of some future plans to dream about but more as the point where I might not be here any more there came a shift in perspective.  I can tell you with out a doubt that it is my love for my children that keeps me hanging on.  I love my family, I love my husband, my friends.  I know my death will upset them, sadden them.  But I don't know that I think it would change them.  Maybe I just am not able to see all the places I touch the world, that can be a hard thing for us to admit sometimes, but I do see it in my kids.  I know that they need to have a mother in their lives, and I so very selfishly want it to be ME.  As much as I fear I am fucking them up, that's MY job and I am not ready to quit. I am not ready to let some other woman do it, or their father alone, nor to place that job on my own parents. But I fear.  I fear a lot.  Letting go of fear is a huge challenge for me.  I am not afraid of dying.  I am pretty sure I can say that honestly now.  I am afraid of leaving things undone.

I have so few ways I feel I can really touch the world, but my words are one way I have always felt capable.

We read so often about pain, struggle, uprising and the fact that there is a responsibility to some to simply bear witness.  That's what I want to resurrection of this blog to be.  Just to bear witness to what life was like for one sick mom who was trying to get it right for her kids and to leave this tiny legacy behind for them to have, just the words, thoughts, the silly beating heart of a girl who maybe didn't see it coming, but had been in a slow dance with it all the same; until it's time to change partners and bow this one out.

post script:

I can't leave here in good faith with that ending.  The curtain ain't closed yet.  So on Friday I head to Loyola Medical center in Maywood, IL to have an introductory meeting with the transplant pulmonologist.  yipes!  It doesn't mean that I have chosen TX nor does it mean that this transplant team has obliged to take me on.  There are so, so many parts to this whole thing that have to come together before any decisions such as those are made.  It DOES mean that I have said Yes, Yes, I will check this scary thing out and see.  I am doing it for my kids, but I am lying if I say I haven't already climbed Everest at least once in my mind.  You know, without supplemental oxygen ;)

Friday, May 24, 2013

twenty twenty twenty four hours to go... I wanna be sedated

I've been meaning to write my "story" about getting sick and all that went down at the beginning of the month but I have just been lazy. No, that's not entirely true, I have been on oxygen and IVs and doing ALL THE TREATMENTS and just pretty worn out at the end of the day with not much incentive to write.

So...I have to go back to the end of March to really begin. Maybe all the way back to November. In November I had this crazy pain in my right lung. It was almost intolerable though I did tolerate it for about 10 days because I knew I had a clinic visit coming up and I try not to do ANYTHING remotely CF related outside of my clinic because, for you non-CFers out there - the medical profession at large really knows very very little about CF and you wind up in a big cluster fuck of nonsense of you try to get anything accomplished without your CF team on board.

 Anyway, I had an x-ray which demonstrated a right middle lobe atelectasis (basically it's like a collapsed lobe) and I had my first bronchoscopy. I think this was in November...maybe it was in January? I was definitely in the hospital in November and January (and March and April/May), though my timing might be off here. Either way, I ended up admitted again in January for the SAME infection.
My normal routine is to go into the hospital where I am desensitized to the antibiotics I need because I am allergic to them and then I finish up the course of abx at home. During my Jan admission I desatted during my sleep and required supplemental oxygen - which isn't weird for a sick CFer, but I didn't know it was going to be a thing.

Then it was March and I was sick, again. Once again, I put things off until I had my clinic appointment. I had my usual pulmonary function test and my FEV1 was 35%!! My baseline is about 55% so that's a significant dip. My doc ordered a CT, another bronch, and an admission for more IVs. The thing was, I had plans to go to CA the beginning of April that I wasn't willing to put off. Quality over quantity I rationalized. I did have the CT before I left.

CA wasn't that fun, simply because I felt like SHIT. I was so damn tired the entire time. I was almost relieved to be going to the hospital and I actually stayed for 4 days instead of my usual 24 hours. It was at this time that my need for continuous O2 was discovered. My oxygen sats actually went down to 77% at one point before I was put on 3L of O2. I was not taken off the O2 upon being released from the hospital and was told the only way I was going home was to go home with oxygen.
Wearing O2 and carrying a tank with you everywhere you go SUCKS. And it's pretty hard to convince your family that your OK when you have an oxygen cannula stuck to your face. So once I was realeased, I found myself resisting going places more and more. Which was OK because I really wasn't feeling well still. at.all.

My doc put me on an IV med called Meropenem, an inhaled med called Cayston, and an oral antibiotic called Zyvox. Zyvox is a nasty drug. It gave me terrible lethargy and the worst diarrhea of my life. I chalked feeling so poorly up to that medicine. As well, I found that if I wore the O2 at home and in the car, I really didn't feel THAT BAD if I took it off to run into the grocery store or the kids' schools. haha. little did I know.

So on Thursday, April 25th (I think), Miss M had a "Muffins for Moms" event at her school. I was there for about an hour and I left the O2 in the car.

I am going to back up a tiny bit to complain for a minute. My family were kind of dicks to me during this time. I asked for help a few times and mentioned more than once that I just wasn't feeling well and I was told to "step it up" and "quit complaining" by two of my family members. In their defense, I have spent the last 35 years pretending everything is fine, even when it hasn't been, so they really didn't know. But I mention that because 1) it comes into play about how I feel regarding fam later and 2) I was pushing myself really hard to feel that I accomplished something during the daytime rather than having to face everyone and say NO, I didn't do the laundry, NO I didn't make dinner, NO I haven't swept the floors. Retrospectively, who gives a fuck, right? But I felt guilty about doing nothing all day.

So, anyway, after "Muffins for Moms" I went home, stuck on the O2 and proceeded to watch a bunch of "Arrested Development" episodes. About 1 that afternoon a friend stopped by. This friend was a boy but not a romantic boy. Still, when the doorbell rang my vanity kicked in, and I locked up the dog, hung the O2 cannula on the doorknob and answered the door.
My friend knew I was on O2 and even said that he could see the indentations from the cannula and asked why I took it off. I shrugged and said, "No big deal, you will only be here for a few minutes anyway." We both noted how out of breath I was. I could not seem to catch my breath and I lamented how weird that was, as I had been wearing the oxygen all day and had only gotten up to answer the door.
I decided I needed the O2 after all and went into the other room to get the cannula. By the time I sat back down my dexterity seemed to be impeded and I could not get the cannula over my ears. Then I noticed my friend seemed to be going in slow motion. I said something was wrong. Then I started to pass out. It was like I was the drunkest I have ever been. I could not keep my head up or eyes open and I was trying to hold the O2 to my nose because I still could not get it on. I told him he needed to call for help. I could hear and think just fine, but I could not react. It was like I was a little bit asleep and could not control my body. When we heard the ambulance, my friend tucked me into my table so that I would not fall and went to open the door. The problem was he caught my accessed port between me and the table and it hurt, so I tried to push away and ended up falling out of the table and onto the floor which is where the paramedics found me.

They gave me some oxygen via a c-pap (I think) and an Albuteral breathing treatment. After those two things I was alert and actually felt for a bit that I need not even bother with the hospital (ha! that is SOO me!) Nevertheless, I was taken to the ER. When I got there, luckily, the BEST RT was called and being familiar with CF, she had everything in motion: I received another breathing treatment, she called my CF doc (who heads the ICU at the hospital), I had an arterial blood gas drawn and was told fairly quickly that my CO2 levels were quite high (62.5) and so I got to wear the bi-pap Darth Vader mask from hell. This ended up causing a lot of my problems. So anyway.

Now my mom and dad and husband and kids had made it to the hospital. My parents were very worried, and while I understand why, they caused me a great deal of anxiety with how they reacted to the situation and new boundries MUST be drawn before anything like this ever happens again. I am a bit irritated still about how the situation was handled in the beginning. I want to reiterate that I have a HUGE loving and supportive family, but it was spearheaded by two people who have had very little interaction with my disease over the years, and thus were a little bit misinformed, and were too blinded by their own worry to think rationally. I don't blame them for this, but I'm lying if I don't admit to some resentment about how they acted when I needed them to be calm and cool.

Ok. so I was admitted to the ICU on the bi-pap and I was miserable. My RT wanted my bi-pap settings very high in order to eliminate some of the CO2 in my system but this was extremely uncomfortable for me. If you don't breathe with the bi-pap it feels like you cannot breathe at all. Occasionally I felt that the machine was making me hyperventilate and then my family was trying to come in and talk to me - which at times was fine, but occasionally I got so irate with them that I would start to panic. I'm also clausterphobic and the bi-pap mask was giving me a great deal of anxiety.

My mom called my entire family. I mean ENTIRE. My brother flew in from California, that's what I mean. And my step-mom called the minister from her and my dad's church. Can you imagine seeing this from my point of view? What exactly were they doing? What were the thinking? DId they know something I did not know? I was angry that they were all coming to say goodbye. No matter what they say ("we were just there to support you" - um no. Because if you wanted to support me you would not have made me a circus freak that you all stared at from the hallway), they were there in case I died. That was fucked up and it makes me mad. These words might be enough to make my family very upset with me, but the fact of the matter is my doctor never said anything remotely like, "She has 24 hours to live." It was all reactionary. and it did not calm me in any way. So, sorry guys. I love you, but next time, please wait for the death proclamation before rushing to my bedside in droves. Yes, I am a bitch. Sorry. I don't think my family reads my blog, so maybe they will remain oblivious to this? If not, all I'm saying is PLEASE LISTEN TO HOW I FEEL. Thank you.

So at this point everything gets hazy. I know that my abdomen became painful and distended and some of that was the bi-pap forcing so much air into me. I was miserable. I know I was given a shot of morphine at some point in the night with the hopes it would make me sleep. and I know my nurse that first night and I did not get along very well. I give her credit that she probably did all for me that she was allowed to do, but she just could not do enough to fix my misery and I was super annoyed with her. She did express her irritation with me unkindly though and I won't forget that trauma.

My sense of time is skewed, but at some point Friday afternoon I requested to be vented. I could not take the pain and anxiety any longer and I wanted to be sedated and oblivious. I think that this request came at the relief of much of the staff as I had initially been very against a vent. You know your sick and exhausted when things like a ventilator start to sound good.
The last thing I really remember was my doc saying, "So you want to be intubated?" and nurses pulling supplies out all over the place.

I'm told that I was then heavily sedated and put on the vent at 100% vent dependent. I remember nothing from that point until maybe Monday or Tuesday when they began turning down the vent and the sedative. then I was able to read some FB, write notes to people about what I wanted/needed, etc. Still, the notes that I was writing at that time, some are pretty funny and I have no idea what I was talking about.

Actually, I do remember on Sunday that my Infectious Disease doc changed my I guess maybe I was a little bit aware. Anyway, by this time only my mom, dad, step-mom, and close friends were coming up to see me as well as my husband and the kids so though I sometimes found these visits exhausting, I wasn't irritated as I had been that first 24 hours. I do think and will probably always maintain that having visitors in the hospital sucks and your forced to give attention and energy to people who often don't give you a choice if you want to see them, they just show up. My friend Laura texted before she came, which was nice, and my kids wanted to see their mom, so I couldn't be upset about that, though they did tire me a bit. Still, I am lucky and loved and I have not lost sight of that. It would have been far worse to have no one come rather than to have too many people. My internet family really sustained me. The beauty of the internet is that you can deal with people when you want to, but there is no shortage of love and support either. I am so grateful for everyone who cared for me and prayed or sent intentions or whatever people do during these times. This was far harder, and will continue to be so, on my family than it was on me. Hell, I spent a good portion of the thing in propofol land with Michael Jackson.

My family, not completely understanding transplant, got it into their heads that TX is the logical next step. I'm pretty sure I am still too healthy for TX and I am certainly sure that I am NOT certain about TX. I KNOW I am not ready for TX yet, even if I was deemed worthy. No way. But I have been listening to a lot of TX and religious propaganda from my fam and it's hard not to be annoyed. I saw something I wrote on FB when my mom put a call out for prayers that I wrote that it "is their belief in the occult that is helping" and I know at one point I got mad at my dad and drew a 6 pointed star, lol, so feistiness never quite left the building and I haven't changed my ideas about any of that, no matter how much whispering they did in my sedated ears.

So, that's pretty much it. On Wednesday of the next week they significantly turned the vent down and on Thursday it was at only 5% and after my 150,000th ABG draw the tube was pulled (disgusting and horrifying) and then it was just a matter of hanging out. I was sent up to a regular floor Friday morning and was discharged Monday afternoon, 12 days after I went in.

I have been doing much much better. Today I went a few hours without O2 with no desatting and I have my follow up appointment next Thursday, the same day I start work on a new tattoo, a mermaid with the word "adapt" worked into the piece as an homage to life with CF and being a mom and wife and all these different hats I wear every day. I make them each work in whatever way I can.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Just breathe

I haven't updated in a grip (haha). I'm posting from my phone because my computer is in the shop getting worked on, which makes posting tedious, but I've got plenty of free time and I'm overdue for a health post.

Things are fucked up. I'm
In the hospital for the 3rd time in 6 months and my situation is not getting better.

In fact, I'm on 3L of O2. I came in this morning for my second bronch in 4 months and at intake I was satting 85%! I told the nurse that had to be wrong and so she got another pulse ox which read the same, and so they then put me on 1.5L to start, but that wasnt enough so I was on 4L during and after bronch and we've found anything under 3L allows me to desat. As an example, I'm in the ICU for a desensitization and I took the cannula off to go to the restroom and fell into the 70s! Not good.

So it looks like I might be staying on oxygen for a while. I'm a bit freaked out, without a doubt. I've lost a significant amount of lug function in the last 6 mo and now don't seem to be exchanging blood gases very easily. :(
I'm definitely not stoked.

And, the icing on the cake is that I don't seem to be a photogenic oxygen wearer. I've come pretty hot cystics in O2. I tried, but I just don't think I'll make the cut. Sigh.

Woe is me.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

"On Missing You"

I didn't write this, I copied and pasted from another person's entry on LiveJournal. I'm planning on writing again soon, and this gave me is so true to my here and now.

“On Missing You”
— Kristina H.
Here is the skin that you said you loved
draped over the back of the chair in the kitchen.
Here are the teeth. Here is the sternum, the
clavicle, the fibula. Here are the angel bones
laid out on top of the dresser like antique
jewelry. Here are the earlobes, the knobbly
elbows, the beauty mark near my temple
that always got a moan out of you. Here are
my thighs, my femur. All ten toes, all ten
fingers. My pubic bone, preserved and
wrapped in a velvet bag. Your name on the
tag. Your name on everything. Here is
the body that loved you. Here is the
heart, bloodied and wanting. Here are
those drunk voice mails, the sober texts.
Here is your promise of staying. Here
is the lonely hum in my brain where your
name used to be. Here is my spine. Here
is all the hollow. Here is all the longing. Here
is the heavy tongue, the scratchy vocal
chords. Here are all of the I love you’s.
Here is the shocking wreck of it all. Here is
how you were closer to me than my bones,
my skin. Here is the quiet city, your empty
side of the bed. Here is the empty. Here is not
knowing whether you loved me or not. Here is
the poem that can’t save us. Here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

when I pass by all the people say: just another guy on the lost highway

Tonight is the 8th anniversary of my marriage, but I am alone. This is not news to some, maybe to others, and maybe it's irrelevant to many. but to me it seems significant.
Thinking back on our time together, eleven years, it seems that the turning point came early on: a Fourth of July, very soon after our first year together, after declarations of love - which I personally do not give easily, had been made.
I was moving into my first home, a newly independent mother and college graduate. I was a bilingual education teacher enamored with the new cultures where I found myself daily and with this new relationship, one that actually felt real and adult, capable of blossoming along with me.
Simultaneously, he was divorced, moving out of his childhood home which he had purchased and struggling to survive as a single man, a part-time dad. I can understand this now, but certainly not then, and while I'm sure his perspective is different, he had not tread these waters before either.
I often wonder if examining these early years will reveal the answers of what was to come, an overshadowing of my own history? Maybe this is simply hindsight, or, what I often succumb to when writing: literary appeal? But surely there were lines being drawn at this time: powershifts and independence, loneliness, selfishness and fear ribboning around each of us, pulling us tight where we could not breathe, where we'd trip and bleed because we tied the ribbons together too tightly. There was blame and anger and pulling and stretching those ribbons into the skin like wires until flow was cut off to other parts. Yet when one bled, the other held the cool cloth, despite our own ribboned appendages, ribcages, teeth, and hearts. It became a weary kind of dance we did, to untangle the ribbons, each independently without twists or chinks, retying some tighter, letting some flow loose, but never ever letting go of the end of our strand.
So we worked through that next year with ribbons and scissors, trying to cut out and create a fit for us and for a while the future looked good, that maybe we 'd tied our hearts together just right, pehaps even with ribbon to spare; just enough silken spiral with which to spin ourselves a little bit free, just enough to lash the ribbon too tightly together heart-to-heart, breast-to-mouth, just enough to hang ourselves.
We tied and untied those ribbons for years, not paying attention when the ends began to unravel, and maybe we even stopped caring about our own ends of ribbon,at least i did mine, breaking the ties in anger and frustration only to lash the ends back together over and over. Can you imagine the mess? Not to mention tied up in this was one, then two homes, two, then three children, dogs, cars, bills, and then maybe nothing but a goddamn mess of string.
This story is about me though. I'm writing my way out of that web, the only way I know how, with words.
I collect lonely people, and like spoons, knives, and forks, all clanking together in the same drawer, we all belong, without fitting together. I know lonely like the rise and fall of my labored breath, like I know exactly when the cough will end, when my lungs will finally give in and spit out their ransom. I know lonely people. Broken birds. They are all around me, strung along throughout my life in sentence. Each though, a small constellation bringning me some light in the dark. I like the dark, something many don't understand, but if you do, you do, and if you do, then I'll bet somewhere along the way, our stars have crossed.
When I think about it, some maybe were not as lonely as I thought or as they presented themselves to be. I've been called mysterious more than once, but it's a falsehood. It's simply shy and alone. Alone isn't bad though, and that is the fact I have the most problem bringing to paper. The romance of lonely is hard to relsease to words. I know more than one pseudo-lonely soul made their way past my door for a night or two before I wisened up to their lack of real lonesome appeal. Too much bravado, too many words spoken and not enough whispers, a lack of something tangible in the dark. And the older I got, after I was married, when random nights spent unalone became a thousand and one nights alone with other people, I started to crane my ear to the chime of the computer, where the other lonelies, the truly alone, sat in some other place in some other world, our interactions a silent radioactive arc in which the only ways we lay entwined were with the words we spun.
I've now lost many of these friends. I know it is a direct result of the people I choose to interact with, though by no fault of anything other than faulty genes. I might be losing my husband in an entire different manner. I worry I am losing my almost-teenaged son. These losses have created a lethargy in me that somedays feels to heavy to overcome, and while I often felt a self pity that my suffering has gone unnoticed, I know that I turned away from any peering eyes into my despair. Because that is what lonely people do. We are alone. It's not a fault or a chemical problem, it just is. and along the way, I lost first one friend, then another, then my world, strung together by wirds was turned upside down by words untrue and I felt like concrete was being poured on my already drowning body and I could not, did not, care to breathe.
Caring for another lonely person, a bird I cannot fix, gives me purpose. It's a secret I've long kept concealed and which I know now to be futile, but I don't care. I cannot fix anyone, but the intent to try, a co-dependent tsumani, gives me some reason to listen, again. And here I leave a millions words unwritten, unsure who might read and what might be inferred, when I know all I have done is put thought to "paper." How easy it might be to slide down and allow my own words to become untrue, tied together only to buoy my lonely heart?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Been a long time been a long lonely lonely time

Has it really been since October since I've written? Good grief! I have to get back into the swing of things.

My mind is turning over several ideas right now, but I think I'll just write and see what transpires."65_Redroses" made its US debut on OWN last week.

I hadn't planned on watching. A friend was able to get me a VHS tpe from the Canadian CBC broadcast and I had already watched that twice. I've cried everytime I have watched the film. (POSSIBLE SPOILER BELOW). I cry for Eva, mostly, but myself also. I know how the story ends. It was about the time that begins filming that I became friends with Meg and Eva. Meg reminded me (and still does!) of myself in so many ways and Eva accepted her situation with such grace and beauty and such a great outlook. One thing that I learned from Eva was to try to let myself be loved. I'm great at giving love, not so good at accepting it. CF taught me to turn people away. I have never wanted special consideration or treatment. I want to be left alone. this is very hard for a lot of people to understand - and I still mean it yet. I truly enjoy being alone. My username online for almost as long as the internet has existed has been wanderlost, taken from the Tolkein quote, "All who wander are not lost." I saw this on a bumper sticker when I was about 18 years old and it really resonated with me. It's exactly how I feel - just because I have my own path, my own direction, it doesn't mean that I need help. I am not lost (some may beg to differ, lol).I still want to be alone. I do not mind solitude. For this reason the internet has always been enticing. I can have commraderie and friendship at my own pace. if I don't want to talk, I don't open my chat box. If I want to chat in my panties while eating potato chips and drinking wine, I can. The rules of the internet are differnet. I am me in words. and me in words has always been the better me. I think that many of us here in webland feel the same way. The computer is a safety zone from mundane, awkward human interaction. I detest small talk. Truly, I hate it. I shy away from it. for this reason I sometimes don't even answer my telephone, because to get to anything real, one usually must engage in the motions of small talk. The internet, to some extent, diminishes this need. even in chat rooms and private messenging, there is small talk, but to me, it's just so much easier to write it out and get it over with.

**I started writing this entry in may abd never finished,so I'm just going to publish it now to get this blog up DVD humming again. I am a writer, therefore, I need to quit bullshitting and start writing!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

being lonely is a habit, like smoking or taking drugs - I quit them both, but man was it rough

I haven't been myself for sometime now. Probably a few years, but particularly the past 2 years and most acutely the past 10 months. I know the reasons for a lot of this. It's just that I kept believing that I was in a funk and that I'd snap out of it. I mean, we all go down in the hole from time to time, don't we? The thing is, I haven't been able to crawl out. I am in deep. I finally decided it was time to give myself a diagnosis. Situational depression is certainly part of it, but the past 10 months can only be filed away in one place that I can see: Post traumatic stress disorder. I have nearly every symptom listed and it's all following a catastropichally horrid even that took place January 13th and has unfoled over the past 10 months.

Symptoms of PTSD fall into three main categories:

1. "Reliving" the event, which disturbs day-to-day activity
•Flashback episodes, where the event seems to be happening again and again
•Repeated upsetting memories of the event
•Repeated nightmares of the event
•Strong, uncomfortable reactions to situations that remind you of the event

2. Avoidance
•Emotional "numbing," or feeling as though you don't care about anything
•Feeling detached
•Being unable to remember important aspects of the trauma
•Having a lack of interest in normal activities
•Showing less of your moods
•Avoiding places, people, or thoughts that remind you of the event
•Feeling like you have no future

3. Arousal
•Difficulty concentrating
•Startling easily
•Having an exaggerated response to things that startle you
•Feeling more aware (hypervigilance)
•Feeling irritable or having outbursts of anger
•Having trouble falling or staying asleep

Just writing about this makes me want to cry. I've been hiding out in my house in the shroud of my fear as if my fear and vigilance will protect me.

I've realized that I have not got much faith. I mean, yes, I have always been a person who has prayed for guidance and help, for protection of myself or my children, to express gratitude. But I've never had faith that 'god knows' what's best, or that things happen for a reason or that if I just put my faith and trust into a power greater than myself that things will happen as they should. I'm terrified to relase that kind of control, even if that control is an illusion.

It's an angry circle that I can't get out of. I haven't even been doing treatments, if I'm to be really honest. I just don't care. I don't have the motivation to do anything than the basic requirements. I am miserable, but I don't know how to get out of it. I will make plans: get on the treadmill, sew something, do just one treatment for the day - but when the time comes, I just can't. I take my kids to school; I do the housework required of me; I teach my class and grade the students' papers. I do what I have to do, but that's where it all ends.

Quit moping. Get it together. You're crazy. It will be good for you. Just do it. you're selfish. Let it go. Stop living in fear. It's your own fault. If only you'd...

all these words swirl around me, in my own head and spit out by others. Some mean well, some are angry with me. Everyone is probably frustrated.

I am not trying to be like this. Honest to god. If I could afford a psychiatrist I'd go. Though meds, meds, meds. The answer to everything, right?

I just can't help it. Certain painfu episodes play over and over in my head. I imagine people gloating at my pain. I want to hurt somewhere besides my heart. I want to stop hurting. I think I've cried everyday for 10 months. That's like 300 days of tears. I hold my fear so tightly. I was doing OK, maybe up until we returned from Costa Rica and then things - precariously built up - toppled over and I've been stuck under the rubble since.

I don't want help. I do. I don't want someone to pull me from my bed and slap some sense into me, but maybe I need it. I have never been like this before and I keep waiting for it to end. But some of my thoughts don't have an ending that ends well.

If I didn't have my kids - as much as I feel like a crap mom - I don't know where I'd be. Maybe somewhere tropical, maybe dead. They are a buoy. They keep me here, grounded, but also they keep me here. Running away isn't as easy with two lives under your care.

I don't want responses. I don't want to hear anyone cares, I want to be me again. I want the hurting to stop. I want to stop being afraid. I wish for a faith strong enough to carry me through

"Jesus and Mary, can you carry us through this ocean into the arms of forgiveness."