Thursday, May 22, 2014

No more cancer

First off: yay no more cancer

I'm pretty sure anyone who has ever had cancer before just prays to God that they hear these words, and I hope they all do. And I realize that most people actually have to fight for their life, and sometimes they don't beat it. It's a miserable, piece of shit disease and not enough negativity can be attached to what it does to people, their lives, and everything.

But guess what? I don't care. I wasn't worried. I didn't even want to let myself get mad about it when I got the news last week, because my depression kept telling me I didn't have a right to be upset. It was basically the least threatening form of cancer you could get, and it had the nerve to inconvenience me. People have twisted their ankle and had more ramifications than this sissy cancer did.

::this post is about to get super depressing.  Feel free to stop reading::

And I've got friends who are great, who have told me I have every right to feel angry; who are happy that I no longer have any more cancer. My depression keeps telling me that these people are just tolerating me and they're happy I don't have cancer because then I don't have to weigh on their lives like I have been.  My depression is a little bastard that actually admits that I'm a really strong person, who is very talented and can do anything: BUT (here's the catch) I shouldn't be upset about anything. Ever. Especially when there's others out there who have it so much worse. My depression makes me feel guilty for having depression and convinces me that I shouldn't feel badly about anything because I'm just a selfish, narcissistic, lucky princess who has convinced herself that she has depression so she can be an attention whore.

I'm not sure if anyone else has depression that tries to convince it's owner that it doesn't exist. I'm not sure I understand it completely.  All I know is that I live in a constant state of guilt, thinking all my actions, every single one, is hurting someone. My depression tries to get me to shut myself out from everyone so I don't hurt them; then when I'm by myself it berates me and tells me that I'm a shit friend because I made all this up and what I should be doing is just be normal. And don't even get me started about my depression's opinion about my self injury. My depression tends to use a lot of profanity and it sometimes surprises me with the unique insults it comes up with.

I've gotten into the good habit of not listening to my depression. It's a very good habit because depression lies, but it's coming back with a vengeance this week.

See you on the other side.

Monday, May 19, 2014

If you want to make God laugh, make a plan.

Good news: I went out and did that 3 mile run last week that I was bitching about. Actually, I did 3.5 miles, because reasons.

Actually, i stayed on track pretty great the whole week.

Then I got a chunk of my shoulder removed on Friday and now I can't run or dance for 3 weeks. 

I got diagnosed with melanoma last week and needed to get what they call an excision surgery, which basically means they had to cut a 1cm space out from the infected area.  The infected area was already a few centimeters big, so they took a lot. And they went 3cm deep - down to my muscle. Yay for 3 layers of stitches!

Ok, enough gross medical stuff, I can't handle too much of it. There's a reason my whole family is doctors and nurses and I'm an artist.

Anyway, first thing I asked my doc about was my recovery - if I could run and dance, since I did that pretty often.  She said she didn't want me risking ripping out my stitches, so I should take a break for about 3 weeks.



I pressed her a bit, asked her if this was just precautionary or something I really should stick to. She told me she didn't want me to use my shoulder as often as possible. She quickly said that 3 weeks would fly by and I could do whatever I did before without any complications.

That's when I started crying in the exam room. It was so embarrassing.

I understand I could have been told a lot worse things, and my 'cancer' is probably gonna turn out to be nothing, but of course I'm not going to know for another week or so. So really, I'm bitching about the superficial stuff and in a month it probably won't matter. I mean, any other person who has had cancer would LOVE to fix their cancer by a minor surgery and no working out for 3 weeks. I understand this.

But this is really, really bad news for me. First of all, I finally just got into a routine, and started enjoying working out again, I was getting healthy, being active and getting shit done. Not just exercise-wise, but in all other areas of my life. I was eating better, working on projects, painting; basically just doing great, and I know a great deal of that was because I was getting the endorphins from running, staying on schedule, and pushing through days when my motivation was low and my mood was terrible.

Secondly, I've been managing my depression and anxiety with running and dancing. When I didn't run for 2 days, I could sense my mood getting darker and I made sure to run as soon as I could. There's many doctors who say that exercise is just as important as medication when managing depression.  So, running is my medication, and not being on my medication for 3 weeks scares the crap out of me. Some of my close friends understood how big of a deal it is for me. But because it's such a 'stupid cancer' I don't even feel like I have the right to get pissed about it.

I chose to tell my parents on Saturday, and I should have known better. Loving they are, understanding and empathetic they are not. My dad was more concerned with getting my medical records and looking them over to 'make sure I was getting the best care.'  ('re a pediatrician in another state. What the FUCK do you think you can possibly do?) Oh, and also he wanted them for educational purposes. I told him I'd get him the pathology reports, but I might change my mind. Most of the conversation he and I had were about the statistics and numbers and him asking me for all my medical reports and 'oh, well I don't want to pressure you, and you can say you don't want me to have them, but I think it would be for the best.'  Yeah, no pressure at all Dad. Then after all this he's like 'ok, well Love ya!' and promptly gets off the phone. I understand he doesn't like talking about cancer, he's had it twice, and he's not a 'feelings' guy, but holy shit Dad! I didn't tell you this so I could be your little lab rat. Boundaries maybe? Don't act like you're doing all this because you care. You care about what you're interested in, not what I need.

Mom wasn't much better. Like I said, very loving and they have the best intentions, but not terribly empathetic.  My mom's entire reaction is to listen to me (although I was grateful for that - especially when I told her why i had been running and why it was so important to me); and then sigh and say, 'well, i wish there was something I could do,' 'I'm so glad they took care of it early,' 'Well, you'll still have fun at the wedding even though you can't dance.'  But I guess my mom can't deal with me being all sad and depressed for more than 2 minutes, because then she whipped out, 'Well, try not to let this whole thing make you depressed.'

...let? ...I've been diagnosed with depression for over 10 years and you know full well about it, even if you try to forget. You think if I just sit in my room and think positive thoughts I'll be just fine, then after 3 weeks I can bounce back and go back to the way things were? As if I don't already fight EVERY DAMN DAY because my brain has a chemical imbalance that I didn't ask for and have been trying like hell to fix, or at least just manage?

I might have yelled at her for that comment. I told her that statement was about as useful as me telling her to 'try to make her heart beat slower' to manage her blood pressure better. Not sure if she got it, but she got real quiet, and I think we said goodbye soon after that.

Anyway, so the next few weeks I won't be posting anything much at all; let's hope these 3 weeks aren't so bad. According to everyone else, it's fine and not a big deal at all.  So, let's believe them for awhile, why don't we?

But honestly? I'm just waiting to punch someone in the face.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

WTF brain??

I have a 3 mile run I have to do today because I didn't do it this morning. 

And I just want to fall into bed and cry. Don't ask me how this happened, I was fine 3 hours ago, everything was awesome. Now, not so much.

But if I get home and I just crawl into bed, I'll regret not going for a run, even if it's not going to make any fucking difference anyway, because I'm not losing weight and it doesn't seem to matter how long I run because I'm still going to be fat for my friends wedding, despite eating well and working out.

Oh, and I'm gonna have a huge fucking scar on my back from my surgery. Sexy.

I just want to crawl into a hole and not talk to anyone for a week.

But I'm gonna do the mother-fucking run. It might not make me feel better, but at least I'll feel justified if I want to crawl into bed after, tell the world to fuck off, and spend the rest of the night hating everything.

Run when you're angry

I got some stupid news yesterday. Stupid because I don't get to be mad about it, but I am. 

After I got said news, I went right to the gym, put on my angriest music, and ran an 11:58 mile.

One goal down y'all.

I'm confused though, I'm really not dropping any weight. Some of my clothes are fitting better, but not always. I feel like I've plateaued this week and last, despite all my efforts.  I think I probably haven't been eating enough, so I'm really going to have to force myself to eat more often. And drink more water, always drink more water.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Swing Kitten

So, last weekend I was able to turn it all around and have a very successful, busy, and happy weekend.  I'm gonna go ahead and give all props to Jeff and Jacklyn, since they randomly invited me to go swing dancing on Saturday.

Even though I never have anyone who wants to go dancing with me, I love tagging along with them. I get to dance with Jeff a few times and a few strangers. It's always a good time. This time we went to 'Uptown Swing Dance' near Coolidge corner. Even after one night, I am SOLD on this place. The band was great, the lesson was excellent and interesting, and there weren't so many people that we were all bumping into each other. Charleston Swing Central is great, but it was really crowded.  Plus, it didn't hurt that this weekend I asked (and got asked) to dance a lot! Just about every other song I was out there dancing. Everyone was so friendly and totally ok that I was such a newbie. I loved it. I might take some classes with them since they're pretty cheap ($65 for 6 classes), and I'll get to know the community better. They only do these dance nights once a month and I'd like to be in shape for them. (don't know if it's common knowledge, but swing dancing is exhausting ya'll)

And bonus: I can bike there when I get in a little bit better shape. Good, because usually I need a ride after getting of there at midnight; since the buses are erratic, especially at that hour. I'd rather bike 30 minutes to get home than take 3 buses and get home at 1:30.

Bonus bonus: Even though I was unbelievably exhausted and sore on Sunday, I still went out and did a 2 mile run Sunday night.

My mom asked me why I felt like I had to go out and do a run after exhausting myself dancing.

"Because I love it."

It's been awhile since I've been able to say that.

To quote Wil Wheaton: "Everything is really awesome and amazing, and I feel really weird right now."

Friday, May 9, 2014

Just keep running

So it seems like taking 2 days off of running is a bad idea for me (I did cross training one day, total rest the next). I'm not sure if I was just getting the runner's high and that made me feel better, of if my downward swing in mood was for other reasons(perhaps it was just an episode of hypomania?). But I'm gonna blame my not running for 2 days.

Yeah, I said hypomania.  I've been entertaining the possibility that I might be bipolar. My old doctor hinted at it, but didn't really do anything about it before she dropped me because I was too difficult for her to deal with after my hospitalization. So, there's that. And I'm not seeing any more doctors, so I probably won't get a proper diagnosis. Some might think that isn't a smart idea. I think it's the best idea I've had in awhile. I get to monitor my moods, in detail, take proper notes and take care of myself in the way that I see best. Plus, I'm not going to get shuffled on and off a cocktail of medications that will disrupt my life as I wait to 'see if they work.' Fuck that. Plus, not seeing a doctor means I won't just get dropped without a safety net (my last 3 psychologists and psychiatrists basically told me that I had to stop seeing them, and didn't give me any help to find a new doctor).  Win win I think.

I'm not saying anything negative about medication though. Medication made my life easier for awhile, and I was willing to try a whole bunch of meds to see what worked. But I'm tired of it. I'm tired of exhausting myself and getting nothing in return. I'm tired of meds that work for years and then just randomly stop working. I'm tired of the side effects that are endless and unpredictable, even when you stop taking the drugs. So, I'm done. I'm done with doctors who violated their ethical oath to do no harm. I'm tired of telling someone my life details and basically just getting affirmation that I'm doing things correctly and I just need to be nice to myself. I don't need to sit in an office for an hour and pay a copay for that. I can do that on my own, thanks. I have the internet.

The only time I've ever spoken to a doctor and it really helped was when they had a vested interest in my well being. My aunt gave me more help in 2 days than most therapist did over years of sessions.

Anyway, about last night.

Last night sucked. I got a few home projects done, and enjoyed having all this time to myself. It was great. Then 11:30 rolled around and I tried to get some sleep. All of a sudden I started over thinking my condition and what it meant, if I was being too dramatic and if I needed help at all. And thinking I didn't want to talk to anyone about this because even if I did it wouldn't change the way I felt.

So, even though a part of me wanted to send a 'I'm scaring the shit out of myself - please help me' to everyone I knew, I just wrote it all down. Reread it, and wrote it all down again. I took some pills to help me stay calm (even though I was upset, I wasn't agitated. I just didn't want the chance of becoming too panicked and injuring myself. And I'm staying on my 'stay calm' pills. I know exactly how those work and I don't have side effects. I stopped taking my antidepressants).

Finally got to sleep around 3am, after locking the cat out of my spare bedroom and sleeping in there. For some reason I couldn't sleep in my new bed. The night before that, I had the worst nightmares I've ever had. I woke up screaming, crying and terrified, and I was seeing things. Things trying to get in through my window. I've never seen things that weren't there before and that got me scared all over again. So, I slept in my spare room, on my old futon, curled up in a little ball and tried to stay calm.

Naturally, since I don't sleep well on the futon, I didn't get up for my morning run. I kinda knew that would happen. So I've schedule my run for after work. I can't miss it, because I have a 3 mile run to do tomorrow.

I don't want to psych myself out, but I'm slightly worried about this weekend. I don't have anything planned and I'm not sure I want to. It might end up being one of those weekends I stay in my house.  But I get bored sitting around and watching Hulu. Maybe I'll walk around for hours, as long as I don't have to talk to anyone. I just don't want to see anyone, because I don't want anyone to know how scared I am. I don't want advice, I don't want to see a doctor, I just want to deal with it.

Because in the end, I'm alone in this. Doctors leave you, men claim to love you and then take everything you give and leave you broken and scared.  Friends try to help, but they have their lives; their own problems, hopes, and dreams. I don't want to be a negative person in their life. If I'm gonna be around them, I want to be the best version of myself. They're not going to be around to see me at my worst, and they (have hope for me) but ultimately want me to act my best around them. And sometimes I just can't.

The only person who is going to be there when I fail is me. So I have the right to handle it however I want. Maybe when I get another job (since I have hospital bills taking up 1/4 of my salary) I won't have time to worry about this anymore...I won't have to worry about making plans with friends because they'll be too busy and so will I.

Just keep running girl. That's the best thing you can do for yourself now.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

click, click, click...

I've wanted to be a creative art director for close to 10 years. That was my goal, that's what I set everything on, and decided that if I could reach that, I would be the happiest panda ever.

I almost got it. I almost got a job as an art director, but I didn't have enough digital experience. Most of my career I've been print-based. I've never learned HTML, Java, or built a website (my portfolio is hosted on a general website). So, I wasn't upset about the job so much as I knew I just needed to learn more.

Funny how things start clicking into place.

That job I almost got, I had the interview about 2 months ago. Since then things have been happening.

- Our group at work got Adobe CS6 premium (flash, dreamweaver, and fireworks included)
- My company offered a beta testing for those who wanted to learn digital marketing. I signed up.

So now, besides taking the marketing courses offered through my company, I can also start using to further my education, now that I have access to the most updated Adobe products.

(And as I just finished typing that sentence, I just got a goodie bag filled with usb keys, a notebook and more information from the digital marketing course I'm taking.)

It just keeps coming!

Turns out, I'm really, really enjoying learning about digital marketing, social media, web content...all these things that I never considered learning about before. And I'm thrilled I get to keep learning.

Basically what I'm saying is that after a few weeks of this new content, I'm seriously considering adjusting my long term goals.

Here's the thing: I like creating; I like being part of a group to bounce ideas back and forth and come up with a solution. I like creating stuff alone, I just like creating, learning, looking for better solutions.

So far, I've been working in the very literal sense of creating something: flyers, catalogs, books, websites. But I'm learning that creativity isn't limited to design or print or anything like that. I think I'm more effective at being a creative person, rather than being a creator. And maybe that means I need to advance my skills.

I want to be a linchpin. I'd rather be a student and teacher of many skills than the master of one. I want to be like someone I learned a lot from and still inspires me to this day. I might be a good designer, but I can do bigger and better things.

And, I don't want to be at the bottom of the totem pole anymore.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Who knew?

The past week I've been pretty successful about getting my butt in gear. I'm sure it's because of my new bed. For the past 3 years I've been sleeping on a 10 year old futon that I took when I left my ex husband. I let him keep the bed, because at that time I was still putting his needs above mine.

Just over a week ago, my new bed was delivered. I shelled out a bit of money on it, but to have a new mattress and new pillows after the creaking futon...I was in heaven. I could spend all day in that bed.

And it's been easier to get up in the morning. Most mornings trying to get out of the futon was like trying to get to a 6am shift with a massive hangover. That's how it felt. Every. Damn. Day.

I got up early this morning (like yesterday) to go for a run. 2 miles.

You know what my time was per mile? Just under 15 minutes. (before you think 'Gosh that's slow, why is she proud of that?' It's because I haven't run really in years. I am currently at least 80 pounds overweight. And because last week my fastest mile was 17 minutes. These things take time.)

Next goal is the 12 minute mile. But for now, I'm pretty happy.