Thursday, February 16, 2012

Need to be rested.....not needed

The hardest lesson that I have had to learn with this illness is to accept my own limitations.   I still have difficulty saying 'no' and actually meaning it....or at least doing it in such a way that people realize that I can't or don't want to do whatever is being asked of me.

I don't think that anyone would want me to do anything more than what is possible, but I still have a very hard time with this situation.   Before cancer, my energy levels were such that I rarely if ever said no and really wanted to do all the things that I did.   Today, often I have the desire to do things, but don't have the energy.   It can be a real internal struggle and at times can lead to great regrets because I feel awful physically afterwards.   It is dealing more with the desire to continue like before, than the feeling that  people are asking more of me than I can give.

There are many lessons to be learned when you health becomes compromised.   If I was lying in bed, moaning and writhing, I would have no problem because no one would even think to ask me to do anything at all.   So that just verifies that it is my problem not theirs.   I have to begin to prioritize my activities, not worrying that I am letting anyone down.   Rather arrogant of me when I think of it.   As if the world cannot function without my actions.   I believe though that my true concern is that people will be disappointed in me and then move away.   What a dilemma!!!!!

Obviously, I have much work to do on my need to be I really am feeling my need to be rested.....way too busy these days and it is catching up on me like crazy........

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Finances and illness......

We live in a world where the most important determining factor of one's life is not necessary health but rather finances.   It isn't a pleasant thing to say but, if one is honest, it is the reality in which we live here in North America.  One of the major determining factors of whether a person works or doesn't work when they are ill is not what is best for their health but rather whether they can afford it or not!!!!

We are blessed in Canada with a universal health care system which in times of need can be the difference between life and death, literally and financially.   It is often believed that when we get sick that everything will be looked after.   Initially, that is true.  If  you need to be hospitalized for an accident or serious illness, the immediate concerns are looked after and there is no worry that a huge bill will be presented to you as you leave the hospital.   That is a blessing in itself.

What I need to vent about is the idea that when you have a long term, chronic, serious or even short term and out-patient illness or health issue the financial side can be very difficult.  When I was working I had a good job and didn't have to worry about money...I even had a savings account.  There was always enough money ...albeit not much...but enough that if there was an emergency I could probably handle it.   What would constitute an emergency in my life would mainly being able to travel back home if need be because of illness or death in my own family.   That security no longer exists in my life.   I feel guilty complaining as I have enough money to look after myself....but that is it.  There are no extra dollars lying around at the end of the month...and even worse there is absolutely no savings left.   The first couple of years were easier with that little nest egg but alas that has long gone to cover the incidentals over the years.   As for the credit cards, well that in itself is a blog.....did I learn the hard way!

My purpose here is not be complain and whine about is to honestly look at the financial cost of illness especially here in Canada.   Our system looks after hospital expenses which are enormous...but it doesn't look after the gas to and from the hospital, the parking at the hospital, the extra food costs for family during hospital stays.  It doesn't look after the prescriptions that you may get on the way out, and in some situations it doesn't even look after the tests needed or drugs needed while you are hospitalized.   For the individual, it becomes a burden if they no longer work.   Bills remain constant even when the pay cheque changes. Actually, bills increase while the income remains constant as insurance companies don't increase wages for inflation. If it is chronic, the bills begin to pile up, the savings deplete and eventually you learn very quickly how to live literally hand to mouth....counting every penny till the next cheque.  Savings forget it.!!!!!     And those don't include the costs of the pills, medicines and other necessities that might be incurred for the illness.    Often, permanent disability means a loss of benefits, as employers rarely if ever cover that in their insurance premiums.   So at a time when you may find you need drug benefits the most ....they are gone!    Also, if you have an insurance plan or CCP  that is taxable,  again another situation arises where the tax bill grows but the ability to pay it recedes.

I have been ill for 10 plus years....not always in bed ill, but with my disease it is chronic and constant.   I have been blessed with the best people in the world who have given me love, support, and even a hand up at times.   I feel that I am really one of the lucky ones.    Still, there are times when I feel frustrated because in a society that places so much importance on finances, I can't even begin to participate.    My mother is ill, I would dearly like to just take a plane down for a couple of days to see her, but my finances don't allow it.   It isn't that I couldn't find a way, it just isn't as easy as it used to be when I was working and had that little extra.

We are very fortunate to live in a country that has universal health care....and we must fight to keep it...there is a bill that Steven Harper is trying to push through Parliament in March that could see us lose it to multinational corporations.....( that is a whole other aware)    BUT,  it behooves each of us to educate ourselves on exactly what it costs a family to get sick in this is still not a cheap endeavour!!!!!   and again if Mr. Harper has his way it may become even worse!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fear....standing alone amidst it

Fear seems to be a big theme in my life these days.   In some ways I thought I had dealt with it and packaged it up and put it on the shelf.   Having Cancer I guess I had realized one of the worst fears I might have and anything else would be fluff.   That is not the case.   Sometimes it just creeps up on me and I look it straight in the eye and think "not again".

This fear is different again.   Fear of not making good choices.  Fear of being selfish and self absorbed.  I have this fear that I will do too much and then the cancer will take control again.  Fear of losing the energy and health that I still have.   I am at a crossroads in my life, where I have to make decisions that affect other people but I might have to put my own concerns first.   This is not always an easy task for me.   I like to make sure that everyone around me sees me as the fixer, the helper, the one who will be there no matter what.   I don't think I can be that person anymore.    I am afraid to be that person, because I am afraid of this disease.    One thing I truly believe about illness is that energy plays a big  part in the ability of being able to keep things at bay.    If I get too tired, too exhausted my body won't be able to sustain the necessary strength to keep the cancer from taking over.  

Do I take a risk and do what I think I SHOULD do, or do I try and be honest with the people in my life and actually say 'I am afraid" is a difficult place for me to be.    I don't like being afraid, and even more I don't like others to know that is how I feel.   I often play a game of hide and seek with my feelings because I don't want people to worry, pity or concern themselves.   Maybe I need to work on being honest about my fears!!!!   I recognize them, and I reflect on them, my only weakness is admitting them to others.  Perhaps that is where I am being led this stand alone in my corner and not feel afraid of what others may think of me.   My head knows that most will be on side, but it is taking that 18" journey to my heart that seems to be the problem.

So, again fear enters my a deeper level again, and hopefully I will journey with it and come out the other end......this disease seems to have alot of lessons left in it......bad cancer, bad cancer, bad cancer!!!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Saying Goodbye......

Its a sad time right now.  I am having to say good bye to someone that I have known since childhood.   We were not what I would call good friends although there were times over the years when we were closer than others.   It just makes me sad to realize that sometimes we don't appreciate the time we have as much as we should.   I could have been a better friend, I could have been more present but I wasn't.  Now it is too late.

I have had the opportunity the past couple of days to talk with others that knew him in school as well.  It is interesting what others have to say and the memories that they share of the person.   I wish we could all be a bit more loving and giving, and then maybe at times like these there wouldn't be any regrets.  It is amazing how each person in our life, no matter how insignificant the relationship may seem, connects us to others.   These past few days have allowed me to talk with people I haven't spoken with in years and yet we share a past that no one else in my life at this time has any idea of.    We have the good, the bad, the ugly memories of growing up, of the cruelness of childhood, the laughs and the blessings too.
Of how we affected people and how we have grown into better hopefully more loving people.

I will miss him, but not in a day to day way because he was not in my life in that way.  I will miss him b/c he was  part of my past and now those memories that we shared are gone.   May he rest in peace and may his soul be at rest.....a rest it may not have been able to find in this life.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Growing old......

Feeling a little old today.   Tired and sore and think I might be coming down with something.  Aside from those normal ailments though I am feeling a little down.    No reason to if one looks at the day.  Had a great time with family, and always great to have a little one around to make you smile.   I must say I miss those days when my daughter was so young and everything was new and exciting.

It just seems that life is moving by so quickly.  In many ways I am grateful that I can complain about that fact because 10 and a half years ago I would have thought I wouldn't be around at this point.   Initially, I had a very narrow window of a future according to statistics and thought I only had three more years.    Needless to say, I am one of the few people I know that loves to have a birthday, considering the alternative in my mind sucks.

I guess I am just realizing that I am at a point in life where I soon will be the generation at the top.   My mother is not well at the moment although it isn't anything serious.  Although when you are almost 87, anything can be serious.   She has been in hospital for a couple of weeks, which alone concerns me as it isn't very common anymore to have such extended stays....usually they are pushing you out the door as quickly as possible, even to the point of offering to call you a cab.   Being far away doesn't help because then I have to depend on others to give me updates and their impressions of how she is doing.    Phoned her and she sounded so tired.   I mean, soul tired, you know when it is an effort just to talk, to be seems to take a toll.   That makes me realize that she is old, not a politically correct statement I know but come on at some point lets call a spade a spade!!!!!   And then to top it off, I have a daughter who just turned 23 and so that makes me feel old......

I have been thinking alot about how fast life seems to go by.   We only have one day at a time, but it seems as you get older those days seem to fly by much more quickly.   It seemed like yesterday that I was 23, living near my parents, or maybe even with them, attending University wondering what I was going to do with the rest of my life.....well the rest of my life has come and I am still wondering what I am going to do.  The insides, my brain, seems to tell me that I am still that person, but the outside, the one I meet in the mirror periodically tells a whole other tale.   I still haven't been able to get used to her.....every time I look in a mirror or my reflection in a window I am startled and think "who the hell is that????."    Just goes to show that the saying you are as old as you feel is the correct one.....and also why I only have one mirror in my house!!!!!

So, I will reflect on this time in my life.   It is a time of great moments both good and bad, but I think that has been what life has always been.    I guess the main thing is to just be aware of how the world seems at any point in time.....