Monday, January 9, 2017

Been all-too-long! From the Mouth of a Hoarder!

Been way to serious the last few posts.  Not that my hoarding mother has stopped saying rude, racist, cruel things or things that are so simply head-banging(ly) gross, but other things have taken a higher priority.  Well, now...  An all new episode of FTMOAH!
"I need to ask a gross question..."

No. Please. Wait...

"What do you know about that 'feminine wash'?  I was in the store and saw it, and I wondered if I should get it because, well, I sometimes mess myself and pee myself, and I was near an old lady who smelled like urine ...."

That is not what that is for...

"I thought it might help as I don't... [natter natter natter]...

It is feminine hygiene wash.  For your vulva.  [She continues going on about 'pissing herself'.]  Um.  Feminine wash is meant to wash one's 'hoo-haw' if one is concerned about vaginal smell... [She continues on talking over me despite several attempts that are getting heavier in the crude vernacular as I try to make her understand...] 

Now, I finally get annoyed and lost most to all of my feminist points for the day.  

....Mother, it is a wash for those who are concerned their 'cooter' smells like pussy.

... Sputtering..."Oh, I don't need that."

[Split second of hesitation] "Do you use it?"

GAHHHH! Not having this conversation with you! 

"Well, I used to douche ...."


And here is the thing.  Her personal hygiene is absolutely dreadful.  She smells really bad.  I am sure the incontinence underwear merely adds another layer to that ... fragrance?  So sad.  She smells of the hoard as well.  Since her hand surgery in late November, she has been going to a local beauty shop and getting her hair washed and set every 2-3 weeks (usually prior to a doctor's appointment).  Another group of people I should send flowers to...

For those who read frequently, Dr. Wednesday, my mother's 'flying monkey' chiropractor who went to school with me is making the high dive from her pedestal.  She apparently is out of patience with my mother's high drama tactics regarding the latest surgery, and my mother considered her 'snippy' and is now ruminating that she must be 'friends' with the hated surgeon.  I am not getting in this, but I had to resist the urge to snicker like Reinfield in Young Doctor Frankenstein...
Nothing else rises to mind to report.  I am sure there will be more later!  On a more personal note my two elderly kitties are doing well, and I admit it is hard to type with my most recent addition to my family standing on my chest, head bunting and nibbling on my cheekbones and chin.  Hard to believe she will have been with us three months in two days.  I think she likes me- her feline sister- the jury is still out... But they seem to co-exist fairly quietly with little conflict.  I do not know if they will every be buddies, but they are not trying to kill each other.  

On the health front my appointment with the teaching hospital is this Friday.  I have been pretty sick off and on since mid December, and today was a really rough day, but January 1st I ran a 10K and kept dead on my marathon pace and ran it easily.  Looking for a 10 miler, then a 1/2 marathon, and hope to run a full this summer.  

Have a great week.  Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Post Christmas 2016

Hard to believe the holiday season is almost over.  2016 draws to a close, and although I think this has been a really hard year for many I care about, it is just a period of time.  Time itself is neutral, it is the values we assign to it that make it 'good' or 'bad'.  

Thinking about friends who have lost parents, siblings, significant others, children, beloved pets and too many other important people to list.  Thinking of the health issues that folks are facing, or have faced this year.  Including me... The health gods do not seem to be smiling on me too much.  I am in the midst of a major flare of whatever this is, and I hope to have a plan for some answers next month when I go to the teaching hospital about an hour away to start the consult process.  It has been a hard year of self discovery, introspection, and sometimes, repeating painful lessons because I just did not get them the first time, or two, or three.  I am continuing to prioritize what is important, and in that, I am letting go of what does not serve me anymore.  I have had wonderful experiences this past year, and I am planning a holiday in September abroad.  I have much to be grateful for.  
- My career and my work...  Although challenging, I love what I do.  It will most likely continue to be even more challenging in 2017, but I will rise to that challenge.  Often out of great chaos comes great opportunity.
-My sweet kitties.  I lost my two sweethearts a little less than a year apart, and I miss them daily, but I was able to honor them with adopting two special needs and elderly cats.  And I could not love them more.  I love watching them trust me more and more, and I want them to know nothing but love and happiness from this point forward.
-My health and my resilience.  Yes, I have had 'bumps' in the road but I am able to do what I value, am able to run, and to be active despite those challenges.
-My friends who are like family.  And the composition of my friendships are changing.  I am no longer making time for folks who in turn, treat me like an option.  No judgement or hard feelings, it is just priorities and lives evolve.  And I am not putting myself second any longer.  If folks are not willing to meet me part way when I make them a priority, then I will not pursue them.  I am here when they need me, and when they want to make space for me.  Until then, life goes on.  I just smile when someone says 'I haven't heard from you lately'.  Ah... that goes two ways.  Today is a new day!
-My 'gut'.  It very seldom leads me wrong, and I need to stop silencing it.  

There are many other things, but as I look at this list, I realize that for folks like my hoarding mother, hardship and adversity is a reason to ruminate, to be bitter, to be intentionally cruel, and to try to create an impenetrable wall.  I choose to not do that.  I choose to be open to new people, to novel experiences, and to use unpleasant happenings in my life as a lesson.  I refuse to get stuck.  Life is too short, and as approach age 48, I know that another 40 years is not promised, and quite bluntly, is not all that bloody likely.  I choose to live my life focused on relationships and experiences, not on things.  I keep saying life is meant to be lived at full volume.  I intend to live LOUD.  

I wish that things were different for my hoarding and/or/narcissistic family members.  I got a mushy holiday card from narcissister.  I did not hear from my niece, and my mother's estranged sister called after over 8 months of no contact.  She seems to be out of active psychosis, thankfully, but I felt like she was feeling me out to see if I was amenable to giving her any money.  Maybe not, but she seldom calls unless she wants to dump on me, to ask for information, or to ask for financial assistance.  I kept the call short and I think she was a bit puzzled as to what just happened when she hung up.

My hope is for everyone reading this that 2017 is full of opportunities, challenges, and new experiences.  I hope that this will be the year my hoarding mother develops some insight, empathy and willingness to be part of her own solution.  I know it will not happen, and I am not setting my self up for bitter disappointment, but I can still hope.

I think 'hope' is the only thing that has allowed me to draw from my resilience and persistence.  No matter what, no matter how long, it will get better.  <Sigh>

With that being said, I know I cannot change things for my hoarding mother.  And the best gift I can give myself is geographic as well as emotional distance.  I cannot change her reality, but I can shape mine in reference to hers.  And I choose to continue to maintain low contact, firm boundaries, and hope that some day, she may make a different decision.  One that does not surround her, her home, and anything she touches with toxicity.  She turned 80 this week.  A milestone birthday, which she spent alone.  Choices and behaviors have consequences.  That is hers.  I will continue to ensure that my solitude is affirming and not isolating, and I will continue to my work to grow and to heal.  

I often say that hoarding is something no one wins, and that is true.  But, if there is a silver lining of sorts, I think I have found it in gratitude, in resilience, in persistence, and in self awareness.

And so we go.  Onward and upward.  I wish each of you the best of all possible outcomes for 2017.  I keep thinking of Gretchen Rubin's paraphrased quote in the Happiness Project... 'The days are long, but the years are short.'

Thank you for reading.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Time is passing, but some things seem not to change

I simply cannot believe it is the holiday season.  I am back from my visit to Florida, and a lovely one it was at that.  I spent Thanksgiving with friends who are like family, and spent the days in 80+ degree heat (F) and roaming the lakesides and orange groves with my friend in his new convertible sports car.  I went for lovely long runs in the sunshine, and we had our celebrations next to the pool or the fire pit.  And lots of Bloody Marys and cocktails.  I am invited back at the end of January, and I am seriously considering going.  

The kitties did well during my vacation, and as I attempt to type this I have 'help' by our newest feline family member.  It increases the challenge to write when you are receiving enthusiastic and bellowing head-butts and alternately the butt hello.  Cats.  

Anyway... From my last blog, my hoarding mother's hospitalization ended anti climatically and her cats weathered her hospitalization okay.  It was as I suspected, it was serious enough that they needed to surgically open her hand and clean out the infection, but no where near the high level of risk the 2010 cat bite was.  She was angry she was awake for her surgery, and in the two weeks post has been miserable, griping, and making everything all about her.  I am continuing to keep her on the low contact plan, and she is getting angry that when she tries to 'hype' something - often by asking alarming-yet-rhetorical questions, I respond one of three ways... I will:

  1. Not answer at all, and she will eventually go on with 'conversation'
  2. Tell her to ask her doctor, and not engage any further
  3. Tell her I am at my location and have to go
I realize she gets some perverse gain out of having a problem for every solution, so I am working to not give her any gain or reward for her behavior.  It is baffling her, and making her very, very angry.  She is continuing to report off-the-charts, intentionally cruel and scorched-earth interactions with most anyone she encounters, and I simply maintain silence.  

While I was in Florida and had a restful week of no contact, she kidnapped the two neighbor cats that the neighbors adopted, then turned outside.  They moved away a couple of weeks ago, but late last week their teenage daughter asked my mother if she had seen the cats, and my mother cheerfully lied to the young girl and let her think 'something probably happened to them as they have not been [at my mother's] to eat for several days'.  

She is an intentionally awful person.  I personally prefer that cats be kept inside for their wellbeing and safety, but my mother was despicable... If what she tells me is even true.  The neighbor that lives behind her was in Florida when she was in the hospital, and returned after I did.  I am not sure if she has any additional information, or even knows my mother was in the hospital.

I am in a weird place, one of impending transition.  I am looking to the future.  I have no intention of leaving my current home or position anytime soon, but it will happen in the nearer-yet-somewhat-remote future.  I plan on going where it is warm.  Little to no snow so I can enjoy the outdoor activities I participate in comfortably all year long.  I am also looking at where I am in my career, and what is next.  I would like to have space for hobbies, more relationships, and possibly, a romantic relationship if the right person enters my life and shares what is important.  None of which can happen now, and it is not a complaint, it is just the way it is.  For now.  

I need to see what shakes out at the federal, state and local level for my organization and the social justice and civil rights movements I hold dear.  I need to figure out my health issues and the best way to address those challenges once I have a diagnosis and a plan.  I need to get back into my training plan for a marathon and hopefully, an ultra marathon.  I also need to continue my internal work of healing from nearly a lifetime of abuse.  Right now I am straddling two worlds, the one I occupy now and the one I wish to inhabit soon.  

I was at a friend's home and her lovely mother did a Tarot reading for each of us.  I do not believe in such things, but did it for entertainment value and to have a different perspective to think about.  From the reading my inability to allow failure, my trauma and turning away from family, my surrogate family of my best friend, and my contemplation of my next chapter in life were all discussed.  And any of those cards and interpretations could lend themselves to any person, but I continued to think about the work I am doing, the toll it is taking on my health and my life, and that I am already deep in the exploration and planning process for the next steps.  

Just some things to think about.  Now, back to work, and this week is a long and busy one.  I do not foresee a slow down until mid to later January, but that is the holiday season.  The holidays are hard for me in many ways, but I am lucky to have the people I do in my life.  I need to stop allowing work to co-opt precious time with them.  I also need to consciously spend less time with, or avoid those who drain me.  

Have a great week, and just in case I am not back before whatever holiday you celebrate, if you choose to celebrate any of them, I will wish you the best.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Angry Sound of Silence

As I write this, I am listening to Disturbed's version of 'The Sound of Silence' on repeat.  Fitting for this week, and the latest with my hoarding mother.  You can listen to this for yourself here.  

It has been a bit since I last posted, so a bit of catch up.  My burgeoning relationship ended, not with a bang, but a whimper.  And I am not sad... Just sad at the perception of the loss of something.  All I will say is when someone states that they are a covert narcissist, believe them and run, do not walk, away.  Which I did, and I am probably all-to-good at doing.  I am not going to be treated as someone's toy whatever that they have on a shelf until they are ready to take me down and interact with me.  I deserve so much more than that.  And if someone is not able to swim a moat and fight a few alligators to earn my trust, than so be it.  I, again, realize that I am very complete and happy on my own.

Healthwise I have a new appointment at the clinic, and this is now for early January.  This is not great, since the original auto immune issue first raised its head in early November of last year, but I am closer than I have ever been.  It is what it is.  If this is Crohns, I am in a full blown flare right now.  It has been wretched, and it appears I may have had a mild case of the flu or a really bad cold last week.  I am on the mend, and I ran my first 5K since last December.  My time was respectable for me, and it was a HILLY course.  Today was supposed to be my first marathon, but I will continue training and plan for the spring.  I realize I must get a grasp on what is happening with my health before I really can push how I need to in order to do this.  Goal deferred, not denied.  I will do it before I am 50.  There is no 'try', there is only 'do'.  For me, what the mind plans, the body follows.  

One of the most divisive and ugly Presidential elections occurred this month.  And I have been in a walking state of disbelief and grief over the increase in hate acts and negativity.  

Work has been stressful, with me working way too much, and socializing, sleeping, and spending time with my precious cats way too little.  A 12 hour day is the norm.  

This all sets the stage for my mother.  In 2010 she was bitten by one of her pet cats and ended up in emergency surgery to save her hand and her life.  That was the last time I was in her home.  She later revised the story to she was digging in the garden, but who knows what the truth is.  And it was a truly horrible experience for yours truly.  One I will not repeat.  Well... She did.  Allegedly, last Thursday she did what appears to be an almost exact replay.  On Saturday afternoon while I am on a run I get a call from a nearby town to my hoarding mother, and I (correctly) guessed it was from her. I called her Friday afternoon and she was telling me how she did not know if she would survive a situation she found herself in, the whole high drama thing. The upshot is, she was screwing around in old wood, etc. that has been piled outside her hell-hole for 10 years or better late Thursday night (because this is what every immune suppressed, frail, walks-with-a-cane hoarder of nearly 80 years old does, DUH!) and said something stuck her finger, and she bled profusely. She went in, cleaned it out with H2O2 and used a leftover antibiotic cream, it got worse in a hurry, She disregarded the advice of the AARP tele-nurse she called to go to the emergency care unit, and instead waited until the next day to go to a local urgent care walk in clinic, where, of course, she did not tell them the entire story and was woefully undertreated. She was complaining of the 'worst pain in her life' and other types of drama. I suspected a spider bite, or a snake bite. She immediately poo-poohed that, and we ended the call.

Back to the call today. I headed out for a mid-range to longer run and my phone rings. Through deductive reasoning, I was correct she was in the ECU and was being kept for treatment. Of course, she kept hanging up on me, then got pissed when I could not take her number as I was on a run and was about 3 miles from home in cornfields. After about 10 calls for a duration of a minute, all I know is she is being kept, and she does not want me to come. Good thing, because I am not. It was 2 1/2 hours later, before I heard anything other than she gave me a direct number to call her back, and it was not a good number.  She stated her cell phone was out of battery power and she did not have a charger, and I had to call back on the cell and she did give me a room number so I could call the main number and be connected.  She will not ask for the direct number.  

I was bad and went out to dinner with a friend and she called multiple times, and kept complaining.  I told her I would call her later when I returned home.  I did so, and she was angry that she had been in the room for blah-blah time and had not seen anyone, and the upshot was, everyone was supposed to drop everything at this hospital and attend to her.  She was threatening to leave and drive herself to hospitals 45 and 60 minutes away and going over the ridiculous top as she does.  She also was freaking out about stupid things, and some legitimate things, but all were a 'CAPITAL-E-EMERGENCY'.  Things like:
  • She had not eaten since Thursday night.
  • The 5 cats were in the bathroom and would have no food for however long, but do have water.
  • Her outdoor cats would not be fed.
  • No outside lights are on, so the neighbor hood thieves will break in, and she left her credit card on the counter! Horrors!  (In the stage 5 hoard... cough cough)
  • The paper will be delivered, further advertising she is not there!
  • Her car is in the Emergency Room lot.
And the list goes on.  My heart is with her cats, but she refuses any option to get someone in the house.  One cat takes heart meds and glaucoma meds.  

I am PISSED. She knows I am flying to FL to see friends for Thanksgiving, and that work has been killing me, I have a health issue I am trying to get to the bottom of (likelihood of Crohn's plus a large amount of fluid in my pelvis).

I am just fed up. And feeling less than empathetic. And I know in my home area in Appalachia, I am going to be the asshole no matter what, so let me be it.  Late last night she called and stated that she was having surgery this morning, but again gave me no ability to call in.  I waited until 12:30 pm and called her room, and she was back and furious.  They had not put her out but had done a nerve block, her arm was still 'dead', she had not eaten, and she was throwing a fit on multiple levels and doing nothing to be part of her solution.  Worse, she kept saying 'someone has come in, call me back in 2 minutes or so' and after about 4 times of this, I did not call her back.

I did try to check on her at 8pm, but she did not answer.  I will try again in the morning, but I am truly close to the end of my endurance.  She has not made any plans for her, her safety, her cats, their well being, and although I am sure her phone was not intentional (unless she is not telling the truth about the charge level, which is possible) she does everything to get in her own way.

Sorry for the long rant.  I am so beaten down by this.  It is just a matter of time before she starts ravaging me, and I predict if and when she does, it will be for the last time.  I simply am done.  And this is not going to end well.  And the other piece?  I have grants due TOMORROW that I have not worked on due to the constant interruptions and the low level of focus and bandwidth I have.

Thank goodness for my precious kitties, and my friends.  This too will pass, but my patience is wearing thin.  As I have said... Her trauma history is not her fault.  Her mental illness, not her fault.  Her intentional cruelty and manipulation, her refusal to be part of her own solution, even part way, THAT is what I hold her accountable for.

Good night all.  Onward and upward.  I hope.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

An update and a bit of introspection...

How did it become mid October already?  Six and seven day work weeks putting in 60-80 hours a week is catching up with me.  This is a temporary thing, I had a staff member who went out early on Maternity leave, and we have many wrap up reporting things, new grant things, and new projects going on.  Such is life, and I hope things will pause for a moment in November.

I missed both half marathons due to work.  I am in the midst of another 'flare' of whatever this health issue is, and I am not sure my 26.2 is going to happen in mid November.  I will keep training and trying, however.  Sometimes life progress is not linear, it is the cha-cha.  I seem to be in the 'two steps back' phase.

My hoarding mother continues to wreak misery on anyone unwise enough to engage her or be within eye-view, sadly.  Her behavior continues to be selfish, self centered, and intentionally cruel.  She is consumed by resentment and paranoia, and she is simply unable to entertain any perspective but her own.  She cannot give anyone the benefit of the doubt, and does not have any understanding that folks are complex, are not singularly natured.  It is hard to tell what is even rooted in a bit of reality, and it makes me sad.  She did not ask for her trauma history, her mental illnesses... but she steadfastly refuses to be part of any solution.  

I keep thinking about her inability to be close to people.  How she alienates folks, engages in scorched earth reactions, and has no idea of boundaries or that other people exist independently of her and her wants.  

And I keep thinking of my challenges in trusting, allowing intimacy, and my current dating challenges. The person I am seeing is hanging on, barely, I think.  We have had the intimacy/trust conversation, and I think much of it is with all the stress (good and bad!) that is happening in my life at the moment I simply do not have the bandwidth to push through this.  He may simply be the right guy at the wrong time.  The question is... will there ever be a right time?  Will I allow that to happen?  

I did not adopt the Sphinx kitten, but tomorrow I pick up a 13 year kitty I filled out adoption papers on.  Her story tore my heart open, and I think my 14 year old rescue kitty needs a companion.  

I have been re-evaluating relationships and what is important.  I find my inner circle is shrinking, but the folks that are in that core group have great depth and my trust.  Maybe the person I am seeing is simply not there yet.  Maybe this is a marathon and not a sprint.  

I am making some small changes to try to get my health back in balance.  I do not have any answers as of yet, but considering I have had two flares pretty quickly, one right on top of the other, tells me that I am not dealing with stress as well as I would like to think.

I know I use work as a shield, and to insulate myself from pain.  I know that I have issues to address, and that trust will always be tough for me.  I know that I tend to focus on other things, putting everything else ahead of myself.  I also know I tend to be oh-so-critical of myself, and I need to cut myself a break.

Small steps, one day at a time.  I deserve that much!

Have a great evening.

Hoarding, no one wins.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Life in the 'Adult Child of a Hoarding Parent' Lane... Not quite as catchy as 'Life in the Fast Lane'...

[Referencing the title of this blog...]  Nor as fun.

Sorry it has been so long since my last post.  I did what I do when life gets complicated.  I went to ground.  I am trying to work on that behavior, but I seem to continue to suck spectacularly at it.  With that being said, where we are...

I could blame a lot of the challenges I have been experiencing on work, and that would be only partially true.  Work has been busy with year end stuff, staff turnover/hiring, and expanding the legal center and starting a therapy program that we were just funded for.  Work is expanding and growing, and with that, it is expanding beyond our current capacity and that is PAINFUL.  For all staff, and especially for me.  But I revel in these challenges.  I am still not consulting, and although my discretionary income feels the pinch, I needed to focus on my health and the day job.  

I have things I have got to get done.  Getting my 2015 taxes done (yeah, I know) and basic things.  I have been trying to regain my momentum in preparing for a marathon in November, and that has not been exactly linear.  I may or may not run a 1/2 marathon this coming weekend, and if not, I will run one 2-3 weeks later.  I was doing great, and have had a bit of a GI flare.  My GI consult was rescheduled for October, and now all my records have been secured, and it appears they are thinking Crohn's is the most likely diagnosis.  There are worse things, and I just want answers, and a plan to remove the fluid that is still in my pelvis.  But, overall, I am doing well despite not sleeping.  

My hoarding mother is continuing to be her normal, cruel and malevolent self.  She is to the point where no matter what, she cannot get along with anyone, and cannot get contractor and yard work done.  She is also getting declined all over town as a new patient for primary care physicians.  Word is out in the small Appalachian town she resides in.  Her delusions of persecution and of social status continue.  She continues to have violence ideations, and her 'conversations' with me are little more than a pontification pedestal for whatever she is zealously evangelizing about, in her disturbed and intentionally cruel way.  Every foray into town, every interaction with a neighbor, every phone call devolves into a confrontation and a scorched earth reaction.  

I had the pleasure of going to central Florida in late August for a week to stay with friends.  She has yet to ask about my trip.  I did not talk to her for over a week, and it was absolutely everything I hoped it could be.  My trip was relaxing, and full of fun, boats, airboats, alligators, shopping and the beach in Sarasota, relaxing and running in the sunshine.  It was simply perfect.  My mother has no frame of reference for friendship, nor taking a vacation.  

I have been trying to see my friends more and trying to not completely go to ground, and my dating life has been, um, interesting.  I have been seeing someone since early June, but we have not had the exclusivity conversation yet, and neither of us are ready for that.  So... I am continuing to date.  I have had three dates in less than 24 hours one weekend, and I am going to pull my profile soon.  I have realized that I have such deep, deep trust/intimacy issues that I may need help to broach them.  I am watching someone who would like to have a more physical relationship pull back because I do not know how to let someone love me.  I have several thoughts on this, but I am just so guarded and armored that it will take a while, and in 2016 middle aged dating moves fast.  I have to accept my deficit, and accept the consequences.  I am taking it one day at a time... but I feel pretty sure I have blown this relationship before it has gotten started.  It is really sad, and I seem stuck and unwilling to fix it.  I did mention to my mother I was dating, and she is, of course, overly critical of that.  She was excited I was seeing a doctor briefly, but it became clear he was looking for a wife and a stepmother to his teenage sons.  Um... NO.  Maybe I should stick to cats.

My ex husband, who is a dear friend, is on downward spiral.  He has left his long term life partner, has been off work on medical leave for the past 2 months, and is seemingly on a trajectory similar to the one that happened when he and I ended our marriage in 2008.  Again, not my circus, not my monkeys, but it has reopened some wounds that I thought were healed well and scarred over.  Apparently not.

Speaking of cats, my remaining kitty is doing well since the passing of my baby girl nearly two months ago, but in letting myself grieve and heal, I may have done her a disservice.  She seems more anxious when I am gone, and my Florida trip was hard for her.  It was compounded by the fact she had ended up in the emergency vet the week before, and what looked to be serious (as in putting her to sleep serious) turned out to be easily remedied.  I thought I was going to lose a third kitty girl in barely over 12 months, and it was horrible.  So... I found a Sphinx kitty to rescue, and I meet her tomorrow.  Hopefully she is compatible.  My hoarding mother is totally against me getting a hairless cat.  She has decided they are similar to the Chinese Crested dog, and stated it will die young, will be prone to skin cancer and problems, and all kinds of factually inaccurate information.  She is also against me getting another cat period, apparently... Who knows for what reason.  And I do not care what she thinks.  Not her circus, not her monkeys.  I have a lot of love to give a kitty, and I have always wanted a Sphinx kitty.  And now I have the opportunity.  And for some reason she simply cannot stand it.

She claims she is going to an attorney to put my name on her house.  One, I do not want it, and two, I will believe it when I see it.  I do not want to be on the hook for a 1960's rancher that is a level 5 hoard.  I know I can reject that when the time comes, but OY.  She was also allegedly told she needs a knee replacement.  That will not happen. She will be 80 in December, and I do not see any of this going any easier or any better.  I have connected with a local narcissistic mother group for women, and it has been extremely helpful to connect face to face with others struggling with the same thing.  I also had another 'aha' moment with them when I shared something I considered relatively minor in a self-deprecating, sarcastic and humorous way... I was eating sushi and was looking down, and since there was silence I looked up to 3 faces of varying degrees of horror, anger and compassion.  I have dissociated from the sheer awfulness of my growing up with her that I have no frame of reference it seems.  This is the second time this has happened, and it is shocking to me and strangely validating.  

I did experience intentional and malevolent abuse at the hands of my mother.  

I survived. 

I did not escape unscarred, however.

I will continue to learn, to love, to grow, and to combat my own demons.  

I will live life at full volume.  

This is the direct opposite of my hoarding mother.  Growth is painful.  Self examination can hurt.  But it is worth it in the end, and failure to do so results in merely existing and not living.  My hoarding mother is a shining example of that.

Onward and upward.  Hoarding and narcissism... No one wins.  No one.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The whirlwind that has been the last three weeks...

The past three weeks has been a whirlwind.  My last couple of posts were full of medical uncertainty and the unexpected loss of my sweet little cat.  

First the medical update on me.  I returned to the teaching university hospital to have further testing and to continue to develop a plan for potential further intervention.  Long story shorter after additional ultrasounds and testing.  

  1. The mass on my ovary ruptured before my 7/8 consult, that is most likely what caused the 'Exorcist' bouts of vomiting and pain.
  2. I do NOT have a fallopian tube on my sole remaining right ovary, as I tried to tell the doctor in my area, and who would not listen to me.  The mass they are seeing is not something on the tube, it is a large amount of fluid in my pelvis that is trapped around that area due to the large amount of scar tissue/adhesions/endometriosis that I have.  
  3. The amount of fluid is significant and should be removed, but it is not increasing.  It is what is causing the pressure and pain I am experiencing in my lower right quadrant of my pelvis.
  4. The other symptoms, including grinding fatigue, bloating, and GI issues is not appearing to be related.  
Now- the game plan is as follows:
  • I will keep the appointment with the GI clinic, and they now have more testing and data.  My blood work and cancer markers were disgustingly normal.  This is good news, little to no concern of ovarian cancer.
  • I will continue to call every week to see if I can be seen sooner.
  • The referring doc will work with the GI clinic to see if they can develop a plan to remove the fluid without opening me up surgically, perhaps via a large cannula as long as they can avoid the bladder and the bowel.  Scar tissue, etc. and the fact that nothing is where it is supposed to be makes this a bit more complicated.
  • If they do have to open me up for any reason, the ovary will be removed.  Boom.
  • They are working to rule out Crohns and IBS, and my primary care doctor (not jerky, mansplaining, I-will-not-look-at-records-nor-listen-to-you-doctor who was going to open me up with a defective surgical plan) will continue to work to rule out MS. 
Not thrilled with the fact that any of these three options are what is on the table right now, but both Crohns and IBS run strongly in my family.  I am hoping to avoid surgery altogether even though that ovary could be problematic at any time in the future.  I still am in the place of 'waiting for the other shoe to drop'.  

I am making dietary changes, and am working gradually to resume a vegan diet (that in part, helped me on my journey to lose over 130 lbs and ease some of my PCOS and endocrine issues), and having started the changes in the past couple of weeks, I am seeing some improvement with the fatigue and the pesky GI stuff.  I am starting to push myself more in my running, and I am aiming to resume training for a local marathon in the late Fall.  My running had decreased 33% (mileage) but I am going to work on that.  I know truly understand 'spoon theory' and I know that my energy is not (seemingly) unlimited.  

My remaining cat and I are dealing with our grief, and moving on as best we can.  I got my little one's ashes last week, and that was a sad day, but she is home with me.

Through all of this, I have kept my hoarding mother on the low contact plan, and her decompensation mentally continues.  I am wondering if some of the recent repetition I am seeing might be the drop in to dementia, but it is so hard to tell what is true, what is not, and what is her attempts to maintain control.  What my mother's neighbor tells me is more likely than not closer to my mother's actual reality, and she is concerned.  

My mother's MO has not changed, but she engages in endless and pointless speculation on other people, their intentions, their lives, and it is so far removed from most folks healthy interest in others.  She continues to wage her wars with anyone who is in her path, and most 'wonderful strangers' fall from their pedestal almost immediately.  The world is a small, terrifying place to her, and it is just sad.  In every contact with her she says so many things that are fodder for the 'from the mouth of a hoarder' post, and she engages in what a friend calls 'verbal masturbation'.  Once I got over the need for brain bleach, she has a point.  My hoarding mother needs no input, all conversations are monologues that she sometimes has to navigate pesky other viewpoints or comments.  It is basically a sick, paranoid stream of consciousness that also includes a good dose of racism, xenophobia, and internalized misogyny.  And the blatant hypocrisy of the dearth between her actions and words and the expectations of others.  Ever conversation is about her, and about her feelings, experiences, thoughts, etc.  The level of introspection is poor, and the level of narcissism is off the charts.  

Life is stressful, and we all have our challenges, which somehow we navigate and move past.  I find with my hoarding mother, life is a burden, a disappointment, and something to be simply endured... Yet held onto as tightly as she hoards her belongings.  A life like that, is to me, the closest thing to utter hell one can endure.  A life of opportunity lost and of retraction, rather than growth.  

I conciously choose happiness, and although there was a couple of times in the past couple of weeks I wondered aloud how much more I could take, I knew the answer to that.  All of it.  Every bit, and more if it is dished out.  Because I believe that the 'sine curve' of life's experiences... some really happy and elevated, some really awful and the line drops below the median level... make up the learning and the richness of it.  I appreciate health because health challenges have helped me understand that I am not immortal and that health is precious and should be protected.  I value friends, and although they sometimes hurt me, betray me, leave, or die... Their presence left me with something positive, and I hope mine left them in a slightly better place, even if I was a 'lesson' to them.  

Life is meant to be lived at full volume, and I am going to continue to give it all I have.  I have to actually credit my hoarding mother with being an example that I can learn from.  From the abuse, the pain, and all she has meted out over my 47 years, from that I had to figure out that 'I can, and I will' and that failure is not an option, simply because I either win, or I learn.  I think I have her to thank for that.  It is a double edged sword, as are most gifts.  I can also use this resolve and resilience to isolate myself and to alienate others.  I work on that every day...

Now off to do a 2 hour training run.  I am feeling full of energy after a slow start and a lazy day enjoying the company of my 14 year old cat.  I have been spending more time with friends, and have dinner plans with friends tonight.  I also plan to see the gentleman I have been seeing tomorrow, our schedules have not aligned in the past week and half, and I have missed hanging out with him.  Monday I start the planning for my trip to Italy in the Fall of 2017.  Onward and upward.

Life is good, not in spite of the wrinkles, but with them.

I wish I could say the same for my hoarding mother.

I am starting to dig out at work and entering a very busy work phase of grants and reports, but I will try to not drop down the rabbit hole again, and I should have more blogs focused on my journey with my aging, hoarding mother soon.

Thank you for reading.