Sunday, July 20, 2014

10 days post op... just a few musings

So today I seem to have turned a bit of a corner, and this has been the longest I have been able to sit at my computer since surgery on 7/10.  For those who have not read previously, I had major emergency surgery less than a year ago, and late this June I herniated my mid-line incision, necessitating a hernia repair operation with mesh and all the party favors... ugh.

First of all, all kidding and snarky, self-deprecating humor aside... I am so thankful for a number of things.  These things would include:

  • My friends who are my family
  • My wonderful staff and coworkers
  • My employer benefits that include fantastic health insurance and sick leave
  • That I was in top notch physical shape going into this
My best friend's mother (who is like family as well) took me and stayed with me the entire time.  I am sure she did not expect me to be held up in the Recovery Department for over 6 hours as they waited for a hospital bed.  I awoke to 13 'poke holes' and 3 1/2 inches of my previous incision opened... and a blinding migraine... but they did not open me back up as they feared they might have to, although it was close.  Apparently 13 holes verses 4, 6 or 8 is a lot, and scar tissue was a significant challenge to my surgeon.  Thankfully he persevered.  
Due to the level of invasiveness, he kept me overnight, and I came close to getting another day tacked on.  This also was a tough, tough hospitalization.  I was in a semiprivate room with a lovely, lady that would be horrified to know that her husband staying until midnight and her television viewing ensured that I did not sleep.  I could have said something, but as sore and miserable as I was, I doubted I would sleep under optimal conditions, and my speaking up would only ensure that both of us were miserable.  As it were, she slept a good portion of the night.  I had a lot of pain, and had to have my bladder drained twice by straight catheter after my foley was pulled.  I 'managed' my situation and ensured that I was released at noon the next day, and again, thank you to all my friends who shopped, drove, stayed, and visited.  I was well, well, WELL taken care of.  This week I hope to return to work for 2 half days, then I hope to return to work in a more full fashion after my follow up with the surgeon on the 28th, and I hope to be running again soon.  Each day I get better.

Now to my hoarding mother in all this.  During my surgery last August she was a serious problem, calling the land-line, being narcissistic, being demanding, and the like.  This time?  She did not answer her home phone or her cell phone when my friend called her to give her an update on my surgery progress, and although she called from my phone, she did not call back.  She did not call the room (thank goodness), my phone, my work, or anyone else that I am aware of.  I have talked to her 2 or 3 times since surgery, and a few calls have gone unanswered and she did not call back.  

She is up to something, and granted... this is not the horrific and life threatening emergency that the surgery 11 months ago was (again... THANK GOODNESS!) but as a friend pointed out... I did have major surgery 11 months after the massive tumor removal last summer.  

Several of my friends are annoyed at her... but all I can say is I am simply relieved.  I did not need drama from 6 1/2 hours away during this, and this is a very difficult time at my organization, and we are dealing with 2 crises that threaten the existence of the agency.  It is end of year time, and I have several projects and grants due.  When I return to work in the next week or so, it is going to be nonstop for about 3 weeks.  

Wonder what has her preoccupied that her morbid curiosity is sated?  Her neighbor has called to check in and has stated she is not answering calls from her either.

She is up to something.  I guess time will tell what it is, or not.  But again, at this point, I am just overjoyed to not have to deal with the crazy...

I am still in the place of... if this type of thing is what I have to experience in lieu of what could have happened last August... Cancer, colostomy, death during surgery, rupture of the 11 pound tumor... Then so be it.  I am still treating every day as a gift.  
Thank you for reading.  Have a great week!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The date is set, and I told her... Anticlimactic thus far...

In my last post I shared that I have an incisional hernia from my major surgery last August.  I was upset, discouraged, you-name-it... but I am also grateful that I squeaked by with no cancer, no colostomy, and I survived the tumor and its removal.  If this is the continued price I pay, so be it.

I had my surgeon's consult on the 26th of June, and my surgery is set for July 10th.  As in next Thursday.  The surgeon hopes he can do it laparoscopically, but previous surgeries and endometriosis scarring may make this impossible.  If they can insert the mesh behind the muscle and close the hole, I will be off work 2 weeks and on restriction for 3-5 weeks.  If they have to open me up, then it is 6-8 weeks out with another 2-3 months of recuperation.  It is going to be anyone's guess whether I will be able to run the 1/2 marathon (13.1 miles) in mid September.  I will not push myself too much (again) but I will give it my all.  I do not want to be knocked out of this yet a third time.  I am so damn disappointed.  The surgeon did grudgingly allow me to resume the stair climber, flat running, and cautioned me to not do anything core that would risk incarceration/strangulation of the lump.  I am feeling tired, sore, and I have to keep pushing 'George' back in.  I hope they do not have to do a resection as much as George likes to show himself!  I am not as upset/freaked as I was, I just want this over, OVER and I have so much work stuff to get done.  I know recovery will be painful, and I will need to take care of myself and actually accept help.  Another life lesson...

So late last week I decided to tell my hoarding mother.  Based on the uncertainty of the surgery and hospitalization (day to a few days) and the recovery time at home, I felt I had to in order to make my life a bit easier.  So I just told her.  She sputtered a bit, asked a few questions on the order of "Did your belly [do this or that]" and immediately began to talk about her stomach and abdominal woes.  Not unsurprising, and when she attempted to engage in story time for the 549,349,227th time about her umbilical hernia repair in 1976 I got off the phone.  We are on the low contact (for her) plan of 3-5 times per week, so I did not talk to her for a few days, and when I have, she has not mentioned it all.  

Has not asked how I am feeling.  Has not asked how work is progressing since this is a horrible time to be out with the end of the fiscal year here.  Reporting, budget woes, and it has been extremely stressful and demanding at work.  Has not asked where my surgery will be, has not asked who will take me.  I am not saying anything else, as the less detail the better, but I am sure she is gearing up for the interrogatories and the inappropriate and dire medical pronouncements.

I am not a child.  I do not need a 'Mommy' and truthfully, I never had one.  It just is sad.  Very sad, and I know that, based on her last behavior when I was hospitalized and the fact that I do not have a significant other to run interference, she will repeat it in some form.  That behavior will not go well for her, not at all.  

I might be off the grid for a while, as I suspect I will not be up to spending a lot of time at the computer.  Thank you for reading, and I will be back online with an update just as soon as possible.  

Thank you for reading!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The gift that keeps on giving when you are the daughter of a narcissistic mother, a hoarder, or both...

Yesterday was NOT a good day for me.  For those of you who read regularly, a year ago I had a life threatening medical emergency.  The post on that is here- August 7, 2013 Entry - and I knew that with surgery that invasive, that complications would most likely result, especially since I have been training at a crazy level to get ready for the 1/2 marathon I missed last September.  I get a little fixed on target and a whole lot obsessed... Lifting, cardio, running, and I was participating in an Ab Challenge with several friends... and I had taken it to an extreme degree as only I can.  

Yesterday my intent was to complete 2 minutes and 30 seconds of planking, 400 crunches, 300 leg lifts, and 350 sit ups.  The actual challenge?  70 second plank, 110 crunches, 48 leg lifts and 80 sit ups.  For the next week I planned to break out kettle bells.  My only defense is I work out constantly, 4 to 5 times a week, and I am in pretty good shape, despite a pesky 18 lbs I gained when I had to gain weight as part of my surgery recovery.  So, I completed my planking... no shaking or trembling... YAY!  I started leg lifts, and I felt my shirt pull tight in a weird way.  I looked down, and had a 'tower' the height of a soda can rising from my abdomen under my rib cage.  GAH!  

Needless to say I stopped.  And my denial that possibly, quite possibly, I had a hernia stopped at that moment as well.  And I called my doctor and got an appointment for that afternoon.  And then I sobbed like my world was ending.  And I picked myself up, got ready for work, and conducted a board meeting.  The doctor confirmed a hernia that afternoon, and I am now awaiting a call from the person that handles the referrals and the consults, and I just want to get this surgical consult DONE and the CAT scan DONE so I know what I am dealing with.  I am also benched from lifting anything heavier than 20 lbs, activity/exercise engaging my core, and running.  I have a race this weekend, and obviously that is not happening.  I immediately started to obsess on the 1/2 marathon, and figure out if A, B and C happens, I might be able to...

Then it hit me.  That is hoarder think, and how I have been groomed to think... all or nothing.  And I again had a life lesson.  One I thought I learned last summer, but apparently I needed a 'refresher lesson'.  I was told at the time of surgery that I was in such fragile shape, and my tissues were so thin, that a hernia was likely.  I was also not supposed to work at all, but do to many circumstances that I could not change and would have caused my organization to fail, I spent many hours at the computer the first days home working on EOY reporting.  In recent months, I have been struggling a bit with energy level, being tired, and some of the issues caused by the tumor and the damage and nerve damage.  I have pushed on.  Now, I realize some of that was the hernia most likely, and I once again put on blinders because I wanted this half marathon so badly.  No matter what.  I noticed my resting BP is really low, and my pulse rate has not wanted to get to my 'happy endorphin place' of 175, some days I can barely get it into the 140s or 150s.  That is ALWAYS an indication in me that something is drastically, drastically wrong.  And I intellectually processed it, and put it aside under the 'isn't that interesting' file and moved on, pushing myself harder.  Harder.  

Again, I put work, the race, and many other things ahead of me.  That is going to be the legacy of my childhood that I will continue to fight.  I know sometimes I lose battles, but I will not lose this war.  Failure is simply not an option.  But this sucks.  One battle that is not mine, and has been lost is having any type of so-called-normal, reciprocal mother-daughter relationship.  I did call her later in the day, and when she answered her first response was, "What's wrong?  What is wrong with you?"  I asked why she asked, and she said I sounded funny.  I just said that it had "not been a good day and I was glad it was over, that was pretty much it."  And thankfully, I guess, she launched into all her complaints and her battle with the folks who own the trailer next door.  I kept the call short, and will not be talking to her for a day or two thank goodness.  

But... there seems to always to be a but...  I have great support from lovely friends, and I have long ago given up hope for any type of a mother.  For Father's Day I posted a few pictures of my dad on social media, and I only have 5 or 6 total, and only 2 with him.  One was of me and him at an amusement park, and I would have been 10 years old or possibly 11.  I was a small, waif-like child, and I am looking up at the camera as he looks down at me, and we are both smiling.  My smile is so tremulous and vulnerable, I look every bit the small fragile girl I was, and it that picture hits me like a physical blow.  I suspect my grandmother is taking the photo, but I have so few memories prior to that age, and my memories are not the most integrated until I am older, that I cannot tell you who was there with us.  

But anyway- I digress.  Even as an adult, sometimes it would nice to have a mother.  But mental illness and her personal choice to not address any of it did that long ago.  And although this is a road bump, I will adjust my goals, and move on.  I will meet them, and exceed them, just perhaps not in the time frame I had set for myself.  There are much worse things, and I am keeping the perspective that I have always had that a bad day, a bad experience, or even a series of them does not constitute a bad a life.  One is as happy or unhappy as they choose to be.  And I choose happiness... I have a shining example of what happens when you do not.  Life is not an all-or-nothing experience... day by day or in totality.  

Onward and upward.  

Have a great week everyone, and thank you for reading.  

M&Ms, the candy that melts in your bra, not in your hands...

Called my hoarding mother on the way home tonight.  Amongst her monologue there was one gem....

"Did you know M&Ms melt?"

Um... Yeah, figured that in elementary school or so.  Why?

"...[Sparing you, the reader of the obsessive detail of her eating  candy, why she chose to eat candy, why she chose to eat THAT candy, what she was wearing, where she was, and what interrupted the task of eating candy- you are welcome!] ...And I dropped the stupid thing, and after searching everywhere for it, I finally decided the HELL with it, it will show up some day, and I went back to clipping coupons.  Later I found it!  Guess where it was?  In my bra!  And it had completely melted and I did not feel it and did not notice it.  Now I have my new sports bra with a bit chocolate and candy coating colored stain, and it was expensive!  Why I paid $12 at Walmart for that!  And I had a mess all over me, and stuck to my chest... [again sparing you the description of the chocolate mess on her breast and nipple... GAH!] 

How is it possible?  And... Ewww.  She was very offended when she learned I did not want to discuss her boob.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mean as a snake...

Wow.  For those who have not read previous blogs on NotMyHoardingMother, in addition to her compulsive hoarding and mental illness, my mother is quite mean spirited and has no issue with going from 0 to scorched earth in under 10 seconds.  

The other day she went shopping at Walmart, an experience that she complains about sourly each time she goes.  "Where do they get these people that work there?  The idiot farm?"  "You should have seen this HUGE woman, easily 400 pounds and..." You get the idea.

She went to Walmart, and has a handicapped placard for her car (that she keeps in her hoardy purse until she is parked, which is technically the correct way to do it) and for the past 2 years has walked with a cane.  She found a handicap accessible space, and started to swing in as a young mother was approaching her car.  She had the cart either near, or somewhat in, the handicapped space my mother was getting ready to turn into.  According to my mother, she took her time, was talking to her child, having her child hand her things, placing things carefully in the car, and in my mother's vernacular, "just pissing around, taking her sweet time."  Again, according to my mother, at one point she looks up, and sees the traffic backing up behind my mother's 20 year old Honda, and motions for her to roll down her window, and informs her that she is holding up traffic.

My mother's reaction?  She went ballistic.  Screaming and yelling at her, and called her "FAT-ASS" and proudly/smugly stated that she "probably did not like being called a name, but she [sic] did not care since it was true, and besides that tub of lard knew better to open her fat mouth because she [sic] knew that I would get out and hit her."  Then she proudly recounts the other drivers looking at her, and felt their stares were those of approval and support.  

She says this to her formally FAT daughter.  Who has struggled with my weight since I was in my mid twenties, and I am now 45.  She knows I do not tolerate body or fat shaming.  So it should not have been a surprise when I told her that I did not want to hear this story, she was simply cruel and it was totally unnecessary.  She immediately started pontificating about how this 'cow' with her child inconvenienced her and the others...  And she most definitely did not appreciate my commentary on how she could have resolved that differently...

  1. Politely asked the woman to re-position her cart so she was comfortable pulling in.
  2. Waited a moment or two more and go about her business.
  3. Drive past, and find another handicapped space, (there are usually MANY to be had at that particular store) or run one of her other errands in the same plaza and come back in a few minutes.
And my questions were even more annoying to her...
  1. Did you have your turn indicator on? If she asked you to roll down your window and said that it appears that she was unaware that you intended to turn in.  She got all huffy, but I have seen her turn her signal off and sit, stewing, looking straight ahead in such situations in the past.
  2. What potential positive impact did you think being intentionally cruel was going to have in this particular situation?  Even if this woman was being inconsiderate or slow, what does her body type or size have to do with anything other than your own bias?
  3. What makes you think you know someone is a 'greedy, lazy, slob' from their weight?  Oh- that is right ... YOU DON'T.  
She most generally uses cruelty as her go-to response when she is irritated, annoyed, embarrassed, etc.  She is intentionally condescending and hurtful.  I know this comes from her mental illness, but she is very calculated in it, and has an awareness that she is doing it.  

It makes me sick.  Not only is her home toxic, and is she toxic to anyone that attempts to have any sort of friendship or relationship with her, but she is absolutely vile to everyone else, unless she perceives there to be transactional, not a reciprocal, benefit to her.

That poor woman.  She did not deserve what she got from my mother.  And I also realize that there may be much more to this story than I was told, if it happened at all.  But... this says volumes about her character.

This week I have seen two articles on the death of hoarders.  One was a woman in CA that was found dead in her hoarded back yard of her hoarded home with a kitten in a carrier on her lap, and she was a cat hoarder as well.  The second was in Columbus (Ohio) where a person hoarded their house to the point the floor joists gave away, and they died in the crush of the hoard.  And the comments were a mix, but plenty of blame for the awful family that abandoned the poor person to squalor.  You cannot help someone that does not want it, and you cannot want something more than someone wants it for themselves.  I am sure when my mother passes, if I outlive her, that I will be blamed in similar fashion.  I am already by many in her neighborhood and in her town.  That is unfortunate, but she has actively and deliberately chosen, ratified, and reaffirmed on many occasions that this is what she wants, and she has chosen her illness over everything, including me.  Especially me.  

Hoarding... no one wins, NO ONE.  Thank you for reading. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Update on medical.... well, not really....

The craziness continues with the temporal arteritis concern with my hoarding mother.  In the post previous to the last, my mother's doctors suspect TA, not a mastoid bone infection, is the reason for her issues.  If that is the case, time is of the essence... but my mother is dragging her feet and doing her normal routine of being controlling, oppositional, and unable to get out of her own way to be part of the solution.

The stakes are high if this is the case.  Blindness, strokes, all kinds of things can happen.  Her response?  Dragging her feet.  Engaging in scorched earth and inappropriate behavior with those trying to help her.  She went to her specialist, who was going to schedule a biopsy with the one doctor by the end of the week last week.  She heard from their office on Thursday, after deciding the doctor was 'mad' and all kinds of inappropriate and unfounded assumptions.

Her response?  She went to the library, had the librarian Google the biopsy, and has decided to NOT do it.  She has the prescription for the steroids she would need to take for a number of years, and she does not want to take those either.... (And what a lovely impact they will have on her mental health...) 

I am not advising, commenting, or giving her any reaction or reinforcement one way or the other.  

Maybe I should develop a drinking game to play when on the phone with her?  

Have a great week.  Thank you for reading.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ahhhh. Narcissism and hoarding. The gifts that keep on giving... Or is it taking?

She drives me insane.  

Absolutely flipping insane.  

Her amazing abilities at denial, rewriting history, and being an ethnocentric and racist old woman defy my ability to understand at times.  

I called her on Thursday of this week.  (She remains on the 3 times a week plan for phone calls for my emotional well being, and honestly, it is too much/too many times...)  I reminded her that I was not working on Friday, and that I might be going bowling with friends that night if I felt up to it and my eye appointment on Friday went okay.  She immediately asked about my eye appointment, wanting to know why would it NOT go well?

Ugh.  I know I should expect no different, but two years ago I was diagnosed with an eye condition that can, potentially, lead to reduced vision/blindness, painful surgeries that can go up to and include corneal transplants.  The type of disorder I have is similar to one that many folks have, but mine has a bit of a twist, it is found predominately in folks with specific ethnic heritage, in my case, Native American.  A fact that my mother has attempted to deny, to feign ignorance, and has reactions that run the gauntlet from surprise to out right racism... "Does your [then fiance'] know?  He will not think you are white!"  Um... that is because I am not. 

I told her the day I was diagnosed.  She immediately went into denial mode, and then started talking about her own vision woes.  Last year she again used it as a springboard to talk about herself.  This time, she again seemed to have zero memory and this was new information to her.  I again reminded her of my Native American heritage, how that came about, who in Dad's family, and why it did not appear on birth certificates.  Basically it was a cultural accommodation, and a response to racism and genocide.  In the state my father's family comes from, if the indigenous person's name was left off the birth certificate, they were 'white'.  Also, it was 1969 before a law preventing First Nation people from owning property was struck from the books.  She was more interested in minimizing and denying, and demanding to know how I found out, who knows, etc.  She also immediately launched into her eye problems, and focused the conversation on her.  I ended the call quickly, and anyone seeing me drive down the highway might think I have lost my mind.  I did a little primal scream therapy as I drove the 4 lane home.  If anyone noticed, and I am sure they did not, I was most likely quite the picture driving along in my little sedan, looking straight ahead, and screaming my fool head off.

I have not spoke to her since, it is only 3 days later.  I doubt that she will ask, and I do not intend to tell her anything about my appointment.  It did not go well.  The condition I was diagnosed with has not progressed much in the past two years, which is good, but I have another concern.  It appears that my eye pressure is elevated, and glaucoma does run in the family, with devastating results.  I have to return every few months for the next year to monitor this, and the treatment options are yet to be determined... but this can reduce or eliminate options for the first condition.  The good news is I am being monitored, and both are being caught early, if glaucoma is truly an issue here.

Most folks with relatively normal interaction and relationships with their families, their mothers, could seek support for this.  Due to the extreme narcissism and mental illness of my remaining family, support is something they are simply unable to give.  As with most other things, I will seek support from my friends, or I will walk alone with this.  Either way, I am better off than anything she has to offer.

And I am not keeping this secret.  I have already shared it with a friend or two when I went bowling that night... so thankful for the friend that came an picked me up so I could go since I was still effected by the dilation medication administered.  I had a lovely weekend of friends, food, wine and fun...  Whatever this yields, I will deal with it in its time and its place.  Worrying about it now only spoils the 'now' and does little to improve the 'then'.  I have little time or patience for hand wringing.  Life goes on. 

I am not usually one for smug little sayings and memes... okay, maybe I am... but I believe in the one that talks about being as happy as you choose to be.  Life is too short to be spent on the safe side of the street, and always looking to the worst case scenario.  

Thank you for reading... Have a great week.

Hoarding...  No one wins. NO ONE.

Update:  Spoke to her briefly on my way into work.  She did not ask about my eye appointment, or anything about my weekend, just began her normal hoardy monologue.  I am relieved, and the smallest part annoyed.  I spoke to a friend who I had not talked to in a few days that knew this was coming up, and called to check in.  A friend... and my friends are my family of choice, but someone who heard this mentioned in passing made note of it and followed up.  But my mother?  ::Fail buzzer::  And honestly- to be fair to her, if she did ask, I would most likely not tell her anything because I do not want the rapid fire 1,000,000 question interrogation and the resultant craziness and inappropriate assumptions.

<Sigh>  And so it goes.