Musings of an Old Hag (but an alive one) on her (almost) Birthday

First and foremost, massive hugs and love to all of you for your many emails, flowers and other goodies you sent to the hospital to cheer me up and the tons of prayers that most certainly kept me alive these last 4 1/2 months.

Also, thanks to the good Lord above for blessing me with a second set of doctors and surgeons who, quite literally, saved my life. I will forever be thankful to God and to them for their gifts of skill and determination to keep me alive.

While the last 47 years have been full of joy and laughter, love and lust, peace and grace, they’ve also been quite full of pain–both of body and mind. I sometimes startle when I think of it. And I think that’s the greatest blessing of all…that the bad hasn’t overcome the good and made my life one of sadness and fear. That I still am a bit shocked when I think of all the trials I’ve been through shows me that it’s not those trials that define who I am, but it’s those trials from which I’ve learned to be who I am.

Since January and the medical issues I went through and am still going through, I’ve endured more physical pain than I ever thought possible. And the emotional toll has been devastating. The fear. No. The terror of everyday life over the last 140 days has been stunning in its endurance. But, even with all that, and what continues to happen as a result of that, I know I’m blessed. And here’s why:

  1. My husband not only tells me he loves me multiple times each day, but he shows me. What’s he’s had to endure watching me go through this mess would have broken a weaker man. Instead, he tells me it’s his privilege and honor to take care of me. I didn’t know love that like existed. A person’s true character shines brightest not in the light, but in the dark. He lit up my entire world and continues to do so.
  2. My sister flew out and took care of me for almost 3 weeks. She made damn sure the doctors, nurses and everyone else that had to do with my care did everything that was required to keep me alive. Her dedication to my health, both physical and mental, was beautiful and more than I ever could have asked for. She was, and continues to be, such an amazing support and shoulder. I don’t know what I’d have done without her.
  3. My mom, God bless her, who is 78 and seen more pain in her life than 10 other people combined, managed to survive all of what has and is happening and not snap or give in to despair. She even makes me a batch of homemade spaghetti sauce every week to cheer me up and make meals easy for me as I’m getting back on my feet.
  4. My 2nd set of doctors and nurses did their damnedest to keep my ass alive. My nurses showed me so much love it overwhelmed my heart. I had one doctor in particular who made me feel safe every time he walked through the door. When you are living in non-stop terror and pain, that reprieve is more valuable than anything on earth.
  5. My home nursing staff breathed love all over me with every visit. I’ll never be able to thank my sweet nurse who managed my care enough. I think of her so often and how her tenderness, love, support and understanding helped me through one of the truly darkest times of my life. I’d never before been so sad and so frozen in fear, but she held my hand and told me I was going to make it through. On her last visit, we both got emotional for we’d forged a bond through pain and understanding that doesn’t go away overnight.
  6. My friends rallied like never before to pray for me, support me and send me love on a continual basis. My sister kept everyone informed over Facebook as to what was going on and the outpouring of tenderness still warms my heart. I still cannot believe the cards, flowers, blankets, teddies and other wonderful tokens of love that my friends sent me to cheer me up. And I still feel bad that somehow all the wonderful notes that came with the heart-felt gifts have vanished. I would love to have been able to reach out to every kind person that sent me a card or gift and thank them profusely–alas, I was very drugged and while I was overwhelmed with thankfulness when my husband read me the cards when delivered, for the life of me I can’t recall about 80% of who sent what–but a HUGE thanks to those of you who sent me reminders that I wasn’t going through this alone. And a HUGE thanks to all of you who reached out virtually to let me know you were praying for me. Those prayers made all the difference.
  7. My ability to forgive hasn’t weakened. For that I’m eternally thankful. Sometimes, the rage and the heartache and the sense of betrayal can be so overwhelming it feels like I’m sinking into a hole from which there is no escape. But before I get to the bottom of it, I remember to forgive. And that pulls me up out of it. Though sometimes that dark hole tugs back, I won’t let it gain purchase for that is place I never want to live.
  8. I’m still alive. Dammit! I’m forever thankful for that. I still get the privilege of loving my husband, my family and my friends. I still get to do my best to bring joy (often through sarcasm!!) to those around me. I still get the pleasure of petting my kitties and taking care of the chickens, hamster and hedgehog. I still get to go to Starbucks and chat with all the wonderful friends I have there (I drink way too many frapps!). I still get to giggle with my hubby about silly things and make my teddy bears have conversations of a most inappropriate sort. I still get to love all the things I loved before…that is truly a blessing. And, most importantly, I didn’t die and leave my family bereaved. The thought of hurting them even more than the last 4 1/2 months already have just tears out my heart. So, I’m forever thankful that they didn’t have to plan a funeral, decide what to do with my stuff, have holidays without me and mourn my loss. The feeling of pain for those I love is always more important to me than my own pain, and I’m blessed to have kept them from that particular kind of anguish.

For those people who’ve been around me, most of you likely think that all is good as I’m still cheerful, quick to giggle and have done everything in my power to stay strong and be thankful for the good things that remain. All of that is true. It’s not a façade. At the same time though, way down deep where fear is a living and breathing thing, I’m truly terrified of the upcoming tests I still have to face and what the results of those may be. I’m very lucky to have a brain that compartmentalizes very well…it lets me get on with life while wrapping up all the pain and fear into a little box that I only let see the light on rare occasions. If you are so inclined, I’d be ever so grateful for continued prayers and healthy vibes. I still have some icky things coming up that scare the ever-loving fuck out of me, so your positive thoughts are so very appreciated. 🙂

I know this hasn’t been my typical post, and I know it’s been a long time since most of you have heard from me at all, but I’ve tried to spend these last months focusing on getting better, reducing my constant fear, learning to live with unexpected consequences, and being thankful that I’m even here to write this.

After 47 years of life I know that the most important things have nothing to do with money, possessions, looks, position, power or any of that other superficial bullshit. What I do know is that allowing people to love you and loving them back with your whole heart is the greatest gift in the world. For that knowledge, I’m forever thankful and blessed.

May you all have a wonderful life and know that I’m always praying for you to be happy, healthy and safe.

Much love,

Jodi

To all the Smokes I’ve loved before…

…you can go suck it because I beat you!!!!

I am SO PROUD OF MYSELF!!!

I’ve been more stressed the last few weeks (as you guys know) then I’ve been in a looooooong time. And even though hari kari was calling my name and I kept eyeballing the shotgun and taser, I managed to NOT SMOKE even a single drag!!!

It’s been 4 months, 28 days and 9 hours since I had a puff on a cigarette (not that I’m counting). Yay!! And it was TEMPTING!! That night my sister was my superhero and I sat in my car crying and screaming on the phone to her, there was a pack of unopened smokes just sitting in my glovebox. I keep them there to prove to myself that I don’t need them. And it worked.

Quitting cold turkey after smoking since I was 14 (with a few breaks here and there) wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m so excited that I managed to say no to the Yummy Sticks. Yes, I call them Yummy Sticks. Honest to God, smoking is one of my very favorite things on earth. I almost never drink (maybe 2-3 glasses of wine a year), I don’t do drugs (unless you count Valium to go to the dentist) and so smoking was my deliciously wicked vice. Now I have no vices! I can’t even be a slut cause I’m a married old broad. KIDDING! I never was much for the slutty behavior (but I love me some sluts, so if you are slutty I love your slutty ass).

For those of you who have been or who are smokers, you know exactly what I’m talking about. For those of you who have never been smokers, you are truly blessed to not know the misery of not being able to light up. I’ve heard quitting smoking compared to giving up the needle and it doesn’t surprise me one bit!

See, here’s my best friend and me enjoying a nice, yummy smoke after a delicious dinner a couple of years ago. We look so joyful and happy to be alive! Ahh…the good ole days…

So that everyone out there understands why I used to like smoking so much (and I will again if I’m ever terminally ill, dammit!!!!) I’m going to put a little video clip here from the TV show Frasier. This scene PERFECTLY describes what is so tantalizing about a cigarette.

The whole clip is funny, but if you skip ahead to about 1:06 (the clip’s about 3 minutes long) you’ll get to the heart of the true smoker’s dream.

Enjoy! And NEVER start smoking if you aren’t a smoker now. Why put yourself through the hell of quitting? It totally sucks balls. 🙂

XOXOXO