August 21, 2012
Posted by Unconfirmed Bachelorette under Cancer
, Death and Grief
, Death of a sibling
, Stages of Grief
| Tags: cancer
, Death and Grief
, Death of a sibling
, Stages of Grief
|  Comments
The past couple of days, ever since I discovered Sally’s lumps, I have been filled with anxiety. When I wasn’t working, I was scouring the Internet for the tumor that most resembled Sally’s. None of them seemed to quite fit. So I had decided the lumps had to be malignant and she has only a few months to live. I lie awake in bed last night, crying, with Sadie curled up next to me, purring loudly and providing comfort. As I lie there sobbing, I realized this was not all about the kitty. It was about my father, now with his third bout with cancer. He’d beaten the first two, testicular when he was in his 30s with four small children, and colon when he was in his 70s and we were all grown up. Now he’s in his 80s, and I fear this current cancer diagnosis will be the one. I also was grieving for my eldest brother, who died in April. I’d been holding it all together, behaving rather stoically, as people in my family are wont to do. But last night, I lost it. And all those unshed tears spilled forth. It was quite a cry–the ugly kind when your head fills with snot and you can’t get a breath. And through it all, Sadie lie there curled up next to my head, purring. Sally, whom I was convinced was dying from a malignant tumor, was nowhere to be found.
I went to work this morning, late and puffy-eyed. I focused on the task at hand, burying myself in my work until it was time to head home and meet the vet. She makes house calls, which I love as I hate to traumatize the kitties by making them ride in the car, which is nearly as bad as the destination. The wailing on the way just breaks my heart. So I found a vet who makes house calls.
Shortly before she was to arrive, I locked both kitties in the bathroom–the examining room. The vet was 8 minutes late. I stood outside pacing, willing her to arrive. It took her eons to park her truck and make her way to my front door. But then she was here, and we went upstairs to the bathroom. I cracked the door, and Sadie looked up at me. I let her run past. Sally was cowering behind the toilet. I picked her up, and the vet came in and put her bag down on the counter. Then she began stroking Sally as I held her. I could feel the tension leaving her fluffy little body and I set her down on the counter. The vet began stroking her, looking for the lumps. She found the big one right away, on her back, near her tailbone. As she examined it she told me she saw nothing so far that upset her at all. The lumps weren’t crusty, they didn’t seem to hurt Sally, and they were covered with fur, which meant she hadn’t been picking at them. Okay, so far so good.
The vet then took a syringe from her bag to do a fine needle aspiration. Sally lie very still while the vet took tissue samples from various parts of the growth. She then transferred the sample from the syringe to a slide and labeled it. She then took another syringe out of her bag and repeated the process with the second lump. She showed me the material on the slide, and she said she saw nothing there that concerned her. The next step was for the vet to go out to the lab in her truck and examine the slides under a microscope. She told me the process would take about ten minutes. After she went out, the anxiety reappeared. I paced and wrung my hands. I imagined it was taking too long. I imagined the vet was composing herself before bringing me the bad news. I sat on the steps by the front door and tried to take deep breaths.
The door opened.
It turns out Sally has lipomas–benign fatty tumors that are more common in dogs. Which is why I had ruled them out in my Internet research. More common in dogs? She doesn’t have a benign tumor, then. She’s dying.
The lesson I learned today? Never research medical conditions, in pets or people, on the Internet. It’s just a bad idea.
I also learned I have some grieving to do. And I have two fluffy, healthy cats to comfort me while I do.
August 20, 2012
Posted by Unconfirmed Bachelorette under Cancer
| Tags: animals
|  Comments
I’m so upset. Last night while petting my little kitty, I noticed two lumps under the skin on her back near her spine. I need to stop scouring the Internet as it’s just increasing my worrying. The vet comes tomorrow at 3:00. Please let them be benign. I can’t handle any more cancer right now.
I talked to my mother on Saturday. My father had surgery on his eye to fix a recurring problem with his tear duct. Cancer around the eye. The doctor removed a large margin of tissue. She hasn’t told my father yet. They canceled their yearly trip to Lake Superior. For the first summer in decades, they will stay in Texas for the month of August. I wonder if my trip up with Mack last year will have been their last.
Please, no more cancer.
August 13, 2012
Posted by Unconfirmed Bachelorette under Cats
| Tags: Cats
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It occurred to me today that in never writing about my kitties, I’m not a very convincing bachelorette. It’s time to set the record straight: I am a crazy cat lady. I have two black rescue kitties. One is huge, and very fluffy. We’ll call her BK1. The other is a bit smaller (perhaps the runt of the litter), and fluffy as well. We’ll call her BK2.
If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that a few months back I began redecorating the bachelorette pad. I got a new sofa, recovered a chair, got two new area rugs, and an entertainment center. I got two new lamps that sit on either end of the entertainment center. The lamps are blown glass. Teal. To match the new paint.
Last week I had a stomach bug. It struck when I was out walking in the evening, about 1.5 miles from home. It was ugly. But I shall save that story for another day. Or not. Because I had a stomach bug, I worked at home Thursday and Friday, and because I had a brief due, I continued working through the weekend. I was camped out on the new sofa with my laptop, cases printed from Westlaw strewn about the coffee table and floor.
At approximately 4 pm each day, after her mid-afternoon nap, BK1 would begin to act out. Keep in mind she’s a rather large kitty, and her headbutts pack a powerful punch. Think bulldozer. BK1 proceeds to jump atop the entertainment center and rubs her whiskers on the lamp shade. The white lamp shade. I yell at her.
“BK1, get down!”
She ignores me and begins head-butting said lampshade. The lamp, which is quite heavy, begins wobbling. I jump up, grab the squirt bottle, and give her a good misting. She gives me a blank stare. I squirt her again. She jumps down onto the newly upholstered chair and begins sharpening her claws. I squirt her again and she jumps to the floor.
In the meantime, BK2 has slunk into the dining area, which does not yet contain the new dining table. Just six new upholstered chairs sitting there, naked, atop one of the new area rugs. I hear BK2 sharpening her claws on one of the chairs. I yell at her.
“BK2, bad kitty!”
She looks at me with a shocked hurt expression, and runs off. BK1 has now jumped on a high ledge atop the staircase and is looking down at me, caterwauling. She knows it unnerves me when she jumps up there. So far to fall! I get the treats out, shake the bag. I know this is bad parenting. I know I am reinforcing bad behavior. But I can’t stand to see her up on the ledge. So I shake the treat bag. BK1 jumps from her perch and comes bounding down the stairs. BK2 comes out from her hiding place where she was tending to her hurt feelings, meowing at the top of her squeaky high-pitched voice. If a cat ever had an annoying meow, it’s this one. But she’s so adorable, I tolerate it.
So kitties get their treats and settle down for a moment. It then occurs to me they must be bored and are acting out. I get a few of their toys out of the toy basket. Not interested. I throw a catnip-scented mouse at BK1′s feet. She stares blankly at me. I roll a ping pong ball across the floor. She jumps back up onto the entertainment center and begins head-butting the lampshade again. Meanwhile, BK2 decides to sharpen her claws on the dining room rug, creating little piles of wool. I yell at BK2 and off she runs again, after giving me that look. I then roll up a magazine and tap BK1 on the bottom. She stares at me, nonplussed. “Is this a new game?,” she seems to be asking me. I squirt her again. She jumps on the chair and sharpens her claws.
This continued for some time, until they curled up on the dining room chairs for their late-afternoon naps.
We did this every day for four days. I was glad to go back to work. But I still have a problem. I don’t know how to discipline the kitties. And it has to be done, lest they shred my new furnishings to bits.
So I beg of you, fellow cat lovers, how do I deal with this behavior? Bigger squirt gun? More treats? New toys? Threaten to return them to the shelter? Actually, I tried that last one. They laughed. They knew it was an idle threat. Kind of like when my parents threatened to send me to reform school.
I wonder if there are any good cat whisperers in Austin.
August 12, 2012
The most frequent searches leading people to my blog involve pedophiles and depression medication. It amazes me how many people out there are married to, or know, a pedophile. But I will save that post for another day. Today, it’s about the medication.
Wellbutrin and Deplin
I have been on Wellubtrin 300 mg and Deplin 15 mg since late December. The only side effect I’ve noticed from that combo is constipation. I’ve been on Wellbutrin before, and did not suffer from constipation. This time, it’s different. First, I tried switching from generic to brand. No improvement. Then I did a web search. My new theory is that because the Deplin is helping the Wellbutrin work better, it’s also making me constipated. The only way I’ve been able to get relief is to do a daily dose of Miralax. Since I’m feeling better on the Wellbutrin, I’ll live with it. For now.
Abilify (Nasty Shit)
Next up: Abilify. That stuff is awful. At least it was for me. When I’d exercise, I’d get overheated way too easily. I’d get a half mile from home and have to stand in the shade for five minutes before I could go on. And that was back when it was only in the 80s. The last thing I need is something making it difficult to exercise. So I knew it had to go. But even worse, it made my hair fall out. It was falling out by the handful. I avoided washing my hair because I couldn’t stand to see all the hair in my hands and the tub. My hairline receded around my temples. It totally freaked me out.
I was doing the comb-over so I didn’t have to see it. Ponytails were out. Yes, that crap had to go. I stopped it cold turkey without telling my doctor. Actually, I called to tell him on a Friday, and was too flipped out to wait for the return call on Monday. So I went cold turkey over the weekend. I was on a fairly low dose, so I figured I’d risk it. It was fine. (Disclaimer: I’m not advocating this for everyone. Don’t stop your meds without discussing it with your doctor!) Now that I’ve been off of it for a while, my hair has stopped falling out and there’s new growth filling in around my temples. So, it appears totally reversible. Hallelujah.
Next, he put me on Viibryd. http://wp.me/p1jL9y-gF We started slowly, and he eased me up to 30 mg. I was fine right there, but apparently the recommended dose is 40 mg, so he stepped me up again. That’s when the shit hit the fan. Every time I was even slightly exerted, I was dripping in sweat. Like I’d run a 10k in a sauna. My personal trainer thought I was going to keel over in the middle of a workout. The woman was seriously worried. In addition, whenever I exercised, be it yoga, strength training, or walking, I’d feel like I was going to vomit for hours afterward. So, I called the doctor. He told me the side effects likely would go away if I’d stick with it. I told him I wasn’t willing to do that, and he switched me back to 30 mg.
All was good in the world again. Until one night last week when I forgot to take my evening dose of Viibryd. That was a night of some seriously messed up dreams. All night long. In one of the more memorable dreams, which seemed to go on for hours, Mack had gone batshit crazy and had decided he was going to kill me. He was stalking me with a gun. I was hiding behind people who didn’t much appreciate that. I knew he would only shoot me and no one else, so they were safe. But they were having none of it, and so I kept finding myself without cover. And there was Mack with his big gun, laughing maniacally and taking aim. Eventually the snipers were called in, intent on shooting him before he shot me. For some reason, they couldn’t get the shot. Mack eventually escaped. With my help. How fucked up is that? I helped my killer evade the police. Now that’s some serious enabling.
I’m pretty sure this dream was prompted by these faces all over the news of late:
Yeah, I won’t be forgetting to take the Viibryd again any time soon.
August 5, 2012
Posted by Unconfirmed Bachelorette under Abusive Relationships
| Tags: Abusive Relationships
, Starting Over
|  Comments
I wrote a post yesterday about getting back on the dating horse. But I’m not so sure I want to. Life is peaceful now. There is no daily drama. I’m not constantly irritated and frustrated. I’m content. In contrast, a little over a year ago, I wrote this:
It’s May 22, 2011. Mack and I have spent my birthday weekend at the beach. His asshole side made an appearance last night, and I did not indulge him. We were singing in the car on the way to getting my oozy chocolate birthday dessert. I thought we were having a good time with it, when suddenly he snapped at me. He said this is his profession and he doesn’t indulge mere amateurs by singing with them whilst driving in a car. He said at first it was fun, but then he found me obnoxious. By this time we were at the restaurant. He got out of the car in a huff, like he had been put upon and was totally justified in being a prick. I got out of the car after some deliberation, and told him I didn’t want to go into the restaurant. He said, “Fine!” We got in the car and as he exited the parking lot, he gunned the engine a little. I told him I’d drive, if he was going to drive like an idiot. Again, “Fine!” So we switched seats and I drove us home. When we got home, he got out of the car and went for a walk on the beach. I wanted to. But since he announced it first, I simply went to bed. He came back a short time later and slammed around in the kitchen, loudly and angrily, making sure he made his ire known. I dozed in and out, and eventually he came into the bedroom, demanding that I wake up. “Why, so you can yell at me some more?” He left me alone after that. Later he came back to bed, and said, “Great, I sleep this way in two beds now.” Realizing what he’d said, he added, “At least I used to.” So, either he still sleeps in bed with Corrine, or he threw it out there erroneously, trying to make a point in the midst of his anger.
He gave up sleeping and went out in the living room to work on my computer. And read about Galveston. He came to bed a couple of hours later. I slept in my clothes.
I arose before he did, and found a note in the kitchen that he’d fixed my laptop. And the coffee was ready, just flip the switch. But there was no apology. At least not an overt one. He got up shortly after I did. I was still in the midst of my first cup. I was out on the deck, typing on my laptop. He asked if my computer was working. I nodded my head that it was. Shortly thereafter I went inside to refill my coffee.
He said, “So what happens now?”
“I’m drinking coffee, enjoying the morning on the deck.” I paused. Refilled my cup. “Unless you want to yell at me some more and tell me how obnoxious I am.”
I went back out on the deck with my refilled cup and began writing. I imagined him inside. Pouting.
Last night I didn’t like him at all. I knew we were done. I found him unattractive, and I didn’t want him to touch me. This morning, standing there in the middle of the room, he looked young. Vulnerable. Cute. Maybe it’s not over. Maybe you deal with someone being a complete asshole from time to time.
From time to time, I read back over things I wrote back then, and I wonder what in the hell I was thinking.
That kind of assholeishness isn’t normal in a relationship, is it? Is this the way people behave and it’s just swept under the rug and forgotten? I really do not know. Which is how I kept talking myself into staying.
I had no role models growing up for this sort of thing. My role models taught me that you’re honest, you don’t steal, you don’t lie, and you don’t cheat people. You get a good education and you work hard. I was taught the value of a dollar. I was taught that reading books is magical.
But I wasn’t taught that you treat your partner with kindness and respect. My father treated my mother horribly. He ridiculed her constantly. He told her she was fat. He made fun of her when she ate. He’d say things like, “Just keep eating, Joanna, just keep eating!” She never said a word. But I’d defend her. Some of the worst fights I ever had with my father began when I defended my mother. And those fights were always my fault–because I antagonized him.
I once pressed my mother to explain why she never fought back. She said it was much easier to simply ignore him. I asked her how she could possibly ignore the daily onslaughts, the horrible ridicule. She said she’d just learned to tune him out.
And I was tuning out Mack’s bad behavior. Only it didn’t work for me like it worked for my mother. And so I broke free of him. And once I was free, once I could let go of everything I’d bottled up for a year, I fell into a depression.
And now, here I am, feeling better, and wondering: Do I get involved in another relationship? How do I know he won’t be another Mack? How will I know if he’s a kind, respectful man, and not a man simply on his best behavior for a few months? If he treats me poorly, when do I run? At the first instance? The second? And how poorly does he have to treat me for it to not be normal? I need a role model. Or a book. Is there a book out there that gives examples of what’s acceptable and what isn’t in a relationship?
Is there a book out there telling me what’s normal, and what’s not?
August 4, 2012
Does anyone know this man? He looks like he might be perfect for me.