Loooong hiatus

So I was gone for a long time. Not sure if I’m actually “back,” as in, will be posting at regular intervals. I initially started this just for me, to get thoughts out and sort of as therapy, never thinking about getting followers (friends!) who might check in from time to time. So to those of you who were following me and offering support when I first started here–thank you, and I’m sorry if I let you down, but I didn’t want this blog to be one more “have-to” or pressure in my life…quite the opposite. That said, it means a lot that you are out there, that you do check in and care, and please know I care about you, too, even though it doesn’t seem like it when I disappear for months at a time!

My mother died last year on July 6. Things got very busy for me after that last post. She did check into hospice, the day after that post, in fact, and she never went home. Her decline was very rapid. We called my brother and he was able to spend her last lucid days with her; the morning after he left was the last time she seemed to be aware of us. She died the following day.

As it’s always all about me :/ I have been trying not to think about how much it concerns/upsets me that I haven’t really cried. I don’t know if I’m in denial and still haven’t accepted that she’s not coming back; or if, because we had talked all along and been so close, she had prepared me, and maybe I’m at peace about it; or possibly the antidepressants just aren’t letting me fully feel things or cry. Again, I try not to worry…everyone tells me people all grieve differently so maybe I just have a weird way of dealing with it.

Anyway, in days to come I hope to come here some more and talk a little bit about my daughters, my home situation, my Dad, etc., because I have a lot of issues around those topics, too, and I feel the need to organize my thoughts; my brain feels so cobwebby lately, and I’m hoping that getting back to spewing some of this stuff out will help me clear my head, and at the same time maybe get things back into perspective.

Cancer sucks; K update

I don’t even know what to say, so stream-of-consciousness time I guess.

My mother continues to decline. She is down to 70 pounds, more or less, and my Dad said for a few days last week she was losing a pound a day. She will probably be going in to Hospice this week so their nutritionists can work on a diet for her, because she hasn’t been eating enough to keep her strength up. She is still trying to walk around on her own, which is scary because she is very unsteady on her feet, and sometimes her hips give out on her. She’s very lucky she hasn’t fallen yet. My ex-to-be said she seems to be getting around okay, and I said yes, she gets around just fine right up until she doesn’t. She needs to start using the walker…the Hospice nurse didn’t order that in just to serve as a decorative element in the corner of the living room.

Daddy sent around an email a few days ago–Friday–saying she’d been spitting up blood that morning. My Aunt (Mama’s sister, a retired nurse) and I both responded asking if they’d called anyone to report this, and his answer was, “No, we just figure it’s par for the course.” I’m wondering if he’s thinking clearly.

I talked to her this morning, and she said Daddy had come back from exercise (he goes every day since open-heart surgery three years ago) feeling dizzy, so they’d had “a bite to eat” which for her was probably literal, and now he’s napping. Apparently he’s been forgetting a medication he’s supposed to be taking. She said she isn’t feeling well, that she is very tired and has very little appetite. I think at this point it would be good for her to spend a few days at Hospice, although I worry about my Dad being by himself, because she does help him with remembering things.

I spent a little time talking with the Hospice nurse, and she offered to go see Mama tomorrow rather than later in the week. My aunt will be there, which is good, because I’d like them to meet.

While all this is going on, we did get a bright spot of new “stuff” happening for K. She is going to be starting on some new medications, which should initiate further physical change and development to move her further along in her transition. I’m pretty excited for her because of that, but also because of this:

http://www.hrc.org/blog/entry/federal-employee-health-plans-will-no-longer-exclude-transition-related-hea

…which means surgery will be covered! SO thankful for this!

Ever Wished That Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Would Return to the Comics Page? Well, He Just Did.

Pearls Before Swine

Bill Watterson is the Bigfoot of cartooning.

He is legendary. He is reclusive. And like Bigfoot, there is really only one photo of him in existence. 

Few in the cartooning world have ever spoken to him. Even fewer have ever met him.

In fact, legend has it that when Steven Spielberg called to see if he wanted to make a movie, Bill wouldn’t even take the call.

So it was with little hope of success that I set out to try and meet him last April.

I was traveling through Cleveland on a book tour, and I knew that he lived somewhere in the area. I also knew that he was working with Washington Post cartoonist Nick Galifianakis on a book about Cul de Sac cartoonist Richard Thompson’s art.

So I took a shot and wrote to Nick. And Nick in turn wrote to Watterson.

And the meeting…

View original post 977 more words

Why K is not okay

Transgender people may be eligible for diagnosis of gender identity disorder (GID) “only if [being transgender] causes distress or disability.”[69] This distress is referred to as gender dysphoria and may manifest as depression or inability to work and form healthy relationships with others. … Moreover, GID is not necessarily permanent and is often resolved through therapy and/or transitioning.

“Transgender” article, Wikipedia

I mentioned K isn’t okay, but not why. Here’s why. She isn’t able to work because she isn’t able to leave the house unless she is with a family member. She is immersed in the personas and worlds she escapes into via video games and the internet. She is on Tumblr and has found a community there she’s comfortable with, but she doesn’t really actively participate. She does a lot of reading and reblogging but she doesn’t communicate directly with anyone. She’s fine on the surface, but right underneath that thin veneer, she’s severely depressed.

K has canceled two of her last three psychiatric appointments at the last minute; she really doesn’t like going. She says she usually just spends the appointments talking about video games. I have no idea how to go about getting her to open up and start talking about herself. I don’t want her to feel pressured, but I want her to make progress. Whenever I bring up anything having to do with real life, she changes the subject. Occasionally she will bring things up herself, but I have to play it carefully because if I seem too excited or eager to continue the conversation, she clams up. I get teensy glimpses, once in a great while. I’m learning a whole new definition of patience.

I hope to see her start opening up more this year. The end of June will mark a year since she started on hormone therapy, and that’s going well. Maybe we’ll be able to get her to the point where she can start attending some sort of group session, and interact with other people who are dealing with the same kinds of issues. I think that could really help move her forward, but so far she continues to resist. It must be a great fear in her and I wish there were some way to break through that. I think it’s going to be a long, long road.

Any ideas?

Slight detour

Today I was planning to get into a little background on myself, but it turns out today isn’t about me. I figured I need to be flexible and go where I’m led sometimes.

My mother, as mentioned yesterday, was diagnosed recently–two weeks ago tomorrow–with terminal cancer. Today I, along with several other family members, received an email from my dad that detailed what they learned in their first visit with the oncologist, and what they’re planning to do in light of that info. The news, I think, was a little harsher than they were expecting. Mama will begin to decline pretty rapidly (in fact, I’ve already noticed I can see changes in her basically every time I see her); she’ll experience a marked increase in pain in as soon as a month, but most certainly within the next six months. Radiation is not an option, and while chemotherapy can help lessen or delay some of the pain, it would also weaken her further and would likely make her very sick, so she has opted not to have it. She asked about taking a trip to visit her son, grandkids and great grandkids, along with her one remaining uncle and aunt who live nearby, and was advised to go as soon as possible.

As I said, today isn’t about me. But as we humans are wont to do, I have been struggling all evening against the tendency to make it so. I asked Mama on the phone today if she and Daddy would want me to look into getting time off from work to make the trip with them, and she, in her usual loving and tactful way, said she thought it would be best if they went alone. She said she’d have plenty of time with me when they return. Now, while that makes perfect sense, because there will be a lot of family up there (and I’d be one less person demanding her attention), I’m a bit sad/hurt at the thought of being left out of their last visit with my brother. I’m doing that mantra over and over in my head, though: “It’s not all about you, it’s about her right now,” and that helps.