Day 279 – the ‘I can do that’ issue

November 24, 2018
This is all the hair I have left

Growing up in my adoptive family required that I learn very quickly about how to survive. My family was very chaotic, emotionally driven. You never knew when one of them⁠1 would fly off the handle and attack verbally, sometimes physically. As a child, as most children, I was trying to get my mother’s approval. At seven years old, I overheard a conversation between her and my great-grandmother. My mother was divorcing my father and she was telling my great-grandmother that she would be ok because she had me – her Rock of Gibraltar.⁠2 After my dad left, my predicament became apparent.

As a single mother, in 1972, my mother couldn’t afford after school care for me and my sister – so that became my responsibility. I had to start dinner, make sure the house was tidy and try to control my wild sister.⁠3 We had neighbours could call on if there was an emergency. But that was it, I was on my own.

At a young age, I learned to come up with contingency plans. My sister was extremely uncooperative and often made a huge mess and I would have to clean it up. I would need to have everything in place for when my mother came home. Trying to get my sister to keep the house neat was nigh on impossible. I would bribe and threaten her all the time to get her to clean up after herself. It never happened. If my mom came home and the house was a mess – there was hell to pay. My sister thought it was quite funny. I was the only one upset. This went on for several years.

I learned very quickly that if I was going to survive, I was going to have to do it on my own and thus the contingency plans began. I could, in a matter of seconds, assess a situation and come up with several different solutions. This became a life-long habit. I always had many different solutions should certain things happen. Some of the things I would think about were: what would happen if I lost my job, failed out of university, got in trouble etc. I also had a hyper-sense of fair. This led me to be an excellent advocate for those clients with complicated problems.

I can remember being in staff meetings and the group being presented with a problem. I would quickly go through the problem in my head, see the pitfalls, contingencies etc., and then give a solution. Invariably, my solution would be shot down. Two hours later, my solution would be adopted.

Right now, I have no contingency plans taking up space in my head. I have started a process.⁠4 This is a process that I don’t control and that other people are going to take care of for me. I know that I have done the best I can to leave my family in good financial condition. I had hoped to work for the next decade, at least part-time, so they will need to do that. I am not worried about them. They are smart and resourceful. I have the support of those around me and I feel so at peace with my decision. Everyday it’s get stronger.

I am not working. My mind is empty of work related tasks of things I need to remember to do. This is such a blessing. There were nights my mind couldn’t stop. I solved a lot of problems at 3 am in my life. Now, I am not solving problems in my sleep. Since I made the decision to pursue MAiD, I am not trying to get surgeries or do other things to prolong my life. Instead, I can do what I want to do – things that make me happy. Like today, Stevie who will rarely stay on the bed for more than 5 minutes stayed for a couple of hours and I got baby bubba kisses. This made me so happy. I think I am really, for the first time, enjoying life. It seems counter-intuitive that this is the time I would be happy, and content. 

I am ultimately not afraid of death – particularly a MAiD death. I will go to sleep. I can do that. 

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1 Mostly my mother, grandmother and sister.

2 At seven, I had no idea what it meant but I knew it was a compliment.

3 My sister was not adopted. She is 2 years younger than me.

4 #MAiD – Medical Assistance in Dying

Day 256 – the ‘better than average’ edition

October 15, 2018
At the hospital waiting to see the doctor

What is it with doctors and morning appointments? Don’t they know it’s mostly sick people who go see doctors and we don’t want to get up in the morning? There should be screening doctor’s offices to only make the healthy people come in the morning. Afternoons should be reserved for us chronically ill people who don’t get up before noon!

Anyway, all of this to say, I saw the hand specialist today. She said that I had healed in above average time and very well. She was impressed with my range of motion and told me I could do whatever I wanted. I confessed to the early crocheting and she was fine with it as long as it didn’t hurt. Then we went to get my blood work done before I see The Oncologist™ tomorrow.

Given my ‘above average’ healing time, I am going to try to talk him into letting my have a mastectomy. It really is the only way forward I can see dealing with inflammatory breast cancer. I just cannot cope with 3 months on chemo, 1 month off for the rest of my life. It is the inflammatory breast cancer that’s going to make me need treatment sooner. Plus it’s starting to become more painful now. I refuse to be a martyr to cancer.

Coming to terms with my own death is really hard. Whenever I think about it, I start to cry. My head is a jumble of emotions whenever I think about it. In my mind, I do not see me waiting until I have exhausted every treatment. I will be proceeding with the MAiD paperwork. I am hoping to get it witnessed when we go in for our wills. I won’t ask friends to do this for me – it seems like an onerous request. I am off to have a nap because I was up so early this morning.