My Mini-Breakdown

Hello dear reader(s)!

Yesterday evening, after a cold and crappy day, Hannah and I decided not to go to the store and just to get pizza instead.  Yes, this completely goes against a my frugal living idea, but it was too cold, we weren’t feeling great, it was too cold, and we weren’t feeling great.  It was also too cold, and we weren’t feeling great.  We likely weren’t feeling great because it was too cold.

At least the pizza generated 3 meals (last night’s dinner, today’s breakfast, and today’s lunch) thereby making it almost worth it.  Yes, I’m having pizza for 3 meals in a row.  Not the healthiest, but sometimes you need to treat yourself.  And treating ourselves last night meant pizza from Blind Onion, dipping the crust in honey, as Josh intended.

So we were doing good, all carb loaded, when we started reminiscing on days of yore and naturally, we started to talk about some of the great doctors and nurses that helped me to survive.  Which I thought I could handle.  But that brought up some of the darkest days, and then some of the issues that I’m still struggling with.  And I lost it.

I have been hiding a lot of feelings recently in order to try to keep myself going. Feelings like I did not actually make it through, but only a shell of me has. The problems that still remain and don’t seem to be going anywhere, and the things that I know will only get worse or at least remain that are preventing me from living the life I want to live; they all came down on me at one time. Right now, I’m limited to being around a very small amount of people. I have kidney issues that are affecting everything from nutrient absorption to hormone levels. I am also watching some levels of my kidneys to make sure they aren’t getting worse. Because of that, I have started a new medication to keep one of the levels down, but it can also make other kidney issues worse.  Because I have lower back issues (a messed up disc) every time I feel a twinge of back pain, I am convinced that my kidneys are failing and I will need to start dialysis soon.

I can’t play the drums like I used to.  I can play better beats, and write better, and my chops are pretty good, but my endurance still isn’t anywhere close to where I would like it to be.  Even if I can build my endurance back to acceptable levels, I can’t play shows anyway, because I can’t be around many people.  I was strong once, and now I can be strong for a minute or two, but then I am weak.  I honestly feel like so much less, physically.  And because of those physical issues, I am less confident, less content, and honestly struggling.  I’ve tried burying all of this at least until the damn psychiatrist I have been referred to calls me to set up an appointment, but I have been waiting weeks with no response.

The mental health care in this town is virtually non-existent.  Because of my insurance, I need the referral, I can’t just go and call around to someone else who will actually decide to let me go see them.  I should be able to remember what happened to me without being able to function for a few hours.  I should be able to hear the stories of blood cancer (or virtually any type of cancer) patients without having crippling flashbacks.  I’ve been trying to hold it together and be there for my wife and her anxiety and PTSD but I’m not being successful.  I have insurance and I want help and can’t get it.

Now think of all of the people who don’t.  Or those who are getting the “suck it up and deal with it” stigma from people who have no idea what they are going through.  I don’t care about that stigma, I am seeking help, and they won’t fucking give it to me.

I want to get better.  My body might not ever, but my brain has a chance.  How bad is this stupid system that I can’t get the help I need to get better?  I’m hoping my marrow will continue to build (but who knows), that my kidneys will at least hold (but who knows), that my B-cells will come back so that I can physically go back to work because I am tired of struggling.  But even if that should happen, I wouldn’t be able to without intense psychological help (or an employment contract that forbids the use of the word “cancer” in the workplace and some drug that prevents the random flashbacks from popping up while I’m trying to do a job).  Since the latter won’t happen, I’m counting on the psychological help but can’t get it.

There are days I wonder if the transplant was worth it.  If all the fighting was worth it, to be alive but living this way.  Last night, that was what hit me hard.

And I think of my Hannah, who wanted children, but won’t have them with me unless somehow we get wealthy enough to adopt, who was young and happy and full of life and still is most days, who met this version of me that was strong, healthy, virile and confident.  We would go out all the time and see shows and do so much.  And now I can’t.  Yet here she is, choosing me even still, even after I am not the person I was.  I know we have both changed, but she has been there for me in every possible way.  And we ended up having a pretty good night after my mini-breakdown because of her being there.

So as long as she’s here, I guess I can hold out a little longer for that damn help that I need.

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Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.

50 thoughts on “My Mini-Breakdown”

  1. As I read this I can relate to much of what you said. It is coming up on 20 years since my road through kidney failure, which was bumpy at best. It’s a long time ago now, but I still remember certain things so clearly. Planning on revisiting this, on my blog, if I can get my hands on a replacement laptop.
    Hope you soon feel better, both physically and emotionally.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, and I’m glad you came through it. If I can remain cancer free for a few ore years, at least I would be eligible for transplant if necessary, so I keep thinking there is hope not to end up on dialysis.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I can understand your hesitation then. My brother and I have both been on it, and it is a lifesaver if there is nothing else, but it does come with its own set of problems and challenges.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. For now, they are not there, but I know it will progress eventually. Hopefully, I can get a new one instead. Brand new. I want a 3D printed one they keep saying will happen in the next few years.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I am so sorry that you are having such a hard time getting the help that you need Josh. It must be pretty tough for both of you, facing the changes that have happened since you first met. Thank God you have each other, and I do hope that you get that much-needed help soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m truly sorry that you are suffering like this, and hope that you recover. I doubt it will help you to hear poetry, but this quote (which you likely already know) sprang to mind, and felt hugely relavent, from Tennyson:
    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,
    One equal temper of heroic hearts,
    Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
    To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
    All the best, Matt

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so sorry (not like that helps) and also I am wiping the tears from my eyes as I type this. I am glad you have Hannah as that is what helps …having loved ones. I know I do not have cancer but I really do understand the not being who you once were part. I have an auto immune disorder so many things wrong and these f…g lesions in my brain. I am not who I was and yup have mini breakdowns and wonder….but I have those that love me. I also know that I can have many more things pop up but one day at a time or more like one minute at a time. You have a lot of strength to have already gone through what you have and I guess all we can do is hope for the best and …nope got nothing else positive to say sorry. Stay strong love the blog.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I am old well older so it isn’t like I am young like you and dealing with what you are now. I did have a little miracle of my own though. I had Sclerosing Cholangitis in my late 30’s and watched as my liver derailed on me. Seriously one day I was just better and my dr. said he didn’t know why but take the miracle as I did not have long to survive and I did and he said it could come back and it hasn’t and I won’t allow it LOL. Seriously take care and laugh often.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. This sucks. I remember I contracted Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever years ago and was so incredibly ill. I vividly recall watching other people going on with their lives, never giving a second thought as to how easy it was for them and how little they appreciated what they had. I would get so incredibly bummed as I laid there trying to recover. And I was only sick for a few weeks, but I still remember those feelings of being hopeless and not having the strength to fight, and all I wanted to say to all those people who swirled around me, doing those normal things was Hey Buttholes – do you have any idea how good you have it? and why do you get to do those normal, everyday things and I don’t? I hope you get the referral and find someone to help you this.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m sorry things have been so tough. I’m glad that you have a person as great as Hannah to help you through these times, and I’m sure she feels the same about you. Keep pushing on, Josh! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t know what to say to this, but I want to say something. That’s strange, isn’t it? How we always desire to help even though we consciously know we can’t, but we try anyway? I wish I could say I know what you’re going through, but I don’t. I wish I could give you one of a million platitudes that I truly and utterly believe but that I know don’t make the situation any better and that always end up sounding empty, anyway. I wish I could tell you that I know someone who would be willing to help you pro bono, but I can’t even find a psychiatrist in my own town, much less in yours. It’s frustrating. There’s a lot of things I wish I could do, but not many that I can.

    So, I guess I can say that I am grateful you shared this post. I am sure it was difficult, but you trusted your readers enough to see a glimpse of your life that you may have preferred to keep hidden. And I can say that there are a lot of people, including those you’ve never truly met, that see you as a wonderful person. I am glad you’ve consciously decided to keep going. I’ve never met you. Will probably never see you. And yet I care about you as much as I care about all the other people who have inspired me, influenced me, or entertained me in my life. Thank you for being awesome. The world needs people like you.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Josh, I don’t have anything to offer but my encouragement and best wishes, but I will tell you this. I have been a nurse more than thirty years. Nobody knows what is going to happen. Lots of times the ornery cuss wins. I was taking care of one old geezer who was supposed to be dying when his two boys were standing at his bedside fighting over who would get the truck. He got pissed, got well and went home and kept the damned truck. Maybe you’ll just keep the damned truck! Who knows?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m sorry things have been so rough on you lately. It’s a shame that it takes them so long to get help for people trying to get it. If I hadn’t had the luxury of being able to call around and set up an appointment without a referral, it would have been well over two months before being able to get started on working through this mess. So ridiculous. ((hugs))

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Okay, so I’ve been MIA most of the week and just got around to reading this. First of all, the fact that you put all this out there is going to help and inspire a ton of people who need it. Secondly, don’t keep that crap bottled up. You have to let it out… for your health and well-being. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for, and this post is proof of that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Coming to terms with new limits is part of the process. I wish I could say that there is a way around the grief. I do understand the numbing that is so essential to surviving in the moment–
    but now you are someone who has survived, and that means building a future that is different
    from the future you had in mind. I don’t know if this is helpful…I guess I want you to know that I feel you.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. I just had to tell someone that I had once again overestimated my health and made a commitment that I’m not well enough to keep. . It’s frustrating because I want what I wanted — I have to be happy with what I have.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Reading this brought back so many memories. Some bad, but a lot of wonderful ones that I would never have had if not for the ‘C’ word.

    There was fear and hope and dashed hope and hope and fear and fear and sleepless nights and mountains of fear.

    There was a husband who supported and protected me through it all, and then the tables were turned and I supported, protected and cared for him.

    There were friends who helped take care of the farm even to the extent of coming in the middle of the night to help with newborn twin foals and who stayed to bottle feed them through days when chemo treatments called.

    There are memories of family, not well themselves, who traveled 1500 miles to help and stayed to hold my hand through surgeries, then returned to help when a year of dealing with it alone had me exhausted beyond the point of emotional stability.

    But, most of all, I remember the depth of love, oceans of it miles deep and a universe wide. I remember the uncontrollable smile that came over my face each time I walked into a room and he was there. I remember the laughter, the closeness, the conversations. I remember the peace and the serenity.

    I remember the breakdowns – one in the barn where I had a horse boarded – and the circle of boarders who surrounded me for a group hug. I remember beating on the steering wheel and screaming as I drove to the grocery store – with tears blinding me and a feeling of complete and utter helplessness.

    And…I remember laughter. Laughter that held everythiing together. Laughter that brought peace. Laughter that changed my perspective. Laughter that finally brought healing.

    It’s not just a saying that ‘Laughter is the best medicine.’ It’s a fact. Find things to laugh about. Little things, big things, TV things, radio things, books, stories, anything that you can find to bring a smile, but outright laughter is even better. It may sound stupid, but even that can bring its own humor.

    Laughter brings you out of yourself, releases tension, eases anxiety and worry, and brngs at least a moment of peace. Moments add up.

    I wish you peace, happiness, harmony and health. Thanks for sharing this part of your life. LOL! And sorry for the long ‘comment’, it just brought back so many memories.

    Liked by 1 person

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