Friday, April 29, 2016

No, I cant yet stop, I need to keep going....

So P had cold feet at the last minute; the thought of having to pay for insurance through your own pocket; the thought of neither of us having a permanent job. I don't blame him. These are all scary thoughts. So I brushed aside all thoughts of quitting my job and taking a break and instead worked a couple of hours on Sunday to make sure I was on top of things before the work week hit.

Every time I feel like now I have reached the bottom, there is a new low past it. I have stopped counting the lows and hoping it is the last thing. I am giving in now. Going with the flow. Not in a good way, one can only withstand so much.

I had my periods for the first time after my D&C. Blood flowed like a bright red downpour along with huge clots for four long days and nights. Just when I was beginning to think if this was serious enough for a hospital visit, it slowed down and stopped. I rejoiced, but for a day, when my right ear, under the ear, right side of the tongue started aching; I went to the doctor; of course the youngest most inexperienced doctor was on duty on Saturday, he calmly told me that I was going to have Bell's palsy - temporary paralysis of the face in which your face supposedly droops down and stays like that for months. It is supposedly temporary which was supposed to cheer me up. Bell's palsy or you might just have sinus pressure - its like saying you could die or not! I drove home in shock and broke down. I told P how I felt hurt that he had stopped looking for permanent jobs now that he had found his contracting gig. That had killed the last of my hopes of ever being able to listen to my body and slow down.

Decongestants, warm compresses and more tears seemed to cure this "palsy". Again I picked myself up, brushed myself off, told myself this was the last bad thing, now it will be all better. Got a new dentist who told me I had been nursing a root canal for long and admired my high threshold for pain. When your entire body is in different levels of pain and discomfort, you really do not pin point the exact locations of pain. I went to my swimming class and came home and took a shower and then realized my right pinkie was involuntarily trailing towards the other fingers.

From the past couple of weeks, I have felt that my right hand is growing weaker, when I am driving, I brush aside thoughts of whether I will lose strength altogether in my arm and have to stop. In the shower that night, I eerily realized how my fingers hurt, my palm aches, my arm hurts. Its like you stop and focus and those parts of your body start lighting up - singing in unison - I hurt, I ache, I am broken.

I am done. P feels awful that he is not able to give me the one thing that I badly need right now, a break. My parents cannot handle any more of my non stop saga, they have their own health issues, they cannot bear their child being ill. BFF #1 has always been able to compartmentalize people/situations/emotions - that's what makes her an excellent physician - she has stopped being in touch. BFF # 2 has no more energy and patience to provide virtual support. These are all people who have walked alongside me for 30+ years; they have let go now and are fading. My birth mother has finally given me what she thought I need - space; she didn't even call me when she was leaving from the US to go back to India. My birth father - what to expect from a man who never was there, is of course not around. My husband has his own demons to fight and feeds off my despair and is hundred times more distressed when I am down.

My grandma used to say this many many many many times during my childhood. You have no one. Except God and your birth mother. I never believed my birth mother who needed support and coddling all her adult life from her own mother could ever be there for me. So I used to tell myself God will stand by me.

I need to know that you are by me. I am ready for that miracle, please send it my way. I have had enough. I cant go on and I cant stop. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Closing a chapter slowly

Sudden onset of breathing being stopped - in reaction to what, I still do not know - Check
Urgent care visits, painful shot, steroids - Check
Six seven months of feeling like crap, seeing the allergist every couple of weeks and getting prescribed stronger and stronger medicines - Check
New physician completely negligent in review of pulmonary tests - Check
Taking two asthma prescriptions + one rescue inhaler everyday - Check
BFF 1 suddenly dropped out of my life - Check (Yes, she had her own personal shit to take care of!)
Laying in bed evening after evening overcome with guilt at the sound of life going on downstairs - my girls eating dinner, chitchatting about their days, pretending to be asleep when they tiptoed upstairs, crying myself to sleep - Check
Deciding to quit job after obtaining bonus - Check
Mother in law hurting with words at every chance she got - Check
Little S peeing blood and painful UTI because no one paid attention to her when she watched TV all day long during summer when I was away at work - Check
Realizing I have been misdiagnosed with asthma - Check
Realizing I had undetected UTI and upper respiratory infection - Check
P losing his job - Check
Decision to quit job cancelled because in this country you need insurance - Check
Promotion new job begins - Check
Keeping up with stressful job and even more stressful boss - Check
Outpouring of advice, suggestions, stupid suggestions (you should pack a fruit everyday), moronic suggestions, preaching, "How you are an idiot whose life is falling apart and how we can impart wisdom to you because we know so much better" - Check
Putting on 20+ pounds with unnecessary medicines - Check
Getting a D&C done - Check
Doctor forgetting bandages inside me after D&C - Check
Frantic visit to ER to check for signs of infection after bandages left in - Check
ER nurse spilling an entire vial of blood on the floor - Check
P's awful job search with no luck - Check
Baba being diagnosed with Parkinson's - Check
Seeing Mom scared and worried and dejected for the first time ever - Check
Being alternately angry and missing my best friends - Check
Helpless - Check
Overwhelmed - Check

Screw this chain of events and lets reverse time and let me start with quitting my job - Check

I will hand in my resignation next week. Even at the thought of it, I feel like an elephant has finally gotten off of me. Like a thirsty person lost in a desert would guzzle in large tanks of water, I feel that I will soak in the rest and freedom for days.

R is worried if Mommy and Daddy both dont work, does she have to - poor kids burdened by big people issues - Check

But here's hoping that everything from here on are positive things to be checked off. Here's to hoping that the rest of this year will be one filled with peace, restfulness, good health and happiness. Please keep me in your prayers and send me good vibes!! Thanks!!


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

To my mother in law

I hate what you have turned me into.
I was always known for my compassion, my loving kind nature, my ability to nurture and grow strong relationships, my forgiveness and my empathy, my opening the doors of my house and my heart to whoever wanted to come in. I was known to be a good daughter, friend, wife, mother, colleague, employee.
I hate what you have turned me into.
I am now the evil daughter in law who will not let her poor old in laws move in with their son and his family. Every side has a story and I am too tired to tell mine. So I will accept your blame and will be your daughter and son’s excuse to avoid confrontation and to avoid taking responsibility. I will be burdened by your sad vibes, burdened by the paap of not fulfilling old parent’s golden year wishes.
But its either that or my sanity, and for the sake of my husband and my children, I too will be selfish just like you and work on feeling better and get stronger. And then hopefully one day I will be ready to let you back in, ready to let you knock me down again, just this time, I wont fall down but will walk away unscathed and happy.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

When it rains, it pours...

I have to start again with last year, I have told myself again and again this year that I will let go of last year. And again and again I find myself revisiting it. Unable to let go.

Last year was an awful dark horrible one. I have been fortunate to have two such years and both coincide with discussions of my in laws moving in with us. Common thread! Last year my allergies reached a peak, I was misdiagnosed and plied with increasing dosages of asthma medications, coupled with insane stress at work and add a healthy dose of resentful in laws and my baby's health issues near about broke me. But I slowly put myself together; me and P found each other, we found each other's hands that we had let go just about briefly but we found us again and held tight. I decided to quit my job and take a much needed emotional and physical break. P told me to be prudent and wait for the annual bonus to be paid out and then quit. Everything was all set - Sonia rehab plan. On to peace and serenity and better fitness.

But then kahani mein twist - P lost his job. And I got a promotion. Some days I really think whoever is sitting up there writing our stories must have a mean sense of humor. To give someone what they do not want at that point of time, while taking away something, that someone badly wants at the same time.

So I had to shelve away my fatigue and to soldier on, to try to fling myself as much as I could in this new challenging opportunity, to keep up with a new environment, high expectations and higher stakes. All I want to do right now is to take a break. Wake up and make breakfast for the girls, see them off to school, get some quiet time, revel in the mundane routine of household chores, go to the gym, take an afternoon nap. A break! But not what fate has in store for me.

So I shake myself off, count my blessings, update my LinkedIn profile in a weak attempt to cheer myself up on my career success and try to keep my chin up. And yay, now I also have a husband who is down, who needs cheering up, who needs encouragement and positivism. Who better to do it than the girl who is emotionally drained. I don't mean to sound so bitter. I am so blessed, I am. I am trying not to be ungrateful, I just do not know how to deal with the sharp pain in my chest when I am trying not to think of my back to back day the next day or my aching body and ever present sore throat and the start of spring - marvelous wondrous warm spring and the allergies it will bring.

Last year also saw my parents suddenly grow older. My dad retired and also got diagnosed with Parkinson's about the same time. The man who is my rock has his own battles now. My mother who was an unending source of optimism and positive energy is now overwhelmed with keeping her husband in good spirits. My in laws are colossally bored - my mother in law has her own health issues and they have pretty much nothing going on in their lives. They would still love to move over in a heart beat but with no appreciation for the stress and responsibilities that we have, with jobs, bills and two little people to bring up and no willingness to be adjusting and soothing. So No they haven't moved in yet and yes, they are bitter from far away.

Sometimes life is like a mandatory question paper, you have to solve each problem, there is no option. There is no Oh, I don't feel like tackling this right now, let me just skip and move past. There is no moving past. Everything has to be faced. You can just delay some things over the other that's it.

Many years ago, when I was a little kid growing up, in those days and times when my Grandma would tell me how I had no one in life except God and my birth mother and my Mom would tell me how everyone was born with their own fate and to believe in myself; I would do this thing - look at myself in the mirror in my own eyes and believe. Whatever it was that I wanted. I spoke to myself in tough times and told myself that I will make it through. I tried doing it again, but I cant. I have lost confidence in myself. I cannot imagine a day when my body will not hurt, my mind will be at peace. But this is not who I am. So I need to find my way back to myself. To the strong sweet peaceful S, to be an unending source of positive thoughts and optimism for my little girls. I cannot give them what I had - a birth mother who was broken. Who no longer believed that happy days would come. I have to keep up the faith, I have to believe.

So I will shake myself off and take baby steps - keep at my yoga class, stick to fixed timings at work, try to exercise, try to get all my doctor visits and tests in and to figure out one test at a time what is wrong with my body. And then to forgive myself for crushing the dreams of my in laws to be NRIs and to let them hang out in their air conditioned comfort in India and ponder on did we really start digging a well too late in the game, should we have tried to foster some semblance of an affectionate relationship with our daughter in law from year one.

Forgive myself and let go. Forgive and let go. And keep putting one foot in front of another and soon I will be further along than I ever thought I could walk.



Saturday, November 14, 2015

Broken but not destroyed

Its finally happened - I have reached my breaking point. My allergist and my general physician who replaced my brilliant long time general physician (he retired) both misdiagnosed me with asthma and prescribed inhalers, capsules, nose sprays, eye drops in increasing dosage as I did not seem to get better. Five months of taking strong medicines that you do not really need, has taken a toll on my body. Add to it, the building up stress from a long commute and a stressful job - I am talking about nine hours of being in back to back to back meetings all day every week; I cannot remember the last time I actually ate lunch in peace, it is mostly always with someone talking to me, or me being on a conference call or in an actual meeting or sometimes standing in someone's cube while eating my soup. Add to it the normal stress that comes with raising two young girls, running your own household with no support system and trying to make time for your relationship. And then why don't we also lather on a healthy dose of in law discontent and complaints.

I felt it coming, I reached out to everyone. I told my best friends, my husband, whoever would listen. I am tired, I am breaking. As luck would have it, one bff completely broke off communication - we are all in the same boat busy with work, home and kids and she has a very demanding job but she did not speak to me for weeks. Did not pick up my phone, did not call me back, did not want to talk. I lost a part of my familiar support structure.

Soon I did not want to talk anymore. Coming home and going to bed became a pattern and the guilt built up. Guilt of P having to parent on his own. Guilt of not having the patience to play with the girls or even read to them.

I am broken. It is very scary, this place that I have reached. I feel every emotion magnified, every sad thing hurts a thousand times more than it should, every worry causes hundredfold distress than it should. And the guilt is always there and overwhelming. And the tears are always there, ready to roll down. The girls watch TV all morning, I am filled with guilt but I also do not have the patience to sit down and play; I would rather finish some other chore out. And then it turns into fatigue and I want to go lay down, feeling failure at not being a good parent.

I went to India for a week and was surrounded, engulfed, tightly held in this warm, safe embrace of love. London Bff and India Bff, my parents, my cousins, my grandfather all held me and showered generous compliments, assurances and memories of the positive smiling strong person they always knew. I met my London bff after years and he hugged me tight every time we met, and every time I healed a bit. I am tired.

But I still do have a faint recollection of the person I was, I am and need to get back to. So I am slowly taking baby steps - finding an experienced general physician who was the first one to say that I might be depressed. He has ordered a plethora of blood work on me and I am waiting for next steps. I asked for three days work from home to relieve myself of the commute stress. I turned my back on a promotion and the prospect of a huge team and accepted a lateral move, with no direct reports promising better work life balance and calm. I cannot be this person I have become. I need to return.

As I start my journey of healing myself, I also need to forgive. Forgive friends for not being there. Forgive myself for not being there. Forgive in laws for harsh words said. And move on....Slowly but surely I need to return. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Falling falling falling....

Sometimes no matter what, nothing seems to go your way. If you prefer A over B, B is sure to happen. And this pattern repeats itself in every thing. Each day you wake up and are rewarded with more things not going your way. You interview for jobs, you get rejected. You hope to feel better, you get sicker. You hope for good news, you get bad news.......And on and on.....

It is so hard not to give in to self pity and label yourself as "unlucky"; wallowing in your own self created sad zone and saying things like - so and so always happens to me, and God knows what else is in store for me etc.

But this is the time when you do not give in to that sweet relief of self pity. When its so much more comforting to lose yourselves in warm comforters and lay around listlessly waiting for the next bad thing to happen, is also the time when you need to shake it off and force your mind to count your blessings. Try to believe in a greater force than fate and that maybe this is coaxing you in a direction that you might not have originally considered. And might end up leading to a bigger better thing.

So here I am, I am trying. I am sitting up, I am ignoring the constriction in my chest, the breaths that don't seem to reach anywhere, the complaints from in laws, rejection from internal job interviews, the best friend who does not seem to have time for me anymore, the body that has no shape anymore and is achy all over, and I count my blessings. I am trying. God now can I please have that shimmer of sun light, can you please move the dark clouds around a bit? Just a tiny ray of hope that things will be okay soon?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

I still got a lot of fight in me...

I went to my Yoga class today - everything was saying No, my body said No, my mind agreed but somehow when I came upstairs to change out of my work clothes, my soul said Go and I put my gym clothes on. The yoga instructor is just fabulous, the music is soothing and soul stirring and she cranks up the heat and burns eucalyptus oils and the whole experience just manages to heal me on many levels. During the class the instructor always reminds us to focus our awareness on our core and to hold our poses for a certain period of time and just be. And focus. So focus I did. I asked myself lovingly - What hurts? Once my body had settled down in the pose, every throbbing, ache and pain called out to me behind all the layers of pain. There is a mouth ulcer nestled between the fold of upper lip where it meets the jaw line that smart with pain. I was acutely aware of a throbbing deep within my left molar - something I have ignored for long. As I relaxed my face and gave in to the pose, I noticed the sinus pressure behind my eyes, my cheeks, my nose which together sang in a symphony of pain all day. I realized the difference in the various aches I felt throughout my body; while the one in my throat was a constant raging one, the tooth was a dull rhythmic throb, the pain in my ear was quiet and subdued, the pain in my face and forehead was tender. Various layers and personalities of pain. Each one demanding individual attention but together lose their voice and create a new pain - the one in my heart of despair.

As my mind calmed down and my body followed the instructions of my teacher willingly and with no thought of its own, I made little plans of tackling these individual pains. I hugged myself internally and wiped away my tears which flowed freely but never left my eyes. I told myself "This too shall pass, I will get better one day".

75 minutes just about flew by and the class was over. I stood up refreshed and left the gym. A broken Sonia with a repaired soul and a plan for her next baby step - Salsa funk class on Saturday. Life does not stop for anyone. Like the ocean's waves which flow back and forth relentlessly, the play of tides continues without fail - high and low; so does life go on. It never stops. And as I go through my hour long commute each way, and paying attention to my little people and hugging/kissing/cheering/feeding/bathing/cuddling/playing with them, as I go through work and come back home and pay attention to this glass and brick and wood structure of love and warmth - dishes to be cleaned, laundry, putting away toys, beds to be made, as I carve out time for the husband; life does not wait.....And all through this I make myself a promise - to the Sonia inside me who is sad and dejected, who hurts internally when she sees her pictures and refuses to acknowledge the puffed up mess she has become, when she looks at her once beautiful smooth skin and wills the bumps caused by side effects from the strong medicines she is on, to go away, wills them to disappear; I hug that Sonia and promise to nurse her back - slowly and steadily but one day she will be back.

On the way home, the Fight song by Rachael Platten was on the radio - such a good omen - This is my fight song, take back my life song....I still got a lot of fight left in me!! So all my sisters, wherever you are and whatever fight you are fighting, keep moving forward and even when you get knocked down your feet and picked up and deposited a million steps farther from where you started, pick yourself up and start again. Because one day you too will win.