A Bad Day

It’s hard to start with that title because right away you are already thinking “oh no! What can I do to help and how can I fix it for you”. I always win on the scale of all Bad Day scales. It has been a bad day, a hard day, a down day. I wrote about this once before with my Colors blog post. I’ve gotta say though, bad days are getting harder. I hate writing about them because I do suffer so strongly with the “Good Patient” syndrome, the “I just don’t want to make it harder for anyone by venting” syndrome.

Today I’m going to practice venting. I don’t do it very often because I really do believe we can choose how to live each day, but I know that doesn’t always work. We all have crap days, and the more honest about those days we are, the more we can help others who have crap days.

It starts when I get out of bed to go the bathroom. Sometimes I dream about just getting up and moving freely. I’m sure people who are paralyzed must do this. I think I have my long hair back for a second and make a move to brush it off my face, I go to stand up and then I remember it all. My whole torso hurts with the strain of standing up. I can’t stand up straight, no matter how hard I try, and when I go to take a step my right hip gives just a bit, but then my left hip hurts as I shift weight. I hope this is not what feeling old feels like. But, then again, I have to love the dark humor. I’m living to 57, but I know what it feels like to be 115, so who’s saying I died before my time?These last few days have been tough. I reached out to pick up my full glass of water with my arm straight out and pulled a muscle somewhere in my shoulder. It honestly hurts so bad that I’m having trouble making certain movements with it. I can’t hold it out straight from my body or lift it straight out. I’m not sure if I tore it, or pulled it, but I did something to it. There is the realization I can no longer walk more then 20 feet without a walker, and I need a wheelchair for longer distances. Then shame of all shames, I step on my toe so hard with my walker that I’m pretty sure I’m going to loose a toenail out of it all. See, you squirted wine or beer, or something, out your nose after reading that one, I know.

I say, “I want to go into Town” to get out of the house and out of this damn bedroom and bed (which I honestly love very much). But, by the time I’ve washed my face, brushed my teeth and gotten dressed, I have to lay down on that damn bed once again, because it hurts too much to keep standing. Of course, the other downer here is that I’ve been using a walker to get from one place to another this whole time.

We go to a beautiful restaurant and we sit outside and soak up the sun and beautiful day, but then I start crying on the way home because suddenly I realize that what I really want, is to be sitting on the boat drinking margaritas and listening to Steve’s old country songs. I get mad later as he leaves to go fishing, I suddenly feel like a carton of milk being put in and out of the fridge and Steve is just dumping me back in the house and leaving to do fun things whenever he wants.

How stupid is this all! But, the feelings are real. I’m feeling so lonely, even though I’m surrounded by people who love me. We must need to do this as a part of dying. I’m starting to feel this weird separation, and sometimes while I’m sitting with others, I suddenly see the room without me in it. I have to, or I am, starting to let go. I’m starting to feel the separation of spirit and body. It’s hard to explain. But I can feel my cells have stopped growing normally and are slowing way down. My body is starting to choose to stop rejuvenating each day. Crazy to say I know, but it’s what I think about and what I’m feeling. My hair isn’t growing as fast and my nails have slowed way down. And don’t you dare tell me to keep fighting, or to try harder. I have tried my best, but this was always going to end one way, with me dying. The reality is this disease is terminal, not chronic and definitely not one of the “better” cancers to have. Especially with 114 people dying from it each and every day. This is one of the reasons funding research is so important. Thinking about research dollars just adds to my bad day. With only 2-7% of all breast cancer dollars going to metastatic breast cancer research. Calling metastatic breast cancer one of the easier cancers is just a side effect from the in your face pink washing days. Trust me, no cancer is an “easy” cancer to have. They all stink big time.

Admitting the time is getting close takes a little bit of bravery. Being brave doesn’t mean you aren’t scared to death, ( no pun intended) I’m just a person trying to figure this out as best as I can.

Tomorrow will be different. I’ll wake up hurting, but my attitude will be a little better. I am sleeping well and starting again in the morning is always a plus. I also have the help of some antidepressants. Another area we don’t talk about enough. We live in an unbelievably difficult world, most of us are going to need some help at some point. And if you don’t believe that is true, then you really do need the drugs.

I dig out my old friend, Gratitude, because I can be thankful for being a crabby jerk. Thankful, because I know feeling like a crabby jerk is real and those hard emotions have to be felt and endured. Grief is becoming more of a daily occurrence. The loses that I’m feeling are becoming bigger and harder. I’ve learned I have to let myself feel these crap emotions. I used to freeze and go into deep depressions during parts of my difficult childhood. The trauma was so real back then, the only way to survive was to not feel. But, I’ve learned through lots of practice and therapy, that you must lean back and float into all of these hard emotions. Let them pass through you, but, feel them all, you must. Otherwise, you risk becoming a hard shell of no emotion.

The other thing about dumping my feelings is that it’s harder when you’re dying. You are already hurting so many people by dying ( and geez! does it have to be taking so long!) that you don’t want them automatically racing to fix it all. I already feel so grateful and yes, overburdened, with the help I know I can never repay. I remind myself a hard earned lesson, how would you feel and behave if it was someone you loved and not yourself? Yea, right, check feelings of guilt. It usually takes me a few tries. But honestly, trying to find, yes, struggling to find, my reason to be grateful does the trick on everything else those handy drugs failed to manage.

I’ve started saying this meditation every night before I go to sleep, it’s from Where Healing Begins by Mishkan R’Fauh.

Meditation on Healing

When I panic, God, teach me patience, when I fear, teach me faith. When I doubt myself, teach me confidence. When I despair, teach me hope. When I lose perspective, show me the way- back to love, back to life, back to You.

I’ll meditate with this and say it many times tonight with the hope that tomorrow will be a better day. Today was just one of those bad days. Even writing this blog has helped me to start feeling more hopeful. Thank you for letting me vent. I’m so sorry it hurts you and makes you cry. As my friend Kelly Grosklags says “we experience grief because we feel love. And I do love you. That’s why leaving is going to be so hard. It’s grieving the loss of those I love and missing out on the wonderful future that’s to come. Damn I would have been an incredible grandma, and damn I miss my old self.

26 thoughts on “A Bad Day

  1. Dear Judy, your words are meaningful and your spirit is beautiful. I want to scream, “Why?” about such deep pain and with the next breath I know there is hope of eternal light and love for the soul. Prayers that you feel and know the presence of our great creator during your transition.

  2. Your words inspire and explain. Your wisdom and honesty are gifts deeply appreciated. The old Judy is still there. Sending love and gratitude for you and the gifts your life brings to so many.

  3. Judy, Your words are true and powerful. Your feelings raw and real. Your bravery and grace amaze me. Thank you for sharing all the days-good and bad. My dearest friend has stage 4 lung cancer and watching what she goes thru makes me wonder if the treatment is worse than the disease.

    Your old self is there and she will always be there. You have made a huge impact in the lives of those you love and those you’ve never met. Sending peace to you today and wished that it be a good day. ❤️

  4. The ‘sacred’ for ‘scared’ typo was unintentionally brilliant. Not sure what to say. My cancer remains in my bones but 11 vertebrae now hinting at hard times to come. Reading you makes me cry. Reading you helps me. Blessings.

  5. Thank you, Judy! Your honesty through the journey to death is real, complicated and an honest. You are courageous and I am sorry for the pain! Much love!

  6. Your words resonate with many of us, whether we have reached your stage or not. I like your nightly meditation and may adopt it myself.

  7. Your words are so powerful. Thank you for so generously sharing your very personal journey. I will remember the “old” Judy but treasure the wisdom and inspiration that the “new” Judy has brought into my life. God bless you and keep you.

  8. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. I didn’t know you very well back in our ECFE days, but I’ve always admired you. Your writing is beautiful and eloquent, and it amazes me how you write so beautifully through the challenges and pain. As a fellow bc sister, I am inspired by you and your bravery and elegance. Sending love and a gentle hug from Oregon.

  9. Keep venting (I call it sharing your truths) whenever you want and as often as you want. Sending love. x

  10. Thank you for sharing the good and the bad. Your honesty is humbling and very hard to hear for all of us who love and admire you. Everyone deserves to “vent”, especially you! Peace and prayers to you, my friend. XOXO

  11. Judy you are awesome. I pray for you every day. You say whatever you want girl, I listen. God has a front row seat for all of us, we all get to go no matter what we think! You stay strong for yourself and love every day that is given. God won’t forget us!

  12. So well written and powerful to read. Please keep sharing if it’s good for you. Craig and I were so glad to see you, Steve and your brother at the park. I pray for your peace and comfort each day.

  13. So honest and powerful. Vent. Everyone needs to vent. Peace and prayers to you. My direct connection to you is from my ECFE days but now it is via mutual friends I admired and was inspired by you back then and even more so now.

  14. Thank you Judy. It’s been a hard week and your words about spirit separating put my feelings in to words. Gratitude always pulls me back but some times it is hard to see the positive – thank you for your honesty and openness.

  15. That was the most eloquent “venting” I’ve ever read or heard.
    Thinking of you, your family and your team members.
    Peace to you!

  16. Love you Judy . So glad the meditation helps . It helps me too and now when I say it I also imagine you saying it with me . 💕

  17. Oh how much we love our Judy! Anticipating tight parking at Lafayette. If you cannot come or arrive and lot is full we have options:

    1. Live Streaming:

    2. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, which is 4 minutes away. They are generously opening their doors for us and will be Livestreaming Judy’s service.
    3745 Shoreline Drive
    Spring Park 55391

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