Blog of Gia Bennett

Blog of Gia Bennett

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Encouraging Stories ...

On this last day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month I took a break from doing laundry to find this inspiring article sent to me by Rich. I love reading other women's stories of survival. It makes me realize I am not alone and encourages me to strive harder in life.

I know anyone that reads my blogs probably thinks I am a whiner, but the truth is I am far from that. I let my pain out on my blog to keep me from exploding. I talk with new cancer patients quite often to offer my own encouragement to them.

In my livejournal I have been more open about my ups and downs though I don't really write in there anymore. I try my best to write my thoughts down to one day put together a book. On this last day of awareness I am pasting a few livejournal entries. Each on a different level to show the range of emotions that go along with this disease.


strange morning

12:05pm 17/08/2004

mood: morose
music: Dream Theater _ This Dying Soul
I am slowly beginning to despise going into that IV therapy room. I've transformed from someone going in with a smile on my face trying to bring good energy and hope to such a bleak depressing atmosphere, to someone who just wants to forget where she is for a few hours.
I'd always bring a book and never get any reading done because I would talk to the people around me. Now I bring my CD player and book or even my portable DVD player and get lost in a movie. Rarely talking to anyone, blocking out the pain, misery and life being sucked out of everyone around me.
Luckily today no one was moaning or throwing up. One of my favorite nurses brought me in and I got settled in my recliner as she went to get my IV bags. She came back and said there was an order for full blood work on me. As she accessed my port that is surgically embedded under my skin above my right breast, she asked me what was going on. I told her about the health problems I've been having and all the tests I've been going through. I wanted to cry but when she was done and I was hooked up, I put my headphones on and relaxed laying back in my chair. I had my beloved Jekyll and Hyde CD in from the Broadway musical. My mind wandered in so many directions and my eyes kept watering. I fought off tears over and over again. I decided I was to emotional for J&H since it is so close in my heart.
As I was changing CD's, I noticed the elderly man across from me wanted to chat. He was telling me he only had 5 more treatments to go and he had enjoyed his experience because the people are so great. I have to admit, the nurses there are awesome. They keep us giggling and are very sincere in their concern for everyone. He asked how much longer I had with my therapy, I could tell he had been listening to me talk to the nurse. I answered "for the rest of my life". He looked surprised and then sad. One of the nurses made a joke about how I took up residence there. I see people come and go. Some people making it through treatment successfully and we have mini parties for them by popping bubble wrap and cheering them on. Some I watch progressively fading each time I see them until they finally pass on.
The gentleman was finished with his treatment and on his way. I was feeling the need to block out the world again. I had forgotten my book and didn't feel like watching only part of a movie since I now only had a little less than an hour left. I changed CD's and put in Dream Theater. I laid my head back and closed my eyes. My mind again raced to things I didn't want to think about. I opened my eyes and stared at the bag hanging above me watching it drip over and over again, amazed that 2 bags that look like nothing more than water could cost $2000.
Even through the music blasting in my ears I could hear the man next to me snoring loudly. I turned and starting looking around the room at the different faces. The recliners are set up in a long circle. No one looked happy, just bleak, blank expressions. Many were asleep. There were colorful afghans covering almost everyone because it is always so frigid cold in that place. Having Dream Theater setting the tone it was almost morbidly amusing to watch what was going on around me.
I was finally done. I watched the last few drips with anticipation. The nurse flushed my port, removed the needle and I was on my way. The drive home I almost felt numb, my mind almost blank. When I walked in the door of my home I broke down and cried.



hit by a truck...

04:26pm 12/05/2004

mood: depressed
... that's what I feel like. I got yet another call that an old friend has cancer. This makes 4 women I will now be consoling and trying to help them keep a positive outlook in the past few months. One of them, Donna, is dying. She was there for me 8 years ago when I went through my first battle. One day last year she showed up in the chemotherapy room as I was hooked up to IV's and they hooked her up right next to me. I held her hand as she cried and told me how they came to find her cancer that started in her bladder. I don't think she has stopped crying since. She has not been able to let go of the fear and focus on self healing. Her sister calls me in complete frustration about the fact that she does nothing but lay on the couch and cry day in and day out. Her cancer showed clear for a short time but returned with a vengeance. I tried to help... I feel like I have failed her. She said she wished she was as brave as I am. I'm not brave... this fucking disease scares the hell out of me! I fight the fear every day of my life.
Now I found out today that Arlene has it back. Our son's played baseball together the year my cancer came back. We would have long talks about it. She had breast cancer and chose to have a lumpectomy along with chemo. She often wondered if it was enough. Apparently it wasn't. She too found a lump in her neck just like I did. It has spread through her lymph nodes. But hers went a step farther. She has a spot on her lungs. It's really weird because I've lost touch with her and her hubby and I ran into him twice about a month ago. We had fun chats and caught up with what was going on in our lives. Weird coincidence that we got comfortable with each other again now that this has happened. My friend Lori that called me today told me she believes this is what I am meant to do. The chemo nurses have said the same thing to me. What exactly I am supposed to be doing is unclear to me. But knowing these 4 women have seeked my advice, my comfort, and my positive energy still amazes me because in my mind I am still so lost.



Life

10:32am 21/04/2004

mood: optimistic
I need to write more often, but just can't get focused.
I had a great time in Las Vegas. It was like being in "naughty" Disney World. I'm definitely going to try to squeeze a trip in this next year... I wanna go back! Maybe I'll look into taking the kids to the Grand Canyon and staying in Vegas for a day or 2 while we are out there. *ponders this idea*
So much is happening with me right now, it's hard to explain... but I feel good about everything. I think I'm starting to see the light at the end of the dark tunnel I've been in for the past few years. (no... not THAT light... lol)
Good close friends are still by my side even though I tried pushing a few away when I was at my lowest points. I actually had a woman I know socially come up to me the other day and tell me how much she admires me. I was in shock. This woman is on the board of everything and lives in a huge $1 million dollar home. I had another friend tell me the same thing a few days later when I ran into her in a store. My confidence level has been boosted ;)
I love life... I always have. I need to dump all these stupid fears and start being the person I am inside. Cancer and depression will not win.


Just a few days before that last entry I posted this ...

I met a woman when I was up at the school the other day. My son's teacher took her back in the office for a conference. A few minutes later the teacher came out and asked if I had a minute to talk. When I went back with her I found out this woman has a similar situation to mine (cancer). She asked if she could have my number. Well she called me today and we talked for about an hour. She wants to get together and have lunch so we can talk more.


Yes, I know most of these entries are from a few years ago. I've been going through this for years. I write in random places when I feel like it. Most of my things are in hand written journals. It has definitely been a journey. I'm very fortunate to have guardian angels, close friends, a supportive family and my dear babies who's love gave me life. All of which I would have never made it this far. I am also thankful for my estranged husband for caring enough to keep me on his health insurance, without which I would be dead. Though Rich wasn't with me in the hardest of times he keeps me sane now and has shown me unconditional support and love.

I look back on the years and could never be able to put into words what this disease does to a mind, body and soul. I've watched people I know wither away and die... some were close friends. I have had survivor guilt, chemo brain and depression. But I have also had many good things that I am very thankful for come from this. I am in remission and thankful for that IV bag of life I get every 4 weeks. The long term meds have taken a serious toll on my body and my health is not great... but I am alive.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I'm in Ewok Hell ...

I am trying my best to make my Romeo an Ewok costume. I have been struggling with it for the past 2 hours. I have no pattern... just a picture of an Ewok and some brown fabric. I'm definitely no Suzy Homemaker. Even though the seams were aways a mess, I made my kids costumes when they were little or threw together pieces from thrift stores and what we had at home. My kids are teens now and won't let me play and have my fun anymore! :p So I started picking on Rome last year. I dressed as a kitty and he was my punk pup. This year is a bit more challenging.



I sat down on the ground with him to figure out where to cut the face and ear holes in the fabric. This is not an easy task for a dog that has a mind of his own and listens to no commands what so ever! He decided attacking the fabric, rolling around and jumping all over me was more fun than being measured.



By the time I got a face cut out and got it over his head I was trying to trim off excess fabric so it would be easier to work with. He felt it necessary to sniff and try to lick the scissors while I was cutting , all the while turning in circles so I got to the point I didn't know what I was cutting off anymore... (no I didn't cut off his tongue!) Thank gawd Ewoks just wear a raggedy head wrap cape looking thing, because this is not going to be pretty. *laughs* I have to wait for someone to get home to help me hold him still. I also have to figure out how I am going to keep this ON the little brat. *sighs*



Here are a few pictures from last year ...

















Now I'm just waiting until 5 when everyone is home. We will be carving pumpkins tonight. I'm so excited! :) I love Halloween <3

Monday, October 29, 2007

Transforming Family

Zack, Meg, Rich and I all love Transformers so much that I surprised them with these silly pics when they got home today...


Here are the full shots ...










Saturday, October 27, 2007

Aviaries

I really want to put an aviary as an extension of my back screened porch to give my birds flying room. I'm going to be buying the materials for it a little at a time because I can't afford it right now.
I saw two designs online and what I want is somewhere in between the two. It will have a ficus tree, tropical plants, little shelters for them, a mister for hot days and a heat lamp for cool days. I also want either a garden fountain or bird bath ... both of which I carry on Faery Wings and can get cheap. It would have a natural floor that can either be raked out or stones that can be hosed down to clean. The entrance would be from the porch just in case one of the birds escaped as you go in and out. Just on the outside of it I want a small Koi pond. All this will designed in a way so that when I can afford to put in a pool and jacuzzi it will be part of the patio design and all will be under screening. :) I have to move a small stone patio that my dad and I built, and my container garden about 10 feet over but all will look very cool when completed!!!!




I had a lazy night last night. The kids went to Octoberfest and had a blast. Rich and I decided to stay in since he had to get up early and work a few hours today. We laid in bed, watched Transformers and had a very good night. :) We are heading to Orlando with the kids and a bunch of friends tonight. I can't wait :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I can't say I didn't try

Why did I accept the hatred and rage for so long? Why when I couldn't take anymore did I hold on to hope he would change? I was waiting for the man I married again. The man I gave up my dreams for so he could follow his. The man I pledged to love in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer ... in good times and in bad. No, I wasn't the same woman he married either. Having kids and fighting for my life changed me. I needed love and support. What I got was so completely opposite.

He told all our friends and acquaintances lies and half truths about me. Why? I don't know... maybe in his mind he really believed the things he said. Maybe it was to cover the fact that we both handled our problems in very wrong ways and he couldn't face what he had done. He was and still is willing to throw away years ... half our lives together ... like they meant nothing. No counseling. No facing the bad things that happened head on. Just shove it under the rug like it never happened.

Why did I hold out hope for so long through the last years of our marriage and even this last year and a half we have lived separately? I don't know, but I do know that it is a very common trend for abuse victims. If he doesn't want to get help that's fine, but I am going to get the help I need. It really scared me that the only two solutions I could come up with to end this nightmare was to move to another state so I didn't have to have this constant interaction with him... or for me to die. For two days I pondered over both. I will never ponder those thoughts again.

I opened an email this morning from a dear friend who knows I am upset. I just asked in an email to tell me I was strong enough to cut the ties and to never talk to him again. Her words hit me hard...
I KNOW you are strong enough to break from him if you totally put your heart and mind to it. This is one time I will tell you to focus on the negative-- all the misery he's brought to your life. Imagine what the last 10 years of battling cancer would have been like if Rich had been there instead of Selfish Teenager Julian. Think of all the heartache you would have been spared.

I've said it before and I will say it again. Rich has been an absolute Godsend in my life. I have been unable to fully give him my heart and kept him at friend level. He is the best damn friend I have ever had and he knew I was holding on to some hope for my marriage no matter how much I denied it. I tried lying to myself, and kept in mind how hard the last few years were. I would cringe and run to my room and hide in fear every night my husband would come home. I hid from the world. I hated life. But all the while hoping what we had once would emerge. This year and a half I had hoped somewhere deep inside that living on his own would open his eyes... but instead he is deeper into himself. It's all very sad. But out of all of this I find my heart aches most for Rich. For what I have put him though and he has always been right there at my side no matter what. I did need time to heal from my marriage. The pain was more than one can bear. But I am finally ready to give Rich my heart. I am no longer lying to myself about how I feel or fighting emotions for my marriage. I finally feel free. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Life is so confusing


The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers. ~ M. Scott Peck
Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings. ~ Anais Nin
Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live. ~ Dorothy Thompson
All violence is the result of people tricking themselves into believing that their pain derives from other people and that consequently those people deserve to be punished. ~ Marshall Rosenberg
Most things break, including hearts. The lessons of life amount not to wisdom, but to scar tissue and callus. ~ Wallace Stegner

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Working away ...


... and hopefully it will pay off soon! There is so much to still do. I try my best to devote several hours a day to get through all I have to do, but I am have so many things going on every day especially with the kids it's hard to get my mind straight.
I've never been good and concentration. lol


I am very close to having things were I will be ready to start the Home Party portion of my business. Of course it will only be local, but I'm excited! I'm redoing the product listing on the website but it's almost done.
I am also talking to new distributors for a better selection.

But... this are looking up! :-D




Paybacks

My friend Tina thinks she is real funny sending pictures of creepy Halloween figures to my phone saying it's my date or my boyfriend. I just paid her back by taking one of the photos she sent and adding a picture I took of her a couple of Halloweens ago when I did her make up.


I posted it on her Myspace page. *wicked laugh*







Monday, October 15, 2007

Bath Time!

The "chickens" taking a bath on the back porch. Not quite sure why we started calling them the chickens other than my son started the whole thing.

What the hell is that back there? It's the mean little chicken nuggett!


They love to be misted with a water sprayer.


A boy, his chickens and little chicken nuggett.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Moody Moods

True, I am a moody person. I used to be able to talk about how I feel. But years of being back stabbed or things I say being taken the wrong way I find it hard to express how I feel. I keep it all internal and one day I feel my heart... or my brain will just explode.

The many faces of me ...


feeling feisty and devilish



out for blood





cold and alone




like I can fly




like I should just disappear



broken




no one can hear me




infuriated



drowning




“…Slowly, slowly the wound to the soul begins to make itself felt, like a bruise, which only slowly deepens its terrible ache, till it fills all the psyche. And when we think we have recovered and forgotten, it is then that the terrible after-effects have to be encountered at their worst.”—D.H. Lawrence (Lady Chatterly’s Lover, 1928)



A friend had a talk with me a couple of weeks ago. She was concerned about my social withdrawal and my avoidance of friends. She told me she has thought I had symptoms of PTSD ... post traumatic stress disorder. I was in shock. First because I only associated ptsd with soldiers, but also because I thought I hid my depression pretty well from friends and family. I guess not. I never knew breast cancer survivors could have this trauma disorder. She said she has seen signs of it since 5 years ago when we met. She also suffers from ptsd, but for completely different reasons. She said in the past two years my symptoms have gotten progressively worse and felt it was time to get the nerve to talk to me about it.

In researching the symptoms for breast cancer survivors it does show avoidance, depression, social withdrawal, sleeplessness (I can't remember a time I have slept through the night), inability to focus, flashbacks, avoiding friends and family, ... and marriage falling apart. To be honest, I believe I had ptsd before I was diagnosed.... or maybe it was just depression. But I had a traumatic experience when I was younger and I think that combined with what I have gone through with this 11 year cancer battle and things in my marriage going so terribly wrong it's something I should get help dealing with. I have an appointment with my doctor in a few weeks to find out.

I get angry and disappointed with myself and think... I'm a strong woman! How could I let this happen? How could my life have spun so out of control? Get a grip and regain control!