Throwing it out there

In Grapes of Wrath, I have a scene where I sit around the fire in the first act. I’m getting rid of some things I don’t want to pack on the truck. There isn’t room for my washtub, so there isn’t room for sentimentality or mementos. I’m supposed to have a small box, probably an old cigar box or something, with papers inside and a pair of earrings.

I take the earrings, but I trash the rest. Throw it on the fire.

I made myself some papers to look at this morning. Stuff to burn. Stuff that has emotion in it. Stuff to stuff in that box. I can’t be sentimental about fake pictures, so I put my own pictures in a small box.

It’s hard for Ma to toss out the scraps of her life. This is the first time she’s confronted with leaving everything behind. I remember leaving everything behind 4 years ago.

Up until 4 years ago, I had to let go of very little. My mom stored some small stuff for me, but I had been carting around all my belongings, accumulating more and more stuff every place I went after I got married.

We took much, but we left much, 4 years ago.

4 years ago, I had a house. 4 years ago, I had medical debt. 4 years ago, I had cancer and didn’t know it. 4 years ago, I had hope that by leaving everything I had built, by walking away from crippling debt, I would know peace. At the very least.

I was right.

4 years ago, we had a small house in Kansas City. We were trying to make payments on the house, trying to fix ‘er up, trying to remodel and repair an aging older home. Gas was $4 a gallon. I was so sick, I couldn’t hold down a job. I was mentally and physically ill.

I had heart failure, undiagnosed thyroid cancer, failing gallbladder and out-of-control obesity. Of course I couldn’t work. I also had undiagnosed complex PTSD. Some days, I remember, it’s a miracle I’m still here. That I didn’t kill myself with food or by some other means.

I’m here.

When we realized that we would never pay off my medical debt, that we were sinking in a hole of a house, we quit paying on the house and filed bankruptcy. It was the hardest thing to walk away from debt and our house. I felt like a failure. A worthless piece of shit who deserved to go to jail for failing at adulthood.

I just thank God that our country offers a second chance. That you don’t go to prison for being irresponsible financially. (If that were true, our president would be in jail. LOL) Even Walt Disney claimed bankruptcy. KC represent! (He’s a KC boy, originally.)

There was so much pain. Guilt. Shame. But, at the end, relief. I could sleep again at night.

Bankruptcy is one of those things you never want to go through twice. For me anyway. I never want to go through the hassle or terror again. Stay out of debt. If you can. If your organs don’t fail. Also, keep insurance! (America’s medical safety net should not be bankruptcy.)

When we filed bankruptcy, we planned to move before they made us move. We started furiously working toward the goal of downsizing our entire house. I had a basement and a garage full of shit. Hand-me-downs. Arts and crafts. Tables. Chairs. Bookcases. Books. Thrift store finds. Theatre costumes. Bullshit. I had to start letting go of all those projects I told myself I’d do. I even had a friggin’ old, dusty upright piano. What was I thinking?

What I really wanted to do was start a house fire. Burn it to the ground. Emerge from the smoking hull. Start completely over. But I’m not a law breaker. So, we worked. For hours. With one vision in mind. Think of how nice it will be when this is all over. We will be free of these things. We won’t be slaves to objects. And we wanted to move to an apartment with a pool! Having a pool goal is a good motivator.

Plus, we had a huge garage sale. Sold a bunch on Craigslist. Made some fat stacks of cash. That was also a good motivator. I became quite a Craigslist savant. Never murdered! Woot!

One of the last days at our house, we had a bonfire. We had some folks over and had some food. We sat in our backyard to use it for the last time with friends. Something we rarely did and said we always wanted to do. It was a fun day. We bought hay bales for seats. We made burgers and dogs. We made a huge fire pit out of a decorative well. We cut the top of the well off (the roof and bucket) and used the brick oval base to make a fire pit. Done.

Threw old lumber, sticks and as many pieces of wood we could find (we had alot of scrap wood for some reason, we were hoarders, I guess) on the fire and lit the whole thing at once. Whoosh! It was a fireball. It was pretty cool.

We had just mowed the day before for company and the yard was full of dried grass clippings. We had an acre of land and plenty of dried grass. The kids at the party went around picking up the dried grass and throwing it on the fire. They had a blast. And the yard looked pretty nice, too. New party game. LOL

It was nice to use the yard finally. To enjoy the day. But it was far too late. Made me want to stay. But we would have never had the party if we weren’t going away. Such is life. Things are the sweetest, love is fiercest, when the end is near. Just enjoy it. Just do it before it’s too late.

When I do the scene as Ma, I’ve been around that fire before. I’ve left behind some precious things to come to where I am. But they are just things. I saved the best or most important parts from the fire. OR

Everything gets burnt. But the best things come out of the fire still intact. Refined. Like me.

Gratitude

November has officially become a month-long thankful pack of sticky notes on Facebook. That’s great. Truly. But what about the other 11 months? 🙂

So I hesitate to join, but. I will.

I am thankful for so much. But this Thanksgiving, I am deep-down, toes-to-tassel thankful for my life.

Since 2012, and really before that, I have been sick. Heart failure. Twice. Thyroid cancer. Gastric bypass. Gallbladder failure.

And now, 226 lbs lighter, I feel better than I’ve ever felt in my entire life. Even when I was young. Mainly because I also feel emotionally better. It feels like all the sickness is finally gone. I can just tell.

For years I struggled with a failing GB. Probably a decade, in hindsight. Also, I probably had a thyroid issue my entire life because I have been overweight from a young age.

Mom always said, “You were born hungry.” A mother knows. Just wish she could have told or shown the doctors where to look. Nonetheless, this was my destiny.

I am thankful for my trouble. It has taught me endurance.

James 1:2-4 NASB

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

(Perhaps missing/lacking a few organs, but otherwise, lacking in nothing. LOL)

It has also taught me humility. Patience. Joy. Peace. Understanding. Wisdom. Tolerance. So many things.

Under any other circumstances, would I be the person I have finally come to love entirely? I don’t know. God didn’t do this to me. But he knew how far I could go. He knew the traps. He knew the joys. He knew how strong I could be with him.

I truly did not think it was possible. To see 287.6 lbs again. That’s what I was yesterday afternoon, on the scale. I did not think it was possible to live past the age of 50. I did not think it was possible to ever feel right again. Out of pain. Able to walk. Able to work.

One year ago, I was preparing for surgery. High-protein diet to shrink my liver. Thanksgiving was the last day I could eat. I savored it. Thinking it might be my last tasty morsel before a lifetime of bland, tiny meals. Or worse. My last meal before operation table disaster. Dying.

But I made it. I made it to the next Thanksgiving. How wonderful to be on the other side. Maybe that’s what it’s like to go to Heaven. Thankful to be done and home at last.

Home again, home again, jiggity jig.

Maybe this is what I needed for this ultra-thick head. Maybe this was my come-to-Jesus moment. Maybe this was my “fall on my knees because I have nothing left.”

I’m by no means done. I am just beginning again. And I am so thankful just to be alive. And 287. 🙂


Only 87 lbs to goal!!! 😀

Trouble

I’ve heard some friends and bloggers talk about their weakness, illness or sadness today. I am praying for you. I hear you. God is by you. Do not despair.

Haiku for You


Thankful for trouble.
It teaches me endurance.
And hard times won’t last.


“Please, heal me, O Lord!”
He said, “Grace is sufficient.”
I embraced my ill.


Kingdom come! I’m weak!
His power is made perfect
When I require him.


Be patient. Hold on.
His perfect timing will come.
And trouble will go.


Amen.

Grad-geeated

I don’t always spell things korrectly. Or punctuate! “in the right place”. or capitalize. But dammit, I’m a college graduate!!

I have 2 two-year degrees now from Metropolitan Community College. A very liberal arts degree from the 90s. LOL And I’m very proud of this most recent degree–graphic design, an applied science! (sounds so awesome, Imma scientist! lol)

It was hard to go back to school at 36. To be surrounded by people half my age. To relearn art. To move from Photoshop User to Artist. To embrace my creativity and hone my skills.

Everyone gambled on me. And I wanted to succeed.

I finally did.

I got sick just after finishing my classes. I never applied for graduation. I tried to follow up with the school about completion and transferring some classes from UMKC, but trying to find an actual job and getting very sick just left graduation simmering on the stove. For 6 years! UGH!

Embarrassing. But I knew I had my skills. I didn’t need a piece of paper.

Well. Yes. I did. LOL But when you’re sick? Just getting out of bed is an accomplishment.

Thank you to my prof who helped me grad-geeate. I was sick for so long and to have this is healing. It’s my cap and gown, it’s my walk down the aisle, it’s my handshake. Thank you.

Grumpy Cat!

WARNING: SOME FOUL LANGUAGE AHEAD (Little bit, and a little ugly spew, much like a cat’s hairball, about doctors. Sorry! If you need sunshine, keep scrolling. It has a happy ending though.)

I am a blonde (yes, I am, shut up!), blue-eyed, suburban, white housewife/mother of 1. Nonviolent, mostly. Soft and squishy around the edges. Sheltered and meek, having no upper body strength and bad knees. Kind to most strangers, frequent smiler. Helper of lost cats, dogs, children, poor people and domestic violence victims. I’m not a superhero (at all!), but if I was, I would want to use my powers to punch all the doctors in all the throats! At once!

Not all. But most.

My weight loss surgeon and his team have been awesome. They saved my life. (Even they couldn’t find my diseased gall bladder, though. I had to whine and squeal about it for weeks before they fished it out.) But all other doctors can go straight to…the ER, IMO. That would be hell.

I went to the endocrinologist yesterday. I would have rather had emergency rectal surgery. Every time I go to a bleeding endocrinologist, they are the worst. I don’t know why, but they are the snootiest, most ill-mannered doctors I have ever encountered. And I’ve encountered several doctors, of all kinds, lately.

I have lost a total of 166 lbs. Some on my own, some from my weight loss surgery. I went to the doctor yesterday and she wanted to argue about how much weight I’ve lost. I told her that I lost 109 lbs. since surgery.

“Actually, according to our records, you’ve only lost 96 lbs.”

I wanted to kill her. “Why argue with me? You’re not my weight loss surgeon. You’re not my magical talking digital scale from home. You’re nobody!! You have no idea what you’re talking about, what my journey is/was, what I’ve been through or the challenges that I face/have faced. Shut your bloody mouth!” is what I wanted to say.

But I just kept quiet and silently stewed. Mousy housewife that I am. Mousewife. There was no point in even engaging this ignorant, self-righteous She-doct-whore. (Sorry.) She also didn’t listen to me when I told her about my thyroid removal, gall bladder removal, medicine fluctuations, the other obstacles I’ve faced as an overweight patient, medical literature I’ve read about my condition because doctors didn’t know what was happening with me (I diagnosed my own G-D GB failure! for Christ’s sake), and countless other beneficial pieces of medical history. Didn’t want to hear it. She wanted me to answer her inane, predetermined questions.

The nurse asked me all those questions that nurses ask you:
Pregnancies, family history, illnesses, surgeries.
Then the bloody doctor asked the same stupid questions, all over again.
How many times do I have to answer? And how many times will you ignore my history? It didn’t matter that I answered those questions TWICE! because she didn’t even consider the answers!

I can tell you this right now, I will never answer two sets of questions again! Never! For any doctor. I will simply say, “Asked and answered!” It’s so friggin’ stupid. I’m intelligent, honest and consistent. I shouldn’t have to pass a security clearance to get medical help or be seen by a doctor.

BTW, she kept me waiting in the lobby for over an hour and saw me for only 15 minutes. I was a new patient. They will charge me over $400 for that shit. AND I was early for my appointment! I was early for my ass reaming. Gah!

“Make sure you arrive 15 minutes early to fill out paperwork!”

Not seeing this doctor ever again. Disgusted!!

Doctors think they can take advantage. I know you went to medical school, Doc. But you never seem to know what’s wrong with me. You got your medical degree, but you failed bedside manner.

Not feeling very thankful today. Working on it. :/ I got a new hat for my daughter’s field day at school tomorrow. I think Grumpy Cat is leaking through my skull. :<

grumpy cat hat 2.jpg

I AM SO SORRY, WORLD! When I frown, I look like my Grumpy Grandma. (Remind me to write about that sometime. She also criticized my weight loss for not having lost enough when I was 18, weird!) Attitude adjustment achieved. I like the way I look when I’m smiling.

martha bw dress half.jpgSo I can let anything roll off my whiskers.