Thursday, February 25, 2010

Yoga = Awesome

Today, for me, is a planned sick day. I love planned sick days. They give me so much time to make life less stressful...and to just get stuff done! Right now I'm at my mom's house doing laundry and chilling out. I'm about to help her with her bath. Later tonight I have a church meeting and then home to hang out with the cats... one of whom (cough, Sophie cat, cough) was up chewing on my hair at 7AM...grrrrr.

I did two yoga classes today. Yoga is one of the many things that has been helping me stay balanced and sane so I can cope with my life. In doing two classes, I chose to do one that was a really intense flow class and one that was a calm gentle restorative practice, again, creating balance. Balance or not though, I'm feeling kind of sore and jello like.

Creating balance in life is always difficult, but it becomes even more difficult when one part of your life requires a lot more energy then it has in the past. One thing I use when I lead the stress management group at work is an ecomap. Ecomaps track where the energy in your life is coming from and going to. It looks at which relationships are strained and which relationships are strong. If i was to draw an ecomap for myself right now, there would be a huge amount of energy going towards my family, it's a strong relationship, but I am not getting all that much energy back. Therefore, in order to maintain balance I have to draw on energy from other parts of my life, other parts of my ecomap if you will. Yoga, is one of those things which gives me energy. While it does take physical energy, I also find that it gives me physical energy and it definitely gives me mental energy. So, while some might see that my taking time almost everyday of yoga takes time away from my family, and some of my other responsibilities, it's something which gives me the strength to carry on.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I love that work can be a distraction from life. SO many people I know have jobs that they hate, that they can't wait to leave, that they dread, that they use life to escape from. I am SO blessed, in that I like my job enough that it can be stress relief. Yes, my supervisor has massive mood swings, and yes I don't always get along with my coworkers, but the truth is, I like my job. I've had to have some hard conversations with clients the past few days, but despite that, things have gone okay.

Things with my mom aren't the greatest right now, and I'm somewhat worried that my sister is suicidal, and there's the possibility my dad could lose his driver's license tomorrow, and I was really hurt by someone I thought of as a close friend, but things could definitely be worse. In fact, today seems to have been a fairly good day...especially since yoga. Yoga seemed especially hot today, but I came out feeling really good. I may be a wee bit sore tomorrow though...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

back to the grind

So I'm back at the main job tomorrow morning. Full time counsellor once again. I look forward to the stress relief as long as my boss is off my case. I don't even truly remember what she was on my case about though so hopefully she's forgotten as well.

I held my mothers hand today as she screamed in pain while they took our her chest tube drain. The doctor told her it would "pinch a little". His version of "a little" is apparently quite different than hers. Poor woman. The good news is that the drain is out! Hopefully that means she's home tomorrow!

I am tired. And the thing is, I can't decide if it's harder to tell the truth, or to just pretend that everything is fine. It depends on the situation, I guess, but yeah...

I hope to get back to posting about social work tomorrow after I actually do some. All I've done this week is feel sorry for myself, wonder if I should be feeling sorry for myself or if I should get over it, and then wonder if in fact I should be feeling sorrier for myself. It's a never ending cycle...

Finding balance. It's all about finding balance. And so, I'll keep plugging away at this, one day at a time. One. day. at. a. time. And if I can't do one day then we'll break the day into sections and go from there.

As Dory would say, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!"

Saturday, February 20, 2010

last day of holiday

I feel like I need another holiday. I feel like I need a holiday where mom is NOT in the hospital for all but one day of it. I need a holiday where I can do yoga twice a day instead of managing to squeeze in a class almost every day, but it was tight.

Mom is in the hospital till at least Monday. They still do not know where the fluid in her chest is coming from, and they do not feel that she is responding to the chemo the way she should all. In fact, they feel she really isn't responding.

On the good side of things though, because I do like to find that balance, I've had some good hangouts with friends this week. I got a queen sized bed for the cats and I. SO much more room then my twin/single bed. SO much less cat in my space! I did do yoga almost every other day and had some really good practices. AND, I fixed/repotted all my plants today.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

holiday day three

So, I've been on holidays for three days now. Well, holidays from my day job, I'm still picking up shifts at the shelter. Monday I worked at the shelter, did yoga, slept. Tuesday I did yoga, drove the United States to shop, slept. Today I visited mom in the hospital, will do yoga, will sleep. Hopefully I'll see a friend sometime because tomorrow is hospital, yoga, work at the shelter, sleep.
Mom is back in the hospital again, this time with a pleural effusion (fluid in the cavity around her lungs). They've already taken off two litres of it and hope to pull more of this afternoon. We don't know when she'll get out yet, maybe not till Saturday but maybe as soon as tomorrow afternoon.

I'm having a hard time figuring out how much I should visit. I suppose the easiest answer would be to ask my mom, but I'm not so sure I'd like the answer. I don't want to hear something like "as much as you can". That being said, I also don't want to hear something like "well, i know you're busy, so don't worry if you're not here a lot". I'd love to hear something simple like, "well, if you could come an hour each day that would be lovely". However, this is her cancer, not mine and I need to remember that.

I also need to figure out how to better communicate with my dad and my sister but that's a different post.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Writing has been hard lately. Writing makes things real. I tend to process things through writing,a and sometimes I just want to hide from reality, hide from processing things, hide from life. I've done a lot of hiding this past little while though, and maybe it's time to come out of my shell just a little. Perhaps it's time to open up, even to myself, about what I'm feeling, or maybe, to at least figure out what I'm feeling.

My mom is really sick. Really, really sick. When her bad menopause turned out to be ovarian cancer, I was concern. As she got worse, I was more concerned. I did some reading and realized that things were quite bad. In fact, things really suck. This week she wound up in the ER because she stopped peeing. Just, stopped. They still haven't figured out why. But she got a blood transfusion, got a whole bunch of fluids, spent two nights and is back at home. Now they are worried that there is fluid around her lungs. She's having a hard time breathing.

When I gave her a bath last night, there was just nothing there, nothing except a GIANT fluid and tumor filled abdomen which is now over 40inches around and 19 inches from top to bottom (full term pregnancy size). I can count all her ribs, I can run my hands down each and every vertebra in her spine. Last week she got into the tub on her own, holding onto a towel over the curtain rod for support; she pushed away my hand. This week she grabbed for my hand as I guided and supported her in.

I don't know what I feel. Part of me wants to know what I am SUPPOSED to feel, although, the social worker side of me knows that whatever I feel is normal. I'm all over the map. My mom and I have never, ever, had a close relationship. I'm a daddy's girl through and through. But now, now here I am. Now I'm the support, now I'm there, I've gone from talking to her once a month to seeing her at least once a week and talking to her sometimes almost everyday.

My mom has started telling me things, things I wished I could have heard when I was a teenager. She told me on Friday while we were in the ER that when I was a baby and she would leave me in my carseat during church she ached to hold me again by the end. Yesterday she mentioned that driving me (and my sister) home from high school was something she really missed because she missed hearing all about our days. These are things I never knew. I always saw my mom as cold, and uncaring, and distant. Now she is lost and vulnerable and very proud of her social worker daughter (she kept telling all the ER staff that I was a social worker).

So I don't know what to think. Mom's cancer has brought us together in a completely new way. But it's all happened rather suddenly and in a rather tragic way. This person I'm getting close to is disappearing before my eyes, in some cases, very literally.

For the next while this blog may be more about cancer, or venting, then social work. I don't know. I really want to try and write, it's so good for me. We'll see. I'm not so great at putting my deepest feelings out there, better at describing situations, which can be therapeutic in and of itself I suppose.