Sunday, February 5, 2017

Stop it

Not sure why I still let you get to me. Why do you have such control over my emotions. I try to separate myself. Be independent. Make my own choices. Live a healthy lifestyle. And yet you manage to make me feel so little. Vulnerable. Needy. Sad. Like that little girl who was never cared for properly. The child who just wanted to be noticed. Fed. Hugged. Why do I let you in so much. I am still somehow trying to fill that void. And I seem to be delusional and think you can do that. That you can step in and fix all that I am. That I feel. When it is most likely your fault to begin with.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Surgery #8

They came to get me that Friday evening. Transport that is. Two women wearing nets on their heads, chatting the whole time about their lives. As they wheeled me into the elevator on the 12th floor, “bump” one of them called out to me. The pain was so overwhelming, shooting through my lower back. My back that had been cut open two days earlier to stop my leaking spinal fluid. Here I was having to come to terms with another surgery. Was I avoiding reality? In denial. Most probably. 

We get to the large pre-op room and I am placed in a little cubicle. Two men come forward. One steps close to the head of my bed and informs me that he is a graduate student and has to ask me some questions. Ok I think, here we go. And then he stupidly asks me if I have ever had any surgeries. Umm hello? Are you for real? Have you even read my file, I ask him. He steps back as if a wounded puppy and then the next guy steps forward. 

Now this guy looks more seasoned. Not his first time at the rodeo. I ignore him and watch the TV above my head as it silently plays Will & Grace. Alex is his name. He has a faint Russian accent and informs me that he is the anesthesiologist and apologized for his acquaintance. He clearly sensed my frustration. Alex is one of those doctors who emanates bedside manner. He stood there holding my hand and chatting as we waited for my operating room to be ready. He was trying to rile me up, kept telling me to curse if I felt like it. We schmoozed about his family and career and my past surgeries, good experiences and bad. I felt validated and listened to. 

Finally the time had come to head to the operating room. They asked me if I could scoot from my hospital bed onto the operating table. I find that table laughable. How is a person meant to actually lay on that tiny board without falling off? I always ask what a fat person does. The operating room staff snicker at my questions and sarcastic comments. I try to wiggle my way but cannot maneuver or bend my back without screaming in pain. Alex and the grad student grab my arms and lift me onto the table. Holding a mask over my face and reminding me to breathe deep breaths. It’s not working, I am still alert. I feel the needle puncture my hand as they search for a vein for a second IV. I wince and Alex grabs my hand tightly while gently rubbing my forehead and whispering that all will be ok and I am doing great. 

That is the last thing I remember as I drifted off into a silent reality. I woke up less than two hours later as they pulled the tube out of my throat, me vomiting everywhere. Wheeling me directly to postop, it was then that recovery would begin. The last four months would no longer dictate my life. This surgery was going to be a solution. No longer the bandaid approach.

To be continued... 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Five Minutes

Have not been able to write in a long time. It has been many challenging months. Seems to be very difficult to get a break. 

Eight surgeries since March and my body is just not responding well anymore. I have just been discharged from the hospital on Tuesday after twelve days and two painful surgeries. 

This is not how I planned on entering another year. I was hoping to move forward. Finish school. Make something of myself. 

And instead, the hospitalizations are getting closer and closer. Constant visits to the emergency room. Spending more time with the neurosurgery residents than my actual friends. One rolling vein after another. My body can't do it anymore. My mind cannot calm down. 

All I want is to heal. To feel alert and alive. Be independent. Make my own choices. Be in control of my own body. To feel comfortable in any position. Be rid of this constant chronic pain. No more painkillers. To sleep. 

No more. I have had enough. It's gotten to a point where I cry for my mother. Who have I become. This slobbering, pathetic person. Can't get my act together. 

I whisper to myself throughout the day. Just get through the next five minutes. 

My mind is constantly running. Mostly at night. When sleep should take over. Instead, the pain and the thoughts take over. Reminding me of how awful life is. Of all the pain. The things I cannot do. 

I lay there for hours at a time dozing in and out of delirium. Imagining the worst. Dreaming and creating holocaust-like stories in my mind. Reliving memories that never happened. With people who are not here. Are not in my life. Or cannot even talk. 

I think of my mother. A lot. And I cry for the parents I wish I had. The home I wish I could go to. A cocoon where I can feel safe. Loved. Taken care of.  

I cry for my future. A future that felt so close. At the tips of my fingers. Slowly slipping away. I cry for my independence. I can't even take a shower on my own. My head is partially shaved. I am not myself. I cry for no reason at all. Being overwhelmed and exhausted should be enough of a reason. 

That's all for now. I need to lay down. 

I can make it through the next five minutes. 

That's all that matters right now. 

Five minutes. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016


I have been told by many recently that I should share what I am feeling. Not hold back. Playing the martyr. Adult. The one always in control. I'm afraid. Afraid that if I share, I will never survive. I will unleash this flood of tears that is suffocated so far down in my soul that I will not be able to stop. I will drown if I open up.

The truth is that I am bruised. Inside and out. My skin is black and blue. The staples go way deeper than my skin. They puncture my heart. Each metal piece cutting deeper and deeper until I am almost see-through. Non-existent.

I'm tired. Worn out. Beyond exhausted. Too much energy needed to pick up all the pieces. Again. Put everything back together. Function. Would you be surprised if this time I just can't. That I just want to give up. To be done.

Have I not lived long enough. Gone through it all. Put in my time. Why is thirty not considered a full life. I've given it all. I've lived. I'm tired. No more.

Whatever. That's it.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Waiting Room

Scheduled for early morning. Delayed due to a rough night. One blood transfusion and nine hours later, I get a call from my father. I fly out of work. Arrive in record timing. The elevator can't move fast enough. My heart is beating through my chest. I make it to ICU just in time. 

The anesthesiologist is instructing the transport team. I ask for a minute. As I fumble to get the gown and gloves on. I hold her swollen hand and lean over to kiss her cheek. Stroke her hair. She cannot hear me. But maybe somewhere deep inside she can feel me. 

They start wheeling her out and I ask to come with. I walk slowly behind the procession of nurses and doctors. Walk behind the bed in which she is confined. I try not to think of past and future processions. Nothing good can come of those thoughts. 

In the blink of an eye, we all stop short. The nurse informs me I can go no further. I am not welcome through the double doors. She tells me it's time to say goodbye. Everyone steps back. 

I lean over the woman who carried me for eight months. The woman who I call Ma. I kiss her cheek. And I tell her I will be right here. That she should be brave. And that I will see her when she comes out. She cannot hear one word. 

And then she is gone. 

And now I sit here. And wait. I wait for the unknown. 

I wait. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


Mother. Is an abstract concept. A given. Everyone has one. Or do they. Biological. Part of humanity. Society. Way of life. But is it. Some do not choose it. Others forced. Precious few are deserving.

My mother wanted me. She waited and waited. Let down one too many times. She suffered. Suffered for years. Much heartache. And then I appeared. Tiny but not really. A bundle of joy. Surrounded by difficulty. Constant suffering.

Ma. Mommy. Imma.

Where are you. Why does this keep happening to you. To us. I just don't understand. How are you able to withstand all this pain. All this sorrow. Ma. I wish you knew who I was. I wish you were my real mother. I wish you could make everything ok. Make me ok.

I can't look at you. So pathetic and sad. So small. How did we get here. How did this become our lives. How could I have thought we hit rock bottom so many years ago. And look at us now. Broken. Alone. Ma. Where are you. Open your eyes. Can you hear my voice. Blink.

Where is the justice. On your birthday. Is God mocking. Playing the evil puppeteer. We are helpless marionettes. Ma. Wake up. Breathe. Take those precious breathes. Fight. Don't leave me. I can't live without you. I need you more than I have ever realized. So what if you weren't perfect. You were still there. And maybe I wasn't always there. Still not. But I knew where to find you.

Your hand has always been warm. You always smiled when you saw me. I am your first. My voice is the one you always recognize. I am your original. Been there through thick and thin. Ma. Please. I'm sorry. Sorry for this life you've had. Sorry for all the pain. Sorry I haven't always been there. I'm sorry.

If it's your time. Then let go. It's ok. We will all understand. We just want you to be calm. At peace. Pain free.

Ma. I love you. Mommy. I need you. Imma. Forever your daughter.

Friday, July 29, 2016

What Are You Waiting For

Don't ask me for an update. If you really cared, you would just show up. I know that you have your own life. Wrapped up in your own world.

So far away. Four whole hours.

But seriously.

It is really hard for me to be understanding. Stay open-minded and positive. Your occasional message checking in. What are you waiting for.

A funeral.

Because it will happen one day. And then what. What will you feel then. Will you regret. All those times you did not bother to come. Those precious moments that you missed.

You can still catch that brief smile of recognition. It's not too late. But the clock is ticking. Decline is happening. And you are not here.

What are you waiting for.

Waiting for that phone call.

The phone call that will change all of our lives. Alter reality as we know it. And then you will show up. And be sad.


For this tremendous loss you feel. But never actually took advantage of the time that you did have. And did not bother to come and make a difference. You left it up to others.


Always our responsibility. Burden. Pain. Privilege. To care for. And hold. To feed. And cheer up. A lifetime revolved around. Affected.

In the end. We will have very little regret. Will feel pride and comfort. That we did all we could.


That we were there.

And you will come and it will be too late. You will drop everything and finally show up. And it will not matter anymore. Because you missed out. Your loss.

And while it will be a loss for us. We will be consoled that our faces were recognized. Hands squeezed. Occasional name uttered.

We were always there.