Hanging By a Rope

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I’ve had a minor health issue for a while, which didn’t bother me terribly until recently. It got worse and was causing a lot of pain and discomfort.

I went to my doctor, who then referred me to a surgeon/specialist and then another specialist. Everyone had something different to say– and all of my “options” come with pluses and serious minuses. I also can just do nothing– or try something minor to see if I notice any difference, which I may or may not notice at all. Oh– and of course, comes with side effects of its own.

I left each appointment feeling more overwhelmed. Worse, when I met with the surgeon, I didn’t think to bring someone with me to ask questions while I sat dazed, overwhelmed and tired trying to follow everything he said. I ended up forgetting to ask a bunch of questions in the meantime, wishing I had afterwards.

Since no one could give me a clear direction on what to do and left it in my hands, I’ve been feeling like I am hanging .. by a thread or dangling by a rope, waiting for some kind of lifeline or answer to come. So far, I’ve just felt mostly paralyzed with indecision.

And then, when I came to a conclusion or a treatment plan or sorts, I then came up against the biggest roadblock: lack of support and help. Trying to coordinate what would happen for my kid and me if I had a procedure in the hospital has been as stressful as seeing the doctors. And feeling that lack of support, I just decided it was better to do nothing.

Until I decided to do further testing … with the hopes that further testing will give me a clearer picture of what I need to do, lifting this sort of indecisive grip that’s come over me. I am just as worried that doing nothing will end up with me feeling worse or regretting that I did nothing.

It’s amazing though what a lack of support can do to a person. It has really caused me to retreat and feel defeated before I’ve even begun. It truly takes someone who actually gives a sh*t to support someone through medical stuff, and I guess I haven’t met someone who actually does give a sh*t yet, sadly. I do know that it could be worse. And for the most part, I am living a healthy life and am active. I try to remind myself of that every day. But the indecision and lack of support, sucks.

Hanging On,

Laura

A Bad, Horrible, No- Good Weekend Day

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I was looking forward to the weekend, until it just seemed to go not as I had hoped. And normally, two bad disappointing days could be just that. Two bad disappointing days. No biggie. But in today’s day and age where Covid has kept us from our normal lives, it’s harder to get past disappointment and sadness. It’s harder because we’re more isolated. And when I do speak to my friends, there isn’t much to say. I’m home most of the time raising my kid. Sometimes it’s easier to not talk rather than rattle on about the mundaneness of it all.

My daughter and I saw my parents outside for five minutes masked the other day, and could tell my mom didn’t seem herself, although she was happy to see us. Maybe this is just how it is when you are losing your memory. Whatever the case, it was just such a fleeting visit and how it has to be during these times. But it’s hard knowing I don’t know when I’ll be able to spend time with my parents again and how my mom will be cognitively at that point. My dad has taken over many things — things my mom once did. Noticing these things it’s like tiny moments of grief for me. Grieving I can’t call her and talk like we once did. Grieving I didn’t realize this would happen.

And as I write this, a family member is in the hospital recovering from a painful and emotionally difficult surgery. One that will take a long time to recover. Nobody can visit and honestly, right now is not the time to step foot in the hospital unless mandatory. The feeling of powerlessness that I can’t help this person is huge. The hope that finally, my family member will feel better after years of sickness, is what I’ve got carrying me through this, hoping she gets better. She’s a good person and desperately needs a break.
Some days I feel like the good people never get a break. We’re not appreciated. We’re not truly ever lifted up as we should be. But that’s how I feel today. Maybe tomorrow will be better. It’s a new chance. A new day. Maybe.

Today was just one of those days where I felt down, hopeless, upset and defeated. Where you’re down and just don’t know what to think anymore.
Then, I somehow hurt my back over the weekend and the pain radiated to my hip, making me feel a bit queasy. However, I pushed through and did everything I had to do today not asking for help once and I ended up paying the price feeling worse at the end of the day.
In the end, a heating pad, meditation, some ice cream and one of my favorite Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes, were my go- to’s to try and help me feel a little less down and a little less discouraged in mankind.

Did it work? Maybe. Not really. Not sure. That’s ok. Maybe I don’t know how I’m really feeling.
One minute, I’m grieving my daughter’s lack of normalcy and the next I am thankful for being healthy. A sore back is something I can take care of.
Another minute, I’m thankful for the good people in my life, and the next I am doubting my worth.

But they say it’s darkest before the dawn so I’m just going to hope things get better. The reality is nothing is permanent. Everything changes. At some point, there will be light! Meditation teaches us impermanence. Nothing stays the same. This moment is different than the next.

Breathe Deep,

Laura

When You Feel Not Good Enough

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Today was a hectic long day. And at the end of the day before my daughter visited her grandparents, we rushed to put up the tree as I promised. Lately, I feel like I’m burning the candle at both ends. I was exhausted, but I wanted to fulfill my promise to get the tree up. In this crazy COVID-19 world, I’ve been doing my best to try and give my daughter some sense of normalcy while also trying to find some happiness in my own daily life. Some days I succeed, and other days I just feel like I don’t.
I was crabby today and I didn’t want to be, but I had a horrible week and the exhaustion just hit me.

Try as I might to stay upbeat all day between monitoring my daughter’s learning and day and getting up the tree, I just ended the day feeling defeated and empty. I tried positive thinking but I ended up sitting here picking apart everything possibly about myself. What I did today. Where I am in my life. How I look. Picking apart my looks. Minding my age. Picking apart that, too. What I ate. What I didn’t eat. What I said. What I didn’t say. Where I’m going. Where I need to be. Money. What I have and don’t have.

After all of that thinking, here I am just feeling not good enough. Some days are just like that. And when you’re operating as a strong individual person trying to raise another person to be capable and happy on your own, sometimes it never feels enough. Sometimes it just feels lonely and insignificant to everything everyone else seems to be achieving.

Not All Days Are Sunny Ones,

Laura

How a Single Mom Gets a Medical Procedure

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Here’s the answer. She doesn’t get the procedure done.

I need a test– procedure– under anesthesia in early 2021, however, I have no one to take me. I certainly wouldn’t ask my elderly parent during COVID-19– especially since one of my parents is caring for the other parent, who has dementia.

This is why it unnerves me when people comment how I am strong and independent. I know this. I don’t need a team of people to remind me. I am very comfortable on my own– minus repairs and manual labor. And admittedly, I would love if Lenny Kravitz could do any and all of the home repairs as that man is perfect, but I digress.

It is upsetting to never have a guaranteed person to be there for you. I am strong because I know I cannot rely on anyone and that is a shame.

So the answer is, I will probably not get the procedure/test I need. It is one that tests for cancer that I need every 5 years due to an issue I had almost 15 years ago and I cannot UBER or drive myself.

Then to make my anxiety particularly active, I need to go for general bloodwork to check for anemia. If that comes back badly again, alas, I will need a different larger procedure perhaps.

Overall though, I am grateful that I am overall, healthy, fit and can do renegade push-ups like no other 100 lb woman can.

I feel good generally, and I care for myself. I try to self-care. I try to contribute to the good of society during this pandemic by being careful and following scientific guidelines.

But this strong capable person could use another person sometimes, and I don’t feel bad for admitting it.

Lovingly,

Laura

6 Tips to Help You—and Your Family—Sleep Better During the Pandemic

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If your family’s sleep habits have been out of whack since the COVID-19 pandemic began, you’re not alone. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the stress brought on by an infectious disease outbreak can lead to changes in sleep patterns, difficulty sleeping, and worsening of mental health conditions.

As a single mom, I can tell you first-hand that getting a good night’s sleep has been a real challenge for me these last seven months. There were many times I’d wake up in the middle of the night with worry and then struggle to get back to sleep. (Thankfully, my daughter’s sleep has remained mostly stable, with a few nights here and there of tossing and turning due to anxiety.)

Read More: 6 Tips to Help You—and Your Family—Sleep Better During the Pandemic

Peaceful Slumber,

Laura

What If What You Believe About Yourself Is a Lie?

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The other morning I did my usual morning meditation but chose a guided meditation on self-esteem. One of the questions asked was what is a negative view or thought we hold of ourselves? Typically these negative viewpoints/thoughts come from an experience, person or time in our childhood or adolescence. Right away, I knew what that negative thought was. We were told to think on it… to decide if we felt if it was true. To consider if we are ready to let that thought or view go, or if we are ready to consider that that thought we have about ourselves may be completely false.

I knew exactly from the moment it was asked what negative view I’ve held of myself for quite some time. I know exactly– or about where this thought originated from– or how it grew into a monstrous bad belief/self- view. As I meditated, I started to cry. I realized that for many, many, many years, I have held onto this thought or belief, including being surrounded by one or two people back in my past who confirmed this negative self-belief of mine.

It’s funny. We often don’t know why negative or bad people come into our lives, but I think it often stems from our own bad beliefs of ourselves. These negative people confirm our own bad thoughts about ourselves. The experience then “confirms” that we are indeed, bad or not good. We then continue to choose bad people who then repeatedly confirm these negative thoughts … these people then provide us with bad experiences and so we say, “Look! I told you. I am horrible. If I weren’t horrible, this wouldn’t have happened.”

This is why it is so key to have self-love and self-esteem. When we love ourselves and care for ourselves, we pick partners, people and friends in our lives who love us and care for us. I have noticed that since my divorce, I have chosen better people and better situations for myself because my self-esteem has improved. I am attracted to good people—and I spend my time with only good people. Good men and good women. I distance myself from people who don’t make me feel comfortable, and I spend time with people who make me feel happy and good. I am no longer attracted to “bad boys” as I was in my twenties, and I find good men– kind hearted folks, appealing.

Self-esteem really is everything. Ask yourself if what you believe about yourself is really true… or not.

Lovingly,

Laura

Forgiving Yourself Is As Important As Forgiving Others

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Growing up with parents coming from two different religious backgrounds has so many pluses. One is it has made me more open to others’ viewpoints. At the same time, I don’t feel aligned with any religion really. I do find both Jewish and Christian traditions interesting and meaningful. So, I am spiritual but I’m not religious.

But for the first year ever, I thought about what Yom Kippur really means. Asking for forgiveness for sins and forgiveness of others. Supposedly, it’s the time of year where G-d decides your fate and therefore, you’ve got to make amends, and fast.

I thought about who I would apologize to, however anyone I may have wronged I’ve certainly apologized to. And if there’s anyone out there I offended, well, I am truly sorry!

But I think the person I am most sorry to is myself. For being so hard on myself.
The way I’ve talked to myself and about myself.
The way I’ve judged myself and compared myself.
The way I’ve doubted myself and criticized myself.
The way I talk to myself is most often, much harder than how I’ve talked to anyone else!
It is like I’m in some competition where the goals to be fabulous are so high and not obtainable that I beat myself to death for not being enough.
But if there is one thing I am, it is tenacious and persistent. I try so hard to be my best self. To be better. To do better. Be a better mom. Person. Partner. Friend. Worker. Etc.

Here is what I don’t do: give myself a break. Be kind to myself. Compliment myself. Believe in myself.

So here is a huge apology to myself for being so bad to myself at times.

Lovingly,

Laura

A Single Mom Birthday

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When you’re a single mom and it’s your birthday, it’s pretty much like every other day. Chores. Cleaning. School responsibilities. Figuring out all 3 meals and snacks. Usually, making most, all or planning out all of those said meals. Virtual school. The same old same old.

Your kids don’t always remember it’s your birthday. Mine didn’t. She thought my birthday was next week. It’s not. It was this past Friday. I think I’ll cut her slack since she’s 9 and we’re living in a pandemic without a real sense of a calendar or time as hard as I try to have a schedule. It was truly the first year though, that it didn’t even feel like my birthday. It didn’t feel celebratory. I did see friends over the weekend, but I don’t know. Between virtual school and the responsibility of working from home and everything else, this year has felt so depressing and isolating. I really don’t know if I will make it through 2020.

In the Dark,

Laura

Under the Knife: Dealing With Medical Anxiety

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As a kid, I had no fear of doctors or dentists. I had Lymes Disease as a teen, and I barely fussed when they came to my house to put in a PICC line. My dad on the other hand, almost fainted.
When I had to go for an MRI to check for a potential brain tumor, I thought it was too enclosed, but I dealt with it and wasn’t nervous about the tests.
Boy, have times changed me!

i’m not exactly sure when it happened, but I would say my anxiety towards medicine, doctors and being sick really started when I was pregnant and had Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Things started happening to me that I had never experienced. I’ve never been in a hospital so much in my life until that time. A few years prior, someone in my family had gotten really sick. A few years prior to even that, another family member had quite a few major surgeries and Cancer. I think as we get older, it’s more likely that we will deal with illness and health issues. My experience with Lymes taught me that I had some drug allergies, but I rarely complained. I got blood work constantly and I wasn’t anxious, but did want to get better.

Now as an adult and single mom, I’ve learned I have many allergies to medications and I really get anxious when it comes to medical situations. I think getting a divorce and becoming a single parent through the years also heightened my level of anxiety: I must be ok so I can be here for my daughter.

I’ve learned a few things though to help manage these fears, and it’s a work in progress always:

1. Don’t Google Your Symptoms.

2. Meditation Helps You Manage Anxiety.


3. Taking Charge of Your Health Through Diet and Exercise Helps.

4. Find a Friend Who Understands Your Anxiety as a Support.

5. Don’t Google Your Symptoms.

Those five things definitely help me! Not to mention realizing I can only control so much. Diet, exercise, fresh air, supplements, and rest are also key tools to keep me in as control of my health as possible.

So, today when I learned I might need to have something cut open on me— nothing major— I felt anxious. But not like I normally would. Sure, my stomach is grumbly. Sure, I’m worrying about it a bit more than I’d like, but it’s not overtaking me. I am doing what I can to avoid having to do that, and in the meantime, I have as much of a plan as I can. I called a supportive person and that helped also.

The moral of this anxious story? When it comes to anxiety, it’s important to understand what may have triggered your anxiety or reasons for having it. For me, a rough pregnancy and becoming a single parent definitely contributed to my anxious feelings over medical situations. Knowing this and realizing that I tend to worry over these things has allowed me to help take control over my fears and refocus in a more positive way.

Breathe in and Breathe Out,

Laura

When a Night Out Isn’t Just a Night Out: Life During COVID-19

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It’s amazing how quickly we adapt to a new way of living. I almost can’t remember a time before this pandemic. As an extrovert, being isolated or relatively isolated has been challenging. I really enjoy working from home as I am very organized and good at time management, so it works for me, but I miss seeing my friends. I miss having normalcy for my daughter especially, as well.

But it’s almost as if this is the way it’s been for a year or more— not just five months.
Wearing a mask that matches your outfit sort of makes sense now. I haven’t really had a use for masks other than the quick trip to the drive thru or at the beach boardwalk, but I started to realize that if I’m going to need masks, I might as well make them cute.

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Tonight was the first night in a long time that I got to enjoy dinner out. It wasn’t crowded, I was masked and I felt comfortable. I was worried it would be too mobbed but since it was a weekday evening, I made out well.

I came home happy. It had been such a long time since I got to enjoy a meal and socialize. I realize that this pandemic has been harder on me than I thought. A lot harder. The isolation has been intense. I miss my family and sadly, I can’t see them as my parents are high-risk. Worse, someone I love has dementia, and I could be missing out on the last precious moments of this person’s cognizance thanks to COVID-19.

This is how it is though— for now. I decided to stop looking to the future and instead, focus on the day. Yes, much like the alcoholic’s anonymous credo, (and nope, I’m not a drinker and never was—- I’m a two drink date!) I’ve decided to focus on one day at a time. And for today, it felt a bit like old times, albeit in a very pretty tie-dye mask. I’m willing to bet Barbie would wear my very outfit and mask.

Hugs to All Of You Alone and Lonely,

Laura