Navigating Ostriches


It’s been another tough week, which explains why I’m a week late writing this post. First of all, I had some computer problems and those are never fun. Then nurse practitioner at mom’s endocrinologist’s office made me feel like a complete failure because mom’s glucose levels aren’t good. This was all going on while I was suffering from a hormone surge – sorry men – that was so intense I felt like I was on the verge on a nervous breakdown and finally and most importantly, mom not only broke her toe, but has an abscess on it.

So I’m late, but for good reason.

Now thankfully, the computer is working better than before and my hormone levels have stabilized. Sadly though, mom is not doing well. Her toe is great, but she had another fall, and as I said in my previous post, every time she falls it kills me a little bit inside. Mom is OK, except for being sore and feeling like she’s failing, which kills me too, because obviously no one wants to think of their parents as failing or falling for that matter. However in this instance, I don’t think failing had anything to do with her fall, as much as her own stubbornness and continued refusal to accept that she has limitations.

I know it’s tough. I remember when I first heard that I had a chronic illness and would have to learn to live with that limitation. I was only in my twenties, so it was a tough thing to hear and accept. My illness relates to the abuse I endured as a child, so in truth, I had never felt particularly healthy or strong. I remember lying in bed as a child in just awful pain and thinking it was the growing pains my parents and others used to joke about. No one took me seriously when I was hurt or limping around, so for me it just seemed normal to always be in pain, and I wrongfully assumed that everyone around me was in pain to.

So when I found out in my twenties that my pain was not normal and would worsen in time, that was pretty hard to hear.

My mother never took an interest in my condition. I have books about it that she’s never asked to read and often when I would mention something, she barely paid attention to anything I said. I know this, because she often asked me questions that proved that she hadn’t heard me. This of course hurt, but my mom’s indifference to my health issues is nothing new.

Please don’t think badly of her, because mom is kind of an ostrich in the way she deals with things. Her indifference wasn’t because she didn’t loved me, but because it was too much to deal with and like an ostrich, she put her head in the sand and hoped it would go away. This is how she dealt with her breast cancer when she felt the first lump, my dad’s alcoholism – until the night we had to barricade ourselves in my bedroom because he was going to kill us, and my abuse and health issues.

It also means she’s had her head in the sand about her diabetes, which is why she has neuropathy in her feet and keeps falling. The chemo drugs can cause neuropathy or make it worse, so finally this is one time where she can’t pretend it’s not happening.

Just the same, she just asked me for a piece of candy, and no, my head isn’t in the sand, it’s shaking a very definitive “no.”

Though she’s generally a strong lady, she can also be quite fragile when she feels overwhelmed. You see, mom was abused as a child too, so while I don’t excuse her for sometimes being indifferent to me and my problems, I understand it.

Perhaps I can help you to understand it too. You see, there’s a lie many abuse survivors tell themselves. I’ve done it, mom does it and I know many others who have as well. We tell ourselves that we’ve suffered through the worst and that life will be easier from now on.

If only that were true, but sadly, it isn’t.

Just the same in mom’s mind, she was automatically supposed to have a happy marriage, a healthy child and no breast cancer.

I wish it had worked out that way for her.

In addition, my mother has some childish fancies, one being that life is supposed to be fair. So when something unfair happens, she either gets enraged or puts her head in the sand. Now she’s trying to do it about her cancer recovery and it’s not working, not that it ever has before.

She was in the kitchen with her walker and decided to walk to the garbage can without it and fell. She’s been priding herself on taking a few steps without it, and now I see that I can’t applaud her for doing that anymore because I don’t’ want to encourage her and risk more falls.

This occurred on top of dealing with the nurse practitioner from hell and my pc troubles that already made me feel like I was on the verge of cracking up because no matter what I did I was getting error messages. I began to back-up everything in preparation to do a system recovery, when I called my friend Carl and poof everything was fine. And of course this occurred when during the worst hormone surge I’ve ever had in my life.

But as I said earlier, my hormone levels have finally stabilized and my pc is fine. In fact, it’s running like new. Thank you to my dear friends Carol, Diana, Joelyn and of course Carl, for being there for me throughout the week.

You are all blessings and I love you.

Mom is on new meds for her diabetes and her levels are already improving, and I’m adjusting her diet to help that along. Her toe is healing and I’m starting to feel normal again, so things are starting to look up again. So why is it I feel like following in mom’s footsteps and putting my head in the sand?

Perhaps being an ostrich isn’t such a bad thing after all.

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11 Responses to Navigating Ostriches

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Navigating Ostriches | What Cancer Brings --

  2. NL Gervasio says:

    Oh sweetie, I seriously think our mothers are related. *hugs* They have the same reactions to life.

    • Blackbirdsong says:

      Thanks hon. I swear I should have been a rebellious teenager. At least it would feel like mom was getting some well-deserved revenge on me. There is absolutely nothing to prepare you for a rebellious senior parent. Nothing.

  3. Ruby Deux says:

    My friend…your truth touches parts of many, I would think. It’s as if you speak for so many people I know–only your situation is a million times as intense and fraught with death and cancer and actions often left unspoken. I love you, gf.

    • Blackbirdsong says:

      Love you too, Suba. I don’t know if my story is anymore intense than anyone else’s, but thank you for that, just the same.

  4. Carol says:

    I just wrote you a lovely comment and my “&%$(*”computer would not send it to you. So my dear, I guess I will have to call you and tell you how sorry I am that you had a bad week. You and I both know what it is like to not be able to get out of bed until we take strong meds to dull the pain. And I have fallen because I didn’t listen to my body telling me to stop and rest. Your Mom is going to have start listening to you and be careful before she breaks something more than a toe.
    I have not had a good week either. When someone makes you feel worthless by insensitive words, it can really hurt. I know–but you are doing your best under a very difficult circumstanses. Your Mom is difficult to get to do what is good for herself. You cannot MAKE her do what is best for herself. So, don’t beat yourself up about it.
    My thoughts and prayers are always with you my friend.

    • Blackbirdsong says:

      Carol sweetie, thank you for that. Yes, mom has always been difficult to care for, but I love her, just the same. Right now, she’s in pain from her latest fall and I’m hoping it’s better by tomorrow or else I’ll have to take her to the doctor. I keep waiting for things to settle down. Maybe someday.

      Love you

  5. Diana says:

    The only problem with sticking our head in the sand is that we miss things in life that may or may not be important. If we can’t see what’s going on, then there are no decisions to make. Sad part is that we can’t force anyone to take their head out of the sand. They have to want to see what is going on and want to learn from their mistakes. All we can do, is to try to encourage them and remind them about the advantages of focusing on the future.

    • Blackbirdsong says:

      Very true, hon. I wish I could have ever made mom see this, but I think she prefers it her way. I think you end up getting hurt more in the end when you ignore painful things, but I guess we all process things differently.

      Love you

  6. James K. Blaylock says:

    Wow Rach, it sounds like your trials are unending! Truly it seems God is trying to grow you up though! I’m not of the mind that you’re being put through the ringer for no reason whatsoever. He tends to like us at our best.

    I have been thinking and praying for both your mom and yourself so often these days. Don’t allow any of the mountains in your path to hinder your forward motion. Buckle down and dig your heels into the earth… but don’t stop moving.

    Sadly, I do believe your mother shall have to learn that things have changed, and that her future shall be brighter, health wise when she stops taking such huge risks. And you’ll not be in such a bad place of worry either if she takes it all a little easier… moving one day at a time.

    Smile and know God is right there through everything that’s happening. He’s not gonna abandon either of you, In fact He’s closer to the broken, and brokenheart. Be blessed


    • Blackbirdsong says:

      James, as always your heartfelt comments bring tears to my eyes. Thank you for the good reminders about God, and your continued friendship and support.

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