Saturday, December 14, 2013

It's been a pretty difficult week for my wife (the patient) and myself (the caregiver). But Good news in the end... =)

So, things spun out of control at home a little since last week. There are many reasons for that, but fear is at the top of that list. Penny has been worried about her future and the frustration of the return of her cancer caught up with her and with me.
With Penny, she is worried about Travis and what will happen to him if her condition gets worse. Plus, she is still trying to understand what I am going through medically.

On my end, I fell apart myself as I went through watching my wife start worrying again about her future plus my worrying about her medical condition, the Social Security Denial last week regarding my own situation (with a few follow-up medical visits continuing with the VA that included the increase of my Trazadone from 50 mg to 150 mg), the repair issues with the replacement minivan (the overheating and cost involved for repair), the upcoming unemployment deadline on December 28th (with Congress not acting and it doesn't look like they will), the unknown regarding Penny's medical coverage in 3 weeks as her "cobra" is ending soon, and dealing with the familial holiday issues we deal with each year (essentially, the issue with my siblings).

So we both went through some personal pain and miscommunication from last week until yesterday (when Penny found out that the cancer was "low grade" stage 1 and per her urologist, she doesn't have to pursue chemo or other treatment... at least not until the next Cystoscopy in March). WOOHOO!!!!!

Its amazing how the mood lightens up when we get good news (plus, Penny tried really hard to calm me down and did a good job of that). =)  Plus our life group meeting last night really helped brighten our mood also (they truly are awe inspiring and good friends who really care for us and for others). We are the better for knowing them.

So now, I am sitting here contemplating everything (while watching the Chicago Wolves game with Travis and Penny plus Sondra are baking cookies in the kitchen.... so the house feels like a home).

I am remembering Penny and I at Illinois State park in Illinois..... and how far we've made it with her battling cancer (we are at the 22 month mark since she was first diagnosed). This was a little bump in the road and we will be fine.

At the end of the day, we still have some options available to us and we will exhaust everything to ensure Penny continues to get the proper medical care.

My friend Ray:

And now, it is time for me to sit down and write to my friend Ray Kasper (who is sitting in a jail cell at the moment not knowing whether he will ever see freedom ever again). Such a tragedy (that a life can be destroyed by an over zealous prosecution team and a child who knows not the damage she has done).

So I am posting a picture of my friend (with his sister) so people know who he is and so they know that he is both well thought of by others and is deserving of our caring hearts.... not our ire or scorn. He is a victim of the system..... and we won't rest until he is free.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sometimes one breaks off relationships in order to maintain one's sanity, sometimes the problem is me. I am not a nice person in the opinion of a few people, and I am dealing with that daily.

Sometimes one breaks off relationships in order to maintain one's sanity, sometimes others do the same with me. I have chosen to do so based on just how dysfunctional some of my relationships are (you will notice a theme here). This is being posted so people know that I am an imperfect man who fails daily in my sin. It would seem others think I would rather hide this side of me from those who I interact with (according to them, I am allegedly putting on the appearance that I am not at fault for these issues and that I try to portray myself as a victim). Let the record show by this post that I share my issues with my Christian friends and with my family and don't hide anything from those I trust and those I love).

Let the record show:
  • Unfortunately, I have no relationship with my oldest son (who has had little to no contact with me for years now). This is his choice as I have tried, but have failed to find a way to continue what was a difficult relationship in the first place (due to the disintegration of my first marriage and the vitriol that ensued). In the process, I have no relationship with my young grand-daughter either (I have never seen her nor have we ever been given any opportunity to interact with her). Much to my dismay. I have no clue how to repair this. We opened up our home to him and his girlfriend in 2008/2009 and was told within a week that I am a horrible man (by his girlfriend) despite our opening up our home to them and trying to make everyone welcome... getting them acclimated, finding transportation for them, etc). Little did we know at the time my ex-wife was in constant contact with his girlfriend at the time (sabotage by text/cell phone..... she might as well have been in our house the entire time). We immediately made things right by flying them back to Washington so they could continue on with their lives (with no animosity on our part given). I can count on one hand how many times we have communicated since. 
  • Unfortunately, I have no relationship with my daughter. This is her choice as I have tried, but have failed to find a way to continue what was a difficult relationship in the first place (due to the disintegration of my first marriage). In the process, I have no relationship with my grand-son either. Much to my dismay. There is much to this story, but I am quite sure the impression is that I am at fault for all of this. 
  • Fortunately, I no longer have any relationship or communication with my ex wife. The people who know me know why, and the above are two very good reasons why that remains so.
  • Fortunately, I have no relationship with my father. Those who know me know why and there is no reason to rehash it. I pray that someday, I can forgive him for all of what transpired and that we may be father and son again...... but that day appears very far away (and further away every day).
  • I have no relationship with my sister. This is my choice as I have tried for years to help her right her ship, but have failed to find a way to continue what was a difficult relationship in the first place (due to the continued chaos in her life). I have put up a boundary in order to protect both myself and my family from her constant legal issues (especially as she tried to harm me directly by involving authorities on multiple occasions despite my and my brother's attempts to keep the state from taking everything she held dear) and because of who she chooses to cohabitate with. In the process, I have no relationship with my niece and nephew either as a result. Much to my dismay.
  • Last summer, I stopped interacting with my brother. Because of the fallout from my sister's situation and because I had not paid a $2,000 debt to my brother and sister-in-law from 2002 when I had no reliable car (I have offered and it was stated to me "not to worry about it" at the time and when I tried, it was rebuffed.... but apparently now it is stated that I have never offered to pay it back and that I am delusional). This is my fault as I should have paid him and her back no matter what was said (they were caring enough to be there in my time of need and I should have done so... so there would be no misinterpretation in the future and because it would have been the right thing to do). I will make this right, but the damage is done. At this point, too many damaging things have been stated to make this relationship heal, My wife tried to find a way to have us both reconcile, but she is crying right now (which is my fault) because I won't fix the relationship in time for Christmas so she can have him over like in years past. I apparently have to do so despite the fact that his actions won't change in my presence which will only escalate the issue, but heaven forbid I place a condition of not mentioning anything which may cause strife during the holiday, but in my view.... sometimes the bad blood gets so bad that there is no reconciliation and that the holiday will be at least survivable without any drama for a change. I am tired of the comparisons of just who was harmed by our father the most (and that the subject always seems to come up is infuriating). The fact is, we were both uniquely harmed by the events of our childhood. It isn't a contest. It was during our child-hood and needs to remain there.... as I am desperately trying to get past that (as it consumes every aspect of how I react to things as it is and I am tired of being a slave to that). I take my lumps in not taking a Christ-like approach in resolving this or taking the lead in trying to be calm in this storm, however..... the other party is not a practicing Christian (and is too negative an influence in my life for me to try to rectify it) so it is better that I concentrate on what is most important in my life (which is my wife's health and my son's future). Also, as his wife has poisoned the well too deeply to rectify this, that makes this doubly difficult as he insists in including her in all correspondence/communication (to which she will use at her disposal to further increase the rancor between all). That is not my idea of a healthy family relationship, so I choose not to participate in it. I am sorry that I am hurting my wife by being this stubborn, but I see no way out of it feeling as I do.
  • I have tried to rectify my relationship with my step-daughter. To anyone who knows me, the fact she is in our home at the moment interacting with us and is back to being a part of our lives should show that I do try to rectify situations/relationships. The relationship is not perfect and there is a long way to go. But I am trying (not only for my wife's sake, but for my step-daughter's sake as well).
So there it is folks, warts and all. I am not a perfect person. I am a rude, obnoxious, caustic human being at times (and the wall I put up is there due to the harm that has transpired in my life and my need to protect myself and those I love). I have hurt those I love also. I am seeking help via the VA regarding counseling and support to find my way past these issues and how I react to them (out of everyone that I mentioned, I am the one seeking help). I pray daily that God softens my heart (and I try to talk through these issues in our life groups). I usually fail as the wounds are deep, but I haven't stopped trying.

So, there it is.... out in the open for all to critique. And it is a shame it had to be posted in the first place. I am the first one to say things should not be swept under a rug. I defy my detractors to do the same regarding themselves on an open/public blog.

And to those who are getting to know me at Church, I hope this explains some of the demons I am facing. I have met the enemy.... and he is me. At least I am honest enough to admit it. I look to the Bible and try to wrap my head around these things...... but I fail daily. I wish that wasn't so. 

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14

"Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written,” Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord. Therefore if you enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."
Romans 12:17-20