Monday, April 18, 2011


Today I feel like it's important to write down my "history" for the first time.  "History" is in quotation marks because I feel like this is the spiel I give to new therapists when I meet with them.  Anyhow, I know that I have already referenced parts of my history, and I will continue to do so in future posts.  So here is the backstory.  (I tend to remember events in the order of how old I was when they occurred.)

• When I was two years old, my father was diagnosed with his first cancer.  He had Stage IV Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  He endured chemotherapy and was cured, but it left him slightly immobilized; the lower portion of both his legs were left slightly numbed (he told me they were kind of tingly when I was a kid), so he could no longer run or jump.  He never lost his hair, though!

• Immediately following his cancer/chemo, my dad contracted Lysteria Meningitis, a serious bacterial infection.  Doctors believe he was susceptible because of his lowered immune system from the chemo.  This is actually my earliest memory.  I don't know if I was still two or had turned three, but I remember holding my mom's leg and watching as the paramedics lifted my dad out of bed and onto a stretcher and put him in the aid car.

• When I was nine, doctors found Renal Cell Carcinoma in my dad's right kidney.  He went in for surgery and they removed the entire kidney.  Cancer gone!

• 12 years old - my dad has a spinal stroke, which is an extremely rare type of stroke (and actually the best kind of stroke he could have had, which sounds strange because a stroke is still a stroke...)  Strokes usually occur in the brain, but I think his stroke was technically in his brain stem, so it didn't affect any of his cognitive abilities or his facial muscles (very lucky!).  Unfortunately, it did affect the right side of his body, particularly his right leg.  He spent a long time (I actually don't remember much from this time... probably some kind of brain protective-mechanism) at an in-patient recovery/physical therapy center.  Since the stroke, he has had to wear a leg brace and walk with a cane.

• When I was 13, my maternal grandfather was diagnosed with Lung Cancer - I actually don't know any of the details on this.  He lived in Texas, so my mom and I went and visited him.  While we were there, he went into hosipice care in his home.  He died while we were visiting.  I had the opportunity to hold his hand, tell him goodbye, and witness his passing.  I think this experience changed my outlook a bit, as it would for anyone who can say they've watched a person die.

• At the age of 15, a friend of mine who was also only 15 committed suicide.  It was very sudden and shocking.  She had been a very close friend to me in middle school, but in high school she started hanging out with a different crowd.  We had stayed in contact and actually reconnected a bit right before her death.  I think I will probably have a post dedicated to her in the future, there's too much to talk about here.  This was probably one of the most important and defining events in my entire life.  It changed who I was and how I thought about everything.

• A year later, when we were 16, another very close friend attempted suicide.  I played an important part in saving his life.  He is still one of my oldest and best friends.

• In the beginning of 2009, even though my boyfriend and I practiced safe sex, I became pregnant unexpectedly.  This is probably the biggest secret I have, actually.  Most definitely the hardest thing to talk about and write about, and I know it will be controversial.  I have never publicly revealed this, and even though this is an anonymous blog, I'm not even sure I want to post this.  But I'm going to.  I was not at a point in my life where I felt that I could properly raise a child; not financially, not emotionally, not in any way.  I chose to end the pregnancy through a medication abortion.  It was an extremely difficult decision, but I know that it was the right one at that time.

• About a month later, my dad had another suspected Renal Cell Carcinoma on his only remaining kidney.  A laproscopic surgery was performed and they removed a small portion of his kidney.  Cancer gone, again!  Now he only has one partial kidney.

• October 2010.  I was 23.  My dad had just turned 71 in September.  Diagnosis: Stage IV Lung Cancer, inoperable.  This is cancer number four that he's had to face in his lifetime.

• January 2011.  After a family meeting with a doctor, hospice care is suggested.  Hospice is end-of-life care, meaning no more treatments and they just try to keep you as comfortable as possible until you die.  My dad enters at-home hospice care.

And that leads us up to now.  I think it's also worth noting that I've struggled with clinical depression throughout a lot of this... I had a brief bout of depression when I was 12 (lasted about 6-9 months after my dad's stroke) and then from ages 15 to the present I've been battling against it. 

I've never written anything down like this before.  It feels very strange to have it all out of my head, and to see it all laid out chronologically.  Plus, it looks long.  My hope is that having all of this out in the open will make writing easier for me, and that readers will be able to understand my experiences and perspective when I write in the future.
~ ~ ~
On a lighter note, I woke up and checked my blog today and was thrilled to see that I had my first comment and first follower!  A humongous thank you to Melissa and Kevin!  It's nice to know that at least someone is reading!  It's also a little scary...  But hopefully there will be a lot more fear and excitement in the future.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy(?) Birthday

Today is the 24th anniversary of my birth.

I awoke at 7am to a cranky boyfriend who didn't get enough sleep.  He was making coffee to get himself through his internship today when my phone made unusual noises.

"Did you hear that?  What was that?"  He looked very confused.

"Facebook app.  Probably a bunch of high school people I haven't talked to in years posting 'Happy Birthday' because facebook told them it was my birthday.  Nobody remembers birthdays on their own anymore,"  I said cynically.

I started to think about what the hell I would even say to any of those people in response to a birthday well-wishing.  I know what I would want to say...

Commenter:  Happy Birthday!  Hope it's the best one ever!  How have you been?!  MISS U!
Me:  Thanks!  Well, I don't have a job, my dad is dying of lung cancer, and I had to quit school because of it~!  Oh, and I have crippling depression!  But other than that, I've been peachy...

This year just sucks.  There, I said it.  This is the worst year in the history of (my) years, and I'm no stranger to bad years.

It's been really bizarre so far, because it seems like it's a shitty year for everyone I know.  Boyfriend and I have been dumbfounded for the past... well I guess it's been over a year now, but almost all of our coupled friends (including married ones) have been breaking up!  Especially in the last 6-8 months.  I can think of at least 7 couples off the top of my head - that's 14 people!  Plus I know two other people who have close relatives experiencing cancer, one of which died last week; another friend is having major chronic back and pain problems; another friend's brother died suddenly; I attended a memorial for a friend's godmother...  Not to mention all of the earthquakes/tsunamis recently. 

Dude, seriously... 2012!  (Actually I'm not serious at all.  But it does make one wonder...)

Birthdays.  This year I think I've been the least excited that I have ever been about my birthday.  I keep telling people, "I'm just not into it," and I wasn't able to figure out why until yesterday.  I thought it was because it's just another non-special year going by... no car insurance breaks, already of legal age for everything.  It's also the year that I officially consider myself in my mid-twenties instead of my early twenties, which makes me feel like shit because I haven't accomplished anything and I feel just as lost and confused about "what to do for the rest of my life" as I did when I was 18.  I really thought I had made some progress but I've realized this year that I have no fucking clue anymore.  My life has been completely turned on it's head.  But, these are topics for other posts.

The reason I'm not into my birthday this year is that a sudden jolt of truth flashed through my brain yesterday:  This is most likely my last birthday with my dad here.  He won't see me turn 25.

Having a big family party today (I haven't planned a friend party at all, I just don't care this year.)  The "party" is really much more for them than it is for me; it's one of the last opportunities for all of us to get together while my dad is still healthy enough to go downstairs.  It's an excuse for all of his other kids and his grandkids to come over.  I was reluctant to even do this except for the fact that I know it's important to everyone else.  I don't want to be the center of attention today, and I don't want presents.

I don't know, this all sounded better when I was composing it in my head last night/this morning.  Insomnia is good for writing.  Or maybe it's not, since I'm not totally happy with the results.  I know it's been a couple months since I last wrote anything, but there's been so much going on that I had no idea where to start, and I just didn't have the drive to write.  It's not like anyone reads this thing anyway.  I suppose it's a good thing that I woke up today itching to write; maybe it will kick-start me to journal regularly (which is the whole reason I created this farce of a blog).

Whatever.  Here's to being 24.  I'm going to go get drunk tonight.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thought Jumble

Top Ramen for breakfast.

This blogging thing is going to be very interesting.  I still find myself a bit stifled... well, let me rephrase that: I find that I'm still stifling myself a bit.  I posted for the very first time on Friday.  Since then there have been moments that I've thought, "I should write" or, "I want to write" but I've held back.  I think I'm still afraid.  My boyfriend's been home all weekend so that may be a part of it, not feeling quite as free to sit down and take my time and write when I'm not alone.  Furthermore, if I'm being totally honest, I started cruising blogs more on Saturday which I've never really done before.  I just kept clicking the "next blog" button and seeing where it took me.  I would say a decent majority of the blogs I stumbled upon were happy housewives/mothers who talked way too much about their children.  Here's the truth part: they drove me crazy.  I found myself extremely annoyed and judgmental of them.  "I'm a stay-at-home mom and my husband is the most patient man in the world and we have three beautiful children together [insert names and ages here] and we have two spunky pure-bred puppies that I just adore.  Welcome to my little slice of paradise!"  I started to wonder, why are they writing?  Nobody wants to hear about your trip to the vet or little Jimmy's first soccer game; at least I don't.  But then, how am I really any different than that?  How are any of us who "blog" any different?  What makes what anyone has to say important?

I've definitely been rethinking blogging.  I mean, one of the main reasons I never started one before was because I thought that blogs were so egotistical.  At the same time, though, there are some blogs that I've read that manage to be eye-opening, insightful into one's own behavior and thoughts, helpful to others through their own introspection.  But what's the difference?  Where is the line drawn that makes one blog seem like blathering and another one seem... good... or important?  Maybe it's purely technical, just the writer's ability.  I guess I tend to think it's more philosophical though, the intentions behind what is being written, and the meaning it has to the author.  I'm so afraid of seeming like the blathering type... but then, I'm doing this first and foremost for myself, my own personal record-keeping and need to process all of the (technical term here:) shit that flows endlessly through my head.  The infinite brain static.  And I suppose I need to keep in mind the reason that I've left this public instead of private, even though I doubt anyone will ever read it.  It's the risk factor.  I've avoided any form of risk and vulnerability for so long; probably my entire life in fact.  I feel horrible and guilty for thinking badly of those stay-at-home moms.  Who am I to judge them about anything?  Freedom of information, write about what's important to you.  If I really look at it, it's jealousy.  I'm jealous.  There's a part of me that wants so badly to be able to say that I love my life and I'm so happy and I want to share it with the world.

I can't though.  I don't have that.  I haven't since I was a very small child... which is almost worse, because I remember what it was like to be truly happy and to love life.  I remember telling my mom all the time how much I loved being alive.  And I think the difference between then and now is that I felt so certain about everything.  I was going to live in the same small house for my entire life because I loved it so much.  Now I look back at that place and realize the neighborhood was a bit scummy... the houses at the bottom of the hill were owned by a slum-lord.  My mom just told me a couple years ago that at one point those homes had dirt floors.  It's strange how kids don't notice those kinds of things, I mean there was no such concept for me as economic differences when I was in elementary school.  I think I also felt like I knew the way the world worked, and maybe all kids do.  Everything is so simple and concrete: there's good people and bad people, there's right things and there's wrong things, bugs are awesome, it's fun to play outside, my mom and dad are the coolest.  I was also so nonjudgmental of myself... I wish I could get that part back the most, sometimes.

I don't really know what direction this post is going in anymore... I originally thought I was going to write about the bad news I learned yesterday regarding my dad.  I suppose that hasn't processed enough, yet.  I feel pretty numb lately.  Stupid bodily defense mechanisms.  I can feel it when it's happening but I'm incapable of stopping it.  Intense emotion that feels like it's too much to handle is followed shortly with a wave of nothingness.  It's like being washed over from head to toe, like falling into a pool and emerging without any sense of feeling any longer.  I know why it happens, but I hate it.  I know it's there to protect me, but it also affects my ability to feel emotions like love.  I need to love, and my boyfriend needs to feel loved.  And I know for certain that it's still there, buried somewhere, but I can't seem to bring it to the surface despite my best efforts.  The one thing that I feel so grateful and lucky to have is my relationship with him; he is so understanding and caring and I feel terrible that he has to go through all of this with me.  He doesn't deserve it.  And if I think about it logically instead of emotionally, I don't deserve it either.  But he is an innocent bystander, and I just wish I could make it so he doesn't have to experience it, too.

Well, I suppose it's about time for me to commence with Valentine's Day preparation.  He was so sweet last night.  When I came home, he knew that I'd had a rough night so he surprised me with a GIANT V-day balloon and a box of chocolates a little early.  Now I just have to figure out how to compete with that.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Beginning

I believe in honesty.  I believe in the importance of being honest with yourself, your family, your friends, and everyone you may come upon.  And yet, I'm dishonest.  It's a rarity for me to be completely honest with any of these people.  I guard my feelings and thoughts like someone is trying to steal them.  I suppose this is the reasoning behind starting this blog.  This will be the first time in my life that I record exactly how I'm feeling, what I'm thinking, and what is happening in my life without judgment... I hope.

I named this blog "Brain Static" because sometimes my boyfriend teases me about reading other people's blogs.  He usually says, "It's just other people's random brain static.  Why do you like reading it so much?"  I don't know that I have a satisfactory answer for him.  For me, however, I've always been amazed at people's ability to be so honest online, showing their faces while they show us their hearts and minds... I know that it has helped me feel better to know that I'm not the only person who feels or thinks certain things.  My hope is that perhaps if someone stumbles upon my own meager brain static they might feel some form of catharsis from it as well.  Maybe I should have named this blog "Catharsis," because I'm hoping that along the way I will also gain it from the writing process.  ("Catharsis" doesn't stick it to my boyfriend the same way though...)

If you haven't already noticed, I'm choosing to remain anonymous on this blog.  I'm afraid at this point in my life I'm not strong enough to place my face behind my brain static; it's too vulnerable.  Perhaps in the future I'll feel differently about it and have somewhat of a "coming out."  We'll see.  However, I am leaving this blog public even though I doubt I will ever seek out any followers.  I guess this is my way of slowly becoming less vulnerable just knowing that people might see it, but most will not.

This is becoming a rather lengthy introductory post, but I think it's about time I start to open up a bit.  I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was 15 years old; I'm 23 now.  My depression waxes and wanes, as I believe it probably does for everyone else who experiences this debilitating disease.  In the interest of truth, I will post about depression from time to time, but I don't want this to purely be a "depression blog" -- this is only one portion of my life and I refuse to give it top billing.  Actually writing about my depression, especially in the depths of experiencing it, will be one of my biggest steps towards becoming honest with myself and others.

My father has stage 4 lung cancer.  I think this is technically the fourth time he's had some form of cancer.  He's 71 years old.  I'm sure I'll be writing more details about this at a later point as well, so at times this may be a bit of a grief blog.

I don't want this blog to be completely wrapped up in the tragedies I have, am currently, and am going to be experiencing, though.  There will be times that I will wake up in the morning (or afternoon) and want to write about whatever bizarre dream I had last night.  There will be times that I'll just have some strange philosophical question on my mind that I might write out.  Other times I might feel funny, or goofy, or crazy, or [insert emotion here] and I'll write about those thoughts and feelings.  I suppose the entire reason I'm saying any of this is just to break away from any labeling that may stifle or change the way or what I write about at any given time.

Well, here's to an interesting, semi-public journaling journey.  I have no idea where this is going to take me, as an individual or in my writing ablity/inablity or what the hell is going to come out of me.  But I feel a little excited about it.