Since Pawpa died my world spun so quickly, I was certain I was going to fall off and go hurling back into that black hole of depression; the one that is always threatening to make me hate everything, especially myself; the black hole which makes me wish death would put me out of my misery once and for all.
The hole was so deep I didn’t see how I would get out of it. I was trapped there for most of August((one of my shortest, but most intense, depressive episodes)). It was triggered by all the death, the loss of my job, the instability in my romantic life, my sister’s move to the east coast, and my being on the verge of financial ruin and homelessness once again. At one point, I had decided to give up and kill myself.
I’m used to January being a bittersweet month and I’ve come to expect February’s to hold some sort of devastation. However, February 2012 takes the cake, and that is no small feat considering Februarys past.
Within three weeks of Pawpa getting sick, he was gone; poof, just like that. We had little time to wrap our minds around his ultimate fate, much less accept it. Once hospice took over his care I knew it was just a matter of time, but I still hoped like hell that he would beat the odds. I tried to be there for him as much as I could in his last few weeks. How could I not? He was my Pawpa and I wanted to make sure that he knew how much I loved him. When I felt his last heartbeats and realized that he was gone, I wanted nothing more than to curl up next to him and take my last breaths as well.
I need to stop smoking. It’s getting too expensive, my job has made it harder to smoke during work hours, even on break, and the biggest reason of all: I just found out the best man1 I’ve ever known, my Pawpa, has lung cancer.
He was rushed to the hospital last week with chest pain. He had been tired and lethargic all week and my Granny thought he might have been having another heart attack. Turns out he was severely anemic and had to have a few blood transfusions. The doctors ran more tests and found an enlarged, hemorrhaging mass in his lungs. They admitted him for several days and did a biopsy.
- related to me [↩]
I began adulthood when I was five years old. It was gradual that first year, but after my mother got pregnant by my then step-father the learning curve grew steeper with each passing month. By my mother’s sixth month of pregnancy I learned Larry was an alcoholic pervert. By her seventh month, I had learned how to play opossum while being sexually assaulted. By her eighth month, I learned it was my duty to assume the responsibilities she ignored or forgot. By her ninth month, I learned how to take care of a baby because neither Larry nor my mother could be trusted to handle it. I fell in love with David the first time I saw him and I took my role as big sister very seriously. I knew I would protect him at all costs.
The day my mother and brand new baby brother were released from the hospital I learned Larry was also physically abusive and how to rescue them from him. I learned by sheer guy instinct. Larry was drunk and started arguing with my mother. She said something and he threw her up against the dryer and started slapping and punching her. He broke her glasses for the first time. I was screaming at him, trying to distract him and get him to leave her alone. The baby was crying. Mom took off outside to get away from Larry. I ran to David and picked him up; trying to soothe him and stop his crying. I was scared shitless that Larry was going to hurt him if I couldn’t settle him down.
After meeting my hematologist, in January, I started thinking about my health and what I need to do to make it better. He told me I have to stop smoking, start exercising, and lose weight. Smoking and all the extra weight I’m carrying increases my already high risk for stroke, blood clots, heart attack, embolus, and deep vein thrombosis. Those factors no doubt attributed to my high blood pressure and diabetes as well. I’m at a point where if I don’t do something to turn the decline of my physical health around it will kill me sooner rather than later and I won’t be able to carry a baby full-term. I can’t handle another miscarriage.
A few months after I graduated high school I embarked on a journey to lose weight. I succeeded. I lost 100 pounds in eight months, but I did it in a less than healthy way. I took prescription diet pills and I severely restricted my caloric intake. It got to the point where I would fast 3-4 days a week and on the days I would it, I wouldn’t eat more than 500 calories. I isolated myself from everyone. I was starving myself. My family was worried about me and there were rumors of me using meth to lose weight, which were untrue.