The ugliness of survivors guilt

I have survivors guilt. BIG TIME.

In 2011 my husband saved my life. He paid attention! He knew I was crashing, and constantly being hospitalized for bleeding episodes. He is not a Hematologist, but he is very smart, summa top class of his class smart. He worked the problem, and I am alive today to tell the story.

He loved me enough to go to any measures necessary to save my life. He rushed me to the hospital, he begged his partners, and about five different specialty doctors to evaluate me.

The result? A diagnosis. One that was long overdue. He didn’t know what it had done to me neurologically.

As of today, it has been 8 years, and three months. I have seen many specialists, a new hematologist at VCU, and a fantastic psychologist, that has helped my brain heal.  I have IV medication (Von Willebrand serum) on hand if I need it, and medication for the constant bruising, and I am better.  I kicked opioids in April of 2018.  Although they gave me some the evening of my Brother’s death (IV) because I was in the hospital, and had to return the next day.  I did not take a prescription home, and I will never ever take them again no matter how much pain I’m in. Those drugs make everything worse.  Furthermore, they were making me stupid!  We have to get these drugs off the streets, and Doctor’s really need to evaluate how long to give them after an episode.

What I do know, is when my Brother Corey passed, I thought it was my fault. I had the records that he gave me, and I also had the records that the Hepatologist had given my husband with my Brother’s consent. That was in May 2018. He died on September 9, 2018.

Why? My sweet Sister and my parents are convinced that it was his time. God had called upon him as their Angel, and it was simply his time. I want to believe this simple analogy. It’s easier to accept. I’m listening to the audible Bible and halfway through. John 11 gives the most comfort. I just won’t lie. Given this history in medicine, and now this new learning in religion, I’m still 50/50. Could I have done more to save him as was done to save me?

My husband says NO. He says one is truly hereditary, and medical (me) and one is bad luck, or maybe lifestyle. That still doesn’t make sense because he held the same job for 18 years!  he was so beloved by everyone he met.  He still hasn’t been replaced at his former job he was so smart. I am a Mom had almost always had the luxury of being my own boss.  Some really successful endeavors, and some just ok.  I just knew that I had no choice but to survive.  That’s difficult to do when you’re exhausted after 13 surgeries and 11 blood transfusions.  I will never forget my husband rushing me to the hospital the last time with a hemoglobin of 4, begging his Partners to help saying  I was crashing fast.  So many Doctor’s and nurses rushing around, and my husband was not about it let me die.  When things looked like I wasn’t going to make it, my husband called my parents.  They rushed to the hospital, and at this point, I was about to just give up.  I was so tired, and I was ready to call it quits.  At that moment, I saw my Mom rush into the room.  I felt so guilty that I had always worried them so with so much medical trauma, so many hospital stays. I remember looking up at my Mom and thinking I have to fight.  I have to survive.  I can’t quit.  Mostly because she probably would have killed me herself if I didn’t fight for myself! Suddenly, I could almost feel my arms and legs again, I was turning the corner to hold on, more blood was on its way and my surgeon was racing to the hospital for another emergency surgery to try and stop the bleeding.

It’s difficult to comprehend. It’s hard to know that my Brother was such a better person than me, kinder, gentler than me but due to economic circumstances I survived? So, guilt?  You think?  Yep.  I have been upsetting my family.  Not on purpose, but they really believe it was his time to go, and I need to just give it up to God.  They believe God needed another angel.  So, because I love them so much, I am going to do just that.  I’m still going to give back to charities, pay it forward, and start awkward conversations that are for the greater good, but I won’t make it personal.

From here until eternity. I am going to believe in my family, that loves me. A sister that makes me laugh at loud, a niece that fills my heart with joy, and my parents who need peace.   They deserve some peace. This is my last post about this.

The end.

https://youtu.be/1SiylvmFI_8

Xoxo,

The Mask of the Doctors wife

Happy Birthday my sweet Niece!

Sweet Sixteen!

We are all starting to heal, just a little bit!

My precious niece was given a new car for her sweet sixteen! I was happy and fine all through the dinner. When my niece opened the keys to the Jeep, I had to hold back my tears.

Most people don’t understand. As we were walking outside for her to see the new Jeep, it was difficult to keep my shit together! I could just feel my Brother. We are a Jeep family.

My parents, her Mom, and I had kept this secret. I even cancelled plans with her that week because I knew she would ask questions, and although I could lie, this girl see’s it all written on my face! She is a carbon copy of my Brother.

Although I appreciate my niece’s Mom thanking Gary and I for writing the check, it was unnecessary. The debt will be paid back shortly with the life insurance money. (Now, I just have to convince my husband to accept it) This gift was truly from her Father, my sweet Brother who provided for her, in life, in love, and in death. We all cling to her. She is all we have left of him.

Tonight, was a good night. Happily dosing off to sleep early. Happily thanking God it all worked out. Happy to have my family, and so much love.

As a friend texted me earlier me earlier in the week, “We have turned ashes, into something beautiful”. Corey’s celebration of life and fundraiser for youth like my niece is March 12, 2019. Corey’s Birthday is March 7th. A day we will never forget, and his beauty remains forever. Please join us.

For at risk youth, in honor of Corey

Thank you to the 62 emails, 43 texts, and all the love we have received. If you know our family, we pay it forward.

Xoxo,

Mask of the Doctor’s Wife

Life is for the living…

Take the time to smell the flowers.

Welcome Scan

Two months and five days ago my families world stopped.  Yet, beautiful memories remain, and life slowly moves you forward.

This is hard stuff, we want desperately to go back, to watch the video memories.  So, if it’s one of those days that you just need peace, watch the video but keep facing forward.

Some on Corey’s greatest hits!

This is the Corey I know

The sunlight feels good again, and getting out and JUST doing what you can every day is the only way through it.  You just are, and you just must do it.  It’s the only way to rejoin the living and smell some flowers along the way.

I have learned it’s important to just let the waves of grief come, that freight train is probably still coming around for a while.  Then something odd happens, it’s not so bad, in some ways it has taught a valuable lesson.

Romans 8:28

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

My Brother is a beloved angel, and I now feel it’s okay to move on some.  He is with me in spirit, and he would want to see me living my life.  Easier said than done, however, we are all trying, hoping, and embracing positive change and unconditional love.  This is how it is written and at one point in my life, I believed God was no longer listening to me.  Time to change my tactics and instead of speaking, I am listening.  Listening with true intention.  This is a game changer.

My husband and I leave on a long-awaited vacation early tomorrow morning.  With any luck, I’ll be laying on the beach in the sun by 2:00pm.  We have both crawled, limped, and added crutches to get to this point.  We need time alone together, the to-do list needs to stop, we just need to LIVE and not worry about if the tears will come, just accept that they will, and then move on to the early morning Bloody Mary.  There is a God.

I would like to thank my countless girlfriends for holding me up.  I would like to Thank Anne Moss, Donna, Nikki, Wendi, Nichole, Katie and many other family members for listening to my GUT cry, without knowing how to help me put together my heart again.  My parents always prove to be so strong.  I was grateful for this but mourned for them anyway.  Sometimes the act of doing helps when there is nothing else to change an impossible situation.  Thank you, Jennifer, for reminding me that God is listening and helping me turn down the chaos and noise inside my head.  That was truly a remarkable gift, I think it’s what saved me.  Thank you to everyone else who dragged me along and refused to accept NO as my answer.

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This is US.  My loving husband has carried me a long way.  Our time together has become like a valuable commodity, this is my BIG takeaway, my big gift – finally time alone together.  I can already feel the sand on my feet, and the neverending love in my heart.  It grows more with every passing day.  #marryakeeper

Chapter 5 is an approved wrap!

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How many of you have had to re-live things in your life that were OK, good, great, terrible, horrifying, and yet you might feel like maybe you were your best self during some of that time?  If you can’t handle it, don’t write a book because you will re-live it!  As a young mother of two, when my oldest was in school, my toddler and I would paint, make chair rails with wall paper border, cook, clean, and plant tulips all over the yard.  We lived on a quaint ranch where wild flowers grew abundantly, and the tulip bulbs from Holland made our house look like a fairy tale.

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Yes, I did cook.  They may not have been the greatest meals, but I cooked them.  Enrolled my middle son in a Catholic preschool, went to soccer games, stopped at the 7 for a slippery! (aka 7eleven Slurpee)  Young love is fragile, and you are always guessing and wondering if the fairy tale you had always dreamed of was present.  One day I will never forget, I was giving the baby a bath – he LOVED the bath.  He was always splashing and loved the duck wash cloth.  So, needless to say, I looked like a mess with hair everywhere, drenched with water and baby wash when my first love walks in.  He looks at our baby and looks at me and says, “God you’re beautiful“.  I remember turning to kiss him, thinking he never comments on how I look when I try, but here I am a wet mess and this is the moment?  If I could talk to that young girl again, I would tell her life is filled with moments.  Some moments that can seem so simple, are actually the glue that holds everything together.

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Do I regret making the choice to leave?  No.  I think you can experience things for a moment, awhile, or a life time.  The knowledge that comes with it helps you make better life choices next time. Or you could know deep inside that there is a part of you that will always need to be a little wild, a little free, and the right person will respect that about you.  That’s real love to me.  Acceptance of the good and bad, whether right or wrong.  This is your hero.  He will save you every time, love you, understand every part of you.  He will make everything okay.  He will help you figure out who you really are, which is the greatest gift of all.  Then it will be okay for our princess to put the mask back on once and awhile. After all, who doesn’t love a little mystery?