Unravel Cancer: Experiences with family battling cancer: November 2009
30 November 2009
21:58   J-Tree

The Joshua Tree trip, on the whole, was fantastic!

The funniest part was, people kept recognizing Chelsea's truck & asking if she was around. I had hijaked her identity! Our new neighbor across the street recognized her truck & introduced himself. We climbed together the first day. The second day was met with a group from El Portal, who _also_ recognized Chelsea's truck! They were curious about it, and were expecting her to pop into their campsite on the "campfire tour" at any moment. They got me instead, and hope I didn't disappoint... ;-)

I climbed a 5.9 route, "Nobody Walks in LA", on the Freeway wall the first day out - yay! It was fantastic! Had lots of everything, including a dicey slab-ish move at the beginning. The top was even harder, because I missed the giant jugs on the left-side of this finger-crack area. Just goes to show what can be done when a person doesn't put limitations in their own mind. Still made it up, even though the move was probably a 10.a...

The next day was spent with the El Portal crew, at the Bighorn Sheep Mating Grotto, in South Wonderland. We had to shimmy through a chimney to get to this nook of a canyon. It was such an out-of-the-way place, secluded & special. Battling a headache & weak stomach, it was only top-ropes for me. But the routes were glorious! The off-widths killed me though; something to work on for sure.

The next two days were spent at Gilligan's Island, in the North Wonderland, care of another pal of Chelsea's, Joe. He came by our campsite looking for partners, and mentioned Chelsea's name out of thin air... Coincidence? (read the book) Anyway, Joe hooked us up with excellent beta. The crag was in the sun, there were hardly any crowds, and the routes were challenging & fun. I lead two 5.7 cracks, and two 5.8 crack to slab routes. My climbing partner & I agreed "Hit it Ethel" was the most favorite out of the 3 days we climbed together.

Last day was met with rain, so we ended up bouldering in Echo Cove. In between showers, we hopped on Fun Stuff, which was really no fun til the 2nd bolt on the slab. Yet Another Dicey Slab. This was the mantra dogging me on the trip. But, the crack part was fun, indeed.

From there, we went to Barker Dam for bouldering, since another storm was blowing in. Just as we arrived, the slushy rain began to fall. The entire Barker Dam trail complex emptied out. As we fought against the tide of people running to their cars carrying bulky bouldering pads, one fellah shouted excitedly, "Ya know, it's snowing up there!". I responded with, "Yes, thank you.", and kept walking. A little snow won't stop us stalwarts! What was so great about this accidental strategy, was, the whole crag was empty! We had the entire Gunsmoke traverse to ourselves! It was a stroke of great luck. We didn't get too far on the traverse, then tried the High Noon hi-ball problem. I had forgotten how fun outdoor bouldering was...

All in all, the climbing couldn't be better. I lead lots of stuff, and felt very strong & confident on just about everything, despite the dicey slabs. I wanted to do another 5.9 before I left, but the rainy Saturday made it hard to commit to a climb that might require being on the crag for a while. Getting rained on in the middle of a crux move is no fun. It just means I'll have to go back...

Couldn't get to my photos cuz the camera isn't importing properly, so they will be on Facebook likely later. (Yup, finally got on that crazy thing...)

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22 November 2009
07:59   Joshua Tree

This morning is an exercise in patience. I've been negotiating for 4 days with a gal I've never met to drive to Joshua Tree. She's part of the group of friends driving down there this week for climbing.

She's gonna be an hour late, and so I'm zipping my lip, because I'm often the one that's late, and people have been accommodating & gracious to me in the past. Instead I'm using this time to write - always a good thing! And take my time with breakfast & packing the rest of the truck; it's nice to be relaxed.

Relaxation has eluded me in these last weeks. I haven't been getting good sleep for, truth be told, about 6 weeks now. The entire month of October was a joke for rest...

The result is my concentration and focus at work has plummeted. I'm so exhausted that I can't actually get to sleep at night. I have no drive or desire to go to work. It dawned on my the other day, that this is probably burnout.

So what has lead me to this point? What has lead me to snap at small things at work, and sacrifice sleep & self-care for my job? It's a fear that the truth will come out to my boss: I just don't want to be there anymore. And it's not because the job sucks or whatever, it's because I want to be close to my mom. I miss her, and I worry about her.

Now that the holiday season is here, my yearning to make sure she's ok has become quite strong. Truly it's a miracle of the 12-steps that I can even say this today. For many years, my relationship with my mom was estranged.

The illusion I put myself under all these months, has been removed. While trying to honor the experience of my old sponsor, I'm not making any major moves or decisions in my life til the 12 steps are completed. However, that means I'm living a lie, the lie that I really care about my job or what goes on here. Fact is: I don't. I care about how her physical therapy appointment went today. I care about whether my brother's feelings have come back in his hands & feet yet. I care about whether my mom got through her chemo week alright.

I don't care about whether the deals I'm supposed to do get completed on time, or whether we get a meeting with so-and-so, or whether the leads are coming into our portal system or not. As ungrateful as it sounds, I don't care if I work at this job anymore.

Despite these feelings, there are lots of promises of good things about my work. I missed out on a promotion, I got promised a payraise that didn't happen, I got promised an assistant that hasn't materialized, and I got reemed when I snapped at someone by email, even though a different person snapped at me a few days earlier and my boss did squat with that information.

These factors have lead to a deep dissatisfaction. Despite my best efforts & tools of the 12-step program, I'm in a funk about my work that feels pretty heavy & choke-holding. No matter what happens there, the point is I'm far away from my family, and they are dying. It's no good at all.

Tears are being shed, sighs are being breathed. And as I turn to friends and family for help, the message I get is, "Trust". Trust in a power greater than myself, in an entity that flows through the universe undetected by my blunt senses.

It's scary, it's hard, it's uncomfortable, but trying to control my circumstances is futile, and only causes me misery.

I'm not sure what the action steps will be, and I don't need to know them. But, there are options out there for me. I do have choices. I can choose whether to tell my boss or people at work about this deep longing in my heart, to see if there are options for me while maintaining my employment. Or I can start looking for work back in Chicago, or whatever.

For now, I'm gonna keep letting the tears fall. As I embark on the 8-10 hour roadtrip to Joshua Tree, I'm not going to deny my feelings anymore, and pretend I don't miss them. I'm not going to deny my anger about the injustice of the whole matter. I'm not going to deny my resentment at having to go through all this and how it sucks.

But, I'm also going to give thanks, for what the day offers. I'm going to celebrate the successes we have. I'm going to revel in the beautiful landscape as we drive by, and stay open-hearted to the gal coming over despite her very human failings.

As I'm typing this, the program "To The Best of Our Knowledge" is playing on the radio. The show is about the troops coming home from Iraq. We all have so much to be thankful for this holiday season. A tremendous amount of families will be celebrating the Season without their loved ones. At least my mom & brother are still alive. That alone is worth dropping on my knees and giving thanks for right now. It could be way worse.

I hope you'll listen to the program, as it was so powerful, I cried. Even if I can't find a connect to God for myself, I can pray for those families, for their healing, and the healing of our nation as well as the nation of Iraq. Both of our countries' collective unconscious has suffered tremendously. All things considered, the crap at my job seems much smaller now. Thank you Wisconsin Public Radio...


17 November 2009
23:47   Lust

It's been a long while since I posted, but this is a topic that's been on my mind, and thought it warranted a quick post.

Lust is a powerful drug. It took me weeks to "come off" the high of this last dude. My hormones were in such overload, I thought I would explode. It was even bad during my period - go figure! TMI, maybe yes, but fact is girls feel sexual stuff, too. And trust me when I say, I'm leaving out a _lot_ of details.

Anyway, experiencing the physical withdrawal brought about much new understanding about my actions & behavior. So much so, that when I told my new sponsor about it, she recommended a new 12-step group that specifically focuses on sex & love issues.

Holy crud, not another program! Will I ever get my life back?! Is there such a thing as too much processing?

Despite my resistance, going to these meetings really helps. People talk about their issues with dating & sex, etc. with such a loving frankness, it's blown my mind. What they have done, is capture a language around what we all have experienced. Having the structure of words to describe my experiences has exponentially increased my understanding of my own dating & love & (let's face it) lust issues.

Lust is a blocker. It's one of the best ways to block out my feelings of loneliness, block out my fears, block out emotional intimacy between me & the other person, block out the reality of a potential incompatibility, and the list goes on.

It also blocked out my ability to make good choices with my work. And it blocked out my connection with my sponsor, and my Higher Power. It is one of the most solid walls, or blocking surfaces ever created.

But, damn, it feels good!

Lust makes me feel alive. It provides me lots of attention, and feeling desired feels nice. Plus, it can drive some really amazing sex...

But, I've come to realize Lust is not what I want in a relationship. It will prevent long-term seeds from being planted, like making the soil too acid or alkaline. It's one thing to have some amount in the "honeymoon period" of a new relationship; but it's an entirely other thing to have it be the foundation of the whole enchilada. If there is not other intimacy, friend intimacy, etc., then 9 times out of 10 things will fall apart.

This does not apply to everyone. I've met several people who have started a relationship based on the physical, and it lasted many years. In one case, the couple have been married for 15 years.

But for me, personally, lust-based hookups don't last. It's really my preference to get to know the person better, and have some knowledge or understanding of them before hopping in the sack. It creates safety for me, allowing me to relax & be care-free.

I'm passing out at the keyboard, so that's all I got...

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about this blog

I'm a 30-something professional woman who's mother & brother were both diagnosed with Grade 3 Astrocytoma tumors within about a week of each other. My mother's tumor is in her brain, and my brother's tumor is in his spinal cord, causing him to lose feeling in his arms & legs. These writings are about my experiences dealing with them, coping, loving them, loving myself, and living my life knowing that they are both dying. I hope you find inspiration and courage from my writings to help you get through whatever is going on in your life.

Lady Vroom


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