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Archive for May, 2011

Anxiety Attacks? Seriously?

Well, I think I am having panic attacks or anxiety attacks or whatever you want to call them……great…….what else……

We had an incident at the theatre this weekend that resulted in name calling and hurt feelings…..and that seemed to catapult me into this thing…..I wasn’t even sure WHAT it was…..but the next day I started thinking about what happened then it snowballed into “what do these people even KNOW about pain and suffering” then before I know it I am a hysterical mess wondering how I even got to this point in my life…..and how unfair all this is…..and how we go to these appointments and everyone in the waiting room is old….except us…..and that makes it all the more apparent how “I am not even supposed to be here!” (“Clerks” reference!)

I know I am getting wound up because on Thursday they are going to start pumping poison into my husband in order to save his life…..we are at the starting gate once again to another difficult chapter in this cancer saga……so Paul and I are both confident that is the source……

So I spent Memorial Day with a slight Valium buzz…….I hate taking them……but Paul insists that is what they are there for……but it makes me feel weak….and a little doped up……but I shouldn’t fight it so much….it’s better that bursting out in tears for no apparent reason…..

And I have a lot of anger…..that’s in there too…..that became VERY apparent this weekend……..I mean, I am pretty pissed…..but at what? ……..God? no……..I have “been there and done that” and THAT isn’t it at all….heck, He CARRIES me through this so that’s not it…..the circumstances of my life? Well I guess…….I mean….I feel like such a baby…..crying about how unfair all this is and how I just wish I could wake UP from this nightmare…….

……but I never do…….

But they don’t last very long…….and I shake it off and move on……but I feel a little better knowing what they are……that they have a name…….and that I am not going crazy……

Anxiety attacks and their symptoms

Anxiety attacks, known as panic attacks in mental health circles, ­are episodes of intense panic or fear. Anxiety attacks usually occur suddenly and without warning. Sometimes there’s an obvious trigger— getting stuck in an elevator, for example, or thinking about the big speech you’re giving in a few hours—but in other cases, the attacks come out of the blue.

Anxiety attacks usually peak within ten minutes, and they rarely last more than a half hour. But during that short time, the terror can be so severe that you feel as if you’re about to die or totally lose control. The physical symptoms are themselves so frightening that many people believe they’re having a heart attack. After an anxiety attack is over, you may be worried about having another one, particularly in a public place where help isn’t available or you can’t easily escape.

Symptoms of an anxiety attack include:

  • Surge of overwhelming panic
  • Feeling of losing control or going crazy
  • Heart palpitations or chest pain
  • Feeling like you’re going to pass out
  • Trouble breathing or choking sensation
  • Hyperventilation
  • Hot flashes or chills
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Nausea or stomach cramps
  • Feeling detached or unreal

Is This The Plight of the Caregiver?

I don’t want to talk about it……I CAN’T talk about it……it’s like sticking your finger in the dam and more holes keep opening up…..or you are blockading yourself in a house during the zombie apocolypse…..ANYTHING to keep from being overwhelmed……and I see myself just shoving back….desperately…….but I feel like I am starting to lose this battle……

I don’t want to think of anyone reading this…..I don’t want to think of anyone even KNOWING I feel this way……hell I don’t even want to acknowledge it…….this overwhelming amount of pressure…..but my therapist has health problems and keeps canceling my appointments so I guess this blog will have to do…..it’s my way of preserving my sanity.

I knew I was going to have to step up…..I knew that as soon as Paul was diagnosed…..but this total loss of my identity has surprised me. Those that know me well know I am an “all in’ kind of girl. I don’t half ass anything…work, personal, love, family…..it’s all the way with me…..so the role of “caregiver” has become my new identity. My entire life revolves around my husband and his health……what is he eating….is he resting enough……how does he feel…..is he getting a fever?…..it’s INSANE the amount of energy I spend worrying about him……and it’s not even a conscious thing anymore, like it was when he was first diagnosed……it’s more like “daily monitoring”….I don’t know……I don’t know what I am doing or how any of this is supposed to work…..

And it just seems to be getting worse…….chemo is coming on Thursday so that may be the source of this new round of anxiety…….honestly though, I don’t think that’s it. Actually, I KNOW that isn’t it……God this just kills me to say this but the stress of our financial situation is starting to take its toll.  Paul’s unemployment recently ran out……and let’s face it….who is going to hire him now? I sure as hell wouldn’t hire a man about to start chemo and radiation….no matter HOW talented he is…..it just isn’t going to happen……Fortunately my unemployment is still in place but we now need to replace that $1000 a month. A part-time job that we were SURE was a lock didn’t happen……so that has definitely thrown me into this funk……where I feel like it’s all on me……but it was our own fault really….we broke the Team Klemm Rule #1….NEVER count a sale until it’s in writing…..NEVER bank on a deal until it’s done…..and we did. We thought it was a sure thing….all done except dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s……so when he came home and said it wasn’t going to happen I was crushed….seriously…..I freaked…..

We have talked about my getting a “regular job” but the fact is my unemployment is MORE than what I can get with a regular job. I don’t want to take a pay cut to work some shit job somewhere. Part of the problem is I have the “stink of sales” on me. What does that mean? When you go through your life as a successful salesman, companies don’t WANT you to work in their back office or anywhere else for that matter….they see you can SELL and that is where they want you…..so as much as I want to stay off the floor they won’t allow it…..so my successful sales career has pretty much screwed me…..so YES, I could go sell cars…..but I would HATE it, the hours would suck and I wouldn’t make that much more than we are making right now so what’s the point?

There is only ONE option and that’s to make Little Dog Entertainment work. I had to almost completely cut bait on LolaBelle’s in order to put all that time and energy into LDE. The booking agency just delivers more “bang for my buck”. I can make a lot more $$ with it than I can expending the same amount of energy on LolaBelle’s so onto the back burner goes the dog treats and it’s make or break time with the booking agency.

Don’t get me wrong….I LOVE working the booking agency……but right now I am the ONLY one working the booking agency…..Paul is so consumed with re-working the score for The Producers there is no TIME to help me with the business….and there hasn’t been….for like 2 MONTHS……but I have to give him kudos because he COMMITTED to doing this score and really didn’t have any idea how difficult or time-consuming it would be….after all, he did the same thing with the score for Cabaret right?…..um, NO……this thing is HUGE…..but Paul isn’t a quitter and so he marches on….several hours a day….with his nose in a musical score and computer software…..for HOURS at a time……and it’s all pro bono work…….

I just hate the pressure of it……..it’s been a while since I worked a kitchen table and closed a deal…..so I am rusty to begin with….but when you walk in you have to make sure you don’t reek of despiration….that’s where lesser salesmen screw up…..clients can sense desperation when you are trying to close a sale…….and I am not sure I have ever been more desperate……so I will have to really “bring it” next week when I meet with funeral directors, retirement home directors and event planners next week…..

So I feel a little better…..thank you Dr. Blog…..send me your bill…….Oh wait, on second thought….DON’T! I can’t pay it anyway! ha ha ha! But seriously, I can feel the tension is somewhat gone……and I can move on with my day and make it productive now….instead of dealing with all this anxiety….which is now on these pages and out of my system……and there is no solution other than “work harder Lisa”……that is the only way out of this mess……but taking my fears and dumping them here on my blog allows me to do that……

So send us some prayers and good thoughts my friends! I know I am REALLY needing it right now……

We Have a New Driver!

Well I took my 17-year-old daughter to the DMV today to get her license. This is a HUGE deal for us…..she has been talking about this moment since she was 9…..couldn’t wait to grow up since the minute I got her…… and I just cut her loose with my car for the first time…..

Truth be told, I needed this moment with her……. Paul lost a “sure thing” job last night…….one we really needed and were foolishly banking on…..so it was nice to have bright spot in my 24 hours of tears…..

The fact is she has come a long way…… we both have…….raising this teen girl hasn’t been easy but we have finally fought our way through to the other side…..where we can talk like grown women……and I can give her the space she needs……truth be told a lot of the problem was me……I had no idea letting her go would be so hard…..

Musical Interlude-The Band Perry

One of the things I love about having Pandora radio is it sends you new songs it thinks you will like…..and I am in love with this one…..bring a tissue…..

What a Week!!

Well Opening Weekend of the Full Monty at the Aurora Arts Theatre was a HUGE success!! It was one of the most AMAZING experiences of my LIFE! The show was fun to watch and even MORE fun to be in! Be sure to see it!

The Full Monty 

Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $14; $12 for seniors, students, and military
Click here to order your tickets online or call 361.851.9700.

Book by Terrence McNally; Music & Lyrics by David Yazbek

Seeing how much their wives enjoy watching male strippers during their “Girls’ Night Out,” unemployed steelworkers in Buffalo, New York come up with a bold way to make some quick cash.  In the process, they find renewed self-esteem, the importance of friendship, and the ability to have fun.  There is great heart to The Full Monty, and the themes expressed about taking charge of one’s life and following one’s dreams are great lessons for  everyone.

Paul came for Opening Night and for the Sunday Matinee and just LOVED the show! He spent all day Saturday working on the score for The Producers. That is the next show coming to the Aurora and Paul is working very closely with the Director to ensure another fantastic Aurora Arts Production! He also attended the auditions for the show and got to give input on all the talented people who showed up for roles. One of those people was our daughter, trying out for her first musical! Paul said she did very well so here is hoping she scores a part and follows her momma onto the stage!

On the medical front we are all ready for chemo at CTRC in San Antonio to start on June 2nd. We met with the Radiation Oncologist last week to go over Paul’s radiation treatment regiment. Dr. Stewart and the staff at Spohn Cancer Center were wonderful. They went over what to expect, what the treatment will be like and the effects and how to deal with that. We will start Radiation at the end of June. We will go in for a “test run’ the week before. That’s when they will mark and position the targets for his body (he will receive tattoos!) and they make a mold around his body so he will be able to stay in the correct position while receiving the treatment. It’s very precise and they take a lot of care to ensure the radiation is going right where it needs to go.

People that receive radiation in the abdomen usually experience effects like nausea, vomiting, etc. which we were prepared for anyway. The biggest challenge for Paul will be fatigue. They gave us lots of literature and we had to watch a video, etc…..so when he starts we will be there 5 days a week. Usually we will be there only about 30 minutes. Once a week we meet with Dr. Stewart so that might take an hour….but that’s all. And it’s a 10-15 minute ride from the house…..easy peasy…..

So family and friends, that pretty much brings you up to date!

Time for Tech Week!

The Full Monty opens THIS FRIDAY!! I can’t even believe it’s almost here…….we will be spending this last week fine tuning and working with props and adding mics and lights and costumes……so it’s going to be busy, busy, busy…(“and I don’t have the patience or the time!”  LOL)

Paul is spending more and more time with us as well….helping cast members with vocals and working with the band. He isn’t playing but he is helping pull it together….because it HAS to be incredible…..and I KNOW it will! So I am not sure there will be many postings this week but you never know…..

He has been feeling so-so this weekend. We partied a little too hard on Friday night and he has been slow to recover. No alcohol of course but just a long day and a late night with lots of excitement…..I wouldn’t be surprised if he was coming down with a little bug. Flu virus is running rampant….but he is taking it easy and resting as much as possible…..

Chemo starts June 2nd and we have nothing to do between now and then other than get a baseline CT. His big scar lost its last scab and it looks fantastic. The 2 drains are mostly healed up as well. He still has one tiny tube in but that will be removed in a couple of weeks. The port incision looks great as well so Paul is a fantastic healer!

But I can tell he is frustrated at his loss of stamina. A few hours at the theatre doing what he loves leaves him exhausted. He can only work an hour or two on “The Producers” and he has to lay down and rest……I can see he is hating it…..he doesn’t say a word….not one complaint….. but I know my husband…..but he rests a while and then works a little more…..he will come to terms with this just like he did with his new eating habits……but being FORCED to do something has never been Paul’s forte……so I sence the frustration when his body betrays him, sending him to the couch for a nap, when he would much rather be working……

But we were told to expect good days and bad days…..unfortunately they come in packs of 2, 3 or 4 days together and that makes it tough…..but I think in a day or two he will start a run of good days and be feeling better and with a little more energy than the week before……

And he can work as much or as little as he wants at the theatre…..he loves to go that is for sure…..it’s such a happy place for him and I know he is very excited to see me…..my nerves are starting to work up but hey, it’s too late now! So come see our show “The Full Monty” at the Aurora Arts Theatre! Starting Friday May 20th and will run approximately 7 weeks.  Shows will be Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 and Sunday Matinee at 2: 30. Tickets are $14 and you can buy them online at www.AuroraArtsTheatre.com OR call 361-851-9700 and Mary will hook you up! This show is about laid off steel workers in Buffalo doing a one time strip show to make $50K…..will they go the Full Monty?? Guess you’ll have to COME SEE THE SHOW!!

*Parents: in my opinion, I wouldn’t bring younger than 13 to this show. There WILL be butt cheeks but the rest will be left to the imagination…..there are drug references and some cursing (and did I mention BUTT CHEEKS?!?)  but that’s it 🙂 You decide…..my kids are going if that helps 😀

Why Are These Things HAPPENING????

It is the question so many of us ask when things don’t go our way…..we lose a job or your car window gets busted out or your husband gets diagnosed with cancer…….it’s so EASY to ask why these things are happening….like we are entitled to an easy, stress and drama free life…..

Sorry kids…..it just doesn’t work that way……

I have heard this message over and over the last several years courtesy of my wonderful Pastor and it’s taken 40 (something) years to finally figure it out…..God isn’t “doing this” to you…..He just doesn’t work that way… ….it’s so easy to slip into the “woe is me” and “why is God doing this to me”  mode when things go sideways……

I know I used to do it…..I spent a lot of time in my early 20’s pretty pissed off at Him…….but I grew up and learned to see things in a different way…..that we ALL have trials and tribulations and it’s not going to stop…..it’s US that needs to change….change how we look at it all……

A friend of mine posted this article and that is really what prompted this post. It’s titled “What to do, what to think when crisis arrives”  I especially liked the quote at the end…

Perhaps the best way to meet the crises of our lives is to admit them and their accompanying feelings, spend time in genuine reflection, and be painfully honest with ourselves.

I know when we are hit with some big news I go into about a 24-48 hour funk……I may cry all day or lay in my tub for 5 hours but that is just the processing taking place……and that is my time of reflection…..I allow myself to feel it all and I take that time to express all my fears and sadness and I can give it all away……and He takes it every time……and then I can let it go…… and that’s the hardest part…..letting it GO……sure, it comes back and rears its ugly head again so you give it away….AGAIN….and again and again and again…..whatever it takes……

It’s taken a lot of years and a lot of tears to make it here……it’s what works for me…….but spending my life moping around and complaining how hard my life is isn’t the answer…….for me or anyone really……what makes me so special that I should be exempt from the tragedies of life? Saint or Sinner….. none of us makes it out of here without trials and tribulations……and it’s learning how to deal with it that makes your life wonderful or unbearable…….

make it wonderful…….

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