Sunday, November 1, 2015

Want to know what truy hitting rock bottom is? Here's one powerful story...

Tonight I'm up rather late and can't sleep. So I've decided to write and get caught up a bit. I wrote my latest Divorced Moms column (see below) and in a few hours, I'm going skydiving. Afterwards, William is cooking dinner for the whole family (it's my brother's birthday) while I pack up the girls and me. You see, on Monday morning, I am entering a five day hospital stay as part of a new clinical trial I've embarked on (details will come next week). I am having another auto stem cell transplant. This means four days of non-stop chemo in a bag, which my insurance company is requiring that I do as in-patient. So I am packing up delicious smelling shampoos, cute but comfy clothes (no reason I can't walk around the facility and, weather permitting) sitting outside in the lovely gardens and canyons, laptop, book and latest Vanity Fair. I can't remember how awful I feel during my 4-day chemo in a bag but if I need to sleep and rest a lot, I will. On Friday (my birthday, I get to go home to recover). If my numbers are where they need to be, I'll be doing the transplant a few weeks later. If not, I'll do another stink of chemo in a bag in-patient, followed by the transplant. The entire regiment will be done by Christmas, most of it I'll be home so lots of down time.

Last time I did this, I was far sicker, we had to harvest my stem cell transplants, and I had to do two back-to-back transplants, which is all far harder. Still (knock on wood), I came sailing through both. I did the big Amtrak trip across the country between the two, took up long walks and yoga, hung out with the kids at the pool. It was a touch, weak recovery, but I LIVED and I found time and energy to enjoy life. I hope the same is the case here.

So yesterday, we had a fun all-day Halloween fest. Nothing big or huge but it was fun to stay dressed up all day, do some shopping, get some lunch, and allow the girls to hook up with friends and trick or treat. They have today only the option of letting me buy their candy for $20 and I throw it all out. They've always taken me up on that offer-- pick a few pieces of their favorites then get cash. I hope they do this time, too, because, eeew, all that sugar.

So I am heading into transplant with a BIG HUGE BANG of jumping out of a plane. Let's see how resilient I feel coming out of the other side of this thing. Oh, and after my transplant, I will likely head to NIH in Washington, DC to get follow up Car-T cell therapy. It's free because it's run by NIH and there is a travel stipend to help with air and accommodations. Plus, this treatment is potentially curative and groundbreaking. Thing is, I have to get my markers down first, hence this dreaded transplant. Say prayers for me! And enjoy my latest blog post.

When An Addict Bottoms Out. A Powerful Journey Down Redemption Road
by Lizzy Smith for Divorced Moms                    

Share on Tumblr                                           November 01, 2015                

This is what hitting rock bottom might look like when you are married to an addict. Because an addict will never start the long, painful, lonely journey to health without hitting bottom first. When I thought I saw my now-ex hit rock bottom a few times during our marriage, when things got so unspeakably horrible between us, I thought, FINALLY, he'll start turning his life around! I was wrong, it was all a ruse, lack of will power, lies, you name it.

But sometimes, you hear stories from others and you think, “Now how does it get worse than this?” And when it really can’t, and there is nowhere left to go, the addict begins doing something different because life has truly become unsustainable for them and everyone else.

Such is the story of my friends “Wilma” and “Barney”, who I knew way back from our college days together. They were young and in love and I saw love and adoration in Wilma’s eyes every time she gazed at Barney. She acquiesced to everything he wanted and simply adored (even worshiped him). I knew they were destined for marriage and just days after they both graduated from college with degrees in hand, they had a big huge elaborate wedding and three adorable little boys, one after the next. They bought a house with a pool out in the Southern California suburbs. Wilma started a pretty successful homebased business while Barney found a solid job in Corporate America. They got a dog, Joe, a big huge golden retriever, and two cats, Fluffers and Buttercup, that sat on Joe’s back and gave him endless back massages. They were a sweet family and it was fun to go hang out over there. They were achieving the perfect American dream: frequent get-away cruises from the nearby terminals in Long Beach, family parties at their house, nice cars, cute boys, and a boat to go fishing in--quite the enviable life, right?

Wrong.

Barney started drinking with guys at work—they had a lot of privacy on the docks and many were also dabbling in drugs. To our knowledge, Barney didn’t do drugs but he loved his beer. Lots of it. And on his way home, the co-workers stopped for happy hours. And by the time Barney did make it home, he was stumbling, mumbling drunk. Wilma was sick with worry. He was going to get arrested. Worse yet, he was going to kill someone while drinking and barely able to get out of his car by the time he made it home. Wilma considered calling the police to report his drunk driving but she was frozen in fear. In California, it was a mandatory find, huge increase to get car insurance, and time spent in the slammer. He could get fired. They could get sued. She was numb, hopeless and beginning to feel that horrible emotion- contempt. And rage. And revulsion.

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