Update - eventful year, difficult child still doing poorly

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by katya02, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Hi everyone, I've been away for a little over a year ... for which I'm sorry, because this place has been a tremendous support and a rock in the middle of the raging river over the years. I just became a little overwhelmed last fall, trying to get my ducks lined up and figure out where my life was going to go, and I hunkered down and sort of isolated myself. I'd come to a point where I was so stressed, angry, and demoralized within my marriage that I decided I had to leave and make it on my own. Lots of backstory to that, but the short story is that I couldn't get over certain things that had happened in the past, while the kids were growing up. I found a training program that would let me write exams and be employable in future, applied and was accepted, and then prepared for life on my own. I started my new training program June 30, my divorce came through July 6, and I was diagnosed with breast cancer July 30.

    It's been a tough summer and fall. I'd started seeing someone just before my divorce came through, someone I'd known slightly for years, always liked, and I really really hoped things would go well, was very very happy to be starting a new relationship. When my diagnosis happened, he dropped me like a stone, about as coldly and brutally as humanly possible, with not even the most basic courtesy or kindness (i.e. didn't say 'I'm sorry - that's really bad' or 'How are you doing?', just 'I don't want any new relationship! No expectations that I cannot live up to!'). I had already given him an 'out', telling him that I didn't expect him to hold my hand through this. I am still in pain about it; nothing to be done, and I know he's a jerk, but it still hurts terribly.

    And my ex (who didn't know I'd just started seeing someone) was devastated to hear of my diagnosis, offered his help in any/every way possible, and has been my chief support through multiple surgeries, complications, and now chemo. Life is not simple. I am very grateful to my ex; I literally couldn't have made it this far without him. I moved to another state for this training program and knew no one there at the time of my diagnosis. Getting care wasn't straightforward and I've had about every side effect and rare complication possible, and he's helped me through it all. So I'm taking things a bit at a time and we'll see, maybe we'll be able to work out the problems that existed before.

    difficult child had major health issues in the past year; multiple pulmonary emboli in all areas of both lungs this past spring that put him in hospital for days and then home on oxygen. He also has very bad sleep apnea and is on CPAP now; also has bad back pain and has been on heavy-duty narcotic medications from the local pain clinic for over a year. That's not a great thing given his addictions, but he seems to be fairly stable on them. He's still drinking, which is scary with his other health problems. He feels he's going to die with his health problems and tells me that I have nothing to worry about, because after a year I'll be cured! I wish. He still sees me as the villain in his life and takes any opportunity to take offense or claim that I've ruined his life. He took offense two days ago when I asked him to tone down his language somewhat, as we were all going to be careful of language at Thanksgiving because easy child 2 was having a guest and her little brother over; they come from a very very conservative culture and we didn't want them to be uncomfortable. difficult child took umbrage and informed me that he would absent himself over Thanksgiving because I'd insulted him so severely; he did end up coming over in the morning, then informed me he was leaving, but came back just for dinner. He didn't speak to me at all, then left right after dinner without saying goodbye (although he said goodbye to his father and sibs). I admit, it upset me a lot. I just can't seem to be anything but his villain and scapegoat. That seems to be my role in his life no matter how much I do for him.

    Ah well. I'll browse through the threads and find out what's been happening. I hope all are well.
  2. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Katya, I was just thinking about you a couple of days ago.

    Wow, a lot of life changing events in a short amount of time. I'm so sorry to hear of your diagnosis and complications with treatment. I'm glad your ex is there for you and you're not going through this alone. As for difficult child, well that's so typical for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Definitely doesn't make it feel any better though.
  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Boy, life sure can get complicated in a New York minute can't it. I'm sorry you have had so many challenges in such a short period of time. My guess is that it is just as traumatic to face cancer when you are a medical professional as it is when you are medically ignorant...I can relate to the shock and other emotions that you faced. It is wonderful that you have had strong support from your Ex. Fingers crossed that all goes well. Are you altering your diet to organic dairy, produce etc.?

    I have a difficult child grandson who has some of the same diagnosis's as yours. My goal is to avoid "stress" which is not easy with a difficult child or two. Anyway (Thank God I do still have a sense of humor!) when the family was informed that I had colon cancer everyone was shocked and saddened. difficult child looked at me and said "I don't know what the big deal is, Mama. You're old and expected to die anyway." Everyone's jaw dropped and I burst out laughing. "Yep, son, you're right."
    Aspergers, BiPolar (BP), ADHD plus another diagnosis or two....yep, you never know what's coming out of the mouth next.

    I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers with hopes that your new career will bring great happiness. Meanwhile, don't eat any normal apples, celery, bell peppers, peaches, strawberries, imported nectarines, kale/grees, grapes, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, blueberries, potatoes or green beans. You may have to hit your 401K but "organic" is available for those things as well as low fat milk, eggs, cottage cheese etc. Choosing your fish and your chicken will be another challenge.......and will keep your mind off difficult child. DDD :choir:
  4. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    I had to laugh at your story of your difficult child's reaction to your diagnosis - yep, we never know what's going to come out of their mouths! My difficult child is convinced that this is just a minor blip and I'll be cured within a few months, and that's fine. I have no intention of telling him otherwise.

    You're right, the diagnosis was a huge shock; it didn't matter that I'm in the profession. I found the lump in my right breast purely by accident one evening while getting ready for bed, and from the start I knew it was bad. That didn't make the formal diagnosis easier, though. I spent two or three weeks unable to put two coherent thoughts together, unable to function beyond the most basic activities of daily living. I've never had stress do that to me before - my brain literally didn't work. I found that, once my ex came to my new town and went with me to a few appointments and just hugged me and held my hand, I could think and plan and organize myself. I'm sorry to hear that you've had a colon cancer diagnosis. You know the ropes! I'm glad you have supportive family as well. At the moment I'm trying to finish my fall semester courses while doing chemo and it's a challenge. I think I can do it - and it helps keep my mind occupied. I worry about chemo-brain but the course work might actually help (I hope!).

    I hear you about nutrition and organic foods. I had a lot of disbelief and anger right at first, because in the past couple of years (especially the past year) I've eaten an extremely healthy whole foods plant-based diet, lost considerable weight, become physically fit, and felt better than I had in many years. Of course that's all good, it's given me a good place from which to start this fight, but it made the diagnosis more of a shock. However, realistically I hadn't eaten well for the preceding few decades! Not such a surprise, then, that things had gone drastically wrong with my body. For now I'm continuing with the good diet, only organic produce (and only cooked, while I'm doing chemo - I miss my salads SO much!), very little soy if any, low fat ... trying my best. This cycle I've had side effects that made my mouth very painful and scrambled eggs are the only thing I can eat comfortably some days, so I get local source organic/free range eggs. Once I'm done with my program, if things work out and I return to the property my ex and I still co-own, I want to get some heritage breed chickens and maybe a few turkeys. I also want to greatly expand the garden. But that's in the future.

    Thanks for sharing, DDD! I hope you're doing well and coping with your treatment. This diagnosis has somewhat changed my thoughts about future work - I'm far more interested in environmental and public health issues (always was, but now it's very personal) and am thinking I'll look for work in those areas rather than strictly Occupational Medicine. It would be very satisfying to do something that might help lower risk for women in the future.
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Not to prolong the cancer topic for all those on the Board who haven't had to deal with it but your post is quite a coincidence. Literally one year before my diagnosis I signed up for a 24 hr gym, eliminated all high calorie low nutrition foods, upped my consumption of water and weighed in at my target weight of 135. I was SO proud of myself as I achieved the goal and attended my grandchild's wedding looking PDG for an old lady, lol. Then I decided to try again to quit smoking and gave up the weed in January. Hmm...you know where this going, don't you? LOL

    Like you I feel betrayed by the diagnosis. I am not "in treatment" but am living as healthy a lifestyle as I can...still sans cigarettes which I would give my left arm for. We'll see what the future brings. I'm doing my best but circumstances make it impossible for me to live healthy and stress free. From nerves I have gained 15 pounds since my surgery in March......and I am not eating garbage. Sigh. Anyway I wish you the very best in your efforts and am glad that you have rejoined the CD family. Hugs. DDD
  6. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Wow, that really is a coincidence ... I guess any more discussion should take place in a health-related forum, but I appreciate you sharing your story. I have also regained some weight (10 or 12 lb) since my diagnosis, partly due to not being able to work out post-surgery (endless complications, hyperbaric therapy, skin grafts - I'm not cleared yet to work out my upper body) and partly due to the steroids. I'm trying to eat right and keep my weight in check. Until I'm done with chemo, though, I don't want to risk the university gym; too many viruses etc. Anyway - thanks for the welcome back! I wish you all the best as well. Wish we could truly live stress-free, but that's not likely in the near future ...
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    I am so sorry you are dealing with breast cancer. I hope and pray that you are able to get a clean bill of health after treatment. It is wonderful that your ex is able to be your friend and support through this, even so soon after the divorce. Often we don't realize what people mean to us until it is too late to do anything about it, and it is great that the two of you were able to put the problems aside and be a team through this. It means you are both very special people.

    difficult children often have no real clue what ownership of problems belongs to them. I know my bro and my son both have very skewed recollections of the past, and opinions of me. I am hopeful that with time and maturity my son will realize a few things, and happy that bro is not part of my life even though it does often complicate things.

    (((((hugs))))) and the very best healing vibes to you!
  8. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Thank you, Susie ... very much appreciated! I hope things continue to go well with ex-husband ... unfortunately there are problems looming on the horizon but that should probably go in another forum.

    I sympathize about difficult children and ownership of problems, and especially about skewed memories/perceptions. That's a huge issue with my difficult child, always has been. This week he spent more time with us than he has for quite awhile, but it ended badly ... and when easy child 3 took him out to a movie last night he ranted at her the entire time. How ex-husband and I have abandoned him, how he does all the work at the main house (!!! - he feeds four cats once daily when ex-husband is visiting me to help after chemo - doesn't clean litter boxes or do anything else - !!!); how his brothers treat him like dirt; how I offended him and he's not going to speak to me until I apologize. Oh really. Guess we have different perceptions of THAT interaction, big surprise.

    I just can't take the drama and upset anymore. I refuse to visit him only to be manipulated and cast as the villain, and not only have him be rude and deliberately hurtful to me, but rant about me to his younger sister. Ex-husband's only comment was that I should leave it to him to talk to difficult child; all right, fine. But ex-husband has always refused to believe anything I tell him about my conversations with difficult child, saying he wasn't there and has no way of knowing who's telling the truth. REALLY? When he knows that difficult child lies like he breathes? But no, I guess there's an equal chance that I'm lying through my teeth. This didn't come up explicitly at Thanksgiving but is the subtext when ex-husband says things like 'just let me talk to him in future' and declines any further involvement.

    So, ex-husband can have ALL further involvement as far as I'm concerned. I know the abandonment issues are Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) stuff and my diagnosis would be a big trigger (at least I think so, never know), and difficult child can be expected to lash out. But I'm so done with being verbally lashed by difficult child. So ex-husband can handle it with my blessing and I know nothing I ever say or do will make a difference to difficult child anyway. That ship has sailed, I think. No matter what, I'll always be his villain. It's a nice, safe role for me to have in his universe. It's not something I can change. I can still love him, he's my son, but the interaction is very difficult.
  9. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    difficult child is now managing to tick off even his father. His dad has been making considerable effort with difficult child over the past several months, helping him find a new apartment, moving him in with the help of one of diagnosis's partners, shopping with him for groceries, taking him to the movies and out for dinner weekly, and calling/stopping in to visit almost every day on his way to or from work.

    difficult child has gained a great deal of weight since his daughter died in 2010. He's now morbidly obese, had multiple pulmonary emboli to both lungs in May 2011, and has a great deal of back and muscle pain. He's had MRIs and CTs, but nothing shows that is structural - i.e. fixable - to explain his pain. He's on very high doses of pain medications now, more than the pain clinic doctor is comfortable with. The bargain was that Ggf would get active as soon as he had some relief with the medications, and then the doses would come down.

    Currently difficult child stays up all night on his computer and sleeps all day. He never makes the phone calls he needs to make because he doesn't wake up until 6 pm (!), and then complains that utilities and doctors' offices are impossible to deal with. He tries to push the calls onto diagnosis but hasn't been successful with that. He also stopped his PT after the blood clots, but has been cleared to go back for many months. He doesn't go. Now he needs to go and see about insurance because of being switched from MA to Medicare, and he needs a new order from the PCP to restart the therapy - easy to get, just a phone call. But he hasn't done anything. diagnosis just bought him a $2800 bed like the ones in the sleep study clinic because difficult child said he was very comfortable during the study. Currently difficult child sleeps on a recliner because he says it's too painful to lie down flat in bed. So the expensive bed arrives tomorrow, but diagnosis is becoming frustrated as he sees that difficult child won't lift a finger to pick up the phone, much less go to PT. diagnosis assumes everyone thinks like he does; he goes on and on about how if HE were in this situation, he'd be doing this or that ... can't grasp that difficult child isn't HIM and he has to look at what difficult child is doing/willing to do. Until difficult child decides it's important to him to lose weight, get to PT, and make a few necessary calls, nothing will happen. If difficult child alienates diagnosis, though, he'll really be on his own. It may take that, although it'll mean a crisis with his coumadin medications, alcohol/drug overuse, you name it. And when difficult child gets really upset he cuts ... on coumadin that won't go well, he'll end up in the local ER.

    diagnosis is astonished, perplexed, and unable to comprehend this behavior. If he'd paid attention at all for the past, oh, 24 years, he'd be clued in. I admit, it doesn't improve my attitude toward diagnosis when he's so incredulous - makes me want to snap at him. I advocated for my little boy all these years and struggled through his care, had him turn on me for'drugging' him, watched him refuse all help, watched him lose weight and become active when HE wanted to ... none of this is news. It's hard to deal with but not news. So my resentment ratchets up when diagnosis is blindsided by all of this and venting to me.