Saturday, August 6, 2011

Flat Lining

Being on anti anxiety medication was very frustrating but also helpful. While I would only last 3.5 weeks on it before I decided to get off it, it helped me get back on scale. Before that, friends has mentioned that I needed to go to church, go do yoga, get laid, get back to running, get back to ultimate, get drunk, try a new drug, start a new hobby and all types of advice to distract the brain from the problems of the heart. Friends had been worried because I was so far off rhythm that I was suicidal; I wasn't but none of them had ever seen me this down. I had been having nightmares about my wife being gone and waking up after pretty much every sleep cycle. I'd started missing a good chunk of the anti-seizure medication halfway out of lack of motivation and halfway from simply just forgetting. On the nights she had Kiana, me a guy, who had never really drank would take a shot or two of tequila to try to get back to sleep. I all but stopped eating and lost almost 10 pounds where I literally was weighing in at less than the day of the marathon. Let's just say my doctors started to worry about the guy who had come out so fast and well from brain surgery might not have his healing go as well if he wasn't doing the basic stuff much less things like train for a marathon.

It's not that I'd totally given up, I hear that's common and the body goes along with the mind. In fact, there was a single night in which I tried a few of those suggestions: went to my running group, then to my old team Riverside's practice, then over to a friends house where due to the dehydration three or four glasses of wine made me feel tipsy, and then tried a cigarette (it was absolutely disgusting; I can't understand why people do that). One of the girls at this dinner party offered me a 5th option but to my credit (or perhaps lack of confidence who knows), I drove home at that point and realized maybe it was time to get to bed and do so alone. That weekend I also went to church with my neighbors Rick and Laurie where a message talked about how sometimes the blessing in our lives that we expect from parents, spouses end up coming from other places if we would just be open to it for both us and our children if necessary. Friends who echoed that type of message and the medical appointment a few days later for the anti anxiety medication started helping me get back on track.

My affect felt flat, my emotions of various types started missing but for the first time in months I started sleeping halfway through the night. Still, I started running semi regularly, even got a jogging stroller on craigslist. Perhaps by chance or good luck, it was around that time that she filed for divorce, 2 months to the date exactly after the brain surgery, a point where she was why I was trying to survive. I think the time around the surgery we had both realized there were things we needed to address and I came back from survival wanting to change them and she came back wanting to be away from them.

A few days later I would find out she was dating my friend Dre. Her timing and methodology of leaving may have met with the disapproval of some of my friends and family but she had sympathy from all of them and me. This was a high stress time and we're all human at the end of the day and sometimes do things in a poor manner then. As people found out about the Dre factor, people, myself of course included thought he was the biggest jerk ever. This was a guy who had been a friend of mine for years. We both had strong personalities and that had come with some conflict but we'd been in each other's homes. There had been times before the diagnosis where he had been invited to events in my life where no one else but him wasn't family. And after the diagnosis, he was the guy who had named the teams at the hat tourney, the guy who when I had broken down and cried during the thank you was the first one to get up to give me a hug. He was the person whose house I'd ran to when I was discouraged with IT band during the marathon training I had tried twice to run to his house. He'd been at the all in poker game, was one of a handful of people I went out with the night before the marathon. Perhaps, most significantly, he was the guy who had offered up his parents house as a place for my wife and I to stay while I was at Duke since they lived nearby. His parents and mine had both met each other, made meals for each other and each of us less than 2 months before. To this day I still have a picture of our two sets of parents together. He'd come out no North Carolina and met my brothers immediately after brain surgery. He had also called on New Year's eve where my fears of 2011 had made me not celebrate and had tried to get me to come to his New Year's party. Her call would come later and be very comforting and now they were going to be the worst and most painful part of it, far far heavier than the cancer. It would have been one thing if he thought her and I should not be together and was being supportive as a friend but to be dating her crossed so many lines in my both moral compass and social awareness compass. The gut instincts of what I wanted to do were way less than appropriate but going by gut instincts is probably what had gotten them there and so I went to the house of the other friend who had flown from Austin to North Carolina that night.

Well I was already on the anti anxiety medication that night and took a drink or two but let's just say I didn't sleep at all. How could two of the people who had been so tightly tied to helping me get through the diagnosis to the surgery have no concern about the recovery or just about the old codes which we don't violate for a number of reasons? I kept continuing to turn to friends who challenged me to not be pathetic and get up and do it on my own two feet. I never have done that alone but I realized that two of the people who had been very critical through this were no longer available to turn to for help.

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