Best Friends


I don’t often experience envy but I admit to this one…

There are some couples that just love each other – deeply and honestly.  And I just love being with them.  This is a rare experience for me but I’m fortunate to have two such couples in my life.  One couple are former clients – RC and CC.  We had an almost immediate connection when I picked them up at their hotel and over the years it has grown into  a dear friendship.    The other two are close relatives of my husband, GG,  and her husband, DW.

I was single for almost 20 years and very ambivalent about remarrying – until I met RC and CC.  I acknowledged to myself that I had often pictured marrying my true best friend – spending my retirement years traveling, laughing, reading, exercising, sharing.   The more I got to know RC and CC, the more firm my resolution became to be open to a committed relationship.   I saw that what I pictured could actually be a reality.

DW and GG, RC and CC, all live my dream.  Of course, they have their issues and problems too, but there is an underlying friendship and respect that prevails.  I spent some time with RC and CC a few weeks ago, and for the last few weeks, have been with DW and GG almost every day.

Being around all of them over the last month,  I’m finding myself nurtured and renewed and in an effort to hold on to my feelings, I’m identifying words to express what I experience when I’m with them.  For the most part, I find myself feeling comfort, joy, peace, hope and admiration.

I know about many of their struggles and triumphs, the heartaches and joys of their relationships.  I’ve listened to their stories, shared some experiences with them.  I know their lives have not been without pain, death of a child, infidelities,  serious health issues, long separations while serving in the Military, the stresses of being married to an obstetrician/surgeon – experiences that have torn many couples apart.  But they managed to reach the other side and become even closer.   I’ve watched them handle differences with respect, acceptance, a lot of listening, and humor.   They have a gentleness, even when they’re irritated with each other, have  shown courage to let the other be unhappy or gritchy, sad or happy.  They’re all individuals and seem to know their boundaries.   And they respect those boundaries.

Some words I might use  to describe what I see and feel between them is acceptance, loyalty, safety, generosity, comfort, admiration, respect, gentleness, a deep caring.  A joy in being with each other.  They are truly best friends.    They express differences easily.  They share some activities, tolerating others  just because they prefer to spend time with each other and share a memory.   They both have friends and outside activities but it’s clear that they prefer each other and their time together.   They are present for each other.  They have differences but have learned, over many years, how to express themselves respectfully.   They know that absolutely their partner has their back.  No matter what or who…  And they have traditions – with their families but also between themselves.   Little things.  Some are daily rituals.  DW brings coffee – every morning! – to GG in bed.   He always pulls her car out of the garage and has it ready for her when she’s ready to leave.  She rewards him with a lot of praise and admiration. Every time.  Just like it’s the first time.  She never seems to take him for granted.  All four of them express abundant appreciation for their partners.  Consistently.   When I hear them criticize, when they’ve done something wrong, there’s still a sense in speech and attitude that they’re on that person’s side.   I also know that they’ve hurt each other deeply at times and I’d really love to see how they handle it in private.  Is it the same?  They’ve all just said they try to stay respectful.

Both couples have been together since high school.   They have told me that early years together were not without hurdles and huge adjustments – there were some very difficult times.  Communicating well was not an easy thing to learn.   They all feel that they worked very hard to create their present relationship.  Part of it just evolved as their friendships grew over the years.  They were deeply committed to being best friends and treating each other with respect.   At times, their only expectation was – and is – that they protect their friendship as they would with any other dear friend.

I now realize that when I married, I had some pretty unrealistic expectations.  You’d think that in the time it took to get all of this gray hair, I’d have learned more!  My husband and I  are in the early years of our relationship and I’m discovering that just because we are older – and more experienced in relationships – it doesn’t mean that we can bypass adjustments and difficult times.   We both now have more tools to work with – and we use them a lot!  We are still learning our life lessons.  And that sometimes means double the lesson – we are there for each other while we get through our individual lessons as well.   The single life was so much simpler in many ways – not as rewarding in other ways.  I just believe that a relationship takes us places that we simply can’t get to on our own.   And that’s where I want to be.

My husband and I have been together for almost five years, in our 70’s.  I treasure our relationship and friendship.   We came together with our pasts – our longest history and memories are with others.  We just simply don’t have a lot of time left to create a long history together.    No time to waste on wishing that I had what my friends have but it is a great goal.  I’m busy working on getting as far as possible with that one….  And I will be gentle, appreciate, respect, be grateful.

I will be grateful for the time and progress we have – and will make in our relationship.   We have some great role models.  I want to be that for our children….

Warning! Sidewalks Can Be Dangerous to Your Health!


Well I broke my foot.  The tip of the fifth metatarsal and the displaced fractured piece is  attached to a tendon.  My doctor told me that it’s a “troublesome” fracture in that with any strain, if my heel-foot has any weight bearing,  it is very likely that the tendon will pull the fragment loose and then I’ll need surgery.   He told me that I can either stay off my foot completely – aaarghh –  for a month, or if I take chances with it, it’s very likely that I’ll require surgery to place a pin and then I’ll  be off my foot for 2+ months. Since they’d have to catch me first – for surgery – there’s not a lot to consider here…

This happened two days before we were leaving for a couple of months to escape the Pacific Northwest winter.

Chloe

Ok.  I’m very active, walk 10,000 steps – minimum – every day.  Walking controls my blood sugar and blood pressure.  It takes care of my excess energy and helps me sleep.  It’s my time with my dog, Chloe.   She sniffs.   I think, listen and contemplate….

Now then…if everything happens for a reason – well, I’m waiting to find the reason for this one.  I do get that there is a lesson in everything that we experience and I’m thinking I’m supposed to be learning…

Courage

  • Postponing our trip….To make a decision from logic?  What a concept!   I had an impulsive, strong urge to take my chances and travel on crutches  and deal with anything that might happen – wherever it might happen.    ( A Whisper in my ear – Oprah’s Lifeclass Lesson 11)  The whisper is saying – “any fool can see that you’re  a klutz with the crutches and can see that  there’s probably huge potential for another fall  – at least at this point.   And the whisper is loud.    Mature decision?  Me – who has almost always thought that maturity is usually  overrated!   But then I thought of food.  I have to be able to move my bod if I want to eat what I want.  Or take a pill.  And I’ll do just about anything rather than take a blood sugar med!  At least as long as I can manage another way.   So I made up  my mind… I’m trying this “mature” thing (as defined by my daughter and also my best friend…and the whisper).   But I’m not totally convinced that maturity works for me – chuckle…  Since when would that be?
  • To change plans that involved disappointment and  inconveniences for several others?  Uhh….For a compliant  (probably not my husband’s first thought when describing me:) – translated  struggling to get thru this without my not-too-far-behind-me- people-pleasing-nature taking over;  it took great fortitude to utter “I think I want to postpone our trip until I can enjoy myself too”.

Vulnerability

  • I’m very independent.  It’s very difficult to ask someone else to do something for me.  Those around me are not used to my being very needy.  Talk about ripple effect….  Lessons for all?

Change

  • Over the months, I’ve learned to enjoy walking – out of necessity.  But now it’s a habit that I truly enjoy.   Then…I’ve detested weights, exercise classes, going to the gym.  Now…The new no-weight-bearing me has discovered that I can use tubes (available and unused for years) while I’m sitting.  I was shocked at my weak upper body muscles and how quickly they “burn”.   Jane Fonda is whooting in my ears!    I can see the sugar burning, courtesy of my glucometer.  I can lie on my back and ride an imaginary bike.  I am also amazed at these weakling thighs.  I’m obviously using different muscles than walking requires!  My blood sugar is under control – without a pill!  My heart rate soars – quickly.   And,  I’m exercising my mind trying to think of new and effective ways to move so that my body feels exercised.   Ahhhh…

Acceptance

  • I can’t change or fix this one.  I just have to wait for it to heal.

Patience

  • A very big challenge.  A definite work in progress!    I repeat my prayer that I read somewhere years ago..”Please Lord!  Give me Patience!  Right now!”

One thing I know for sure…There’s no place like home.   When I’m in pain or ill.   Even if  my bedroom, art studio and office are upstairs.  Climbing stairs on hands and knees works for babies.  It works for me too.  And it makes me laugh.

I’m so thankful that it wasn’t worse – an ankle, knee, hip.  Yikes – or neck!

I’m very grateful!

My Life, My Mortality… and My Loves


I got some sleep last night – Yay!  And today is brighter…

Writing my letter to Dr. Oz (thank you Sister – for suggesting that I do it) clarified my plight – to myself.  I’m so grateful for some clarity.  Now I have hope again – that I can deal with my fear and get my life back.    I was suddenly able to see the part that fear is playing in my health issues.

I recognize clearly that my fear is about death.  My death.  It’s also in some strange way about the people that I’ve lost in the last 5 years.  I realize that I’ve never grieved them.  I realized yesterday that thinking about them is so painful that I avoid even letting them into my mind.  When they slip into my thoughts, I keep it at a very superficial level – and quickly change my thoughts to something else.

One of my doctors told me that she thought that these losses were having a part in my health issues and that she feels I have some grieving to do.  I heard her say it, I listened, I went thru some motions of grieving but I didn’t really get the connection.  Now I do.

I’m thinking about them today with joy and tears.  I’m honoring them.  I’m missing them deeply.  I miss Dad and my three sisters at a whole new level.  I’m remembering what I loved about them.  I’m remembering fun, funny memories – one of the many times we sisters came from different directions and met for lunch and a few hours together.  Our human pyramid picture.  Our sisterhood reunions. Shucking corn for a dinner.  Posing for pictures together.   What I learned from each of them is such a part of who I am.

And my husband, Dale.  We had such a rocky marriage and a deep unshakable love.  Our friendship lasted thru a divorce until his death in 2007.  He loved me.  Completely.  I loved him in the same way.  We had a bond that neither of us knew how to break – or even wanted to.   It wasn’t a consideration.  I didn’t realize until after his death that he was the reason that I could never move on into a marriage with another man.  Neither of us remarried.  But we didn’t live together either.  We were there for each other – right up to the last phone call the last day of January,  hours before his assumed death.  He lived by himself and when he didn’t return several phone calls, I was alarmed.  When I didn’t hear from him on Valentines Day – a yearly gesture even after our divorce many years ago – I knew something was terribly wrong.  I called the police who entered his home and found that he had passed – they estimated about two weeks earlier.  I handled his estate per his wishes.  I’ve avoided thoughts that he’s gone – always.  Not today.  Occasionally I’ve started to go there and recoiled as quickly as if I had touched a red hot wood stove!  Today, I’m remembering him…so many things.   There were very painful and difficult times in our lives but in many ways he was such a rock for me.  I feel way too vulnerable without him in my world.  I miss him terribly.  So much love!

And Peter.  My love.  We were in each others’ lives for 7 years.   Wow could he dance!   He knew how to have fun.  He was an old school Hispanic man and was such a character!  My Latin Love….  He loved taking care of me – cleaned my home, cooked, pressed my clothes,  was a lot of the reason that I was able to be very successful in my business.  He took care of many things in my life that allowed me the time to focus.  And did I mention fun!  I’m remembering the Las Vegas evenings, all doors open to my outside living area.  He loved cooking in the outdoor kitchen – for everyone, palm trees swaying, warm evenings, music playing and  NO BUGS!!!  We drank wine.  We loved.  We laughed.   He was so incredibly handsome to me – his dark skin, hair –  and bold, warm eyes.  He was gallant and classy.  He sang songs to me in Spanish – all of the time.  He ended up battling major health issues for two years that led to his death.  With such courage.   He wrote love letters to me.  I haven’t read them for a very long time – much too painful.  But I’m going to re-read them as I can, starting today.  Yes, of course there were difficult times too.  But I grieved those at the time.  Today I’m grieving and missing the sweetness, the love, that man.  Towards the end of his life when he was on a respirator, he wrote “Sin Ti” on a piece of paper with x’s and o’s.   I still have it tucked in with his love letters.  He used to sing that song to me.   I miss you so much, Peter!  You made your mark in my life.   Thank you!

And my sisters.  I’m going to write about “The Sisterhood” in another post.  I miss them so much.  They were my three older sisters and my link to so much of my history.  I wish I could have thought of more questions about how they remembered our lives before they left.  There’s no one to answer those questions now.   I know that they each knew how important they were in my life – no regrets there.  I just miss them.   It’s almost impossible to comprehend that they’re so gone!   Today I’ll remember them…

I’ll remember them all.  With so much love and gratitude!  I had – and have – some very special people in my life – some great loves!

And maybe, if I grieve my loss of them, I won’t have to worry about losing myself?  If I honor their lives, I can live mine – fully – without fear?   If I accept and remember their lives – and deaths, will it help me accept my eventual great adventure?  Without fear?  Will it help me live my life without fear?  hmm…

Is the doctor right?

Amidst the grief, I have my joy back today!  I’m starting to let go

Oprahs Life Classes
Joy, Letting Go

Fear – How Do I Get It Out of My Life?!


Please PLEASE, Dr. OZ.  Help me!

I feel like I’m bordering on pathological fear and it seems to be getting a bigger hold on my life.  My physical symptoms are progressing and I want my life back.  How ever do I make this happen?

I’ve had test after test, including an angiogram.  Now my doctor wants me to have an MRI/MRA.  At this point, I think the basis of my physical ailments are fear about my health – and in some ways, for valid reasons.  I feel desperate – that I’m a time bomb in a race to find an answer before I have a stroke!

My blood pressure spikes are causing more consistent symptoms – the stinging pain in the top of my head, a droopy sensation at the temple corner of my left eye, and a stinging numbish sensation at the left corner of my mouth.  These areas  don’t look any different – but they feel very  different while my blood pressure is high.   They are new symptoms.  As is a periodic discomfort in my left eye.  I was checked by an ophthalmologist  at Devers Eye Clinic yesterday and he said my eyes are in excellent condition.  My eye feels slightly irritated and sometimes has a few seconds of feeling like it does when I have the flu.

My blood pressure normally runs great – 111-low 120’s/low 60s and on the low side in the night and mornings.   My pulse is usually in the low 50s (I don’t feel well when it’s in the low 50’s) to high 50s in the morning so I usually take my morning dose of Metoprolol 25 mg at 10:30-11 am rather than when I should be taking it at 9 a.  My blood pressure is usually in the mid to high 120’s  when I take my 9 pm dose.  When I try to go below this, I have a lot of palpitations/skipped beats.   My blood pressure has been up very high (190s-212/low 100s) at least 10 times this year – an unusual event for me.   The first few times happened in the night – woke me up.  No one has been able to figure a cause other than sleep apnea.   My symptoms include those of sleep apnea I’m told –  and from what I’ve researched.  It’s so difficult to be who I am with so little sleep.  I have no problems for a period of time and just getting comfortable with my body’s behavior and then it happens again.    I manage my blood pressure spikes with meditation and Lisinopril if it doesn’t come down with deep breathing and relaxation visualization.  I’ve been seen several times in the ER, admitted 3 times, had an angiogram as well as 24 hour catecholamine and many other tests.  Everything has been normal.   I have great doctors and they have deduced that I have sleep apena which is causing the blood pressure spikes, severe lack of sleep and anxiety.

I had a sleep lab study but couldn’t sleep enough to get a good report but did show hypopnea.   My doctor then arranged for a home sleep study which I had.   He told me that it showed apnea, hypopnea and very low oxygen levels which he feels awaken me.   Last night I had a sleep lab titration study but again couldn’t sleep enough to get a good report.   From research and a visit with a person at the sleep lab, I was told that home studies are very inaccurate.  I was told by my technician at the sleep lab that I don’t have apnea at all that he could see.  My doctor will have my report on Friday and I’ll ask my questions from him and find out the news.  I was so excited to have the study, believing that it would resolve the blood pressure spikes issue and that I could eventually get over my distrust of my body – and my fear.

I am so stressed and exhausted with all of this and I think the stress is keeping me from sleeping.  It’s a vicious cycle.  That is where my fear comes in – I’m terrified that I’m bringing on the very thing I’m trying to avoid.  I try every thing I can – medication regimen, meditation, read Eckhart Tolle’s books, in fact listen to them when I’m walking.  And I have a glass of wine now and then…

I’m a very strong and healthy 71-year-old woman with a wonderful life otherwise.   I have many reasons to live including 2 brand new great-grandchildren.   I have walked 10,000+ steps (thanks to your encouragement) every day for sometime, have lost over 30 pounds, gotten off my Metformin and now manage my type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise.   I’m so grateful to you and your show!

I watched your show about sleep disorders and learned a lot.  I’ve had difficulties sleeping since I was a child.  In fact, my Dad has told me that I had a difficult time sleeping as a baby and small child – that he used to rock and walk me half the night.  I had never heard of genetic insomnia but I wonder if that describes my sleep problems.   I hope we hear about her treatment.   I’ve been taking occasional trazadone when I can’t sleep, anywhere from a quarter of a 50 mg tablet to the entire 50 mgs.   Sometimes it doesn’t work at all.   I definitely prefer natural treatments but am fearful about trying something else right now.  I’m normally awake at least every 2 hours each night and routinely get 3-5 hours of sleep each night,  rarely six, very rarely 7.  I’m so desperate that I can’t even tell you – for sleep, peace, no anxiety, no more fear – for getting my life back.

My fear is such a problem for me that it’s interfering with my life.  It’s embarrassing to admit that I’m so fearful but am deciding if I’m going to get help for it, I have to talk about it.  There must be others in my situations.  As soon as I receive reassurance – reading my normal labs and other reports, I feel all right for a bit and then the fear starts creeping in again.  I no longer trust my body! What if my blood pressure rises again and I have a stroke.   I dread night time so much – no words – what if I lie awake all night and imagine the worst – despite my best efforts.  The less sleep I have, the more my emotional defenses are down.    I’ve had 17 deaths of family and best friends in the last 18 years, 6 of those (my Dad, two sisters, brother-in-law, and besties) in the last 5-1/2 years.   I’m still reeling from those deaths and definitely feeling my mortality.  My fear is beginning to include my husband and family’s safety.  It feels like fear is  taking over my life.  It is.  I pray.  I talk to my sisters and husband.  I journal.  I research.  I exercise the power of believing…

Have I missed one of your shows that dealt with fear?   Please schedule or replay?

Thanks!