Comatose

Dark is the night

When all have forsaken you

 and

some

 have mistaken

your intent

For malice

Others

 have seen a glimpse

of your soul

And despised it

Many

have perceived you

As unworthy

And you

 have

Lost yourself

In an ocean

Of torment

Undulating waves

of painful

regrets

Calamity

of confusion

Disorientation

of perception

You have

lost your mind

Lost your reason

Lost

your memory

of what was important

in the first place

You are left

with questions

that

you are afraid

to know the answers to

the Why

the What for

and 

Was the past

just a dream

A nightmare

Or simply

a passing thought

of

a comatose patient

lying motionless

in a hospital bed

New cancer Breakthrough and a Story About my Uncle

tw-sign6 trigger warning

Please be advised that this post has to do with cancer and the death of a loved one. If this may be triggering  to you at all, please do not read it. This is not about something that just happened to me or anything like that. If it has any possibility of upsetting you, please skip this post.

New research at Stanford University is promising that they have found a new cancer fighting weapon. They are manufacturing laboratory-engineered antibodies that look work to hunt down and destroy cancers in the body.

The new research is based on the way that our bodies naturally tend to reject organ transplants by identifying the organ as a foreign body and attacking it.

You can read more here. I hope that the governments will be helpful in financing this project. It is hard to say about these things. But here is the link, if you are interested.

A new study has suggested an antibody injection could ‘wipe out cancer’ by rooting out and eradicating both primary tumours and distant metastases, where the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.   Daily Mail.com

 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3062418/New-injection-wipe-cancer-Antibodies-root-obliterate-tumours-say-scientists.html

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3062418/New-injection-wipe-cancer-Antibodies-root-obliterate-tumours-say-scientists.html#ixzz3ZKnWfSjX
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

My uncle died of a brain tumor in his 40’s. It was the first death of a close person, that I experienced. In the midst of living in mentally abusive situations, divorces, and being drug from one house to another, my uncle was about the only stable family member that I had.

I was in my 20’s and in college at the time. I was devastated, when he died, even though we all knew it was coming. He originally found out he was sick, when he began having trouble with his vision

 I remember that he went to the eye doctor for blurred vision and the optometrist immediately told my aunt to take him right over to the neurologist. He must have suspected something wrong in his brain.

The neurologist did scans and told my aunt and uncle that my uncle had a malignant brain tumor. It was operable in a way, but the operation was going to cause damage to other parts of the brain,

They decided to do the operation and he ended up with walking and speech problems.  They gave him 6 months to live but he lived for a year and a half. I remember him speaking with me and it was so difficult for him to put his words together.

My grandmother told me that he must love me very much to make the effort to have a conversation with me. Apparently he had not been talking to anyone very much because it was too hard for him.  She was very surprised that he had kept struggling through to talk to me for about 15 minutes.

I remember struggling to keep the tears back as I watched him struggle for his words. The speech center of his brain had been damaged by the surgery.

I still miss him and often wonder what life would be like for me, if he were still around. He would have loved my kids and probably spoiled them. 

My aunt and uncle loved kids but they could not have any. They used to book the entire summer, when their nieces and nephews were off from school.  They had a different kid staying with them, for a couple weeks a piece, all summer. Their house always had a kid or 2 in it. My uncle liked it that way.

My visit was always special to my uncle. I remember him being excited for my visit. He would take my aunt and I to a play or a musical each summer. I saw the musical Damn Yankees with them. I still love that musical. The song “You’ve Gotta Have Heart” still reminds me of my uncle.

Below is the 1958 movie version of the musical Damn Yankees

He knew I loved that song. After the musical, I did nothing but sing that song all week. It was many years later, and my uncle was very sick with the cancer, but he remembered that I loved that song. He mailed me a cassette recording of the songs from Damn Yankees and copied  the lyrics to that particular song for me.

Sometimes when I am feeling discouraged, I still sing that song to myself. I know that it why my uncle sent it to me was his way of still being there for me, since he knew he would not be here.

I also loved the song “Whatever Lola Wants” from that musical. I always thought it was very sexy. I used to sing that one too. I imagine it was funny to my uncle to hear a 12 year old singing that song.

Below  is from the 1958 movie version. Whatever Lola Wants. In this scene Lola, who has been hired by the devil, is trying to lure the main character with her feminine wiles. But he is very devoted to his wife and she is not having any luck, even with her sexiest moves.

The one below is from a Bob Fosse interview about his choreography of the musical.

This cancer article made me think of my uncle. I still think of him from time to time, even though he died when I was about 23 and now I am 49.

I also still remember how exciting it was to see that musical. I had never seen a musical before and I have loved them ever since.

Here is one more great song from the musical.  This is called The Game. The players are discussing all of the things they have to give up during game season. It is a very funny song about how they have to give up women and drinking for the season.

Rosalie Died from Dementia…Trigger Warning Death and Dying

tw-sign6 trigger warning

I kissed a dead body tonight.

No, it is not pleasant.

Yes, it is disturbing.

And yes, your feelings at this moment of either disgust and horror… or morbid curiosity… are perfectly normal.

I pulled down the sheet that was covering her face. People cover the faces of dead bodies, because looking at death is disturbing, sad and disconcerting to most everyone, even if they work in healthcare.

I looked at her face, to see if it had any resemblance to the face that had smiled at me so many times.

It did. It was her face… but now… the life had gone out of her.  My Rosalie. My dear Rosalie lying there motionless. No longer really there. It was just an empty shell that her spirited, affectionate soul used to reside in.

Her eyes were still open a little. No one had known they were supposed to close them. I was not there when she died, or I would have done it.

The nurse aides working in that unit must not have known about the eyes, although…the nurse who examined her to confirm the death, should have known. She just did not care enough about the dignity of the patient to take one minute to close the eyes.

The eyes must be closed, very gently, with your hand. You gently brush downward over them, with your open hand and they will usually close …for the last time. But if this is not done within the first fifteen minutes, then they get stuck open, which is very disturbing to the family.

I don’t know what it is.. about the open eyes of a dead body that is disturbing to people. Perhaps the fact that the eyes seem to be staring at some. Or perhaps the knowledge that those eyes are no longer attached to a functioning brain that can process what they see.

They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Therefor if there is no soul residing in the body, what are the eyes windows to? Something other wordly? Have the eyes now becomes windows to death itself?

Perhaps that is what people feel.  The eyes of a dead person that were once the “widows to the soul”  are now windows to death itself.  Most people do not want to look into those windows, for fear of what they might see.

No one wants to believe that death is a reality, except  for some. Some  who have contemplated taking their own lives. Some who have had close brushed with death. And some others…

Even those people who accept death as part of life,  would have trouble looking into the eyes of a dead person. Are we all afraid of what we might see?  What secrets do the dead eyes hold that we are afraid of?

Well, I did look into her eyes and saw……

Nothing much. Just no life…

No one had arranged her body position either. For those of you who do not know…hopefully most of you…the body must be arranged into position within a half hour or so, of the death. Usually the arms are placed across the chest, in a cross, with the hands near the shoulders, like a cross shape or an X.

You can also arrange the hands in a position that looks natural and comfortable. What you do not , and should not do, is just leave the body in a random position. It should be in a position that looks like they are sleeping peacefully. In a relaxed sleep position, a person has relaxed arms and hands.

Once rigamortis sets in, the body can no longer be moved into position, without damaging the limbs. It is best to take care of all of these things right away, but the nurse just did not bother to do it. There is a lack of dignity in that.

So, I kissed her and told her I loved her and said good bye. I was done with what I wanted to do and tried to leave the room. I can tolerate that much, but I do not like to watch the body zipped into the bag. I find it very disturbing.

Yes, I said disturbing. Me..the one who kissed the dead body today…has a line … a boundary…of what is too disturbing, even for me,

But yes, the moving of the body off the bed onto the stretcher and then the zipping of the bag…Yes…very disturbing.

But I went back. …I don’t know why, but I did.

I went back into the room and not only watched the body being removed from the bed…but I actually assisted him in lifting the body and moving it.  I wanted to ensure that she was treated with the highest level of dignity possible.

Thank goodness, he did not have the zipper bag, This particular company did not do that. I was lucky for that. He had a velvet cloth that he covered the body with. It fitted over the body and around the edges of the stretcher. I did not have to hear the zipping of the bag, which brings back bad memories to me, from an incident in my past.

There are more circumstances surrounding this whole thing, which were even more upsetting and in fact , somewhat infuriating to me. The nurses were very callous, lazy and insensitive to me about the situation surrounding her death and the guy coming in to claim her.

I will write that out in another post. I hope that people headed my trigger warning on this post and that no one read this that should not have. Feel free to leave comments or questions about death and dying, if you have anything I might be able to explain.

Suicide , Suicide Attempts and Self Harm

I feel that I should start this post with the following information.

Lifeline, the national suicide prevention hotline for USA

Phone: If you are in crisis you can call anytime  1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Website: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention http://www.afsp.org/

Below is a link for the National Institute for Mental health , section on suicide prevention

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml

If you are not in the USA then there are international suicide hotlines to call. The responders to the calls are trained in suicide prevention and know about mental illness.

Suicide is in the top ten list for causes of death in the United States. Unfortunately, it claims more lives each year than the year before. This is an epidemic which deserves attention and research to find solutions.

There are about 1 million suicide attempts each year in the US and the numbers continue to rise. If you feel alone in considering suicide, you are not. There are people right now, like you, that feel alone and do not know how to reach out to for help.

Many suicides are people who had a mental illness that was not being treated. It is possible that treatment could have saved their lives.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, someone commits suicide about every 14 minutes, in the United States. This is about  40,000 lives lost every year.

Adolescent suicide is a reality that many people want to ignore and pretend that it does not exist.

According to the National Institute for Mental Health,

” Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens aged 12-17, accounting for about 1,000 deaths in 2011 . A 2013 survey indicated that as many as 2.7 percent of high school students nationwide made a suicide attempt”

It is difficult to gather exact statistics about self harm because many people, including teens and preteens , do not tell anyone about their self harm behaviors. It is their way of feeling some power over their circumstances, when they otherwise feel powerless. It is often a secret kept from family and friends.

There is research that estimates that 14-24 percent of adolescents have self harmed at least once. Many of them have done it many times and continue to do so.

Make no mistake, self harm is a big red flag! If someone you know is injuring themselves then they are at risk for suicide.

A recent study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration found that one in five Americans is living with some type of mental health condition. Mental illness like depression, severe anxiety, PTSD , bipolar disorder and many others can be a risk factor for self harm or suicide.

The stress response known as fight-or-flight is driven by the stress hormone cortisol, which is regulated by a part of the neuroendocrine system called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

There is research that shows that there can be a genetic predisposition to suicide and suicide attempts. There is a great article which gives all the specifics in the link below.

http://www.afsp.org/research/research-connection/stress-and-genes-linked-to-suicide-attempts

If you are wondering about the symptoms of yourself or someone else, there are some suicide warning signs that are critical to know.

Someone who talks about the following things, is a possible suicide risk:

  • Killing themselves.
  • Having no reason to live.
  • Being a burden to others.
  • Feeling trapped.
  • Unbearable pain.

Other behaviors that should alert your attention include:

loss of interest in activities they love, self-isolation from family and friends, giving away important possessions and making phone calls to people that sound like they are saying goodbye to them.

Each of those people leaves an average of 6 family members and close friends who are traumatized by the suicide. So if you are a survivor of the suicide of a loves one, you are not alone. There is help for you.

Suicide  of a loved one is extremely traumatizing and can cause PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), depression, and severe anxiety. In another words, you may be suffering from mental illness now, if you survived the suicide of a family member or a friend.

The links below will give you a beginning to finding ways to get help for your trauma. Find a way to seek help if you feel like you need it.

http://www.afsp.org/coping-with-suicide-loss

http://www.afsp.org/coping-with-suicide-loss/find-support

http://www.afsp.org/coping-with-suicide-loss/find-support/join-the-survivor-e-network

There are medications for depression and other mental illnesses. There are many kinds of  therapists. For some people , therapy is very helpful.

There are many people on wordpress.com that really care about you. We are the “wounded healers”  The wounded healers have experienced severe trauma, mental illness and abuse. We are compassionate about the suffering of others that we can relate to.

You can search by tags for suicide, mental illness, depression, ptsd, bipolar disorder, and other mental illness related tags.

Read people’s stories. Comment on their posts. Keep reading and searching until you find someone that will understand and will reach out to you. There are many in this community.

I have seen people become suicidal and post their feelings and even their plans for suicide on wordpress. It was their only outlet because at this point they had cut off family and friends.

So many bloggers responded to these suicidal posts that the people felt enveloped in care and concern from strangers who really reached out to them. Many people had a change of heart after reading all the comments that other bloggers wrote.

The same goes for survivors of suicide. There are wounded healers that are survivors of suicide here as well. If you search the tags and keep trying, you will find someone that will listen and understand. Sometimes the best first step to healing is to find someone that will understand and validate your suffering.

I hope this post has provided some helpful information for you. If anyone wants to put a link to their mental illness blog in the comments , as a way of adding that information to this post, feel free to do do.

If you are reaching out for help, please also feel free to put a link to your blog in the comments below.  If you are viewing wordpress from a google search and do not have a wordpress blog, it is very easy to set up a wordpress account. You do not have to post a picture in your profile. You can always use an avatar.

That is about all I can think of to say at this time. We were brought into the world needing the community of others. There are people in the world that will understand you. Don’t give up until you find them.

Thanksgiving Without a Loved One

At Your Thanksgiving table
Something isn’t right
You are missing someone special
Who would be here tonight

They sat right there
In their special chair
Last year and those before
To make you laugh and tell the tales
Of when you once were young

They loved you every season
You’ll love them many more
But this year’s not the same
Without them coming through the door

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