2013. Not the best year on record.

There is no denying it - 2013 has been a majorly stressful year for Ryan and I.

It did have its ups (my parents moving back to Ohio, my new job/health insurance), but on the whole it's been pretty difficult for us.

Starting with the brief breast-cancer scare that followed my first mammogram early this year.  A scare that ended up being nothing, but brought with it the realization that fear of cancer RECURRENCE was not all I was going to spend the rest of my life dealing with, but fear of secondary and/or unrelated other cancers as well...

But I didn't just spend this year worrying about my own health problems - my father (tattoo dad) has had indescribably crazy health issues this year as well, a lot of which were terrifying and majorly stress-inducing for me.  It seemed like the poor man could not catch a break this year: complications from a gastric bypass a decade ago lead to a complete gastrectomy (that means he has NO STOMACH anymore, y'all), which lead to various strains of antibiotic resistant infection, along with a broken and destroyed hip, and let's not forget a massive head injury which has lead to complete loss of taste and smell...  I think it's safe to say he spent more of this year sick or hospitalized than not.  And while it's not about me, it affected me horribly and I had a very difficult time coping with my worry about him.

Hell - I've had a very difficult time coping with my worries in general this year.

Most of the stuff with my dad began while Ryan was out on tour.  I struggled to deal with the stress of everything going on with my dad on top of the stress of being in a new job and dealing with pretty difficult new hours all on my own.  Stress is a major trigger for cancer recurrence fear for me, based on the stress I was feeling during the time leading up to my diagnosis.  While I know it's not the cause... in my mind: me + stress = cancer.  And that's fucking scary.  And stressful.  Commence vicious circle.

Because of this, Ryan being gone was harder than it had ever been before.  And even though I was not dealing with it like the blathering, sobbing mess I was the first year he was on the road, I was doing far far worse, mentally and emotionally.  We both were.  His tour situation was no longer what it had been in the beginning.  Too much had changed on both ends and it turned out that for both of us, it just didn't work anymore.  I could not function without him around in a way I never expected of my previously independent self.

And so he retired.  From touring.  Waved goodbye to the Rancid family and came home to me.  And to marginal self-employment and a whole new outlook on uncertainty - something that had never really been a concern before.  Ryan is nothing short of brilliant and has an incredible entrepreneurial drive.  Fueled by a desire to leave that uncertainty behind forever and "take care of us" he went after what seemed like it could be an amazing business venture, only to lose his investor after being vaguely assured that the guy "could totally do that".  The loss crushed us both in a way I never fully let on to anybody.  I just wanted something to work out for him.  Just once.  Something awesome.  Something he really wanted.  But no.  This was not the way our luck would go this year.

Instead, literally within days of this falling apart, I was back to dealing with more health scares.  Severe pain in my pelvic region had me worried and suddenly we were back to multiple doctor visits, CAT scans, and finally the diagnosis of Radiation Cystitis.  Much like the breast-cancer scare, this brought with it a whole new set of post-cancer fears and anxieties.  I not only have the fear of recurrence and the fear of secondary cancers to live with, but now, also, the fear of a whole WORLD of unknown possible late side effects from my treatment.  I mean, at this point, who knows what's next.  It really is terrifying and heart-breaking.  Talk about feeling defective, old, hopeless and afraid - all at the age of 38. It's not fair.  As my Oncology Nurse, Erin, said to me recently - I shouldn't have to deal with this kind of stuff at my age.  The average age of Cervical Cancer diagnosis is between 50 and 55.  Not 36.  

All the while, I have been trying to remain positive.  To believe that all will be fine and that no matter what happens, no matter what other trials we encounter, Ryan and I will make it through and be OK.  Together.  It's not always easy.  One of my best friends, with no real explanation, chucked me during all of this.  I have my suspicions that she felt I was not there for her enough during the difficult time she was having after a breakup, and I cannot make any excuses other than I just couldn't deal with anyone else's anything while I was struggling to hold on it a shred of sanity trying to deal with my own everything.  I feel guilty that I may have hurt her, but more so hurt that I was not given any explanation or chance to offer my own.  I guess the whole thing about how true friends are the ones that will still stand by you even after a long time apart should be my indicator on how true of friends this person and I were not.  And even still, I think about her every fucking day and it bothers me.  I hate feeling like I may have somehow hurt someone because I have been unable to cope with my own life and troubles.  I want to be stronger than that.

I am trying.  I'm trying to be that stronger person for Ryan instead, since I know he appreciates it (and ME) always.  He started putting together another business venture recently.  He has a kick-ass partner, all the skill in the world, the commitment, the intelligence, the drive... and no space for it.  Well - he did find a perfect space, but there have been issues with the landlord/previous tenant that have prevented him from moving in.  This, in turn, has resulted in lined up jobs lost - not to mention loss of hope and motivation.  He and his partner are still trying to sort everything out, though, but without a pile of money on their side, it's not easy.

I am doing everything in my power to stay positive for him.  I know in my heart this is the right thing.  That it is going to work out and that Ryan will FINALLY be where he wants to be, professionally (and that that place is HOME and not on the road).  Maybe it just isn't going to happen until the new year.  Maybe the new year is when things will finally turn around.  Maybe 2013 just needs to get a few more days of "suck" in.  Whatever the case, and no matter how bad this year has been overall, the best thing I have taken away from it is this: Ryan and I can make it through anything together.  We've proved it.  In the four years and 24 days since we got married, we have MORE than weathered the "worse", "in sickness", and "for poorer" parts of those vows.  Ready for a little better, health, and richer stuff now.  Come on, 2014...

I want Positively Phoebe back.


Gary said…
One of my Mom's quotes when things were not working out was "Wait till next Summer", meaning by then all would be well. I hope your wait is just to the beginning of the new year! Love you!

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