My mother has been a homemaker all her life. She has never had a career and her life’s work is her children. She raised seven children and after my father’s death, she did it all alone for nearly fifteen years. The youngest of her children went off to college this year so all her children are adults now.
My 31-year-old brother has been on a ventilator for 48 hours now and because he has had a hard time breathing on his own since his nearly nine-hour surgery. We have been told that it is expected considering how long and difficult the procedure was. My mom has not left my brother’s side in the days before the surgery and since the surgery. She is very religious and she spends a lot of time praying. She is watching 31 years of her life slip away and I know my mother will never be the same again.
My mother spent four years watching my father wither away and it changed her. Back then, she had seven children relying on her to get through and now her children are all grown up, and I don’t see her coming back to us from this. This is killing her inside and nothing, not even her faith, can save her.
As my siblings and I watch my mother lose her spirit, we know that her returning to us the same as she was a month ago is not even possible. She feels like she doesn’t have anything left to lose so she has no reason to fight. If she is fighting for anything, she is fighting to be strong enough to take care of my brother when and if he is able to go home.
My mom hung on strong after my father’s long illness and his passing away because she had seven kids who needed her and now, one of the reasons she fought to be strong is slipping away from her. She would gladly take my brother’s place and what mother would not? She is living every mother’s worst nightmare and all my siblings and I can do is feel helpless. I get my strength and my determination from my mother and right now, I am watching the strongest woman I know dying inside and losing everything that makes her “strong” and there is not a thing I do to change it.
I am so numb. I feel like someone dumped boiling water down my throat, and I ache through the deepest part of me. For my siblings and me, we are not just watching my brother struggle, but we are also watching our mother lose the part of her that makes her human. When we tell her to eat something, rest, or even take her medications, she looks at my brother and says, “This is my life. Thirty-seven years of my life have been all about my children and I have nothing else.” And I am not sure what is harder, watching a young man fight for his life or watching a woman whose entire life was all about her children, lose her spirit and strength.
My brother’s diagnosis screams at us, “abandon all hope,” but we trying to keep the hope alive. We are praying for remission against all the odds because we know it is possible. It is just so hard to be hopeful when we have been handed a cancer where the chance of remission is so small.
I put my turkey in the oven at 7 am because my sisters and I will have our Thanksgiving early (about noon) and then head over to the hospital. My mother will not be there because she has spent the every minute of the past week at my brother’s side. My brother went into surgery yesterday morning after his stomach cancer diagnosis became peritoneal mesothelioma, a cancer that affects the lining of the abdomen called the peritoneum. I do not want to go into any speculation about how a 31 year old who never worked in a field where he could have been exposed to asbestos develops this condition. In addition, because of the time it would take for the disease to develop, he would have been exposed as a child.
His surgery started at 8:30 a.m. and did not end until after 6:30 in the evening. Unfortunately, the doctors, despite their diligent efforts, were not able to remove all the cancer and, as a result, the prognosis does not look good. Chemotherapy and radiation will give us time to deal with this but there is no possibility of a cure and the chance for remission is small, and because the cancer is aggressive, our time is limited.
I am numb as we all are. I want to be hopeful and I do not know how. I am thankful that my brother was awake an hour after the procedure and I am thankful for the time he has with us. I am thankful for the doctors and their efforts. I am thankful to God for teaching us to believe in him, for allowing us to seek his guidance, and for teaching us what it means to be a family. We are thankful despite cancer. Everything is in God’s hands and God would never put us through this if he knew we could not handle it.
I watch my mother lose herself and I know that I cannot even begin to imagine her pain. I know that things will never be the same again and that our lives are forever changed.
The only thing I ask of God is that he give us the strength to keep going.
God, I need you. Carry me when I am weak. Hold me when I am tired. Love me when I cannot care anymore. And when I huddle lonely and afraid, cover me with your strong protective hands. Guard my sleep and wake me in the morning, rested and strong, and ready to try again.
Do you ever feel like the curveballs are stacking up against you? I have found myself in that place many times and after the years, I have learned how to dodge the curveballs or to get up once they have knocked me down. It is not like I could have avoided the curveballs but I have to decide whether to feel helpless or keep a perspective.
Often times, curveballs make a person feel like there is nothing they can do but there is always something we can do. Feeling helpless is a normal response and generally, that is the first response. Things happen that are beyond our control so we feel like we have been robbed or cheated and helpless. While it is okay to feel this way, it is not a solution and thus, we have to learn to wallow less and to keep an open mind.
I have been pretty vocal about my health, my struggle to get answers, and all the feelings that came along with that. While I have never really stopped looking back at the challenges I have faced in the last couple years, I have never really consumed myself in self-pity. A while back, I wrote about my disabled neighbor saying, “If there wasn’t something going wrong every minute of my life, then it wouldn’t be my life,” and I understand that no one is immune from challenges. Self-pity is fine and all but there is a time and place.
I look back at the challenges as a means of response so that I can dodge the next curveball. The last few years had been adverse for many and hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs, their homes, and their livelihoods and while I have been faced with my challenges, mine were close calls, and I am one of the lucky ones. What I learned throughout many adverse situations are survival skills. The better a person gets at dealing with adversity determines how well things turn out. It has taken me some time and experience to get there but I think I gotten the “curveball” thing down. After the initial shock (and the panic attack), I look at the situation, get my composure back, and decide how the situation can be best handled. Sometimes, I have to be quick on my feet and other times, I am able to take a little more time to find answers.
Tough times require perspective and that perspective starts with removing the emotional barrier between you and the situation at hand. I look at the facts and start to consider what my options are, and once I have considered the options, I determine how feasible they are. Sometimes, a quick resolution is required and other times, it is not. I also look at the situation and wonder whether it really is a bad thing. Sometimes, we are quick to decide whether a situation is bad or the worst without fully understanding it. I step back and look at what really is happening and while a situation can look bad, it does not mean the solutions won’t turn it into a good thing.
Often times, I remind myself to count my blessings in order to gain perspective. I thank God for all the gifts and blessings in my life and I realize that the situation isn’t as bad as it appears. I start to look at the situation and realize that there is a big picture here and what is so horrible now may not be in a few months or even years. Chaotic events are only a tiny point in time when you look at your entire lifetime. I also consider the alternatives because sometimes today’s tragedies are a blessing in disguise. Weighing what is happening at the moment you are in against the alternative makes the situation more manageable and allows you to think clearly about goals and resolutions.
It is much easier for a person to be calm and focused in order to gain control and perspective of a situation in a healthy manner rather than jump into panic mode or start wallowing and playing the “woo is me” card. You can make better decisions if you are thinking clearly. I have learned with a lot of practice that when things do not go according to even my best laid plans, it is important for me to stop and process my thoughts and emotions so that I can gain control of a situation. This takes a lot of effort and practice but you learn over time.
Once you have gained perspective, you can focus on dodging those curveballs. You have to learn to manage crises one step at a time. You also learn that denial solves nothing and acceptance helps you not to delay action. You have to trust your instincts when it comes to the next steps and keep emotion out of the way. Remember to make up plan B as you go because you can easily get lost again once plan A fails. Last surrender but don’t give up. Once you accept the situation at hand, you can relax to move forward to your plan. Accepting your limitations doesn’t mean you don’t have alternatives because there are always alternatives. Even a person with a terminal illness knows there are alternatives. Just because a person is dying doesn’t mean that they cannot make the best of the life they have left. That is the thing about curveballs; even if you can’t dodge them, you can still heal your bumps and bruises after getting hit.
The last few weeks have been challenging to say the least but I feel like I have handled them better than I would have in the past. My mother has been at my brother’s bedside for the last three weeks and while, I jumped into panic mode in the beginning, I found a way to remove my emotions from the situation to get answers. Because I know what is like to be sick, I understand that solutions, cures, and good health are possible. My younger sister was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease a couple years ago and now she is in remission. My mother and my brother did not want to tell her how sick my brother is and about the stomach cancer diagnosis. Because of my own experience, I believed that she could handle it quite well and she did.
To me, this crisis with my brother’s health is a mountain we have to climb. My brother’s mountain is much higher and steeper than the mountain the rest of us have to climb but nevertheless, people can climb mountains especially when they are given the resources. This is our mountain to climb as a family and I believe we will all be able to climb it and yes, there will be some near falls, bumps and bruises but we will get there and hopefully, we come out of it better people. I pray that we do.
It feels like it has been a very long week. With my RA and FMS symptoms taking turns ganging up on me, I really wish I could sleep for a full 24 hours without being disturbed but I can’t. I have a job to do, children to take care of, a home to clean, three loads of laundry waiting for me upon my arrival home, a trip to the store to pick up Pull-Ups for the rebellious toddler who refuses to wear a diaper, a husband who walks around all melancholy because he has little responsibility and thinks he has a lot, an empty fridge because I have not had a chance to go shopping, and so much more. On the bright side, I won some chocolate – talk about making my day.
I received a text message this morning from one of closest friends, Rhonda, telling me she was thinking of me and she wondered how I was feeling with this damp weather we are having. What I like about Rhonda is that she knows when I need a pick me up and she also takes the time to understand my conditions. She knows more about RA and Fibro than my husband does and having a friend like that is wonderful.
Right now, with this fibro headache, I really need someone to peel me off the ground – may be a massage for those tense shoulders too. I think my family thinks I am invincible and they forget that I am human. Sometimes, their demands make me wish I could get into my Subaru Outback, start driving and not look back – but, everyone knows I am too responsible to do such a thing. I am going to stop complaining considering this is the life of every working mother in America. Yes, we all want to get into those minivans and station wagons and runaway but we know that if we did, we could not sleep at night.
I have doing some new things including taking on the role as the patient advocate at Fibromyalgia Connect and becoming a health care blogger. In case anyone has not noticed, I like feeling important and useful so that one of the reasons why I stop myself when I realize I am complaining about how busy my life is. I love my life despite all of its twists and turns and even the obstacles that get thrown in my way. I know it is not easy being me and I know it is not easy for my family that I am obsessive or that I am an overachiever. I don’t know how to pace myself and I don’t stop until my head hits the pillow at night. While many people would look at me and say that I am overwhelmed, they don’t realize that I strive for challenges and I am capable of handling the stress. There are days where RA and Fibro make it hard, but I have learned to pace myself on those days and to focus on my goals on my good days. That is my balance and I know that if I let my conditions stop me, it will be a permanent thing and that is definitely not the person I am.
I am proud of my ten year old – all A’s and B’s on his report card. I know all that money for tutoring paid off. I noticed the other day that he was turning into me and I am not sure how to take that. He is doing well in school, playing the viola for the 5th grade orchestra, involved in the sports club, reads a lot, spends time with his friends, helps generously at home, and thinks he does not have a lot going on. I want to stop my son from burning out but I am not sure how much of an example I am setting. It does not help that I can be a drill sergeant with my kids and myself. When I realize I am playing the drill sergeant role, I stop but I don’t always realize that I am doing it.
I only have two classes left to complete my master’s degree and while, I have dreamt of going to law school, I have decided that it’s no longer part of the plan. I love my life where it is at now and I just don’t see any reason to want more. It is time for me to start looking at my children’s victories because I have already had mine. Does that make sense to anyone?
My brother is into his third week in the hospital and we are still being kept in the dark about how his health. As of this weekend, his kidneys are failing and he may need a transplant. However, I don’t know the time line nor do I know his treatment plan for the stomach cancer. My family is secretive and it is something I have gotten used to after all these years. Being the black sheep in the family, you know how to rebel and get answers. My sisters accepted the answers that they were given and I refused. I interrogated my mother on Sunday about how bad things were, about the kidneys, and the treatment plan. I definitely got more answers out of her than my other siblings did but there are still pieces of the puzzle that are missing. Once I had answers, I called my siblings and told them and now, my mom and my brother are both mad at me. Welcome to my life.
Now, I am waiting to see who will be mad at me next. I have been the black sheep all my life and when I was younger, it bothered me but the older I get, the less I care. I spent a lot of my life trying to prove something and the fact is, I have nothing left to prove. I am the most educated and the most successful of my siblings and I have run out of things to prove. I feel bad that I interrogated my mother but I had to and it was the right thing to do; now I wish I didn’t feel so guilty about that part. I so suck at being a daughter. When I was a kid, my mom used to tell me that one day I would have a kid like me that would put me through all the same stuff I did to her growing up. No wonder my head is always spinning!
Is it still Wednesday? This is where I would rather be.
The winner is commenter 5, Deb, as picked by Random.org, who said:
I would really use this in dealing with my family over the holidays. They are extremely toxic, and I will refuse to accept their “garbage.”
You should be receiving an email from me shortly.
If you would like to purchase a copy of David’s book, you can get a copy for less than $15.00. For more information, visit The Law of the Garbage Truck website.
Again, a special thank you to David J. Pollay and his publisher for hosting his giveaway.
Remember the Law:
“Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they look for a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you.
So when someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Believe me. You’ll be happier.”
Take the Pledge:
When you are kid, you imagine that being an adult is much easier than being a kid and it seems to be that way at least in the beginning. Then, you start dealing with real adult issues like a career, money, major decisions, marriage, children, and health crises and you realize being an adult is hard work. It makes you wish that adulthood was a childhood nightmare that you could wake up from.
In the last couple of years, my life has given me a variety of adult lessons and while I have had adult lessons in the past, they weren’t thrown in front of me all at once. Growing up I never saw my parents’ adult problems because they did such a good job hiding them from us and while I appreciate that they did that, I wish that they hadn’t because they didn’t prepare us what adulthood was all about. Most of my childhood, I never saw my mother cry and I never saw my father show emotion until I was 17 years old when my 20 year old cousin passed away. My kids have seen me cry, they have seen me hurt and at my worst and I don’t know whether my parents were right for hiding adulthood from me or whether I am right for letting my children see it.
What I don’t remember about being a kid is how poor we were and I didn’t even realize that were poor until I was an adult because my parents hid it so well. When I was 15, my dad became sick for the first time. He died before I turned 19. It was not until he was hospitalized in 1995 that I realized the extent of how sick he was.
My parents never let us see the tragedies of adulthood, only the triumphs. Growing up, I lost grandparents, uncles, and cousins and my parents never let us see the hurt that consumed them with these loses. When my father died, I knew loss for the first time and I was devastated. It was as if a part of my heart was ripped out of me and I grieved for years, as did my siblings.
While I understand that my parents did everything they could to protect us, did they not really prepare us. In my eyes, my father was as tough as they come, and my mother, she was as resilient as a woman could get. In the days that I watched my father get sicker and sicker and my mother lose parts of her soul as days came and went, my world was shattered because I knew my parents weren’t tough or resilient because they were merely human. It makes me think about my health now, my brother’s recent cancer diagnosis, my struggles with my marriage, the financial issues my husband and I have dealt with for the last two years, my failed relationships with my brothers, the physical distance between my sisters and I, and my parenting as a whole. I wonder whether I am preparing them for adulthood by letting them see me when I am most vulnerable rather than hiding it as my parents did.
Do you prepare your kids or do you protect them? That a dilemma that every parent has to face and it is another thing that makes being an adult so hard.
My life is as complicated as lives gets. My family is as complicated as families get. There is no question that everything about me is complicated. Sometimes, the complexity of it all leaves me a position where I feel like I am locked into a tight space and I can’t breathe.
I am very claustrophobic and I have been for many years. I am not sure when it started or whether there is an association with the claustrophobia and my conditions, but I hate tight spaces, in particular a packed elevator. I work on the 7th floor but there was a time I worked on the 42nd floor. It was a temp position and when offered the job, I did not take it because of the elevator issue. I also have issues with height but that is not as bad as the tight spaces issue.
I also fear failure and that is how I have been all my life. That is why I make wise choices because failure has a tendency to set me back. Mostly, I dwell on my failures but I also I find ways to fix my failures and get past them. It is like I always feel like I have something to prove. That is probably why I plan everything ahead of time, I am a control freak, and why I hate surprises. My family knows better than to plan a surprise party for me. I am this way mostly because of my Type A personality but I also think that life has made me this way through all of the obstacles I have been handed. As far as failures go, lately I have been dwelling on my failed relationships with my brothers.
One thing I have learned is that I can only control myself and I can’t control anyone else and sometimes, when I see someone I love making bad choices, I want to have control and it hurts that I can’t. That is a setback for me because I never make a decision without thinking it thoroughly and investigating and when I see people I love making spontaneous choices, it scares me. The reason I bring this up is because my brother has been in the hospital for two weeks and we have been told it’s stomach cancer and he is really sick. He is also in denial as to the extent of his condition and he won’t let anyone have a say in particular why he continues to smoke. I know that I don’t have any control over his actions but even a suggestion as to how successful his treatment will be if he made changes turns him into a mad man.
I know denial because I was there two years ago when I received my diagnoses so I am trying to keep my mouth shut. He also isn’t sharing with his family specific details on how bad it is and even the treatment plan. I think that we have a right to know so that we know how to prepare or how to handle particular situations. He is 31 years old, never married and has no children and he is acting like he has nothing to lose. He can have a long life ahead of him, get married, have kids, but he has to start making changes now so that he can be cured and go into remission. I am very upset about the diagnosis and how he is handling it and I have spent a lot of time praying and crying. This is when I realize I what little control I have and sometimes, just that feeling alone makes it hard to breathe.
We were all close when we were kids because we were born one right after the other in terms of years. Our ages now range from 36 to 30 when it comes to the six of us (two boys, four girls). My youngest brother is 19 (he is number 7) and my mom had him after the youngest was 11 so he was a surprise. When I got married to my first husband, I was eighteen and my brother was thirteen, and life happened and we went on with our adult lives. I don’t really know my brothers but I know my sisters and we are as close as sisters get. I wish I could be close to my brothers but I am not. I am close with the youngest but that is because I had a part in raising him because after my father got sick when he was only four months old, my mom spent the next four years taking care of my dad, and then when he died, my mother was never the same and my sisters and I continued to take care of our baby brother.
You can imagine that this diagnosis has had an impact on my mother, my sisters and I, and my brother seems to think that we have no say. I know we have grown apart and I know why but when it comes to things like this, I really wish he would let us in. My younger sister (she is a year younger then me so she’s 33) was diagnosed in late 2008 with Hodgkin’s Disease and we had answers because she let us in. I believe hers was pretty early, maybe Stage 1 and she has been remission for over a year now. The not knowing and the feeling like you have no control is difficult and you feel like you can’t breathe.
I want to close my eyes and wake up to a time when we were kids, when life was simpler and when the C-word wasn’t a part of our lives. When I start thinking about it, I start to cry. I am tougher than most but I also know that good health comes with hard work. I also know that he is in denial now, but he won’t be forever so I pray that he fights and that he learns to make better choices. That is all I can do because clearly, it is out of my control.
I am a very content person and I love to laugh but I also know how to cry. I know how to feel hurt and how to feel angry. Being an adult sucks and it is not much fun. I get my drive from my own successes and I have never really learned how to get it from anyone else’s successes. Maybe I will learn that better as my kids get older. The problem is that I am so focused on my goals that I forget to stop and smell the roses. Sometimes, I need a reminder and if anything, my brother’s illness is a test. Maybe, it is meant to bring us together again but it is really scary to see someone you love so sick.
My brothers and I are not close. In fact, the next one in line is 32 and I have not talked to him in nearly two years. We don’t see eye to eye on anything and he has been known to be a jerk. In fact, I am not the only one he has not talked to in years – the only person he talks to our mom and more often than not, he is asking for money. That is why there is animosity there. As for the younger one that is sick, he and I just lost touch. We talk if we see each other and we don’t spend much time together and the problem with my brothers is that they think that they don’t need anyone, and it takes things like this to remind them that they do.
See, I didn’t lie when I told you that my life and my family are complicated. What is more is that I am even more complicated.
My sister told me last night that my brothers are all intimidated by me. I thought to myself “WTF?” What is so intimidating about me? So I asked, and she laughed and told me that I was smart, determined, opinionated, and strive for success at every opportunity while raising two children and living with chronic illness and that is what made me intimidating. These are things that they are incapable of doing with fewer obstacles so they “think” you’re flawless and that makes them envious.
After that phone call, I got to thinking and I thought about the post from a week ago where I basically showed you a different side of me – a person who doesn’t necessarily have it together but works really hard to make it look that way. I also grabbed a pen and wrote down some good traits I have and some bad ones. Here are my two lists.
Capable of seeking answers to problems as they arise
Capable of handling stressful situations
A boundary pusher even when it might cost me
Capable of admitting when I am wrong
Laugh when I want to cry – might be a bad trait as well
I can be:
A Grudge Holder
Rigid or Harsh – in particular to myself
Overly controlling of people and certain situations
I have a tendency to settle for less if it makes others happy.
Opinionated – this is also a good trait
Because of my good and bad traits,
- I never lose sight of my goals and I am not a risk taker. However, I have a tendency to seek approval and I always want harmony even when is unrealistic.
- I am a dreamer and I am also my biggest critic.
- I have been known to judge people by first impression or by their flaws and I can be critical of mistakes but I also am capable of admitting that I am wrong.
- I have a tendency to hide my emotions but they show up when I least expect them to and that is when I see how strong I am. In addition, while I often appear calm and cool, I wrestle with my inner strengths and I question myself often.
- I can very creative and at the same token, I am a traditional person. I am grounded and would never wonder away from house to chase wild dreams, but I believe in personal expression and freedom. I believe that everyone should do what makes them happy even if the cost is that their choices will not be accepted by others in their life.
While my brothers may think I am flawless, what they don’t know is that I am human. Moreover, they have been known to be critical of my choices so there is a lot animosity there which I have learned over the years to let go of. They think that I am in control of every aspect my life, my marriage, my family, my career, my health, etc., but they don’t have a clue. The older I get to more realize that I am not really striving for perfection, I am striving for normalcy. I know that my good and bad traits flow together to make me the person that I am, but flawless, I am not. If people look at me to see me as all together and normal, I will settle for that.
See, I “like” me, even with all my flaws and imperfections. That is the Capricorn in me.
Don’t forget you have until next Monday, November 15 to enter to win The Law of the Garbage Truck.
David J. Pollay’s book, The Law of the Garbage Truck™ has recently been released. I was lucky enough to receive a copy for review. David and the people at Sterling Publishing have also generously offered a second copy to a reader from this blog. More details towards the end of this post.
This is a No Garbage Trucks Zone
A few years ago I found “The Law of the Garbage Truck™,” and over the years, I learned to incorporate it into my life often and when I do, it makes me feel like a better person. The “law” came to David J. Pollay about twenty years ago while he was riding in the back of a New York City cab. David was taking the cab to the airport when a black car jumped in front of David’s cab and the cab stopped only a few inches from the black car’s bumper avoiding an accident. The driver of the black car then jumped out of his car and started shouting obscenities at David’s cabbie. The cab driver, much to David’s surprise, just smiled and waved at the aggressive driver. In addition, the cab driver was friendly and absolutely charming. When David asked why he had responded so kindly after what the other driver had nearly killed them, the driver responded,
Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they look for a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you.
So when someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Believe me. You’ll be happier.
Thus, the Law of the Garbage Truck™ was born
How About You?
How often do we let people dump their garbage on us and then we spread their garbage to others? We not only do this with complete strangers but also do it to those we say we love. There are times we cannot avoid garbage trucks but the point is to not let them get to you because if you do, you start spreading their garbage around. You take it with you throughout the day and then, you take it home and your family does not deserve that.
I have had a tough life and when I was diagnosed, I had finally had my life together. To add injury to insult, so much came crashing down at me all at once. One day, I was healthy, stress free, and my husband and I were financially stable. We had just had a new baby and I woke up a few days later with the inability to walk or use my hands and the realization that my life was about to change. I spent a year depressed, unsure of the future, dealing with a financial nightmare, just trying to cope, trying to be a good mother, and I had to go back to work while dealing with all this because I could I had to get control of our financial situation.
When all this happened, I didn’t have time to breathe and I saw myself as this garbage truck. While tried to hide my anger, my grief, my hurt and my disappointment from everyone, including my husband, I couldn’t. Then one day, I came to the realization that I was better than the person I was becoming. I was still me, smart and determined and I knew that I could heal. It is not easy and those of us who live with chronic pain and illness know that it is not easy to be happy all the time but sometimes, a reminder is necessary. Sometimes, I find myself feeling that I just want to be angry and I remind myself that I won’t be a garbage truck.
The Fifth Commitment of the Law™ is “Do Honor Your No Garbage Trucks! Pledge.” In Chapter Sixteen, David talks about the birth of the Pledge, and, this part in particular speaks to me. About three years, David was run over by garbage truck at work and that garbage truck dumped his garbage on David. It threw his entire day off and he found himself irritated and moody and started spreading the garbage around. As a result, he found himself late for a presentation at his four-year daughter’s camp. When he realized how he was acting, he retraced his steps and remembered how a garbage truck ran him over first thing in the morning. That led him to behave as he did rushing and dumping his garbage. In addition, he realized that he had a habit of packing so much into his day that distractions would put him behind schedule. David, you spoke to me! This is me! The person who takes on so much and ends up rushing out the door like a mad woman. As a result, I am taking the “No Garbage Trucks! Pledge” and I implore every one of you too.
There are so many people who look at life optimistically and all have of us have that opportunity to be one of those people. The Second Commitment of the Law™ is “Do Not Let Your Own Garbage Truck Pass You By (Don’t Dump on Yourself). This is what I become after my diagnoses and I am glad that I came out of that. We all know the emotional toll that chronic illness takes, but we eventually find acceptance and when do, we stop dumping on ourselves. In Chapter Eight, David discusses how we can all live “the words.” He introduces us to Athan Ray who suffers from what doctors believe is cerebral lymphomatoid granulomatosis. He has had several seizures and doctors keep finding lesions on his brain, and most recently, they found three, which disappeared on their own. Athan is a husband and father and he wife lives his fear that the next seizure will end his life but Athan lives for the moment, reminds himself what he is thankful for, and he has accepted the reality that his life.
I know that it is just as easy to create your own garbage as it is for someone to dump on you. So, I visualize myself getting better.
The Law helps me to cope when I am angry, fearful, anxious, sad, and depressed, to name some of the emotions I feel at times. I remind myself that I am not a Garbage Truck. I don’t need all those negative emotions piling up inside of me. They don’t serve any purpose. When I let the garbage trucks pass by, I am not weighed down by the things that don’t help me.
Athan is someone who appreciates life and he knows that “a long life cannot be guaranteed.” Our time here on Earth is uncertain and so we need to live life to the fullest. To do that, we should not accept or dump garbage. There is not much we can control when it comes to living with chronic illness but not accepting or dumping garbage – that we can control.
There are eight commitments to following and living the law of the garbage truck. David’s book is about how to live life fully through those commitments and how to have the best possible life by not letting garbage trucks dump on us and not being garbage trucks. So, let us take the pledge together.
For more information on David, visit his blog.
You can purchase The Law of the Garbage Truck™ thorough a variety of retailers, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
One lucky reader of this blog will receive a copy of The Law of the Garbage Truck™. All you have to do is give me an example of how you can implement the Law™ in your own life. The winner will be picked with a random number generator. The giveaway ends Monday, November 15, 2010 at 11:59 and I will pick the winner the following day. Don’t forget to leave an email address so I have a way of contacting you. This giveaway is open to residents of the USA and Canada only.
***I was not paid for this review. I received a copy of David’s book for my review from the publisher. The opinions expressed belong entirely to me. Thank you David and Sterling Publishing for allowing me the opportunity to review The Law of The Garbage Truck.
Wow Lana. I can’t believe all the things you do. You are a mother with a busy career, you do advocacy work, live with two chronic conditions and you manage to keep it all together. How do you do it? I would love to know your secret!
While I appreciate that many people view me as this calm, cool, and an all together superwoman type who can juggle the world on her shoulders, seeing someone else say it felt kind of overwhelming. I didn’t realize that is how people see me so I asked a couple friends and even co-worker and they agreed that they saw me as such. I thought it would make sense to clear the air and any misconceptions that I seem to present here.
While you may see me as this supermom type,
This is really who I am.
- I am unorganized, emotionally challenged and incapable of ever getting my point across. Sometimes, no matter how loud I scream (BTW, I am a screamer) at my husband and kids, they can’t hear me.
- I cry at a drop of a hat and sometimes, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry and that can drive my family crazy.
- I hold grudges longer than I should even when I know forgiveness might be less stressful for me. See number 1.
- My home is clean but don’t you dare open my closets and actually, I worry about you opening my closets. See number 1.
- I am working on a master’s degree and maintaining a 4.0 not because I am smart but because I am deathly afraid of failure. The reason I went into the legal field is because I knew I would be successful there. I can barely balance my checkbook and my husband is always yelling at me about overdraft fees. I scheduled my driving test four times before I finally had the courage to take it.
- I am a control freak and I am obsessive about getting things done right away and not putting them off which absolutely drives my husband crazy. I am impatient and I don’t always know how to delegate. See number 1.
- I am so tough that I can be emotionless. See numbers 1 to 3.
- I am type A person who is driven and sometimes, I put more pressure on people in my life than I should and I don’t always know when to back off which gets me in a whole lot of trouble.
- I am crappy driver but if you tell me that while you are sitting in the passenger seat, be prepared to walk. Just ask my sister.
- I love my kids so much that I worry about the craziest things and sometimes, it keeps me from letting my kids be kids. Just ask my ten year old.
- My husband banned me from watching the news because well, see number 2.
- I hate shopping. Because of that, either I shop online or do my research before going into the store. To me, going shopping is like taking a hike so I have to plan accordingly.
- I am a planner and I plan for things weeks in advance and don’t you dare ruin the plan. Just ask my husband.
Now, that I have cleared the air, the reason I appear to be able to do it all is because of all the things mentioned above. In other words, I am pretty good at faking it.
If you look at look at numbers 12 and 13, you notice that I do a lot planning and shopping online. In fact, one of my favorite websites is CSN stores. These guys have over 200 online stores and literally billions of products. If you are searching for briefcases, barstools, coffee tables, holiday décor, toys, or anything you can think of, you have to check these guys out! With the holidays approaching, and the fact that I hate shopping and that I have to plan every aspect of my life, I need a website like CSN stores to appear calm and collected.
Just so everyone knows, I responded to the person who sent this email and told her about this post. She thought it was funny that I didn’t see myself as everyone else did. Did you really think that I was as she described? How about now?