Susan Neder

Archive for August, 2012|Monthly archive page

Nose To Nose With Your Own Mortality

In Uncategorized on August 27, 2012 at 9:50 pm

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One thing about receiving a life-threatening diagnosis, regardless of the health problem – it does cause you at some point to confront your own mortality.

There has been a lot written about this over the years, but one fact never changes – it is a different conversation when had over dinner with friends than it is when you are nose to nose with it–and it is your mortality being considered.

Bucket lists are great fun to think about but I have decided that if you do not make time for your bucket list items as you go through life, then either those things are not as important to you as you may think, or they quickly become a waste of what time you have left. They look like they could be one more attempt to find peace and happiness outside yourself. Does it sound like fun to ride a Vespa through Tuscany? Sure it does, but is that how I want to spend my time? If I had forever maybe I would work it in, but if I am short on time, maybe not. I have a good friend who does it right, I think. She finds ways to work her bucket list items into her daily life as much as she can manage, though she is in good health. She even occasionally drags her husband and kids along on her adventures and they are better for it, whether they know it or not! Who knows – maybe she will live longer and healthier because she lives this way, or maybe she will get run over by an eighteen-wheeler tomorrow, but either way she was in a better place than those who wait their whole lives to do the “fun stuff” and then never get around to it.

As I look at my life, I have to ask what I would have done differently. For many people this might be a minefield, because their self esteem is tied to their belief that their decisions have always been flawless. In my case, I decided to make a list of all the mistakes I have made over the years that I can remember. The purpose of this exercise is not to feel bad, create regrets, or encourage low self esteem. It is the exact opposite. It is to realize and acknowledge that I am not perfect in the least and that my self esteem is not tied to that; I am who I am and a good person, but only human after all.

This exercise is increasing my flexibility with decisions about who I want to be and how I want to spend my time going forward, whether that is twenty years or two. I am becoming determined to make decisions differently from now on. I am not completely sure what that will look like yet – this is a process and I am at the beginning of it. Some things I already know for sure, though. There is no more room in my life for unpleasant people or mediocre food.

I am sure there will be more epiphanies as this new life unfolds for me.

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I Am Fabulous

In Uncategorized on August 21, 2012 at 2:46 am

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Do you ever have days when you feel like your life is a big science experiment, and the results are not always pleasant or predictable? I have been feeling like that a lot lately.

I think the culprit is “change”. I have tried to figure out why we all dread change so much unless it is of our choosing and completely under our control. That is certainly part of it. If we did not choose it, we cannot predict it and can’t control it, and we often don’t like it much.

Familiarity is comfortable and predictability gives us a false sense that we can control aspects of our lives that we really can’t; but too much familiarity and predictability and sameness creates ruts that become mind numbingly boring. So, like everything else, the trick is some of each, I suppose.

Unfortunately, I am not there yet. Things are so different everyday that anything ordinary and mundane in my life that was there yesterday is really appreciated by me. Things that I took for granted I am feeling very grateful for. I am pretty sure anyone who has been through a period of great upheaval and change, especially if it was not of their choosing, knows what I am talking about.The only thing I know to do about this is to look forward with anticipation for what will come next in my life, instead of dreading it. I have to believe the future will be “fabulous” and I will be “fabulous” in it! Meanwhile I am organizing my predictable pantry into food groups and thanking the oatmeal in my bowl each morning for being there.

Frame of Mind

In Uncategorized on August 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm

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Having this drastic a surgery has really turned my life upside down.

It is a little like trying to learn to ride a bicycle backwards when the pedals keep falling off every 10 feet or so. Who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks? I beg your pardon, but we certainly can! And with panache! (whatever that is).

One thing I am starting to learn is that whatever I think of an event is what it will be for me. If I think something is gross or overwhelming, then it will be for me. If, on the other hand, I look at something as no big deal, just something to get through, then it is much more manageable. I also can’t worry about what others think about all this for now either, because I suspect that none of this bothers my friends and family as much as it bothers me.

But, regardless, the only person’s feelings i can manage right now are my own – that may have always been true, but I just did not know it until now…..hmmm…maybe I am on to something……….

Southern Discomfort

In Uncategorized on August 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm

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I was raised in the south, in a family of true southern ladies.

My mother was extremely proper and started many of her sentences to me with “young ladies of quality do…or do not do ………….”. As much as I have outwardly rebelled against that over the years, I have to admit that deep down it is still ingrained in my psyche.

One area that I know is still controlled by that is the area of bodily functions. I am one of the few people I know who do not find farting funny. I even have trouble writing the word “fart”. When I was growing up it was more acceptable to have a child out of wedlock that to fart in public; at least if you had a child out of wedlock people understood and even might know someone else who had suffered that event. No one ever knew any female who ever farted in public. It just was not done, except by men. So is it any wonder that here I am at this stage of life being faced with one of my biggest challenges? I have noticed over the years that whatever you think you can’t handle gets plunked down into your lap at some point. And so it is for me as I wrestle with everything that comes with a new colostomy. 

Great. Just what I wanted. Oh well, I know I can beat this too – it just is not easy! However, I suspect that at its core it is rooted in some sort of false pride issue, which I do not like at all, so that motivates me to keep going. I just hope once I conquer this hurdle I won’t be tempted to spit in public……that really would not do at all…….