Grief is a Bully

Love is what keeps us humans going, the force that pushes people forward in life, love is beautiful. Grief is a bully that feeds off of your love, holds you down, and steals your motivation. So far my battle with grief feels like I have two black eyes and continue to get knocked down every time I stand up. Putting one foot in front of the other is hard when it feels like you are wearing concrete slabs for boots. I have no idea how long this battle will go on, or if I will ever win. My love for Mandi was incredibly strong, in return that makes my new found opponent even stronger.

This last month has been hard, from getting stitches to repairing and replacing random things that break. Tired would be an understatement on how I feel, I am completely exhausted. I yearn for things to get easier for me, I want to wake up happy for once. I just can’t seem to get there no matter how hard I try. The minute I come up for air from the last big wave, another one comes crashing in. I have things to do, the summer is racing by and I am stuck watching it leave me in the dust.

Broken air conditioner repair guy

I figured I would have been camping a few places by now and have more planned for the fund raiser, life however is never easy. I have been to the ER twice in the last month, once for stitches and the other for my heart being a total jerk. I have been having issues with my heart since Mandi started getting really sick, enough to cause a massive attack back in November (Mandi was not very happy about that one..). Since that little adventure I have had an Atrial Fibrillation, needless to say it has been a thorn in my side. I inherited heart troubles from my mother’s side of the family, my grandmother has had a triple bypass and my mom struggles with issues similar to mine.

To add to the excitement I was recently diagnosed with stress cardiomyopathy, also referred to as “Broken Heart Syndrome”. It feels a lot like a panic attack if I were to describe it, with the added feeling of your heart break dancing in your chest. As a result they prescribed me Xarelto, which is a type of blood thinner. If my heart continues to misbehave they mentioned another drug to maintain a normal heart rhythm, or possibly a cardioversion. With a cardioversion they basically put you to sleep and zap you with electricity to restore your heart to a regular rhythm.

The shed monster

Of course all of this just makes me miss Mandi even more, she was the one that would take care of me when I was sick and boost my spirits when I was down. I feel alone, I want nothing more than her to hold me tight and tell me “Everything is going to be okay, Mizzle!”. Lately I feel scared, I am not sure what the future holds for me and I no longer have the amazing support system I am used to having. Mandi had everything figured out, a plan for just about any scenario.

I am still scanning Mandi’s drawings and things she wrote by hand, I know a lot of people want to see more of her artwork and it’s coming along, just slower than I anticipated. My plan is to get this all backed up digitally, make copies of all the data on USB drives and send them to her family. I also need to pick out some clothes to give to my friend Nita, she is going to make me a blanket and a stuffed animal. It is still so incredibly hard to go through any of her things, I just can’t seem to do it.

Manti-La Sal National Forest

I do have some camping trips planned finally, one to Manti-La Sal National Forest and another to Soapstone which is in the Uintas. Mandi loved camping in Manti-La Sal, it’s nice and cool during the hot summer’s here in Utah and it is beautiful up there. I will be spreading her ashes on trails we used to ride together, another thing I know that is going to be hard to do. It is what she wanted and I will honor her wishes, it’s just a painful reminder that she is no longer with me.

My poor dogs are going crazy, with me being at the office all day and trying to get myself out of the house, they are not getting the attention they deserve. Kira is shedding so much this year I could knit a sweater every hour and still have a pile of hair to clean up. The air conditioner also decided it wanted to go out in the middle of one of the hottest weeks in the year. The blower motor burned out as a result of lack of airflow and improper wiring when they remodeled the house. Kira has a thick coat, so she suffered the most from the air conditioner troubles. So the woofs need to go camping with me soon, I think they could use a vacation too.

Soapstone Basin

The fun just never ends, but I am not going to give up. Mandi wanted me to be happy and enjoy life, I will get there someday. I am still seeing Lisa at the Huntsman and I have been keeping myself busy when I do have free time. I notice I struggle more when I am sitting around thinking about things, I have to keep my mind occupied or I go downhill fast.

I saw that one of Mandi’s MBC friends started a fund raiser for METAvivor on Facebook, so I figured I would start one as well. I like that Facebook and Amazon offer ways to help raise money for charities. I pretty much exclusively use Amazon Smile for anything I buy now, dog food, household items, every little bit counts.

August is already just around the corner, I can’t believe how fast time is moving. I need to update The Mandi List with items I have completed, I keep forgetting to do that. Things just need to slow down, I have been forgetting a lot of things lately. My brain is still foggy, and being busy all the time isn’t helping it get any clearer. I need to work on taking better care of myself both physically and mentally, I am learning the hard way this is extremely important.

There are some new studies I am interested in hearing more about. One is Keytruda, a new kind of immunotherapy drug. It could potentially expose the cancer cells so the immune system could find and destroy them. They have trials for patients with locally advanced triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) or hormone receptor-positive/HER2-negative (HR+/HER2-) breast cancer. The other is Swansea Uni, a drug that could help reduce hot flashes for breast cancer. Mandi had terrible hot flashes, one less side effect would be a step in the right direction. I have some of Mandi’s MBC friends keeping me posted on both, I will update people when I hear back from them.

I am still receiving a lot of support from people and I am extremely grateful for it, thank you. Mandi was an incredible person and everyone is helping me keep her memory alive and strong, this is exactly what she wanted. I hope all of you have a good summer.


Author: Michael Hudson

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