The breathing is hard.
Those of you who know me know that I love summer! I love the hot weather, the long sunny days that don’t end until 9 PM, the awesomely fresh summer fruits including HUGE Jersey tomatoes and blueberries, cooking all kinds of foods on the grill, fresh and juicy Jersey Corn on the Cob, outdoor farmer’s markets, the Jersey shore, and most of all flip flops!
However, in the past 5 or 6 years, I’ve noticed an increase in my asthma and allergy symptoms starting in late June and not ending until mid-August.
At the end of June, I went to my doctor. Her diagnosis was “Upper Airway Cough Syndrome and Asthmatic Bronchitis” brought on by allergens and environment.
What does that actually mean? It means that I have Post Nasal Drip with a nasty, hacking cough that sounds like the plague.
Her treatment was a new antihistamine, cough medication (the GOOD kind) and an additional bronchodilator. I’m always told, “This will clear up with these medications in a couple of weeks.” Realistically, it’s going to be a solid 6-8 weeks of hacking up a lung and avoiding (quiet) public places.
Last summer, the ENT specialist told me that this environment is not good for asthmatics. My pulmonologist told me that very same thing for a good 15 years. He actually went as far as saying that much cooler, dryer air would be a better environment for me.
Well, here’s the conundrum: I don’t like cooler air. And I definitely don’t like cold weather. Things associated with cold weather like snow, ice, sleet, snow shovels, etc. make me downright depressed and lethargic.
So according the those in the medical profession, I should NOT be living in NJ. I already knew that. Besides, it’s way too damn expensive to live here. Every winter I want to fly south with the birds. Yet, moving to a place like the Carolinas or Florida would not be great for me either because of the environment: ie: humidity and allergens.
Here’s Culprit #1: Unhealthy Air quality Index
Here’s Culprit #2: High Concentration of Mold Spores
Above are the reasons that I suffer every year. I am allergic to Earth. Maybe I am really an alien, and I somehow got transported here. It’s apparent that my lungs can’t handle our air. Sigh. I need to move. I’m thinking Mercury or Venus.
January is not my best month. Never has been. I’ve always felt that it was a gloomy month. It’s cold and wintery. The days are still short and spring is still weeks and weeks away. The holidays are over.
Then in 2000, my mom passed away. That just added to the gloom of the month. A sadness that has not gone away in 16 years.
January was also the month that my divorce from Bob was finalized. And the month that I sold my first home.
Then in 2013, Mark passed away. Didn’t that just add more gloom to an already long month?
So many people I know like January for the new beginnings and the resolutions. Not me. Spring is for new beginnings. Buds on trees, flowers popping out of the grass, the birds and small wildlife procreate and little birds and animals brighten the world.
I think I was supposed to be a hibernating creature. Winter and cold is so not for me. Wake me in April when the days are longer, the world has woken and the nights are just chilly (and not frigid).
I’d even be willing to skip Valentine’s Day and my Birthday. Wake me in time for Easter. I could use a REALLY long slumber.
And this year we were lucky enough to get a blizzard in January. Two feet of white shit dumped on us in 24 hours. Friggin’ yay.
But January is now over. Not a moment too soon. A month closer to spring! And the month of sadness behind me.
February is not the greatest month but at least it’s short, it has Valentine’s Day and my birthday!
Woo hoo! Let’s hope for a good month!
That’s how long it’s been since Mark passed away. 1095 days.
So much has happened since that night. Nothing ever prepares you for the death of a spouse. Nothing. Even though he was sick for years before he passed, it didn’t make it easier.
And now it’s three years later. So much has changed. I look around my home, and realize that time has kept marching on. Gone is the color brown. A lighter and brighter me has emerged.
Gone is the deep pain, but what remains are the memories of the 13 years we were together. Some bad. Some indifferent. But mostly good. I used to remember and it cut like a knife. Now I remember and I smile. Yes, sometimes I still cry, but it’s not like it was the first year after Mark passed.
I didn’t think life could or would go on. But it did, and I can honestly say I’m happy. Sure, there is always room for improvement, but on a personal level, life is good.
I don’t think this date will EVER be a happy one for me, but it will hopefully never be one of doom and gloom.
I made it through these three years because of the love of friends and family, but also because I found strength that I never knew that I possessed. I always considered myself a weeny. I never thought I was equipped to handle the cruel world we live in. Mark used to tell me that I was too sensitive and emotional. He said I needed to be tougher and more assertive. That’s never worked for me. It’s not who I am. I haven’t changed in three years. I still possess my “weeny tendencies” but who I am is what made me the person I am today.
I have learned a lot since Mark passed away. I now know that I can function quite well on my own. I admit that I prefer not to because I love having someone around to share life with on a daily basis. I learned that life is short, and money is not everything. It definitely makes life easier when you have it. But it won’t buy you love. That comes from within.
A lot of the things that I learned are deep and very personal. Even I won’t share them with anyone, but the important thing is that I learned.
As I start my fourth year without Mark, I am grateful for our years together. I think about him often. I miss him more than I admit. And a part of me will always love him.
Having said that, I know that he’d be proud of me, and I know that he’s glad that I listened to him. He always told me if he should pass away, I should find love and happiness again. I can be stubborn, but I took his advice and honored his wishes.
I know he’s looking down on me, and I know he approves.
Today I woke up to several news alerts on my cell phone telling me that David Bowie had passed away after an 18-month battle with cancer.
I was stunned, because like so many people, I had no idea that he was even ill. He was 69 years old, and in this day and age that’s not old at all.
I liked his music. He had a very eclectic sound, he was ahead of his time, and he was paired with some of the greatest singers of all time. His duets with Mick Jagger, Freddie Mercury, and Bing Crosby were just some of the classics.
He was married for many years to his wife, supermodel Iman. They shared a very touching love story that I only read about today.
The legend of David Bowie will live on forever through his music. While I didn’t know all that much about his life, I still find it sad that he passed away. It’s just another harsh reality that no matter how much money you have or who you know or how famous you are, when your time is up, it’s up.
The circle of life means many things to many people. To me, it’s birth, it’s living, and it’s dying. No one is immune. You can’t beg or plead for more time. All you can do is live each day to its fullest because tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Rest in peace David Bowie. You were a man, a genius, a father, a husband, a legend.
To Ziggy Stardust, in your memory, I say,”Let’s Dance!” I think it’s what you would have wanted!
$500 million!!! Or $306 million cash value!! I can live with that. Easily. Quite easily!
So on my way home from work today, I stopped at the local 7-11, and I bought 5 Powerball lottery tickets. It cost me $10.
That’s not a bad investment considering that I have hope. It is a piece of paper that could possibly be worth more money than I could ever earn in10 life times. That hope could afford me everything I could ever want or need for the rest of my life. It could allow me the chance to help everyone who needs it.
Could you even imagine that kind of money? I dream about a life completely different from the one I live now. I’d be able to travel the country, or even the world. I’d be able to help rescue dogs and cats in need of homes and medical care. I could help my friends and family who need just a boost to get them through the rough times.
What would you do with that kind of money? In less than an hour, the drawing will go off. I could have a life changing moment. I have just as much chance as anyone else. And for a brief moment, I can experience the “what if” …
What if I won? I have hope. I could be dirty, filthy, stinking rich. I could have more money than I could spend in a lifetime.
I can dream. Wanna know why? Because I bought my hope!