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Today on my facebook page, a friend shared a picture with these words attached:  

"Crying is a release, a cleansing, an expression. When done properly crying brings clarity and healing to the body and spirit."

But these words left me hanging. When done properly...but they don't say what is proper.

I'm afraid I had a pretty big emotional meltdown today. I guess I knew I was heading for one with the stress of Mr. B getting pneumonia. Running back and forth to the hospital and coming home to an empty condo can do that to you. I think it reminded me that one day the empty condo could be permanent. Then I had a run in with Mr. B because I spoke with his nurse today and she wants to see him when he goes for his blood test tomorrow. She also indicated that both myself and Mr. B are not making very good judgment calls about calling her. It's not from a lack of trying on my part. I'm constantly in a battle when my heart wants me to call her and Mr. B doesn't want me to call. But some times, like today, I just go ahead and call anyway. I'm so worried that the chemo treatments are wearing him down physically instead of helping him. His nurse said that the doctor even wanted Mr. B to have his chemo treatment while still in the hospital but they finally decided to give him a break. I still feel he's not shaken this pneumonia and will have a relapse if they push his body too hard. 

People keep telling me that it will get better but I'm not seeing that yet and I'm really starting to get scared. I wonder how much Mr. B's frail body can take. In such a short period of time he's suffered so much, blood clots in his lungs, radiation treatments, weekly chemo treatments and now pneumonia. I worry constantly about him falling and breaking a bone, or cutting himself and bleeding profusely because of being on heavy blood thinners. Now I can add the worry of contracting a cold that will turn into pneumonia. It just never ends.

When I started this blog, I wanted it to be a place to share my feelings, frustrations and struggles as a caregiver. Yet when I just read my previous post I realized that I still put my focus on Mr. B and his medical condition. I'm finding it hard to deal with myself when he has far greatly struggles to deal with. I'm doing all the things that a caregiver shouldn't be doing. And that is why I'm having this emotional meltdown. I know I'll have to start stepping back and taking time for myself but until Mr. B's health is more stable, I won't be able to do it. Because mostly, I just want to see him enjoying life again. To do some of the most simplest things like taking a walk or visiting family. I'm not asking for him to run a marathon.

How Crying Can Make You Healthier

We all know a good cry helps to soothe our minds. Now doctors are discovering that tears may help to heal our bodies, too.

But what of crying? Emotional tears come from the same tear glands that produce the fluid that forms a protective film over the eyeballs to keep them free of irritants, and which also releases extra fluid when the eye becomes irritated, or is invaded by a foreign body.

A clue to the purpose of crying may lie in the experimental finding that emotional tears contain different compounds from regular eye watering, such as that triggered by chopping onions.

The phenomenon supports the so-called recovery theory, that emotional tears, and their contents, may be a way of getting the body back in balance after a stressful event. "I have suggested that we may feel better after crying because we are literally crying it out. Chemicals that build up during emotional stress may be removed in our tears when we cry,'' says William Frey, professor of pharmaceutics at the University of Minnesota. "Because unalleviated stress can increase our risk for heart attack and damage certain areas of our brain, the human ability to cry has survival value.''

Other evidence backs up the theory. It's been shown that tears associated with emotion have higher levels of some proteins, and of manganese and potassium, and hormones, including prolactin than mere eye watering. Manganese is an essential nutrient, and too little can lead to slowed blood clotting, skin problems, and lowered cholesterol levels. Too much can also cause health problems. Potassium is involved in nerve working, muscle control and blood pressure.

Prolactin is a hormone involved in stress and plays a role in the immune system and other body functions. Its involvement in tears may help to explain why women cry more than men. Women have more prolactin than men, and levels rise during pregnancy, when the frequency of crying among women also increases.

There have also been some claims that crying can reduce pain, although there has been little research into this area. The phenomenon, if verified, may be an indirect effect – in that crying may trigger physical contact with another individual and touch has been linked to improved wellbeing.

A counter theory is that crying doesn't so much help the body recover from whatever triggered the tears, but that it increases arousal to encourage behaviours to see off the threat. In support of this theory, some research shows that skin sensitivity increases during and after crying, and that breathing deepens. Some argue that crying could perform both these functions: "It is possible that crying is both an arousing distress signal and a means to restore psychological and physiological balance," say researchers at the University of South Florida. Others suggest that emotional tears signal distress and encourage group behaviour, as well as improve social support and inhibit aggression.

Read the rest of this article here

So maybe crying isn't a bad thing. I'm starting to feel better already. Or maybe writing this blog is doing it. My hope when I started this blog was that it would be a sort of therapy. I believe that it has been as I often feel a release when I've completed a post.

Thanks for being my "listening eyes".

 
I started writing this blog to share my journey. To have a safe place to unload when I was feeling sad or lonely or overwhelmed. And it's funny, but during the day I do pretty well, but late at night when I'm on the computer, then the tears start. I let myself think about the uncertainty of the future, where the money will come to pay for Mr. B's medications, how will I cope as his health gets worse...plus many more things. I know these same things weigh heavy on Mr. B's mind too. Last night he was the one crying about the cost of his blood thinner and I was the one encouraging him not to think about it right now. I said that we would find a way to pay for it and that it was necessary for him to live right now. Without the heparin, he could easily die from blood clots. I'm just thankful that the medication is helping him to feel better. My hope is that he can return to a better quality of life soon or at least start to do some of the things he enjoyed doing like taking his "grand dog" out for a daily walk. No, we don't own a dog, but our daughter does and Mr. B used to stop over at noon and take her out for a walk while "mom and dad" were at work. She's the sweetest dog and she has a way of making you feel good. I know that it would be so good for him to be able to take her for walks again.

And so I will need to make some hard decisions in the next month or so. It could mean that I will need to start looking for a full time job again to help pay for the medication. But I don't want Mr. B to get wind of that. I know how much it will upset him that I'm thinking of going back to work. He will feel responsible and I don't want that to happen.

When I was looking for a photo to attach to this blog, I did a search for pictures of rain to describe how I was feeling. And yet the picture I picked was this one and it didn't make me feel sad, but rather made me feel good inside. Crazy, huh?
 
I'm learning pretty quickly that no two days are alike when you have a spouse with MM. Some days Mr. B is almost his normal, happy self. Other days like today, he hardly says a word to me. He talks only when spoken to. I'm never sure if I should try to bring him out of the funk he's in or just leave him alone to work through it. I wish this cancer came with a manual on how a caregiver should respond.