Self pity

Posted: January 17, 2009 in Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah, My Ankle

There’s a big difference between wallowing in your own self pity and using unfortunate events as a catapult to regaining control of your life.

There was a time when wallowing kept me in a state of mind where I felt helpless, useless, and betrayed.

I’ve learned now that the only way to climb out of a hole is to get your own rope, find something secure to attach it to, and pull yourself up and out of it. Bury the hole and move on.

I’m still working on some of these skills.

It helps when the secure object is a family member or close friend. They tend to be more forgiving.

It helps when the rope is tied securely into place. But slippage is inevitable and therefore setbacks are common.

It helps to be physically and mentally strong. A strong body is a better fighter. A strong mind is better equipped to cope. 

Much of this post may seem unrelated in subject matter. Sometimes you just write to get things straightened out in your own head.

Why would I want to do this on a Blog though? Why not keep it tucked away in a private log? Feedback. And the chance that I will connect with another person with similar issues. People need people. We need to know that we are not alone in our struggles. We need to understand that it’s OK to ask for help.


I went and applied for heating assistance yesterday. I collected some more stories while awaiting my turn to fill out the paperwork.

A mother, father, and five year-old little girl were sitting behind me. They didn’t have an appointment. They had no heat and just wanted to have a warm house.

The five year-old told her father that she didn’t think Santa was going to bring him any presents this year. She was surprised that he’d received anything.

Her father stopped coughing long enough to ask her why she thought such a thing. Because you always hit me Daddy, and that’s bad, the little girl said without hesitation.

The father was silent. Mom (knowing that I probably had overheard the conversation) told her that daddy won’t be doing that anymore.

Nowhere to sleep

Another man, middle-aged but looking frail, was trying to find a place to sleep. I overheard him explain that his truck was not warm enough the past couple of nights

We have heat

We are not freezing by any means! We have some electric heaters. The basement has two small rooms that have electric heat. The hot water heater is also electric.

Even so… some very good friends of ours called to say that they had called another common friend and they wanted to buy some oil for us.

I was so touched and thanked him over and over again. I told him it was very thoughtful of them but that help was on the way by mid-week (fingers crossed for good luck).

It’s hard to think of yourself as someone that needs help. It’s harder to except it from friends that have their own finances to worry about.

I can’t imagine what it is like for those that have no support system… nobody to pull on the rope as they try and climb out of the hole.

Strong body

The biggest problem about having gone through a situation where you are in constant pain is that you get used to it. You sometimes can’t tell if it’s normal for your condition or if you should be concerned.

When the tumor was removed from my ankle in early spring, I knew there was a chance that the pain would never really go away. And I learned to cope with it.

After the two month Xray came back clean, I wasn’t scheduled to have it checked again for another six months.

I didn’t listen to my body closely enough. Three months later my ankle was beginning to feel like it did pre-surgery. But I was busy Aflac-ing and doing everything except training for my next 5K.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY PEOPLE! I waited for the appointment and sure enough the pain was the first indicator that the tumor was back.

At this point I can only wait until my Tuesday appointment with the tumor doc. But the early indications are that it will need surgery again.

From what I remember of my past conversations with the tumor doc, it should be the same type of tumor (but of course they will biopsy it again). The question, I guess, is how much of the bone around my ankle joint has been compromised.

I also remember him saying that there is not an artificial ankle joint that they can just pop in there.

We talked about maybe needing  a prosthesis if the tumor remained aggressive and chose the same area to attack again.

I always prepare myself for the worse. That way I’m preparred for whatever happens.

They didn’t listen to me

Those same friends just called me back to say that they are on the way over to drop off the ten year-old and that an oil truck will be showing up tonight.

Wait until I see them. I’m going to hug them until it hurts!

  1. Kristen says:

    I have so much admiration for you I don’t even know how to begin to articulate it…

    When I’m reading, it seems like you must just pluck away at these keyboard keys, without hesitation, even though I know at times sharing your thoughts and feelings must be the hardest thing for you to do.

    I love reading your blog because there are so many ways I feel like I can relate to your stories. You are an inspiration; a reminder that things are hard, and life can suck sometimes, but we must keep plugging on because we can, we are able, and we will make it through to better times.

    Your opening line here is so true, there IS a HUGE difference between wallowing and regaining control, but remember that it is OK to wallow just a little bit sometimes, because sometimes that little bit of wallowing is the catapult we need to get up and grab on to the rope and start pulling.

    I’ve had some similar struggles recently (and I’m still working through some), and I know how hard it is to ask for help, and then to accept it when it is offered (like from your friends)… it does help when the secure object is a family member or a friend (but then again, sometimes it seems like it is harder to tie onto someone so close). When I have times like these and I get the help I need (either having to ask, or if it just comes), I often remind myself of something a close family friend said to me when I was in high school… she said that when someone is offering something, help, money, whatever, don’t argue, or feel badly about it, just be grateful and say thank you… they want to do it for you, let them help.

    I have a close friend who is going through a hard time, and she does not have very many people around her to pull on her rope… and she is not doing very well pulling herself out, or accepting what others are trying to do for her. She keeps making bad decisions. We (you and I) both know someone who is all about the “suck it up and move on”… and sometimes that is what you have to do. For some reason she can’t see that and she can’t get out of her own way. I have been trying to help when I can, but I am coming to a place where I don’t really know what else I can do for her.

    You are doing what you can with what you have. I have so much respect for you in being able to share your experiences… and even if you couldn’t share here, the fact that you are able to process all of this the way that you do is admirable. You are a great rock for your family, and I think an excellent example for your children, that you have to get through the hard times however you can to keep going… things will get better.

    These stories you came home with are a great reminder that things could be worse for us. Thank you for sharing.

    I have been thinking about your ankle, and feel kind of wierd to say anything about it becuase I don’t really know you. I don’t know what your beliefs are, or if you are religious at all, but I know that when my father had a heart attack… he was welcoming any prayers even though he is not religious in any way. So, I just want you to know that you have some extra prayers coming from over here, and I hope all is well.

  2. Ron Goralski says:

    Your words are so sweet. Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing your own thoughts.

    I will except any and all prayers. But there are people that really need them more than I do.

    Honestly, I’m ready if it’s determined that I need a “new” foot. My old one is 45 years old… it’s got to work a little better.

    I’ve had two cousins fight and beat cancer this past year and THEY are the ones that get my admiration. I can only hope that if my tumor ends up being on the wrong side of GOOD, that I can be as strong and brave as they were.

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