It's been a while since the Etsy Team Captain's Summit in Toronto but we finally received pictures from the event. Usually I try to stay invisible but I was captured in a couple.
This was a hard trip for me. First off I am afraid of flying. I try not to let that hold me back but Benadryl was my friend to help me get through. Secondly, I received a call from work on the second day and was told my co-worker Kirk had passed away. I work in a mechanical contractors office and I worked very closely with Kirk. He was a hard ass to the guys but they knew it was because Kirk held a high standard when it came to doing a good job and working hard. Everyone admired him and since he was secretly sick, all were shocked to hear of his passing. Kirk was 56. He was the man who made work fun; always joking and making up songs and strange dances. He loved donuts and if you wanted one you had to get in there pretty damn quick. He loved dogs and Princess Auto (aka the place which cannot be named).
I knew when I left that there could be a chance I would get the call. Kirk has had skin cancer his whole life. He got it when he suffered from psoriasis and was told this UV box thing would help (they did give warnings about cancer). He could easily get an infection if he bumped his hand or any little cut. He had been dealing with infections over the past couple year. We found out he had cancer in his groin this year. It was operable and he had his surgery. He didn't want anyone to know about it. The surgery, and an infection in his back that wasn't getting proper treatment was too much for him to deal with.
There has been a major presence missing at work here. I still walk into his office and look around. It's not his anymore. His stuff isn't in there. He isn't there. I put a phantom crystal in his office to try to hold his presence, or for the next person who take residence in there, to know that he is in the walls. Kirk had worked for Christie Mechanical since he was 18. I feel I haven't really dealt with his death and maybe others at work too. We still talk about him like he is still working; "Kirk wants it this way", "Kirk always said we should...", "Kirk told me that..."
While I was in Toronto I also saw the extent to a new issue in my body. I wasn't able to walk for more than half a block before I needed to rest. My left leg was numb and I was in A LOT of pain. I had to use a wheelchair to make my way around the museum. I felt terrible because I wasn't able to get around and felt that I was a drag on the trip. We couldn't check out much of what we wanted because I wasn't able to walk even down the road. I had an MRI the day I came back (right before Kirk's funeral) and found out I have 2 herniated discs which is what has been causing the pain in my leg. I am currently waiting for surgery on that. In the meantime I can't walk very well and I can't stand . This is all on top of my regular nerve pain near my ribs on my right side. This pain moves around, shocks me every now and then burns, pinches, is numb, etc etc. I sleep A LOT. About a year ago, I would sleep all weekend maybe once every 3 months or so. Now it is every weekend. I am sleeping more than awake. This has been causing me a lot of stress, anxiety and guilt. I don't know if this will ever go away. My doc has labeled it Fibromyalgia but I'm not certain. I am now on my own with healing and have found the more alternative/holistic approaches have helped me more than medical treatments (which leave me hurting, frustrated and no further than before). I have never dealt with chronic pain before and never realized how isolating and lonely it really is (going on 8 years for me now). Invisible illnesses are REAL. I don't look sick to you, but I feel pain all over. It has taken over my whole life. I struggle to get out of bed and get ready for the day. I struggle with body image because my pills make me gain weight. I look at myself in the mirror and I have aged more in the past couple years. I am disappointed with myself .
As many of you may know, we also had our car stolen right before we were on our way to work one day and I lost all my tools and equipment as I was teaching 4 classes at that time. I have been so humbled for many of you and the community that is fibre people helping me by donating items back to me and looking out for my stuff online etc. You are my heart. This was also the month I lost my everything, my Xena, who was my best friend for the last 20 years. It was the hardest decision I ever had to make and one of my worst fears. I think about her a lot and see her every now and then in my dreams. <3
We also lost a second co-worker a month later. Doug Purcell. He had passed away from cancer as well. I still hear his laugh. He was the maintenance manager and also only 56.
If you have read this far my friend, thank you. This post wasn't meant to be this way but I am glad to have gotten it out. My therapist told me to write about Kirk and Xena etc and my fingers just kept typing. I don't mean for this to be a sob story and I am not looking for sympathy. Just wanting people to understand that what you see on the outside is not what is inside. Please be patient with me.