One of the reasons that I didn't feel up to it is because having a mom with malignant brain cancer has radically changed me. Things that used to matter to me no longer matter. Going shopping is not on my priority list. Getting a good night sleep is. Also, when a parent has cancer, the whole family feels as if they have cancer. The dark cloud looms overhead.
Suddenly, our lives spin out of control. Our emotions are up and down in a matter of seconds. One minute we are fine, but the next minute tears are gushing from our eyes as if a levy let loose.
Add on top of this, I struggle with adrenal fatigue and it's not looking pretty! Seriously, the ongoing symptoms are real as well as debilitating. Managing stress is a battle. There are sleepless nights in which I am utterly exhausted, but can't rest. I am wired, but tired. Usually, I awake late at night covered in perspiration and drenched. In the morning, when I'd rather pull the covers up over my head, I force myself to climb out of bed to get moving. By mid-afternoon, I'm craving hot piping coffee, but I can't give in because it will cause me to have severe insomnia and take a toll on my adrenal glands.
This is my "new normal: Fatigue. Sadness. Distraction. Brain fog. Mood swings. Hungry all the time, despite eating frequently. Irritable. Overly sensitive to things that used to be no big deal, but now it's like a tornado ripped through my life. Every. Single. Day.
As my precious mom's health spirals out of control, what most people are unaware of is that brain cancer is like a wicked curse that steals people's minds. This upbeat, strong, and feisty woman has become hostile, aggressive, pessimistic, angry at everyone and everything, and her personality has significantly changed. Simply stated, my mother is no longer herself. Brain cancer along with chemotherapy and radiation has taken her brain hostage.
Overwhelmed, I try to support my mom in this fight for her life. Ultimately, I do not want to see her suffer or be tortured 24/7. What I may not say much to my family because I'm not sure they would agree with me is that I've reached acceptance where I pray for God to take my mom now. To not let her continue in this hellish anguish where she is suicidal and contemplating ending her life. This is not the mom I want to remember. So you can only imagine the internal war that is going on inside of me. When I am at war with praying for a miracle and then pleading with Jesus to take my mom home to be with Him.
So here's the biggest point that I want to make about coping with stress, adrenal fatigue, my mom dying of cancer, and all of the other backbreaking challenges I confront: We must find positive ways to help ourselves through the grief, loss, and darkness. What works for one may not work for another. As for myself, I advocate and practice holistic wellness and clean whole nutrition. Pure essential oils have been a godsend for me, especially during this painful season in life. What I love best about them is that they are plant-based and have healing therapeutic qualities. Also, they are not addictive or mind-altering compared to pharmaceutical drugs.
Fast forward to Wednesday when I headed to a shopping center for black slacks to wear to my daughter's event. After several failed attempts to find the right style and size, I went to a dress shop where I perused the aisles searching for something cute to wear. With my arms piled high with slacks and dresses, a saleswoman asked me if I wanted to try on the clothes in the fitting room.
Once I tried on the pants, I walked outside of my dressing room to inquire about another style. Then I returned to my dressing room and closed the door when the sales lady loudly complained about the essential oil that I was wearing. Although I could not see her and I didn't know who she was talking to, I heard her rant about how much she despised Patchouli and she said that she couldn't assist me any longer. Instead of saying the fragrance was bothering her or that she had an allergy to this scent, she said that "I" was bothering her, which was not only rude, but extremely inappropriate and unprofessional.
After I finished putting my clothes on, I wanted to leave the store without buying anything. I was offended and upset by the way this saleswoman mistreated me. Had I not desperately needed black slacks for this event, I would have walked out the door and never returned. However, I sincerely needed these pants and that's why I calmly approached the register and paid for them.
Following this transaction, I inquired with the saleswoman if she was the manager. She pointed over to the outspoken sales lady who had made the nasty comments about me and said she was the manager. Say What!? It was mind-blowing that the person in a leadership role was the person who mistreated me. Taken by surprise, I told the other saleswoman that I did not appreciate her manager treating me rudely, especially when these essential oils are helping me cope with the grief and turmoil of having a mom dying of cancer.
Very graciously, the woman at the register apologized for her managers bad behavior. She was respectful and I did appreciate her thoughtfulness. My eyes filled with tears. Sadness and roller coaster emotions have their breaking point. I was in the middle of an afternoon meltdown!
So there I stood feeling quite uncomfortable and I wanted more than ever to disappear. To vanish because my coping skills where on thin ice. I didn't want to humiliate myself publicly by standing in a puddle of tears at a local dress shop. Perhaps it was the adrenal fatigue sent into motion with the flight or fight cortisol going haywire? Or I felt violated from the uncivil and startling behavior of the manager? Or having a mom who happens to have malignant cancer simply takes you over the edge? Either way, I wanted to grab my shopping bag and leave the store quickly.
As I approached the front door, a customer said to me, "I overheard the whole thing. Yes, the manager was definitely out of line and she was rude." (This goes to show the importance of being on your best behavior because you never know who is watching or overhearing you.) With tears ready to flow, I forced myself to take a deep breath and to calmly acknowledge the stranger. Nodding my head, I agreed with her.
When I reached my car in the packed parking lot, I sat bewildered for a few minutes. What just happened in there? After working as a licensed beauty expert for over 27 years, I've been in retail sales and have worked with all walks of life. Never have I witnessed such an unprofessional person in management openly criticize a customer in such a hostile manner. I question why this sales manager in the dress shop felt the need to verbally express her hatred for Patchouli? She could have easily been discreet and politely asked her co-worker to assist me without ranting and raving.
By all means, I understand that some people have allergies or sensitivities to fragrance, but that does not give them a free ticket to misbehave, lash out, or treat others poorly. Based on the fact that this saleswoman was the store manager, she should have maintained her professionalism without calling unnecessary embarrassment to the customer; me.
As I drove home, I knew that in reality this may not be the first time this manager caused public humiliation to her customer. Perhaps, in the past other customers were mistreated?
Although I may never know, I did feel inclined to contact the corporate office of this retail chain to file a complaint. Keep in mind, this was not to be vindictive. I believe that this situation could have been handled much better given the person in charge is meant to be a role model for her staff. Most importantly, the manager overstepped her boundaries with me and it was not acceptable behavior.
The good news is that the corporate office does take this offence quite seriously and they were horrified to discover what happened earlier this week at one of their dress shops. I was told that when the corporate rep confronted the manager about this incident the manager did not realize that she did anything wrong. Of course, the corporate office firmly set the rules straight on acceptable versus unacceptable business behavior. The manager was written up and reprimanded.
While I did not contact the corporate office to receive anything other than a simple "I am sorry for how rudely you were treated," they did offer to send me a gift card to make up for the embarrassing experience. The representative of the corporate office was exceptionally kind, warm, and sincerely apologetic over how the manager reacted to my essential oil.
I look back on this and ask myself what is the lesson learned. Somehow I go full circle back to the fact that we are all human and we do make mistakes. Life happens and it's not always easy. If nothing else, I'm trying to be more sensitive to others. In addition, I am actively pursuing tender loving care to my own self because life gets crazy and we all need to lighten the load.
Have you ever experienced unprofessional treatment at a retail shop, restaurant, or some other business? If so, how did you handle it? Do you believe the slogan, "The customer is always right?" Feel free to share your own customer stories. Also, if you have or had a parent battle cancer, survive cancer, or pass away from cancer, I am eager to hear more about how others coped with this devastating disease.