Posts Tagged ‘hope’

Figuring out what authentic means. Motherhood and me-ness. Just being.

April 18, 2013

I read a status update on Facebook by an unschooling page I follow. It was essentially all about how difficult it can be to support others, to inspire them, and always have to push your own dreams aside. That it is okay to never achieve your dreams if you help others. The line that really hit me was something like, ‘Sometimes I feel I will always live on the edge of a black pit, helping others climb of their black pits.’ That resonated. Strongly.

The author finished the post by saying hey, that’s okay! This is the good life.

That bit didn’t so much resonate.

Parenting requires, no, DEMANDS more squashing of self than I could have ever prepared for. Of course, I transform, I submerge myself with abandon into this new life, mostly. I want my children to be more courageous and creative than I am, and I feel that I play an instrumental role in allowing them to explore, to be who they are, to experiment and wonder. I want them to be curious and engaged and philosophers. Scientists. Artists. Literary giants.

I don’t begrudge them these things. Sometimes I question myself and my own motives, wondering if I am already trying to live vicariously through them. I pull myself back. No one deserves that pressure, we all need to be our own selves in the most authentic way we can. And that doesn’t come from other people telling us how to live or what to think.

So this status update made me angry, and made me sad, and made me THINK.

Then a lone sliver, a wisp as white and frail as anything else, floated across my mind. That one of my happiest and most fulfilling times in life was at camp. And my job, my life, was about inspiring children, young people, and adults. To help foster an environment where children could play and learn how to be themselves and take risks in a supportive environment. My life was all about helping others, and fuck, was I happy.

But I can’t lie. The campers at that place fucking loved me, and that fuelled me. I was able to be more fully, authentically me there than I had ever been anywhere else. The crazier I dressed, the weird impulse to shave my head, the outrageous singing and making a fool of myself – the more me I was, the more people loved me. And so, of course, that sweetest of lessons helped me grow and be joyful.

I feel on the cusp now, but it isn’t the same cusp I know and am old frenemies with. This cusp has that black pit on one side. I don’t know about the the other side.

The grand dreams, the feeling of factual endless possibilities, I don’t think it is there anymore. Those things may actually be in my own black pit. I think of my best friends I’ve known fifteen years, longer. How we all started with big dreams, and the certainty they would come true. I’ve watched people’s dreams deflate, and I’ve mostly felt sad about that. Because I know what we are all capable of.

But now a quiet voice says, find a third way. You don’t have to always give of yourself so constantly and consistently, this is a season in your life. When that voice is pushy, it asks uncomfortable questions about what sort of model I am being for my children. When it is melancholy, it asks what sort of life I am living for myself. Can I look up to me?

How am I so good at inspiring others, at believing wholeheartedly what I say, but then I sit here, in my tattered and comfortable slippers, perched on the edge of a black pit?

Maybe it is the time to look for an overgrown path. It’s small, dusty. Meandering. I’m not sure where it leads, but I do know it is away from that pit.

Or maybe it is still the time to sit here. Trying to rest and regroup when I get small moments, stretching my neck and checking my supplies. Casting my eyes about for that path, debating if I even want that path, or something else. I’d like my black pit edge to have a stream for my feet to rest in, but then I don’t want it to be too comfortable.

So I sit here, helping my children be and believe in themselves.

While I wonder who I am. That old me, who is still in Country A, laughing in thunderstorms and driving golf carts wildly? Eating ice cream in the summer twilight?

The impossible me who was brave enough to move across the world for true love?

The new and older me, who is often achey and short tempered?

I think I’m all those, but I feel I’m something else, too. Maybe my dreams have shifted, maybe I don’t want to chase them, maybe I’m just taking a breather. Maybe it’s easier to try to forgive myself for not trying at this moment in time. Maybe it’s okay to not know. Maybe it’s fine to let the sun warm my back, to sip water, to extend a hand to others. Maybe it’s not my time. Not yet.

Maybe it will be, soon.

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14 st 11, would Mickey approve? Also, I need deadlines in all areas of life. No exaggeration

October 28, 2012

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This is me, about six years ago on our very belated honeymoon in Disney World. It marks the second time in my life I wore a bikini. The first was when I was about ten. It was a tight hot pink and orange number, and I was on a boat with my family and our friends. I felt uncomfortable and like the thing was going to fall off the whole time. As a teen, I looked back at that picture and remembered viscerally how uncomfortable I felt. I don’t know whether I thought I looked good, or too chunky.

When I look at the above picture, taken on a waterproof crappy camera, I feel a lot. Freedom, sunshine, laughing, bliss. I also think I looked awesome. This trip to Disney happened to mark the end of my eighteen month journey at Weight Watchers. I’d lost fifty four pounds and felt terrific. I bought two different bikinis and felt so confident and happy. We have lots of pictures of us on waterslides and in wave pools and my face just glows in them all.

It is not a coincidence that the trip landed at a time when I had just hit my goal weight (11 st 10). No, I knew the trip was going to happen and I used it as a deadline.

A couple of days ago, my mom brought up the possibility of us all going to Disney next September, which happens to be seven years exactly after the above picture was taken. (How do such large chunks of time pass by?) So once again, I have a trip to Mickey’s Florida home as a deadline, though I am realistic. Last time I lost weight slowly, steadily, and very consistently. I may not have lost every week, but I never gave myself a week off. Never.

A small part of me hates myself for saying I will lose weight by Disney, when I never lost it for having a new baby. A bigger part shrugs, accepting, and says what is done is done and cannot be undone. No point in beating myself up, not when weight loss will require much courage and self love. Hard work.

Last time TMD did all our meals at home, and she often packed me healthy lunches as well. I was working so was not around food all the time. My job also required me to spend a good portion of my day walking through inner city __________, which involved dodging the crowds, speed walking, and a few particularly funky hills. This time I do all the food. I hate cooking, and often feel panic. What will I eat? When will I eat? This is why I reach for convenience foods, because they are so much easier when you are tired and cannot cook.

But it would be nice to have a new swimsuit. Red, I think. It would be nice to have more energy and less aches so I could keep up with the kids as they run around Disney in that hot, hot sun.

This last week I got some very scary news from back home. The sort of news that makes me wonder about trying, again, to figure out how we could possibly navigate the rough waters of immigration and relocation. When I got off the phone, I started eating and did not stop. I could not stop, even when I ended up unpleasantly ass sick as a result. Nothing stopped the eating until the casual mention of Disney, so I latch onto that. Seven or eight months to focus myself on something positive, while quiet worries and the realisation of time passing by try so hard to drag me under.

I have no printer, but really want to find a way to print out the original picture from this post. A few copies. So I can keep looking at it, knowing that no matter how hard it is, I KNOW I can lose this weight because I did it before. The circumstances have changed, but at the core I hope my inner strength and self belief is still there waiting for me and the possibility of a new swimsuit.

How do I feel about children who are biologically related to me, yet not mine?

September 4, 2012

Awhile back, the lovely Lyssie asked about how I felt regarding eggsharing. You know, that little sidenote of IVF that led to an anonymous recipient having a baby last time around – and the same woman is getting my eggs this time as well. (Though they become her eggs, in my mind, the instant they leave my body.)

You know, before I thought about the mechanics of lesbians having children, I was pretty against sharing my DNA with a stranger. I had a selfish this-is-mine attitude that I think is totally normal and probably the more prevalent attitude in society. I also think there is more stigma, emotions, etc attached to donating eggs because it is about a million times more demanding than donating sperm. (Not that I don’t appreciate sperm donors. Holla!)

Years ago we went to a presentation by our clinic aimed at couples who were considering using reproductive technology to expand their families. And it was during this presentation that my eyes filled with tears and my heart with longing and I knew I would do whatever it took to have children. Anything and everything, and that was before I knew how incredible (and fucking exhausting) parenthood was.

Not to  mention the success rates. If we did IUI (intrauterine insemination, when washed sperm is placed directly into the uterus), the success rate at our prestigious and worldwide reputed clinic was 23 percent over THREE cycles (and that’s back when I was fucking young). The success rate quoted to me for IVF, at that time, was 55 percent.

WELL. I liked the maths, and the only way we could afford IVF was to eggshare. (A note on eggsharing – at age 16, the children in Country B who were conceived using donor eggs or sperm can get confirmation that someone they are dating is not related to them. At 18, their donor’s name and contact information is released to them, should they want it. I hope this other family does reach out to us one day, but that is perhaps the subject of another entry…if you remind me.)

When the head nurse called to say she had a match for me, and the match was super excited and grateful, something flared in my chest. Like a big firework of happiness and love for this random woman I’d never met.

You guys, women who need eggs have probably been trying to have a child for years. Trying conventional ways,  having testing, more invasive ways, multiple cycles of IVF, and then facing a two to three year wait for an egg donor – and this is at a private clinic, where things move more quickly. Can you fucking imagine that, all the agony and money and time and dashed hopes? I can’t.

I’m lucky because I can’t.

So we did it. And we got a card from her, and I plan to write HER a card this time – and I know that I feel better about this decision BECAUSE it is this same woman. I don’t know why, I know it’s illogical, but there it is. I didn’t think much about it during my pregnancy, but once my children were born I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me. A lot.

I looked at the gorgeousness of Snort and Coconut and couldn’t help wondering about that third child. Did they have the same birthday? Were they smiling yet? Had I made an awful mistake?

But you know, the bottom line is that I can’t regret anything I did that led to the successful pregnancy and birth of my most beloved twins. Not one thing. And the joy they bring to me….knowing I helped another family have that makes me feel good. Just plain old ordinary good. Warm and steady and happy.

And of course, my children were created with the assistance of a generous anonymous man who gave us his sperm. It doesn’t make those kids any less ours, just as I hope the woman who birthed that other child loves him or her fiercely and amazingly. Like I know she must, because that baby was so wanted. And she felt that baby kick at her ribs, she birthed that baby, she bonded with her child. And I hope she gets to do it again, just as I hope to see my wife’s belly swell with our much wanted child, this third baby wonder my children will embrace, her breasts will feed, my body will comfort as she or he is wrapped close to my heart.

What a world where our children are so wanted and valued and we have to work so damn hard to get them. And it’s a community of people standing shoulder to shoulder with us. That man as he donates sperm, and a second man who gives us new sperm to create this new life. Me as I give eggs to that woman who longs for a baby, a sibling for her baby. We’re all connected together, and the bottom line is that this is a path of love and selflessness and hope. We may do what we do for different reasons, but our goal is the same:

to hear that new baby cry as they enter the world, to draw them close, to expand our families and hearts.

 

 

Guess hiding all our clutter was worth it. Or, how to sell a house in one day.

February 12, 2012

Our flat went on the market this week. Yesterday the first viewings were scheduled.

The FIRST PERSON who saw it? Made an offer. We have actually got our full asking price, which is only a thousand less than we paid at the peak of housing prices.

Aaaand exhale, mofo.

Here is where I say thank you times three to whoever was hanging out in my bedroom yesterday morning when I asked that someone make an offer on the day.

This is superb. Not just because it means we can stop keeping the flat organized and clean, and live like the junk warehouse affiliates we truly are, but also because we will have to spend less money on our mortgage once we have moved and TMD’s salary gets the chop.

Now everyone cross all fingers and toes that the buyer is happy with the survey, and this sale goes through successfully.

At this point our focus shifts to new cars. Sadly, Aussie’s cute little purple car she gave us is near death. We won’t be paying for the MOT, due next week. So TMD gets my car and we (me and children) are once again stuck in the house with no transportation.
We are looking for what my friends back home would call a minivan, but trust me when I say there is no equivalent of this vehicle in my adopted homeland.

Here’s where I need to offer supplication to whoever is hanging around my mother in law’s bedroom (where I am currently sitting, sans panties, don’t ask) to help us quickly find an economical, affordable, reliable seven seater vehicle.

So, yes. Things are moving. Still in shock that the flat is under offer! Our estate agents usually sells million pound plus properties, so while his commission from us is peanuts in comparison, I bet it is the easiest money he has ever made.

So.

Yay!

Mama’s lump.

February 1, 2012

I parked the car and walked across the tarmac to the hospital. The air was so frigid it felt like my fingers would shatter if they bumped into anything. I walked in the main doors and asked directions. To the breast clinic. The clinic with the name obviously belonging to a woman who’d died of breast cancer and left money to the hospital.

I wound my way through the corridors, each uglier than the next. Finally I found the unit- so happy to find the place I was so unhappy to be – and walked in. The walls were light pink, there was a built in tea bar, the receptionists actually smiled. This was a place, crammed next to the MRI and mammography unit, where people were trying to be cheerful and upbeat.

Except we weren’t. The patients, I mean. We were there in that overflowing room, each chair taken, thigh to thigh. Most were with a partner, a sister, some with their whole families. One woman, a mother, brought her tiny baby with her because he needed to breastfeed. People’s voices were loud, frantic, forced. The drone of voices was so overwhelming it was difficult to hear the names the nurses called out. Then a woman with a bright scarf wrapped around her head walked in, and there was a heartbeat of silence before the voices swelled again.

That woman made me realise this was all real. Cancer was real. It happened to women, to men, to YOUNG women. To mothers. I took the time to look around that room, to take in specific faces. That stoic, quiet woman with her Bible spread across her lap. The young. boisterous one in the pink sweatshirt. The one tapping her fingernails on her knees. I thought about the blogger I respect so much, the one with two small children, who is now is hospice. The one I don’t know if she’s still alive, or not, because her blog hasn’t been updated.

Eventually my name was called, and I was taken directly to a doctor, rather than the nurse I was told I’d see first. The doctor had a cheerful and brisk smile. She looked at my form – breastfeeding, smoking, contraceptive histories. Length of my cycles and how long I bled each time. Family history of any major medical problems. She asked a few questions before asking me to strip to my waist.

‘Your left breast was the reason you were referred. I’m going to check both breasts so I can compare how they feel.’ She kneeded my flesh, my breasts giving way to her fingers. Her voice told me what she was doing, explaining how I should do this at home a few times a year. Then she frowned.

‘This breast is definitely lumpier than the right. Because of your age, I’m not going to send you for a mammogram, but I am going to send you for a scan. You’ll have it and then come back to me; I’ll give you the results. If they decide they need a tissue sample, I won’t be able to give you those results today.’ She handed me a tie-on hospital top.

I looked her in the eye. ‘Is this something I need to be worried about?’

I was shown into the next waiting room. This was was small, cozy. Five chairs in a circle. Posters all over the walls with cancer helplines, groups for hair loss support, chemotherapy support, financial support for women with cancer. One entire wall was covered in leaflets we could take away. No one took any. I think we were trying to ignore them.

My eyes were drawn to the section labelled ‘children.’ I’d been missing Snort and Coconut so badly that morning, and so full of questions. What if I died before they were old enough to remember me? What if my dying screwed them up for life? Was the love, the deep love, I’d given them for two years deep enough in their marrow to sustain them, to nourish them, to help them carry on?

I’ll be fine. This won’t happen to me. But then, quick on the heels, I bet everyone thinks it won’t happen to them.

As I scanned the leaflets, my eyes were caught by a big, book shaped leaflet with bright colours and drawings. ‘Mummy’s Lump.’ My heart stuttered and I looked away, but every few minutes I found myself staring at it again, helpless to stop.

An hour later I was called down for my scan. As I arranged myself on the table – leaning on my right side, left arm up and behind my head – I said, ‘I feel like I’m posing for a dirty picture.’ I do tend to say whatever pops in my head, but what I didn’t say was ‘Why is the consultant radiologist here? And the other grand high pumba doctor? Is this standard procedure?? Please God let it be standard procedure.’

She asked me a few questions and began to move the wand over my breast. Over my nipples, over the rounded sides, pushing, pushing. She found a spot that hurt, and she went over that spot again and again. Again. It hurt, my breast hurt, those lumpy bits hurt – but nothing compared to my heart. Why is she going over the same area so many times? Does she see something?!

The other doctor walked in. ‘I don’t see anything,’ she said. He took the wand, went over the same areas, focussed and confident.

‘There is nothing to see here.’ He turned to me. ‘Everything looks fine, there’s nothing for you to worry about.’

I exhaled for the first time since entering the breast unit three hours before. I saw the first doctor again, and left with a leaflet detailing the massive doses of evening primrose oil I needed to take, with relief coursing through my veins, with the overwhelming urge to get home and hold my children. To tell TMD that, once again, we were okay. Life had given us another break.

I also walked out with words repeating in my ears. The woman with the Bible, who’d sat with me in room after room, she wasn’t so lucky. She didn’t get to escape. She had to make an appointment to come back in two weeks, but me? I’d been told not to worry about coming to the follow up appointment if it was too tricky with the move, that there was nothing to worry about.

The main waiting room, so teeming with life that morning, was quiet and empty when I left. There must have been a hundred of us in there that morning, a hundred of us waiting to see. To find out.

I hope all one hundred of us are okay tonight, tomorrow, forever.

Injections, take two.

September 12, 2011

As you read this, I’m in the hospital again. I’m writing on Saturday night, having just discovered I can write things and schedule them to post automatically in the future. Hopefully yesterday’s ode to past loves and dead birds posted okay.

Today – Monday – is my second batch of injections. It’s fair to say the first batch have made a significant difference in my life. The doctor said success would be a 70% reduction in pain. To me, success is that even when I’ve had pain, I have been able to walk every single day since those injections. Every day.

I’ve done more than I’ve done in awhile – though I still am not in the zone of what I would consider ‘normal’ – and I’m still waking up in the morning able to stand. Able to go on daily romps in the woods with my kids. I’ve only taken codeine a handful of times, and it virtually knocks the pain out completely.

If you’ve got a chronic pain problem – or a chronic fatigue issue, a chronic anything, actually – you’ll know about the tiring relentlessness of it. It just keeps coming. And I know I would resign myself to my ‘new normal’, but then another wave of depression or fear would hit and I’d sink lower than before. I want another baby. But I think, at this point, I want to keep getting healthy more.

When I failed my driving test – ohfuckityfuckihateyoudrivingtestisurelydo – I was upset because the first thing I’d planned to do with my saved money was join Weight Watchers. So I thought, ‘Oh, fuck you, driving test. I’ll join online instead. YOU DON’T OWN ME, LEGAL INABILITY TO DRIVE A VEHICLE.’ I’ve lost eight pounds since starting. So that’s thirty-eight pounds since baby A and baby B came out….and turned into two rocking two year olds.

I’m losing weight. I’m getting injections. I’m exercising more.

I’m doing what I can to heal physically, while still trying to heal mentally and otherwise – still realising my life is forever changed by this disability. I’m unlucky I followed a hunch to cross a road and not walk to a designated crossing. Fine. I did that.

Now I’ve got to do this.  I’ve got to do what it takes to keep walking. If any of you could send me daily reminders to do Pilates, that’d be good. These injections are a stop gap. They don’t last forever. While the pain is reduced I’ve got to get those core muscles in gear so they can start doing their job. So my ligaments can heal. So my life can keep expanding.

Have a good day, anyway. I’ll be reading this in hospital, so feel free to write me nice comments, since I’ll be all trapped lying down in bed in a room with five other women who are also trapped in bed.

Yeah.

Sometimes it’s that easy for your life to be changed.

July 25, 2011

I went on my last ever date with a boy a month after I turned 19…or 20, I think. I’d always been a serial monogamist, but I’d just ended a serious relationship with one boy, fake dated a gay boy, and come out as bisexual about a year earlier. Things were confused, so I did what many people do – I signed up for online dating. Within a couple of days, a guy named Eric contacted me and we agreed to go out for coffee.

He was fine. Attractive, smart…and blah. As I suffered through the first fifteen minutes, I wondered how I would survive the rest of it – and how long were dates supposed to last, anyway? Then my salvation walked in.

She was sort of the Big Girl On Campus. Not big as in fat, as she was wiry and lean. Big as in, she’s so so so queer and powerful and outrageous, everyone wants to be her. Or be WITH her. She came into the coffee shop with a few other people in tow, one of them a tall boy with brown curly hair and an infectious grin. This girl, being who she was, thought nothing of traipsing over to give me a big hug and interupt my date – thank fucking God. And the boy? The fabulously cute boy who just had an aura of creativity and smarts and fun about him? He followed her over and sat down.

We’ll call him David. (Previously referenced on this blog as ‘Opposite Gender Soulmate,’ which is actually a term David created to describe who I was to him. And of course in the magical moments of life, these things go both ways.)

Within five minutes, we were friends. I don’t remember what we talked about, only that it was easy and somewhere in the middle of that afternoon, Eric left the coffee house. I should add that this was all happening in early October, the gayest month you can imagine on our university campus. National Coming Out Day, days of silence, pride parades, pride dances….and that evening was a pride dance. My first big queer thing, actually, and I don’t remember if I was planning to attend or not, but Queer Grrl and David were going and asked if I was.

Curly Girl, my roommate, and I got ready later that day. I remember having a long silver silk skirt on, a skirt that later that year (or perhaps that night?) would get big stains on the ass from where I sat on the edge of a stage and got lapdances from David – and everyone else present.

How was my hair? Not shaved yet, but perhaps already the curiously purple grey colour I had acheived when I tried for a deep plum. Was my tongue pierced already? I was a very young queer girl, experiementing with how I thought I needed to look in order to fit in. That all went away at that dance – and now just because Queer Grrl was wearing an outfit comprised only of green saran wrap. It went away because suddenly I was in a space with other people like me.

We didn’t all like the same sort of pizza. Maybe we didn’t even line up politically. Some of us were genderqueer, some were smart, some were from other countries. The thing we had in common was that when we were outside of that room, we were the odd people out. But within that room, we banded together into a group of powerful misfits.

I danced in public for the first time – high school dances notwithstanding. Much dancing was with David, who was charming and disarming and easy to love. He leaned in and yelled over the music, ‘If I was straight, and you were straight, I’d have already proposed to you!’ I laughed and said I’d have accepted. And it was a joke, but it was true.

After that evening, it was a few weeks before we hung out. And that first time alone we wandered around a mostly empty campus and made up stories, talked about life, and – well. I guess he won’t mind my saying that in his tiny dorm room, jokes were made about his ‘used’ tissues and my used pad meeting up in the rubbish bin and a baby – Pad Baby – being conceived. It was that sort of friendship, that sort of family, that sort of ease. Right from the beginning, even in the parts that were awkward. It was how it was supposed to be.

That friendship evolved. He worked at my camp with me, he moved in with me, he was there during the year after I came out to my mother and felt like my soul and self was being shattered. We stared into campfires, we drank wine. We ran around imagining ghost stories and went to gay bars and had a lot of fun. We sat on our balcony – and when we weren’t running a weird hair salon out there, we were talking about writing and black spaces in our souls and Deep Things. We joked about creating a sex manual for lesbians and gay men who were best friends. He played his songs for me on his guitar, and I brought laughter back into his life.

I could write a million stories about David. I started this with the idea of writing about one particular conversation we once had on that balcony. One that seriously rocked my world and made me think and scared me.

But for now, I’ll leave this. I’ll leave the stories of the very in debt David, the boy who laughed like a maniac when he got a pre-approved credit card from a local gas station, who said, ‘If those bitches are stupid enough to give me a credit card, they deserve what they get’ as he bought us gas and food. I’ll leave the picture of that boy sleeping on the lounge floor in that ugly green blanket (sorry, David), or that boy sleeping in bed with me as I desperately attempted to avoid my unwanted girlfriend who came up to visit on the weekends.

I’ll leave it with saying that more than anyone on the planet, I think this boy-turned-man understands my exact experience of hope, of creativity, of disappointment. He also knows I am still trying, still wanting, still unsatisfied and longing to tell more stories.

And that boy, the boy I loved so fiercely and funly (I am allowed to make up words), that boy I fought with so ferociously, he’s turned into a man who sent me an email that said, ‘I want to buy you a computer.’ So this brief introduction to a friendship that has lasted about a lucky thirteen years now, it’s thanks to David.

What feels like a million years ago we rescued each other, and this last week he rescued my ability to keep trying.

Being happy can be a choice.

March 7, 2011

There are two possible opening sentences:

We have never been big spenders.

Sometimes being positive is a choice.

A few years ago, before we bought our current flat, our bank called us in for some sort of financial review. I guess the money we’d saved for a deposit on a house made us suddenly important customers, because we’d been pretty solidly ignored prior to having this money.

The guy went through the usual: how much do you spend per month on clothes? Entertainment? Pubs? Going out?

As we basically said we spent no money (and it’s true, you’ve never known two women less likely to buy clothes! Or two twenty-somethings…now thirty-somethings… less likely to go out!), the look on his face clearly showed he thought we were full of shit. Like we were trying to impress him, trying to beg for a bigger mortgage if we applied with them. (We did not.)

It’s no secret I love Yankee Candles. LOVE them. It’s also no secret that I spend a lot of time oogling them, sniffing them, looking them up on ebay – and never buying them. Because even when TMD had a job, candles were a luxury.

But to spend the weekend talking about how we have to stop buying Diet Coke, or tortillas, or so many carrots because these things are too expensive? To not buy a secondhand pair of boots for my kid because we don’t have the money? To stop thinking of buying them building blocks because, well, we might need that 6.00 for a bill in the near future? Depressing shit.

So even as I can’t sleep at night, even as I have nightmares about her losing her job when I do manage to sleep, even when I wake up to diarrhea every. single. morning. because stress always goes to my stomach, I take a deep breath and believe myself when I say this might be a blessing.

I feel we have to conciously choose to make things a blessing. It won’t feel like one for months, maybe a couple of years, but we are the sort of people who will make things work. We are the sort of people who strive to be happy.

She is stronger than me. I don’t think ongoing panic has hit her, or if it has she’s not shitting herself like me (literally) or living in a hell of not sleeping. We’ve decided to nightwean (started last night, a post about that coming soon) because she has three weeks left at her job and now is the time to feel like shit from not sleeping because it just doesn’t matter.

Sometimes you have to choose to be happy. Even when you can’t unwind, even when your mind is not quiet or content.

And then sometimes it’s a sunny day. Your friend and her little child are over, and the sun is pouring down from a pure blue sky – a rarity in this country. So you go outside – no coats. No coats! – and sit on the grass which is dry for the first time in about five months.

Your children squeal and ride in the secondhand cars we were gifted, and they feel like a real gift because of the happiness. Because your son is actually staying in sight and not running for the wilds. Because vitamin D is melting into your skin from the heat of the sun, and your friend is laughing, and you decide to erect the pop-up playtent in the garden and three little children are laughing and peek-a-BOO-ing and happy.

Sometimes being happy isn’t a choice. It just happens.

Until things are more secure and sure for us, I choose to live in hope and happiness. And I am even more thankful for these brief moments when I’m not worrying and overthinking and stressing out. For the times when I am just able to sit in a tent with my children, for the cup of tea I am drinking, for the joy of just being.

That costs nothing, most of the time.

I may make Bowen my bitch. Or vice versa.

January 29, 2011

Don’t want to jinx anything (ah, my old therapist would be rolling her eyes at the concept of jinxing), but my Bowen treatment today was awesome. Felt a change even before session had finished.

Two sessions left.

Think I am going to wean quickly from the pain med I started six days ago. Doctor told me it works by damping down nerves’ pain impulses to brain, and I think the nerve-brain connection is quite key in Bowen. I can always restart the meds if needed.

Apparently my pelvis was wacked up (my words, not hers) and is less wacked now. I’m feeling hopeful. I think it has helped a bit, but at the very least I found it deeply relaxing and enjoyed the session. Looking forward to next week!

PS. Anyone who may have information on Amitriptyline and any contraindications with Bowen therapy- or not- please do let me know. I’m interested.

Resolve.

January 22, 2011

Saw The Best Doctor In The World this morning. She’s pretty hardcore awesome. In a system where most appointments are scheduled to take 4 minutes, she spent the better part of 40 minutes with me.

She’s going to try to refer me to the private specialist, but thinks that in reality she will have to refer me to the local pain clinic. They may offer an MRI, but in reality will be trying different techniques to manage the pain.  If they feel my case is too specialist or they cannot treat me, they will be the ones to get the funding to refer me to and pay for private treatment.

The original surgeon I saw recommended denervation. Yes, it’s like what it sounds like – effectively killing off my nerves in my SI joints. (There are two joints in the back of your pelvis, called sacroiliac joints. There is one in the front, which is the symphasis pubis joint. I get pain in all three joints, and also in my hips, as a result of my condition: pelvic girdle pain.)

Apparently with my super stretchy ligaments – that will never go back to normal, sigh – it’s not just my pelvis bones that are able to wobble about and go crazy. It’s my fucking nerves. They are not being held in position, which means they are being pinched and twisted, which causes part of the pain I have.

I said that I was the sort of person who preferred more gentle, less invasive treatment – that I didn’t want to kill off my nerves or have surgery until everything else had been tried. She agreed.

I’ve been given a prescription for something that was originally developed as an anti-depressant (ah, as so many medicines have been) but now is used to treat chronic pain. It essentially stops my nerves from giving such loud pain impulses to my brain. She said this is better than codeine, as codeine only dampens down the pain. She also said this is a longterm, take it every day medication. I take one pill an evening. If it doesn’t make me too sleepy the following day and is not working, in a few weeks I can double the dose at night.

She also said this is a medication the pain clinic will have wanted me to try, so by getting started now it makes my case more ‘serious’ to the doctors I’ll see, as I’ve jumped through most hoops of conventional pain relief.

My PGP/SPD essentially is something that can never be cured, but the pain can hopefully be managed. I still do plan to do core exercises – maybe not today as I’m still recovering from this recent horrible flare of the last couple of weeks – but soon. I am also starting Bowen therapy next Saturday. I’m currently taking Arnica (homeopathic medicine) and wearing my ‘magic’ necklace.

It’s like making a quilt. I am taking good information from every sort of specialist I’ve seen, and stitching that information together to create something tailored to me. I’m trying to incorporate as much as I can, because I do not want to live like this. I do not want this to be my life.

The doctor pointed out that while I am missing ‘the fun stuff’ with my kids, they will have received more psychological good stuff – stuff that needs to happen to infants for the first two years, stuff that is more important than going out all the time. She reminded me I am giving them a good sense of self, building their self esteem, etc. She said my kids would probably be getting more of this good self-building stuff because of my disability.

That’s nice. It is. I just want to give all that good stuff to my kids, without having to be housebound. Or bedbound, as is the case of the last two weeks or so.

And on that note, I’m going to have a rest now. I’m hoping to be able to go along with TMD, Snort, and Coconut this afternoon to meet my new niece, and need to rest from going out this morning.

Sigh.

Still, I’m feeling more positive because at least I’ve got this new medicine to try. At least I’ve got Bowen therapy to try. At least I’ve got the core exercises to try.

I refuse to believe that I will have to live with chronic pain and be disabled for the rest of my life. I refuse.

Do you hear that universe? I am going to get better. Maybe not right now, maybe not this year. But I will.