Sunday, August 16, 2015

Revival and redirection

What's a girl to do with her blog after she's been inactive for a year?  Delete it?  Nah, it was key in helping me move beyond my abusive past.  Ignore it and create a new one?  Nope, this one is tied to do many other bits of me.  Rename it?  Not that either, because the title still fits what I'm hoping will be its ultimate purpose.  So the question remains...

For now I think a quick update on me is a good place to start, because life has certainly changed since last I wrote anything here.

About 2 months after I posted last, L's mom died suddenly of brain cancer.  It threw our whole family for a loop and definitely put a damper on our big day which happened a month later in July.  Ten days before our wedding, my sister-in-law also died unexpectedly.  It was a rough month leading up to our wedding.

After the wedding I started school up again in the fall, continuing to work on getting my classes done for the CSU-P nursing program I was wanting to take.  Unfortunately part way through the semester I had to withdraw due to debilitating pain which was eventually diagnosed as fibromyalgia.

Shortly after my diagnosis we adopted a puppy, dealt with her and my big dog getting parvo from the dirt in our rental house's yard, rescued another puppy rehomed her and had to nurse her through parvo as well.  After the parvo ordeals we moved out of that house and the city to a nice little place in the country about 20 minutes away.  C transfered schools to the one closer to our new home but R still had to attend the one in the city because there was no pre-k at the school by our place.  The drive quickly got super annoying, especially when R started ballet lessons and we had to drive into the city multiple time/day...

I've been fighting my new diagnosis for almost a year now without much luck in treating the pain.  I have gone through three doctors before finding one that didn't assume I was just drug seeking or too heavy and even though seeing a specialist would probably open up other options to treat the pain, the thought of the emotional trauma of dealing with more doctors is too intimidating.  All the meds I've tried, ones specifically for my condition either cause migraines or lose effectiveness quickly.

This pain is the latest bit of darkness in my life and finding the light each day can be a daunting task indeed.  Luckily I've got an amazing wife who supports me and understands that I truly am not the same person I was before I got hit with the pain.  Her genuine caring and love are still something I'm getting used to, even now.  I got glimpses of other people's good marriages while I was still married to the ex and I always dreamed about having a love like that.  I finally do.  Another bit of light in my life, two other people who understand what I'm going through, are my boyfriend (yes I said boyfriend, I'll explain later) and his lovely wife who is also a fibro sufferer.  Their support and love have been huge in helping me make it through the last few months without utterly losing my mind.

Along with helping me see the light through the darkness the pain brings to my life, J has also been a true blessing in helping me continue to recover from the abuse from my ex.  It is partially because of his presence in my life that I feel its the time to redirect the purpose of the blog.  Less about my recovery from the abuse, and more about my particular health issues in addition to the normal daily life adventures of our not so typical family.   If/when you get to this post J, thank you for bringing even more light into my life!  I love you!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Does it really matter?

Our Family - L, C, R & Me
My adjustment to being an out and obviously queer parent, as opposed to being a passing-for-straight parent, has gone rather smoothly I'd like to think.  There have been a few shocked reactions from family and friends, some other reactions that were less than stellar, but for the most part the people in my life have taken matters in stride.  So what if I want to raise my kids with another woman, no biggie.  They can see that she loves them just as much as I do, so to them it makes no difference what her gender is.

People that we know are generally pretty awesome, and the important ones are totally supportive of our little family.  Every now and then though, we come across new folks.  The first meetings typically have people thinking L and I are sisters since we have the same general build and are both blonde and blue eyed.  Once we clarify for them, though, that we are a couple rather than siblings then that is when the questions start.  The question that is almost always the first to be asked is also the one that bothers me most:  "So, who's kids are they?"  Or, another variation that irks me, "Are you their real mom?"

Normally I stutter and stumble through answering that, because honestly there is no simple way to answer that without slighting L.  In all the ways that matter she is just as much their mother as I am.  Who cares if we weren't a couple when they were born, who cares if I was the one who pushed them out of my body instead of her, and who cares that, yes, they have a dad too and not just a sperm donor?  I mean really, in the grand scheme of things, why does any of that matter?  Not to mention, it isn't really their business anyway.

For the love of whatever you hold dear, people, please don't ask queer parents who the "real" parent is, or who the kids "belong to".  The people that you see with them, the people who are loving them and teaching them, playing with them and caring for their boo-boos, are the people who are parenting them.  It doesn't matter the technical relationship between the parent and the child, what matters is the work put into the relationship and, most of all, love.  Those parents could be one bio mom and one non-bio mom (like in our house), they could be the kids' uncle and his partner, they could be a blended family with kids from both partners, or they could be parents totally unrelated to the kids by blood because the children are adopted.  If the children are loved and well cared for, it really shouldn't make any difference who is parenting them.

L is just as much a real mother to C and R as I am; the only thing missing is genetics and legal paperwork.  And honestly those don't mean nearly as much as the love she and the kids share between them.  The next time somebody asks me who C and R's "real" mom is I'm not going to stumble anymore, the only answer they will get from me is, "Does it really matter?"

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The heart of the matter.

Tomorrow is the big, terrifying, day.  No, not the wedding, that'll be in July.  Tomorrow is the day I go in for my angiogram to get a better look and what precisely is going on with my heart.  Its a relatively minor procedure as things go.  No big gaping wounds, no 4 day hospital stay to recover, just a little tube being shoved through my veins to my heart where they'll inject some dye into my heart and take pictures.

Ordinarily I'm all for taking pictures.  I'm a photographer by hobby after all and a camera (be it phone, real camera, or video camera that takes stills) is rarely found out of arms reach.  Unfortunately, these pictures aren't going to be the fun kind that show smiling kids or a pretty sunset.  These pictures are taking a look at my heart muscles and to see if by some off chance I have some blocked arteries.  If the docs could get the pictures without invading my body with more than an IV I'd be fine with the whole procedure, but as they have to sedate me, go inside my body directly to my heart, and inject stuff into my heart, I'm pretty well scared sh*tless.

But why am I scared if its such a minor procedure?  Because with a procedure like this there are risks.  Risks of me getting sick or something going wrong.  Risks of me not waking up.  I've got too much left to do with my life, too many days left that I want to love on L and C and R.  L and me are getting married this summer and my little dude just started basketball, and I haven't seen R dance ballet yet like she so dearly wants to do (thank you Nutcracker!).

Of all the things to be messed up in my body why does it have to be my heart?  The battery keeping my body running is defective and once its done so am I.  I wasn't even looking for it but I stumbled across a few articles, thanks to google's auto-suggest feature when you're doing a search, for the life expectancy of people with CHF and I nearly lost my cookies reading first one, then another in hopes that it'd contradict the first.  It didn't.  What they both said was, on average, once a person is diagnosed with CHF 10 years is about all they've got left.  The glimmer of hope I'm holding onto with every fiber of my being right now is that the articles never specified an age of the patients that they were referring to and most CHF patients are much older than me.

With all of those worries already weighing on my chest like a small elephant, there is another that is getting to me too.  L and I aren't yet married, she isn't legally my next of kin.  If something life-threatening were to happen to me she isn't the one that the doctors would tell what was going on.  She might not even be allowed in my room.  I'm so anxious about her not being able to be with me that its just escalating all those other fears and worries I've got right now.  I'm going to marry her in 6 months and 10 days, but she may not be able to be with me when I need her most because of stupid rules.

Right now what I need to do is go take a nice hot bath with my wonderfully smelling lilac candles from my BFF, and then try and enjoy the night with L because tomorrow morning is going to come way too soon.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The overwhelming darkness

This time of year has been hard for me since I was 18.  For the longest time I wanted nothing to do with decorating for Christmas, or celebrating it, or even seeing the decorations plastered in all the stores I had to shop in for the necessities.

One month before I turned 18 my Gramma died.  It had been a long process and thanks to shared intuition between me and my Mom we made the decision for me to go see her before my intended summer visit.  That visit was my chance to say "goodbye" and I'm so glad I took it even though the phone call a week after I got home truly shattered my heart.  I remember the exact song that was playing on my radio when the phone rang at 5am.  I remember what I did that day with a clarity I wish wasn't there.  I would love to forget that day completely but my tender heart won't allow it.

Considering I am 30 this year, it has been 12 years since I lost Gramma.  Many people would say that I should be past this heartache by now.  If this were my only heartache maybe I would be, but there have been so many since then that they have all just compiled to make one giant heartache that I can't banish or move beyond.

Not only have I lost Gramma, but I lost my Uncle Roy too.  My house should also have more kids in it than it does, six more to be precise, but only one other with a name.  I've also been raped by the man I chose to marry and be the father of all of those children, and have since divorced him.

Then there are my health problems, both old and those newly discovered.  I've known since I was 20 that I had endometriosis and while it is an awful disease to live with, I HAVE learned to live with it.  I know the risks it poses to my fertility but when it comes to risks to me personally there really aren't any.  In addition to the endo, I broke my foot two years ago and it has been causing me pain ever since.  I recently had an appointment with a doctor down here in CO and she informed me that due to the type of fracture I had, the docs I had at the time should have done surgery immediately.  If they had I would have significantly less pain, possibly none at all.  Instead most steps I take are at least achy if not downright agony.  Again, while awful to live with, its not life-threatening so I'm managing.

There is one newly discovered health problem that terrifying me.  It was discovered when I went in to sign up for a drug trial for a new drug that controls endo pain.  Part of their medical screening to make sure the subjects are healthy enough for the drug is an EKG.  Basically a scan of your heart to make sure its working the way it should.  Mine came back abnormal 11 times before they gave up and sent me to a cardiologist.  So, no drug to help my endo pain and now suddenly I'm being told there is something wrong with my heart.  As much as it would devastate me to lose the capability to get pregnant again and carry our growing child, I would rather all of my reproductive organs be removed than have there be something wrong with my heart.  But I don't get a choice.  It is likely thanks to something, a virus getting me so sick that it damaged my heart, happening to me when I was a teenager and we just never knew about it because I have no symptoms that stand out from my asthma or heartburn.  But now I am being told I have congestive heart failure.  At 30.

My heart is so full of loss and heartache that it is sometimes hard to see through the overwhelming darkness of it all to the light that has been growing in me and my life lately.

I try to remember how loved I am now.  I try to remember that our family is in a better situation now than it was up in WA.  I try to remember that my kids are healthy and thriving here.  I try so hard, but it is becoming increasingly harder to see the light.

I am hopeful that after this holiday season is over and I don't have to pretend to be happy all the time that I will actually be able to process things better, maybe even seek out therapy.  I know I need to take care of myself but I don't even have it in me to do it for myself.  If I do therapy at all, it'll be for the benefit of my children and my love, L.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Worries of a Kindergarten Mom: Home he comes.

We have made the decision to pull C from school.  He likes his teacher, loves learning, and wants to make friends but its the last one that's not working out.  In fact, in his desire to fit in with his classmates and make friends he is bringing home some very upsetting stories and behaviors.  These stories include him getting shoved down or tripped on the playground, getting punched in the nose in the library, and getting smacked in the face in class and those behaviors are being relived here at home in his interactions with his sister, only R is on the receiving end.

To make the reasoning behind our decision to pull C from that environment and find another schooling method for him clear, let me explain a bit about our boy.  He is sweet and tender-hearted, always the first to comfort somebody if he knows they're sad.  He is very eager to please and he loves helping with things because he knows it makes whoever he is helping happy.  He is also a joker, always trying to make people laugh.  Lately he hasn't been any of those things, if anything he has been the opposite of most of them.  Between the physical bullying and the emotional effects its having on him it wasn't worth losing who he really is just to keep him in school.

Snow day for R so she is joining C in school today.  And Houdini is "helping"
(he attacked R's pencil moments later)
We started homeschooling this week and so far it has been a success.  After a week off for Thanksgiving vacation, a week away from the bullies, he's already showing signs of improvement behaviorally and emotionally.  Signs, mind you, nothing huge yet but I am truly hoping that with more time the damage done will be reversed.  We've done 3 days of school so far and every day he says he loves it.  Today he wasn't feeling too good in the morning, and we had snow falling, so he was completely distracted.  By this evening he was feeling much better and started doing school stuff all on his own just because he loves to learn.  I can't wait until we get in a groove with the three Rs (reading, writing, arithmetic) so that we can branch out and add in other fun things more regularly.

Short post about something so huge, I know, but talking about the whole situation still infuriates me beyond belief and I try hard to follow the old teaching, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."  Maybe after we've gotten a bit of time and distance away from the whole situation I'll be able to talk more on it but for now I'd just like to try and focus on the positives of today.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Innocent love and compassion.

Today on the way home from picking R up from preschool I was given proof of just the type of girl she is and I couldn't be prouder.

R: "That man with the hat, I just want to hug him!"

Me: I notice a homeless man sitting outside the little corner store we're stopping at and ask her "The man in front of the store?"

R: "Yes! I want to hug him!" She's getting very excited now.

Me: I park the car and as we're walking into the store she holds out her hand to him, he looks to me to make sure its okay and I just smile at him and ask him, "She wants to give you a hug, is that okay?"

The man: With a look of shock and joy on his face he answers, "Of course! God bless her!" And he got a classic R bear hug.

Once inside, R informs me she wants to give him lunch and tells me to get him a sandwich. Instead we get him a loaf of bread and some lunch meat. When we come back out and give it to him, she has a gigantic smile on her face and the man was speechless for a moment before thanking us. I told him it was her idea and he just beamed at her. 

Now, if I haven't mentioned before, R is only 3.5 years old.  And somehow she innately knows that feeding somebody who looks hungry is just the right thing to do and that a hug can brighten somebody's day. I am in awe of my baby girl today.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Me in church?

Until last Sunday I had not willingly gone to church since I was 18 years old (I'm now 30).  Sure I'd been in churches for friends' choir performances or rummage sales and, quite sadly, for a few funerals as well.  But I hadn't actually attended a service in over 12 years until we packed the kids into the car last week and dove right in.

If you're wondering why I haven't been to church in so long, the short story is that I just didn't feel comfortable going anymore.  The longer story is that after I graduated high school a lot of my friends in the church went off to college and when I tried going back after my first failed attempt at college, it just wasn't the same.  About that time I was also realizing that maybe mainstream Christianity wasn't my cup of tea for various reasons.  Not the least of which being that I'd fallen in love with one girl and was trying really hard to convince myself that my friend J was really just that.  Add in that I'd been slowly feeling more drawn to earth-centered religions and I was just a walking ball of sin.  I was convinced that if anybody ever found out they'd kick me out of the church, so it was just easier to leave on my own terms.

So, like my realization about my sexuality, my shift in religious beliefs wasn't just a phase.  I loosely follow an eclectic mix of Pagan traditions and don't really belong to just ones.  I also still believe in God, though my feelings on Jesus are mixed.  Essentially I believe in the christian God, but I also believe that he is not alone.  I observe the changing of the seasons, I talk to the moon as well as pray to God.

After reading all of that I wouldn't be at all surprised if you're confused about why I'm going back to church.  Well, mostly the answer is that it's just time.  I've been feeling really disconnected lately, not from my immediate family exactly but more like that I'm missing a sense of belonging to something bigger than just us.

L and I found a Unitarian Universalist church here in town and because L has been to UU churches in the past and has always felt comfortable attending them we decided to check that one out.  Before we went I had a chance to do a little homework (aka: ask the great Google) on UU churches in general, and especially the values and beliefs they hold.  Considering that they are not only accepting of my non-christian beliefs but integrate them into services, as well as the fact that they are LGBT friendly, I'm pretty sure this is going to be the kind of church we'll be attending from now on.  Also, whether we continue to attend the tiny UU church here in town, or travel 45 minutes to attend one of the bigger ones in the next sizable town/city is not decided yet.  The one here is certainly convenient, and the people of the congregation were all lovely and welcoming, but the congregation is older (more my mom's age) and I was really hoping for at least a few people our age with kids closer to C & R's age.  As it is we are the only people in their 20s/30s that attended last weekend, we'll see how this weekend goes because we're going back in the morning.  Who knows, even if no other younger people are part of the congregation this might just be our new church home.