thoughts

When One Door Closes.

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Okay, so maybe it’s a big door.

On a normal basis I would be blogging almost constantly – somehow, someway, I have a thought. I always want to share something, tell a story, vent my feelings. It’s just occurred to me that it’s been quite some time since I stepped foot into my own world of writing. While I shadow over other blogs, watch, like, meander my way through others’ thoughts … I started to wonder when exactly I was going to update my own.

On April 3, 2014 – I will have a complete hysterectomy.

Yes, my opiate free days will be over for a short time, but they will be controlled, this is not the major issue and there is no failure here.

I have not ventured back to blogging recently because I have been suffering – physically. It is the worst pain in the world to handle when you cannot exactly pinpoint the cause. My battle to stay away from pain medications made it even more difficult. I realized in the process how strong I really am. I have a severe case of endometriosis that has my uterus completely tipped backwards.

Ouch.

It’s also likely scar tissue from three c-sections that has caused this as well.

Pain by day, pain by night, pain is my middle name.

We are finally tackling this problem. At the age of 34 I will go through complete menopause. My child bearing days are over, my days of using PMS as an excuse for a mood swing and throwing the remote at the television (I just really wanted that winning touchdown) – they’re over.

It is a relief to know that – well, relief is coming. Soon, I will be able to live a normal life outside of my house and pajamas, away from my heating pad, and physical therapist. Soon, I will be able to lift my children without wincing, have a simple day without Advil.

(Yes, I do take Advil, sue me, but at least it’s over the counter)

When one door closes, another opens they say. While I’m stoked for this soon-to-be relief from this catacomb of misery within my poor body – part of me, as a female and mother, is almost sad. This body part is actually a place for me. Within my skin and bones this particular realm was home to three beautiful children that I held all to myself before they were born. You can call it flesh, or skin, or simply an organ.

This amazing piece of me – made humans.

I had already made the decision I did not want any more children – this part does not depress me.

(Yay for lifelong birth control)

I guess simply stated: to know that the part of you where your children first kicked you, head butted your insides, rolled around and caused you heartburn – is suddenly going to be cut apart and thrown into a hazmat bag, I can’t help but feel a tinge of sadness regardless of the problems it has caused me.

Yet this opens a door now. Instead of concentrating on the pain, and how to get rid of it, once it’s gone, I can actually enjoy watching my children grow up. I can interact. I can be their mommy – as I always have been, but have been failing to be the best because my body does not allow it.

My journey now becomes mental. It will be saying goodbye to something I’ve always held dear – the ability to have brought children into the world and to bake a human inside of my own body. These beings now exist because of what I was blessed with in the beginning – a functional system.

This functional system is now, well, not functioning correctly and so it’s with that deep pit of inner sadness, I have to let it go. It’s soon to be part of the medical waste compost unit “Do not Touch”. Little do they know when they throw those bags into the compacter – what they’ve thrown away is the home to three amazing souls and I will forever be thankful.

Yes, I’ve been sick. I shall soon to be returning to the blogging world hopefully in tip top shape and pain free.

And when I do, I will elaborate on the lives that I was blessed enough to bring into this world and how they have inspired me to be better, do better, and live better. Life will be different.

But the end of something is always the beginning of something else.

Let my new life begin and the witnessing of three little babies growing – outside of me – is now a concept I can grasp onto. I can now make memories, live in the present, and feel happy with what I have.

Even if my body is hollowed of what was always a gift. It just happens to be broken. I’m sending it out with a huge thank you, I appreciated you, I will never forget you – but moreover, I will always be grateful for the three faces that came out of there, for they are what makes me tick.

Let the countdown to a new life begin.

Halfway Haiku: A New Challenge

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I was inspired today while searching through Twitter. I saw somebody that I follow trending #haiku and asking people to submit their own, to have fun with it, to be creative. This sparked my own creative flow and I decided: why not try something different?

Here’s a new challenge I’m presenting myself with – I would love participants. Even if I end up with no participants – at least I can show a different side of my writing and take this challenge to a new level with myself. I have always been a poet but this blog has been mostly rantings, stories, writings, musings – long, novel thoughts. I have used it as an outlet from one battle to another.

From now on, every Wednesday, I am going to do what’s called the Halfway Haiku Challenge – I am going to come up with a new haiku poem, or poems,  just to think outside the box. It can be about anything – whatever comes to mind.

The start date is today – Wednesday, February 26, 2014. Each week I will post again on that Wednesday – you can link to the post or you can post within the comments.

For those not familiar with haikus – here’s a definition.

To start, here are a few I wrote this morning with regards to responding to the ones on Twitter.

Let the thinking outside of my box and comfort zone begin 🙂 Here are several examples.

___________________________

(FOR MY HUSBAND)

Gravity of love

Floating on the bliss of you

Wrapped in my shadow.

____________________________

(WITH REGARDS TO ALMOST DYING ON 2/17/14)

So close to dying

Lights surround my breathing soul

Yet still I survive.

___________________________

Winter stars smile bright

Asking me to wish on them

I whisper my prayers.

____________________________

(FOR MY GHOST ADVENTURES IDOL ZAK BAGANS)

Spirits dwell within.

Voices heard he lets speak out.

Giving life to death.

___________________________

I hope I can get a few people on board to take the challenge. I would love to read your poetry – and see it spread from one eye and soul to another. That’s one great way to draw inspiration – and to be inspired.

I am An MD: Master of Determination

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Very soon I will be guest blogging for Dancing with Fireflies. This blog is very dear to my heart as I appreciate the writing, topics, and challenges that come along with it. Having been sick the past few weeks I’ve been missing her Weekly Writing Challenge. Today, I am partaking. The question: what is your expertise?

I would love to be able to have an actual MD. The truth of the matter is I actually have a Masters degree in Counseling.

But I love to give myself credit as being an MD: Master of Determination.

My expertise is in never giving up. Life can hand me the most unusual, difficult, and emotionally draining situations and it’s my strength, persistence, faith, and determination that help get me through these plights.

It would take me an entire novel or memoir, pages and pages of blogging to explain every life event that I have gotten through and learned from. It would take me years, I suppose, to explain each of the ways I have gained strength from not giving in to the worst of experiences. I have not only become a wiser person – my ability, or should I say expertise, as a person who persists to believe in miracles, second chances, in the idea that failing at something does not make you a failure: it is a lesson learned to benefit from. Failing never makes a person weak. Failure is an opportunity to become stronger – to overcome (thus the purpose of my blog – to empower myself and others to never give up or not allow the curveballs that life throws at us to become strike outs – yet home runs).

So, my friends, in response to this challenge I give you a new bumper sticker idea…

(Sidebar for new followers: I love to come up with bumper stickers – I find the humor and creativity almost inspiring in itself.)

Imagine the back of my Prius with the following:

“I’ll be Back: I am the Determinator.”

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From the Diary of an Anxious Mother

Dear Diary,

Today I am still dealing with a very sick 10 month old. Winter months, I used to love, as I could skip in the snow when school got called off, or sleep, or watch TV while ingesting copious amounts of Totinos Pizza Rolls.

Motherhood makes me hate Winter.

Flu, strep throat, stomach bugs, cabin fever…

(Cue the germophobic mother who hates cleaning up vomit and panics if the children’s temperatures go over 98.6)

(OH MY LORD THEY MUST HAVE CHOLERA)

I attempted to give the baby a bath (antibiotics are the bane of childhood: insert diarrhea all over the bed, pillows, and of course, the child). Shortly after drying him off, he began choking and gagging as if he had something stuck in his throat …

(OH MY LORD HE MUST HAVE SOAP POISONING HE’S GOING TO GO BLIND)

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Upon bracing myself, patting his back, waiting to be spit up on from whatever poison the innocent bathtub experience must have been ingested into his tiny system – he smiled, he giggled, and reached to stroke my face (as if to say “no really, mom, I just bit down too hard on the wash rag you gave me to play with while you so gently stroked my hair with tear-free shampoo”).

I placed the baby down for a nap and composed myself. These things happen, I said, constantly within my racing thought provoking brain, and sat myself down with a nice cup of Pepsi (do I really need this caffeine, I mean come on, who needs Pepsi when you have Panic Disorder). I turned on the television and put my feet up – flipping through channels and finding something cool to watch (oh hey Food Network, I love Chopped) – “so whose parenting skills are on the Chopping block…” I laughed to myself (while in my head, imagining Ted Allen looking so slyly at me like “Guess who ISN’T getting the 10 grand?”)

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Oh, come on, I lamented, now microwaving myself a fancy steamers meal (quick – four and a half minutes to cook, what if the kid chokes again, or if he has another toilet incident BUT NOT IN THE TOILET) – give yourself a break. You are a great mother – even though you live with Panic Disorder.

I am an anxious mother. I find myself in panics (your heart races, you are short of breath, you shake)

(OH MY LORD THE WORLD IS ENDING – ARMAGEDDON – THE ZOMBIES ARE COMING – QUICK HIDE THE CHOCOLATE AND PACK THE LUGGAGE!)

It’s not just that I panic over situations above (the word hasn’t ended, there’s no armageddon, and unless you have Shaun of the Dead on repeat, the zombies really are not coming) – I panic over SIMPLE things.

That one cracked dish the baby had his hands on – oh dear, did he just bite into that crack and slice his gums, or for that matter, do I need poison control? Is that a tiny bit of glass he just shoved down the back of his budding throat?

Oh, nevermind, that was an old top from demented plastic tupperware (sorry, sorry, I wasn’t looking, darn “Jump to Conclusions” mat)

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(OH MY LORD I LET HIM WATCH OFFICE SPACE – HE’S GOING TO LEARN HOW TO CURSE EARLY)

This is the diary entry of a mother who lives daily in panic. It is a learning process. It is a continuous battle of soul searching, coping strategies, relaxation techniques, new daily activities. I am in a continuous, relentless motion of “how to prevent myself from freaking out over the child falling backwards into the Pack and Play” – I am a proud mother of THREE. Yes, THREE. My children are ages 6, 4, and of course the above mentioned, 10 months.

The simplest of “whoops, the football just went under the table, let me go grab that” turns into “the child just bumped his head getting out from under the table”

(OH MY LORD RUSH TO THE ER – IT’S A CONCUSSION)

I simply have to examine myself in each moment. Learning to breathe and deal with the small things without overreacting is probably a course I should have taken in college (oh wait, ponder this, I have a Masters in Counseling…) 

I remember that these are tiny human beings. Their innocent, graceful souls are just now budding as they hit each life milestone step by step. Accidents happen. Sickness happens. Vomiting in a public place after overeating at Chick-Fil-A – it really does happen.

(OH MY LORD THEY HAVE NOROVIRUS – GET THE BLEACH)

(no, they over ate, especially your biggest one, he knows how to sneak peppermint sticks from the pantry without getting caught and then he goes into the corner and chows down – and then you wonder why he grabs his stomach in pain)

Another life lesson from the dealings of an anxious mother: I’m learning not to keep my eye on EVERYTHING.

If I do, I will read into it. I will wonder why, how, my mind will go off into oblivion for minutes upon minutes about how to handle the situation – do we need urgent care?

(OH MY LORD ARE THOSE PEPPERMINT STICKS EXPIRED)

Truthfully parenting is a very difficult responsibility. It’s a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, experience in being a chef, house cleaner, nurse, friend, and nurturer. For somebody who struggles on her own with anxiety, this trip down the lane of raising children often becomes difficult. I simply now am embracing that IT IS OKAY to worry. No one wants these little beautiful beings to be in any pain or get into any trouble. I, however, on a daily basis have to take the IT IS OKAY and bring it to the level of not having a completely full on heart rate at 160 over a lost shoe, a leaf on the floor (THERE COULD BE E-COLI ON THAT) . 

It is a true lesson in human strength and spirit to live on a daily basis with something that can take years upon years to get under control. I know I am not the only one. Some would think that these struggles in parenting are normal – sure. No. Not really. Mine are not. Another mother may take her kid eating dirt as “yay I don’t have to make lunch” – I take that as:

(OH MY LORD ITS PROBABLY GOT SOME WILD ANIMAL POOP ON IT – WHERES THE RABIES SHOT)

So not me:

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I’m always stuck on “First child eats dirt, parent calls doctor…” – it is an endless cycle.

Sure, they make medications for that. Insert section into this diary entry, where shortly after wondering if my parenting was on the Chopping Block, that I reached for my anti-anxiety medication with the hopes of being calmer by the time the child woke up: just in case he dirtied up the crib again and I find a piece of broken tupperware in his poop…

I am on an uphill battle to fix this – I know I can get better.  I know I can find a happy medium between understanding what’s normal, what’s not, and being okay with what’s not and knowing – in 99.9% of the cases, it’s an easy fix.

The battle to the top of this mountain includes learning how to embrace vomit as an ordinary process – not always a crisis – and other tiny things I’ve spoken of above that have happened today. I will get there. I welcome other mothers in all of their wonderments of raising children to speak out on how to find parenthood more delightful, less frightful.

I AM  A GOOD PARENT even if I find little things terrifying.  I live with panic disorder and I am still on a learning upswing as to how to incorporate relaxation into my daily routines so that anxiety does not bring this mother down into the pit of (OH MY LORD DID HE JUST ….)

So as I grab a piece of the hidden chocolate (just in case, you never really know if the Zombies are coming), and I sip from my broken tea cup (the one the second kid decided to drop on the carpet while it was full of Fruity Pebbles, and then so gracefully with her hair in her mouth and her hands unwashed, decided to eat each pebble off the floor)… I remember that having a struggle is NOT A SINFUL THING – it’s only a bad experience if you do not attempt to learn from it.

Each new day is a new journey into the unknown. From one anxious mother to any others out there – I want you to know I understand your plight. Panic Disorder is no walk in the park, but we can all decide to live with it, hold on, and brace ourselves – and in this realization, I just noticed that my parenting skills were not on the Chopping Block.

(OH MY LORD IT WAS A SEAFOOD DISH – THAT JUDGE MUST HAVE FOOD POISONING – THAT BASKET WAS NOT IN THE FRIDGE!)

Ah. Back to life. The baby is awake. It’s time to take the baby for playtime in the playroom – and enjoy those moments where my heart rate is just a little bit normal, I don’t feel nauseous, I am not lightheaded, and I can stand up without shaking, freaking, screaming, or having the sudden urge to dial 911.

These are beautiful moments for an anxious mother.

Before Giving Up: Defining Hope

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“Immortality

And glorious nonsense

A sunburst in my brain

And plans of things to come”

Hope by Damien Echols

(Get a copy of his book Life After Death)

There were many moments, for all who have ever questioned the squander of the deepest pits of my soul, that I wanted to give up. I know some of you who know my story – whether you watched with your eyes gaping open while I bookmarked the hours of physical and emotional nausea on Facebook, or if you happened to stumble upon my blog by accident and read the novelesque posting of what exactly my battle is – how did you not give up?

As evidenced through my chronicle of hardships and dealings – I am not perfect. I could stand here and tell you that the entire experience and what I continue to battle – is actually easy.

I would then become something I have never once been – a liar.

Truthfully – I grieve daily. There are still moments I feel like it will never end  – that the future, my dreams of complete recovery both mentally and physically, is nearly impossible.

I stopped counting my hours and days quite a bit ago. My Facebook rantings have gone from hour by hour to nearly minimal. It is not just that I am blogging them instead – it is certainly not because I decided to stop revealing such transparent details to an overwhelming amount of public supporters by putting words into the “Update your Status” bar – it is because I am now giving myself time to collect, understand, and hope.

Sure, you can look at the dictionary if you would like – hope defined.

Still yet – if you would really care to understand the inner patience it takes to feel death at your door, to feel your soul twisted into a ball of pain so indescribable (you can try to define me too, I say to the dictionary, but you cannot) – it comes from my own definition of hope.

I quoted the musing above by an inspiration I actually carried with me through this battle – Damien Echols.

His battle – different than my own (far different, and with all due respect, I am not comparing) – still gets me to dig deeper. I can close my eyes and feel those flashbacks welling up – and I know now still that I suffer with mental trauma that may be with me for years – depression can still weigh me down if I am not careful. While allowing myself to reflect on my journey is key to recovery – suffering from it requires me to search within myself to find the pathway home.

Allow me to define for you what kept my heart, my diversity of soul collecting emotions, and my spirit from not giving up – it was hope. Hope, as defined by your author here Jenn, is:

The knowledge, understanding, and willingness to embrace that you shall face hardship – coupled with the courage to choose a pathway into the future that serves your soul the happiness  it deserves – and while experiencing the stop at Just Let Me Give Up Avenue – the reflection of peace that exists in front of you keeps you going on the road to finding spiritual freedom. Hope is allowing yourself to believe that you WILL prevail.

Hope does not require permission. It requires belief in its existence – and the persistence to never let go of your soul – even at its weakest. And in my moments that I know will surely come where I continue to shoot down these darkest demons – I will remember – I never gave up before.

Why do it now?

Let YOUR hope guide you (oh this could be my bumper sticker, no?) – never give up – define hope to yourself – then thrive on it,  continue to seek your revelation, your peace, your recovery, your answer – whatever it is you are waiting for – and when you are considering just letting it go – “because it’s too hard” – “it’s too painful” – “I have nothing left” – keep going on You Will Win This Fight street – because it is no dead end.

Trust me, I know.