Thursday, May 31, 2007

Still here.

I deeply apologize to all of you for dropping off the face of the Earth for the past week. My computer cord became a fire hazard, so my laptop finally was drained of energy. And apparently, I can't compete with the Hitman game to get on my husband's laptop. I will write a real post tomorrow. I did not do any cutting (whoohoo!!!), and I have all of you to thank for that (my poor arms thank you all as well). Stay tuned for good times to come!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Bare arms.

Now that it's Spring and the weather has warmed up, I am wearing short sleeves again. Every year, I enter into a dangerous cycle when I look at my arms and notice that other people are looking at them too. My arms tell a tale of great sadness and desperation with their long, wide scars. I am a cutter.

The scars show times when I ran out of options for dealing with emotional pain. The older scars run the length of my wrists and have faded with the years. When they run parallel to the length of my arm, they are attempts at creating an ending. The scars that run perpendicular to the length of my arm are attempts at distraction. Physical pain deters my attention from emotional pain. And once the episode is over and the scabs fall off and reveal red, sensitive scar tissue, I am left with shame. Deep shame for the way I feel and the choices I make. It's a never ending cycle that usually results in more cutting.

That same shame sucks me in when friends, family, and acquaintances stare at my arms or actually ask about what they see. I never have any idea what to say. Usually, I come up with some especially lame excuse like falling. But, only if the person wants to believe that, would they actually accept such reasoning. After all, not too many falls give you such straight and long scars that run the length of my forearm and are obviously from different time periods. Some people will actually ask me multiple times to see if my answer changes, mostly that's my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.

And, so I sit here staring at my arms, wondering where the next cut will be and when. I am impatiently waiting for my husband to call me. He is out golfing and was supposed to call about an hour ago so I could meet them all for drinks and dinner. A delinquent husband, shame, and lack of medication are a recipe for disaster.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I am me.

Aurelia at No Matter How Small tagged me for the "I am" meme. I have had a lot of trouble with this particular meme. When I am a bit high with my most recent run-in with hypomania, I am all good and glorious. When I am very low from a leap into the hole, I am all things evil and ugly. Very ugly. During the navigation between the extremes, I am just plain tired of these travels. So when it comes right down to it...

I am everything, and
I am nothing.

I am oh so up, and
I am on my way down.

I am evil, and
I am good.

I am me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tag, I'm it.

So, I have been a very very bad blogger lately. And, I extend sincere apologies to those of you who have tagged me recently. Sadly, I can't even remember who has tagged me for what (short term memory loss pops up again). So, if you have tagged me recently, could you please leave me a note in the comments? I am going to make this week a meme week and get to them one at a time. Here is the most recent tag from Caro at Third Time Lucky. So, here we go:

INSTRUCTIONS: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so.

1)Outlandish Notions
2)Baby Moxie
3)Kicking You From The Inside
4)Third Time Lucky?
5) Just Crazy Enough To Try

Next select five people to tag: (if you haven’t done it already)
1) No Matter How Small
2) Max's Mommy
3) Bipolar Notes from Underground
4) A brief history of "You"
5) Let the Fun Begin

What were you doing ten years ago?

I was in the second year of my Ph.D. program investigating the genes responsible for micronutrient transport in plants.

What were you doing one year ago?
I was finishing my first year of l@w school.

Five snacks you enjoy:
1. chinese rice crackers with tamari seasoning
2. Cheesy Poofs
3. homemade tortilla chips and fresh salsa
4. edamame
5. corn nuts

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:
1. "I want your sex." by George Michaels
2. Suzanne Vega's diner song
3. "Papa Don't Preach"
4. "Bust a move."
5. "Slim Shady"
(The first four were from my childhood when I memorized a lot of songs.)

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. Garden
2. Craft
3. Travel Europe.
4. Travel South America.
5. Donate money to UCDavis to help grad students pay for mental health care.

Five bad habits:
1. I pick my lips when they are dry.
2. I pick at my cuticles.
3. Wipe stuff from the counter onto the floor.
4. Pick at my face.
5. Eating very late at night.

Five things you like doing:
1. Gardening
2. Crafts
3. Bloggin'
4. Canoeing
5. Watching British TV

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Plan

Fear not, my friendly bloggies. Even though there are so many times when I don't want to live a long life, as exampled in my last post regarding my alarming cholesterol values, I have a plan for those rare times when a long life sounds kind of nice. After I recovered from the shock and reality of my genetics and health, I devised a new life plan with the help of my doctor.

All of the drugs are out. Firstly, for my relatives, the cholesterol fighting meds aren't very effective unfortunately and so they are unlikely to help me. Secondly, the relevant drugs are teratogenic. So that just won't work for someone who is trying to conceive, like me. Finally, the drugs are not compatible with my mood stabilizers while not trying to conceive. Because they both tweak liver function, I can't take them together. And, in my last post, some bloggie friends commented that the results may be a bit askew because I was pregnant not that long ago. I wish I could blame my former condition for the high numbers, but my own blood lipid history tells me that it isn't likely. Plus, my blood draw was carefully planned 8 weeks post-D&C. And, because the miscarriage was so early on, the mammaries and associated physiology were not at full tilt yet so they would not yet have a significant impact on my levels still 8 weeks later. So I think all the doctors (3 have been involved on this one) are right in thinking that these results indicate a serious threat to my life.

I have but one option, diet and exercise. And, since I don't do anything half-ass, I am going all out on this one. No more meat, except fish, and no more dairy. The next to go is white sugar and white breads. Let's just say that my refrigerator looks pretty bare now that I have done a full cleanse. Finally, I have to add 30 minutes of exercise a day. Let's just say that I am glad this is coming on the eve of summer. Fresh fruits and vegetables will soon flood the markets, and the sun should provide some good outdoor treks. And, so I march on. Hup, two, three, four...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Like father, like daughter.

My father died from a heart attack at 34. I was 7; now I'm 32. In my father's family, only his mother made it past 40. Most of his family suffered a stroke or heart attack with record high cholesterol levels. The story goes as follows... My mom got a call from my father's doctor. His doctor wanted my father to have his cholesterol rechecked. The original numbers were so high that the doctor thought they were a mistake. My father, who had undiagnosed bipolar disorder, wasn't interested in the doctor's concerns and frequently boasted that he didn't want to live a long life anyway. Almost a year later, while he was unloading produce from his delivery truck, he had a severe heart attack, fell off the back of the truck, and died.

Tuesday, I had blood drawn to get my own lipid profile. The numbers came back early Wednesday. My doctor was alarmed, to say the least. I have placed the values considered within the normal range in parentheses.

Total Cholesterol: 319 (<200)
HDL, a.k.a. good cholesterol: 46 (40-60)
LDL, a.k.a bad cholesterol: 254 (<100)

I didn't want a long life, anyway.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Good grief.

Husband and I were sitting on the couch with our fancy beers enjoying the fresh air coming through our open sliding glass door. Then, out of the corner of my eye I saw a small dark blur head for the glass door and then a loud thump. When I got up to see what or who was attacking our home, I saw the little guy lying outside in the ivy. I watched this little bird die and take its last breath. After the wings relaxed and the tail folded in, Husband gently scooped him up and carried her into the forest where her body could go back into the earth. I felt an enormous sense of loss and was reminded of all the human losses that we all have endured over the year.

The next day was Mother's Day. And, we found ourselves sitting on the upper deck outside our bedroom. Suddenly, I noticed the repetitive bird call that had been going on for some time already. When I finally saw the little singing bird, it became clear that this call was a call to its partner. A desperate call looking for the little bird that died the day before. I quietly wondered when the bird would give up and go forward to raise the chicks safely tucked in their nest, on its own, all alone.

Updated to add: Just when I thought it was safe to check my email, I get one of those emails. You know the one. Friend from grade school sent me her ultrasound photos, plus photos of her recent trip to France, plus her new address. She just bought a home where she will be starting her new faculty position.

You know when they tell kids that if you do well in school and follow all the rules that good things will happen. Well, that's the biggest lie we tell children today.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Two down, one to go.

After finals, my brain has the mental capacity of a turnip. It's not pretty. In fact, it's so bad that I am a little afraid of writing this post. I have trouble escaping the feeling that everything I write is being graded. On the upside, I am officially two-thirds of my way through this educational hell that they call l@w school. Two years down, one to go.

Dear Aunt Flo is busy packing her bags. While I am absolutely thrilled that AF finally paid me a visit after the D&C, I am anxious about this cycle. Going virtually unmedicated for bipolar in order to try to conceive is not fun. And, I am sure Husband would say the same. He misses those meds even more than I do. Although, he really is a mighty good sport about it all. So, I have the usual anxiety that you are all familiar with when staring at the potential of this cycle. But, I also have the anxiety of wanting to be off my meds for as little time as possible. I am constantly doing calculations to determine "how much longer if". How much longer will I have to be off my meds if I conceive this cycle? How much longer will I have to be off my meds if I don't conceive? And then there's the really sad one. How much longer will I have to be off my meds if I conceive and then miscarry again?

Before I sign off so that I can go comment on all the blogs I have missed for the last week or so, I would like to give a mention to Amy at "A somewhat ordinary life." She has an article published in her newspaper that I think deserves a good look. It's a courageous writing called "Dear Everyone: What to say to a childless couple." Thanks for writing it Amy!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

This side of normal.

When the nurse called yesterday, I admit that I had a bit of an attitude. And when she said that everything looked "normal", I became even more irritated. Normal? Exactly what is normal? So, I asked about my beta, and she replied that it was so low that I need not be concerned. I need numbers though, I am a scientist at heart and I need quantitative data, not qualitative. If I wanted qualitative, I would have stuck with the pee-sticks.

I should note that as soon as the call ended, AF came a knockin'. AF has her standards apparently, and doesn't come to my house until I am ready to pull all my hair out. Bitch.

Now, I suppose I really will have to concentrate on studying now. Two more finals, one on Monday and one on Tuesday. I will still be stalking your blogs, but am less likely to comment until finals are done. Until then, I am thinkin' of you all.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Compost

Husband called me outside over the weekend to check out his treasure. (Get your mind out of the gutter.) Peering into the bucket, I saw black gold. Not the oily kind; it was the soily kind. He had turned over the compost pile and screened the compost to get a healthy layer of absolutely beautiful compost for our Spring plants.

I just stared at it and could hardly believe that something so nurturing and positive could come out of the nastiness that we threw into our compost pile. For the most part, we have a compost pile just so we don't have more garbage to throw out. (We pay per bag, here.) And, we don't have a working garbage disposal so there's a lot of waste that can go into that compost pile.




And because I am pretty cheesy, I couldn't help but see the lesson in it. With a lot of time, the stuff you really want no part of because it smells bad, and looks bad, and feels bad, turns into something more valuable and lovely than you could ever foresee in the garbage it started from. I wondered whether that's how everything works. One giant cycle. And I stuck my hand in that compost soil and felt the qualities that would give life to the plants in my garden.

In other news, I have a date with the dildocam today. My lower back and cramp like pain has finally registered some concern with my doctor. Also, I get a gratuitous beta today as well. Let's hope that they don't make me insert the dildo myself again. That's just a little too close to having a technician watch me play with myself. Any self insertions are for me and Husband exclusively, no audience please.

Updated 5/3/07 @ 11:30pm: Sorry no results to report. Apparently, I am the last on the call back list for my doctor. Am I being a bad patient if I am torqued that I haven't heard from them on the beta and ultrasound results, yet? Wait, don't answer that... I am running out of painkillers, and I am entirely too unmedicated for even the most constructive of criticisms.