A to Z Challenge

 

 

I think my migraines have totally addled my brain. I’ve had them all week, just when the A to Blogging Challenge began. I couldn’t find my blog on their Linky list, so I think I might have been removed for not posting. I DID post briefly yesterday about the Challenge, then removed my post because I thought I’d been taken off of the list; I just happened to look at my stats today, however, and I had five visits to that post yesterday. So. I will do the Challenge, starting today. I have to post every day this month except Sundays. So I will post today, starting with “E” and my theme is Healing.

I plan to recount my journey, post about where I am now, and add photos, other images, and quotes (I love quotes, especially poetry) along with a heavy dose of spirituality, the occasional prayer, some tips and tricks I have found that help. I should note here that I am writing about healing in general but also specifically about my struggles with severe PTSD and major depression, along with back surgeries, cervical spine disease, infertility, chronic migraine, and last but not least, fibromyalgia.I also hope to begin a resource list.

I am going to go ahead and post the badge and links to the Challenge even though I might not be officially a part of it. I am looking forward to discovering new bloggy friends from the list (the one I don’t think I am on anymore, lol). I also hope to post a couple of times the first few days to add posts from letters A to D. And next year, hopefully I will be more together and start blogging with “A” on April 1st!

And hopefully, even if I’m not officially part of the Challenge, my posts might help some of my friends out there who are going through a rough stretch.

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The Downside of Compassion | Psychology Today

I had to forward this link; it captures perfectly the agonies of guilt I’ve felt ever since cutting off contact with my birth mom, because her emails were making my depression so much worse. It was horrible and I still feel so damn guilty…my psychiatrist, therapist, and husband (who have seen all of the emails and know the entire story keep telling me I am doing the right thing. But I still feel massive guilt.

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the little things

Yes, I’m changing my title again, for the third time. So far it has gone from “redhead report” to “gifts in the rubble” to, as of today, “the little things.”I am only 5’1” after all.

I decided to change the name because the title “gifts in the rubble” was, supposedly anyway, more about the grace we find when we are going through “the dark night of the soul.” (And that phrase comes from John of the Cross. I must have Carmelite mystics on the brain.) I have been there many, too many, times throughout my life, for various reasons. I don’t want to ignore that, but I want to emphasize that grace is everywhere, that we are surrounded by God’s grace and presence at all times and all places.

I have neglected my poor blog terribly over the last couple of years. Part of it was because I was experiencing chronic migraines–I’ve had to take two medical leaves from grad school–which have finally been cured, by Botox injections, as of the end of March!! I still have fibromyalgia, etc., to deal with, but the fibro I can cope with. Migraines just sent me straight to a dark room, literally and figuratively.

But I realized the other day that I haven’t even mentioned one of the most important and exciting events in my life: I met my birthmom! (Okay, so this is NOT a little thing, although she is!) And I totally love her; she is such a sweetheart. Warm, kind, generous, intelligent, and of course, five feet tall. And she’s a lot of fun, too. And I’ve even met my birthfather’s family, and now I know where I get my red hair and skin that refuses to tan, ever. I’ll write more about this next time, but I’ll lever you with a couple of pictures of the two of us until next time.

Mom (Judy) and me, Xmas 2010
The two of us right after we met, in August 2010,

One comment, though, before I go. My love for her does not any way change the love I still have for my adopted mom and dad. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of them, and miss them. It was my mom (Millie) who told me that hearts are infinitely expandable. As usual, mom, you were right!

 

the red thread

The Little Red-Haired Girl as seen in the tele...
The Little Red-Haired Girl as seen in the television special It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a short post, just an update on our baby situation.

To make a long story short, we are no longer trying to get pregnant. As it turned out, I simply couldn’t handle being off of my fibromyalgia medications. My muscle relaxers, Advil, Excedrin, and trazedone (a sleeping medication commonly used to treat fibromyalgia) are all, without question, definitely verboten for anyone trying to get pregnant. And without them, I’ve wound up in one of the worst fibromyalgia flares in years. I’ve been in too much pain to function: unable to dress myself, drive the car, cook, get myself to class, type on the computer. So, after talking it over with my husband and my physician, the three of us decided that, for me, pregnancy is simply not an option. (If anyone has any doubts about whether fibromyalgia is a real, debilitating chronic pain syndrome, check out the Mayo Clinic website or Web Md.)

I feel as though I have lost an actual baby, not just the hope of one. I loved this sweet, precious little child, our little red-haired girl; she dwelt firmly in my heart and mind, in my very being, and the grief of knowing that she will never come to exist is overwhelming now.

But I know that I will survive this. And George and I KNOW that there is a child out there, waiting for us, waiting to become part of our family. In a funny way, being adopted myself, adoption, rather than pregnancy, seems like a normal way of becoming a family. So that is the plan.

I’m going to close with a quote I have propped up against my keyboard as I write; it is from a good friend when she and her husband adopted a little honey from China, and I have a feeling it’s going to be my mantra for some time.

“An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break.”
–An ancient Chinese belief

Please keep us in your prayers, if you are so inclined.

a window opens

There is an old saying that when God closes a door, He opens a window. And every once in a while, it seems to come true…

I went in to see my doctor a couple of weeks ago for a medication recheck and, somehow, the conversation drifted to babies. Our Philippines adoption plans fell through earlier this summer–not only are they no longer accepting applications for toddlers, but, according to our adoption counselor, they are about to add medical restrictions. Just about every country we’ve looked at now refuses to accept parents on anti-depressants. The only country that would possibly accept us is Russia–for a price tag of 30 grand+ and therefore not even within the realm of possibility for us.

So I’m crying, sharing all of this with my doctor, when suddenly she said, “Barbara, have you thought about trying to get pregnant again?” (I should explain here that we did try for a few months about two years ago, after consulting with a genetic counselor and a perinatologist. However, at the time–this was before I went to my beloved pain clinic–I was having chronic migraines. Not exactly conducive to babymaking. So we quit and decided adoption would be easier. Little did we know.)

According to my doc, all the signs indicate that I’m still fertile (I’ll spare everyone the gory details) and, despite my seizure disorder, history of depression, asthma, etc., the risks are manageable. I’d still be considered a high-risk pregnancy and need to be under the care of a perinatologist, but chances are more than good that we’d have a HEALTHY BABY!!!!!

IN PRAISE OF FOLIC ACID
The biggest risk to the baby is neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. This is thanks to my anti-seizure medications, which change the way the body uses folic acid; however, taking 4 mg of folic acid by prescription drastically lowers the risk. Yes, gals, that’s 4 MILLIGRAMS. And it’s been proven to work! (Otherwise I would never even consider pregnancy.)

So our quest begins. If anyone has any advice for me, PLEASE don’t hesitate to share!!! I figure that in a way I’m lucky after all that all of my friends have had babies before me–lots of experienced women out there for support!!

And if we can’t have a baby this way, then we’ll adopt through the MN Waiting Children Program. So come hell or high water, we are going to have a family!

friday five: the fork in the road

This week’s Friday Five come courtesy of Singing Owl from RevGalBlogPals. She writes:

 

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Five: The Fork in the Road

“I am at a life-changing juncture. I do not know which way I will go, but I have been thinking about the times, people and events that changed my life (for good or ill) in significant ways. For today’s Friday Five, share with us five “fork-in-the-road” events, or persons, or choices. And how did life change after these forks in the road?”

Okay, Singing Owl, here are my five forks in the road:

1. I didn’t have a lot of say in this one, being five weeks old at the time, but the first big fork in my road came when I was adopted by Millie and Leonard Resch on October 24, 1968. It turned out to be a 38-year-long love story, lasting until my mom’s death in 2007. I could not have been more blessed, both by the mom and dad who loved me and raised me, and the mom who loved me so much she was willing to give me up. I love all three of them, my wonderful parents, more than words can express.

2. At 19 I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and clinical depression. This led to years of therapy and, even more important, much painful soul-searching, trying to figure out where God was speaking to me in my suffering. And I found out that not only was he there, he was holding me, lovingly, and feeling my pain as his own.

3. At 27 I did a unit of C.P.E. (Clinical Pastoral Education), which is, basically, an intensive chaplaincy internship. It’s impossible to sum up in only a few sentences what that summer meant for the rest of my life…suffice it to say, I fell in love with the work, am finally back in grad school (after years of struggling with fibromyalgia), and hope to work as a hospice chaplain once I get my degree.

4. When I was 32 I met my husband through mutual friends at the Basilica of St. Mary. Can you say instant lightning? We’ve been married for five years and he’s my rock, the light of my life, and on many days, especially when my depression is bad, the reason I get out of bed. Our marriage tells me a lot about God’s love for us–steadfast, constant, always forgiving. We want to adopt so we can share the love with which we’ve been graced with a special child.

5. Two years ago in April my beloved mom died of emphysema. I am still so lonely for her. But in the midst of her dying, she taught me, by example, what it means to have lived a good life, and what it means, for a person of faith, to go to meet her Creator.

Come on ladies, play along with me! Either on your own blogs, or in the comments box. 🙂

 

seven truths

My friend Liz tagged me to reveal seven true things about myself. So here goes!

1. I was adopted 39 years ago yesterday, October 24, at the age of five weeks.

2. I am Irish, French, German, Danish, Ojibwe, and Lithuanian; my adopted parents (although I think of them as my “real” parents!) were German (my dad) and German, English, Scottish and Cherokee (my mom).

3. My favorite comfort food is macaroni and cheese from Noodles.

4. When I was a little girl I wanted to be a priest and was sure that if I could just meet with the Pope I could convince him to let women become priests.

5. In college I worked for Senator Ted Kennedy and attended several parties at the Kennedy Compound in Hyannisport, Mass (I wasn’t a guest, I was on the job). I had first applied for an internship with Senator John Kerry because I thought I didn’t have a prayer of getting a job in Ted’s office. Then when Kerry turned me down, I figured I had nothing to lose so just for the heck of it I applied for the job in Kennedy’s office–and got the position, even though they had already finished hiring for the summer and had to create a new place just for me. Why, I still have no idea. Serendipity!

6413_122640036908_109393_n
Me with other Senate interns at Hyannisport clambake, summer 1989. Check out my huge ’80s hair!

6. I am number 41 out of 44 grandchildren on my dad’s side. He had ten siblings, all of whom were fruitful and multiplied. We are also a family of baseball freaks. I am the only grandchild and sole remaining descendant on my mom’s side.

7. I was a political science and philosophy major at Boston College, with an interdisciplinary minor in Faith, Peace and Justice studies.

I am supposed to tag seven other people, but I think everyone I know has already been hit. If anyone reading this hasn’t, consider yourself tagged!

another blow

So we no longer need to worry about how to afford a Chinese adoption, as the Chinese government in their wisdom is instituting new requirements that bar anyone taking antidepressants from becoming an adoptive parents. HELLO, depression is a very treatable BIOLOGICAL illness!!!!! What century are these people living in anyway?

And how many other countries, agencies, etc., are going to think George and I are unqualified because I’m being treated for depression?

I am so angry about being stigmatized in this way, and so terrified we’ll never be able to adopt, that I’ve been throwing up all morning. And that is, for the record, NOT because I’m taking antidepressants. It’s because, with all of the scientific research confirming the biological basis of depression, I naively thought such ignorance and bigotry was a thing of the past.

I would be a better mother than a lot of people who’ve never seen a shrink in their entire lives. So there!

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