Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - the Squatters

Here they are - the little squatters in my brain.

This is the largest of the 3 and located in my right frontal lobe. These images are like looking in a mirror - it is located on the right side of my brain but in these images it will look to be on the left. The tumor is the large white spot.

This one is the small white spot located right behind my nose - inside my brain - in the Crista Galli. It is the smallest of the 3.

This is the one located on my right optic nerve. Again, these images are reversed so looking at it - the tumor appears on the left side behind my eye. If you notice - the one on the left - the nerve is "lit up" and white - on the right side it is not - the "lit up" part is the tumor. It has wrapped itself around my optic nerve and as it grows is squeezing the nerve and causing me to loose my sight in that eye.

I know it is "wordless Wednesday" but you can't really post images of tumors without some explanation. Thought it might help to have images in mind in which to direct the healing.

Monday, January 25, 2010

What IF

My next MRI is scheduled for February 24th in Dallas. I will see my NS two hours after the MRI and I'll be bringing the films with me when I see him so we will know what they show right away.

So I did what I said I was going to do - I called my doctor and set it all up. Small steps right? I know I need to do this but it scares the hell out of me. The appointment date looms on the calendar at me. At least when I don't have anything set up I can forget about it some days. But when it's scheduled our lives tend to revolve around that date until it arrives.

I was thinking today about belief: in things, in prayer, and in absolutes. I picked Alec up from school and told him about the MRI and up-coming appointment. He was concerned and worried and said, "What if it's worse?" I said, "then we'll deal with it." And then I said, "What if it's better?" He just looked at me and said, "Do you think it could get better?" And I said, Yes.

And I DO believe that. More than that I even believe that it could go away. How's that for crazy? But it's true. Up until now when I thought about my best possible outcome I had always thought of the tumors just halting their growth pattern and rate; that they would just freeze in place. Today I had the insane idea that they might just start to retreat - grow in reverse - simply go away.

Now, I know how this sounds. Denial is not just a river in Egypt - ya, I got that.

But what IF. What IF?

I am frankly tired of living in the world of absolutes. I didn't used to live in that world - when I was little I was absolutely convinced of what if. What if means possibility; what if means HOPE.

I believe in prayer. Prayer of all kinds. Prayer, by its very nature, is in the business of what if. I truly believe that if you pray the Divine will listen. Doesn't mean you'll always get what you ask for but I believe that you are heard. I fall asleep damn near every night praying. Now - that is not too say that it is a boring process to me - far from it. It is more that it relaxes me to the point that I actually fall asleep. It makes me happy to know my last thought, conscious or unconscious, was with God.

I also believe in the power of our mind. I believe that through what we think we help create the world around us daily. The subconscious is the most open to suggestion in that "tween" time between waking and sleeping. So what better time to talk to myself and my God about curing the tumors than right as I'm falling asleep? Why should I just lay down and give in to the brain squatters? Why not fight the dark images with Hope? What if I believe I can be cured and really bring it about?

When I spoke with the doctor's office this morning they originally scheduled all this for February 3rd. It was after that conversation that I had this Hope Epiphany and decided that the tumors were going to go away. The doctors office called me back an hour ago to say they were sorry but they had to bump me back to February 24th. What IF that happened to allow my body more time to heal itself? May sound crazy but I think it sounds good. It gives me something positive to look forward too - something positive to FOCUS on.

So this is my shameless plea for prayers. I'll take any and all comers. Prayer of any kind is fine - I'm not picky. It works; I am convinced of it. We have until February 24th. What IF we manifest a miracle folks? Let's see if we can.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Not so good

My head hurts today. I took some Advil earlier but it isn't doing much good. I think I need something stronger but I don't have anything stronger. I'm hoping it is just a headache but...

This is where the fear makes its entrance. I'm trying to avoid that road but given the 3 squatters in my brain the fear is actually justified.

My Pollyanna side keeps telling me I have a headache from the wine last night. But I only had 1 glass. And that was with dinner. Not sure it could actually cause a headache today.

Also, my right eye is giving me a lot of problems these days. It has been watery and red and achy since last week. Again, trying to not go down the fear path. But again, knowing that one of those damn squatters has wrapped itself around my right optic nerve isn't doing me any favors either.

So this is all the posting I'm doing today. I'm going to do some laundry and lay down quite a bit. Try resting my mind and my eye.

I'm calling my NS tomorrow. I have to set up my next MRI and appointment to talk over what is happening up there in my head.

I am afraid. But I'm still going to make the phone call.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Converting our informal dining room into a playroom was the best idea I've had in a long time. The kids LOVE it and Max plays in there all the time now. With Piper. Without attempting to injure her.

This is a Very Good Thing.

I promised pictures and I will tell you all right now that I suck at actually uploading the things and saving them and all that so sometimes it takes me awhile to get around to it.

BUT I did manage to upload some the other day so here is a glimpse at what we did in there.

I have more to do but it's a start.

Pip cut her second bottom tooth last night. That is also a Very Good Thing as it was causing her a considerable amount of pain. She is also getting up on her hands and knees every chance she gets and managing to move forwards at times. I feel pretty confident that she will be crawling by Feb. 1st.

Alec brought his report card home and he has an A in Literature. His actual number grade in that class was a 99. A 99 people. 1 point from perfect. I could throw a party. Reading has always been the hardest thing about school for him and he has a flippin 99 in Literature. Rock the hell on Ack. You are my hero. But then, you always were anyway.

I took Max to MDO yesterday and then Pip and I went to Target. I was going to get a charging station to keep in our kitchen to hold all of our cell phones and charges and whatnot. I have been meaning to get one since before Christmas but I just never got up there to actually purchase one before the holidays. Anyway I saw it last week on clearance for $20 - marked down from $50 - and I thought - if it's here when I come back next week I'll buy it. So we went up there and I found them and it had been marked down again. It was $7.49. Oh my sweet lord! That was the thrill of my day! Woot! It's the little things sometimes that get you through - you know?

I came home and finally got in touch with the lady who will be doing Acupuncture on me. We had been playing telephone tag for 2 weeks now. She sounds awesome. She's been doing this for 17 years and got into Acupuncture after her best friend got Bell's Palsy. She was pretty knowledgable, very understanding, and hopeful. She said we will give it a good try and that she was going to be working on trying to unblock the neurological pathways in my face. I hope she can. I feel positive about this. Maybe I'll still get my face back yet.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday


Just cause it made me smile .

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Soft Place to Land

I got on Facebook today and saw a bijillion and one postings from women about their husbands and how you are supposed to cut and paste it in your update and yada yada ya.

It was a nice sentiment and it got me thinking about my husband.

To say that he is a Good Man just does not cover it.

He is a very Good Man. He works hard every day at his job for too little praise and way too little money. He averages 10 hrs a day at work and another couple when he comes home. Today is Sunday and he is at work again and he will probably be gone at least another eight hours. I miss him.

He is my rock, my safe place, and my shelter against the storm. He is rather quiet compared to me. He listens before he speaks and usually keeps his opinions and thoughts to himself unless expressly asked (haha - I know very unlike me.) I am learning from him.

He is solid. He is unafraid. He is mine. And I know how lucky I am to get to experience this life with him.

Now, this is not to say he is perfect. No one is perfect. He has his quirks and mannerism that bug the ever-lovin shit out of me. But those pale in comparison to his Good. His Good is legion.

He takes care of us; he takes care of me. We know each other at a level I don't think I've experienced with another human that didn't come out of my body.I joke with him that we have some sort of psychic connection but in truth, I swear we do. He always seems to call me exactly when I need to hear his voice. I can be angry at him over something or be sitting here distraught over one or all of the medical stuff with me and he will call at precisely that moment because "he felt like he needed to." It happens all the time and has since we met 7 1/2 years ago.

We met through (I know - shut up.) I had been on that service about 3 weeks when I got an email from him. He said to me that he could say a lot of BS to me about my profile and all that but the truth was he thought I was hot. (lmao) Then he went on to tell me he had just moved to Dallas from Denver and didn't really know anyone yet. Anyway his email to me was so different than most that I got, it was honest, it made me laugh AND he had just moved to town from Denver. All of those things caught me and I hit reply - responded to him that I used to live in Denver and that his email was funny and hit SEND. I hadn't even looked at his profile. He could have been 400 pounds and green for all I knew. I didn't care. I clicked his profile page and I saw his picture. My first thought was 'he has a great smile.' And he does. We talked on the phone for about 3 weeks before we actually met in person. When we did meet it was at a Chili's in Plano, TX and we ate boneless buffalo wings and drank beer. At the bar. We talked for 3 hours. That was a Tuesday. We had another date on Thursday and on Saturday - which happened to be my 30th birthday. I knew by Sunday that I was falling in love with him. Within the month I knew that if he asked me, I would marry him. True story.

We have definitely had our rocky patches but we have come through them. When all of this happened to me this past summer, he never wavered. I've never even seen him look at me differently. He says it has never made any difference to him - how I look now - and I believe him. I am humbled by him and his capacity for love. He does not give himself enough credit on that score. I am not even sure I really understood what it was to love another adult truly until now and until him. I have learned this through his example and through his loving me.

He is my best friend. I have more fun watching football or going through March Madness with him than I do with anyone else. There are so many things about me that he just "gets" like no one else. And the things he doesn't "get" aren't that important anyway.

Mark is not the most vocal person - he doesn't spill his emotional self all over the place. (Again - unlike me - I know.) He keeps most of it inside. But when I need him - he is there: strong, unflinching, and solid. He doesn't try to carry me through this (although he would if need be - but we aren't there yet) instead he walks beside me. He allows me my time and lets me cry, holds me, and hands me tissues. He tells me WE will get through this and says he believes in my strength. Instead of co-dependently trying to fix it for me - he loves me and supports me but allows me to find my own way.

I don't know how I ever got this lucky. I also do not know what I would do without him.

I love you babycakes.

Thank you for your strength and your patience. Thank you for giving me these beautiful kids. Thank you for being a wonderful husband and a great dad - to all 3 of them.

I am so glad you are mine.

Thank you for choosing me.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

short one today

I'm going to start a second blog - one for all my mommy "stuff".

This blog is reserved for Kathleen stuff - with some snippets here and there having to do with the small people - but mostly it's mine.

My plan is to work on that this weekend and when I get it up and running I'll post a link in case anyone wants to take a gander over there from time to time.

This really should be in the Mommy Blog but since it's not up and going yet I'm putting it here -
I'm converting our informal dining room into a temporary play room for the kiddos. While we are working on the attic and basement and converting them into more living space (bedrooms, bathroom, REAL playroom) the short people NEED somewhere for their crap to be. And believe me - they have a LOT of crap. SO since we have 2 dining rooms (yes, I know - its an old house and evidently this is how they lived - I don't know - one is a real true FORMAL dining room and the other, off the other side of the kitchen, is for a kitchen table - informal right?) I figure I'll turn one of them into a space for the kids and most of their stuff aka crap. Since the true formal one has built-ins with lead glass and all that snazzy stuff - it needs to be the informal one. (GOD I feel really pretentious and stuff saying that.) Anyway - that is what I'm doing today.

This serves a few of purposes:
1. It gives us a place to put all their toys. Hopefully this will mean I can keep the toys from creeping all over the rest of the house. It may be a pipe dream but it's one I'm holding onto for now.
2. Piper needs a place where she can s p r e a d out and practice this crawling thing. I have 2 rugs down in there and hopefully she'll be able to roll around and practice getting up on her knees. We have hardwood everywhere - pretty yes but not too good for traction when you're learning to crawl.
3. My doing this is bugging the ever-loving shit out of my husband. I'm hoping that by doing this it will add more motivation to him to get the other bedrooms FINISHED so that all the toys can go live in each kids room and we can put our kitchen table back where it needs to be. *evil grin*

Pictures to follow.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

time to change my filter

I noticed last night when my husband came home he had stopped by Lowe's and bought a new filter for our furnace. He changed the old one out and it was full of all sorts of nasty bits and wads of who-knows-what-sorts of sludge. I remember thinking I was surprised if anything good was able to get through all of that. It was a Good Thing that he changed the filter now before it was too clogged to function at all.

Which got me thinking about my own personal filter.

I need to change it. It *is* clogged with much too much sludge and negativity and in general Bad Things. It is tiresome trying to filter my life through all that crap.

So I'm removing that one and putting in a new one. I'm not even sure that is entirely possible but I'm going to try. I have always believed that we are a sum of our parts - parts being our experiences. And what is all that clogging up my filter but my own life experiences? Hell - what IS a filter if not a sieve of our life experiences that slants the way we see and perceive the world?

Mine pretty much filters out LIGHT and lets in only the gray. Not good. I am fed up with seeing the world in that way: through the dark half - light.

It is interesting to me that this epiphany occurs now when the sight in one of my eyes is fading to black and I see mostly gray through it. Ironic much? Maybe that is part of this lesson. I mean, after all, how many Greek tragedies have you read where the BLIND man is the Seer? Damn near every one. God has a sense of humor - clearly. I digress.

Back to me and how I got here. I believe that when you hear the Bad Things often enough and loud enough and from the people who are supposed to love you as a child you take them in to your filter to be Truth. Even if they are not.

So now I'm attempting to replace what has been my filter all of my life: the belief that I deserve the Bad Things, the belief that I brought the Bad Things on myself, the belief that I will only continue to draw the Bad Things to me.

To all that I say a loud FUCK OFF.

I'm tired of being Sorry. I'm tired of being co-fucking-dependent. I'm tired of the Bad Things ruling my thought process.

My father stopped speaking to me 2 years ago this month. I have no idea why. He won't answer his phone when I call, or return my phone messages or emails. He won't tell me why - although he makes it clear it is OBVIOUSLY my fault. Well, fuck that too. Here's what. If I do something to you to upset you - then tell me. I am not a mind reader. I am not doing whatever it is on purpose. I don't know that I'm doing it - otherwise I would stop.

So fine. I have cried and wept and grieved over this. And I have done so because I felt like I deserved this. That I brought this on myself. That I deserved no better. That was my filter he gave me as a child. I still have it and he knows how to access it. No more. I'm done. I DIDN'T DESERVE THAT then and I don't deserve it now.

I'm also tired of the passive aggressive bullshit. I have enough of the Bad Things in my life; I don't need to invite in more. So as of now that is gone too. I'm cleaving it out with the paring knife I was given for Christmas. It's hella sharp.

I'm not stupid. I'm sure that some left over nodules of sewage will rise to the top now and then and attempt to clog up my filter. But this time is different. I will slice it out before it gets too much of a foothold. It can not live here anymore. I have flogged myself enough throughout my life. I am done. Time served.

I have a great many Very Good Things in my life: too many to name. And because of that and a zillion other reasons, I need to let the light in; I need a clean filter. I deserve to be happy, and loved, and healed, and whole. THAT is my new filter. If you don't bring one of those 4 things into my life then you are going to be filtered and removed. I have my paring knife; and I'm not afraid to use it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Sorry folks but there are many things going on with the short people in this house right now (teething, sleeping issues, sibling jealousy,and at least 1 sick child) and I just don't have the time to pen my thoughts. Will try to get one finished by tonight.

Friday, January 8, 2010

These are the days

that I most likely will not remember. Why - you ask? Because I am utterly sleep deprived.

I remember sleep. The refreshed feeling: the ability to move, to function, to speak coherently. I fondly recall all of it. There is a reason that sleep deprivation is a form of torture. I believe it. And I have no doubt of its effectiveness on the recipient.

Now, couple of things here ; I have brought this on myself. I'm aware. I chose to have kids. This is my own doing. Got it. But still. DAMN ya'll.

For the last several days I have not had more than 1 hour of straight, uninterrupted sleep. ONE hour. I have literally seen each hour during the wee morning times tick off on the clock.

I have a 7 month old baby. And she is going through some sort of developmental leap/growth spurt. This means very bad sleeping for the parental units - or in my case - the mommy. Also - she likes to eat; this, too, because of said development leap/growth spurt.

I also have a 3 yr old son. He has decided he will no longer sleep in his own bed in his own room. He must sleep in our bed in between us. Sideways. Kicking. Often times randomly slapping me in the face as he flails his arms around.

So - not much sleep for mom. Interestingly enough my husband seems to have NO TROUBLE sleeping through any of this. I'll let you all chew on that a bit. I digress.

I need sleep people. Not just so I can properly function and parent these here kiddos - but also because of all these here freaky ailments. One of the MAIN things the Bell's Palsy sites will tell you is that to heal and heal properly (read to NOT have residuals) - you must sleep. Sleep they say - rest they say - as much as possible they say. They talk of rest/sleep for 12 - 14 hrs per day.
*bawahahahahahahahhaahhahahahahahahaahahaaa* *snicker* *snort*
Sorry - please excuse the sleep deprived hysterical laughter.
So...Wait, uh. Where was I? Oh, ya.
Ok. *slaps face*
I need more sleep or at least better quality sleep. I fear this may not occur for some time though. See it's just not real likely to happen when you have kids and virtually IMPOSSIBLE when you just gave birth.

Yesterday was bad. I noticed the first clues to just how bad at 2:30am yesterday morning when I woke up to LET THE DAMN MEOWING CAT OUT and noticed how dizzy I was - just sitting up in the bed. Dizzy: like being too high up and looking down dizzy: room spinning dizzy: omg I may hurl dizzy. It did not get better. I was lightheaded. My head hurt constantly and I was just slow/punchy all day long. (yes, more so than usual - shut up.) I'm actually surprised I was able to string enough words together on my blog to inform you all of my non-writing. AND I had zero patience. ZERO. NOT a good thing when you have a 3 yr old whose very existence is one that is hell bent on testing said patience.

I need to have patience and understanding with my children but when I am *this* tired - I honestly can't. I feel like I do not know how to even relate to them. Then I read this* :
The link between sleep deprivation and psychosis (psychiatric disorders) was further documented in 2007 through a study at Harvard Medical School and the University of California at Berkeley. The study revealed, using MRI scans, that lack of sleep causes the brain to become incapable of putting an emotional event into the proper perspective and incapable of making a controlled, suitable response to the event.
So it wasn't just in my head. I feel validated and depressed all at the same time.

It was a bad day.

So I got a wee bit of sleep last night. I slept two different times last night for 2 hour stretches each. The rest of the time I was up about every hour. But it was a little better and I feel slightly more human today. I can function a bit. I'm not standing in the center of the room screaming today.

I am aware this is not a riveting blog post but it's all I'm capable of right now. Write what you know. Well, what I know intimately right now is sleep deprivation. This too shall pass. And it will most likely pass in a sleepy, foggy haze.

I'm out for today. Off to try and sleep while the short people nap.

*The quoted material is from Wikipedia's page on Sleep Deprivation.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

No Post Today Folks

I am not feeling very good today so I'm laying low.

See ya'll on the flip side.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. - Eleanor Roosevelt

When I was 8 years old I won several regional piano competitions and earned myself a trip to the State competition and recital at OBU in Shawnee, Oklahoma. This was a really big deal for an 8 year old. The two hour trip up to Shawnee that morning in our Conversion Van (ya, I know - shut up) with my Mom, Step-Dad and Grandparents went by in a stomach - knotted haze.

I remember getting through the first part of the competition - the written test, and then the second part - playing my song in front of a room full of judges - with relative ease. Then came the scary part; I was to play my song in the main music hall in front of approximately 400 people, on a real life, full length, black GRAND PIANO.

I was completely enthralled at getting to play on one. It was huge and it looked like something out of a movie. I remember gazing at it from the side of the stage and thinking two things: 1. it was the biggest, most beautiful piano I had ever seen in my life, and 2. that I was scared to DEATH. I remember waiting there for the man to call my name - ticking off the seconds but feeling them as hours.

When it was my turn, and he finally announced me, he announced my last name wrong. Something clicked inside of me and I wasn't afraid anymore - I was irritated. Back straight, head held high, I walked onto the large stage straight up to the announcer, tugged his jacket sleeve, and corrected him. Then, I walked back OFFSTAGE. I waited on him to announce me again, this time saying my name correctly; and he did. The audience chuckled but I remember thinking, 'this is my moment to be up here - I want to hear you pronounce my name right'. Then I sat myself down at the biggest, most beautiful, black grand piano I had ever seen and I played.

I want to be that little girl again: unafraid to walk the path in front of her and absolutely sure of herSelf.

I wonder where it went - my courage. How did I go from being THAT person to the person I have become? Where did my courage go? Where did my FAITH in mySelf go? How did I go from KNOWING that I could do something, and do it well - mind you, to KNOWING that I could do nothing well? Is it a girl thing? Is it person thing? Is it a child of dysfunction thing?

I don't know.

What I do know is that I need that courage back; that unfailing sense of Self and sureness and willingness to walk forward. I know that the road in front of me is going to be difficult. I know that I am going to be terrified a good many times. So many of the medical procedures facing me are nearly as bad for me as the damn disease said procedure is treating. Seriously. Undertaking these things - these "treatments" will be a test of my will, my character, and my ability to endure.

So here I sit. I am waiting to hear when my next MRI is going to be and it occurs to me that writing this blog - that THIS, all of this, takes a good deal of courage too. To do it - to put it out there - to tackle the "white demon" that is the empty page; takes courage. So maybe this writing out loud is my dosage - small drops of courage on my tongue to get me ready to do the big things: to pick up the phone and schedule those appointments, to face the images on the MRI films, to read the doctor's reports.

Courage in small doses then - when things are bad and my joy is full of gray. Small doses and small steps down the path. Here's hoping.

We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world. - Helen Keller

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

my house is a wreck

I love my house. I love being a stay at home mom. I love that this is my life. But my house is a wreck.

We currently live in a Craftsman style bungalow that was built in 1918. When we bought it, it had 1900 sq ft, 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. When we moved in - it was the two of us and our 7 year old son. Now, five years later, we have 3 children and us - see the problem? We are currently a bedroom short. The boys each have a bedroom and we have the little princess in our bedroom. Her - along with her crib, changing table and dresser and OUR bed, dresser, chest of drawers and other assorted crap - and I'm beginning to feel claustrophobic. To say there is a need for 4 bedrooms is a giant understatement. She is almost mobile and her toys are beginning to take over the house simply because we have nowhere to put them. Also - I flat out want to have our bedroom back; just me and my husband; a kid-free zone.

That means either move or add on.

Because we are Masochists, we have chosen to add on. We are not new to the addition process. Our home now has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms thanks to our last big renovation undertaking. So here we are again; there are but two options.

Option 1:
We have an attic space that runs the length and width of the home but with steep sides from the pitch of the roof. There is only room to stand straight up in the very middle of the attic. We could add on up there - another bedroom and bathroom - possibly an office. This idea will add another 400 sq ft to our home. But it will also add a new roof line, dormers, re-run HVAC, and plumbing. And how cool would it be to be a teenager with your own room and bathroom upstairs and away from the small people?!?!

Option 2:
Our home also has a basement that runs the length of the home - a real rarity in Oklahoma. The basement is not finished and it is not water tight: the water seeps in from the floor when we get a lot of rain. We could finish it and add *almost* another 1000 sq ft to the home - I think it would add 890 square feet to be more precise. We could put, in theory, 2 bedrooms, a play room for the kids/craft room for me, laundry room AND storage room down there. BUT we would also have to do a french drain around the perimeter of the existing basement floor. And dig out the windows, and seal the floor and walls, and add HVAC and probably a wood stove.

I want to do the basement.

My husband wants to do the attic.

This past week he tore out part of my mudroom (that we just finished in October)
and put in 3 stringers for a staircase leading up to the attic. The stairs will be nice when they are finished - I'll give him that. He maintains that this is to make it easier to store everything up in the attic while we are doing the basement. I think it was really his weaselly way of beginning his project..."well, the stairs are already in baby"....uh-huh...

So anyway - my house is wreck. Not just the typical wreckage from Christmas and the holidays. But now from the next huge renovation project as well. I can't believe we all don't have asthma there is so much dust.

Not much of a post today because I am going to attempt to clean this place. I can't even focus on organizing it yet - I just need to get the layer of sheet rock dribble and sawdust OFF of everything.

I'll try and get back to more interesting posts tomorrow.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Throughout my life I have given thought to trees. I rather enjoy trees. I have a soft spot in my heart for the Oak. It is useful. It provides shade, provides us with a show throughout the year as she changes her colors, and, if need be, provides us with a good, solid wood with which to build on and walk. What a grand, magnificent tree the Oak.

I also have loved the Weeping Willow. Its graceful arches and soft listing branches swaying in the wind; a sad tree if ever there was one. It did not go unnoticed by me when I found our little dream house - that it lived on Willow Street. It was a further sign to me that this was our house - but I digress. I fancy myself stuck between these two trees. Often finding myself being the Willow - sad but still standing; but always hoping I would end up as the Oak - deep roots, strong sheltering branches and always standing tall. But now, I don't feel much like either. I feel more like the little Bonsai tree.


  • June 5 - daughter was born - spent next week in NICU
  • June 12 - woke up with Bell's Palsy on right side of face
  • June 15 - started round of steriods - no visible improvement
  • July 1 - had first MRI - am told they found 1 Meningioma
  • July 13 - had second MRI - am told they found a second Meningioma and that I have Optic Neuritis affecting my right Optic Nerve - I may have MS
  • - took a break from doctors for the rest of the summer -
  • September 30 - met with brilliant NeuroSurgeon in Dallas - he reviews my MRI films
  • October 5 - have 3rd MRI
  • October 23 - get letter and report from NS in Dallas regarding 3rd MRI - his findings are that I do NOT have Optic Neuritis OR MS but I do have a THIRD Meningioma on my right Optic Nerve. He does NOT recommend radiation therapy, yet.
  • November 10 - met with a Neuro-Opthamologist in OKC. He examines me, examines all the MRI films - says he agrees with NS - 3rd Meningioma, no MS, tells me I will go blind in my right eye - recommends radiation therapy and refers me to another Neuro-Opthamologist. Also recommends Lumbar Puncture.
  • November 11 - present - break from docs again.

It has all been too much too fast.

During all of this people have tried to make me feel better about what is happening to me. I get a lot of, "You are being shaped by these experiences." "God is molding you - shaping you into your best expression of Him." "Through you, people will see God."

I don't want anymore shaping; no more PRUNING. Pardon me, but I want to keep what branches I have. I feel as though I'm being hacked at, pruned with left out in the rain too long, rusty, old hedge clippers.


The branches of my tree - the branches of the possibility of my life - my future - pruned by diagnosis after diagnosis: Meningioma, *snip* Bell's Palsy, *snip*. Pruned by medical procedure after medical procedure: MRI, *snip*, Lumbar Puncture, *snip*, Radiation, *snip*. Pruned by the medical certainty of my outcome: Blind in right eye *snip*, BP residuals - Synkinesis *snip*, Cranial Surgery, *snip*.

I feel like a bloody stump of what I once was: of what I hoped to be, of what I COULD be.

So now I have to find a way to acclimate myself to this new sense of reality, of future, of possibility. Or maybe I need to find a way to just live in the now. Limit my hope to tomorrow or the end of next week rather than twenty years from now. Maybe both.

I am learning how to be the Bonsai tree.
Perhaps I am being shaped with a purpose. Perhaps it only looks as though I'm being hacked at because I'm still in the "middle" of the work. After all, Bonsai is considered an art form in Japan. And maybe there is a hope of a long future as a Bonsai tree. The oldest known living Bonsai tree is over 500 years old and is considered a national treasure in Japan: 500 years of something pruned and, in its own way, beautiful: 500 years of inspiration given to a people and a culture.

Maybe being a Bonsai tree is not so bad after all. Part of the art of Bonsai is patience. I know that patience is a big part of my lesson in all of this. So this is me then - the little Bonsai tree. Pruned, bruised and battered, but still growing - still trying to BE something. I am learning. And I am trying: with love, with hope, and with patience.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Writer writes

I love me some Marge Piercy. She is my favorite poet and I'll be quoting her from time to time in here. She has a way of putting things. It fits. This from her poem
"For the Young Who Want To"

The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.

Work is its own cure. You have to

like it better than being loved.

I tend to loose myself in my wife/mom duties - they are for the others in my life and not for mySelf and, selfish as it sounds, I need something for mySelf again. I want to have a purpose outside of family. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with your only purpose being family - it is a good purpose - a noble one; I'm talking about me here and what I need as a person. It's not so much that I want to feel that I matter in this world, but more that I want to contribute. I want, no I need to feel that something I do, something I can produce, means something out there. I want to know that my thoughts exist somewhere outside of myself too.

So I am writing again. I have left it from time to time but to it I have always returned. It has been the one constant in my life. I have always written; for newspapers, yearbooks, professors, and in journals for myself. I have journals of poetry going back to seventh grade. Before that I poured my soul into music. I played the piano, the violin, and the cello. Somewhere around puberty I decided that I was no longer capable; that I couldn't do anything right; that I had no talent. So I stopped playing and started writing.

For me, writing was deeply personal. And it was private. It was MINE. No one saw it but me and so I didn't have to suffer through others' opinions of it. There was no recital, no judges, no teacher's metronome ticking off the beats which I was expected to hit. It was just me and my paper and my thoughts. It was a gift. It was my safe place. Because of this I was terrified every.single.time I turned in a newspaper column or a paper to a professor. Writing was like laying a piece of my soul bare - something akin to the dream where you are in public and naked and everyone is staring and pointing and laughing? Yep. Exactly the same feeling for me. But I wrote anyway.

Obviously all the medical craziness in my life has me thinking about why it's all happening; why I was chosen. And I'm thinking that maybe this mountain of crap I'm being forced to climb is for a reason. Maybe that reason is for me to use. A very painful Muse to inspire me to write. Maybe something I'm going through - if I write it down - will help someone else on their journey. Or maybe I'm reaching. I don't know. I just know I need to write. Write about all of it: the good, the bad, and the real damn ugly.

So all that to say this; here I am. Writing out loud. This is scary as hell ya'll. Putting it out there. Letting the world (or even a scattering few people whom I love and trust) see this. But it's scary all the same. Judgment, ridicule, ugly anonymous comments; those are the what-ifs. I am not going to let the what-if's stop me. As Chuck Wendig challenged his fellow writers to do; I am throwing my pebble.

Let's see how many waves I can make.