Wednesday, November 9, 2016

My Night Job (A Political Post)

I LOVE my night job. It is only one night a week, and only 2 hours. My monthly paycheck pays for 2 weeks’ worth of gas. I definitely don’t love it for the money. But, I can tell you why I love it.

I love my job because we talk about Personal Power. We talk about the importance of making a choice and owning it. We talk about being proud of decisions you make and making sure to use your Personal Power in a positive way, doing something you would be happy to tell your mom about. I love my job because we talk about owing your emotions. We practice I statements, and knowing that our emotions are ours and no one made us feel that way, but that our reaction is something that personally belongs to us. We talk about how with our reactions we have consequences, and consequences are not always bad. We talk about how it is okay to feel angry and upset, but how we express our anger needs to be positive. We now know that when we are angry, we never hurt ourselves. This means we avoid negative self-talk as well as physical self-harm. When we are angry, we never hurt others. This means that we don’t send nasty tweets, or call someone a name, or push them in front of a bus (poor Regina George!). When we are angry, we don’t hurt the environment. This means we do not hit walls, litter, or throw things.

I love my job because we talk about making mistakes. We talk about getting mad at our brother and throwing a magazine at his face, we talk about hitting a friend because she didn’t let you play with her ball, and we talk about sending a note (or email) when you shouldn’t (or in a way you shouldn’t, maybe?). We know that these choices are using our Personal Power in a negative way. We know that sometimes we make bad decisions. Sometimes we make mistakes. But, we also know that that does not make us a bad person.  

I love my job because we talk about saying “no”. We talk about how it is important feeling comfortable to say “NO!” We talk about how “no” means “no”. We know that it is okay to say no, and that word helps to protect us.

I love it because today, I talked to 6 year old girls about how amazing our bodies are. We talked about being beautiful inside and out. We talked about self-love and liking what you see. We talked about birthmarks on you eye, belly, or a cow spot on your armpit are uniquely yours. We love our birthmarks. Tonight we talked about how great it is to be a woman. We talked about how my body is my body and no you cannot touch it. We talked about asking permission to touch each other. Can I touch your face? Can I give you a hug? Can I hold your hand? We talked about how inappropriate it is for someone to grab us by the pussy (well actually vagina, because we talked about the importance of calling parts by their name and how to report it if someone did grab us there). We talked about who we should talk to and how if someone is making you feel yucky (they are 6…) you have the right to tell your mom, teacher, or trusted adult you don’t feel comfortable, and they are there to help keep you safe.  

And then we painted our faces. There was debate on if I was prettier with face paint or without. Consensus was that I am a woman, and I am beautiful either way. They did pretty good I must say.


And that brings me to this election. When America elected Donald Trump President Elect, I felt sad. I feel let down, I feel unimportant, I am confused. I don’t understand how someone could hear the things he has said, pondered at the things he has promised, and see the actions he has taken can truly believe that he is the right candidate for President. I don’t get how bragging about sexual assault is presidential. I don’t understand how exclusion is presidential. I don’t understand how bigotry, racism, and violence toward our neighbors is presidential. I don’t understand how someone could vote for him, and have a clear conscience today. I feel yucky, and I don’t know that any trusted adult can make me feel safe. I think our President should be a trusted adult these girls could go to and he could help. I don’t think Donald Trump would be able to help them, though.

I have been super emotional all day. Today, I love my job. I love my job because I feel like I am making a difference. I am teaching young kids (currently, 6 year old girls) just how important they are, and I hope they leave each week feeling a little more empowered. I have been emotional, because I taught these girls that “no” means “no”. That as a female, they are important and have rights. That no matter who they choose as a life partner, their family’s primary language, and what they choose as a career is who they are and that means something. I have taught them this, but today I feel like that may not be true. That could possible not be the case. I worry that our rights may no longer be ours. Sexual assault is not something we look at as a major issue. Treating people badly because they hold up a sign is okay, because you are angry that they are against you. I am emotional, because I may be teaching a lie. I love my job because I love the kids I work with. I love seeing them a little stronger each week, and I love seeing their potential. I don’t want them to lose that. I don’t want them to be fired.

That being said, I love Election Day. I think our election process is wild and crazy and maybe not the best system- but that’s the excitement. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. Our election system is insane. I don’t like the results, I don’t like that the popular vote and the electoral vote contradict, but I will do my best to support our next president. I will pray for him (because I think he needs it) and I will pray that our other elected officials can also lead our country in a way that will continue to move us forward. I pray that we don’t regress. I also know that I will stand with those being oppressed. If regression comes I will fight with them.  

God Bless America! PLEASE!

*Please not that all of these scenarios I have mentioned from Regina George to the cow spot have all been mentioned during my classes. Another reason I love my job.

Friday, July 1, 2016

My Life Sounds Like

My favorite assignment I was ever given was one from my second semester in college. It was in Eng1020, and the assignment was called “My Life Sounds Like.” This assignment was given back when it was still cool to make someone a CD… Well barely in the time. I think it was probably the last CD I made, actually. The assignment was to make a playlist of songs (I think there were about 15 on it) that tell someone about your life. We then had to write a paragraph about each song diving into the lyrics. I loved that it gave me the opportunity to hide behind a song yet truly look into my life and discover what was truly going on.  I don’t really know what was on that CD, because once you made it you picked a partner (mine was picked for me because I was convientely in Washington DC for the Inauguration of Barrack Obama on the day of that class), and then gave it to them. I still have my partner’s CD though. I remember 3 songs though 
  1. Hakuna Matata (Baha Men- Disney Mania CD!)
  2. Laugh so You Don’t Cry (Andy Davis)
  3. Little Moments Like That (Brad Paisley)
If you look back just a couple years before that, I would argue that my life was more like:

  1.        Summer Nights (Lil’ Rob)
  2.        Swing Life Away (Rise Against)
  3.              Heart of a Champion (Nelly)  
  4.        Laugh So You Don’t Cry (Andy Davis) 
  5.        I’m Not Gonna Cry (Corey Smith) 
  6.        Spice Up Your Life (Spice Girls)      
  7.        Bubbly (Colby Caillat)
  8.        When I Grow Up (The Pussycat Dolls)
  9.        Girl Next Door (Saving Jane)  
  10.        Crush (Mandy Moore)
  11.        Big Girls Don’t Cry (Fergie)
  12.        Heaven (Los Lonely Boys)
  13.        Girls Just Want to Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper)
  14.        Crayons Can Melt on Us For All I Care (Reliant K)
  15.        Goodbye to You (Michelle Branch)
Music is a huge part of my life and since that assignment I often times find myself through music. At this time of my life I am healing. I have been through a rough couple months, and I have had a playlist that has really helped me through it. Over the last 2 months, my life sounds like:
  1.  I Get to Love You (Ruelle)
  2.   Beam Me Up (Pink)
  3.   Think Good Thoughts (Colbie Caillat)
  4.   Laugh So You Don’t Cry (Andy Davis)
  5.  Calling All Angels (Jessie Clark Funk)
  6.  Tears in Heaven (Eric Clapton)
  7.  Small Bump (Ed Sheeran)
  8.  See You Again (Wiz Khalifa)
  9.  Heaven (Beyonce)
  10.  Gone Too Soon (Daughtry)  
  11.  Que Sera Sera (Corinne Bailey Rae)

And there we have it. I really am to a place of healing, and now when these songs come up on my shuffle I see it as a sign that I am loved and my angels are near me.  My life playlist is definitely changing and once it’s a little more firm, I’ll probably share it.

Do you have a “My Life Sounds Like” playlist? New music is great! Be sure to share!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

My Chari Life: Migraine Awareness

June is “Migraine awareness month! And being that I haven't given a Chiari update for a while, I figured that maybe the end of June might be the time. This is kinda a “woe is me” post, but not to make you feel bad for me, but just because migraines SUCK!

With a lot of Awareness Months, they use the month to spread awareness of early signs of detection, how and where to get screened, and to raise funds for the cause. With migraine awareness there isn't really that push (other than to maybe raise money for research but I don't have a favorite fund so I’m not going to even go into that) so, I think I am going to use this month (or this blog post) to help others understand that people with migraines are people. I live a life, well sometimes. I have a favorite food, ice cream (actually it’s donuts). I have a job, well for 9 months in the year… and take every sick day I am offered because of migraines.

To be diagnosed with Chronic Migraine, you must have:
1.     Headache (tension-type and/or migraine) on ≥15 days per month for at least 3 months
2.     Occurring in a patient who has had at least five attacks fulfilling criteria for migraine without aura
3.     On ≥8 days per month for at least 3 months, headache has fulfilled criteria for pain and associated symptoms of migraine without aura (Criteria a and b below) or was treated and relieved by triptan(s) or ergot before the expected development of symptoms listed in Criteria a and b.
1.     Has at least two of the following:
1.     Unilateral location
2.     Pulsating quality
3.     Moderate or severe pain intensity
4.     Aggravation by or causing avoidance of routine physical activity
2.     Has at least one of the following:
1.     Nausea and/or vomiting
2.     Photophobia and phonophobia
4.     No medication overuse and not attributed to another causative disorder

I wake up every morning with a headache. Sometimes the pain is so bad that I refuse to get out of bed. When I do get up I typically have the headache for most of the day and at least 15 days a month I cannot do anything (cleaning, cooking/eating, socializing) all day because of the pain.
I am lucky because most (but not all) of my migraines come with auras. Aura’s are warning signs that you are about to be debilitated for the next 4 hours to, well, my longest migraine attack in the last 12 months was 3 doctor visits and 5 DAYS long. My aura’s include:
  • what I call “the orbies”, little balls of flashing light that just hang out for a while (like when you look at a picture and there are unexplained light balls in random spots in the photo, but mine are all sorts of colors).
  • Tingling fingers and toes, on my left side
  • EXTREME nausea.
When I get an aura I immediately take a “migraine saver”, which is an acute medication, and then an anti-nausea medication. I have 2 savers and 2 nausea medicines that I choose from depending on what time of day it is and if I can sleep or not. That being said my body no longer responds to my night saver- which is NO GOOD!

I have a lot of migraine triggers that have taken all my life to discover. I have found these triggers, because it is something I also loved but had to give up. Lack of sleep, overworking and elevated heart rates (take that! Exercise is bad for me), and a lot of foods. Bananas,which I love. Broccoli, kale, and avocados. Chicken apple sausages, and all other processed meats for that matter, as well as yeast and oranges. I was picky enough before being asked to keep a food log and migraine log. All of my food should be super fresh, because even leftovers is a trigger, and if I am trying to avoid headaches, I have to really watch what I eat and read labels.
Before I wanted to become a mama, I was able to take a preventive medication. That, my friend, was a life saver. I don't think I appreciated the preventative medications until I stopped taking them. The side effects such as dry mouth, metal taste in my mouth, and restless legs are totally worth it to me now. Now, with trying to become pregnant, I sometimes wonder if being a mama and waiting while trying is worth the wait. 2 to 6 migraines a week really doesn’t seem to be, but I’m sure it will be. On a plus side, we did find that during my brief pregnancy, my migraines were completely gone!  

I’m a firm believer in, “A migraine’s a migraine not matter how small”, so I think if you have had a migraine you understand my pain, just not an understanding of how long it lasts. When I have a migraine, the only food I can keep down is ice cream (I’m not complaining at all), and sleep about 20 hours a day. In that I totally think I win. I am awake/not nestled in a cold dark room with no sound for about an hour at a time and eat ice cream. Hashtag: WIN. If you are a migraine sufferer, give it a try. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Not Just a Statistic

Yellow dasies with 3 giant Gerbera dasies right in the middle. And they weren't forget-me-nots, but close. They were purple on color ansade it complete. I don't think there could have been a better gift for me after hearing that she could not find the heart beat. 

You see, the gerberas remind me of my nephew. For his funeral we got giant orange ones. Yellow is G-Dawgs favorite color. Forget-me-nots are the flower in my mom's garden that helps me to remember Dillon is always with me. Watching and protecting. 

 I was with my cousins the morning after my grandma passed, and while we were upset, one of them asked their dad in a search for understanding, "So now instead of rocking us, Grandma is in heaven rocking Dillon and Manti?" 

Again, what a gift to receive, to remind me that my baby is in heaven with the 3 angels I love most and aspire to be. 

"I can.... I can't find the heartbeat." I wake up those words often. It is the worst nightmare a woman can have. And yet it was my reality. A reality similar to my sister's yet I never heard it's heart. 

And for that reason I told myself, "At least it happened early." Because that makes me feel like I am a lucky one. One who didn't get to bond with the wiggle worm inside me, one who didn't have a shower to welcome my bundle into the world, one who didn't get to know boy or girl... But it doesn't help. Just because I didn't hear it's heart doesn't mean it didn't steal my heart. That's my baby. 

When I finally got a positive pregnancy test, my body suggested that I was already 10 weeks pregnant. My ultrasound showed otherwise. "I don't see anything." That's what the first tech told me.  She threw out the words "ectopic pregnancy" while I wasn't in the room, but failed to.mention the cysts.  I was left to wonder was it a tubal pregnancy? Did I have cancer (not the first of my cancer might be's)? My doctor just kept saying "I think it is just to early." 

And too early it was because one week later we were back for a second ultrasound showing me to be just shy of 5 weeks.

 At 7 weeks I was experiencing all the symptoms, until I wasn't. I remember telling my mom and husband about how things didn't hurt anymore and that something had to be wrong. They reassured me that I was okay and reminded me not to compare my pregnancy to others. They were right. 

Because my doctor is so amazing she scheduled another ultrasound at 8.5 weeks. I remember being so excited because this is when I was going to hear my baby. 

Since I was young I've always wanted a tattoo of each child's first heartbeat somewhere descret on me. I know it breaks a commandment but I'm not the most obedient and justify tatoos of heartbeats all the time. Not to mention I hate unnecessary pain so I'm sure I would wimp out anyway. But hearing my baby's heartbeat would be the first draft of my first tattoo, and that is exciting. 

The measurememnts were not the easiest to get, but then again my baby was super tiny. It only measured 8 weeks instead of 8 weeks 3 days, but that's just an estimate. And then she said it. She said, "We aren't really supposed to give any results until the radiologist looks at this, but I don't want to leave you waiting an extra day to find out. I can..." She got choked up, about to cry. "I can't find the heartbeat."

My response was a very controlled and composed. "Okay, thank you." Not because I was in denial, but because I almost knew it was going to be said. Don't get me wrong I was super upset and bawled into my mom and husband's arms as soon as the tech left the room. It's just a motherly instinct I guess. 

It was a Monday. I allowed myself to be upset for 2 more days then went back to work. Anything to get my head off of it. But how can I forget that I don't get to have a baby when I am teaching other mom's babies? It didn't seem fair. Friday I got my D&C then Saturday I hosted my niece's 1st birthday party. 

She gives me hope. Alma gives me hope that when I find the rainbow through this storm, I will get to raise a beautiful human like her. 

I spent 6 weeks pregnant being so excited for the summer. The summer was when I got to prepare for my baby. Now the summer is here and I don't have a baby to prepare for. These last few days have been really hard, because on top of having no baby to prepare for, I also get to visit the resting places of some very important people in my life. 

Luckily, I have an amazing family and friends who support me. I have a husband who has been so thoughtful this week, allowing me to feel my emotions, yet reminding me that the best is yet to come. Our happily ever after is not yet, but on it's way. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

My Chiari Life: food issues (And S'more Popcorn)

Since being diagnosed with Chiari, a food log has been introduced into my life. This is both a blessing and a curse. I hate seeing all the crap I eat in a day! It is so gross. But I do love that I am better able to control my migraines lately just based off of what I eat. 

There are a few things we have noticed that trigger migraines for me. 

1. My bite size breakfast. I hate breakfast foods, there are few things I will eat in the morning. Christian is an amazing husband and knows that if he pre cuts an avocado, a banana, and a chicken apple sausage and lines them up nice and straight I will eat it all up. The problem is, all 3 of those are migraine triggers. So I can no longer have all 3 for a meal I can only have one. 

2. Hotdogs. This is one I am not even sad about. Last time we had hotdogs I had more than I needed and then stated that I don't even like hotdogs, I just eat them because they are there. But now that we have been able to link those to my migraines I definitely know they aren't worth it. 

3. Popcorn. This is devastating. Or at least it was. I don't think there is a couple in the world who consumes more popcorn than my husband and I. So when we linked our delicious buttery popcorn to my headaches I was torn! BUT, then we realized it is actually the awful butter they put in the microwave bags. 

Que the Whirly Popper. This has to be my favorite thing in our whole kitchen... I take that back, my Kerieg is, but you get where I am going. For all our sweet popcorns we use coconut oil (which takes forever and a day but is so worth it) and for the savory popcorns we use EVOO (I'm a Rachel Ray girl). 

So, not only do I LOVE my husband and popcorn, I also love s'mores. So tonight's sweet treat was S'MORE POPCORN! Talk about DELISH! It was probably the best treat I have had in a long time. 

I popped 1/4 cup popcorn with 1/4 cup coconut oil. I put the popped popcorn on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and took out all the not popped kernels. Next, I put about a half of a large bag of marshmallows in my Whirly popper and 1/4 cup coconut oil and just spun it until the marshmallows were not only melted but also turning a little golden (to get the toasted flavor). Once it is all melted, pour it over the popcorn and try to cover every piece by mixing it. I tried to use a spoon but it wasn't worth it. Just wait for the marshmallow to cool a little then use your hands. So much easier. While you wait, cut up 2 Hershey's chocolate bars and a pack of graham crackers. Sprinkle the crackers and chocolate over the top while the marshmallow is still a little warm so the chocolate will melt just a little. 

Oh my gosh!!! So good! I'm so glad we still have 3 serving left because that is going to be my breakfast, lunch, and dinner tomorrow!