Priorities

I’m so cranky this morning.  Like extra super crank.  I’m sure we can chalk it up to hormones right?  🙂

A little while back I posted a fundraiser for a woman who was trying to raise money to pay for a fertility treatment.  I checked it out again just now; curious to see how much money she raised.  It’s been a little while so I expected to see quite a bit of money there.

(And yes, I did donate.  🙂  I donated under my legal name.  Not my pen name.)

She raised a whopping $190.00 out of $4,000.

Really?

Here’s what I don’t understand.  Why is it that we find it more important to donate our hard earned cash to a guy who wants to make potato salad, but no one cares about a woman wanting to become a mother in the only way available to her?

The potato salad guy on Kickstarter wrote “I’m making potato salad.”

He was donated over 50k towards his potato salad making venture.  WHAT?!

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And yet, this girl who has a legitimate medical problem can’t get funding to become a mother?

Know why?  It’s obvious.

Having infertility isn’t funny.  The vast percentage of humanity doesn’t care about something unless it’s funny or morbid.

People come in droves towards terrible tragedies, and to things that are hilarious.

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Apparently, Ms. Jones in the fundraiser needs to figure out how to make her infertility hilarious, or bring up the gore a notch right?  I mean, maybe we could make t-shirts of angry cartoon clams with signs that say,

“Help fix my angry clam!”  or maybe she could film an in depth drama of her ovaries  depicted as people and their terrible fights with her body.  I think I’m onto something!  That would get funding right?  She should just suck up her pride, sadness, and humility for the sake of her future children right?  That’s what people want right?  We should give people what they want so we can get what we want…right?

No.  Wrong.  So wrong.

It’s people that need to sort out their priorities.

I don’t know how to change cynical people.  Or people who think that potato salad is more important.

All I know is that behavior like this makes me cranky.

 

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Cassidy Stay

If you recognize this name, then you know what is associated with it.  Tragedy.  Let me start out by saying I am going to start off with something happy.

At my book signing on Mother’s Day weekend, a craft fair was taking place outside of the book store.  At the beginning of the signing a young teenage girl came bounding into the store excited to ask me about my book.  Her mother was working at the craft fair.  I gave her the details of the premise of my book, and she listened with an eager expression on her face.  She talked about how much she loved reading, and even more so reading young adult novels.

She literally made my day with her enthusiasm to read my novel, and her vibrant nature.  She ran outside, talked to her mother and came back ecstatic that her mother had given her the money to buy my book.  We talked for about twenty minutes about young adult novels while she perused my website on the tablet.  Afterwards she came back in before they all left and handed me her business card for Origami Owl jewelry.  I signed her book, and added her name to my newsletter, excited to have a fan in my book’s age group.

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I’m sure you’ve seen it in on Facebook lately.  The terrible Massacre of the Stay family in Spring, TX.  It sickens me that this happened in my town.  I followed this tragedy this week, feeling so terrible for the lone survivor; a 15 year old girl named Cassidy Stay.  All week I’ve been talking about her sheer bravery and wit during the horrifying events that took place.  This girl managed to call the police to save her grandparents after being tied up, witnessing the death of her entire family, and then shot in the head herself.   You can read the full story at this website.

It wasn’t until this morning when I saw a photo of her as she was being released from the hospital that I realized that I’d met her before.  I did a double take.  A triple take, and then finally I had to know.  I hurriedly logged into my wordpress account and gaped at her name on my newsletter.  Sure enough, it was her.  My heart fell into my stomach.

Cassidy Stay is one of the kindest, sweetest girls I’ve had the pleasure to meet.  It breaks my heart even more knowing that this terrible thing has happened to her.

This girl deserves your money.  She deserves my money.  As much as I am able to give.  Someone has started a gofundme account for her, and I’m putting it right here.  She needs so much love and support right now.  I had to put it out there.  Help this girl if you can because she is so brave, kind, and has lost more than you can imagine.

Go Fund Cassidy Stay

 

 

 

 

Slow Down

I find myself rushing through each day, trying to teleport into another part of the year where the waiting will stop.  I try to will the days to go faster, and don’t pay attention to anything that’s good.  When there’s a goal in mind, nothing really matters.  Food doesn’t taste as great, movies aren’t that interesting, and other life events get a mere shrug.

Right now I want a house.  There are things in my life that could happen if I only had a house.  I tell myself that if I could get out of this one bedroom apartment, then everything else that I want would flow a little easier.  I’d have more space, I could set aside a baby room, I could get a dog or two, and I could devote a workspace to the crafts that I love instead of sitting at my dining room table only to have to move everything before I’m done so we can use it to eat.

We have a plan in mind.  A “saving up until January” kind of plan.  We’d be able to move in March.  So right now, I really want it to be January so I can start looking at houses.  I don’t even want to look at them until then, because I won’t be able to afford them.  I want time to move forward.

With all of my fast forwarding habits, I never stop and notice at the things in life that are beautiful.  And then all of a sudden, they’re there.  On my Facebook.  Out in my tiny garden, or just in my face in general.  Perhaps when I’m in these bitter, upset at life moods, God is extending his hand to show me something that will cheer me up.

Like this.  I found this on Facebook this morning.  Someone took the trunk of a tree and shaved it thin so that a record player could play what its rings sound like.  Apparently trees have voices too.

Months ago I found this.  Not only are the trees singing, but so are the crickets.  What things am I missing while rushing through this one life that I have?  This video is an audio clip of crickets slowed down.  It sounds like angels.

Or the beauty of bioluminescent waves, which look like they’re glowing blue.  (It’s really phytoplankton by still.  Holy crap it’s pretty)

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Or real snow flakes under a microscope:

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Or soapy bubbles popping in slow motion:

Or even just my adorable, loving cats who won’t be around forever:

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Maybe I should stop doing this fast forward thing.

I think I’ll go to the park this morning.

Writing Styles

Over the years I’ve discovered something.  Not all writers use the same techniques to write.  Even though we speak the same language, the various writers I know all have vastly different ways of getting it done.

Stephen King in his On Writing, describes where he goes to write, and what his muse looks like.  He recommended writing in solitude, away from the television, and that his internal muse was more of a harassing asshole than the wispy pretty thing people think of when referencing a muse.  He looked something like this:

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Not exactly beautiful, or awe inspiring.  More of the get that writing done, or I’ll break your legs kind of muse I think.  Intimidating.

I have some author friends on Facebook who only seem to do their writing in public places.  Laptop, coffee shop, and a big mug of coffee.  To me, that sounds absolutely terrible.  I am so easily distracted, I would spend the next few hours people watching until I realized that I’d only written two sentences.

A friend of mine is going to Ireland to do his writing in solitude, near the ocean.  I’m insanely jealous.  That would be perfect.  So much inspiration.

I have a friend who uses a typewriter, and a friend who writes everything by hand in journals or on sheets of paper before typing them on her computer.  I shake my head a both of these things; not judgmentally mind you, but at how redundant these techniques are to me.  I want back ups of my files.  Copies everywhere of my work so that I don’t lose it.  I would never write any of my work by hand.  Not only do I have the handwriting of a serial killer, but can you imagine the hand cramps in sitting down to write multiple pages?  I get tense hands from writing a paragraph by hand!  Maybe that’s because I was introduced to laptops when I was 15.  I’ve been spoiled I guess.

I also have friends who post constantly about the fact that they’re writing with pictures and everything.  These don’t annoy me or anything, but it’s not my style.  I don’t want people knowing that I’m writing at this exact moment.  Pressure maybe?  Too many people keep asking me when my sequel is coming out, even after I assure them that I’m shooting for December.  Maybe it’s because I write every day.  Who wants to see a photo of that every day?  I bombard my friends enough with my author posts.  This blog will be one of them!  There are very few days where I don’t spend at least thirty minutes writing something.  Mostly the novel though.  I promise!

Here is how I operate.

My writing normally takes place between 6:00 – 7:00 am.  Lately it has also taken place during my lunch hour.

I need to be alone.  Completely alone, when everything is quiet.  I want my husband asleep, and I want my coworkers out and about away from me at lunch.  Once I’m alone, I can portal into the world that I’ve created and act my scenes out with the characters in my head.  If anyone or anything pulls my attention away, it’s like someone shook me.  I get so irritated when someone comes up and says,

“Oh, are you writing?”

or

“How’s the writing coming?”

Oh man, it was going great until you said something.  Now I’m back in the boring old office instead of in that awesome battle scene.  Please go away so I can refocus.  Mostly I smile and pray that they walk away.

I need the Facebook off, the TV off, and most importantly no human contact.  I can write for hours like this, until my hands get tired.

And as for my muse?  I’m not sure how to describe her.  When I’m writing something lighthearted, she’s my inner child.  That spunky, happy version of me.  When I’m writing something morbid or dark, she’s that brooding, angsty, teenage version of me with thick black eyeliner and fishnet shirts.  Is it narcissistic that my muse is me?  Not sure.  We all operate differently.

Mostly my muse is the stereotypical, whimsical, beautiful thing dancing around inside my head with awesome ideas.  As long as I write those ideas down when she gives them to me, we’re all good.  If not, then she’s a freakin nag

But here’s my point.  You might be a writer, reading this right now and think,

“God, that sounds awful.” when you read about my writing techniques.  But that’s what makes it awesome.

Just like every writer’s voice is different, so are their techniques.  I may shake my head at the way my friends work, but I realize that it’s what makes all of our writing so unique.

 

 

Facebook Intervention

Facebook is a huge part of our lives.  But sometimes, too much of a good thing can piss off all of your Facebook friends.

Do you need a Facebook intervention?  If you meet ANY of these signs, then yes.  Yes, you do.  I promise.  It’s not me.  It’s you.  And I’ve found some delightfully snarky SomeEcards to help me illustrate my point!

1.  You are the Mayor of every place you frequent.  You check in to every single location that you pass, because heaven forbid your Facebook friends not know where you are every second of the day!  We do not need to know when you are picking up your inhaler at Walgreens.  I miss that time before cell phones where you just had to wonder where people were!

Clarification:  occasionally checking into a place is fine!  Moderation people.              Moderation…

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2.  Your posts are extremely predictable.  If I can list on one hand a range of topics your post is about to cover before I even look at it, then it’s a sign that you post too damn much.  If your going to cover my entire news feed, at least make it interesting.

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3.  You’re that person who is constantly posting about drinking wine.

Posting that you’re drinking wine again multiple times a week doesn’t make you look chill or relaxed.  It makes you look like an alcoholic.  Go ahead and swap out the word wine with vodka.  Or Jack.  Or even beer.  Now your posts make you look like a lush!

Disclaimer:  If you drink wine as a hobby this does not apply.  (What qualifies as drinking wine as a hobby:  Going to a wine tasting facility.  Purposefully buying wine to pair it with certain foods.)  If you’re drinking copious amounts wine every day JUST to drink wine…then yeah…

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4.  You air your dirty laundry on Facebook.  If we’re not close enough in person for me to know what’s going on in your personal life, then I don’t need to know about it.  The following topics are inappropriate to post in a public forum:

-The fight you’re having with your significant other
-The details of your nasty divorce
-How much you hate your in-laws
-The fight you’re having with your friend
-Or any drama in general regarding anyone else who also has aFacebook

If you want to talk about those things, send that person a private message PLEASE!   Posting that your husband is an arrogant asshole on your Facebook wall, knowing full well that he has a Facebook too, is the same as screaming it at him from down the street!  It looks equally as tacky and turns your Facebook wall into an episode of Jerry Springer.

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5.  When you go on vacation, and so do all of your Facebook friends because you can’t stop posting about it on Facebook.  We’re happy for you that you got to get away, but posting a photo every hour only serves to piss off your friends.  Take it from our perspective.  Here are the reactions I’ve gone through during such a scenario (Names have been changed of course):

Reaction to post number 1:  “Oh how nice that Mary got to go to Italy!  I hear it’s beautiful there.”
Reaction to post number 2:  “Lucky, Mary’s getting to drink wine in Italy.”
Reaction to post number 3:  “I wish I could go to Italy…”
Reaction to post number 4:  “Geez Mary!  Why don’t you actually take some time to, I dunno…ENJOY your vacation instead of telling me about it.”
Reaction to post number 5:  “Mary is a bitch.  She needs to stop rubbing it in our faces that she’s in Italy and we’re not.”
Reaction to post number 6:  “Where the hell is that hide posts from this person option…”

See?  We could have just stopped at post number 2, and Mary could have created a nice little album instead of covering my ENTIRE NEWS FEED with freakin Italy.

Also, to point out another important issue regarding vacations.  It’s not a great idea to tell the Facebook world that you’re not going to be in your house for the next several days.  Just sayin.  It’s like you’re asking to be robbed.

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6.  You post so much about your child that it’s like we live with you.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m ALL about posting photos of the little ones.  I don’t have any kids yet but I get it.  If I made a life, I would be like “OMG!  I made this!  Look how adorable it is!”  For real.  I totally understand proud parents showing the Facebook world their offspring.  For some people it’s the only way grandparents or other relatives get to see the kiddos.  I UNDERSTAND THIS.  Please don’t shoot me lots of angry emails, defensive mother friends of mine.

That’s not what I’m talking about.

You need a Facebook intervention if you’re posting multiple photos of your child, several times a week, making various, only slightly different faces.  I have literally come home to just endless photos of the same baby all down my news feed, and no matter how long I scroll, it won’t go away…  Sometimes there are so many of the same kid that it’s like watching a stop motion video.  It’s like I’m THERE!

Again with the albums.  Much easier to take lots of photos, pick the ones you want, upload them to an album, and then post the album.  That way, the people who actually want to see your baby photos have the opportunity to view them.  Otherwise it’s like you’re literally shoving your baby’s face into all of our faces.

So I’m all for your pumpkin patch photo!  I want to see those Christmas and Easter dresses!  You’re kid did something adorable?  Show me!  Bring it on!  No, I don’t want to see 10 consecutive pictures of your baby with spit up on his chin.  Sorry…

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7.   You gym braggers.  I get it.  You work hard for your body and you’re pretty proud of it.  Just like mommies are proud of their babies!  I get this.  But at some point, sharing your Fitbit info for the 50th day in a row, or how many minutes you tracked on the treadmill every single day gets old.  It’s not that we don’t care.  Okay fine.  We don’t actually care.  That’s something that your calorie tracker and fitnesspal cares about.  If you need to tell an actual person, tell your gym instructor!  Or your personal trainer.  Tell a friend that you work out with.  When you track your health it’s call SELF awareness.  Not “all of Facebook awareness”.

Clarification.  If you post occasionally to show some progress, no problem.  Some people are on a weight loss journey, and I’m here to root you on!  But some of you were born hot, with the metabolism of a cheetah and just work out to be hotter.  I don’t wanna see your washboard abs every single week.  At that point, you’re just boasting to boast.  You’re not encouraging other girls to get skinny.  If they’re anything like me, you’re making them go hunt down their secret “period-stash” of chocolate.

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8.  You like to post attention seeking status’.  The kind where you don’t actually say what’s going on, but imply that there’s obviously something going on.  The kind where you’re just ASKING people to comment wanting to know an answer.  Examples:

“FML”
“Worst.  Day.  Ever.”
“I just got great news!”
“So excited!”
“So pissed.”
“Just pray for me.”
“Some people are assholes.”

Listen, if you’re having a bad day and you want to talk about it, just SAY what happened!  If it’s something you can’t say out loud, then DON’T say anything at all.

When you post something like that, you OBVIOUSLY want someone to ask “What’s wrong?”  “What happened?”  “What’s the news?”  “Are you okay?”   Stop acting like you don’t want attention.  You’re not fooling anybody.

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9.  You political opinion shouters.  It’s bad enough that I have to suffer through heated debates all over my news feed during election year, but when you bring it on for the rest of the year every year until the next election is gets really old.  There are some of you who freak the f*ck out!

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You want gun control?  Fine!  Wanna hoard guns in your house?  I don’t care!  Want the government out of your life?  Cool.  Want more regulations?  Whatevs!

Know what I want?  I just want to scroll some Facebook and stalk my friends in peace.   😉

Yes, we have free speech and you are so free to say whatever you want because…well…MURICA.  But that doesn’t mean any of us want to hear about it for the millionth time.

If you really feel strongly about these issues, find a group that supports you and join it.  There are plenty on Facebook.  Go discuss your worries or ideals with like-minded people.   Stop covering my news feed with fear and anger.  Let’s chill out people.  Screaming out your rage in all caps isn’t going to change anything.  That’s what petitions and protests are for.

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10.  And lastly, you people who post while at work, post about your work, or post inappropriate things on your wall.  Don’t be an idiot!  You do realize that most jobs can see your Facebook too right?

If you get sick, don’t post all over Facebook, liking people’s statuses or playing Facebook games.  They have time stamps on them.  It’s a great way to get fired.  At least wait until the end of the day.

Same goes for posting about how much you hate your job.  Don’t talk crap about your boss, or brag how you’re not working either.

And getting seriously smashed and drunk Facebooking isn’t a great idea either.  When your next potential employer goes online to check you out, I’m pretty sure you’re not going to want them to see that photo where you took your top off because those fifteen shots of Yeager made you barf all over yourself.

Be smart people.  With the way technology is today, it’s more in your favor to take the “less is better” approach.

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If you see any of these signs and think it might be directed at you.  It probably is.  There are an awful lot of you.  I’d say I’m sorry if any of this offends you, but I’m not.

If you know you’re an offender, I’m not saying to stop Facebooking altogether.  I’m telling you to be more conscious about how often and what you post.  It’s like trying to filter your speech.  Think before you say anything.  Same deal.  Thinking before you type.  And if you thought about it, maybe read the text before you press the post button.  Try to be mindful and ask yourself the following questions:

“How many times have I posted today?”
“Am I at work?”
“Is this offensive?”
“Is this going to cause drama?”

Lastly, I will provide my intervention note to those of you who know this applies to you.

Dear Facebook Friend,

I remember when we were all just normal friends.  Everything was so simple.  You were so cool that I wanted us to become Facebook friends.

Now, I see your status updates and I don’t recognize you anymore.  I’m here today to tell you that I love you, but you have a problem.  Please get help.  I hope you will accept the help that is being offered today.  You can get treatment.  Just turn off your phone, walk away from your computer for a while and go outside!  Read a book or watch a movie.  Detox from Facebook, and things will get better.  I’ll be here for you, but if you can’t change your ways, then I can’t stay in this friendship.  I don’t want to, but I might just have to unfriend you.  I hope you get help.

Love,

Your Facebook Friend

 

 

 

Why I Don’t WebMD

The vast majority of people with an internet connection are familiar with WebMD.com; a health website that covers a variety of health related issues. It also has a nifty “Symptom Checker” that you can use to self diagnose yourself with all kinds of fun diseases.

I used to be obsessed with this website. At times when I’ve done “research” on health related topics, I’m often brought back to this website. When I find articles on WebMD, my first thought is,

“Oh! It’s on WebMD! It must be legitimate.”

Not always the case. Plenty of studies that I’ve found on WebMD are just one time studies done without any other kind of follow up study to prove the results.

Here’s why I don’t WebMD for my health anymore.

 

It makes me crazy.

 

End of story. It literally turns me into a hypochondriac lunatic who apparently has cancer no matter what is going on with me.

This brings me to the subject of a new illness that I call “Information Induced Hypochondria”. Lots of people suffer from this problem, and I guess it’s not technically anyone’s fault.

We have this ability to Google to our hearts content about literally everything. Want to know how far it is to the moon?   How many weeks in a trimester? Why my poop is green? Is there really such a thing as German Dungeon Porn? (Cards Against Humanity certainly thinks so.)

We have flown headlong into an illness that most don’t even realize we’ve developed with our ability to instantly self gratify at the click of a button.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to the internet with my medical troubles. All varying reasons. Potential pregnancy symptoms, medication combinations and whether they were safe, side effects of medications, etc…

And don’t get me started on WebMD. One time I had terrible gas for days. I mean like…rank. Frequent. Clear the room bad. (Everybody farts.  Everybody also poops if you’re in denial ladies.) But needless to say I was just a wee bit concerned that I had some terrible parasite or intestinal bug thing. So I went to WebMD. It didn’t ask me things like “What have you eaten lately?” Or “When was the last time you pooped?” Or “How much fiber have you been consuming?”

No it went straight to CANCER. I had colon cancer. Somehow at the ripe old age of 26 I’d developed a serious case of colon cancer, and I knew then that I was going to die of an ass related disease. (Not making light of colon cancer) but I most certainly did not have it.

Several people I know have used the symptom checker to try and self diagnose a problem, only to find out that they too have cancer.

Have hot flashes? Ovarian cancer. Diarrhea? Colon Cancer. Joint pain? Bone cancer. Persistent cough? Lung cancer. Just to name a few.

And sometimes it mixes it up. The symptom checker will give you a variety of things that could possibly be wrong with you, varying from normal issues to serious ones that frighten the crap out of you. Here, let’s test it.

I’ve been trying to go up 22 floors of stairs (technically 44 flights) a least twice a week starting last week for the first time. Also, my right ankle is still kind of sore from tearing a ligament in January so I’ve been putting some weight on my left foot without realizing it. This morning I woke up with a wicked cramp in my left foot, right in the arch. Hurts like hell!

Now, you know and I know that it’s from climbing stairs (and probably not wearing the correct shoes while doing so) but let’s just assume that I’m stupid and have no clue that I should make the connection. Instead of thinking back to what it could be related to, I’ll go ahead and see what the Symptom Checker on WebMD thinks it is.

 

Okay so I’ll start off with putting in my basic information. I censored it for you people at work. 😉 Scandalous!

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So now it’s going to take me to the next step where I’ll tell them what part exactly is bothering me. Easy enough. My foot!

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After that I’m going to tell them what is wrong with my foot. Pain obviously.

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Damn, this must be super legit! They’re getting really detailed about this foot pain I’m having.

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And the verdict? What do I have Dr. Internet?

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What?! What the hell is Sciatica? Peripheral Neuropathy? I’m not even diabetic! How did this happen? My foot might be broken?! I had no idea that I could have broken my foot and not known it! Metatarsablahblah-wha?! WHAT? Holy crap, I’m dying of FOOT. Why did no one tell me I could have such terrible things happen to my feet for not reason at all? What is this world coming to?!!!  Even Multiple Sclerosis is on this list!

Well, maybe it’s not that bad. Let’s see what some of those things are.

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Okay, not too bad. Except that it now thinks that I have some other spine related problem if I have this…

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Nerve problems because of the wrong shoes? That could be it. You know, my husband tells me all the time that my pinky toe looks a little weird because my shoes are pretty tight. That’s probably what it is.  Wait.  Surgery? I might need surgery?

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WHAAAAAAT?! I’ve developed MS?! I’ve watched House, and it never ends well when it’s MS.  Holy crap, this awful disease is going to start in my foot, but eventually I’m going to be all kinds of messed up? I won’t be able to balance or talk right?

I’m doomed. I’m literally doomed.

I might as well not even go see a doctor because, well…I’m doomed.

🙂  We all know I don’t have any of those problems.  The truth is, I have a cramp in my foot.  Just a cramp.  It will be gone in a few days, and maybe even less if I get the hubby to rub my feet.  But if I didn’t know any better?  I might just be freaking the hell out.  And with freaking out comes more Googling to try and self medicate without the aid of a physician.  Just as dangerous.

SERIOUSLY FOLKS. Stop using internet self diagnosing tools. Moral of the story. If you’re not feeling well, and it’s persistent, go to the freaking doctor!

Stop Googling, hoping that someone on Yahoo Answers will tell you what’s wrong with you, or that WebMD will know. The internet is NO substitution for a doctor. And if you don’t have insurance? Walgreens Take Care Clinics are $75 with no insurance. And I’m sure there are other clinics that are free. What are they called?   Oh yeah, Free Clinics.

The body is a mystery. Which is why thousands of medical professionals study the body in order to tell you how it works. They are called physicians.

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I will quote my Gynecologist who called me out on it long ago when I Googled an Endometriosis related issue instead of just asking her.

“Go ahead and confess Katie. You’ll feel better. You weren’t “researching”, you were Googling. Tell me, what medical school did Google go to?”

I know, I know. It’s really hard when you’re feeling like crap and you have to wait until the appointment to find out what the hell is wrong with you.  It’s even worse if you have to wait on test results, but Googling, or self diagnosing via the internet will not make that problem go away any faster. 9 times out of 10 you’re going to need some kind of a prescription anyway that you can’t get from the internet. (Well you could, but probably not legally)

If you think you’re pregnant, you’re not going to be any more or less pregnant if you have to wait a few days to pee in a cup at the doctor’s office. (Or on a stick at home) If you think you broke your foot? You should probably already be IN the doctor’s office getting an x-ray instead of icing your foot at your home computer.

Have I made my point? I think I’ll be staying off of medical websites from now on, or any other self diagnosing websites.

Feel free to continue “researching” via the internet if you want. But I’m probably going to assume that you’re a hypochondriac when you choose a website over a physician.  Or I’ll give you my sympathies on your diagnosis of internet cancer.

 

End rant.  😉

Tough Decisions

I recently posted about my struggle with infertility and bringing some awareness into infertility as a whole.  I wasn’t going to do a follow up post, but I saw something on Facebook that kind of boiled my blood.

Let’s back up.  On my last post I discussed that I was seeing a fertility doctor and that we would soon learn the results of my blood work.  Well we did.  I still have Endometriosis of course, and I also have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)  Not one, but two fertility disorders.

I was a little crushed.  Actually, I was sobbing in the car because the only way forward is to receive treatments which are about $1,200.  I don’t even have that saved up in my bank account!  I’m still paying off medical bills from my Endometriosis surgery in July, and other medical bills.   It seemed like a slap in the face.  A cruel joke from God or something.

I called my older sister who told me to stop looking at things like this as brick walls, and see them more as speed bumps.  It was hard, but I did.

Originally we were trying to figure out how to afford the treatments.  We thought we’d pay off our credit cards and then use those.  We started selling our books to Half Price Books, and were considering what valuable things we own that we could pawn.  Anything to put some cash into our savings account to be able to maybe afford one or two treatments.

But I’ve been feeling differently since my grandfather -in law died.  Shortly after that, his wife was whisked away to Florida where her daughter lives, and it looks like she will be living there permanently.  Our huge rush reason is gone.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I still want a baby so bad that it hurts.  But after my husband’s grandmother left, I felt this big weight lift off my shoulders.  I no longer have this feeling like I’m racing the clock against her disease.  The chances of her meeting our children have decreased so significantly because of the move.  While I still want her to meet our children, it really doesn’t look like a possibility at this point.

I’m also part of a Facebook group of women who are trying to conceive but are having trouble.  There were some posts about the treatment I was about to undergo that made me a little nervous.  Posts about feeling sick from the medications, and that treatments don’t always work.  I was told that this treatment will put me on roughly the same level playing field as someone without fertility issues.  Want to know what that percentage is?  15-20% per cycle.  And with my Endometriosis he says that I’d really only be at 8-12% without doing an IUI (insemination which is an extra $800)

I’m not in such a big rush to pump my body full of synthetic hormones just yet.  Especially not for that low of a percentage.  My body has never liked synthetic hormones, and they aren’t guaranteed to work.

Here is our big decision.  Wait a year while trying naturally.  I’ve read some books about homeopathic treatments for PCOS and discovered Cinnamon.  Sounds crazy right?  Check this out:

WebMD Article on Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a homeopathic treatment for Diabetes.  PCOS is often treated with Metformin ( a diabetes medication).  PCOS is an insulin insensitivity disorder.  Take cinnamon supplements, and regulate your insulin.  In turn the regulation of insulin will help the body produce the RIGHT hormones to trigger ovulation.  Makes sense to me!

I’m on a slew of vitamins and supplements now (prenatal multi vitamin, biotin, cinnamon, green tea extract, folic acid prescription, fish oil), we’ve started exercising, and we’re both eating healthy now.  I’m going to try this for a least 6 months before I complain about not seeing any results.

In the meantime, I will be saving my money like crazy in the event that this year doesn’t pan out with a positive pregnancy test.  If it does, then I’ll have some cash saved up for the down payment on a house one day to put that baby in!

On to the issue that irritated the crap out of me.  It happened on a Facebook  group I joined called Beg, Barter & Sell.  There are a ton of these, and they’re all region specific.

A woman with what looks like the same story posted a fundraiser there to help them raise money for the exact same treatments.  They aren’t cheap, and like I said, probably won’t always work the first time.  Her request was met with a lot of negativity.  That’s what pissed me off.   People were telling her that if she can’t afford this, she can’t afford kids period.  I’m sorry, but I don’t know what kid costs 1,200 up front all the time.  Yes kids are expensive, but you’re not constantly having to dole out that much to support them all up front.  These fertility treatments don’t operate on a payment plan or a bill.  You pay the whole amount at the time of treatment.

Then there were the people harassing this poor girl about why she wasn’t adopting, and that if she can’t have kids naturally, she should take it as a sign.  What the hell ever!

If God was trying to tell her that she can’t have kids, then he wouldn’t have made the doctors who created these treatments.   Just because you are having trouble conceiving on your own doesn’t mean you should totally give up on it.  While adopting a child is a noble thing, some of us want to have that experience of carrying our own child, and there is NOTHING wrong with that.  It does not make us selfish either.

I know with my own personal experience, that if I can’t get pregnant this year, I will try the treatments at least three times.  If it doesn’t work, then I will go the adoption route.  I will probably end up adopting a kid regardless.

I seriously considered doing one of these fundraiser to help me get the money to do the treatment right away.  But with the decision to wait a year, I changed my mind about it.

 

HOWEVER.  You can help someone else in the same situation.  Chloe Jones wants a baby just as bad as I do, and she doesn’t want to have to wait.  I don’t know her, but I can sympathize with her cause.  If you’ve never wanted a baby, you can’t understand what it feels like.  It’s an ache.  A painful ache that doesn’t go away.  It’s a pain that gets worse every time you see a friend with a child, a commercial depicting happy families, or when you pass by the baby aisle in the store.

Here is her fundraiser, if you want to donate.  I know I will.

Chloe Jones Fertility Treatment Fundraiser

First Book Signing

So yesterday was my first book signing, and it was a real hit!

I was at Once Read Twice Sold Books from 10:00 am to about 2:30 pm.  I stayed about half an hour later than I originally planned because I had a feeling.  Sure enough, a woman from the Sports Clips next door came in while I was packing up looking for “the author!”  🙂  She said her son wanted to buy a copy of my book.  The best part was listening to her read the blurb of my book over the phone to her son and then saying “He’s going Yes!  Yes mom get it!”  I think I took a cloud home.

I felt beyond blessed and loved the entire time.  I sold a resounding 21 copies of my book (far more than I had thought I would).  At the beginning of the day, I’d told myself that if I managed to sell my book to just one stranger, I’d be happy.  I ended up selling my book to many strangers!

Not only that, but several people I hadn’t seen since around 2005 came walking in the door, and put my jaw on the floor.  It was awesome.  I was so happy to see that my constant Facebook advertising of the event had worked, and that people actually wanted to come out!  The best part for me was to see them with their families.  The last time we’d seen one another in person would have probably been at Senior Prom.  They arrived with their spouses and babies, and it was so surreal.  Several of my close friends and family came out too which made me feel even more spectacular.

Needless to say the event went superb, and I’m planning on launching the second book at their store.  I’d also like to find more bookstores so that I can do this again!  If you missed it, there are a few copies still available at:

Once Read Twice Sold Books
250 Cypresswood Dr.
Spring, TX 77388

You can also order a signed copy online right here.

And here are some photos from the event!  Enjoy.

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At my table!

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Signing a book for someone.

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Here’s the photo I put up on instagram to announce that the event had started.

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Custom bookmarks that I made for each book with my website on the back.

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One of my loving editors/bestie, Catie Tuley.  She rocks!

Thanks to all of you who made this event very special for me.

Subscribe to my newsletter!  It’s new!

 

David Edward Clounts Sr.

David Clounts Sr. was my husband’s grandfather.  He took my husband into his home when his mother abandoned him at a young age.  He helped raise my husband.  He contributed in making my husband the soft spoken, kind, and patient man that he is.

David was diagnosed with cancer last week, and was told he had five months to live.  We had planned to visit him next Tuesday after my fertility appointment.  I was going to make him pineapple upside down cake when he got home from the hospital.  If you have cancer, you get to eat whatever you want with zero consequences.  I had planned to spoil the crap out of him.  We thought we had more time.  Maybe even time to get pregnant, and bring a little good news to him during a devastating part of his life.

This Monday we got a call that his kidneys were failing and we needed to leave right away if we wanted to say goodbye.  I had a meltdown at work and left right away while my husband packed.  We made the five hour trip to Dallas in three and a half.

I won’t go into the details of how he looked, but he was in so much pain.  We watched him at some point take off his oxygen mask, shakily pull in his wife, and kiss her.  It broke my heart.

I don’t want to go into the details of how he died.  I want to talk about how he lived.

I knew David Clounts Sr. for eight years of my life.  He accepted me into his family from day one as if I had been there the whole time.  He was funny.  A real jokester.

He loved his iPad.  On it he would challenge us to beat his high scores on various puzzle games.  The man could do a Sudoku game in no time flat.  He admitted to Facebook stalking my bearded dragon, Lizby, thinking she was such a neat pet.  He loved videos about animals.

David was extremely frugal, but also generous.  I personally watched him spend twenty minutes deciding which brand of boxed mashed potatoes were the best deal.  But when I was in college, he was ready to buy us a house without thinking twice.  He helped everyone he came in contact with.  Whether it was explaining how to fix something, helping his family both personally or financially, or adopting various stray animals that had been abandoned on the road near his house.

With animals he was so funny.  A random stray dog would show up down the road, and end up on his stretch of land.  If I went to pet it, he would holler at me from across the yard.

“No!  Don’t pet it, we don’t want to keep it!” but five minutes later he would be petting the animal himself.  When the dog stayed for good he’d say,

“It’s because you petted it.  Now we have to keep it.” but he didn’t seem too upset by it.

There were always cats around outside that he fed.  Now there are only two left, but I remember so many animals around his house.

Current residents:
Max is a black mastiff.  Tex is a mutt, but he’s black and tan.  Molly belongs to Diana, the aid that takes care of his grandmother.  She’s a Britney spaniel.  Very cute.  Puff is a grey and white cat that will try his hardest to climb up your leg to get patted.  Jewel is a solid grey cat that continuously cries at you no matter what you do.  If you touch her, if you look at her, or pick her up, it will evoke a long drawn out meow from her.  Reno is a dog that lives with my husband’s father David Jr. who lives across the way, but Reno comes over to play.  Cricket is a rather mean cat that keeps to herself and lives indoors.  Don’t cross her path.  There is also a bird that loves being talked to.

In the past I remember Animal (Annie), a sweet, light colored, tortoiseshell cat.  A fat, shy striped cat named Stripes.  Tom, an orange tom cat.  Beebee, who looked just like Tex, but was so shy and loving.  Honey, a creme colored dog with curly furred ears, and Ace, Tex’s long haired brother.  No animal was turned away, and if he couldn’t feed them all he had friends who would take them in or re-home them.

I’m really going to miss calling him on my way home from work to hear him pick up the phone with a,

“Hellooooooo?” as he always did.

I’m going to miss coming down from upstairs in his house after spending the night to find him on the couch playing on his iPad.  He’d ask if we slept well, told us there was coffee, and he’d scoot over so I could sit beside him and lean on him sleepily.  I’m going to miss hearing him say he loved us whenever we’d end a call.  I’m going to miss hugging his neck before and after each visit.

I’m going to miss setting the table at this house before sitting down to a meal that my husband’s grandmother had cooked.  He had a specific fork that he wanted to use, and he loved sweet tea.  At the table we always set out butter, bread, and sweet pickles no matter what had been cooked.  He loved cookies.  He loved pecan wood, and pecans in general.  We’d find him picking up stray pecans around our old apartment any time he came to visit.  He was a man who worked with his hands.  He had a million projects, and saved EVERYTHING.

I didn’t have grandparents growing up.  They died before my teenage years, and I don’t remember them very well.  When I started dating my husband, I inherited the both of his and I’ve felt so much love these past eight years.

We loved him so much.  He was always kind to me.  He visited me when I was in the hospital, came to my very first surgery ever, buried my cat for me, changed the oil on my car, taught me how to do my taxes, taught me how to play Sudoku, spoiled me every Christmas and birthday, and helped pay for my wedding.  There are so many other things that this man did for me without ever asking for anything in return.  And that was just me.  I’m sure every family member has a lot to say, and a lot more memories.

He never asked for anything from anyone.  I can remember times where we’d ask if he needed us to help him chop wood, and we’d find him finishing chopping wood an hour before we arrived.  He hated it when we bought him gifts, but always acted like we’d gotten him the coolest thing ever.

I’m even going to miss his obnoxious sneeze.  It was so loud that you could hear it all over the house.  Almost like a bark and a sneeze put together.   🙂  Scared the crap out of me every time.

I’m going to miss his holey t-shirts that his wife begged him to let her turn into rags.  (holes bigger than my hand)  I’m going to miss his many baseball caps, and his cigars.  The smell of tobacco smoke reminds me of him.

He loved making “trash”, which is a chex mix/nut combination that you stir with butter and Worcestershire sauce.  You then cook it for a few hours, turning it every half hour.  We made it during the holidays.  He also loved making home made pizza that my husband says he’d trade with other kids at school.  It was a famous pizza made with cinnamon bun dough, and we’d cover it with toppings together.  (Mostly he’d eat the toppings and dictate where the rest should be set)

I felt like I was a part of something seriously special when I was around my husband’s grandparents.  While I know that his grandmother still loves me and will hopefully be around for many more years to come, a big part of the magic feels like it’s fizzled out.  A light has been shut off, and now we’re in a dark place, feeling empty.

I held his hand the last time I saw him and promised to take care of his grandson.  I told him I was so sorry that he was having to go through this pain, and that I hoped he felt better soon.  I told him I loved him, and that we’d do our best to help make sure his wife was taken care of.  I told him it was going to be alright.  As far gone as he was at that time, he looked at me and squeeze my hand so hard.  I will never forget.

The next day after we got the news that he’d passed away, we went to the hospital to collect his belongings.  I held his glasses and watch in my hands and felt like a part of him was still there with us.

That night, my husband and I both mentioned the next morning that each of us had felt his presence in our hotel room.  I know he was checking in on us to make sure we were okay.

We loved him so much.  I already miss him.

I know I’m not the only one.

We grieve that he will not be there when we have our own children.  We wanted so badly to see that happen.  We hope that he will get to meet them before we do in heaven.

David, you were the rock of this family.  The glue.  You were a warm, soft, glowing light filled with love and generosity.  Yet you were a tough, hardened worker with rough hands and a feisty personality.  The likes of you will not be seen again.

I love you.  We love you.  We miss you so much.  Rest in peace Papa.

 

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Obituary can be read here.

Infertility Awareness

Infertility does not make me a failure.  This is a mantra I’m having to repeat a lot lately.  It’s been a rough week.  A full on struggle.   However, a new week is beginning, and perhaps with that will come a clean slate.

We’ll start off with some soul searching.

I learned that this last week was Infertility Awareness Week.  If anything, I am going to try and help bring awareness to you with some honesty and openness.

infertility_awareness_week

 

This awareness week surprised me, because as someone who is currently struggling with infertility, I had no clue there even was an infertility awareness week.  This made me wonder who else knew about it.  Not just the week of awareness, but about infertility in general.

It’s a sensitive topic for most.  A “hush hush” thing that we don’t talk about.  Something most feel embarrassed about.

I’ve been posting about my Endometriosis for a while now with my “Endometriosis Diaries” series, and after my surgery in July I expected to get pregnant right away.  We’ve done temperature charts, tracking my periods, eating healthy, and we’ve tried the “forget about it” method.  That’s the method that everyone else tells you to do, as if your body will get its crap together if you’ll just simply forget that you’ve been wanting to be a parent for years.  No dice people.  You can’t just forget.

People tell you out of kindness to just “let it happen”, to “relax”, to just “enjoy your time together”, or to “just be married for a while first”.  I know they mean well, but those phrases are so irritating.   We were engaged for three years and have been married for almost four.  I don’t want to have “more married time” with my husband.  We’ve had plenty of time together.  I don’t want to travel.  I don’t want to party.  I don’t want to live it up or experience more life.  I want to be a mother.  My husband wants to be a father.

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And if one more person points out to me how sick I’ll be when I’m pregnant, or how much sleep I’m not going to get as if I didn’t know this already, (or as if this is going to be the life altering sentence that decides me against being a mother), I might just hit someone.

Every negative pregnancy test has felt like a failure.  Every period has been slapping me in the face with a big fat NO.

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My periods have been ridiculously irregular.  I ended up going to see my OBGYN about it who prescribed Clomid.  I thought for sure it had worked, but when I got my period two hours before the follow up appointment, I wanted to scream.  Not a single one of my ovulation tests had confirmed a yes.  Due to the time constraints my Endometriosis has put on me, she sent me off to see a fertility specialist who believes I have Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome on top of my Endometriosis.  No exactly fair.  He thinks I’m not ovulating at all.  To cover our basis, he ordered a LOT of blood tests run.  Test results will come back on 5/6 to either confirm PCOS, or tell me what is causing the problem.  Check out the damage.  I’ve never had that much blood drawn before.

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My husband had a semen analysis run, and he got a great report back.  So that just leaves me.

Infertility can affect your life in so many different aspects.  Most that you don’t even realize.  It isn’t just a want and desire.

My husband was raised by his grandparents.  His grandmother has had dementia for about four years now, and we’ve felt like we’ve been racing against the clock with her illness so that she could meet our first child.  On Easter we were informed that his grandfather has cancer, and we later learned this week that he only has five months to live.

Crushed can’t even begin to describe how we’re feeling right now.  Personally, I’m not allowing myself to feel anything about it.  When I start to even let my thoughts wander to the subject, or how I feel on it, I start suffocating with grief.  I think of all the things we’ll never do with him again, the regret I feel for moving away my husband from his grandparents, that his grandfather is very unlikely to ever meet our children, and how much I love this man who has been my grandfather for the past eight years.

If I feel this way, how is my husband feeling?  I can’t even fathom that level of sadness.  There’s also turmoil amongst the other family members which is adding to the stress this news is causing.  This is a very hard time.

I’ve had several days this week where I’ve seriously hated myself.  Why couldn’t it just work?  I’d be several months along if it would have just worked.  I have a grudge against my body, and I don’t want to forgive it.  A friend pointed out that forgiveness is what my body needs to move forward.

He’s right.

I need to forgive my body for not being pregnant yet.  I need to forgive it for the pain it’s been causing me both physically and mentally.  I need to forgive it for not looking the way I want it to.  None of this is my fault.  I was made this way through God’s plan, and who am I to question it?  Infertility does not equal failure.  I am not a failure.

This isn’t a matter of IF.  It is a matter of WHEN.

I WILL get pregnant, and I will be a mother one day.  I have to trust in God, I have to trust in my doctor, and now I need to trust in myself.

forgive-yourself

If you’re struggling with infertility like I am.  Forgive yourself.  It’s not your fault.  It’s no one’s fault.

Here’s where the awareness comes in for the rest of you.

If you know someone who is struggling with infertility, the best thing you can do for them is be there, be a shoulder to cry on, and don’t try to talk about it unless they initiate.  Don’t ask them when they’re going to have children.  Don’t suggest In Vitro, or adoption.  It won’t make them feel any better.

In Vitro Fertilization can cost anywhere from 8k – 15k a pop, and it doesn’t always work.

Adoption can cost anywhere from 30k – 45k.

Unless you want to shell out the cash to help them pay for these options, don’t even bring it up.  It doesn’t even feel like an option.

And if you’re like me, having someone suggest that you could just “always adopt” makes me feel like crap.  I want my husband’s child.  I want a child that comes from my DNA.  I want to carry it, and give birth to it myself.

Facebook Mom’s, a request if you please.  You may not realize it, but some of your posts are really frustrating.  If you’re pregnant, don’t complain about your morning sickness over and over.  Keep in mind that those struggling with infertility would give anything to be throwing up for that reason.  Moms with kids, stop complaining about your messy house, or how tired your kids are making you.  I know my husband wishes that our house was covered in children’s toys, and I’d give anything to be exhausted with a hyper kid.

Yes, I know there are tons of moms out there who have been trying much longer than me.  I know there are moms who have given up.  There are moms who have carried their babies for only a short while before miscarrying.

Having the desire to be a parent and being denied that for whatever reason hurts like hell.  We’re getting closer and closer each long month to a year of negative tests.  Each month that passes stifles my chances a little more as the Endometriosis grows back.  It’s getting closer to a year of stressing out, getting excited, and falling on our faces again with defeat as that test reads the negative line.  It feels like forever.

I don’t want any pity, or sympathy, or anything like that.  Just be aware of yourself, and that there may be many more friends than you realize around you that are having the same issue that my husband and I are.

One day I will get that wonderful gift.  Hopefully soon.  But for now, I need to remind myself as do the rest of you struggling with infertility.

You are not a failure.  Your day will come.  Forgive your body, and forgive yourself because you’ve done nothing wrong.

Baby-Dust

 

 

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