Saturday, August 03, 2013
Sometimes it wells up inside and you just have to get angry...determined, fed-up, done, ready. I cannot take it anymore - the looking at myself in the mirror and not seeing the person I know is hiding inside me. I met her again today - that woman inside me. I saw her in a 17 year old boy scout. You see, I am an Assistant Scoutmaster and we had an overnight leadership retreat last night. It's a time when all the boys get together and determine their direction, set their goals accordingly, and map out a plan. In the midst of all that, he stood and excused himself. With PT gear on and a smile on his face, he started toward the door. He didn't try to draw attention to himself, just a quick exchange with the Scoutmaster to say he would be back, and off he went. "I'll be back in about an hour-and-a-half," he said. We went on about our business.
A short time later he breezed in, ready to get back on task. We asked him how practice went and again with a smile on his face, he told us he'd run 7 miles. I stared at this young man with awe and in truth a sense of envy. He was dedicated, to his boy scout troop, his cross-country team, and his own goals. He was cheerful, yet quietly determined. He was the me I see on the inside - the me when I would bound out of my house at midnight and head to the gym; me when I had an enthusiastic fire pushing me to do one more front kick; me when I climbed myself out of what felt like a bottomless pit of ill health and all the way to the top of Mt. Fuji. Where have I been, damn it?
I sat there today listening to these amazing young men forging their path together, forming individual goals that align with the larger picture of their group. I heard myself at one point say to a young man, ""As a leader, it's not okay to say, "Do as I say, not as I do."" What the... Did I really just hear myself say that? I don't know how many times I have heard myself say, "That which you think, you are." If I wake up, look in the mirror, and I'm obscured by my own shell, then there is a disconnect. Currently, I am not who I think I am.
This begs some questions...interestingly, some of the same ones I found myself asking the boys today, starting with, "Who are you?" It took them a moment to understand exactly what I meant. "I mean when you wake up in the morning and crawl out of bed, what is the first thing you think of? When my 4 year old daughter wakes up, though she's never taken a ballet class in her young life, she can think of nothing but putting on her ballet clothes and twirling in circles." It doesn't matter what she knows, as long as she knows in her heart that she's a ballet dancer!
So who AM I? A homeschool wife, mom, graduate student, Assistant Scoutmaster, non-profit director, singer, rower, archer, martial artist, marathoner, with a strong sense that's it's been too long since I climbed my last mountain!
You never know where you will find yourself...in a child, a stranger, a friend, the woman on the street, a story on tv, or even in the eyes and determination of a boy scout. I wasn't even searching and yet I found myself. I've been gone far too long.
Friday, September 07, 2012
In reflecting today about life struggles, it occurred to me how often we delude ourselves into thinking that things are not as they appear, even when they truly are. Often we mask our internal conflicts, keeping them hidden not only from others, but from ourselves as well. This defense mechanism can be beneficial at times, though over time it can also be quite destructive. This has been the case with my food addiction over the years. I dare say, millions of people around the world can relate to this exact situation - if they can open themselves up to the risk of being completely transparent, if not with others, at least with themselves for starters.
Earlier today I was contemplating the "mask" when chatting with my oldest son. I admitted to him how common occurrence it has been for me to stop at Krispy Kreme or Dunkin' Donuts when out by myself. My deception served multiple purposes:
1. I spent less money because I didn't have to buy for the whole family.
2. I didn't have to feel self-conscious about eating junk food in front of my husband and risk him thinking (though he would never say it) that I was sabotaging my weight.
3. I didn't have to feel guilty about setting a bad example for my family, enabling unhealthy eating habits.
4. I didn't have to deal with the conflict of giving to my family to make me feel better about eating it myself.
I told my son about my struggle and how often I've sneaked food when no one was looking. Then I asked him if he had ever done the same, to which he responded affirmatively. Of course, I knew the answer to that question. I've seen the candy wrappers in his desk drawer, among other places. Imagine my relief when he was honest with me. What should it indicate to me that I have deceived around food, and that my son has too? It is an indicator that neither of us has had a healthy relationship with food.
Going back to the mask. . . for me to call it like I see it, particularly in regards to self, I have to be honest about HOW I see myself. It not only breeds self-respect, but fosters respect from others. Once we unmask our deceptions, it breaks the strangle-hold that leading our double life with food holds over us.
From now on, whether it's embarrassing or difficult to admit, I will call it like I see it within myself. Perhaps I'll just think of it as the "Taming of the Beast".
Saturday, December 04, 2010
Today was the day my sister and brother-in-law have been waiting for a long time. As I laid in bed this morning I began to ponder what the appropriate outfit is to wear on the occasion of becoming a surrogate for your sister, using her eggs and her husband's sperm. It's not like I needed to don lingerie (though I didn't honestly think of that one until we were nearly to the clinic). I started to wear jeans and a long-sleeve t-shirt, then thought better of it. That would have been way too casual. I eventually opted for slimming black jeans and a pinkish cashmere sweater. Someday these things might matter. LOL
When I finished dressing myself, I reached for the card I'd bought Val. A week ago I'd visited Hallmark looking for the perfect card that says "I'm ready to loan you my body for nine months - and I'm actually happy about it." Not surprisingly, it doesn't appear there are cards that fit that category. Pouring through the store, I finally found the one. It was yellow with some black writing on the front that says, "NICE." The inside sports the words, "Way to go!" The whole thing is accompanied by the song Whomp!(There it is!) by a group named Tag Team. Something about it seemed right as I was busting a gut in the middle of the store. The only real problem was I couldn't decide whether to give the card to Val or to Aaron. Of course I knew I would have to come up with my own version of a Hallmark mushy card to say all the other heartfelt things I wanted to say. So I stood in my bathroom and wrote a letter to my little sister. I think I effectively conveyed how much I love her.
Looking in the mirror I realized that I needed to accessorize my sweater. I reached for a necklace that was given to me by a close friend as I left Japan. It's two silver circles resting on top of one another holding a single pearl in the lower curve. I stared at it thinking how much it looked like an egg in a womb. Perfect! My friend Tomoko would be so pleased to know I wore it today. I threw on my pearl earrings and the ensemble was complete. It's been a long time since I thought that hard about what to wear. I'm really not that into my clothes. My life is pretty simple and doesn't normally call for special wardrobe consideration. Today was just...well, different.
Val, Aaron, and I paused for a short time in the kitchen to take some photos before she and I headed out the door. We wanted to document the occasion. Whether we become pregnant or not, it was still a momentous day.
On our long drive we joked about it being a covert operation. I could imagine her talking into her wrist like the Secret Service saying, "The package is delivered." I told her I suddenly felt like I was in protective custody. In essence I guess that was true. Had we recorded the conversation, we would have a great addition to a baby book. I wish I could recall all the details. The most important part is that we spent nearly an hour laughing together and having a good time. There were times she was actually laughing and crying at the same time, but that was partly due to the pain she was in.
Unfortunately, Val was uncomfortable during the whole drive, just as she has been since Tuesday. The stimulation of her ovaries left her with Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. It is a painful condition that can be quite serious. In fact, an ultrasound today revealed that her ovaries are so large they are rubbing against each other. It's called "kissing ovaries". Hopefully her symptoms will subside within a week from now. For now she's not very mobile and is moving very slowly. She has a positive attitude though and has been an inspiration through the whole IVF process. No matter what she's encountered she has done so with grace.
When we arrived at the Jones Institute, we were placed in a pre-op area and changed into our designated OR garb. We cracked out our cameras and took tons of photos of each other and the staff. It was a fun time even while we waited. The laughter continued right up to the moment they rolled me back into the OR.
After the nurses situated me on the table, Dr. Sergio Oehninger (our doctor) and the embryologist doctor both came in. Within a few moments the embryologist walked out and flashed the eggs, as viewed through a microscope, up onto a large screen. We had less than a minute to admire them, during which Val took a nice photo.
The doctor walked back in shortly afterward and with movements as careful as if he were disarming a bomb, he handed the pipette to Dr. O. who then threaded the pipette through my cervix as we watched on the ultrasound screen. I could see the white line of the long tube moving up into my uterus. Suddenly there was a puff that shot out the end of the tube and Dr. O said something like, "There they go." The entire procedure lasted roughly two minutes or less.
Dr. O stepped out and came back in carrying a certificate for Valerie, as well as the petri dish that held the eggs. He gave it to her saying, "This is their first cradle." It was pretty neat and of course brought a smile to Val's face. Once I was transferred to another bed, they rolled me out. Valerie was walking behind me when a nurse named Donna said something to her that stopped me mentally in my tracks. She turned to look at Val and said, "Come on, Mom." I said, "Wow, Val. I think that's the first time you've ever been called Mom." We were both tickled. Suddenly I think she felt pregnant. I know I did a little. That was a memorable moment for her.
As usual, we were barely in the post-op area when my phone rang and it was Mom calling to see how things were going. Her timing is always spot on! She definitely has a sixth sense about her when it comes to her kids. We told her we were done and she shared a funny story. Apparently she had just spoken with an older lady and told her she was a grandmother again today. They lady asked the obvious next question, "Was it a boy or a girl?," to which Mom replied, "We don't know yet - they were just implanted." LOL Imagine the confusion on that woman's face. I'm sure Mom went on to explain.
I think our family became a little more like glue today. We spoke with Mom, Dad, and our brother Ross. They were all so excited. It's great to feel their hopeful anticipation. It's amazing to think that in 11 days we may have another family member or members on the way. We all can't wait!
Thursday, December 02, 2010
The reproductive clinic called today and said my progesterone levels are too low. Since I'm going in on Friday to implant the eggs, they need my levels to come up. They said I'll have to give myself shots of progesterone suspended in oil. I nearly went into an anxiety attack thinking about having to stick myself with more needles. I was on the phone crying with the nurse. I wound up having to drive an hour back to the clinic to pick up the medicine and syringes from the pharmacy at the adjacent hospital.
I stood at the pharmacist's window and stared at one of the syringes. I even turned around and showed it to the lady behind me and said, "Do you see this?" She said she's not sure if she could give herself that shot and she's a nurse! The needle was so big to my eyes! I began to feel faint just thinking about having to stab myself in the butt with it! Thankfully, my nurse offered to give me my first shot. I've done the shots in my stomach in preparation for the pregnancy, but those were butterfly needles and fairly easy to do. Seriously doubting my ability to shoot myself, I decided to head back to the clinic. When Beth, my nurse, came out to get to me she hugged me and said she was sorry. I felt comforted.
We stood in a patient room discussing how the medicine is suspended in sesame oil. I started to cry and over heat when she was talking with me about how to give myself the shot. I blurted out that we had to shut the door so I could pull off my clothes. As the door shut, I was already throwing off my baseball cap, exposing my seriously flat hair. Then I yanked off my shirt and was beginning to sweat. Turning around to the bed, I stepped between the stirrups that were protruding from the end. I pulled down the waist of my pants, grabbed the sides of the bed, and began to cry. I said, "Let's just get it over with." She hit my butt with the needle like a dart. It didn't hurt at all! I was obviously relieved and began to relax somewhat. Then something strange happened. Right after she stuck me, I found myself wondering if I would need to log the calories from the sesame oil and how I would do that. How many calories are in 1 cc of sesame oil anyway? I couldn't believe I was having that thought! Man, talk about dedicated to my nutrition! I mean who does that? LOL
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