My Blogaversary!

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. Also part of my first time Friday link-up with Being Fibro Mom!

1. Throwback Thursday: Choose a photo from a previous May and write a poem or a blog post.

On May 19, 2009 I wrote my very first blog post and seven years later I am still chugging along! I won’t say going strong because some of my illnesses have caused me to stop writing for a period and I’ve lost readership, but I am trying to come back!

A lot has happened in seven years, some obvious, some not so, some things I never thought would happen. Tyler is almost ten years old but will always be my little boy, although I am no longer rocking him to sleep!

Most of the things that I didn’t expect to happen were the bad things. In 2012, I attempted suicide and was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. I have been hospitalized a total of four times, twice for depression and twice for mania.

Also in 2012, with both of us collecting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), we moved to Ohio, where my husband grew up, because of the lower cost of living.

In December of that same year I left my husband of ten years. He also has bipolar disorder but his episodes at that time included anger and rage. I don’t judge women who stay with abusive husbands but the first time an incident happened I immediately began making plans to leave. I also didn’t want Tyler to grow up in an abusive household.

I never imagined I’d be living in Ohio, I really miss New Jersey, but I own a small home and Tyler is happy here. My ex-husband has come a long way, we both have, to the point where we are friends and we even took Tyler to Disney World together a couple of years ago.

I also am blessed to have a wonderful boyfriend whom I met the day I left Grant!

The mission of my blog has never changed: to write a blog geared towards parents with disabilities and chronic illnesses and to write about the challenges we face raising our children. I hoped I’d be able to break down the prejudices towards disabled and chronically ill people who do not appear to look sick. And I also hoped to show people through my life how to be a better advocate for you and your family’s health, whether you are ill at present or what you need to know should something like this happen to you.

As I said, I don’t have as many readers as I used to but when I get a comment from someone telling me they are going through the same thing, or that I have given someone hope, or even when they give ME advice, it makes it all worthwhile!

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Book Reviews!

This post is inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Prompt 4. Book reviews!

These reviews are taken from my goodreads profile. I hope you will follow me on there!

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No spoiler here, this book starts out with 11 year old Kammie Summers stuck in a well. The rest of the book is taken up with how she got there and explores issues such as peer pressure, the awful reason she moved to Nowheresville, Texas, and adults who don’t always tell you the truth. The book made me feel scared for her and I read it quickly. This book would be classified in the Young Adult genre but don’t let that stop you!

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With a young artist killed on her family’s ranch and one of her relatives suspected, cow-girl and museum curator Benni Harper sets out to find out who the person was that cut down the life of the rising artist. I really enjoy the Benni Harper mystery series. Benni is interesting and likable and so are the storylines and characters, plus it is interesting to see what life is like on a Western California ranch, and there’s even a bit of romance thrown in. I’m looking forward to the next book. I would recommend starting with the beginning of the series, Fool’s Puzzle.

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“I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a dumpster.”

That’s how “The Glass Castle”, a memoir by Jeannette Walls starts off and I was immediately hooked. The story goes back to her childhood where her first memory is being three years old cooking hot dogs on the stove and catching on fire. Her parents always believed in children being self-sufficient and when they ran out of rent money or broke a law they would pull up steaks and move to another town. I haven’t finished this book yet but I think I will knock it off in two days, in one night if I didn’t get so sleepy! In my opinion this memoir is not to be missed!

I hope you enjoyed my reviews. Once again feel free to follow me on goodreads so we can share recommendations!

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One of a Chronically Ill Parent’s Worst Fears

I had a pretty good Mother’s Day. Jacques made chocolate chip pancakes and other goodies and Grant came over and of course there was Tyler with his precious Mother’s Day gifts! I had hoped to be able to go for a walk after brunch but I was too nauseous.

With me being nauseous since September, Tyler has had to put up with a lot. I’m in bed a good deal of the time and I usually nap for awhile to sleep through my upset stomach. Sometimes I can’t take him to Tae Kwon Do so Jacques takes him and sometimes I can’t bring him to school. It’s been a long time since I haven’t been queasy and able to do something with him, since February in fact. Sometimes he lies in my bed with me, just to be close to me, even if I am sleeping.

Yesterday Tyler had his last night of religion classes. There was to be a mass and then refreshments to mark the end of the year. Even though I was in bed when Tyler came home from school I guess he thought I was coming. Close to the time when it was time to leave he told me to get out of bed and get ready but I told him I was too sick to go.

It was the first time Tyler ever went hysterical over me not being able to share something with him. “You’re always sick!”, he said. “You’re never able to do anything with me!”

Tyler was so upset, I promised him I would try harder, that we had the summer coming up soon and we would have fun at the pool and doing other stuff. That seemed to make Tyler feel better.

But to be honest, I don’t know if I will be able to keep those promises. It’s easy for someone to tell me to suck it up and get over it, but they are not living in my body.

I’m scared to death that I will disappoint Tyler. Sometimes just standing up is out of the question. What will I do?

Tyler came home early from religion class because he told the teacher his mom was sick and he wanted to be with me. He apologized profusely for crying and yelling but really, why should he apologize? “I know you didn’t ask to be sick”, he said.

I’m worried that I am scaring Tyler for life. That these will be the only memories he has when he looks back on his relationship with me.

Tonight I am determined to take him to his Tae Kwon Do class. This means sedating myself so I can sleep through the nausea and drinking coffee so I’m not too groggy from the meds. I will focus only on getting him to this class. I have to.

Are your kids at the point where they resent you and your illnesses? How did you handle it?

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I Am More Than My Diagnoses!

I am participating today in the linky #besidesmydiagnosis. If you would like to link up you can do so at The Girl With the 5 Lads. You do not have to be a blogger to participate!

As I was answering the questions I realized that I wasn’t participating in some of the best things or some of my favorites because of my chronic illnesses. It made me feel angry what they, particularly depression, have done to my life and made me more determined not to let them win.

1. #besidesmydiagnosis the three things about my appearance that I love in the mirror? My eyes, my eyelashes and my rosy cheeks.

2. #besidesmydiagnosis the things I have read most are? I love to read cozy mysteries and fiction mostly but occasionally I will read non-fiction.

3. #besidesmydiagnosis my favourite comfort foods are? Italian food, biscuits and gravy, anything with cheese!

4. #besidesmydiagnosis my favourite past times are? Reading, getting out into nature and spending time with my son.

5. #besidesmydiagnosis my biggest accomplishment since illness is? Being the very best mother I can be despite my illnesses.

6. #besidesmydiagnosis I feel my best quality is? I am very patient

7. #besidesmydiagnosis my motto/mantra to live by? Parenting is the hardest and best profession to have!

8. #besidesmydiagnosis I would love to travel to? Paris, Venice, London

9. #besidesmydiagnosis my guilty pleasure is? Watching the Gilmore Girls on Netflix!

10. #besidesmydiagnosis I have many dreams and ambitions such as? I aspire to get my blog’s message out there more. My blog focuses on the difficulties of raising a child while having a chronic illness.

Why these questions?

Many people never describe themselves as beautiful as they do not fit into societies/media stereotype of beautiful. This is rubbish, we are all beautiful so should learn to love ourself. (Question 1) We can find friends through our interests, passions so these may open debates and make people find kindred souls. (Questions 2,3,4) We often focus on negativities and fail to see what we have accomplished since illness and make us thing about our best qualities. (Question 5,6) You can tell a lot about a person by their mantra (Question 7) We all need to hold on to our dreams (Question 8, 10) This is just for fun and giggles (Question 9)

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Contest: Win an Adult Coloring Book!

Adult coloring books are everywhere right now and I am very pleased to be giving away a coloring book from artist Robin Maria Pedrero!

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I’ve been a fan of Robin’s for several years now. The birds and butterflies,flowers…the colors she uses…just seeing her art makes me feel peaceful.

You can enter in three easy ways:

1) Comment below.

2) Facebook it with the link and let me know you did that by commenting below.

3) Tweet out the contest and let me know you did by commenting below.

So if you do all three, you will have three separate entries!

The contest will run until Monday, May 9th until 11:59 p.m. and a winner will be chosen at random.

Good luck!

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Congratulations to Melanie Nussbaum who was the winner of Robin Pedrero’s coloring book! If anyone would like to purchase one you can find it on Robin’s website.

Thank you to all who entered!

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Throwback Thursday!

This post is inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Prompt #1 Throwback Thursday: Choose a photo from a previous April and write a poem or a blog post.

Okay I’m taking some liberties with this prompt in that this post appeared March 31st of 2014 and there was no picture. But I was glad to read it and it made me happy that I’ve had my own blog since May of 2009 because I might not have remembered this.

The title of the blog was “Stupid” and it went into some detail as to the effects depression was having on me. Two years ago I was unable to read a book or a newspaper because my concentration was so poor, or I was unable to watch the news. I mostly just sat around watching “Golden Girls”, “Sex and the City” and game shows. I would do it for hours.

I wondered if I would be “stupid” for life.

Two years later my concentration has greatly improved to the point that I can read a book every three to four days and read USA Today every day online. I hardly watch any television, though I do admit to watching Netflix but I would say no more than the average person!

I also wrote about how difficult it was to find topics to blog on, I felt so uninspired. Two years ago I am still struggling with that.

But as I look back I realize how far I’ve come. I am still having trouble cleaning the house and managing my mail and getting going in general but I am a lot better than I was!

I search on Twitter every day for #depression and I read how really bad it is for some people and how horrendous it was for me, enough for me to attempt suicide four years ago. I also haven’t needed to be hospitalized due to depression since early 2013.

I am grateful for all that, believe me, but at the same time I can’t help wanting the sadness and despair to go away and I feel like it will always be with me. Is it too much to wish to be happy and have some energy?

One step I have taken is to switch psychiatrists. I feel like nothing is changing any more with my current one and maybe I can do better to the point where I consider myself a balanced person, neither depressed nor manic. I see my new psychiatrist in July. A long time from now but that’s how things go with the Cleveland Clinic.

Meanwhile, I do have a bit of a smile on my face. I was able to participate in the Writer’s Workshop, making me feel somewhat of a “normal” person!

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The Neuropsychiatric Test, etc.

After waiting five months, I finally took my neuropsychiatric test. For the last couple of years, I have been having difficulty with memory, including forgetting what simple things are called, forgetting conversations and losing the thread of a conversation if there was a pause.

I don’t know how I did on the test, which lasted about three and a half hours. Some of it was hard, but some of it was supposed to be hard. I had difficulty building towers from the largest to the smallest pieces while only moving one piece at a time. The administrator did say that was one of the harder tests. I was also shown designs for ten seconds at a time and then had to draw them. Then about ten minutes later I was asked to draw the designs from memory and I could only remember about three out of 20.

Other tests included being told a number of words and asking to repeat them, describing words shown to me and a test on a computer where you had to figure out the changing patterns of cards.

I am supposed to get the results from my psychiatrist later this week.

I also saw my primary care physician for a follow-up to the nausea that has plagued me since September. I take a lot of medications which have nausea as a side effect and she said a side effect can happen at any time one takes a medication, not just at the beginning. The medication that I take for diabetes, Metformin, is particularly rough on the digestive system and since my blood sugar levels have been pretty good, she took me off the medication to see if this was causing the problem. I feel a little scared going off of it because before I took it I was almost passing out when my blood sugar was too low.

I am also afraid to try going off some of my psychiatric drugs. I am leaning towards depression but for me it is much preferred to mania and I don’t want to upset the balance that I have.

I am also going to seek a second opinion from a Gastroenterologist for my nausea.

Have you ever experienced nausea as a side effect? Have any of the side effects started after you had been taking the drug for a while?

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Book Reviews!

This post is inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Prompt 2. Book review!

Here are a few books I’ve read recently that I really liked. I keep track on goodreads and I hope you will follow me there!

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Retired English man Harold Fry lives a quiet and unassuming life until he gets a letter from a former coworker and friend that says she is dying of cancer and wishes to say goodbye. Off to send a return letter to Queenie he finds he can’t stop walking and decides to walk the 600 mile trip to the hospice, believing that Queenie will live as long as he walks. I really loved this book. It’s interesting to be inside Harold’s head as he thinks about his relationship with his wife and estranged son, as well as Harold’s encounters with the people he meets along the way. This is one book not to miss!

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I read this book as a part of the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. Rory Gilmore of “The Gilmore Girls” read and spoke about over 300 books during the series’s seven season run.

Frankie McCourt was born in depression era Brooklyn, son of Irish immigrants who think they might be better off back in Ireland. Frankie grows up in a slum with his brothers, very poor and hungry and with an alcoholic father and a long suffering mother. Frank McCourt paints a grim picture and although the book is a bit of a depressing read, you will find some humor in it, particularly if you are Irish Catholic!

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Have you ever tried a cozy mystery? Cozy mysteries are those that are a series of books written about the main character and supporting players. They’re fun to read because they lack the typical harsh violence of other mysteries or suspense novels and they are easy to get into because after you’ve read a few, the characters seem like old friends.

Needlecraft store owner Betsy Devonshire gets involved in antique cars and one of the drivers is murdered. An amateur sleuth who is getting a reputation, Betsy is asked by some of the victim’s family to find out who killed him. I love the Needlecraft cozy mystery series, there is always a good story to them. If you wish to try the series, I would recommend starting out with the first one which is “Crewel World”.

These are just a few of the ones I’ve been reading lately that I’ve liked. What have you been reading?

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Patty Duke: A Spokesperson for Bipolar Disorder

(Trigger Warning: Patty Duke had bipolar disorder. Some of her symptoms discussed in this post may be upsetting to some.)

When I heard that Patty Duke died earlier this week at age 69 from sepsis of a ruptured intestine, I felt we had really lost a great actress and a spokesperson for mental illness. Since I know many of my younger readers might never have heard of her I wanted to show just how important to the cause she was.

Patty Duke was born Anna Marie Duke in 1946. She played the role of Helen Keller on Broadway and won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for playing Helen when the play became a movie. She was the youngest person at that time to receive an Academy Award. In 1963 she was given her own show, “The Patti Duke Show” where she played identical cousins. Although she had not been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, show creator Sidney Sheldon noticed that she had two distinct sides which inspired him to create the show.

Until she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (then known as Manic Depression) in 1982, Patty’s depression put her in bed for weeks at a time and she had multiple suicide attempts. Her mania caused her three failed marriages, one that lasted only 13 days, throwing herself out of cars, hitting her kids and delusions such as hearing voices and acting upon them.

Patty explored Bipolar Disorder in her two books; “Call Me Anna” and “A Brilliant Madness: Living With Manic Depressive Illness”. She used lithium to treat her illness along with therapy but said lithium was not for everyone.

But Patty was not just her illness. She continued to have a successful acting career and was president of the Screen Actors Guild for three years and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame” in 2004.

She was described by her son, Sean Astin as a “warrior” who fought for mental health issues during a time where mental health had even a stronger stigma then it does today. “She would do fundraisers and she would lobby Congress…”

Married to her fourth husband since 1986, the two moved to Idaho and adopted a son. Her son, Sean, has organized a charity in her name and those who wish to donate to the “Patty Duke Mental Health Project” may do so here.

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Right! Click! Paste!

This post is courtesy of Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

2. Open a blank blog post and “right click paste” in the body of the post…what was pasted? Explain it.

I am rereading a few of Sue Grafton’s alphabet mystery series, but most I have not read, and plan on going through them all. The woman who was found guilty in the death of her hotshot lawyer husband is out of prison and she wants P. I. Kinsey Millhone to find out who really did it. This is mystery writing at it’s finest. I can’t believe the first book was written all the way back in 1982!

What I last pasted was a Pinterest book review I have from one of my boards, “Books I am Reading/Have Read.” It comes from a longer review from Goodreads.

I’d love for you to follow me on Goodreads or Pinterest and meanwhile I will be working my way through Sue Grafton’s alphabet!

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