Uncategorized

Yourself or Someone Like You

banksygirl.jpg

Life has been insane for so long I’ve not had time to just sit back and think. Which means all my emotions have been living in the depths of my soul waiting on their moment to shine. I’ve lived with anxiety and depression my whole life. They each manifest in different ways. The anxiety used to show its ugly face when I was driving. If traffic was bad or I was stuck on an onramp or in a tunnel I’d go into a state of panic that scared everyone who had the misfortune of being in the car with me. I don’t have that issue as much now. Probably because I tend to just stay home these days. Depression has always shown itself as general “meh” feeling about things I am normally excited about. For the past year or maybe more I’ve been in what I call management mode. Essentially I’ve been managing each bit of news (worldwide and personal) with a calm “OK here we go then” attitude.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could just stop there and be like, “yeah that’s all I wanted to say in this blog thanks for reading bye.”

Things are starting to level out on a personal level despite the tornado of bullshit we’re dealing with as a nation. And that means all the thoughts and feelings are clawing their way to the surface. For the first time since I was a moody teenager I had a full day of severe depression. Where every song felt personal and everything I read, saw or heard was tear inducing. Anyone who knows me well understands what a wild event that is. I am not sure any of my friends have seen me cry. Okay maybe once during “Inside Out” and once when I made the mistake of giving my heart to someone who didn’t deserve it, but otherwise I am stoic and dry eyed. I don’t have a problem crying about animated characters but I’m still angry about the other thing.

Anxiety has been showing itself in the form of writer’s block. I usually have it, off and on, throughout any given month. This has been longer than ever. Obviously I’ve made a breakthrough over the past couple of weeks but now the words are coming with a new wrinkle. Panic.

Last week when I posted my blog entry it came with a deep sense of fear. Yes, it was a deeply personal entry and yes I wrote words I hadn’t really said to anyone, including myself, but the idea of sharing the entry on social media made my heart beat fast and my breath erratic and I’ve never had that before. Aside from the nature of the blog there was something else poking at my subconscious. Who’s going to care enough to read anything you write?

I’m a creative person. No matter what my logical brain says. Because of this I tend to feel the need to share things. In a blog, on social media, somewhere, and always in writing. With that comes the need to be seen, or at least have the words I’ve written read. The catch-22 in that is the Internet broke me a long time ago. So I’ve done a lot of things like write out replies and comments to people who’s opinions I both agree with, and don’t, and then I erase them because I know no matter the intention the interpretation is up for grabs and nine times out of ten that goes horribly wrong.

What does all this mean and why am I waxing on about it? I get the irony of it all. I need interaction to have my words seen, but I won’t interact because my words get taken out of context and I’m done fighting for my life on the Internet. So the one thing that used to give me solace from the anxiety and depression is the thing giving me anxiety and depression. Most people write to get the story on the page and some people never intend on sharing it with anyone. I write to share. And if I don’t have anyone to share with, I don’t have a reason to write. At least that’s why my brain says.

What I’m trying to do right now is write a blog a week in preparation for my annual November writing challenge (NaNoWriMo) and get used to the idea that I’m writing stuff that may never get read. To anyone who does read these, I thank you.

Mad Season

It’s been nearly a year since I wrote a post here. In fact it’s probably been about that long since I wrote words in consecutive order that were anything other than hello, how are you, I’m fine. The last two words are a lie but it’s easier to say them than to explain all the shit that’s being going on these days. Which is why I’m here on my diary/blog whatever this thing is now. Grab a snack and a drink, possibly some coffee, make sure everything has a lid on it though, this could be a bumpy ride.

How do you guys like to get your news? Good first then bad, or vice versa? I think I’m more of a bad news first kind of person, but then I tend to stop listening and forget to hear the good part ‘cause I’m working out in my head how I can fix the bad stuff. That’s me — fixer, problem solver, bringer of logic. Which makes for some rough seas when the things that are bad can’t be fixed, solved or have any semblance of logic at the surface level. What happens when I get to that point? I drill down into the situation and find the simplest place to bring logic in and stay there. It’s how I survive as a disabled person navigating a world not meant for me.

What these next few things have in common is this: they suck and there’s nothing I can do about them. But they do have small pieces I can hold on to, too.

231084e023af58bba66c67716f16bed6--dumbo-baby-shower-elephant-baby-showers.jpg

Tangent time. My grandmother is a fan of elephants. We’ve been giving her elephant statues and fabrics and calendars and whatever else we can find as far back as I can remember. I don’t know for sure if she’s really been into elephants her whole life, all I know is one day grandma said she liked elephants and we ran with that with every gift we ever gave her. There’s one thing we all know about elephants. Well okay aside from that they’re big grey animals with big trunks and that one we know who could fly ‘cause he had big ears. Elephants never forget. An ironic statement considering one of their biggest fans (allegedly) has one of those diseases where they go forgetting things. Grandma has dementia.

It started with a stroke and progressively got worse. It wasn’t one of those strokes where the person suffers such trauma they can no longer function without someone else’s help. For anyone who has or knows anyone who has suffered such a severe event, my heart hurts for you. Grandma’s was a smaller, mini-stroke. One day she walked out of her house and up the street to her weekly hair appointment as usual. Except this was not a usual day. She left her purse, her keys and a small part of her mind, at home. For anyone reading this that knows my grandmother you may know that she is never without her purse. She never does things like leave her keys somewhere she won’t find them again. Everything has a place and she knows exactly where that place is. Thankfully her hairdresser knew something was off and called my aunt to let her know things were amiss. So much so he did not let her leave his salon alone. He walked her to her condo and stayed with her until my uncle showed up.

There were MRIs and consultations and medications and the verdict was she had recovered from the mini-stroke with little damage and would carry on fine. Except she didn’t. She slowly continued to lose that OCD, remember everything, always on top of things brain she kindly passed down to her oldest granddaughter (me). We moved her out of her condo and into a retirement home shortly after her 87th birthday (this past February). She fought it the whole way, eventually settling in, and as soon as she was ready to be comfortable with her new situation, we moved her again.

The thing is, we thought the progression would be slow. It wasn’t. She was wandering the halls and losing her way and there’s a big difference between retirement living and assisted living and it turns out she needed the latter. In April we moved her into a full care facility. Although she’s fighting it every day (her memory loss and her living situation) she’s doing as well as one can in her situation.

For anyone out there in the world that would be enough to drive you crazy with worry, and frustration at not being able to do a damn thing about the progression of a disease there is no cure for, and while I would have been upset at myself for even thinking of curling up into a ball and screaming at the world, the universe wasn’t done throwing punches at my family yet, so I had no time for that.

Tangent two. I have a strange relationship with God and religion and all that goes with the ideas behind them both. I enjoy writing about the concept of heaven and hell and good and evil but I don’t believe there is one all powerful magician pulling the strings of anything we’ve ever done or will ever do. As much of a science fiction and fantasy fan as I am, I refuse to put my life in the hands of a fictional being. Oddly enough, for anyone who knows me well, I have faith in people. Doctors and scientists and people who know things I don’t, tangibles, if you will. That all being said, I do believe in karma. And right now I believe something my family did somewhere along the line disturbed the peace of some karmic force and we’re all living with the consequences.

Diseases. Incurable ones, curable ones, un-identifiable ones. Someone in our family has one of them. My uncle has both a form of blood cancer and a heart condition. My aunt, his wife and my mother’s older sister, had breast cancer in her mid-thirties. At the same age as her mother was, my cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through a double mastectomy and chemotherapy while pregnant with her second son. Her daughter has a similar disease to mine. My doctors tell me they are not the same thing, but the similarities in our conditions are eery except hers has a name.

Because of the family history my mother and her younger sister were tested for the BRCA gene, my aunt tested positive, my mother tested negative, which meant I didn’t need to go in for testing. Cheryl immediately had a double mastectomy to ensure the gene would not manifest itself into cancer. We all get screened (mammograms) regularly as a result of all this.

So it was surprising and yet, not, that in January my mother discovered a mass on her left breast that concerned her. She went in for a mammogram though her previous one not long before had not shown anything, and they found nothing out of the ordinary. Because of our family history she insisted on an ultrasound, which indeed found the mass she had been feeling. The immediate gut reaction is try not to panic. Could be anything, lots of women have lumps and masses that turn out to be fat build up. But we have a history and as the saying goes, it does tend to repeat itself.

The women in our family are strong and resilient and we fight like hell no matter what it is we face. From the smallest annoyance to the biggest blow. We all handle our fight in different ways. My mother is an outward fighter. She yells, and screams, a lot, no matter the size of the issue she’s facing. This was no different. In March she had a double mastectomy and despite it being a difficult procedure that should have had her in the hospital for at least 2 days she was home the next day.  Because that’s where she wanted to be. She insisted they release her, so they did.

We hoped that was the end of it. The mass was small and it didn’t affect much of her lymph nodes. But that was not to be, and it was recommended she go to at least 4 but probably 6 rounds of chemotherapy, one every three weeks. And because, as I mentioned already, we’re fighters, mom’s system kicked ass and the chemo won (by killing the things it was supposed to), but didn’t (by not killing everything else). Did she lose her hair? Yes. Was she tired? Often. But she continued to work and take care of her mother through all of it, because of course, this was all going on while her mother’s mind was slowly deteriorating.

By this time next week mom will have completed the final step in the process and the rest will be about maintenance.

harley1year.jpg

There’s good news in all of this, the most important of which is that everyone is alive and on the way to healing, or at least in a good place where they’re been well cared for. On a surface level, Harley is a year old now and he’s the funniest, sweetest, best dog in the world. He’s helped mom keep her spirits when things went off the rails and given me a reason to not be sad or feel bad for not being able to run all over town taking mom to and from appointments — I always had someone or something to take care of. He loves to play and will bring toys to one of us at all hours. Just when you think you’ve tired him out he brings another toy and looks at you with disappointment if you don’t throw it for him to catch again and again and again.

I’ve been working out with a trainer twice a week, and working on my health in general by cooking my own meals, and in the past year I have gone down 3 clothing sizes and gained enough muscle to turn living as a wheelchair user from a daily chore to a minor annoyance. The new wheelchair and the new SUV have been helpful in this too, one motivating me to get stronger — the SUV and getting in and out of it — and the chair — because I’m the only one who pushes me around now.

I inherited many of my mother and her mother’s traits. I can be fiery and scream-y like my mother and I’m OCD, organized and neurotic like my grandmother. But along with those traits I have one thing nobody would believe I had in me. Calmness in the chaos. Not because I believe nothing else can go wrong, but because I believe it can, and will. And I believe we’ll get through it just like we do everything else. Fighting back against every obstacle placed in front of us along the way.

I Have No Idea What to Call This One

If you’ve come here looking to read about all the adventures I’ve been having now that I have a fancy new wheelchair I’m sorry to disappoint. Today is the first day I have been out of the house. But, I have a good reason.

We’ve torn up my closet/shower to update it and make everything more accessible. Because why not turn your world upside down while you’re getting used to a new piece of equipment. So there’s adventure here, it’s just still inside the walls of my comfort zone.

Below are some pictures of the destruction. When it’s all done it’s gonna be great. Which is why I am staying so zen about it. I’m zen. I am. Really…

Closet will be completely rebuilt and there will be a door on it. I get to design it to my needs. That’s a bonus.

 

Shower will be set up better, with a flat surface for me to roll on and some better solutions as far as benches and shower heads. There will be glass where the part of the half wall has been removed. (Hard to see in the first image but there was a step up into the shower).

My big grand dream of having the entire bathroom reconfigured had to be lessened to keeping the layout the same. But it’s all win/win in the end. It means I won’t have to move out to allow them to cut into floors and pipes and all that stuff and I still get the makeup vanity I’ve been dreaming of, in my bedroom.

As I said before, today I went out of the house. Alone. The outing was a success. A quick trip to a mall close by, where I bought a bunch of things I didn’t need, and a few things I legitimately did. There was only one hiccup, and it came after I had zoomed around watching my money disappear as fast as my wheels turned. The key fob remote system that deploys my ramp decided to take a nap. So there I sat in the parking lot watching my transformer refuse to turn from car to robot. I suppose it isn’t a surprise that Max Argent is a moody as me. The good news is she gets over things as fast as I do too. Let’s just hope she doesn’t hold a grudge like I do or I’m f*cked.

W.T.F.

Okay kids. Here I am with another update. And it’s not a good one. Well, it has its moments, they’re in there somewhere, I think.

I’ve done patient. I’ve done lucky to be me. I’ve done calm and collected. Now I’ve moved on to angry. Disillusioned. Frustrated. And WTF.

Let’s talk about it. In February I discovered, researched and started the process of acquiring a new modified SUV on the market for disabled people. I went on a mission. Begged, borrowed, nearly stole but didn’t have to, and had one in my driveway by mid-June. I named her Max Argent. I immediately put a Kings decal on her. I personalized my license plate to further show my hockey team pride (a fun DMV story will appear at the end of this post). I put a Harley Quinn license plate frame on and a Transformers magnet on the cool sliding door to further indicate this car was and is super cool.

But. I couldn’t get into her on my own – she’s a big beast, and the cool light up, slide out ramp is just too steep. Back to research mode I went, where I discovered, researched and started the process of acquiring a new wheelchair and a set of power assist wheels. By mid July I had tested the wheels – they do indeed work where I need them to – got fitted for the new chair and was on my way to the freedom I thought Max would bring.

Side note: I had a car, it was old, and so am I, so the difficulty of getting in and out of it and my neurotic brain dreaming about being stuck on the side of the rode in a wheelchair wondering how a tow truck was going to get me and my wheelchair into its cab pushed me to get a new one. Once I took possession of Max I was no longer in possession of Neo, my Saturn Ion which did me good for 13 years but wasn’t going to last much longer.

Anyway. The beginning of August rolls around and I’m still not. Rolling around, that is. At least not in the new chair with the new wheels. A measuring misstep meant it was back to waiting. At which point things turned into a three-ring circus or one long episode of punked, or a very elaborate practical joke. I’m not even sure I know at this point.

Here’s what I’ve never known about ordering a wheelchair, because I’ve never been in a position to have one made specially for me. There are people who come in and talk to you about your needs, called OTRs – Occupational Therapist Registered. Mine was nice, seemed knowledgable, talked to me for over an hour about what I wanted and wrote everything down. She then proceeded to lose everything or forget everything or, possibly the best explanation, do a half-assed job because she was leaving the sales company. Never-the-less a chair was ordered and upon it being delivered to me we discovered it was too tall.

After several long conversations in which she argued with me, my mom, and her own wheelchair technician (doing whatever she could to not take responsibility for the error) the OTR called TiLite (the wheelchair manufacturer) and asked how low they could make the frame. Sixteen inches. Great, make me one that size, no problem, we’ll get right on that, Rose. The OTR and the tech left with the chair and the power wheels.

The next day I got a call from Academy Medical, the OTR’s former place of employment and the place that the sale of the wheelchair was coming from. A manager and another tech were dispatched to my house, where they remeasured and re-confirmed the new order was right. Three days later I was told the new chair in my actual size would be delivered from TiLite to Academy within two weeks. Two and a half weeks later I got a call from Academy.

Upon checking in with TiLite, the folks at Academy were surprised to find that the frame that had been scheduled to leave the TiLite facility on a Friday had not only not been shipped, but had an issue – this was now the following Tuesday. No one at TiLite had contacted Academy to discuss the issue. They waited for Academy to call them. Not kidding. Not even a little. The issue was the front wheels. If they made the frame sixteen inches those wheels would not clear the metal on the foot rest bars. But there was a fix, make the angle of the bars a bit more like a V. The current footrest was shaped like a U. When I got the call from Academy to check with me about the change I shouldn’t have been surprised. Yet, I was. We discussed the changes, I approved them, and that was that. Right?

Nope. Phone rings thirty minutes later. Can the manager and a whole other wheelchair technician come see me. Sure, why not. I don’t care if the entire staff at Academy Medical in Downey comes to my house, just get me a fucking wheelchair that works for me. Zen, breathe. Just doing their jobs. Measurements done, discussion had, everything great. New frame ordered.

By the way. All of this happened the week before Labor Day. So you can imagine how much work got done in the days ahead. So I wasn’t surprised that it was another week before I finally poked my nose in and asked for a status update when I hadn’t heard anything. Manufacturer says it’s shipped and should be at Academy “today or tomorrow.” That was yesterday. September 14. It is currently September 15. Still no chair, no word from Academy to confirm it has been delivered to them, nada, zip, zilch.

At this point I’m not even really sure I’m getting a new wheelchair. I think I’m being punked. As a person who believes in karma I can’t help but wonder what it is I did in my life that I’m being paid back for. Or what lesson I’m meant to learn from it. All I know is this is some high level bullshit. So the patience and the empathy I’ve had for anyone else’s problems, plights and drama is gone. Today, this week, maybe even for the whole month, try to look me in the eye and tell me about how rough your life is. I dare you.

IMG_0233.JPG

Sorry about that, here’s a puppy.

Also…

A DMV story because you knew there’d be one (first because I told you and second, of course there is, there always is). When I knew for sure I was getting the SUV I started the process of ordering a personalized plate. Got myself the new dark classic plates with my favorite team (LAK) and my favorite players (27,32). When I got the notice the new personalized plates were at my local DMV I should have been really excited. I wasn’t.

Problem #1 – I couldn’t go get them by myself because of that whole no new wheelchair thing I just told you all about. Problem #2 – we have a new puppy who has never been home alone. Mom and I decide it’s not a problem, he can be alone for a little while, he’s got to learn. If I make an appointment, thus ensuring we’ll be home quickly, and mom and I went and picked up the plates and all was well.

Just kidding. You knew that’s not where this story was going. We check in, get my number, wait for it to be called. We’re relieved when it comes up fairly quickly (for the DMV). I hand over my stuff and the agent goes to get the plates, shows them to me, I ooh and aah, and he goes about getting me my new tags and registration card. The system won’t print the card. The agent gets up and asks someone for help. Comes back, types on his keyboard. Nope. Leaves again, someone comes back with him, retypes my information. And…nope. He goes to talk to his manager and comes back to inform us we can either wait twenty more minutes or come back later, but twenty minutes was a guesstimate it could be longer, the manager is very busy. At this point it has been an hour since we stepped foot in the DMV.

I calmly ask him what the issue is because at this point all anyone is doing is arguing and I’m just sitting quietly trying not to punch people in the knees. I wish I was making this part up. The paperwork on my car and registration says Stacy Phay. The DMV system says Stacy R Phay. It won’t give me my new registration because of the R in their system (my middle initial, by the way) and it won’t let anyone in the office take it out. Only the main DMV office can fix this and only a manager can call them, but she’s busy as previously mentioned. After an hour and half we leave the DMV without my plates, frazzled about the state our new puppy is in, frazzled about the state my mom’s bedroom is in and curious about the state our government agencies are in.

Alas, this story has a happy ending. The puppy was fine, the room was only in slight disarray and my mom was able to go back and get the plates later in the day without any issue.

IMG_0129.JPG

Max Argent is complete. And someday I’ll get to go places to show her off all by my onesies.

And on…

 

Remember that time last month when I said I’d have a new wheelchair? Well, it’s been over a month since my last entry and…

Spoiler alert: I do not have a new wheelchair. Last week they delivered the chair with the fabulous battery powered wheels. The wheels: still rad. The chair: 5 inches too tall. Somehow in the process of measuring me and my current chair something went wrong. Notice my restraint here. I’d like you all to praise my lack of finger pointing. No need to take one person’s lack of listening skills and put it on blast. I’m growing. Anyway. The result was a chair I could not get into from my bed or from my toilet. You know, no biggie. The custom made chair has to be re-customized.

The new delivery date is the first week of September. Which doesn’t seem too far off until you realize this all started the first week of June. It’s an interesting process, that of a wheelchair user. Every new thing turns into seven things you have to change. A new car turned into a new wheelchair. A new wheelchair turns into a new routine. The domino affect, but without an end.

But, in the grand tradition of bad news/good news. I’ve been spending my time with this dude and that’s making life a bit easier. He’s sweet and energetic and keeping mom and I on our toes.

IMG_0120

Harley. King of the castle.

It Goes On

It has been exactly one month since my last confession.

So here I am again with the double sided coin of emotions. I’m deeply saddened by the events that have been happening all over the world, from Trump to Brexit to terrorism and everything in between. This post is not going to be about any of that. If you are here it’s likely  you’re aware of my thoughts on those matters.

Life. It continues to move despite all the bullshit. This blog post is for anyone I’ve promised I’m going to have lunch with or meet up with and haven’t yet. My failure to do so has a lot to do with my usual anti-social personality but much more to do with the obstacles life threw at me in the last few months.

Let me get this out of the way. I know I’m lucky. I have a supportive family who has the means to help me get what I need to live the life I want to live. This post is not about how unfair life is or how messed up it is to be me. That’s never been my way. So let’s put that to rest.

IMG_1335

Max Argent. More than meets the eye.

So you know I got a new car. Max Argent. She’s a beast of a vehicle and she’s exactly what I needed to replace Neo who’s retirement was imminent. As you see above Max has a sliding rear door and a ramp that comes right to me. That’s where this tale begins. When I tested the ramp at the dealer in April it was as simple as putting an extra umph in my push and bam, I’m in business. By June that extra umph wasn’t enough. I umphed and pushed and it just wasn’t happening. What should have been a celebration of new things to come was put on hold once again. I tried not to let it slide me into depression, but that was a hard task. I was still reeling from the death of Bella and instead of being out around town I was sitting at my desk with constant reminders of how effed up the world is. But me being me, I did the only thing I knew how to do. I went on a mission to find a solution.

It became abundantly clear that a power chair was in my future. But that solution wasn’t ideal. A power chair would mean my main source of exercise would go away and I’d decline at a faster rate. So I continued to search for an alternative. And found one. In Germany. I’ve got a lot of things to say about how terrible the US is about helping its disabled people live normally but that’s for another day. Luckily we live in a time where getting a German product isn’t impossible.

Alber e-motion Wheels Click on the link if the video isn’t working properly. Or if you want more info.

Introducing: Alber e-motion power add-on wheels. They’re rad. I know this because I tested them yesterday. Essentially what they do is help you push. So when I move my wheels they move them with me, with force. The Force. Turns out it’s with me now. Ha. Anyway. Yesterday I spent a couple hours testing out the power wheels and making sure they work where I need them to. And they do. So I ordered a set. And a new chair to put them on. And in about a month I’ll be back to having that famed choice I spoke about in my last confession.

So to anyone I’ve made promises to, give me just a little more time. I’ll still be more inclined to be anti-social but I’ll have no excuse.

Thanks to anyone who’s continued to follow my journey. Stay tuned for more adventures. Mostly involving this dude right here who will be joining our family next weekend:

DSCN0840

Harley. I can’t stand the cuteness. Can you?

Choice

It occurred to me recently that we’re afraid of it. We like the idea of it. Having a choice. We fight for that right every day. But when we actually are faced with having one? Panic. What do you mean I have to make a decision? On my own? Shock. Horror. Someone tell me what to do!

It’s all over our news coverage. We watch whoever our trusted newscaster is and wait for them to tell us how to feel, what to be angry about today, what celebrity we need to be mocking for poor life choices – there’s that word again.

This phenomenon recently became clear to me in the usual way. On social media. Where the shock and horror that humans would have the right to choose life or death in late stages of illness was being put into place in California. The same people that are appalled by the idea that a women has the right to choose what to do with their own bodies were devastated by this. As if having these laws in play means you HAVE to choose death or you HAVE to choose abortion. Like, if it’s available as a choice you have no other choice but to choose it.

And it hit me. These people have lived their lives with no alternative choices. So all they know is what’s been chosen for them. Their story has already been written.

Choice-sign

How many of you are thinking, if I hit the Exit Now sign I don’t have to choose!

And as I thought more about it I realized how lucky I am. In my life I’ve only been faced with one thing that wasn’t my own choice. Disability. Everything else I’ve been able to choose on my own. And even then, disability was a choice too. I could either crawl up into a ball and let my disability rule my life, or I could deal with it. I choose the latter, although these days not as much as I used to. In a lot of ways my disability has made choices for me too. I don’t really have a choice in what car I drive – but the fact that I can drive is a bonus. There are a lot of places I can’t go, but that’s a bit of a choice too. The thing is, I get to make those choices.

I also realized I was lucky to grow up in the family I have. Many people would be shocked to hear me say that. But I am. I was never told what religion to choose. What path my life had to take. I made those decisions on my own. My family wasn’t thrilled by my choices. When I tried Christianity for a while they were appalled I’d show up in their Jewish homes with a cross around my neck. When I decided I didn’t want to be any religion they were a bit disappointed I didn’t find Judaism. But I was never disowned or disavowed.

To anyone who is afraid of having a choice, I’ve got good news for you. Just because the alternative choice exists doesn’t mean you’ll be forced to choose it. You don’t want an abortion? News flash – no one actually WANTS an abortion. But having a choice is much better than not having one. You want to choose to stay on life support? Just because there’s a law allowing assisted suicide for terminally ill patients doesn’t mean you are forced to choose that path.

Choice. It’s a gift we need to cherish. We live in a country that has choice in abundance. But just because there’s more than one choice and just because you don’t like one that exists doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be available. You have the right to choose the one that fits you better. Amazing, isn’t it?

Inside Out

I’ve been trying to write this for hours. But I couldn’t find the words to say. Somehow I managed to find them. A lot more than I thought I would.

Today (although let’s be real, this entire year) has been one hell of an emotional roller-coaster. And anyone who knows me knows that I don’t handle emotions well, or most would say, at all.

IMG_0515Last month Bella, my mom’s (and my, let’s be honest) dog had a 1.5 pound tumor removed from her intestines. It was cancerous and there was always a possibility that the cancer was not contained to just that mass. She survived the surgery, came home, got all the love in the world, and was ultimately diagnosed with lymphoma. A blood cancer that makes all lymph nodes swell and is very uncomfortable. We had choices to make. Give her medication to make her feel better but only for a short time or start her on chemotherapy and prolong her life.

After much consultation we went the chemotherapy route. You’re never sure what you’re going to do about a thing until it’s staring you in the face. My policy is and always has been – assure that your pet is not in pain. The difference in the choices here came down to one simple thing. Money. Luckily we were able to choose one route or the other. My heart hurts for those who cannot afford to do so.

Bella had one mild treatment and took it very well. She was happy and her appetite was as it always had been – feed me all the things all the time. Today, as she was meant to be getting her second treatment, she took a turn for the worst. Ultrasounds were taken. More masses were found. Cancer sucks ass and our baby girl has gone wherever it is you go when this ugly disease takes you away.

Bella is and was sweet, loving, funny and fun. She kept my mom company, followed her around as a puppy does, and kept her as sane as possible when life threw fastballs aimed straight at her head. She brought joy into my life constantly. She turned circles when she knew she was getting a treat, turned her head away like any good diva does when they don’t want their picture taken. Her constant affection all the way till the end is what I will cherish most. I am still having trouble believing her dog door isn’t going to flap against its metal casing and she won’t come bounding in here anymore.

This, added to the steady decline of my grandmother’s mind (which I have been coming to terms with for months), the death of people I admire but didn’t know at all (Prince, David Bowie and Glenn Frey. Are you serious??) and the constant barrage of madness in the news (fuck this election) makes me feel at odds with what I’m about to say next.

Today we put a deposit on a 2016 Ford Explorer XLT MXV (the MXV means it has been modified for people with disabilities – like me).

Want to know what that looks like? See the link below.

https://www.braunability.com/wheelchair-accessible-suv/

We lost a beloved pet and I’m beyond sad. I’m getting a vehicle much better suited to my needs and I’m elated. I feel sickened by loss. I imagine all the places I want to go. I just don’t want to go anywhere. This is why I hate emotions.

May You Never

I have been trying to find a way to put my thoughts into words. It has been a difficult task, because everything I am about to talk about is complicated.

Here’s the thing. I am pro-life. Now, before you get the wrong idea, let me explain what that means, to me.

I am pro anything that prolongs the life of others. That includes not allowing access to guns to people who intend on using them for nefarious reasons. That means using humans and animals for medical research. It means not going to war or bombing other countries without regard for the innocent lives that this might affect.

And that’s where it all gets complicated. Because I am also pro choice.

I am pro anything that results in consequences for actions. The death penalty. Attacking the right people for the right reasons in countries that have attacked us. Every choice has a consequence. This is not the wild west. Even the wild west had jail cells.

These complicated issues come to a collision a lot. As fanatics attack in other countries and our news media treats them as if they are the worst thing imaginable, as fanatics continue to attack in our own country and are treated as anomalies.

After the attacks in Paris many talked of the Quaran and the fact that there is nothing in it that asks its followers to kill others on its behalf. And I wondered how, as a nation of folks who have been re-writing the Bible to meet our own needs for hundreds of years, we were surprised that other religions have the same types of people following them.

There are radicals in all aspects of life. The issue right now is, those who claim to be “not like them” are not doing enough.

That excuse is getting old quickly. And it does not wipe your slate clean because you don’t condone the behavior of others in your sect. The thing is, all of you, even you, the proper Christian that you are, for just a moment, had the thought that the Planned Parenthood attack was warranted. That split second, that thought, makes you just like them. Just because you didn’t pick up the gun and point it at the people doesn’t mean you are not guilty of perpetrating the crime.

Your rhetoric, your agenda pushing, your support of the public figures who feed this monster, makes you a part of the problem. Makes you THE problem. We are a nation of people who need chaos. Our news is filled with destruction and death and failure. The bad always outshines the good. And we accept that, because we are taught to.

It is time for the good to stand up and stop the bullshit. And until you can honestly say that you did not even for a moment, a split second, think that the terrorists, whether they be foreign or domestic, might have had the right idea, you are the problem. And you do not have the right to complain when your side takes a beating.

Choice. Consequence. Life.

Some final thoughts.

It is possible to be pro-choice and not pro-abortion. There are many reasons why a woman might need to make the choice to end their pregnancy. Until you know what that feels like, you don’t have the right to pass judgment or take away the rights of those who may need to make these decisions. You have no idea, in reality, what you would do in any given situation. May you never have to.

It is possible to change your mind depending on the situation and the facts once they are presented to you. What is most frustrating is to watch people who claim to be good Christians and who value human life, disregard the life of others when it comes to things they do not believe in. In one breath you can fight hard to save the life of a “fetus” and in the same breath deny that “fetus” the right to love or live freely as – non Christian. Transgender. Gay. May you never know what it’s like to feel unwanted because of who you are.

One day I would like you to look me in the eye and tell me to my face that you do not believe that the legal use of human tissue, which has been proven to be the case and you just don’t want to hear it, is wrong. Tell me to my face that my life as a disabled person is not worth medical research. Tell me to my face how valuable you think I am and then tell me that you don’t believe I deserve to be cured because that cure might have come from a source you’re not comfortable with. May you never know what it’s like to rely on extensive medical resources for any reason.

May you continue to live your life in a soft cushy bubble where guns don’t kill, where all unborn fetuses are born just like you, where disease and disability do not exist. May you never know what its like to live in the real world.

Let’s Be Real

We continue to make stupid people famous. I believe all bigots should be called out for their bullshit. But this Kentucky clerk business is going way beyond calling attention to someone on the wrong side of history. Stop saying her name. Stop caring who she’s meeting with and what they said. Just stop it. Stop giving her more of a pulpit to preach on. Who gives a shit that she met a man who does not matter? Who is the Pope and why should I care?

Stupid. People. Fame. We shut down America for a man in a white robe and a giant hat. Did he solve hunger? Did he solve homelessness? Did he cure cancer? AIDS? Why. Am. I. Supposed. To. Care. Then.

Those of you fighting for the rights of those you believe cannot fight for themselves (yeah, I’m talking to you pro-lifers). Does it bother you at all that your cause is going to force more women to get back alley abortions and probably die from infection? Do you even understand how hypocritical it is that you are fighting so hard to “save a life” when that life becomes moot once it is born? What happens to that unwanted child? You refuse to fund anything remotely in the realm of public help for anyone needing it. So, the unborn child you are supposedly saving becomes no longer your problem once you’ve ensured an unfit mother, a rape victim, a woman who may possibly die in childbirth didn’t have the abortion she clearly needs? Once that child is born, it will need care. That means government funded programs. Like foster care, welfare, healthcare, housing…And what if that child is born gay? You’ve fought so hard for the right of that unborn entity, only to leave it out in the cold for not being what you consider “worthy.” You are not making any sense.

While we’re on the topic. Those of us who are pro-choice, are not so much pro abortion as we are, pro having control over our own bodies. We are pro health care for those who cannot afford it. We are pro having proper sexual education and proper birth control. I know, I know. That’s against the rules.

This is not 1912 and we are not a dying race. If anything we need to thin the herd a bit. If you’d maybe think about how stupid it is to NOT teach proper birth control and then wonder why so many women get pregnant who didn’t mean to (not counting those who are violated, which is its own set of fucked up logic on your part), you’d see the ass backwards ness of it all.

But I forget. I keep trying to bring logic to a faith fight.

If there was a God, and he was communicating with this Pope person, he’d have sent Frankie to America to lay waste to it. We’re disgusting. We watch black children die and claim there is no racism. We let Christians tell our children they are not worthy of God’s love and wonder why they kill themselves. We hold people up on high who have zero interest in humanity and find anything but ourselves to place blame on.

You want to worship a make believe magical entity who tells you how to live your life, by all means, you go ahead. But stop telling others that they have to live that way too.

Freedom. You keep using that word, I don’t think it means what you think it does.