Posts Tagged With: swollen brain

expectations or “I’m a big tough girl, I tie my own sandals and everything”

I guess it’s that time of year, but I also believe it’s so much more than that too. I believe the universe is speaking to me and I need to take some serious heed.
I’m talking about expectations.

YBW and I had a conversation Sunday about expectations. I got an email this morning from a friend about expectations for his life in the coming year. My last visit to my therapist was a conversation about expectations.
This little red haired girl has been considering expectations for as long as I can remember. But at this time, I think it’s all about my own expectations.

My brain edema really put certain things into perspective for me. I was forced to make life changes I’d been toying with. I was forced to slow my pace. I was forced to slow my compulsion to control everything.
Those were actually quite positive!
Only it left me without any real direction. And for a girl with the desperate need to control what goes on around her, that was worst possible situation in which to be.
I floundered.

But later…
I started my lula business.
I started a new part time job with the county schools. I was offered a second part time position based on my skill set and how much I’m appreciated by the administration.
I began writing more.
I even got my ass in gear when it came to my degree program.

What are my expectations for how I’ll earn money?
I’m working at prioritizing these things. I’m considering how to move forward with some but not all of these things.
YBW is talking more and more about how great I am with children. How happy I seem when I’m talking with and working with children. He’s always impressed when children come up to me in Wegmans or Target and start talking to me, “You’re at my school!” “I see you at lunch!” “You’re in the classroom now.”
YBW remarks how much impact I have on these children simply by being in the same building with them each day.
He’s got a point. All I ever wanted to do was be a mommy and a teacher.

Which brings me to my expectations for how I can be a mom to far away children and children that aren’t really mine.
This is the thing that is killing me every single day. Sometimes softly and silently, sometimes with a Rebel Yell and the cries of the dying.
I’m not exactly sure how to write about this…but mostly I’m thinking this is for journaling and not for blogging.

Expectations for marriage are tricky.
I have nothing really to base them on. But I know what I want and what I don’t want. Mostly I want to be on the same page as YBW. I’ve struggled with the feeling that while we’re in the same book, we may not in the same chapter. I suspect that is my perception, more than anything. But it is a nagging feeling I can’t seem to shake. So through conversations, some simple, some fairly painful, we talk about where we are. Where we want to be. How we might get there.
We charged each other to get very clear about our expectations. We set a date to come together with these clear expectations and compare.

I’ve spent my life worrying about other people’s expectations of me. Some of these were so ridiculously out of reach I’ve felt a failure for most of my adult life. But I developed a few of my own, and guess what? I met them. Know why? Because they were realistic and I am capable.
My most accomplished expectations are for the way I was (and continue to be) a mom. I look at those girls, as flawed as they are (because, let’s be real, who isn’t?), and I know I met my expectations for being their mom. I taught them how to love, how to fail, how to be successful. I taught them sarcasm and that it’s perfectly acceptable to express yourself. I taught them to fight for what they believe in. I taught them that I’ll have their back. I taught them that even the most overbearing mothers can learn from their children. But for me, the most important expectation of all was that I got joy from being a mom. Those girls have given me so much joy and I embraced it and lived in it!
I am a better mom than my mom was. I’ve met most all of my expectation I had of myself when it came to being a mom.
And for the most part, they’ve met my expectations for them. They’re smart. They’re capable. They have compassion. They love fiercely. They have goals. They experience the good and bad and have the skills to come out the other side more aware.
Honestly, what more could I ask for?

Now I’m going to create new expectations for myself.
It frightens me to ask the question, “What do I want?” and to actually answer it.
But I’ve got this!
Like Megara, I’m a big tough girl. I tie my own sandals and everything.
meg-and-hercules

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Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

healthy gut = healthy brain

I read an article recently about how your gut is your “other” brain. Meet Your Second Brain: The Gut
My sister-in-law has been talking about bits and pieces of this concept for a while, but I really didn’t understand the impact until I read all about it.
Here’s the gist that’s directly important to me: If your gut isn’t healthy it can trigger neurological issues.

What if this whole brain swelling situation is simply my wretched digestive system?
(yeah, I’m going to leave that here and walk away for a moment)

I’ve had digestive issues my entire life. Even as a little girl I struggled with the pain of constipation and bloating. I didn’t know it wasn’t normal until I was an adult. That was an interesting learning curve. I was surrounded by people with healthy digestive systems.

My stomach simply doesn’t digest properly. The holistic “doctor obvious” shared that gem. I was a whole lot of ‘well no sh*t, dude’. I haven’t been to him in a while. Honestly he’s so expensive and insurance doesn’t cover it. Also YBW thinks he’s a bit of a quack. Which makes it hard for me, because I really need him on board if I’m going to get treatment for this. Some of his stuff is quack-like. For instance: him preaching ‘don’t immunize your kids’ is one that makes me want to stab. But some of his stuff is totally on point.

Though I may not have to go see him…
I’ve been researching as much as I can the last few days and I’m learning what to do to help restore my “good gut flora”. It doesn’t seem all that difficult apart from one thing. I’m going to have to give up wine. At least for a little while.
In learning what to eat to heal my gut I’m excited to discover fermented foods are a must. That means kimchi. My dad used to have a special refrigerator ONLY for his huge jar of kimchi. I don’t think I’ll get that drastic, but I love it and am excited to know it will help me.
My friend in Arizona went completely gluten free to help with terrible headaches and digestive issues. I’ve been researching that too. I suspect that will help me a great deal.

What this means is an upheaval of our foodstuffs and the way I prepare things. I’m not sure how it will work when the boys are here, but I can simply feed YBW whatever I’m eating when they aren’t here. It’ll be good for him too.

I don’t know if I’m actually on the right track, but I’m willing to try this as apposed to waiting around any longer to see if my brain get’s it’s act together. I’ve struggled with this brain swelling since May. And though I’m not getting any worse, I sure as hell am not getting any better.

I’ll continue to research and begin to make changes and cross my fingers.
I’ll go see the holistic doctor as a touchstone.

It’s time for me to be well.
I’m not getting well the way we’re doing it. I’m ready to try something new.
I’m gonna get healthy if it kills me!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Just you wait, Henry Higgins. Just you wait.

I haven’t written anything in a while. I just haven’t been feeling well…or feeling like writing. It’s not an excuse…it just is.
Monday starts my last two weeks in my classroom. While I’m sad to say goodbye to my babies, I’ve never been happier to leave a job in my life. And that’s saying something. I used to run the nursing department of a home health care company. Every day on the way to work I would fantasize about being in an accident. Not enough to be hurt, enough to not make it to work.
It’s not the kids, I adore them. Even the ones I don’t actually like. It’s the way the administrators (None of which have any early childhood experience.) never bother to ask the most important question.
What’s best for children?

I ask that question every single day. And I do my damnedest to answer it.

It disgusts me that they are treated like chattel with dollar signs on their chests. Is that what’s best for children?
If parents knew how decisions regarding their children’s care and education were being arbitrarily decided would that be acceptable?
But some parents don’t care. Their careers, their lives are more important to them and they’re content to believe the hype as long as someone looks after their children all day long.

No one gives a damn about emergent curriculum. Or learning through play. Or brain development.
Is that what’s best for children?

I’ve never been truly satisfied at this school. I’ve had moments of great joy. But I’ve always known it fit me ill.
It’s made me question my passion for early childhood education. It’s made me question my love for young children. I’ve been wrestling with “hanging up my spurs” for quite some time. It fascinates me that something beyond my control made the decision for me. Is the stress from this job really creating the sickness in my brain?

Perhaps I’m just a whiny crybaby? Perhaps I’m just lazy? Perhaps I simply don’t want to have to go to work everyday?
I’ve asked myself these questions. With the exception of the first one, the answer is no. (The answer to the first question is: occasionally.)

It’s occurring to me as I write this that as bad as that other job was, this one goes against my personal beliefs. That just might be why it feels so much worse. I care so passionately about young children and their beginning education that I absolutely cannot participate in the degradation of the most important time in a person’s life.
From zero to five years is when everything we need for our entire lives starts being built.

I was discussing with a couple we know, the brain situation and leaving my job under medical advice. The husband (Who is an engineer.) said something to the effect of: But all jobs are stressful. The wife (Who is a teacher at an elementary school.) replied something to the effect of: Teaching is so stressful. It’s not like other jobs. You can turn your brain off occasionally while you’re working. But we never can.
I agreed and said: I am almost constantly engaged with my kids. My brain works even harder than my body does. When a child comes to me with a question or is excited about an accomplishment, I have to be ready to go! I have to give that child my undivided attention while being completely aware of the others.

Most people have no real understanding of what early childhood educators do. It’s not quantifiable but it lays the foundation for every single moment of learning.

I’m going to step down off my soapbox.
I’m going to enjoy the last two weeks with my babies before they move into the “junior kindergarten program”.
I’m going to walk away with my head held high.

It occurs to me in this moment that I haven’t been writing because I was filled with all this poison. It was making me fell unwell. It was making me cranky.
Well, I’ve just spewed the poison it onto this page and I actually feel a great deal better.

Am I crazy?
Am I cutting off my nose to spite my face?
Are personal beliefs and principles so sacred that to go against them makes one ill?
Don’t we skew our principles a teeny bit just to make it through each day?

I don’t know the answers to those questions. Well, I’m pretty sure I’m not crazy…

I am going to take time in September and October to heal my brain. (I’m extremely stubborn so I plan to do that through the sheer force of my will.) I’ll take that time to finish wedding planning. I’ll spend a good deal of that time with my own precious Thing 2.
And when YBW and I come home from our honeymoon, I’ll find a new job. One that suits me and that I suit.

I’m reminded a little bit of Eliza Doolittle: Just you wait ‘enry ‘iggins. Just you wait.
My brain is Professor Higgins. Life is Professor Higgins. And just like Eliza Doolittle, I plan to show my brain and the world what’s up!

Categories: education, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

when I’m Queen of the World

Taurus horoscope:
A certain person or situation is not as “perfect” as you would like it to be. In an ideal world, things would be quite different. In an ideal world, the accessories of your life -including the people in it and the situations that exist within it – would be entirely different. There would be no trouble. There would be no conflict. Everything would be a mirror image of your imagined ideal life. If that actually happened though, Taurus, you would find it dull. What you really need to do is to revel in the imperfection that is your life. Enjoy it. Appreciate it. That is the key to a happier existence.

YBW likes to tease me about my love of reading and finding meaning in my horoscope. It’s OK though, it doesn’t bother me. I really do love to read it and see if and or how it’s applicable, but I don’t let it rule my life.
But this one…this one kicked me right in my uptight-control-freak ass.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said: When I’m Queen of the World… or When I run the World…
I like things the way I like them and I have no shame. I can see so clearly how it ‘could’ be and quite possibly ‘should’ be.
This is not to say that I truly think I know what’s best for everyone. I just know how I’d like it to be for me. If I could make it so then I would like it most.

But as my horoscope so helpfully points out, I might be bored out of my skull if every thing was exactly the way I imagined I’d like it.

When Thing 1 and I talked about the swelling in my brain I teased her about how I’d been telling her and Thing 2 for many years that I was going to try to less uptight, that I was going to attempt to be less of a control freak and this situation was actually forcing me into doing that.
She expressed her humor and pleasure that this scary medical condition had something positive going for it.

So here I am, realizing that I can’t control everything no matter desperately I long to try. Realizing the actions of others don’t really impact me unless I let them. I’m attempting to let the “little things” slide. Things that would have made me frustrated and angry, I’m just shrugging them off. I can’t let those things rule my emotions.

YBW told me last week that I’ve been a “hater” that I’ve spewed a great deal of hate lately. I kind of lost my shit and began to cry. I screeched that I am in pain every single day. I’m miserable every single day. I’m working my ass off at school and home every single day.
I’m acutely aware of how unpleasant it is to be around me! I’m me! I’m miserable and feel horrible. I have raging pain most days and dull, residual pain every single day. I knew the meds weren’t working and I knew I was suffering from the side effects. I saw the neurologist and she changed my meds. I have to wean off one but can start the new one in the process. The meds for acute pain wasn’t helping so that was changed to one that we know works.
I don’t know if it’s psychosomatic, but the first morning after the new meds I woke up feeling better for the first time in weeks.

I can’t control any of this medical stuff and it has negatively impacted every aspect of my life for the past two months.
Would I like to create a “perfect” situation from this hot mess? Absolutely.
Would I find it dull? Absolutely not.
Can I change it? Nope.
Am I going to fret about it? I’m working my ass off to not.

I’m focusing on the benefits of these new meds. I’m focusing on healing my brain. I’m focusing on the time I have with my little three and four year olds. I’m focusing on the excitement surrounding our wedding. I’m surrounded by love.
And it really ‘could’ be the key to a happier existence.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

way to go, brain

I got good news from the neurologist yesterday. The swelling in my brain is no longer increasing!!
WOO HOO!
My brain is still swollen.
They’re still not quite sure why.
But it seems to be holding steady where it is.
I’m thankful for “just” swelling because it isn’t increased swelling.
Good work getting it together, brain. Keep up the good work.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

my wonky head and Grinch-y heart

When I woke this morning I knew it was going to be a wonky head day. Not really bad, just that weird “full” feeling from the swelling and moderate pain behind my right eye.
Then I got the news my co-teacher wasn’t coming in today after I already got there, only tentatively ready to start my day. So I sucked it up and quickly made a new plan about how it would play out when the kids finally came to school.

In the midst of that madness, I saw an email from YBW to me and the darling rector of the church we’ve been visiting and where we’re getting hitched.
This is what it said:

Hi A,
I know that you had said that you needed to be told “yes I want to be married” in some fashion or another. So this is me letting you know that…
Yes, I want to marry Robynbird.
I know Robynbird has her stuff together, and I’ll be getting my stuff as well.
I think I can speak for both of us that we really do look forward to working with you.
Thanks,
–YBW

How precious is this man!?!
Reading these words made my Grinch-y heart grow three sizes today!

I know he wants to marry me…we’ve talked about it. We picked a date and a venue and a ring. He stood bravely and spoke eloquently in front of people who ridiculed him during his formative years and asked me to be his wife. We’re actively planning a wedding. But something about seeing it actually written down for someone else was special to me.

Trying on my shoes made it feel real. Reading his words made if feel legit. (Must remember adult vocabulary skills.)

Anyway, my head is still wonky. Meds, an icepack, and dinner helped…it’s only 6:30, but I’m toying with the idea of going to bed to see if it makes the last little bit of difference. Stupid swollen brain…I’m so over this ridiculousness. (Wow. I sound like a petulant child.)
That’s OK though, YBW still wants to marry me. (Yeah, I giggled when I wrote that…what’s it to ya?)

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

how a swollen brain can lighten the load

I’ve had a migraine since the day after my birthday. My birthday was the twelfth of this month. The first day I woke without migraine symptoms was Saturday. Saturday was the twenty-third. So for a solid ten days I suffered a migraine.
I’ve experienced migraines since I was too young to say anything other than ‘my tongue is funny’ and then burst into tears holding my head. (One of my auras is that my tongue and lips go numb.) So I’m pretty adept at dealing with the nausea, light and sound sensitivity, and brain crushing pain. I’ve been on pretty much any over the counter med you can think of and prescription meds from imitrex to percocet.

In addition to this migraine, I had swelling in my brain. (Yes, I know this is a migraine symptom, but for some reason the neurologist assured me it was not related.) Stroke runs in my family. My grandmother dropped dead of an aneurysm in her mid fifties. So I have been…a bit concerned about my brain.
I’m taking toradol for the swelling now. (God, it makes me so nauseous!) I’m trying topamax for the first time. (Arrivederci, my beloved Nectar of the Gods. Diet DP tastes like…well I can’t describe it…but it’s absolutely foul.)

I refused to go down the road paved with “what if”…but I do see the road there…and it makes me anxious. This is the only brain I’m ever going to have. I need it! I need to keep it happy and healthy and definitively unswollen(!), thank you very much!
I’m being mindful about taking good care of my brain. Paying attention to stress and keeping my body healthy so my brain can be healthier.
I’m reminded of Dennis from The Python’s Holy Grail, I’m thirty seven! I’m not old!
I keep thinking, I’m forty four! I’m not old!
I’m about to marry the man I waited my whole life to find. I need to be as healthy as humanly possible! My brain has to get it together and remain the proper size so I can have a wonderful rest-of-my-(REALLY-FREAKING-LONG)-life!

I suggested to YBW I leave my job at the end of summer when “summer camp” is over and this group of children move on to their “PreK” class when “school” starts in the Fall. I suggested this rather randomly, out of the blue when we were otherwise engaged in tedious home improvement tasks in our kitchen with our backs to each other listening to the Nats game on the TV in the next room. Turns out that was exactly what we needed to have that pretty serious conversation. He felt pretty strongly that if the last two weeks were an indication of the way the job impacts my health it was time to move along.
I’ve really not been sick since we’ve been together. I think it scared him a little. I know it scared me, and I’ve lived through ever single one of my sicknesses.

I wrote my resignation letter yesterday and when I signed my name the weight that lifted from my chest surprised me. It was bigger than I had ever realized. I’ve needed to lighten this load for so long.
I’ve told my co-teacher. She cried. I’ve told some other teachers, a couple of parents. I told the assistant director. My director is on her honeymoon. She and I will have a conversation when she returns.

I believe I made the best choice for me. For my good health. For my family. And even for the families of the children I teach. I can be with them until they would leave me anyway. (As long as my brain holds out.)
I feel peaceful in my decision.
I feel my body figuring out how to heal itself.
My brain and I have spent every single moment of the last forty four years together we need to keep up the good work.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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