We were the closest family possible. Our world was turned upside down on 05/03/09 when my best friend, the person I love most next only to our children, my sister Trina was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Her body gave out on her on 01/09/10 but she will ALWAYS be a part of our daily life and will continue to be in my posts. I started my blog to chronicle our daughter's international adoption from Guatemala and have continued to use it as a journal.

What you will find is my family trying to adapt to our new lives that were handed to us.



Monday, March 31, 2014

Fragile

I know I've spoken before of feeling emotionally fragile but this time I had a bit of a psychiatric breakdown.

In all of my years of battling depression, in the lowest of my lows, even before I started life changing medication, I was always able to do the things I needed to. I was able to get up, go to work, take care of the responsibilities I had. Even after sissy died (I cannot stress how odd it still is to have to write that) I always got up and took the kids to school, did what I had to do. Sometimes it was the bare minimum of what I had to do but I did it.

Last week I didn't.

Thank goodness Beya and Papa's work hours are so that they were able to get the kids ready for school, take them to school, pick them up from school, take them to soccer practice, etc.... I could not get out of bed.

Literally, could not get out of bed.

I slept all day. Mom was worried and asked if I needed to be taken to the ER. I refused but I had no idea why my body was reacting the way it was. Thursday things kind of came to an emotional head and that was it. I couldn't deal with one more thing. Not looking at the lunch menu. Not showering. Not even making it to the living room. I was in bed. And this is all after my psychiatrist increased my Abilify (a medication specifically for bipolar depression).

Luckily this emotional and physical shut down lasted only a few days but it was a long few days. Nobody but those around me knew of it.

Until now.

The reason I'm writing this is because I talk about my bipolar. I talk about my grief. I talk about my depression. I talk about my shortcomings. And to anyone who feels the same, or has had the same moments, you are not alone. Depression can affect anyone. It can vary in degrees. It can come and go. It can debilitate you. It can pull down into a darkness you never thought you could climb out of.

But you can.

It can knock you down, take everything out of you and spit you out leaving you empty and broken.

But you can put yourself back together and become stronger for it.

You can think you have a handle of it and think you've got it under control and then have an episode hit you and make you realize how fragile you really are.

I know I did.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Asa

About a month ago Asa underwent some testing for the highly capable and gifted program at school. They are looking for the top 5-10% of students. I knew it would be a while before we found out if he passed or not. The testing was pretty intense, it took two days and they did interviews with him, not just paper and pen exams. I had told myself that I kind of didn't want him to get in as it is just so foreign to me. Plus that means that he will be under more stress. That said, he has been complaining that the school work is easy and that he's bored in school. That, to me, is a wide open road to trouble. At first I was against his even testing but I put my big girl panties on and agreed to have him tested. 


Yesterday, Friday afternoon, Asa's teacher emailed me letting me know the good news, ASA GOT IN!!!!!! I'm still a little weirded out by having such a smarty parts in the house but most of all I'm proud of him!!!! Asa seems to learn by osmosis. He can be working on something and hear a conversation between two different people in another room and have the TV on and he'll be able to keep up with all three things and KNOW about them! I think he was the only one in Kindergarten who actually had their teacher stand back and let Asa take over the history/geography lesson for the day so Asa could inform his fellow 5 and 6 year old classmates about Iran and Jerusalem Israel and the Middle East, all the while keeping politics out of it. 

Can I say it again? 

I'M SO PROUD OF ASA!!!!!!

His mum mum got him off to a perfect start!!!!!

FUCK THIS SHIT!!!!!

Make way cuz mama's having some REAL problems now! Forget that whole ADD shit, that was just a detour to iTunes iHell for my iPhone.

All I want is to simply have the same customized ring tone(s) I had for Norm that I had on my BlackBerry. It was soooo easy to make anything a ring tone for my dearest BB. It is times like this that I mourn my white BlackBerry aka Gladiator (from Scandal).

I have scoured the internet. I have looked at videos. I have done what I was supposed to do and I still have no figured out how the hell to do this bullshit magic wizardry trick they claim CAN get done. I've even gotten as far as have my ring tone (ringtone? Is it one word or two? Is this my problem?) ON MY PHONE under music. But when it pairs with my iTunes on my laptop I CAN'T GET THE DAMN THING TO MOVE OVER TO TONES!!!!!!!

SO! I am offering a $15 gift card to Cold Stone Creamery to the first kick ass chick or gallant steed to help me end this once and forever and let me finally hear the oh so sweet live intro to "Zooropa" when my husband calls. Come one people, you KNEW it had to be a U2 song, didn't you?

Let the race commence. Don't make me feel like an idiot and have to take it in to a tech place and make them do it.

"Please.
Please.
Get off of your knees now
Please,
Please,
Please.
September streets capsizing
spilling over down the brim
shards of glass splinters light your face
but you can only hear your own whim
October, November, December
we just started again.
Please
Please
Please
Cuz love is hard
and love is tough
but love is not what your thinking of."



Again, you didn't think I could leave without yet some more appropriate U2 lyrics did you? My apologies to U2 if I got some words mixed up, I'm pissed off at this iTunes thing AND listening to Kings of Leon AND up at 3 am AND in the midst of a manic state, duh.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Diagnosis

This post is not a flowery, poetic post. It's a flat out, facts and my opinions only post.

Valentina was diagnosed with ADD this week.

I have suspected that she had it for about a year. I asked her teachers last year if she had any problems concentrating at school because she sure does at home. They brushed it off as simply Kindergarten age behavior. Ok fine. Great. I was placated and figured she was just not applying herself. Then first grade started and she began to struggle in school and with homework at home. There was one evening where it took me a full hour to make her do her homework. It was exhausting because there was a lot of screaming, kicking, tears (on her side, I kept mine in check but inside I was sobbing with frustration also) and flat out denial. When Valentina learned that I meant business she finally did her homework and it took her all of about 10 minutes. This is just one example out of a hundred.

I have a great relationship with both of the kids' teachers and I especially love Valentina's because Asa had her too and we just really clicked. Because I try to keep a good relationship and open communication with their teachers, I only have one parent/teacher conference a year at the beginning. After that they just tell me what is going on whenever I see them and there is no need to sit me down and review anything.

Last month I got a notice from Valentina's teacher that we needed a conference.

I knew it was going to be related to her lack of concentration and I was right. I was there talking to her teacher for about an hour (our time allotted was only 15 minutes). Towards the end of our conversation she said "you know, I wouldn't say this to any other parent but she might have ADD." I wanted to cry right then and there because I "knew" without "knowing" that the teacher was right.

This started the ball rolling and here we are now, several doctor appointments later, lots of tears later, lots of working with Valentina at home trying to get her to concentrate better later, and a LOT of research later and she has been officially diagnosed.

I don't want this to come off as a terrible thing. I know it isn't.

It's not cancer.

It's not a brain injury.

It's not life or death.

It's pretty minor in the grand scheme of life.

That said, it has been exhausting.

Our main thing was deciding whether or not to medicate.

I abhor the thought of my 7 year old having to take mind altering medication. I've been very grateful and thankful to talk to several friends who are walking down this very path and they have been very open and honest about their decisions.

After talking to our doctor, who knows all about this firsthand, his son is ADD and his wife is a special ed teacher so I'm very thankful for him, we have made the choice to not medicate at this time. Our game plan is to work with her at home and pretty much reteach her everything in a visual and tactile way since that is her learning style. We will also be enrolling her into private behavior and tutoring counseling. She will have to be pulled out of school for a few hours in order to do this but both the doctor and Valentina's teacher agree it is well worth it. Again, I'm very fortunate to have the support of our doctor and teacher. We can't get this started soon enough as Valentina is having more and more problems in school. Our plan is to get her through this school year while having her in counseling and doing therapy at home and then in the fall sit down with the doctor and talk medications. I just hope to make it through the school year before having to put her on meds.

So that is it.

Again, I cannot stress enough that I know this is minor compared to 90% of other "problems". I just never wanted my child to have a learning disability. I never wanted her to have to struggle so much in school. I never wanted there to be such a difference between my kids' academic lives. Asa recently underwent testing for the accelerated and highly gifted program and Valentina is almost the exact opposite. She IS smart, she DOES learn, she just struggles with it. A lot. But man, the girl has street smarts and she can learn.

So that is what has been going on with us, along with a bunch of other boring and stressful things on top of this. This is yet another time I'm not re-reading, grammar checking or verifying the spelling, I'm just posting.

One last time I want to say that I know this isn't the end of the world, this isn't horrible, this isn't even close to being something detrimental.

The worst thing about all of this?

I really miss my sister and wish I could talk to her about this and bounce ideas back and forth with her.

I miss her so much.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

As I was napping this afternoon I was having one of those dreams. One of those where I'm crying, even in my dreams, because I feel so hollow yet so full of grief. As I was getting ready for the day this morning I almost broke down just thinking how much I miss having my sister with me, to talk to, to joke with, to gossip with, a million other things. Yesterday when I pulled into school to pick up the kids I saw a woman in the backseat and I was overwhelmed with the memory of mom, sissy and me picking up the kids together. The problem with this memory is that it never happened. Trina died before the kids started school. The three of us never picked up the kids together but I couldn't remove the "memory" from my brain.

I want to just delete this post and forget about it but in the words of my dear friend when I talked about doing the same with an email half written to her, "just send, never delete, just send."

Thank you Jen.

I'm posting. No spell check, no grammar check, just post.