Friday, May 6, 2016

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

What I have experienced since sending out my blog is worthy enough (in my opinion) to go on the Huff Post Community Kindness page. If you haven't read their happy news page, here it is:

 I have been getting a steady stream of calls, text messages, emails, and even mail from family, friends, and people I haven't talked to in years but that I have been fortunate enough to meet in the last 10 years of my adult life. 

Every day, I get at least a handful of nice messages and they always seem to arrive at the perfect time. I'm either sitting in my ice cube (this is what Connell and I refer to my bedroom now that we have regressed to sleeping in separate rooms so he doesn't get frost bite), at an appointment, in line at the grocery store, walking back from the pool.

At any of those moments, I may be enjoying a blissful moment of not wanting to scratch my skin off, or on the verge of crying and telling Inez that it's really important that she just come out now. or practicing my deep breathing, or wondering what the hell I was thinking when I decided to run an errand at 3 pm when it's 80 degrees outside.

I remind myself in those moments of sheer frustration and anger that I can't ask for my itching to go away, simply for it ease up so I can breath, talk, listen, and give Inez a moment of not flooding her with stress dose hormones coming out of my pores. 

I think of Connell's words in some of the conversations we have had about emotional intelligence. 
"Lean into discomfort" 
It's my only option at this point, and I try to remind myself of it. 
Let me give you a pick me up. Here's an almost finished picture of my version of the countdown chain

The chain starts at week 30 and every tag is for a day of that week

I flip the cards over when I get to that day and read your awesome inspiring messages
FYI- Wk 31 tag is so old- I'm definitely 31+2 today, but whose counting?

36...waiting patiently
I haven't decided where it belongs yet

Here are some of the lovely things I have gotten in the mail lately that are helping keep me busy and distracted

On top of all of that, my mom and my brother have come to visit me, some of my co-residents came over and brought us dinner, flowers, and gifts on Sunday! I have received about 20 funny videos, pictures, and reminders of  old memories in the last week.

Basically, what I'm saying is- you all are incredibly loving people that are keeping me going every day, I don't feel alone, and you have reminded me of the love and humanity that exists around us. I can't thank you enough for that.

A medical update- my meds still aren't really doing anything for my itching, light therapy is giving me a wicked tan so it looks like I lay out in the sun everyday, my labs are stable (woo-hoo!), and Inez is looking good and a bit too comfortable.

My last thought for now- I need to tell you how amazing Connell is, no really. More than you probably already know. I have a feeling every day that I suck because I can't do much of what resembles my normal life. Connell has picked up the slack, with a smile and showering our little man and I with love, while cooking us meals. Seriously, don't know where I found this guy.
A big shout out to his Mom on this Mother's Day Weekend for bringing such an incredible human into this world.

Did I already say thank you?
thank you, just once more. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Friends and Family,
I am asking for your help, your support, your words, your love.

I have Cholestasis of Pregnancy again, this time a bit sooner than I did with Xavi- I'm 2 weeks into the battle and I'm 29 weeks and 1 day pregnant today. The only cure is delivery which is not safe until I am closer to 36 weeks.

I feel ridiculous for considering taking disability because I am itching. But it's more than that.
For those of you who know me, you know I am usually not one to complain, I'm not great at asking for help, I think I'm strong and confident most of the time and there are a few things in life that I really love. On the top of that list: Playing with my boys, snuggling my Xavi, going to the park or hiking, or any outdoor adventure with them, I love running/walking in the sun, cooking, going to the beach, I love being a doctor, and despite the hard work and long hours that come with residency, it gives me a sense of value and belonging- I love it.

When I have cholestasis, I can't do most of those things.

Imagine your body, first of all- pregnant (for those of you who have had the pleasure of experiencing this). Step 2- add the sensation of ants crawling on your body, ALL OF THE TIME. They permeate places you didn't think you could have a sense of crawling or itch, including the inside of your ears, the edges of your nails, your eyebrows, the inside of your belly button. When sun or heat hits your skin (including human touch) or when you walk into a warm room, the sensation intensifies. At night, it gets worse, the areas of your body that you lay on get hot and create "ant farms" and they spread all over your body, but get worse in the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. Scratching is almost euphoric but does nothing to stop the itch.

The only temporary relief comes from taking a cold shower, cold enough that no one in their right mind would ever do the same. Sometimes rubbing ice packs over your skin helps, and sitting in a cold room, ideally with a thermostat set at 67, oh and wearing no clothes because seams, tags, and creases make it worse.

I won't traumatize you anymore with the details. Needless to say, I can sit around and feel sorry for myself for losing all normalcy in my life and scratch my skin off, but that sounds stupid and hopeless.

Instead, I'm sitting in a cold room, taking lots of showers, swimming in the pool before the sun is too high in the sky, embracing 2 hours of consistent sleep, hugging my family for short spurts at a time, making cold foods and eating lots of popsicles,

I also plan on reading and crafting with the small periods of mental clarity I can get between the times I look like Dave Chappell in his Tyrone Biggum's skit (not PC, but if you haven't seen it, please you tube it).

My family and friends who already know what is going on have been sending me count downs, and today as I talked to my obgyn, she told me about a paper chain countdown they used to do for their high risk antepartum patients. This brings me to the inspiration behind this blog.

My first project (other than helping make our graduation invitations) will be to make my own paper chain, but I need your words of encouragement to put on them.

I would love any inspiring or funny quotes, stories, words of any kind! Text me, email me, call me, whatever is easier for you. I will put each of your thoughts on my own paper chain to remind me that as isolating and dark as my favorite room in the house is right now, you crazy people that I love so much are out there and living it up, keepin' it real, until I pop this baby out and can come join you again.

Cheers to June 8th (my induction date), celebrating my small victories in the days between now and then, and the beautiful days that follow with our family addition- Inez Serafina Nolan.

I look forward to hearing from you!
Until then, I will be here ....

Monday, June 8, 2015

Sometimes I miss worrying about what I'm going to wear tomorrow, I miss smoking cigarettes without thinking about whether I am going to be a bad role model.

I want to laugh so loud that I snort, I want to leave the house without mascara on and feel sexy.
I get caught up in the voices in my head, those evil bitches are constantly reminding me to doubt myself, oh, I need to work harder you say? I work harder to prove to them their voices are just sounds. I shut them up for a minute before they start their low sneaky ass rumbling again.
BOOM. There they are again.
When I was 15, I wished I was 27. At 33, I wish I was 17.. okay maybe 22. 
But I remember now, those voices were louder then, I didn't even know they were there because they were me.
I am free of them to some extent. They are separate, not me. But they are still sneaky as shit.
I am beautiful, I am loved, I am kind, I am smart. Don't fuck with me.
And cigarettes are gross. But I like feeling beautiful when my hair is messy, my mascara is smudged on my cheek in the morning, Connell kisses me before I brush my teeth, Xavi smiles when I make him microwaved pancakes, and inside my very neat purse is a large pile of things I should have done 2 weeks ago, mixed in with a 2 yr old tea bag, a snickers wrapper, and my melted chap-stick.
There's nothing wrong with me for this. I am me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Freedom, Love & Devotion
Yet another year. 
I have nothing to explain. 
I have nothing to prove. 
I stand tall. 
I hold my chin up. 
This is my freedom.
It looks like this.

I love. 
But not always. 
It's hard to love sacrifice and loss.
When it's over and my feet ache, my soul is drained, my fingers search as they tuck under my pillow. My eyes burn from the sad air.
I arrive home to a gleaming smile, to a man I love with all I know. 
I arrive to a young mind whose small feet and round hands are owned by something larger than life. His hands wrap around my own and say "your hands are my hands mama." And I remember, I do love you sacrifice, I love you for what you give in return. This is my love.

Fill my insides with gratitude and truth.
I will give you my devotion. 
Having someone confide in you when they have trusted no one else in 30 years.
A patient that gives me hope and a smile when I just had to share life-changing news with them.
Seeing parents hold their newborn for the first time, beaming with love and awe.
Hearing from a teenager who was homeless until 3 months ago say to you "I want to do what you do when I grow-up." My trade is my devotion. 

This is who I am.

I stand tall.

I hold my chin up.

Monday, September 16, 2013

I carry your heart in my heart

When I was struggling to define who I was and who I wanted to be in this life I was overcome by incapacitating fear and anxiety of what I didn't know and couldn't control. A woman who was helping me through this difficult time asked me what kept the pieces of me together at this very trying time in my life. I couldn't describe it in words and I sat through therapy sessions in silence- not knowing what to say. One day an image of what that glue was sprung out of my insides as an image of this beautiful, strong, loving, caring, kind, and compassionate woman- it was my grandmother. With her warm heart and fierce eyes, she sat there smiling at me with her chin high radiating love long enough to wrap you up, turn you upside down, hug you and squeeze all your fears, sadness, and tragedy into nothing. And all of a sudden it all felt okay.

 I saw in my grandmother everything I needed to learn for myself and the kind of love I needed to learn to give myself. I now carry her heart in my heart and I believe this now more than ever. We lost this beautiful woman a few weeks ago and although there was a moment in my mind that felt like all my insides would fall apart, it didn't. Because she lives in me always now. And I know that she lives in so many of us. 
I have had the fortune to care for some individuals recently with her same strength, love of life, and unmeasurable gratitude. I thank you nana, and I thank you all who have continued to teach me how to cement the pieces of me together to appreciate most of my living days, love endlessly as best I can, and raise a beautiful little man with my husband- a man I love more than words can describe and who I am incredibly grateful for. That's all I have for words right now.

I carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart. - E. E. Cummings
(Thank you Annie)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

When I was 13, I lived with my aunt, uncle, and 3 cousins for a short period of time. That was one of the first times in my life that I felt derailed, lost, detached. It was September and high school had started again. I layed in bed staring at the stucco that would appear everytime the helicopter overhead flashed its lights passed our barred window. Just 20 minutes earlier, I was laying in a similar position, dosing, half-asleep. 3 loud booms blared in my ears after the sound bounced off the metal and screen of our window.
I opened my eyes and called for my cousin in the dark room: "did you hear that?"
Ale: "yea, that was close"
Me: "I think it's at the neighbors house"
Ale: "probably a drug deal gone bad"
Me: "yea, I hope it's over"

A car drove by, rolled down its windows or maybe opened the doors. It could have been either. They opened fire in the direction of our neighbors house. My cousin was probably right. Drug deals happened in that house, a lot of people came and went, when we were younger we played in that yard. This happened frequently. Sometimes the shots were fired at our neighbors, sometimes at a house down the street, sometimes at someone walking down our street.

We woke up to a bullet lodged in the frame of our bedroom window. At that moment, nothing in my life- nothing I had ever seen or experienced would have even allowed me to imagine what my life is like now.
I graduate from medical school in 10 days. In the midst of packing, spending last moments with people who have become cherished friends, I took a moment to think about where my life is right now and I can't ever help but wonder: how did I get here?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!
-Dr. Seuss

I don't have words to describe today. I thought a lot about a topic that Connell has been toying with and it's the idea that having a trade can feel to have a different meaning and provide purpose in a persons life. Most of us need purpose but do we all need a job that is "trade-like?" Or can we get purpose from a task that is less tangible, less able to be packaged and presented, less able to sustain a human being, to sustain our society?
I thought about this today because most things I did were with my hands- I rocked X to sleep, I held his bottle to feed him, I roasted apples for him, I mashed them, I fed him. My hands pushed a wood car with wheels across the floor to bring a smile to his face. I suppose this is what it feels like to be a stay-at-home mother. It was spectacular- granted I have only been doing it for 3 days.
It reminds me a bit of teaching- you work diligently to create lessons that are not only educational, but thoughtful, pertinent to the day to day life of your students, your plan gets broken and you rebuild- you rebuild- you replan- you improvise- at the end of the day the last ribbon of your thoughts is wrapped around the student who blew you away with what he or she learned- this happens at a moment when you think your lesson was unsuccesful. and there you have it- your package, pieced together and presented in front of you. Just as with parenthood- at the end of each day no one else sees what you have done except for yourself.
But as a parent- there is a smile wide and full enough that it might fall off your face, your heart is warm, your life has never had more meaning, and it doesn't matter what anyone else sees or thinks you did. You know the intricate details of the day that filled your belly with joy and laughter.

The White Bean and Kale Experiment

 The Taste Test

 Roasted Apples (who knew these were this amazing!)
This is batch number 2 because I ate the first one while baby was napping

Did you know how pretty steel cut oats are?
Taste Test Number Two

Parenting Lesson: Never leave food bowl unattended or this will happen:

 That was it- that was my day. Oh, okay and these too...

I gave him a haircut (see picture on the left)
And then we played
What will tomorrow bring?
Dr. Seuss, I know our mountain is waiting....but I need a nap.
I promise tomorrow morning I will get on my way!