Monday, December 24, 2012

Are you happy...

One night, many years ago in w different life, when I was putting my 1stDaughter to her crib, she asked me, "Are you happy and proud of me, Daddy?" And I told her, "Oh, yes! I am very happy and proud of you!" I tried to always make her know that I am very happy and proud of her.

Some nights, when I go to bed I fond myself wondering if I make my dear ones happy and proud of me.

Tonight, more than my dear ones, I want to know if my Poppa is happy and proud of me.  I want nothing as much as I want to hear Him say to me, "Well done my good and faithful Daughter!"

Saturday, November 17, 2012

You're my Mom!

I am sometimes (often? most of the time?) a very insecure person.  I don't understand what I mean to a lot of the people I love.  I have a very hard time thinking I am special.  And yet I have all these marvelous people who love me and think that I am truly a rare find!  But I don't understand it at all.

I have tried to be a good mom to my Second Daughter.  It is a challenge, not because of her, but because I do not want to let her grow up and be who she is.  I want to hold on to her and to be involved in everything she does.  But she has grown up and has earned her freedom and a life to call her own.  I am not doing well with "empty nest."

And when she is with me, when we are together, I don't understand why she wants to spend time with me.  I am a wet-blanket and nothing like as fun as her boyfriend or some of her girlfriends.  And when I bemoan my lack of understanding, she tells me, in exasperation, "You're my Mom!" like that explains everything!  I stand there without any comprehension of what it means to her for me to be her mom.  I don't know why I don't understand.

Tonight, I got a clue...

I was the oldest, the first-born, of three brothers.  I do not remember feeling special to my mother.  I was never able to make her feel proud of me.  Nothing I did was good enough.  I could not make her show me her love.  After Poppa knows how long, I became just this child, confused and alone, who lived in the same house with my mom and dad and my brothers.  I felt no real connection to anyone but my next younger brother (who happened to be Mom's favorite.)

I have no experience of what it means to love my mom.  I have no reference point when Debra tells me, "You're my Mom!"

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Dealing With Anger . . .

  . . . Finally!
At my therapy session last week, I brought up something in my current life where I could see me acting out in anger. I was curious and worried where it came from.  It had to do with a relationship with a man and . . . while I don't have an attraction or an antipathy to men, in this one context I could see myself taking out my anger, punishing, a man.  It isn't pretty in my imagination.  It isn't who I want to be.  I don't believe it is who I am.  
I wanted to explore where it came from.  I wasn't so much interested in dealing with my anger, just understanding where it came from and, hopefully, keep that demon bottled up.

I've been seeing my therapist for almost four years.  She is an excellent match for me and a lot of the things I have worked through she has been a huge help and support. But!  But, it took me well over a year to express my sadness and sorrow and grief to the point where I could cry in front of her.  I am sure she was wondering when or if I would ever get to my anger.

When I was younger, a long, long time ago and in a galaxy far, far away ...  up 'til I was about 15, I had a very volatile, very violent temper.  I didn't get in to more than a few physical confrontations with people, but I broke a lot of things in my anger and rage.  The last real outbreak of my anger, that I can remember, was with my Dad.  I started a physical fight with him.  I wanted to hurt him and hurt him bad!  He was 44 at the time, in fairly good physical shape and in reasonable command of his body.  I was fifteen, bigger than he was but I really didn't know anything about fighting with another person.  The result was that I couldn't do anything to him but kind of wrestle around.  Mom came out to break up the fight.  Dad said we were just funnin' and laughed it off.  My mom looked at me and said, "I don't think so."  Dad never really laid a finger on me, but he cut me to my heart with the way he dismissed and made a joke of my anger.  That was the last time I really let my anger out.  After that...  after that, I would be obviously angry on occasions, but I wouldn't say anything or do anything outward -- I would just steam inside.  My anger would be very hard for me to let go.  Over time, I've come to bury it deeper and deeper.  I would just eat it. (and eating is one of the things I do when I'm angry -- there's a reason I'm 40lbs overweight)  I tried to be an "adult" about it and rationalize my anger.  I would very rarely take it out and look at it and own it or find the legitimate things about what I was angry about and deal with them.
Ephesians 4:26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not make room for the devil. So says Poppa's Book.  I don't know that I've heard of where it says how to  "be angry but sin not.."  but the point is, being angry is a legitimate emotion.  Where things are wrong are in rage and in not processing the anger.  In my head, I knew, know this verse, but never, Never have been able to own my anger and deal with it in a way that is healthy for me and healthy for those around me.  I just don't really know how.
And my anger scares me!  Scares me to death!  I don't know where the anger ends and the Rage begins.  I don't know when I'm being angry over nothing or over little things or when I am angry about a principle that is important to me.  I am afraid I might do physical harm to people I love.  I am afraid I might irreparably damage and tear relationships that are precious to me.  I am afraid I will end up alone.  For these reasons, I pull into myself, away from people and try to just let things cool to a place where I can function with people again.  But I do not deal with the anger.
And I have a lot to be angry over. Some of it reasonable, some not so...
I am angry that I didn't do what I could to transition in college when I first thought of it.  Or again when I was in my thirties.  I am angry I threw away the opportunity to be a young and reasonably attractive woman.  I am angry that I threw away a chance to have a life-partner.
By keeping the secret of my gender (even from myself in a lot of ways), I froze out people who I wanted desperately to have a close relationship with.  That especially includes my Ex and my Children.
I am angry that my Ex abandoned me.  I deserved better -- "In sickness and in health, till death do us part."
I am angry that my First Daughter and Son abandoned me.  I  deserve better!  I gave up my girlhood so they could get through college before having to really deal with their Dad's gender.
I am very angry that one of my mentors when I first came out threw away our relationship.  
I am angry that a woman I had thought my best friend (after my Second Daughter) has cut me off.
I am angry that another really good friend doesn't talk to me anymore.  She thinks I've abandoned her but she left the relationship a long time before I stopped making the effort.  I am angry that I don't know how to reach out to her.
I have all this anger and more and I do not know at all how to tap it to let the anger go and be healthy.

My therapist was almost bouncing that I started to express my anger.  And assured me that our sessions are a safe place for me to express my anger.  But I need to learn how to express it in my everyday life in a way that is honest and authentic with the people I love.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

When Am I Good Enough . . . For Me?

This is a follow up to the blog "Disaappointing Day ..."  There were many things in that post that I touched on that I feel I need to explore.

In the sixties there was a song, "Red Rubber Ball" and one of the lines was "There is a lesson to be learned from this and I learned it very well."  It seems appropriate to me.  The constant message that I didn't measure up, that my best wasn't good enough, that nothing I could do was enough to earn the love and praise of my parents, indeed, my whole family, was not at all wasted on me.  I can be a little slow and a lot clueless but I usually do "get it" eventually.  I learned this lesson much too well.  I could not do, be, act, good enough to please the people who loved me.  Ever!  When faced with that, there are two options: either you decide you don't care and you do as you please, or you redouble your efforts and become your own Judge, Jury, and Executioner.
I cared.
I cared and internalized all of the expectations I ever felt placed on me by my parents.  Their expectations simply became the foundation of my own expectations.  There has always been a level of performance, of achievement, that I expected [be honest now! it's expect!] to work to.  And along with the expectation of my achievement has come my expectation of falling short, indeed!, of faliure.  Because, "Good" wasn't "Good Enough," "Good" became another word for "Failure."
This has had a very significant effect on my life.  There have been many paths I tried to take, started to take that were doomed from the begininning because I expected to fall short and I was right.  Self-fulfilling Prophecies.  And many, many other paths that I did not dare to take because I knew ahead of time I would not be good enough, that I would fail.
I could not make the idea of "Better to have dared and lost . . ." be considered seriously in my life.
This way of thinking, this way of living, poisons my life, corrodes my dreams, and strangles my loves.  This idea that everything I do or want fails is the bedrock of the feeling that "Everybody I love, leaves me."  I create the environment for my own distrust of everyone else.  My dear Second Daughter has had to be and continues to need to be so very patient with my lack of trust.
I don't apply for this job or that one because I don't want the rejection and the failure.  I don't attempt an activity that I would find enjoyable because I won't be good enough.  I turn into a wall-flower at parties because I believe no one wants to talk to a failure like me.
I have always admired the Bold.  The people who could essentially say, "Damn the torpedoes!  This is going to be Fun!"  It is very hard for me to go to parties where I don't know many people.  I don't know how to put myself out there for people to get to know.  And those people who know me think I'm somebody really special, a Somebody more than "Good Enough."  Somehow, some way, I have to risk!  I have to take chances.  And I must, Must! accept whatever my best is, is "Good Enough!"

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Disappointing Day...

~~  This is one of several posts 
~~  I started and hadn't been able 
~~  to finish.  They will be 
~~  appearing out of the chronology 
~~  of events.

Friday was a long, hard day.  It was a day of big emotions and big emotional swings.  I didn't handle things well.  It seems I never really do.  I can never do things the easy way.  I know the way I live my life must be a source of consternation and concern for the people I love and who love me.  It started early and didn't end 'til after midnight.  I was physically tired but more than that I was emotionally wrung out, emotionally tired.
Around 4AM I was roused by an IM message asking if I could take a friend to urgent care later in the day after they woke up.  Of course I can do this, and I told them so.  And rolled over and back to sleep.  My Dear-Heart of a puppy, Xena, does not have any concept of sleeping in.  She woke me around 7 and insisted we play or go outside so she could do her duty.  And my day was off and running.
I had hoped to try to go play golf, but not knowing when my friend would wake, I putzed around the apartment and did some chores.  And I, of course, did my usual 'net surfing.  One of the things I've been trying to change is being so dependent on my Second Daughter. I hate being needy! So, instead of my usual routine, I didn't say good morning to her first thing like usual.  I was hoping she'd initiate the day with me.  It didn't happen and I got a little more out of sorts as the day went on.  Silly Momma. 
A few days before, I had stared to fill out the online job application for barista at Starbucks.  I came to a place where I had to explain why I left my last employer.  Here, things got really hard.  I can answer the question, "I was terminated" just fine, but the "why" is really hard for me.  It brings the scene back to me in full force.  The things they accused me of doing just knots my bowels.  And the accusations are false; it's just what they used to fire the transsexual who had come out just a few weeks before.  But the shame stays with me still.  Still, I want to fill out the application honestly, so what do I do?
Last year I had the opportunity to share my experiences going to San Mateo with a young woman who has become like…  Annabelle's become another Daughter to me.  I gave her all the information I had and the links and pointers to information  that would help her through her surgery.  I offered my phone number and email to her to give to her mom who was going with her to San Mateo.  Her Mom, Sandie, and I have become so close these days that we are definitely Sisters.  She is another of the wonderful blessings Poppa has graced me with in this journey.  Sandie is sort-of retired from a career in Human Resources.  She asked me for my resume' last week to help me improve it, if that's possible.  I sent her an email asking how I address the firing.  She asked for more information and, in tears, I wrote the story again.  I waited for her response.  And I put off finishing the application.
I shared this with my Second Daughter.  She felt that this was a disappointing decision.  That I was putting off getting the application in seemed to be … not what I needed to do.  She knows better than anyone else that I really need work; that I need work with medical benefits and I need it soon.  I was already a week later than I wanted to be getting it done.  And she was right, I did need to get it done ASAP!  Friday, I was already upset with myself that I hadn't acted on this before.  I knew it was coming but I subconsciously did not want to go there.  
So my Second Daughter, Daughter of my Heart, was disappointed in me.  Like everyone else in my life.  I grew up, if you can call it that, in a household where good wasn't good enough.  My father never, ever, had any praises for me.  Very few expressions of disappointment, but I absolutely never felt like he was proud of me.  That left me with disappointed.  He never made many of my sports events and I felt he was disappointed with me, that I was less than he wanted me to be.  Mom on the rare occasions she was paying attention to me, would always tell me, "Good job, but …"  But it wasn't a good job because it always, _Always!_ could have been better.  Always, not good enough.  For as far back as I long as I can remember.  And the most important person in my life now, thought my decision to put off finishing my application was disappointing.  On the one hand, I understood her disappointment and she wasn't wrong, but I was crushed!  I tried to work through it because I knew I had to know the right way to address my firing, oh Poppa! it was hard.  
I took Xena out for a walk and to check my mail.  I saw that I had a bill from Swedish where I had gone when I had my stroke..  I have been waiting for this since I went in for my stroke.  Opening the bill and seeing the charges just floored me.  My Daughter was disappointed at me and I have bills that were going to be higher than if I had been able to get my surgery.  In tears again, walking back to my apartment, I heard myself mutter something  haven't said in almost 3 years, "I wish I was dead!"  I haven't been this low in a long time.  And background to this is Friday night was my son's graduation ceremony from seminary.  The graduation he very plainly didn't want me to attend.
Sandie got back to me eventually and I finished up my Starbucks app.  I told Debra that I'd finished the application and she said she was proud of me and that she knew I could do it.  But I continued to struggle with feeling "less than"  It was a couple days before I was able to come out of that funk.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Camping Trip To Tower Rock

Friday Evening
We are here.  The drive wasn't too bad for a Friday at the beginning of summer - it got slow in a few places but very, very little stop-and-go. I lost any cell phone signal about 30 miles from the camp.  It wasn't a big surprise.  When we got here, Xena and I found Gryph and checked in. We took a leisurely walk around the fish pond and then checked out different places to pitch our site. A lot of what looked prime to me at first turned out to be a bit soggy.  The tent was going up on a tarp so it really wouldn't have been a problem, but I wasn't happy anyway.  We found a place that seems dry enough kinda-sorta under some trees that should protect against a southern wind.  I staked Xena out and put up the tent.  It's like 45 degrees out but I busted a sweat fairly easily and I don't think I've cooled off much yet.

Saturday Morning
After I got the tent up and our stuff inside it, I got brave? reckless? foolish? I let Xena go off leash.  The little sweetheart was in seventh heaven!  She so loves to run!  And she never goes too far away and then it's like, "Oh! I gotta go check in with momma!" and she comes flying back and does a little orbit around me.  Then it's off to the races again!  She was all over the place!  She went rocketing around this one tree and charged onto the green covering.  What she didn't know was the green was covering a pond and wasn't something to go galloping across!  She's never been a dog that really likes the water, but she swam her way around to where she could get out.  Shook herself off and was off and playing again.
Where Xena swam through the green covering.

Momma sighed, went back to the car to get a towel to dry her off some.  I wasn't sure how hard I was going to have to work to catch her to wrap her in the towel but she came right to me on her own. dried her off as good as I could and she was set to go again.  Crazy puppy!  I decided she needed to go in her crate to dry off some more.  I'm really disappointed she's not going to be cuddling with me tonight. No way is she getting in the tent with me 'til she dries off good.
I'm a little surprised how much that disappoints me. 
I slept fairly well. Warm enough and the bag is big enough so I didn't get tangled up in it while I was sleeping. Missed having Xena In the tent.  I think she did ok in the car last night. 
I've been taking lots of pictures around the campground. And I've been doing something I haven't done before. I have taking almost all pictures on Auto rather than Program.  The pics are different. I think there is at least 2stops different in the exposure. I'll have to look at them in Lightroom to see other differences. It's been interesting. Errrmmmm, just checked the camera and Program was set for 1stop underexposed =(   

Saturday Afternoon
Okay, maybe I didn't sleep so good last night!  When breakfast was over, I went in to "town" to get some batteries and I was a little dozy driving.  I passed up several pictures I wanted to take because I just wanted to get to the store and back.  Some how I managed to totally miss the turn to the campground coming back and didn't realize it until I saw snow on one of the mountains I was heading to.  That was a bit concerning.  I turned around and opened the window on the CuRVe for the fresh, cool air.  Got back to camp, pulled up a chair by the fire and Xena and I both started to doze. After a bit, I got up and went to the tent and crashed... probably for a couple hours at the least.  Woke up, under protest, and found the "sore throat" I had come down with suddenly the night before was now a full blown head cold =(  
Everyone is back from the hike.  They only went as far as the one falls. The path was wet, muddy, and slick, but they had a good time. I decided yesterday the my AFib was going to keep me from making the trip. For me, this was a really sad thing to decide.  Necessary for my health, but very hard to feel good about.  One of things that not hiking meant was I couldn't retake the pictures of the falls.  I've wanted to retake those photos for two years!

Sunday Morning
COFFEE!!! Somebody get me some coffee!  Or tea!  My dear puppy, true to form, wanted me to get up sometime around 6ish. Maybe I should have kept her in the car last night. But it was nice to see her curled up in the corner.  And when we get home tonight I'm hoping she'll sleep in the bed with me.  I miss her sleeping with me. 
And I've missed my Daughter.  Not so bad as usual because it's been busier and there are always people around even if I'm not talking to them.  But I think of Debra often.  She doesn't camp anymore so she wouldn't have been here anyway, but I always want to share moments that are good for me with her. 
I've tried to not eat too bad and I've taken my meds and insulin.  Missed my meds Friday night but I've taken all the others. I haven't been monitoring my beegees but I feel ok.. The beegees are probably a bit high' but not out of control. 
I think Xena is ready to go home. She's been sitting quietly next to me at the picnic table. The little kids seem to be running out of gas and I missed the older boys having too much to drink last night. It's time to pack it up and go.  I didn't get any of my kitchen stuff out, so it's just the tent and sleeping bag and luggage.  I think I'm just going to toss it all in the CuRVe and sort it out when I get home.  I have to figure out what I have and what I don't. 
The wind is coming up and it seems colder - definitely time to go. 
Lookin' forward to seeing the people I love!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

All These Beautiful People

All these
And Exciting people!
I feel drab
Like old,
Apple to an Orange
I am not like these people.
Where is 
My Beauty,
My Passion?
Makes me
Makes me 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Emotional in Church

My daughter says I get emotional in church. And it is true. Like so much else in my life I have doubted myself, my beliefs and my faith. When I am in the sanctuary, I feel Poppa's presence. I feel his warm affections for me. How could I not be emotional, on the verge of tears, to know He Loves _me_? So many years I spent in shame for who I thought I was and the conviction that Poppa did not love me. But now I _Know_ He loves me! I know I am as He made me!  How can I not cry?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Looking through these eyes...

I catch myself, sometimes, thinking about how I see my world around me.  It occurs to me that I see a lot of my world the same as when I looked through these eyes and thought I was a man.  The feeling is that nothing has really changed in me.  At first that disappoints me.  I think that how can I be a woman, really?  I see things the same as before when I was a man.  And I do see things very much the same.  So what's different?  Where is the mismatch, the discontinuation?  The people who know me now cannot imagine me ever having been a man.  They experience me, my nature and spirit as a woman.  And I wonder, if I am a woman now and nothing has really changed in how I see, does that mean I was a woman before?  A woman trying to make life work living as a man? There is a great deal in my life that I have revisited and much of what I did makes more sense from a woman's point of view.  I just have a hard time accepting that I was a woman even then.  I wanted to be a girl, but I never thought of myself as a girl.  And maybe the wanting wasn't a needful thing, because I already was a girl.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wanting to Belong

I wasn't able to articulate part of what was going through my heart last night, part of why not having measurable breasts punched one of my [many, many] buttons. And that was/is a need to feel a part of, a need to feel I belong, a need to feel relevant.

The place my mind/heart went last night was, "If I got augmentation, I could be a part of that conversation and not outside - looking in."  And I've considered augmentationa number of times and have never been able to come to a hard-and-fast thinking about it.  That in itself advocates against the surgery.  But last night, the desire to have breasts of a more appropriate size to my body, the desirability of breasts, period, was fed by that need to be a part of my family and thinking that having to wear forms all the time made me ...  like a second class, shirt-tail relative.

My family reading this, probably, had some degree of visceral reaction to that statement.  And they are right to.  I know in my head, when I sit down and think of it, that I am as loved by my family as I can be.  Sitting in my daughter's car going home last night I was clinging to that knowledge by my fingertips.  Knowing in my heart and mind how much Debra loves me was all that kept me from losing it last night.

I have always needed to be a part of, to belong to/in/with a group.  When I was young, my Dad's job would change locations often, every 6-18 months.  All the friends I had made got ripped out of my life like noxious weeds.  This made me, on the one hand, desperate to make new friends, and on the other, I held back giving my full self because when we would move, I would lose a piece of me.

But more than anything else, the result has been that I have never done "alone" well.

I have been left with a need to be "a part of" that is so strong it drives me to consider breast augmentation for that reason alone.  I have been considering of late that my desire for Gender Confirmation Surgery has an element of being "a part of"  and there is the the lie that I tell myself that without the breasts and without the vagina I am not a "real woman" like all of my friends and family.  The reality is that I am no less a woman, no less "me" with this boy's body than if I had been born with XX chromosomes.  But like most truths, that gets buried in all the noise.  And most of the noise I generate myself.

So I am left with this Marvel-Comic Monster of a need to be a part of the life around me when the thing I truly do need, require for survival, require to thrive, is to love me for me.  Intellectually, I recognize that I am someone really special, but I am an emo kind of girl, always have been.  And emotionally, it's hard to get to that same place that I know how special I am. And how much I love myself for who I am.

In the end, more than anyone else, more than anything else, I need to belong to me.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Loving Me

Debra was over tonight for dinner.  It makes me feel really good when I can cook for her.  It's been a long time since she has come to where I live to have an evening with me and she hasn't been here to my new place for an evening since the night I first moved in.  It is definitely a Mom thing when I can cook dinner for her in my own place.  I've missed it.

After dinner we talked a little and then went over to a friend's to visit.  Lisa had eye surgery earlier in the day and we went by to say hi and comfort her.There were a couple other people there keeping her company.  Debra and the others got to talking aobut getting properly fitted for bra's.  I kinda got lost in the conversation.  After a while we left.  In the car, I struggled with trying to not let my body define me, and wrestling with breasts that are too small to measure and whether augmentation would be appropriate.  I very nearly lost it.  I told Debra where I was and she said she wondered why I was so quiet during the conversation.  Augmentation isn't the answer, though I don't really have a reason to not get implants.  I was ... am... grappling with trying to find that whole person I want to be, trying to love me for who I am.  I am so much closer to that place than I have ever been, but ... but I am not there just yet.a  The answer isn't in other people or in things or changes to my body or to the way I live, but simply in loving me and it is so very hard.

Monday, April 30, 2012

A Life Now Rich

I was sitting at the dinner table with my Daughter. She had made a dinner of baked salmon and rice. She poured and served me a glass of white wine. As I looked at the wine, I realized that my life before was extremely narrow. I rarely enjoyed a nice meal and quiet conversation.  I never enjoyed a simple glass of wine. In the growing time I've gone through these last almost three years, I've taken road trips and camping trips by myself. Trips alone I had only taken once in all my life before. And these new solo trips were as a woman alone. I have gone on weekend trips with the Daughter-of-my-Heart and will go on trips with my precious "niece.". I have had get-togethers and dinners with my friends that never happened before!

I have come to love more. I love a young woman as my daughter. Another young woman has become my favorite niece, her mother has become the sister I never had.  And a big sister at that! I have many new sisters and friends that I love dearly.  Another young woman told me I could be her honorary mom.  I have family I have never known before!

What surprises me, befuddles me, confounds and confuses me, is how much and how fiercely I am loved!  Confused, confounded, and befuddled because I have never!... never!... felt worthy of anyone's affections let alone their love. And I hear from my dear ones over and over and over again, "It doesn't work that way." And I hear again and again and again, that I deserve this love, that I deserve really good things in my life. I have been told that I am loved fierce because I love fierce! 

I cannot measure the depth nor the breadth nor the height of the riches I have in my life now.  It feels like fine velvet, soft yet full, a texture that is rich. A texture that is Love. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ocean Shores Getaway

Earlier in the day, I was really unhappy and very shaken [not stirred!] by the way things started.  I thought I had everything ready to go and we popped on to I-90, headed over to I-5 South.  About Boeing Field, we realized I had forgotten all my meds and insulin.  We turned back.  There was just no going through the weekend without my insulin =(  I  found my meds, tossed them [literally] in the car and we were on our way!  A little south of Tacoma, we figured out that I left my purse, drivers license, and cards at home!  Let's see... the word "consternation" comes to mind but it is several magnitudes short of how I felt about leaving things behind like that.  We got off the freeway to turn around, not knowing the exit we took only went to one gate or another of Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM). And there were no places to turn around short of the gate!  The security there was not happy to see us.  All we wanted to do was turn around!  After a while they finally got that and figured the easiest thing was to let us turn around, so, again!, we're on our way home.  Debra made me stop before we got back on the freeway and tell her what we were going to do; she didn't want me to be more upset and scatter-brained about what the plan was.  Bless Her!  By myself I would have been just ... not a nice person to myself.  As it was I was less than ecstatic.  We decided it was late enough to go to dinner after we got back to get my purse and we decided to go to Jak's in Issaquah.  We got seated and made our order and I remembered to go back to the car to get my insulin,  Only... only I couldn't find it.  I was sure I'd put it in!  It had to be there but.. well, it had been a very confusing afternoon and maybe I just somehow forgot.  But with the confusion and the forgetting and the last 6 weeks of first a stroke and then a trip to the ER because I thought I was having a heart attack [turned out to be taking my meds on a stomach too full of alcohol] I was thinking long and hard about dementia and Alzheimer's.  Debra was upset, too.  She worries I don't take good care of myself [and she's right] and that something bad to fatal might happen.  I have always joked that if I get Alzheimer's no one would notice the difference.  Suddenly that doesn't seem so funny.  I am near tears and I am definitely not a nice person to myself.  I calm down and the evening is good.  We head back one more time to my apartment to see if I can find the insulin.  We eventually find it and it _was_ in the CuRVe, just somehow hidden under a seat.
We got back on the road again and cruise to Ocean Shores -- the traffic had all thinned out and the roads were clear. Debra puts on some music from her iPhone and she's playing with her new 'droid tablet.  After a bit she pulls up the fleece blanket and goes to sleep.  It's a Grace thing that Poppa lets me watch my baby sleep. 
I would never in a million years have thought being a Mom would seem so natural to me.  Debra is my Daughter in every way but blood. If there was a way to make that happen...  
I wake her by accident a couple times --I'm praying for her a little louder than I should and she woke up thinking I'd said something to her.  She goes back to sleep. After a bit I look over and the blanket has fallen off her shoulder.  I look back at the road, then back at her and I pull the blanket up and tuck her in a little better. And choke up a little. 
I missed the turn toward Ocean Shores in Hoquim that I knew I would miss because I missed it two years ago.  We pull into the Shiloh Inn in Ocean Shores about 11:30. It was a very long day, but we were there. 
We slept in some, or I slept in; I'm not sure Debra slept as late as she wanted. We had breakfast and walked out to the tourist shops and were tourists. We went into Sharkies and both of us picked out identical beach towels without knowing, hers in purple [of course!] and Mom's in teal.  We struggled to stay out of the fudge shop and thoroughly enjoyed the kite shop. My girl picked out a very cute fairy Princess kite. Mom kinda ran out of gas and we went back to the hotel to let her catch her breath so to speak. We had checked out another kite shop for me but after my, um, nap we went back to the first shop and I "compromised" on a kite that was teal and purple [there's a theme here]. We walked through the dunes to the beach and began flying our kites. Debra was so enjoying herself that the little girl in her was shining through!  Flying my kite, I felt like a young girl, too. We had a beautiful time.
Something Debra and I have done on another trip is to find a nice restaurant, get dressed up to the nines, and have an special evening out. Saturday night we went to the Collins Inn and Seaside Cottages.  It was more than I had ever expected!  Very nice, very high class, a man playing piano for the guests, and the chef preparing the food in a home style kitchen where the guests could watch. Debra ordered champagne and I decided to copy her. Seems like she's always having these great ideas that I follow up on. We ordered our dinners. Somehow, I missed that it was a full four-course dinner.  We made our order and they served a delicious dark bread.  I looked at my Daughter and asked if I could make a toast?  We raised our glasses and I toasted "To Us!"  Out came a very delicious salad with straberries and and a strawberry vinegarette, follwed by a bowl of excellent clam chowder!  Debra ordered a cheese-stuffed breast of chicken  and garlic mashed-potatoes and that came next.  I ordered a lobster tail that came with a couple of scallops encased in bacon and a medalion of some other seafood and a baked potato.  Both dishes came with asparagus really done well.  Debra saw someone doing something flambĂ© across the room from us and wanted to see that for herself.  It was a Banana's dish.  We both ordered it.  It was wonderful to watch and it tasted ... mmmmm ... excelent!  
While we waited for our bill, I noticed a very wistful, almost sad expression on my Daughter's face.  Here we were in this beautiful, romantic setting and she was with her mom and not with her boyfriend.  She was missing him bad.  To be honest, I was a bit jealous, but I couldn't hold on to it very long.  She is young and in love for probably the first time in her life.  The old should move on and the new should take its rightful place.  It's something I struggle with a lot.  I have to let her go, let her grow up and have her new life.  I've lived most of mine and it's her turn now.  But it's hard.  I have more people, family, that I love now than before, so I canna say she is all I have.  But... I lived, I had some moments before I came out and met her... but my life since Poppa brought us together has been so much more full and so much more wonderful and so much more real!  She says it works both ways -- that she has received from me an equal measure...[choke]... I really don't know how that can be.
Sunday, we took our time getting up and getting out.  We had breakfast at the Hotel and then it was on the road again.  Traffic coming home was really good!  We pulled into my place around 2-2:30.  We loaded up her car with her stuff, hugged and I gave her a kiss-onna-cheek and she was gone.
I went over to Lisa's for Easter dinner -- a casual thng, just hanging out with good friends.  Johanna was there and I got a long hug.  I needed it.  I was going through Debra-withdrawals.  Emotionally, it seemed like I was a quart shy most of the evening.  Lisa and Johanna put on the latest Muppet movie and I finally got happy.  Who canna smile at a muppet movie!
Debra and I are planning another trip this summer.  She's wanted to go to Bend and tour the brewery where they brew Black Butte Porter, one of her [and mine since she introduced me to it] favorite beers.  It will be hot and definitely sunny and I expect it to be fun.  It is always fun for me when I'm with my Daughter, Debra.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Grace in My Life

As a Christian, I've been taught that Grace is "unmerited favor"; a gift I have done nothing to earn.  Poppa is very much in the Grace business.  Sometimes, I think I am His number one customer.
This is all my feelings, thoughts and conclusions about my life and spirituality.  I am not pushing this on anyone.  It is just me.
How He has Graced me throughout my life I could never begin to tell.  But how He has Graced me the last few years?  Oh, my!
My Second Daughter, Debra, says I cry a lot in church.  It is very true.  I have always Believed, always been a church-goer.  But for all those years, I never knew the joy that is talked about constantly.  For Fifty-plus years, I tried to hide my secret from my God who was not then my Poppa.  I knew He knew, but I still tried to hide.  And then came the day when I quit hiding, when I stood before my God in my spiritual and emotional nakedness and ... and ... and He Loved Me!  How could I not cry?!?!? To know that He knows everything about me, my deepest secrets, my greatest shames, and He still Loves Me!  It's a wonder I ever Stop crying!  This is His Grace.
In His Love, His Compassion and His Wisdom, he introduced me to a young woman gravely wounded by her parents.  I, without my children at the time [and still, but there is hope], was equally broken. And we became friends.  In time, I came to see her like a daughter.  And she began to call me Momma.  In time we grew to be truly Momma and Daughter in every way but blood.  We have been there for each other through the good times which have been multitude and very good, and the very few bad times.  Poppa made us a family.  This, too, is His Grace.
A year ago, I met another young woman, Annabelle, a transsexual woman, who was going to get her surgery.  I knew that I had some resources that she and her mother might make use of in the process and I freely offered it.  I came  to know her mother, Sandie, and became frriends.  I developed a very close connection to this young woman and discovered I do "Mom" really well  Annabelle didn't need a mom; Sandie loves her dearly and has supported her in everything she has done.  But her Mom lives in New England.  So our relationship has grown to be something like Mom and Daughter.  Then her Mom graced me no end.  She told me I could be her daughter's West Coast Surrogate Mom.  To be trusted with her flesh-and-blood Daughter is a Grace-thing so special!  [I don't cry just in church...]  Over the last year, Sandie and I have become Sisters-of-the-Heart.  So my family has grown with another Daughter and a Sister.  This is Poppa's Grace, again.
At a turning point in Debra's life, she met Johanna and they became BFF's.  I like Johanna and I really like her as Debra's friend, but the relationship between Johanna and myself has always been ... complicated.  I tend to throw my heart at people and Johanna rather resists that.  She and I process things different but we have one thing in common to the depths of our souls, our love for Debra.  By Poppa's Wisdom, or His Humor, We have come to love each other dearly.  A Grace-thing I will Never be able to stop thanking Poppa for!
I met Lisa through Johanna more than any other way.  A very vibrant, firecracker of a woman!  And incredibly intelligent and wise beyond her years.  We have become good friends, very good friends!  I have asked her to mentor me in a number of projects.  She has been there for me to cry on. She says my presence is calming and sometimes she needs a lot of that.  She helps me wth my cooking and I am very happy to be her Taxi.  She has stretched my mind with her addiction to Words for Friends [Do friends let friends play Words for Friends?].  And she is constantly knitting or spinning yarn!  She gives me a lot of balance. She is a dear, Dear Sister to me.  And a gift from Poppa I never would have imagined.
Poppa's Grace comes in unexpected circumstances.  When I had my stroke recently, it was a very precious gift to see my ex-Wife at the hospital concerned about me.  I don't see her much anymore and, frankly, I miss her. But it's time to move on with our lives.  But it was something that choked me up to see her there at the hospital for me.  My brother Tim and his family came and blessed me with their love.  and a huge surprise, huge gift was to see my brother Bill there for me!  My son, Jake, had called to see if he should come from Canada.  I miss him, laughing with himand talking with him so even though I was well enough that he didn't need to come down, it was a blessing that he Loved me still.  But as wonderful as all that was...  That my First Daughter, my Becca, my Pride and my Joy! came to see me!  We didn't get much chance to talk.  But she hugged me and Loved me for the first time since I came out!  We have much to Love our way through, but by Poppa's Grace there is hope!  And I had just about found my Hope jar empty.
I shake my head in my unbelief at how much Poppa has Graced me!  I cannot imagine being so very special and so very loved but so many people.  Debra would tell you that I deserve it!  Every bit!  But it's hard for me to embrace that.  Worthy or not, I can accept and thank Poppa for all His Love and all the Ways He has watched out for me.  It is so far from the relationship I had with Him before.  I hope I am able to be used by Him to give His Grace to others.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

An Open Letter to the Parents of a Transgender Child

It is from the heart of a parent and from the love my Poppa gives me that I write this.  I pray that Poppa, His Son, the One Who Loves Me, and the Comforter that Poppa has sent, gives His words of Love. 
You have suffered a great loss.  The child that together you conceived and bore, raised and suffered your child's hurts and celebrated your child's victories, the child for whom your hopes and dreams and prayers have been constant and unstinting, your child appears to be on a different path.  Your hopes, your dreams, your prayers seem rejected and dashed. Your vision of family twisted and unrecognizable. There is nothing but despair.
You sought guidance and counciling, for your child and yourself.  Your counselor taught that you should reject your child in the life your child now lives; that you should think of your child as dead.  The death of a child is no little thing to deal with. I would suggest that this teaching is not from Poppa.  It is not a teaching of Love. It is a teaching of Vengance, a teaching of Man.
You have done so well loving and raising your child!  Your child is a beacon among your child's peers.  Your child is a comforter and encourager to many, many children of all ages caught in this strange gift Poppa gives some of His children. Your child is someone to be proud of. I am so very proud for your child, but your child is not mine to be proud of.  Nothing good your child lives is mine to claim. Everything good in your child, everything good! is from you and you should be proud!
Your child loves you both.  Your child needs you both. Your child aches to go on Sunday walks to get an espresso and talk of life, model trains and God.  Your child has suffered grievous hurts but could not turn to you for comfort because you would not give it. You reject your child.  Your precious first-born!  You cannot call your child by name.  You call "him" Dennis.  You cannot call her Deniece.  Always you refer to Dennis, or Denmo, or, simply, Den, like a compromise of the truth is enough.  You do not see that all your hopes and dreams and prayers that really matter live on gloriously in your child!  
Your child is not perfect.  There is only one Perfect Child, the Son, the One Who Loves Us.  The Son is the only child to live up to the dreams and hopes and prayers of his Father.  All other children have flaws.  All other children are not perfect.  You, both of you, we re children once.  There are no perfect parents save for Poppa, Father to us all.  You remember your parents.  They were not perfect.  Your parents did not live up to your hopes and dreams and prayers.  But you loved them still.  Your child, who is not perfect, loves you still.  I believe Poppa and the One Who Loves Us call us to love the imperfect children in our lives as they love us even though we are not perfect. 
My prayer, small though it is, is simply that you both open your hearts to Poppa and to your daughter, Deniece.  Dennis is not coming back.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dating Someone New

I'm going to go shopping later today for a couple new outfits.  I want to look good for my birthday out with my Second Daughter on Thursday.  I deserve to feel good about myself.  I am attractive woman for someone not quite 60. I've gotten too comfortable with my "jeans-t's-and-tennies" and I need to get back to doing what I can to look nice like I did when I thought I had to to be seen as the woman I am. I like looking nice and I need to dress for myself. I'm never going to be in Debra's class but I'm never going to be 30 again, either.  But I can be a really attractive woman when I work at it.
And I deserve it!  I deserve me!  Dating has been frustrating.  The women my age think I'm great! And think I'm a really good friend, but ... but ... when it comes to dating, they see me as a man still, or not fully a woman or something.  The women I hang out with and tend to identify with are in their 30's. I am totally a woman to them, but, again, they see me as a "Mom."  And no one wants to date a "Mom." It's ok.  Well, really, it's not ok, but it is what it is. 
There is one woman who I am going to date.  I am going to date myself.  I am going to treat myself to the social life I deserve.  I am going to take myself to dinners and movies and give myself cards and flowers. I am going to court myself. I am going to be my lover. I am going to love myself. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Asking For What I Need

I finished up my move today.  We moved all the stuff that didn't get moved originally to storage yesterday and I went back to clean up a little and empty out the fridge today.  I checked the mail one last time and turned in the keys. It was the apartment I moved to when my wife told me I needed to move out.  It was the place I lived and adjusted to my new life. I healed there, both from the loss of my family and from my DVTs and   It was a place for me to grow and get my feet and become the everyday woman I had always wanted to be. It is time now, to move on with my life.
I did this move with the help of my friends and a professional moving company. And I intentionally did not ask my Second Daughter, Debra, to help. I was thinking she wouldn't really want to help [which is not true!] and she has her own life and a boyfriend she loves very much.  I told myself I didn't want to get in the way of that.  But when I was all done, I felt like ... she should have been there, been a part of the move with me.  I really missed having her around.  [I always miss having her around]  So why couldn't I ask for what I wanted?
Part of my thinking, actually crying words, lies I tell myself to hurt me, is I tell myself that I do not deserve good things, I don't deserve to have my daughter spend time with me.  And the other thing is I am very used to sacrificing my desires and needs, that my children can be more comfortable or not inconvenienced.  It was this trait that helped me get my First Daughter and my Son through college before I came out and started living my own life. 
I tell myself, if Debra wants to spend time with me, she'll let me know and we'll schedule something.  I tell myself that I'm not letting her go, not letting her grow up and have her own life if I'm asking for more of her time.  
I tell myself a lot of crying words.
I wonder sometimes if I'm the one who needs to grow up.
We have gone for weeks where the only time we get with each other is Monday's.  And we will say goodnight sometimes and I love you and, sometimes, I miss you.  Often her schedule is very busy, but as often as not, we don't see each other because I don't ask. 
There is a risk in asking for what I need, for what I want.  She might be busy or not interested and not able to get together for something specific. And the childish me gets hurt.  I have chosen not to ask on occasions because I don't want to deal with what I interpret as rejection.  The truth is Debra has always been there for me and never has she rejected me. There have been times where we have had to rework schedules or find some other time to do something together.  But she has always, Always been there when I needed her.
I need to remember, that for the first time in my life, it's ok to ask for what I want, for what I need. And Debra wants me to let her know when I want time with her.

Church Shopping

Today is Sunday, the 18th of March.  Today I have started my search for a new church near where I live now in issaquah.  Looking on the Internet, there was only one church that is reconciling or affirming or in some way upfront about welcoming some one like me, transsexual and a lesbian. I will try the United Church of Christ sometime in the future. Today I am at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church. I think it is an ELCA church, but it doesn't claim to be Recociled In Christ. I was very scared to drive up to the church. The Pastor's sermon today seems to be "All Are Welcome.". As I typed this, he, the pastor, or Poppa, through him, welcomed Gay and Lesbian believers... I have quietly been in tears and as choked up as I can be for the last few moments. I do not Know if this place is home but, maybe, maybe, it can be.  
The church celebrated Communion on this, the 4th Sunday of Lent. I passed on taking Communion.  I did not feel prepared or "right" for Communion; though where my emotional place was, it probably would have been a good thing to share the Blood and Body of the One Who Loves Me.  But my LCMS upbringing treats the Table as a very Sacred place and I did not feel right approaching the Table of my Lord.  I Believe!  This is a very serious thing to me!  My Faith and the way I relate to Poppa, and to my Brother, the One Who Loves Me, and to my Comforter, is my faith and it is woven into my life! and cannot ignore it!  Nor do I want to.  I want, I need to be a whole woman.
After the service, I thanked the pastor for his sermon and the welcome he extended in his sermon. I explained how I spent the morning looking for Reconciled in Christ or welcoming and affirming churches without any success. I took a chance on Shepherd of the Hills.  He understood and introduced me to the head usher who took me back to the Coffee Hour.  I was introduced around to several people who all were very welcoming. I ended up spending a half hour, forty minutes just chatting with people.  Mostly women of the church but that felt extremely comfortable.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I Am So Tired

My INR today was 3.7, same as Wednesday. At least I don't have to have the lab do a blood draw.  But I find myself very sad and discouraged.  I need to start at the Overlake ACC; it is so much closer.  But then I have to start with new people and there is already a lot of "Leaving" going on. My doctor has been with me for seven years and has been through all of my transition with me.  She's been with me with me through my hormones and my first blood clots and now their recurrence, getting my diabetes managed, and changed my records from Male to Female after my orchiectomy.  But... but ... I can't continue to drive to Everett; it's a nearly 3 hour drive round trip. 

I have been overwhelmed the last few weeks: looking for, finding, and moving into a new apartment, finding new blood clots, dealing with atrial fibrillation, suffering a stroke, and trying to stabilized my new blood thinning regimen, facing the cost of being uninsured and having to pay for the hospital and clinic bills, discouraged that I haven't been able to schedule my GCS and facing the very real possibility that I may not ever have the finances to pay for it. I'm not sure how I will face not ever being complete. 

And I have been overwhelmed by the love and the care and the concern of those who know me when they heard about my stroke. Again, I was floored by the love my First Daughter and my Son shared with me when I was in the hospital. And my Second Brother, who has not said more than a dozen words to me since I came out!

Through all of this, my closest friends have been right there for me ... Always. And when I lose it, when my fears run me over, my Second Daughter has taken the brunt of it and has steadfastly stood with me and loved me. She dropped everything the weekend of my stroke and stayed with me and would not let me be alone in the hospital. And last night I read her out over some imagined slight and not for the first time. She called me late last night and patiently talked me through my fears and loved me. 

Many times my fears do run me over. I have a great fear of being abandoned by people I love. I have been brave through so much!  I am tired and I am scared. I am getting old. My health isn't as good as it was once. I don't want to be brave any more. I want to curl up in somebody's arms while they hold the dragons at bay for a while. I am so tired!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Poppa's Hand in my life...

I hope that anyone who knows me, knows that my God is important to me. My relationship with my Lord and Savior, and my Spiritual belief, my Faith life are all important to me and always have been. But it didn't flower until I came out and started being who I really am and at the same time came to see my God as my Holy, Loving Poppa.

This last weekend was terrifying to me. I don't have any idea where my faith went -- I certainly wasn't thinking about it much at all. But in looking back, Poppa's hand was Everywhere!

First, I was with friends and not on the road, driving. or by myself without anyone to lean on.

Second, the two friends I was with have extensive lay medical knowledge and knew exactly what to do. They knew what and how to test me for the stroke.

Third, the house I was visiting is TWO BLOCKS from the EMTs.

In the aid car and at the ER, I was accompanied by one of my friends who gave clear and concise answers to questions about the event.

When I was assigned a room, it was the same room as my friend who had been in for an emergency appendectomy the night before.

The hospital I was admitted to is brand new, state-of-the-art and able to run all of the tests I needed to diagnose my stroke.

My Second Daughter dropped all her plans for the day and came straight to see me.

My ex [I hate calling her that!] came to visit right away.

My First Daughter, who I have not seen in a year and a half and only rarely communicated with, came, scared for me, scared of me, but she came, and she hugged me for along time. For me that was Huge!

My brother Tim and his family came to support me.

My brother Bill and his wife came ti the hospital to see me. Bill has not talked to me at all since the day I came out. He followed up the next day with a txt asking how I was and saying I looked good.

My friends kept me company and reassured me til very late. All of us were exhausted, but no one more so than my friend who had just had an appendectomy. They all went an extra mile!

My Second Daughter stayed with me all night, she wouldn't let me be alone with my thoughts and fears!

When I was discharged, I went to my friend's home again and they convinced me to stay the night so there would be someone there if something happened to me.

The many things that happened that were coincidences were things that I take for me to be Poppa's Hand. But so much more than that was the great outpouring of support, and concern, and love. For Love is from Poppa, for Poppa IS Love.

- Shannon Tucker
"It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are."
e. e. cummings

Friday, February 24, 2012

All of this...

I find myself really shook by all of this.  By the stroke, the blood clots, the Afib.  And then there's the finances of it all.  This isn't going to be pretty.  I am going in to the doctor's office to get m INR checked everyday for the next week at least.  And there will be lab fees until I can get my INR up high enough that I don't have to continue with the Fragmin/Lovenox shots.  Warfarin is pretty cheap so it isn't going to kill my pocket book, but the rest of my medical bills are going to be significant!

There is just so much uncertainty in my life all of a sudden and it is hard for me to stay focused and positive!  I am moving tomorrow.  A week ago I would have told you that it was a good thing, a very good thing.  I still think it is, but it is also something of an unknown.  And unknowns are not welcome at the moment.

And that my leg and hip seem to be constantly in pain and I can't take more than 1K mg of Tylenol at a pop to deal with it…  it drags on my spirit.  It is really hard to be positive.  I can't use anything with aspirin or ibuprofen or naproxen, either internally or topically.  I don't know how people with chronic pain do it!

I've been to tears and near tears several times by all of this. I am really shaken by this.  I get angry but mostly I am a scared, frightened little girl.

My Second Daughter gave me a list of good things that are going on. positive things to think about:
  • I may have the surgery,
  • I may go on estrogen,
  • I will get some sort of funding for medical (job-related or not),
  • I will date myself  (a post abut this is coming),
  • I will get out there and fish, hike, and photograph,
others I came up with:
  • I will get work.
  • I will be well,
  • I will be healthy,
  • I am Loved,
  • my life is rich beyond measure because of the Love of my family
But I need to focus!  I need to remember!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The visit to my Doctor

I told Dr. Shelly the whole story. Didn't leave anything out. Told her that the first thing they diagnosed was the Afib. And as the stroke was so very small, the Afib is the monster in the closet. Afib is what causes strokes. I, and whatever medical team I have, have to proceed with the idea I can have Afib anytime.

There is no physiological evidence I had a stroke. All my fingers and toes work. My legs and arms work. My tongue works. My jaw works. My tear ducts work. My tear ducts seem to work overtime. I wonder when they'll figure out there's no time and a half.

So Dr. Shelly tells me what I know already, that I will have to be on warfarin (Coumadin) or some sort of blood thinner/anticoagulant for the rest of my life.

She did pointedly say this should _Not_ prevent my GCS surgery.

So we talk about my leg, the thing that started this round of Dr. visits. I explain the places where I hurt. My hip is almost chronic low pain. And my leg above the ankle is hurting to some degree most of the time. My calf and my thigh and outside thigh hurt a lot more occasionally. I tell her I've been taking Advil and Aleve. Haven't really tried Tylenol. I told her sometimes an increased dose of Advil helps some. Then she quietly tells me that because of the warfarin, I can't take the Advil or Aleve. They cause issues with bleeding in my stomach and can mess up the INR readings on my ability to clot. I can try tylenol or another drug. I decided to try Tylenol for now but I am not encouraged. She said I would probably need X-rays of my leg and hip and back eventually. Just that I should put that off for now because of the costs. Oh, fun =/

As she leaves and I walk up to the lab for my first blood test for my INR, tears start to form. All of this is getting to me. I am tired. I feel old. And I feel like I've lost... Not sure what game or sport or race I've lost, but lose it I did. Or that's the feeling. That and the feeling I've let people important to me down. I know I've let myself down.

I'll get past this. I always get past things... I survive. But I am tired of surviving. I am tired of being brave. What I want to do is find a nice quiet corner and curl up into a ball and cry.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Trip to the Hospital

I was visiting with a friend today because she'd had to go in for an emergency appendectomy the night before. We were sitting around nice and comfortable play games on our computers when there came a point in the banter where I had something to say. Only I couldn't get it out. I couldn't make my tongue work right. It felt all fat on the left side and the left side of my face felt funny, kinda numb. I tried really hard but I couldn't talk right. My friends got concerned and we all tried to see what was wrong. I was graced by my Poppa to have these friends around me; they both have good instincts and calm heads on their shoulders. We quickly decided to call 911. None of us said anything but we all were thinking stroke. Strokes run in my family and I have had blood clot issues and physiological reasons to have a stroke. It was only a small surprise and mostly because I felt nothing happen. There was no pain of any kind -- only my tongue felt thick and unmanageable. My tongue, unmanageable -- go figure!

I've kinda been here before. 2-1/2 years ago I had blood clots in my legs that's ad broken off and gone to live in my lungs. I took a trip in an ambulance to the ER then, too.

On the way in to the hospital today, my tongue began to come back to me. It still isn't 100% now 9 hours later but it's nearly cleared up. The ER people were great! They were quick efficient and treated me very well. When they ran an electrocardiogram (ECG) it was determined i had atrial fibrillation or Afib. Afib is a condition where the top portion of the heart just quivers like jello and doesn't really pump blood. Because it isn't pimping blood, blood clots can form and cam then travel to the brain when the heart finally starts pumping again. They took me to a CT scan which showed some minor stroke in my cerebellum, the backside of my brain, but that didn't correspond to my symptoms. The current thinking is I have had at least a couple of small strokes. I have been admitted and have had an MRI of my head and an ultrasound of my legs and carotid arteries. They've found clots in both legs. Tomorrow they will do an echo cardio gram (EKG). I am feeling ok. A little unsure of myself and more than a little scared at times.

[--- The next morning ---]

Last night I was a little flip and not quite clinical when I was writing. I was [am] trying to keep from being overwhelmed by what has happened. I knew it was some kind of stroke. It scared me a lot. It scared me because I thought... was terribly afraid I would have to go through this alone. I am very aware of not having a partner to lean on. Being alone this way feels very much like shooting unknown rapids all by yourself.

Except I have been gently and lovingly wrapped in the arms of my new family. My Second Daughter, Debra, came as soon as she could and stayed the night with me. I look over by the window where she slept, where she is playing on her 'puter and she has never looked so beautiful to my eyes! Or warmed my heart more with her love. And my other friends! Lisa and Staxx took great care of me when his all started [damn lacrimal glands are malfunctioning again!]. Lisa and her husband took care of the home front and Xena. Staxx was critical with her observations and reporting to the ER team and did a great deal of the calling of my friends and family. Stax stayed with me til late last night.

And, Oh! did my family turn out! I have seen or heard very little of my brothers or their families since I came out. But both of my brothers were here and loved me. My sisters-in-law both told me they wanted to see more of me.

But the biggest thing for me with my blood family was my ex (and I hate calling her that) and my First Daughter came with their love. I have not seen my First Daughter, my Pride and Joy, since the summer of 2010. We've only recently begun to come back together. She was nervous and uncomfortable being here in the hospital. Seeing her Dad that now lives as a woman in a hospital gown. Seeing her Dad who had had a stroke. But she hugged me and she loved me. I so needed that!

So Poppa has gently led me to know that I am not ever alone. And He made me know that I am deeply and widely loved. Now, if I can only manage to remember that and rest in His Love ...

- Shannon Tucker
"It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are."
e. e. cummings

Location:Issaquah, Washington