Wednesday, March 30, 2016

My birthday buddy

Today would have been my Grandpa Kendel's 105th birthday. January 11th marked 30 years since he passed away. It's strange how time passes and suddenly catches us unaware.

My Grandpa Sawhill had died before I was born, so Grandpa Kendel was the only grandfather I had ever known; and that was for such a brief time. I turned 11 a couple of months after he died.

This picture is one of a handful in which we are celebrating our birthdays together. Mine being on March 24th and his on March 30th meant combined celebrations. That didn't get to happen in 1986.

I think of him often. More so now, I think, when I see my dad. My dad is "Grandpa Kendel" to my nieces and nephews. He has now lived to be older than his parents got to be. Again, the passage of time hits you hard.

Now I'm 41 and I've had many more years without my Grandpa than I did with him. It makes me sad sometimes when I try to remember him. It's like he has become a bit foggy in my mind. I try to think of his voice and I just can't get the sound right. I remember getting excited when he was going to be coming over. He was THE ONLY person I have ever known to smoke in our house. And, this meant getting out the ashtray to put by "his" chair in preparation of his arrival. Then, I would sit on his lap and he would let me "blow out" the flame on his lighter. To this day, when I smell Winston Lights, I think of him.

I learned about soft serve ice cream coming in a twist because of him. You would have thought he invented it with how fascinated I was by it. I ended up preferring chocolate on it's own when I grew up, but occasionally I can go for a twist in memory of him.

Thirty years is a long time to miss someone. I wonder what he would think of the world today. How would he feel about all that has changed in his beloved sport of baseball? What would he think of how we all turned out? What would he be like as a great-grandfather? Who would be sitting on his lap to "blow out" his lighter when he lit his cigarette? Heck, would that still be a thing he could get away with doing?

Lots of questions without answers. But, I have no doubt that I was loved and that I loved him.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Must love dogs

I'm all for raising awareness. Sometimes, I like to think that my posts about my struggles with depression, anxiety, and infertility do some of that. In this age of technology, so much information is made available. Some of it is good and some not so great.

It is not a surprise to me that people need all different forms of information. But, I have to say,  this video promoted by the World Health Organization really bums me out.

I get it. It's a simple cartoon that may draw someone in and possibly help him/her get an idea of what depression is like. It is clear to me that my over sensitive side may be creeping into this.

It really bothers me that something I take so much comfort from can be used as representation of depression. I love my dog and I know many people who love dogs....many depressed people who seek comfort from animals.

Then, the creator had to make it a black dog. Many people are aware that black cats are often ignored from rescue shelters. Well, black dogs of pretty much any breed tend to be ignored when people seek out dogs for adoption.

Basically, I just don't like a black dog becoming a synonym for depression.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Another year, another tear (who'm I kidding, a bunch of tears)

I'm in the midst of one of the worst weeks of the year for me (the other is around Christmas/my would-be due date). My birthday week brings with it the anniversary of failed fertility treatments. Some of you may be thinking, "Ugh, this again. Get over it." And, I get that; I have those thoughts sometimes myself. BUT, I can't get over it. For whatever reason, it sticks with me and it always will be a part of my reality.

This week marks 3 years; three years that the bleeding started that marked the failure of the embryos to successfully attach to my uterus. It marks the failure of all that we put into the entire process.

ECT won't take this away.

The other day, I saw something with a woman who had a baby talking to another woman who hadn't had a baby yet. She told her about how you think you are in love with your husband before you have kids. She then said that that feeling of love is nothing compared to how in love you will be with your husband once you have a baby together. This hit me really hard. I know, I'm a hot mess and a lot of things get to me, but that is how I am. It hit me because it got me thinking about my love with Shawn. We will never have a baby together. Does this mean our love is stuck at some base level? Am I unable to maximize my love for him because of this?

Yes, this woman's view of love and becoming parents and whatever shouldn't carry this kind of weight for me. It shouldn't, like a lot of shouldn'ts in my life, but it does.

Maybe ECT can help take this away.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

And I wonder....

Starting to wonder if I have it in me. I think about how I'm just tired, so tired and now we'll be adding a new level of exhaustion. With the ECT comes anesthesia. Three times a week of being put under. I have had 5 different experiences with being put under and I'm not the best at coming out of it. I mean, groggier than most and slower.

I also can't help but wonder how I will be after. Not the initial coming to, but the longer term. What if I don't know how to be different than I am now? What if it simply doesn't take? What if I'm stuck where I am?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Memory block

So, one of the side effects of ECT is some memory loss. If I could select what would be permanently erased, it would be:
  • The Liam Neeson/Claire Danes version of "Les Miserables"
  • "Lost"
  • The series finale of "Dexter"
  • Stupid, embarrassing things I've said and done (I don't mean the ones with important lessons attached)
  • The George W. Bush administration
  • This election year, including the post-ECT parts
Seriously, though, what I really wish it could do is completely wipe out all of the fertility stuff.  All of it; every ultra sound; every injection; every internal exam, etc. And, most of all, the desire to have had a baby. The internal ache I feel about the emptiness. The conversations and questions and advice from people about all the other ways I can become a parent. The guilt those conversations make me feel because it feels like judgment cast upon me. Judging me as selfish for wanting to have a baby that was biologically mine with Shawn and carried by me and birthed by me. All of this is the memory loss I would choose. It's what I wish the electrodes could sense and erase.

The memory loss, though, is not the kind of eraser that I'd like. It's more of a short term loss. Like, I might forget how to get to the Safeway for a minute. Or, some of the longer term things could be somewhat fuzzy. It's rare for there to be significant loss, so, I'll still have to deal with all that baby shit...and not the kind in a diaper.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

My reality right now

Thursday, March 10th, was my consult with a psychiatrist who does ECT. Shawn was with me and I never could have made it without him. It was a long appointment, almost 2 hours of just talking. Talking about my history and more about my history and more about my history. Then, the talk of the actual ECT. The benefits, risks, and how it all works.

I came home with lots to read, tests I have to have done, swabs for my mouth to send off samples for genetic testing which may reveal some things about my fucked up brain chemistry. All of these things are still sitting on the kitchen table.

This psychiatrist isn't sure if bipolar depression is the right diagnosis, but he's not convinced major depression is it, either. It seems like, because of this, it may make me a better candidate for ECT. But there is so, so much for me to process about all of this.

This shit is real. It's no joke. I won't be able to work; I won't be able to do much of anything; I won't even be able to be left alone. This could mean more than 2 weeks without working (believe me, I don't love my job, but I don't get paid time off, so this will suck). The doc actually expects for someone like me to need more than 2 weeks of treatments. But, not only does this impact me and my work, I also have to have a babysitter. How is that all going to work? Especially if I end-up on the longer end of things, like 5-6 weeks.

On top of everything there is to consider and understand, there is simply me, my reality; my shame; my wanting to be okay with this; my wanting to raise awareness in others so stigma can be removed; my struggle; my desire to be "normal".

Here's some info from a reputable hospital:

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Edgy, Concerned, and Tense

Thursday morning is my appointment for an ECT consult. I realize it is just a consultation which has no obligation for treatment. It is still causing me a lot of anxiety.

I find myself wondering if maybe I'm making all my angst up and that I am just a lazy and miserable human being. Then I think that maybe this is too extreme and I just need to do more about my meds and therapy. I think about it not working and the side affects and on and on. The worst, though, is probably the odd fear of what if it does work...