Where This Baby Came From

Do you ever wonder where you came from?

I was listening to a podcast this weekend where a woman who was adopted wondered about the hardships of her birth mother, whether she was wanted, and what worth she had as an unwanted child.  Eventually she came around to her own value –everybody has value, no matter what the circumstances of their birth.

Her story might have made me wonder about how I got here, too, but for better or worse, I figured it out a long time ago, with the help of a couple of family stories and a little basic math.

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Learning by Accident

As chronic and autoimmune patients it is vital to our state of health to know our bodies and how they react to certain substances, like the meds we take, and certain situations, like the ones that cause stress. Once we know ourselves, we can compensate for any adverse reactions. Sometimes you push yourself to see what happens, but then there are the times you find things out by accident, and it can feel more like a comedy. Or a tragedy. More often than not, it’s a combination of the two.

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I Bought A House!

Well, an apartment in a co-op building, anyway. The contract is signed, funding procured. In a month, it will be done. 

I’m excited about it, or I feel like I should be excited about it. Isn’t that what people do? They save for a really long time and then buy their “forever home”?

Instead, I’m more nervous than anything else. A little bit about the money. I’ve dipped into my what-if-I-lose-my-job fund, and it is by far the biggest investment I will ever make. It took a long time to save that much, and it was always a comfort that I would be able to afford most of my life should the worst happen. But I think my anxiety over money will ease once I settle into my monthly payments and figure out what my adjusted financial reality is. 

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I read an article in the Washington Post today. It was about a boy who was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when he was 8, and how that changed his childhood from carefree to one of limitations and responsibility, which sucked.* 

He’s right, of course, but for me, it went far beyond that.

The thing about diabetes is, it’s not fatal. It can be if you don’t accept all those limitations and responsibilities. But it doesn’t have to be. Perhaps the boy (now man) in the article had limits on Halloween and pigging out at pizza parties, and he had to carry the equipment and juice everywhere, which would be a pain, but I suspect he still had the luxury of a child’s perspective. He wasn’t old enough then to be told that he was going to die if he didn’t follow the rules. Things changed for him, but he didn’t have that particular monkey on his back for a while. I hope.

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Drink Up

Ah, water. The most constructive and destructive force in nature. Too much and it will destroy your life (hurricanes, sinkholes, floods). Too little and it will, well, destroy your life (drought, wild fires). It’s all about balance. The human body just can’t live without it.

Dehydration is a danger to everyone in the summer, but especially for those with chronic conditions. It can cause, worsen, or be a symptom of heart disease, hypoalbuminemia (too much albumin in the blood), hyper-/hypothyroidism, cancers requiring a certain course of chemo (cisplatin), and my own lovely monsters, diabetes and kidney disease. If I’m outside too long, I’m dehydrated. If I travel on a plane, I’m dehydrated. If I get sick to my stomach, I’m dehydrated. If my blood sugar is high, I am dehydrated. Around 66% of adult bodies are water, and if we don’t replenish what we use, it can make our conditions worse.

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We Need To Talk

My body has been under attack for 36 years, by enemies both foreign (me) and domestic (itself). This week, I stood in front of the mirror and took a good look at it, for the first time in a while. Part of me marvels at how strong and functional it still is after all that. The other part of me hates what it’s become (in large part because of what I have done to it) – fat, scarred, tired. I’m not sure which thoughts are dominant. It’s a big disconnect.

As in any relationship, nothing good can come of disconnects and lack of communication. We need to find our way back to common groundSo I wrote my body a letter, like I used to do after a big fight with my mom. Acknowledgement of fault, airing feelings, and sincere apology are the only way forward if the relationship is to survive. And I’m so much better at writing feelings than I am at speaking feelings.

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