Learning

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Good evening, Pittsburgh! I am here, in permanent fashion, at last! Bone tired from unpacking, fresh from a row in the basement, bowl of cereal and handful of almonds devoured, stinky and deserving a bath, but eager to post is how I am. I have missed this space, brain sputtering before sending my fingers racing. I made do with my phone while dealing with the pressing matters of unpacking the essentials and shopping for yet more, oh, and getting lost. Again and again. New territory. New me, I hope, of a fashion, anyway. But, not yet.

First, the road. The glorious road to our new home. I shed many a tear on it; sometimes joyously, in light of what lay ahead; sometimes sadly, for what cannot be recovered, for what is past; oftentimes for the simple beauty of place – earth, river, sky; of being present and privileged with breath, a beating heart, and love.

Our travels took us through Denver and our first homes, then Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, nearly the whole of Interstate 70, our family of three rolling along, sometimes quietly, sometimes in raucous laughter punctuated by meows, oftentimes singing, Elton John and America and Radiohead, The Doors. Glad of heart for our gumption and bravery to drive 2,713 miles(!) and start anew, for the kindness of strangers, for gas stations, hotels, the blessings of sunshine and frost, for the world that is.

 

Pink

Pretty Pink Peonies.

One vase, three exposures, kind of like life.

How others see us.

How we see ourselves.

How we truly are.

I’m not sure which I care to be, though I suppose I am all three.

Greetings, peeps! Oh my goodness, if you are a Portlander, do you have the windows open right now, to let that warm breeze in? Hoot and holler! It’s sunny! I have sheets and clothes hanging out on the line. It is a good day, great even.

And then there is the title to this post, which is not so great. Not at all. If you’ve been here a while, you know that I had surgery nearly five years ago to rid myself of the constant and very debilitating pain of endometriosis and the majority of my reproductive hardware it destroyed. If you haven’t, here is a brief recap: in one very long surgery, for which I am grateful to have been under the deep sleep of anesthetics, I lost nearly half my blood, one ovary, my fallopian tubes, uterus, and scores of scar tissue and adhesions caused by years under the wrath of some of the worst endometriosis my specialist had ever seen. If you’d like to read about it, use the sidebar or the tag at the bottom of this post for a fancy search. Much was written! There is also a picture of me looking dorky in farmer hat and nightgown. I have no shame!

But, I digress. I’ve spent the majority of the last five years pretty happily pain-free, which was fucking fantastic, as you can imagine. But it’s come back. Bit by bit, inch by inch, and the pain is constant again. Double drat. I knew it was likely, and my specialist told me that I might have to have surgery again in five to ten years. I would have preferred ten. You can’t always get what you want.

So, next week, I’m going under the knife again to rid my body of the insidious tendrils binding my insides and giving me such exquisite pain. I might lose the last vestige of my internal female-ness, too, that little left ovary that could, which saddens me some. But I am smart enough to know that if it’s hurting more than helping, I will be better off in the long run.

As one would expect, I am hoping for the best. I hope you will, too. If you are willing and open, please say a prayer, send good juju, jump up and down while laughing, pick your pleasure. The hubster and I would be most grateful.

And in the meantime, get out there and enjoy life. It is marvelous and precious, truly!

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Giddy!

Feeling a little giddy, peeps.

I got my first byline in Willamette Week!

I took the last three photos at the bottom right.

Keep your eyes on on the page and the street.

I hope to see us there a whole lot more!

H E A R T

Hello! Meet my almost great-niece, Luna. I say almost because we are not actually blood related, but even if we were, I couldn’t love her more than I already do. I was a mentor to her mom, Solveig (soul-vay), through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program some ten years ago and can’t imagine my life without her or Luna in it. The space they occupy in my heart is a wild kaleidescope, with me marveling at the fluid beauty of it every single day.

Luna is obviously adorable, a sweetheart of the highest degree, super smart, possessing very fine motor skills, and though she did not show it in these photos, the giver of the most dazzling smile! But that is only part of what I want to tell you. This sweet girl of almost ten months has Congenital Heart Defects. In case you are like I was and don’t know much about them, here are some facts compiled from the Congenital Heart Public Health Consortium:

Congenital means present at birth. Solveig actually learned of Luna’s defects while pregnant, at her 20-week appointment, which allowed her to take even better care of Luna while eagerly awaiting her arrival.

Congenital Heart Defects (CHDs) are the most common birth defects, occurring in almost 1% of births.

Common examples include holes in the inside walls of the heart and narrowed or leaky valves. In more severe forms, blood vessels or heart chambers may be missing, poorly formed, and/or in the wrong place.

Nearly 40,000 infants in the U.S. are born with CHDs and are the most common heart problem in pregnant women.

Over 85% of babies born with a CHD now live to at least 18 (very good news!). However, children born with more severe forms of CHDs are less likely to reach adulthood.

Surgery is often not a cure. Many individuals with CHDs require additional operations and/or medications as adults.

Most causes of CHDs are unkown (Luna’s too). Only 15 – 20% of all CHDs are related to known genetic conditions.

Luna has Transposition of the Great Arteries, a Ventricular Septal Defect, and Double Outlet Inlet Left Ventricle (Solveig corrected a mistake I made). In a nutshell, Luna’s heart has holes where they do not belong, an artery in the wrong place, as well as arteries connecting to the wrong chambers. To the best of my knowledge, this means her heart is only pumping blood to one chamber, mixing blood that should be separated, not allowing enough oxygenated blood to the rest of the body, and causing strain on the heart and lungs, which can lead to pretty serious complications.

She’s already had one surgery, two days after she was born, and will have another on Friday, to help correct the problem, though there is no magic bullet, unfortunately. So, if you would, please say a little prayer, send a little love, some healing thoughts, anything and everything you’ve got. I would be ever so grateful!

 

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