Finding What’s Lost

I’ve been feeling pretty lost lately.  I have no job and have had crappy luck finding one, though I’ve had several interviews.  My middle son has been having some pretty extreme behavior issues in school and at home again the last couple months after several months of doing better.  My finances are in ruin.  I haven’t been doing great with my diet and exercise, due to the stress, depression, and anxiety from everything else.  And a few other personal problems I am choosing not to discuss in my public blog.  I feel like I’ve been slowly losing myself over the course of the last few months… so what is a woman to do?

I have been distant from my spirituality for quite some time.  I have been overly skeptical and leaning away from anything spiritual, focusing more on the logical and scientific ways of thinking.  But I’ve gotta say, in tough times like these, science doesn’t bring me any peace of mind.  So I’ve decided to start back in with my spiritual studies.  A couple nights ago I asked my faithful tarot cards for guidance, and some wonderful wisdom came from them on all accounts of my current challenges.  Then last night I picked up a couple of my Laurie Cabot books and started reading her philosophies on Wicca/Paganism, and how she applies it to other faiths and walks of life.  I’ve gotta say, she is the person I left off with when I walked away from my spirituality, and she is the person reeling me back in and making me feel at home.

1016521_146840648841411_1015105813_nBasically the philosophy is, no matter what you believe in, or what terms you use for the Divine, it’s all the same.  You can put a name to it, you can call it God or Goddess, you can worship, meditate, pray to yourself or with others, but no matter what, you’re still calling on the energies of the earth and the Universe to aid in your needs, and the needs of others.  Even science confirms that directing energy with thought works.  So not only do I have the analytical part of my brain appeased, but I can get back into the spiritual side of me, where I find companionship with like-minded people, and comfort knowing the Universe has got my back.

I plan to start going to a women’s group I’ve been considering joining for about 2 years now.  I will start meditating when I can, and seeing my therapist again. And I’m going to take back control of my body for my own health and well-being as well.  I’ve been slacking in many ways of self-care, and it’s time I start taking care of me again, so I can be the best I can be for not only myself, but my family as well.

I believe once I get back on track, everything else will start to fall into place, just as it should.

Review: 13 Reasons Why

13-reasons-why-netflix-106821Netflix started streaming the first season of 13 Reasons Why on March 31, 2017.  You can watch it here.  Whether there will be a 2nd season remains to be determined.  But to be frank, I don’t see how a 2nd season would even work, so I don’t personally expect one.  Not to mention the amount of controversy that surrounds the series right now.  For those of you who don’t know anything about the show, I’m assuming you were living under a rock like me.  LOL!  Anyway it’s about a high school girl who commits suicide, and records 13 cassette tapes before she does it, each one describing a situation or “reason” why she has decided to end her own life.

**Spoiler Alert**
If you would like to watch the show, or haven’t finished it yet and do not want it spoiled for you, stop reading now.

Alright, so down to my review.  Right from the first episode, I thought this show seemed like it was romanticizing suicide.  A girl whining and exaggerating high school drama, taking everything personally, and getting lots of attention by killing herself.  After finishing the season, I stick to that opinion.  My opinion seems to be a popular opinion amongst the few reviews I’ve read.  However, that is not the point I took away from completing the season…

I think the biggest and most important part of this show is the gigantic spotlight on bullying.  Most people who graduated in the 90s or before, who have kids in middle school and high school now, don’t really understand the new levels of bullying because we never had to deal with it.  The way we had it, we were called names, rumors were spread around, maybe physical fights or at least shoving in the halls.  But now, cyber bullying is the biggest element.  Everything everyone does nowadays is recorded or photographed.  You can’t such as pick a wedgie or wipe your nose without someone spreading a photo and putting a twist on it, making it something it was never intended to be.  It’s humiliating on a much deeper level.  Teens already have self-esteem issues due to adolescence, body-image, peer differences. media defining who we should be a what we should look like, and the list goes on.  Then add technology and cyber bullying to the mix, and its a recipe for disaster for these kids’ state of mind.

The other part of bullying people tend to ignore or sweep under the rug that is highly spotlighted in this series is the pull the athletes have in the schools.  This was an issue when I was in school too, as I’m sure it was most everywhere, in every generation.  The importance of sports is held so high in society that the student athletes can get away with just about anything they want to do as long as they play their sport well.  The coaches, teachers and parents have a tendency to protect their star kids beyond any indiscretions because they want to have a good season, or don’t want to see them lose their sports scholarship opportunities.  Besides just picking on the “lesser” kids in school, these kids tend to get away with much bigger problems such as drugs, drunk driving, even rape at times, as seen graphically in the show.  I’m sure a lot of the people who have watched this show think it’s an exaggeration, but I know for a fact it is not.  I’ve seen with my own eyes, heard with my own ears.  These things happen, and get ignored just to keep the strong sports tradition alive.  It makes me question why sports are so important that the athletes can ruin aspects of other people’s lives and its all okay?!

I think 13 Reasons Why is a good watch, but mostly for adults – parents with children in their pre-teen and teenage years.  Not to be overly paranoid about suicide or bullying, but to have a strong understanding of what today’s school experience is like.  Kids are cruel to one another, and as technology changes and advances, there are more and more creative ways for them to torture each other.  And they do.  They take full advantage of it.

I’m not saying the show is spot-on about life.  Many situations are addressed in those 13 episodes, and not everything happens to one kid in real life very often.  But these situations DO happen, these problems DO arise, and we need to keep an open line of communication with our kids even if they seem to not care if we do or not.  It’s hard to get the school to change anything when there is a problem, but as long as your child knows they have people at home that care, it could potentially make all the difference to them.

As far as letting your kids watch the show, I’m going to leave that up to you.  You’re the parent, and you make the decisions for your kids.  I do recommend you watch it first though.  Personally, I am not going to suggest it to my kids, or watch it with them.  Not at this point in time anyway.  I think my 15 year old would get it, but my other 2 are too young, and I don’t want anyone thinking suicide is the way out of a tough situation.  Plus, there are graphics scenes of rape of 2 of the female characters, justification of drug use and excessive drinking, people beating the shit out of one another, unprotected teen sex, and a very graphic suicide scene.  There are kids making excuses for their mistakes and lying to their parents and law enforcement about very serious situations, and lots of sneaking around and keeping secrets.  It’s just not the kind of thing I would recommend to a younger audience, in my personal opinion.  Not the sort of thing you want to teach.

To bring it all together here, 13 Reasons Why does romanticize suicide because the main character gets all of the attention and drama she was seeking by making the tapes and ending her own life.  It is a mystery/drama, afterall, so that is what it was meant to do.  But if you can look past that to the point of all the bullying, and what today’s kids go through in the public school environment, it’s definitely an eye-opener.

Have you watched the show?  I’d love to hear your comments and opinions of the show, or my take on the show.  Let’s discuss!

Continued Healing

This will likely be my last Panniculectomy surgery update for quite some time because there’s not much left to say.  As of yesterday, Thursday April 27th, I am 5 weeks post-op.  I saw my surgeon for a check up on Tuesday, and everything is well.  The splitting in the middle is almost all the way healed, and the splitting on my side/hip is still open and rather deep, but healing at a fairly quick rate.  The doc said it looked good, and to just keep it clean and dry.  I am officially off of all antibiotics and doing well.  Very little pain, if any.  Just the occasional zing of nerve pain from having a big portion of skin removed which is totally bearable, some muscle aches and pains if I sit still for too long at a time, and phantom itching for the part of my skin that is gone.  But besides that I feel mostly normal again.  I have to continue to wear my compression garments for a few more months, which I am comfortable with since I have some swelling and a lot of scarring at this time.

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On the left: Summer 2015, 270ish lbs. On the right: Spring 2017, 210ish lbs. and post-panniculectomy.

The garments I have are probly about as comfortable as they can get, so I don’t mind wearing them most of the time.  I don’t have to see the doctor again for another 4 months, and that’s just for another routine checkup.  Plus my belly looks slightly lop-sided, and we just want to make sure that’s going away and looking great by that time in my recovery.  If not, I may discuss a repair, but I’m hoping we won’t need to go down that road.

 

I am going to continue to see my nutritionist so that I can continue down my healthy path and proceed with documentation in support of a breast reduction.  I will be eligible as soon as October for that surgery, but I think I will likely wait until at least January just to give myself a break from all the surgery recovery pains, to make sure I’ve lost the weight I want to lose and firm things up a bit, and to make sure I’m not going to miss half of next summer in recovery.

Once that surgery is complete, I will be done with surgeries in regards to loose skin.  For one, I don’t have insurance that will cover anything more.  And for another, I do believe I can firm things up from here with some vigorous exercise and willpower to keep at it.  Since the Panniculectomy I have been slowly losing more weight, even being sedentary.  I think it changed my metabolism a bit, and I look forward to taking advantage of that soon.  At my 6 week mark, which is next Thursday, my activity restriction is lifted and I will be riding my bike and hitting the gym at least a couple times per week.  I’m really looking forward to it.  I don’t think I’ve ever actually looked forward to exercising.  But without that embarrassing belly flap, I have nothing to fear.  I am currently at 209 pounds, and my overall goal is 175 (though government BMI standards say I should be around 135, I think I would look anorexic if I got down to that weight…. I still want some curves!). I know I can accomplish 175 with more hard work.

Thanks for reading along with my surgery journey.  I hope I have helped those of you who were trying to decide if this surgery was right for them.  I hope I have given you what you need for information if you were going through struggles with the recovery.  I hope I have provided support or encouragement for those of you also on a weight loss journey.  Good luck to you all, and thanks again!

Stir-Crazy

Due to my physical limitations with my hip dysplasia, my surgeries, and some family issues, I have been out of work for a little over 2 months.  For the last few weeks I haven’t been able to such as lift anything or exercise besides walking, and walking is limited due to my hips.  This is not a complaint, it is just fact.  But the complaint here is that it sucks!

ballexerciseOn Tuesday I get to go for a recheck with the surgeon who performed my Panniculectomy, and at that time I will most certainly be asking if I can resume exercise.  I know I have a weight restriction for at least 6 weeks of 10 pounds, so weight training isn’t an option yet.  But if I could go to the YMCA and ride a stationary bike, or walk a treadmill for short periods that I can handle, or do some other aerobic activity, that would be wonderful!  Plus I feel like I’m losing muscle mass.  I know I’m not gaining weight back, but I feel lazy and depressed.  I need activity.

I’d also like to be able to volunteer my time in the local shelter, or help a groomer with bathing dogs, or something of that sort.  I need to find things to do outside of my home, with other people, in some sort of social environment.  I miss my work so very much, but I don’t think I’d be capable of doing everything that being a veterinary assistant requires anymore, as sad as that makes me.  That was honestly my dream job.  I learned something new every day.  It made me think, and exercised my brain.

Blog-image-burchielI need to find more activities that do that for me.  I’m going stir-crazy in my home all the time.  I don’t know how I managed to be a stay-at-home mom for 12 years.  It’s no wonder I had social anxiety so bad, being cooped up and secluding myself from other people.  The social anxiety isn’t gone, but I certainly don’t want it getting worse again.  I need to push myself to do more.  I need to grow as a person, not take steps backwards.

A New Duck

I had Cecil last year, for about a year and a half.  I got him as a baby from the farm store along with a second duck that didn’t live past a few weeks old.  Cecil was my buddy, and stayed in the house until he was fully feathered.  He followed me around and cuddled with me on the couch.  When I put him outside, he ended up being more wild, and bonded with the neighbor’s duck who was just on the other side of the fence.  Cecil and our dog Penny were buddies, but every so often she got a wild hair and would rough him up pretty bad.  He lived through 3 bloody attacks, and then Penny stopped picking at him… until one day I left her out with him unattended for maybe 15 minutes, and she killed him quite brutally.  She was pretty proud of herself, and I was just sick with grief.  My duck buddy was dead.  I swore I’d get another someday, but not while I had a dog.

Fast forward to now.  Penny was being left unattended at home far too much, so I found her a new home where she can run and play with other dogs, and we can visit her any time we want.  And the kind of dog I want is far out of my price range right now, not to mention I’m really not up for raising a new puppy at this time.  So I got myself a new duck buddy!

IMG_20170418_153334_171He was hatched on April 12, and came home with me on April 13.  He is a Pekin, which means he will be about 7-8 lbs full grown, and white, just like Cecil was.  His name is Clyde.

I’ve decided since our yard isn’t fenced, he will be a house duck unless for some reason that doesn’t work out.  But the plan at this point is to keep him in the house.  I have purchased some starter duck diapers, and when he outgrows those I can purchase a permanent one in adult duck size.  Since he’s an only duck, he has really taken to us.  This will be a fun journey. 😀

To follow his story and growth, you can subscribe to my Instagram feed, link available in my widgets here on the blog page.