Monday, March 26, 2007

Should Cancer Stop You In Your Tracks?

It was recently reported that John Edwards' wife's breast cancer has returned to her bones. A press conference was held to discuss this finding and to let the public know that he would be continuing his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination for 2008. I saw portions of an interview the couple did with Katie Couric this morning. Although faced with a terrible diagnosis, Elizabeth Edwards seems confident and strong. The couples' love for each other shines through. It must be difficult to have to be so public about this.

Although I've been conservative most of my life, I have grown much more moderate over the past few years. I have no political opinion about John Edwards as a potential candidate. I'm not following any of the 2008 presidential news right now anyway. It's just too early in the process for me. Still, this story has caught my interest. Not as a voter, but as a wife.

Were I in her shoes, I am not certain that I would be happy with my husband's decision to move forward with a run for political office that might keep him away from me when I need him the most. Is it selfish to hold a spouse back from pursuing a dream under those circumstances? Or, is it better to face cancer with a fight and continue to live as if it weren't there?

I would be interested in your opinions. This is not an easy situation.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

So, You're Thinking about Joining Weight Watchers

A good friend called me last night. She’s taking the plunge and joining Weight Watchers today for the first time. She talked about how hard she thought it will be. I am having a hard time with my weight right now, that’s true. Still, when you’re in the groove with WW, it’s not hard at all. It’s all in the mindset. I was thinking about this after I got off the phone with her. Once you become a mother, your focus is on caring for them. For some people, that may be a contributing factor to weight gain itself. WW can be a wonderful way to put some emphasis and energy back on yourself. It doesn’t matter if you need to lose 5 pounds of 500, when you join WW for yourself, it is a rewarding experience. It’s not just the half hour meeting. It’s the time you then take each day to make healthy choices, to work some activity into your day, and to record how your day went.

Those minutes of caring for yourself each day add up. You become in tune with your body. You look forward to small things like planning a meal or figuring how you are going to work a special meal or event into your program. I’ve never been one for word problems or math in general, but I get a kick out of being creative like that. In the past, walking has been my activity of choice. I would look so forward to those walks, especially if I was walking by myself. It gave me the opportunity to work through things in my head. I also liked to challenge myself to walk farther faster or to make it up the next big hill. I would get home from those walks and feel so good.

Another rewarding part about joining Weight Watchers is simply going to the meetings. You are able to talk about your experiences with people who have been there and can empathize and/or celebrate along with you. The reverse is true as well. There were several times when people would walk up to me after a meeting and thank me for something I said in a past meeting. I always took the opportunity to do the same. When you have a weight problem, your self-esteem has usually taken more than its fair share of hits. This gives us the opportunity to build each other up. We are strong, intelligent, and worthwhile people.

Finally, there is the scale. The first time you weigh in may not be that fun. Moping about it won’t get you anywhere. Think of it as the beginning of a fabulous adventure. Even Indiana Jones has to start somewhere. That number is just a number. When your successes come flowing in ~ weight loss, looser-fitting clothes, increased energy ~ it is simply a point of reference. If it has any power, its to remind you of how far you’ve come. Most importantly, you have to have a beginning weight so that you can measure your weight loss to date. I don’t care if it’s .8 or 8.0, I was always proud to share my weight loss. After leaving my meetings, I called my husband, my sister who inspired me to join WW, and my parents. Since I live so far away from my family, it’s nice to give them the week-by-week rundown to let them start to imagine what you will look like the next time they see you.

[Good friend, I'd love to start calling each week to brag about our successes.]

As it happens, I’m joining WW tomorrow. These words of advice and encouragement are as much for my friend as they are for me. I am going to walk into my meeting tomorrow hopeful for the future and happy to start the process reconnecting with my body. My body and I may very well feel betrayed from time to tome, but that’s not the way it is. We’re a team.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Onward Ho!

I’ve been thinking pretty seriously about discontinuing blogging recently. I can say that I write for myself all that I want, but if that were true, I could keep an anonymous diary somewhere in cyberspace or using the traditional writing medium of paper. The truth is that I enjoy getting comments. It’s nice to know that there are other people out there who took the time to read what I have been writing.

I have some loyal and wonderful readers out there. I love and appreciate every single one of you! Truly I do. Still, what am I supposed to think when my own dearly beloved family of origin doesn’t read my blogs? I know that they love me, but it’s still very telling. What I have to say is either of no interest or too morose. It has to be easier to be far away when you don’t know too much about your daughter/sister’s pain. If I were writing in that paper diary in the sky, I wouldn’t have to think about those things.

Joining MyBlogLog was my last effort to scientifically (ha!) determine if keeping up with my blogs is worth it. There have been some interesting things that I have discovered. A Google search on “Allison is watching,” “canine orajel,” or “criss cross bears” will return a link to Our Shady Tree on the first page. Okay, the search on “Allison is watching” is a little disturbing. Who searched on that? Why? Still, what random ways to find your way to my blog?

Today, MyBlogLog has really paid off. I checked my stats from yesterday and discovered something I find wonderful. Another blogger, Crazyzim, found 52 Books or Bust and has decided to embark on that journey for herself. In reading the comments on her post about it, I discovered that she was “SO excited” to find my blog because it gives her ideas for books to read.

Crazyzim didn’t leave a comment. That’s okay. I’m just thankful that I was able to find out that she had been there. It’s breathed new life in me for blogging. I may never get to a place where there are more than four comments on a single post. I won’t know without some perseverance.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


I am tired. Exhausted. I want to sleep for a very long time. I want for more than two weeks to feel good and comfortable in my own skin. I'm not at that point yet. I've got a lot of work to do. It will be worth it. I know that it will be. It's just getting there. Again.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Is There Anybody Out There?

I joined MyBlogLog last night in an attempt to see how many times my blogs are accessed. I don’t really have any other way of knowing unless people leave comments. As much as I keep telling myself that I blog for myself, that’s not entirely true. I enjoy reading comments and learning about other blogs. It’s nice to know that there are others out there.

After signing up, I had a little time to explore other members. I used “PPD” and “post partum depression” and guess what I discovered? I am the only one out there, at least on MyBlogLog. I told Danny about that. It sure can make you feel alone. I know that I’m not the only person who experienced PPD. Isn’t someone else writing about it? There are communities out there for so many other childbearing-related experiences. It can be such an incredible source of support. If anyone is interested, you know where to find me.
“Writing eases my suffering... writing is my way of reaffirming my own existence.”
Gao Xingjian

Friday, March 9, 2007

The Joshua Tree ~ Almost Legal

20 years ago today, the most influential work of art entered my life. The Joshua Tree was released. It won't be long until people who have reached majority in this country will have been born after this album was released. It's hard to believe.

In those 20 years, this album has inspired me in countless ways, it has helped me grieve a lost friend and a lost uncle, it's calmed me in more nerve wracking experiences than I care to remember, and, most recently, it's helped me reconnect with myself while suffering from post-partum depression. Who knew then that I would still be listening to it more than any other album I've ever owned? I look forward to the other places this album will travel with me.

Over the years, my favorite songs have changed from one to the next. At one point or another, I've probably listened to all of them on repeat. I bought this album for "With or Without You." "Trip Through Your Wires" became a fast favorite. If I had to pin myself down to just one, I would pick "Red Hill Mining Town." I can't explain why. It just speakes so beautifully to me.

Over the past year or so, while watching Miami Ink, I've thought about what tattoo I would pick if I were to get one myself. It took me some time to pick an image, but "the" Joshua Tree from the back cover art is what I would choose, with the mountains in the background. While working my way through therapy, I've thought of my time with PPD as my time in the desert. If I've learned anything it's that even while you are in the desert, there is beauty all around if you open your eyes. This picture represents that beauty to me. I can't say that I'll ever get a tattoo, but if I do, this will be it. I can picture myself in Miami right now with Kat Von D as my tatoo artist. I'll be listening to The Joshua Tree and I'll be thinking of all the beauty I've experienced in my life.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

ROA Confidential

This is going to be no where near as sexy as LA Confidential. If you feel tricked into reading this, I'm sorry.

I have been feeling so strong and confident for the past week. I noticed that I have been walking taller and thinking more positively about myself. Now I'm purposefully making that a part of my day. I have set some short term goals and some long term goals that are just about me and just for me. I have lost 5 pounds and have been making an effort to get exercise five days a week. I can't tell you how good that makes me feel inside.

I am so thankful to feel like I've finally returned home within myself. I'm ready and feel prepared to move on to the next stage in my life. I don't know exactly what that is, but I'm excited to find out.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Random Thoughts Going Nowhere

I haven't posted here for a long time. To be honest, it's not because of lack of content. It's because I can't nail down one topic long enough to make a post worth while. My thoughts are flying all over the place. Here are the highlights:

1. My faith and new church and my parents' reactions.
2. What is motherhood? What does it mean that for some women in certain situations that there has to be a qualifier? How do I reconcile the differences between being Emma's adoptive mother and Allison's mother? Does the qualifier make my relationship to Emma more or less special? What about Allison? If I just call myself Allison's mother, what does that mean? If there are terms for first mothers and adoptive mother and foster mothers, ought there not be a different use of the word mother for women who give birth to and raise a child?
3. There seem to be similarities in post-partum experiences between women whose pregnancies end in adoption and those who suffer from PPD. Can you place a child for adoption and not experience PPD? How would a parenting mother's experiences with PPD change had she chose not to parent? Just curious.
4. What do you say to people who have lost a child?
5. Did I really go to school to end up here?
6. Why is it that every time I attempt to watch a serious news programs that the discussion is inevitibly about Anna Nicole and Britney? Isn't that what the tabloids are for?

That's all, folks!