Thursday, January 26, 2012


I bought my ticket today. I am going to meet C. It's happening.


I don't have words for this. I feel it in my body, more than anything at this point, today.

C and I were talking about what our expectations are, and we decided: our meeting is about expanding our friendship in person, which will be a lovely thing. I am perfectly happy with that.

At the same time, it is undeniably odd to be meeting one's mother for the first time since one's birth. Just is.

My aunt is going to join us one day, which is fantastic, and I hope to be seeing my fabulously supportive first-mom friend Lori, who was with me on my first pilgrimage to Indiana.

I will be back in a Midwestern winter, as well. Haven't done that in a long, long time. I will be layering on the sweaters, as my pea coat is too huge. I have become a Northern California hothouse flower with thin blood.

I feel in some ways that I will be on display (I will be), but I am secure in myself in a way that I have never been before. I like myself, and that counts above all. No one can take that away from me.

One of my favorite people at work reminds me and others to let the negatives fall away, like water off a duck's back. If there are things to be learned, fine. Learn them, but self-excoriation won't help. For some reason, I am in a place where this has been working for me, and damn, it feels great.

I make mistakes, I see what I've done, I change my behavior, I correct things, and I move on. I see where others are acting like morons, I can call them out on it (or not), and stay my course. I refuse to take their shit on as my shit.

I know it's not just the Topamax, because I've been on that for nearly a year, and my dose has been halved. I know it's not just the support of my wonderful aparents, because I've had that my entire life. I know it's not just the love of my friends, because they've been doing their damndest for years, and it's been uphill work. It's not just the love of C, although that is the icing on the cake. It's not just the love of myself. It's everything, finally coming together.

Better late than never.

Age has its benefits; I love the perspective that I can bring to situations these days.

Maybe not my wrinkles, but oh well. I am am enjoying middle age. If only my body would oblige and dissolve that fucking clot.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


2012 continues to bring things unexpected, things wonderful, interesting, and perplexing. I am sure it will bring heartache and pain. But for now, I am not courting it.

My aparents did the DNATribes testing for themselves this past fall. Genealogy is a favorite hobby of theirs, as I have written before, and they were curious about their deep ethnic roots. My adad's family is strictly Norwegian, at least back four centuries, so we expected his test to reveal strict Norse roots. Nope. He is many things, but up top he is Tajik and Basque! Very curious. I guess his ancestors brought women back from all over the map and they interbred in their little fjord of Norway. Fascinating. My amom was Chinese and Irish and all kinds of things. A mutt with curious origins.

Then for Christmas, they gave me my own DNA kit. I thought it was a fabulous gesture. They didn't want me to be left out, and of course, I am an unknown on many counts. Especially where my sperm donor is concerned. So I did the swab a couple of weeks ago and sent it off. I really thought I would come back very mutty, probably largely half Jewish. Jewish people have often assumed I am one of them over the years. Why not? I figured the test would simply verify what I already knew, and that it would just be a way to underscore my link to the non-identifying information I had about my nfather: the East Coast educated, intellectual guy (that I chose to read as Jewish).

The results were a shock. I am half Spanish/Basque! Wow. The rest is the expected UK/Celtic components from C, with a little Greek and Italian thrown in probably from my nfather, as well. I told C about this, and she said that it makes sense; she still doesn't know who he is, but since she was a Spanish major, it is likely she was attracted to a Spaniard/Basque. Holy shit. I don't look Spanish, at least I don't think so, but then again, I have been to Spain, and there are many ways to look Spanish. My Spanish is rudimentary to say the least. It is the last language I ever studied, and I did so just before nursing school for professional purposes (crudely, I say I speak vagina Spanish). I love Spanish history, but I know next to nothing about the Basques. It is incredible to know a little bit more about myself, and maybe now I can explain my strange obsession with Catholicism and self-flagellation. LOL

I do have a print of Goya's El Perro Semihundido hanging in my bedroom; I brought it back from Madrid in 2001. Mark said that I was the senorita semihundida. Clever.

I am also feeling incredibly close to C and my brother. I don't know how to explain it. I am not certain exactly what has changed. Maybe things really do work out in the end sometimes. There are so many war stories, so many disappointments, so many sadnesses in the world of adoption. So much time lost, so many ways to hurt each other, so many possibilities to continue to be lost to one another. But we seem to be working through it. I am relieved that they can see me for who I am and love me anyway. I know I could make it through without their support, but it wouldn't feel this amazing. Their validation is so warm.

I had a rough time at work last night. I am not the best person at IV starts; I just am not. I keep learning, but it's not an intuitive skill to me. As my ER nurse friends say, it's all about the practice, and I do it only a few times a week, if that, not multiple times a day. Anyway, I sent A a text trashing myself, and he said, "Don't be so hard on yourself." I excel at being hard on myself, and it is wonderful to be reminded that it's okay to fail if you keep trying.

I could never had predicted any of this wondrousness two years, a year, six months ago. I have a hard time thinking that I deserve it. I do the best I can, but for some reason, I have had piles of shit visited on me. It's just what happens to me. Well, things seem to be changing.

I had to see my primary care MD this past week to follow up after the ER visit, and she said she'd had notes from my hematologist and hepatologist. Both wrote to her that they're shocked I am not in clinical depression anymore without medication, considering my health and chronic pain situation. She said that she isn't shocked: I am strong and know how to get on with my life.

I also know that a huge burden has been lifted from my shoulders. If I still felt that my very existence were a mistake, that I had no purpose, I might be having a more difficult time making it through each minute. I am aware that I will certainly fall into the pit again; it's the nature of depression. It's a disease. There is still a huge part of my life that is wrong, messy, confusing, and in stasis. I am ignoring it for now because I simply cannot deal with it. One step at a time. I want to enjoy being happy for a while.

There's a chance I will meet up with both my mother and brother this spring. I am thrilled. Can you even imagine?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Normal

2012 has crept in, and I am glad to feel that it's going to be better than 2011. At least on some counts.

My resolution is to accept that I have found a new normal for myself. It might not be where I wish it were, or a perfect place, but it's a place where I can breathe and feel some balance.

I had not been feeling myself for much of the autumn, thanks to the dopamax Topamax. On one occasion I forgot I was scheduled to work (not like me); on another, I watched a friend's baby eat a photograph without registering that perhaps stepping in to intervene might be an appropriate action (my dopey inner voice said, "Oh, it's probably laminated, and that's okay!" WTF?); at work one night, one of the midwives asked me to turn the overhead lights on for a delivery and I couldn't figure out what the lights were (umm, really?); and on another occasion, an MD whom I really, really like and admire and want to impress asked me to bring him three simple instruments to the recovery room and I had to WRITE THEM DOWN. None of these things is at all like me. I am sharp as a tack, usually. I can remember things quite well. I began to think that 1. my liver was failing; 2. I had had a small stroke; or 2. for some reason the Topamax wasn't metabolizing properly. Whatever it was, I felt like I was wandering like a cloud, but not happily like in a Wordsworth poem.

So off I went to the ER again, to round out 2011. Many blood tests and a CT and neurology consult later, it turned out that some people can have random, acute episodes of "confusion" (that I would more properly characterize as rank stupidity) on Topamax, even on stable doses. My dose was cut in half, and a day or so later, I felt 100% better. So I am back nearly at square one with what to do with pain medication. Sigh. On the other hand, I am really, really, really glad to have my brain back. While I did enjoy the emotional stability that Topamax gave me, it wasn't worth the loss of brainpower. And really, I am pretty stable emotionally at present. We will see what the future slings at me.

On the family front, I am enjoying my growing relationship with C, and it sounds like we might have a face-to-face meeting at some point in 2012. We will see, but I am cautiously hopeful. And excited. She is a steadfast, wonderful friend, and I look forward to our frequent conversations. It turns out that we are very much alike in some ways, and it's great to see myself mirrored in her. Again, there's that curious mix of nature and nurture that just cannot be denied. She visited my brother recently, went to the same brewery, and ended up picking out exactly the same sweatshirt that I did--without coaching, apparently. Interesting. When relationships with first families can mean more love, without stress, they're pretty amazing. I am pleased that C set such great boundaries and is transparent about her expectations; we both are able to say what we need and it's working well.

I hope to see my brother before too long, if I can swing a trip down south. I miss him. I haven't seen him since late August, which isn't all that long, but given that he's moving in a year and a half, I feel all kinds of desire to maximize his proximity while he's close. And he's being kind about that. I had an adoptee flip out in December when I was worried that he was pushing me away, but we survived it. I think he found it bewildering, but he is sticking with me. So bonus points for him.

I am also not a secret to anyone in my uncle's family anymore, and I went out on a limb and sent them a Christmas card. That felt great. I don't expect anything in return, but I wanted them to know I am thinking of them, and that the door here is open anytime.

Work is finally feeling like something fluid again. Not that I am an expert, but I have a feel for the ropes and go in happy and confident that I can make it through the 8 hours, and that I have something wonderful to offer my patients. Some days are harder than others, to be certain, but each day I learn something new. I want to commit to learning and trying many more new things this year, and trying to become more confident with antepartum patients (the ones we're trying to keep pregnant).

I also want to try to write more, now that my brain is back. Oh brain, how I've missed you. I went to Berkeley on my way back from San Francisco the other day and stopped in at Moe's, one of the best used bookstores on the planet. I bought an old copy of prose poems by Baudelaire, and I want to work on my French again. I can feel the joy washing over me. What doesn't matter, doesn't matter. Such a relief.

2012 is going to be great. I wish all of you a wonderful year. I know there's much sadness out there, and that there's much fighting to be done to change things for adoptees. We will do it. New normal, go!