Sunday, November 11, 2012

Listmaker, Listmaker Make Me a List

We like lists because we don't want to die. 
Umberto Eco 

The Holidays are almost upon us. Yes, that quickly. Thanksgiving is literally around the corner and I had a mini freak out about it just this past Friday night when Lupe mentioned planning the menu. And I thought “why so early?” Until I realized that it’s two weeks away! So, time to get ready for the hustle and bustle of shopping, cooking, cleaning, baking, rinse and repeat. 

Aside from the regular hub bub and holiday cheer that this season brings this is also the time of year when people who have Type A personalities (Me) and are list makers and even those who aren’t make list after list after list. To do lists. Grocery list. Christmas wish list. Christmas  shopping list. Parties to attend list. Guest list. Priority List. Laundry list after list after list. There is just so much to do and get done. And there is never enough time.

Well, in light of all the good, the bad, the beautiful, bold and ugly that the past couple of years have brought me I have complied several lists to honor all the list making that will go on this season. Read, weep, rejoice and enjoy. And hopefully these lists can give you a moment of Zen in the mist of all the lists of things you think you have to get done. 

I'm the one in red and white..

Top 5 Things I Want to Get Done In Life:
1. Publish my memoir.
2. Have a baby/be someone's mother.
3. Love my husband so much he never has the desire to leave me.
4. See as much of the world as I can.
5. Laugh more. 

Top 5 Worst Medical Procedures/Moments:
1. Enduring a miscarriage- It's awful, terrible, gross, sad, painful and after all is said and done there is no funeral and you never feel any closure. Enough said. 
2. EMG- Electro-Magnetic something or other. This is when they stick you with needles that send electric shocks up your legs, arms and back to determine if you have muscle damage or spinal damage. You have to be in the room alone with the technician, you're naked, the bed is cold and it hurts like hell. 
3. MRI of Brain when you have an excruciating migraine- 2009 I endured something called "reversible cerebral vasoconstriction" (thunderclap headache) because it feels like someone hit you in the back of the head with a 2 by4. It made me break out in a cold sweat, projectile vomit and hate life. Now imagine feeling that while you're in a ginormous white machine that is making LOUD OBNOXIOUS buzzing sounds all around your head. (Yes, like the ones you see on House) 
4. Echo Cardiograms/EKGs- All I have to say is: more people have seen my boobs than I ever cared to. (Lupe is starting to get jealous.)
5. Barium Swallow- This is where you drink nasty, white, powdery chalk like crap so they can determine if your esophagus is damaged...thanks to "heartburn." I gagged about 5 times.

Top 5 Most Enlightening Experiences:
1. 5 Days in ICU- I can get depressed or I can get angry. If I get angry I can advocate for myself. When I advocate for myself I am in control. If I am in control I decide how and when this will end. And it is definitely NOT NOW.
2. Parent or Pregnancy- A few months after my miscarriage I decided that being a parent was more important than getting pregnant. If I am blessed to carry a child I will own that responsibility. If my body can't handle it, I will adopt. I want to be a mother and there is more than one way to do that.
3.Food is Medicine- Meeting with my cardiologist after my ICU stay. He did some funky Eastern medicine test on my body and told me to stop eating gluten, dairy and corn. I cried because it felt like the lights had finally been turned on. My immune system is in my gut, what I was eating was killing me. Time to stop killing myself. 
4. Comforting My Mom- She's always been the strong one. She's always there for everyone with a prayer, a plate of food and a hug. But one night, I was there for her. I was strong for the both of us and all was well. 
5. Every time my body does something I think it can't/won't- It's all those little victories most of us take for granted on an every day basis. For instance, this week while cooking, I realized that I can easily use a hand held can opener...2 years ago...I couldn't. It made me smile. Or when I walk up the stairs and I don't have to catch my breath...sometimes (no joke) I shed a little happy tear for myself because 2 months ago...I couldn't. 

One of my girls :)-Blanca & Me
Top 5 People in My Life:
1. God- and that's between me and Him. 
2. Me- because I'm fabulous.
3. Lupe- without him, I'm sure I'd be dead by now.
4. My Parents- without them I wouldn't have been born. :)
5. My Girls- and by that I mean ALL the strong, empowered, beautiful and inspiring women that keep me going everyday. (Friends and family) 

Top 5 Most Debilitating Symptoms:
1. Fatigue- not your average I don't want to get out of bed this morning fatigue, but more like I ran a marathon while battling pneumonia and then decided to meet with my personal trainer for strength training and now I think I'm dying fatigue. (Yes, this is what it feels like)
2.Heartburn- haha, I know it sounds silly especially when you see all those silly Tums/Nexium/Prilosec commercials. But this heartburn is not that. It's sleeping at a 90 degree angle your whole life because the acid creeps up if you lie flat. It's waking up 3 or 4 times a night hacking up fire burning acid that you feel in your ears. It's throwing up for 2 hours with no relief and having your husband rub your back afterwards cause everything hurts. It's not drinking water because even THAT burns going down. 
3. Raynaud's Phenomenon- This is the symptom that makes my hands turn blue/purple and tingle in the cold and under stress. I can literally do NOTHING when I have an attack. It hurts like hell and I am useless until it subsides. 
4. Joint Pain- And no, I don't mean like "oooh I think it's going to rain cause my knee hurts" pain. More like, can you get the cup off the shelf cause I can't raise my arms above my head. Or please bring me breakfast in bed because I'm not getting out of it today. Some days are easy and I feel nothing. Other days I'm an 80 year old woman.
5. Muscle Soreness/Tenderness- It's similar to what they describe in all those Fibromyalgia commericals...EXCEPT...I don't get to run around on the beach or paint a pretty picture after I pop a pill. Lol It still hurts to be touched on some days and I always feel like I spent hours at the gym lifting weights...sure wish my body LOOKED like I had. :) 

Top 5 Favorite Baked Goods:
1. Cheesecake- going to learn how to make a vegan, gluten-free version so I can still enjoy.
2. Crave's White Chocolate Macademia Nut Cupcake- I will allow myself this guilty pleasure once a year even if it causes indigestion and mucus. 
3. John Ufer's Pumpkin Bread- It is simply homemade goodness.
4. Upside Down Rum Cake- What's better than cake and alcohol?? 
5. Dominican Cake- I never get to eat this unless I'm in FL or NY but it is heavenly. And I can't even tell you what makes it "Dominican" but it just doesn't taste like regular cake. :)

Top 5 Reasons I’m An Artist:
1. To keep from going crazy.
2. Because I have stories to tell and I don't trust anyone else to tell them.
3. To keep from going crazy.
4. It's safer than drugs or alcohol.
5. To keep from going crazy. 

Top 5 Things Chronic Illness Has Taught Me:
1.There is no such thing as "normal."
2. I am and should always be the most important person in my life.
3. My pain is mine and mine alone.
4. None of this is my "fault." 
5. The people that matter are the ones that show they care. 

Top 5 Things I Wish I Could Say to People Who Don’t Understand:(You may get offended)
1. This is NOT cancer. There is NO cure and I don't care if your great Aunt beat cancer two times. I am in pain everyday. I am not a survivor I am an endurer. 
2. I don't look sick? Well, you don't look stupid..and we are. 
3. No, I don't need a full-time job to feel successful because I've already been published multiple times, have touched the lives of thousands of people with my poetry, and have a faemily who loves me. I could die tomorrow and be perfectly fine with it...could YOU? 
4. Don't feel sorry for me because I'm sick. Don't put me on a pedestal because I seem strong. I have good days and bad days. And deep down I am still kind of a bitch.
5. No, I'm not too young to be "this" sick. Diseases don't discriminate...and obviously neither does ignorance. 

Top 5 Happiest Moments/Experiences:
1. Finding out I was pregnant- even if it did end early, the possibility and thought of my body being able to do something THAT miraculous was awesome. 
This why I love him
2. My Wedding Day- I still think he's crazy for agreeing to be with my deteriorating self. 
3. My Proposal- I cried like a baby and it was awesome to see all my close family and friends there to support. 
4. Every time a submission gets accepted for publication- it's like giving birth without all the pain. I know that I am leaving a piece of myself behind...forever. 
5. Feb 2006 after a poetry reading- a young lady came up to me and said: "When I grow up I want to do that. I want to be like you. I want to do what you just did." If I had been hit by a truck that very night I would've been fine with it. I know I have done what I came here to do.

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