Thursday, April 28, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

Thankful Thursday (by Melissa)

I was thinking earlier this week that I should do something like a weekly blog post of things that rock that I am thankful for. I have to admit that I am feeling kind of crappy this week so this post might be exactly what I need today.

What I really want to do is crawl back into my bed and go back to sleep. I am feeling kind of blah about things in general right now, so let me think about what I am thankful for and it may turn me out of this funk.

I am thankful for hearing my kids laugh. Yesterday we had a really fun evening and we were laughing so hard that I had tears in my eyes and my belly kind of hurt. I love those kind of silly times! I fully admit that my kids inherited my extremely silly sense of humor, and when the three of us get going it can be utter chaos.

So today's Thankful Thursday is going to be a picture tribute to my munchkins, Ashley and Devin. They make me happy and make life worth living. Enjoy!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

Adult Bullies, Are You One? (by Melissa)

I want to start this blog post with a definition.

From http://dictionary.reference.com:
Bully

(noun)
a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people. 

(verb) (used without object)

to be loudly arrogant and overbearing.
I think it is very important to bring up the definition of "bully" because even as adults the line between normal societal behavior and bullying type behavior gets blurry for some people.  When is it okay to be opinionated and bitchy? Is it ever okay to be bitchy? Are there times where opinions themselves are inappropriate and cross the line of bullying?

I read a blog by a guy named Dan called Single Dad Laughing. He writes passionately about many subjects and is careful to say that his blog is an "opinion blog". He wrote a blog awhile back about his dog getting loose from his yard, naturally his son was upset. Of course they looked for the dog but he was just not to be found, unfortunately. There was a recent update about how Dan and Noah found a new dog. And let me tell you, the pictures and the accompanying blog post were adorable!

Most of the comments were great and supportive. There were a handful though bashing him because of the other dog that had gotten out of the fence, basically calling Dan a horrible pet owner and what the hell was he thinking getting another dog? They were extreme comments, I am not going to lie. It was really to the point of bullying and it made me sick to read them.    
"To be loudly arrogant and overbearing." Came to mind.
I am a group owner on a parenting website for a debate type message board. For the most part the posters on the board are funny, witty and super intelligent people. I love this board and visit it several times a day for the intellectual conversation. It goes without saying that on a debate board topics will become VERY heated at times. Most of the posters that have been on the board for a long time debate quite well without personally attacking the people on the other side of the debate. But there are absolutely posters on there who will resort to using hate speech and intimidating language during debates to belittle and demean the opposition.
I don't care what anyone says, they are using bullying tactics and they know it. The sickening part is they then blame the opposition for being too sensitive. Well you know when someone says you are a child abuser because you chose to get your son circumsized... I think it is okay to be offended by that.  It is most often an extremist group in a debate that will do this, not someone who is willing to state their case and agree to disagree. Nor is it someone who wants to educate others about why they made the choice that they made. When the extremists come out then you have a very vocal group terrorizing anyone who dares to disagree. 
"A blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person (or group) who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people (or smaller groups)." Comes to mind.
Women, we are horrible for this. Not all of us, and not all of the time. And I am sure men do it too. But I know, because I am a woman, that females have the ability to be horribly catty to each other in a bullying type way. I am not exempt, I have done my share of things that I am not proud of. 
Think about this ladies, the last time you said something like this about another woman in conversation with your friends:

"I can't believe fat people wear bikinis"

"That skinny girl really needs to eat something. She looks anorexic"

"You know the only reason she got that promotion is because she slept with every guy in the office"

"I don't get along with women, you can't trust them."

"I can't believe that woman would rather be with a woman. How gross."

"You know he wouldn't be with her if he hadn't got her pregnant. I mean she is fat and sloppy and he is hot."

"Women shouldn't be in the military. Why do they want to be like men?"

"Did you see that female bodybuilder? I swear that's a dude. Female body builders are gross."

"Why the hell does someone have that many kids? The vagina is not a clown car."

"You know guys only date blondes because they will give it up on the first date, right?"

"Did you see that girls ass? She is obese! I don't care if she does have a washboard stomach, you can't have a butt that big and not be obese. I don't care if you are a famous tennis player"

I could go on and on but you get the point. WHY do women tear each other down with this bully type behavior? Is it because we want to be the alpha female in all settings? Is it so they don't do it to us first? Is it competition? Why why why?

Why do parents do this to each other? Is it because we feel like our way is the only way to parent? Is it because we feel the need to be superior? Are we so insecure about ourselves that we have to bash other parents that do things differently? Do we really think we have all the answers and must force this knowledge onto the ignorant masses before the children self destruct into psychopathic blobs of useless flesh?

Why do adults do this to each other? Have we not matured enough to have adult conversations? Do we not posses vocabulary adequate enough that we need not drag out name calling and bullying type behavior? Must we dominate people in our life to make us feel as though we are, in fact, as great as we think we are? Is it a direct correlation to our self esteem to be the most right? Is the only way to solve a problem through intimidation and badgering? Must we be loudly arrogant and overbearing in our opinions? 

And does anyone who bullies and intimidates others with their beliefs honestly think that they are doing anything besides wasting their breath when they use this tactic?

Please feel free to use the comment section below to discuss adult bullying. I would love to hear your point of view and input in this debate!
 
Monday, April 25, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

Have a Happy Period? (by Melissa)

I wonder what kind of masochist came up with that catch phrase? I know I am not the first woman to scoff at that "Have a happy period" nonsense that Always maxi pads tried to sell to us. But I feel particularly surly towards it today. My cousin Jenn was telling me about a line in a movie she saw this weekend. It went something like "I feel like I have a crime scene in my underwear" in regards to the actress speaking about her period. I can relate. Except my whole lower abdominal and back region feels like, at the very least, the scene of an assault.

How does a woman have a happy period? Well we don't, that's for sure. I have chugged Advil this morning and worked out lightly to loosen the muscles and try to ease the tension. Hahahaha, yeah. Heat works for a little while. Having the man massage my lower back works too, but unfortunately I can't carry him around behind me all day. So I suck it up and try to ignore it. Stupid period.

And of course we have the fun of wearing our apparatus to deal with the flow. I can't wear a tampon. As much as I would love to be able to, they are not comfortable to me. So, I get to wear a pad. This is the closest thing to a diaper I have worn since childhood. And did you all know they make pads for thongs? Not that I wear a thong, anything my butt crack can eat is pointless to wear. But a pad for a thong? Why? Nevermind, I don't want to know.

There's also this nifty device called a Diva Cup. I haven't tried it yet, but I probably will just because I am adventurous. Basically you take this soft cup and insert it at the opening to your cervix and it catches the flow. You rinse it out and pop it back in. Sounds great right? Except I am the queen of spills and blood isn't exactly easy to wash out of things. So yeah, that's kind of holding me back.



So apparatus and Advil aside, what the hell is supposed to make me have a happy period? I only have one idea in mind.

Chocolate wine anyone? Alcohol and chocolate in one. I deem this the perfect "period" beverage.
Thursday, April 21, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

Why Abortion After 20 Weeks Should NOT be Illegal Across the Board (by Tamara via Melissa)

Yesterday during a discussion about the new laws passed in Oklahoma there was debate amongst some women I happened to be talking to about getting abortions after twenty weeks of gestation. Some were adamant that for no reason should you be able to. Some suggested there may be good medical reasons to have one done after twenty weeks. During the course of this discussion I heard the tragic story of a wonderful, courageous woman named Tamara. With her permission I am repeating the story here as I truly believe it is something we all need to hear when thinking about this topic. 
(if you are sensitive to things like abortion or child loss you may want to skip this blog post)

From Tamara directly as follows:



First of all, let me give you a little timeline that is not out of the ordinary at all. It's the one I went through almost three years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter who had Trisomy 18.

1. I had my AFP test done at 16 weeks. Two days later, I got a call from my doctor that it showed I had a one in ten chance of the baby having Trisomy 18.

2. By the time I got in for a level 2 ultrasound, I was almost 17 weeks. She was measuring behind at that time, so it was hard for them to see a whole lot. They thought she might have a cystic hygroma and a clubbed foot, but they weren't for sure. They recommended an amniocentesis because of it.

3. By the time I could do the amniocentesis because of the fact that the amniotic sac hadn't yet fused to the uterine lining, I was almost 18 weeks. They did that, and we went for the FISH results which come back in three to five days.

4. Because I had it done on a Friday, it was a Wednesday before the test results came back. It showed full Trisomy 18. I was almost 19 weeks.

5. My doctor recommended I not make any decisions until the full results came in. I was at 19.5 weeks when the full results came in, just a few short days away from 20 weeks.

So, that gives you a time line and shows you how long it can take to get a definitive diagnosis. Now, the rest of my story is pretty interesting, too. I am the face of what happens to women who have a medical problem when you limit abortions for social reasons.

My doctor had told me when we did the FISH results that I should be able to go to a hospital in Nashville to end the pregnancy through a labor and delivery abortion. She was wrong. The hospital there will no longer do it because of the political climate in the state. I thought I could go to an abortion clinic in the state. Again, I was wrong. Only two abortion clinics in Tennessee will do abortions past 14 weeks, and they will only do them to 16 weeks. My only other choice was to go to Atlanta, four hours and a whole state away.

So, we went. I felt like we were sneaking away to commit a crime, to do something illegal, when truly, the only thing I wanted to do was to keep my poor baby from suffering. They told me I would be eligible for a one day procedure and it would cost $1,500, which my parents gave us. We were assured we would be separated from the other women, the ones who were doing it for "social reasons." They were supposed to have in place a program to treat families like us in a special way.



Well, we get there that morning, and we aren't separated. My husband and I had to sit in a waiting room full of women who were terminating healthy pregnancies. I have always been pro-choice, but it was almost too much to take. Some were visibly upset, while others were clearly feeling relieved and happy. We waited for four hours in that miserable waiting room, being called back once to fill out paperwork, another time for me to be weighed and a third time for them to tell me they had made a mistake and I wasn't eligible for a  one day procedure. If I wanted to do it, I would have to come back at a later time.

They gave me an ultrasound that day to tell me how much it would cost to have it done the next week. This ultrasound showed that she had very little brain matter, a huge cystic hygroma, a clubbed foot and very little fluid around her, which indicated that her kidneys weren't working. We decided to go home and carry to term, although I did check around for my options in my state. I found one hospital that was still willing to do it in Tennessee, but you had to start out as the patient of one of their doctors and you had to go before their ethics board to state your case. Can you imagine having to do that when you already in pain over your child's diagnosis?




So, for each day that I carried her, I wondered if that was the day she was going to die. If I didn't feel her move, I wondered if she had died and I didn't know it. I felt like a walking coffin. People would congratulate me on my pregnancy and ask how it was going, and I didn't know what to say. My heart broke each time. I was scared for my family, for my then five year old, how she was going to take it if her much wanted and already much loved little sister was born alive and then died a few days later. I worried about my marriage, knowing many don't survive when a child dies. But mostly, I worried about the baby I carried and whether or not she was going to be in pain. I worried that if she was born alive that I would be able to do the right thing and offer only comfort care and not life-saving measures. I worried, day and night.



We didn't make it to full-term, and in some ways, I am extremely glad about that. I don't think I would have remained sane if we had. Her birth defects were worse than we had imagined. Her little skull hadn't formed correctly, and her head was mostly filled with fluid. Because of this, while she was being born, her head collapsed. It's not something a mother wants to imagine.

It will be three years in August since all of this happened. I am now doing all I can to fight these kinds of laws. I write letters, and in 2009, I even gave a speech in front of our legislature about it. I will be graduating next month with my degree in psychology and plan to pursue my masters in counseling and a graduate certificate in women's studies, because I know it will help me in my activist role.

To sum all of this up, when you limit abortions for social reasons, you also limit them for medical reasons. Also, I don't see how any woman can support these kinds of laws. Think about what you might be doing to yourself, to your daughters, to all the women out there when you do. 



------------------------------------


I want to sincerely thank Tamara for allowing me to share her story.













Monday, April 18, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

Lungs Of Fire: Asthma (by Melissa)

I hate my asthma.
Pic by Voxel 123

There is really nothing worse then not being able to breathe, I don't think. Here's what it feels like to me. I know when I am around a trigger. The scent of a very strong perfume, for instance. I sometimes know before I even feel the symptoms that I am going to be in agony very, very soon.


I try to run as far away as I can from the smell. Sometimes I am very lucky and get away quickly enough that I don't have a reaction. If I can, I throw my coat or shirt over my face to try to stop myself from inhaling the scent any further as I get as far away from it as I can.


This works about 30% of the time if I can get away. Most of the time I have to break out the rescue inhaler so that I can continue to breathe. Thank you to the person that felt the need to bathe in cologne, my lungs are on fire.


Not every time I can get away from the offender. Lets take my last plane ride for instance. It started out very pleasantly. We got on the plane in Richmond and had to stop in Norfolk to pick up some more passengers. It's a relatively small charter plane that can hold 120 or so people and I fully expected that someone would board wearing a bit of perfume.


I didn't expect there would be more than one of them who felt the need to bathe in it. Or that they would be seated directly behind me. Silly me.


So I spent the rest of the flight from Norfolk to New Jersey feeling like I had fire in my lungs. The rescue inhaler was no match for Mr. wearstoomuchcologne and Mrs. cottoncandynastybodyspray directly behind us. Even my mom, sitting next to me on the plane, was choking and gagging.


Now, we were spending the weekend in a casino. Smoke filled paradise of losing all of your money, yay! Honestly, we had so much fun though, even if we came home a little lighter in the wallet. I made a point of staying in the non smoking part of the casino because I know cigarette smoke is another trigger for my asthma. Not quite as bad as perfume, but I wasn't about to chance it. Keep in mind, I am an ex smoker. I never wanted to be an ex smoker that turned my nose up at people who smoked. I laughed at ex smokers like that. But it's different when you have asthma.


I find a machine I want to sit at and insert my 20 dollars. I am playing happily, waiting for the lovely waitress to bring my white russian. I have found the asthmatics mecca in a casino, a whole room that is non smoking. Granted, the room isn't large and the machines are older, but I will take what I can. I was happy for spinning reels and clean air.


Sniff. Sniff. IS THAT REALLY? I look right next to me and I will be damned. This lady is crouched over trying to hide the fact that she is smoking a cigarette. I was so mad that I knew I would make a scene, and a pretty bad one. I mean let's face it, how many people have asthma that's as bad as mine? Not many. Was she trying to kill me? No. Was she an inconsiderate jerk? Oh yes, very much so. But I had bigger things to deal with, like throwing my shirt over my face and getting away from her as fast as I could to save my lungs the agony. Besides, between the smoke and me going off on her I would have assuredly had a full blown attack and those are pretty scary.


I never did get my white russian.


So yes, right now I am hating my asthma. I just started a new medication regime so hopefully it gets better. And we are in allergy season so I am pretty sure that's making things ten times worse. Yesterday I was feeling pretty weepy and emotional about it thinking "How am I going to go into public again and not fear running into someone with a ton of perfume? How will I fly again? What if it is always like this for the rest of my life?" Seriously, the thought of becoming a hermit sounds pretty good when things that trigger your asthma can make you feel like you are dying.


I will end with this funny, or not so funny, story of how I handled the ride home on the plane. Apparently with this trip we took on the charter plane you keep your same seats on the way home as you had on the way up. So I had Mr and Mrs lovesperfumeandcologne behind me, once again. I was hoping they would be left in Atlantic City, but no dice. I had remembered my doctor recommending I use a surgical mask when I go in public to help me from going into an attack. Well clearly I had no surgical mask, but I did have my coat. So I sat the entire flight with my coat over my nose and mouth. Literally all you could see was my eyes and top of my head. Did it call attention to me? Yes, it did unfortunately which was embarrassing. But could I breathe? Yes, I could and the flight home wasn't nearly as bad.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 20 comments By: Unconditionally You

Blog Love Fest (by Melissa)

I am getting ready to go out of town, so I won't be writing as much over the next week or so. Booo, hissssss. I know. 

 
What I thought would be fun is if we had a huge Blog Love Fest over the next week or so! I am asking you all to share in the comments section the URL for your blog and a description of what your blog is all about. If you want to share your Twitter info, Facebook info... whatever. Connect and have a Blog Love Fest! Be sure to check out other blogs too, this is a great way to connect with your fellow bloggers and make new followers and become a follower to others! And don't forget Unconditionally You either, lest it get jealous with me being gone and everyone else schmoozing and having fun while it sits in the corner, all alone.

Monday, April 11, 2011 5 comments By: Unconditionally You

Divorce and Inner Destruction (by Melissa)

By Melissa 

My divorce could have killed me.
 

I am not being dramatic, or facetious. It really could have.
 

Now, let me begin by saying I will not use this blog post to bash my ex husband. For the sake of his privacy and mine I will leave out the details of exactly what transpired to cause our divorce. We don't hate each other, we did divorce however.
 

There is something utterly devistating about being no longer good enough for the person you married. It doesn't matter how much you put into the marriage or how much you wanted it to work, it just wasn't enough. Me, being the person who feels like if you work hard enough then you can solve any problem, just doesn't accept defeat easily. It is not in my personality to give up, even when my world is falling apart around me.

Sometimes you don't get a choice though. I personally don't deal well with having my choices taken from me. I drove across country, back to my home state, thinking that it couldn't all be real. However, in the back of my mind I sort of knew. I listened to Beyonce and sang "To the left!"  on repeat as I made my way back to my home state, feeling empowered and expecting a call from the one I loved to come home.


The call didn't come and oh, I was crushed. Shellshocked more like. I think I went numb but alternated between feeling raw and numb. I went back to work for the company I had left while I was pregnant with our son and threw myself into my job. I slept, I worked, I cried, I went numb, I took care of my children. I thought about my ex often (what is he doing? who is he sleeping with? who is he laughing with?) and I tried to make sense of my new life.


Also, I did something I probably shouldn't have done. Started another relationship with a man named Sonny. Had this been with ANY other man it would have been a very bad decision. Luckily he was and is a wonderful person that I had known for many years. He knew I could give him very little, and asked for very little in return. I feel teary eyed as I write about this part because he has been something so special and wonderful to me. He will never truly know that he was a blessing in disguise for me.


 I moved back to Virginia and lived with my mom for a few months. During those first few months it sunk in that my ex and I would never be together again and I signed the divorce papers. I didn't even hesistate when it came time to sign them to be honest. I read through them, everything seemed in order. Sign here, initial here in yellow sticky notes all over the place in the paperwork. Take these papers to be notarized and return ASAP, all of which I did and felt very little emotion about. 

Done, now time to find a home for me and my children.

That is when it really hit me.


Full Force.


I found a very cute home in a rural area that matched everything on my list of things I desired in a home for us. Excellent school district, check. Not too far from work, again check. There was a long, winding driveway that went past a beautiful pond that was on the land. The landlord could not have been nicer, truly he was wonderful in every sense. He offered to keep the grass cut if I paid a little extra, which I was happy to do as I am not much into lawn care. The rent was so cheap, every single thing about the situation was perfect.


There were two bedrooms. The children were young enough to share a room and I would take the other room. I had it all worked out. We moved in and I found I couldn't sleep in my bedroom. Sleeping in bed by myself was just scary. I was the only adult in the house! What if an intruder broke in? What if a fire started, who would get the kids out? I was frought with anxiety about being alone. So, I slept on the couch the entire time we lived there. No one used the second bedroom because I reasoned that one day I would get used to being alone and would sleep in there. I never did.


I managed to slide into a horrible depression. This is hard to admit to publically, but there it is. I functioned. I held a job, I kept my house clean, my children were loved and taken care of. My bills were paid and I had friends and relationships. But inside I felt ugly and horrible. I felt rejected. I wanted Sonny (the man I mentioned earlier) to get sick of me and leave me. I hoped his ex wife would leave the man she was with and want him back. I fantasized about this, because I really felt like I had nothing at all to give him and I knew that was the love of his life and he could be happy with her. 


http://www.celebritydietdoctor.com

I gained weight. A lot of it. And I did it on purpose. I wanted him (Sonny) to not be attracted to me. I thought if I became fat he would leave me. This is the first time I am admitting this to anyone. I hope if he reads this he won't think I am too crazy. But, this is how my feeling rejected after my divorce was making me feel inside. I don't blame my ex, let me make that very clear. This is simply how my mind was processing the pain of rejection. I couldn't deal with anyone loving me, or even being attracted to me because I wasn't handling the fact that my world had crumbled down around me once before.

I should also pause here and say I have a history of depression. I don't want to go into detail, but this is a fact to take into consideration as you read my story.


So, I ate and hoped that I would be unattractive. I felt awful and out of control, now not just because of the divorce but because of the fact that I couldn't be in a relationship and just be happy. He deserved more, didn't he? A sane girlfriend at least. Couldn't I do anything right?


I would love to say this all turned around quickly and I lived happily ever after. The fact is I lived in emotional hell for a while. I gained about 70 pounds total. Physically I was in just as bad shape as I was emotionally. I couldn't walk up stairs without getting out of breath anymore. I thought about ending my life. I knew I wouldn't, mainly because I wouldn't do that to my children. I existed only because I had no choice. For some damn reason I kept waking up.


 I stopped having sex with Sonny. I wouldn't even let him touch me in a sexual manner and I KNOW that hurt him. Sex with him was always VERY good, that was never the problem.  Hopefully he understands and knows I am sorry that he felt rejected. I was in pain because of my own rejection, I surely didn't want to cause someone pain by rejecting them too. He must love me, or at least like me a little bit (grin) because he kept coming over and never stopped being sweet and supportive.


At this point none of this was about my ex husband. It had not been about him in a very long time. Probably not since the first year or so after we split. It was about fear, self esteem, not being able to trust people and many other issues. My head was a mess, putting it lightly. My divorce, and everything after it, was killing me from the inside out.


What helped me?


When you feel so beaten down you sometimes cling to very small things to make you feel good. A cousin of mine (or second cousin? I don't know, everyone is a cousin in my family) Crissy Turner once said to me "Your kids are the way they are because they have the mother they do." indicating their good behavior. Now, normally I downplay these kind of comments because I am uncomfortable with compliments, but she said it in a way that said I was not allowed to argue, hahaha. And, it made me feel good. 



This is what helped me.


Letting the people in my life raise me up. I had to let them do this because I needed them. My default is to keep everything in and not talk about what is bothering me. I don't want to be needy I like being needed, which is so silly when you think about it.


The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” - Morrie Schwartz


I have no shortage of people in my life who love me. My problem was that I couldn't really allow myself the liberty to talk to anyone about the heart ache. Maybe a lot of us do this; if you pretend that life is okay then you don't have to face the fact that it isn't. On the outside you can show a happy face and that makes things, so you think, a little more bearable. The reality is that you don't give the people that love you the opportunity to be the healing balm you might need in the time of emotional crisis. 


The bigger reality is that life is not always okay and you shouldn't feel the need to isolate yourself for the selfish need to spare the feelings of other people. Finding the balance between allowing yourself some personal space and allowing your loved ones to help you through the tough times can be difficult for many of us. It certainly was for me and without the love of those people in my life I hate to think how bitter and lonely I might be right now.

Divorce could have killed me. My own fear of and subsequent denial of rejection could have totally undone me. But I stand today a stronger woman with love in her life and lessons learned. From something tragic I have found something beautiful. I look at my love (Sonny), my children, my family and my many friends and think how incredibly blessed I am to have such a wonderful group of people in my life. Life is good.







Saturday, April 9, 2011 2 comments By: Mera Thomas

Unconditionally Emerald: An Intro (by Emerald)



Me? Me! This is an introduction to Me, Emerald Hall….okay so here I go. I never know what to say when it comes to me other than to say that I am me, just me and no one else.

I will start off simply and say that I am a single mother to a 4year old girl and while I’m no June Cleaver I do my best when it comes to her and her well being. I have a full time job as a teacher for now but I am an aspiring writer and now thanks to my friend Melissa I am writing for more than just myself, Huzzah!!
Unconditionally you is something that every woman looks towards. At least that’s how I see it in my mind. When Melissa asked me to write for her for this blog soon to come online magazine I was over the moon with excitement for the sheer brilliance of her idea and her inclusion of me. I talked to friends about it all the while thinking that surely this wouldn’t happen because things like this NEVER happen to me, but here I am writing for this beautiful blog and hoping for the website to be as much of a success as I know this blog will be!
Please bear with me as I have a moment… WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
Ahem….
Okay, I’m good now.
Now after the blog was launched I got sick, well actually had been sick all along and just thought it was allergies, and went to the doctors for the first time in 5years for some antibiotics. Now let me tell you that I’m a bit of a hippy in that as long as I can get over my allergies and colds at home holistically then I will because doctors give me the heebee gee bees like mad crazy. I don’t like them but will grit my teeth and go when necessary.
So I went to the clinic in my home town only to find that the NP seeing me had shingles, a cousin to chicken pocks, and my child wouldn’t be allowed back with me. So I had to leave her with the receptionist so that I could get checked out.
All this time I’m hacking up a lung and can’t breathe through my nostrils and the NP comes in and says “So what’s the problem today, sweetie?” I tell her what has been going on only to realize halfway through my appointment that she’s a little high. Now this is amazing. I’m sitting here and she’s taking my temp and all that business and she’s higher than a kite on the meds for her shingles. I don’t know what kind of medicine they give you for shingles but she was out of it with the slurred words and the mumbling. LOL its funny now when I think about it and now that I know that she won’t be in business much longer because she was bought out by a hospital. Its funny, well in hindsight it’s funny.
Anyway I was given some antibiotics and a nasal spray because my allergies had progressed to a sinus infection, ear infection and a slight bronchial infection as well. I was also given an antibiotic shot and a steroid shot before I left.
And let me tell you, them suckers hurt! I haven’t gotten an antibiotic shot since I was 16 and that sucker hurts! After they told me that the steroid shot would make me antsy and to just try my best to go for a walk or something to settle down before bed, I though okay no problem. What they didn’t tell me was that the combination of the steroid shot, the antibiotic shot, and the oral medicine would make me feel the blood run through my veins like NASCAR.
It made my head light, my legs weak and spun glass was stronger than I was for the rest of that weekend. The only restlessness I felt at all that day was restless leg syndrome in my left leg, lol that I easily ignored and slept like the dead for 12 hours.
I feel better now though I still have a bad cough that makes my chest rattle and my voice deep.
More about me is that I like to decorate, plan parties, shop, read and the biggest project I have going on with me right now is that I’m preparing my body to get pregnant this July. I’m charting my cycles, doing the ovulation kits to find out my ovulation days, and taking my prenatal along with an herbal supplement for fertility health.
I am a single mother to a 4yearold girl and this will be my first pregnancy and my first biological child. I love just thinking about being pregnant. All the uncomfortable feelings, the growing huge with the baby the swollen feet and doctors, nurses, midwife choices. I love it all and I can’t wait to experience it all first hand.
The only thing I don’t have for this is a mate, but in this modern world a mate is not easily overlooked but possible. I plan to conceive my first child via sperm bank, though if I find the mate of my dreams before then I’ll change my plans but for now I’m doing it the independent way because at 27 waiting any longer for a mate to have children with isn’t an option.
I hope you all like this introduction to me. I ramble a lot so hopefully this made sense and you like me and my writing, lol.
I enjoy being Unconditionally me, what about you?
The pictures above and below are both pictures of me one is less glamorous than the other but I still look the same.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 2 comments By: Unconditionally You

HPV, Gardasil and Decisions (by Melissa)

http://scienceblogs.com/corpuscallosum

I have a 12 year old daughter. I know one day she will be sexually active. I have done my best to arm her with all of the information available regarding her health. We have talked about birth control, condoms and waiting until you are truly ready to make the decision to have sexual intercourse. As a parent I have tried to be as open and honest with her about the options she has in life as far as her sexual health goes.
 

Also, as her parent, there are some decisions to make as well. I am sure many of you have heard about the vaccine Gardasil. It has been talked about in the media and debated between parents ever since it's release. Do I make my daughter get it? Does this give her the wrong impression that condoms aren't necessary? Will we find out 15 years from now that it actually causes horrible side effects? Is it being pushed too fast, too soon? Is it a great wonder vaccine that is a step towards curing cancer?
 

A million questions run through my head about this vaccine and I don't know what is the right decision to make. For once, I don't have a definitive yes or no about a health related issue. I research everything to the point of exhaustion. I try to make informed decisions. There is something about this one that causes me to feel a little bit of icy fear in the back of my mind though, and I can't put my finger on it.
 

I am not anti-vax. I fully support people's right to delay, or not vaccinate their children at all. However, after doing the research concluded that vaccinating was the right decision for my family. We have (more or less, I blame moving and being a tad bit unorganized) followed the recommended schedule for having all of the recommended childhood vaccinations. Gardisil has been the one though that I just had a reaction to as being uncomfortable with. Not in a "Oh my little snowflake won't be having sex until she is 30, so it's not necessary" type of way... but just discomfort.
 

While having a discussion with a group of parents I was surprised to learn you can actually have your son vaccinated as well. WHAT?! WHY?! Was my first reaction. So, I listened because admittedly, I was woefully ignorant about this. I have a six year old son and never even considered this to be something I would have to consider for him. Certainly men can contract HPV and infect their partners with HPV. As far as I knew Gardasil was being promoted as a way to prevent cervical cancer. Now I had new food for thought.
 

There you have it. Admitting to basing my fear and rejection of this vaccine on my ignorance in public is a bit embarrasing. Time to turn to Google. Don't laugh please, I do plan to discuss this in length with the pediatrician at the next well child check up for the kids. Google is what is available for now and I will stick to information that is from unbiased sources to help me gain more information.
 

Here is more information about HPV provided by the CDC. Please feel free to look at the information. http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm
 

For the purpose of discussion it would be appreciated if you would leave a comment here regarding your feelings about Gardasil, or HPV in general. In no way am I suggesting that anyone run out to get the vaccine, let me make that VERY clear. I respect every parent has the right and responsibility to make an informed decision for their own child. Open discussion is good for all of us hopefully to raise awareness and bring different prospectives to an important topic.
Sunday, April 3, 2011 7 comments By: Unconditionally You

No Make Up and Glam It Up Day: Are You In? (by Melissa)


Despite what the intro to the blog says, I don't specifically hate make up. Surprised? Don't be!
 

Let me explain it this way. A few weeks ago I had a status update on Facebook from my 14 year old friend, Alysia. It mentioned that a handful of girls were wearing no make up to school that day, and they were wearing "their real colors".
 

I should stop here and admit that I have a feminist side that stands up and cheers like mad when I read things like this. Even more loudly when it comes from the mouth's of babes, so to speak!
 

Now, I know my station in life is to generally smile and nod around teens and try not to embarass them too much by being overly political/opinionated/dorky in general, but I had to comment on the status. I did, commenting that "I love this. While we all like to accentuate our features and make up is fun, there's something empowering about saying "my true form is beautiful". Inspiring, ladies. :)" and I even got a few like clicks from the teens. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating and I got one like click. Shut up, I am trying to think I am still cool, let me have my moment!
 

Ahem.
 

Make up and hair. It's something that is important to women. That is a simple fact that I don't plan to ignore on this blog. While I want you to be unconditionally the woman that you are, I don't expect that any of us will throw away what makes us happy. Appearance is something that we can't ignore. I know, personally, that it is truly indicative of my mental status if my physical state (including appearance) declines. Finding the balance between chasing unblemished perfection, such as airbrushed beauty in magazines, and your own beauty is where I hope we all can find the balance. 


 

Here is what I propose, and I hope that my readers will join in! On April 7th I would like us to all have a "No Make Up Day". Take this day to do as those wonderful young ladies did and wear your real colors. If you would like, take a picture and post it to Unconditionally You's facebook page to share with the world! On April 8th I would like us to have a "Glam it Up" day. Take this day to rock out the hair and make up. Again, feel free to take a picture and post it to the facebook page and share with the world! The purpose is to have fun on both days and to show the world that you are beautiful both with and without being dolled up. Look for my pictures to be posted on both days, promise you will see them if you have Unconditionally You on facebook!

 

Thanks for reading, and remember to stay unconditionally you.