Friday, October 21, 2016

How and why I am Pro-choice and Pro-life.

Because I have so many friends who are one issue voters, and that issue is abortion, I thought I would explain how I can be pro-choice and pro-life at the same time, and why really, you should be too.

I don't believe either political Party wants there to be abortions. No one likes it. So let's do away with that concept. I don't believe women want unintended pregnancies either, or really want abortion to be their form of birth control, so let's do away with that. 

What I believe is that both Parties want the same thing, to reduce abortions, but just have differing ways of accomplishing this goal.  One Party focuses on laws surrounding abortions, saying if it's illegal it won't happen, though we have evidence saying that's not true. If it's illegal, it might become rarer, but it will definitely become less safe for both mother and child.

The other Party says let's reduce abortion rates by focusing on policies that promote life. Let's make sure expectant mothers have prenatal care and make sure they know that their newborn child will have healthcare, food, and an education. Let's guarantee the same things for the mother, and help with childcare costs where we can. Let's also make sure there are fewer unwanted children by making scientific, evidence based sex education available at all appropriate ages and make sure contraception is available and easy for all to access.

And, the thing is, this promotion of life, as opposed to regulation of women, works.  I'm sure you can guess in the scenarios above which is the Republican Party and which is the Democratic Party.  Democratic Party policies promote life AND reduce abortion rates. Republican Party policies drive you to the polls to vote on this one issue, but they don't actually reduce abortion rates much.

The Republican Party focuses on laws that largely regulate women.  But, when they are in office, when they control the Presidency, both houses of Congress, 2/3rds of the Supreme Court and have high approval ratings (see Bush, George W.) they don't use that power to reverse laws about abortion.  I have "worked" in politics for almost 10 years. I've learned a lot, and a lot that isn't pretty. What I've figured out is that the actual Republican Party doesn't want to overturn Roe v. Wade. (They probably can't anyway.) But if they did, what would drive you to the polls to vote Republican like nothing else?  Please, listen to what I'm saying here. Regardless who holds the Presidency, we are a red nation. We have more Republican Governor's and more Republican State Assemblies than we do Democratic ones. And, the Supreme Court has let the States make some of their own policies, within certain frameworks, around abortion.  But still, it's the issue that drives you to the polls knowing you'll always vote Republican no matter what, because those red states rarely use that power to actually reduce abortions, for fear they'll lose that issue that gets you to the polls, every single time.

Another little tidbit I just learned, while there are other cases that affect abortion, Roe is the biggie. And when Roe was decided, it was a 7-2 opinion. Five of those seven pro-votes were Republican appointees. One of them was actually a Roman-Catholic. Of the two who were against, one was a Democratic appointee and the other was Republican. So much for the Supreme Court argument when it comes to voting and abortion.

Listen to me when I say this again, DEMOCRATIC Party policies reduce abortion rates.  Abortion laws aren't changing much, if at all, so if you care about life, abortion rates are the whole ball game.

I am pro-choice because when it comes to the most intimate decision I or any woman will ever make in my lifetime, I don't want you, or my Governor, or my President or any other lawmaker, really anyone besides my husband and health-care professional, to have a say in that decision.  I believe a woman's body is her own. And her choices about what to do with it should be hers too. 

I am pro-life because I know the Party of choice also saves lives. Lives of the born and unborn.

So instead of regulating women or having your vote manipulated over one issue, let's do things to reduce abortion rates. Let's promote life.

The following article just backs up what I'm saying about abortion rates. I suggest you don't just take my word for it. Read the article. 

To reduce abortion, stop voting GOP!

#abortion #pro-choice, #anti-choice, #pro-life

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hillary, through a young Arkansas' girl's eyes.

I have a headache, and I can't sleep through it, which always either a) pisses me off or b) makes me reflective.

Right now I'm reflective. I'm thinking about the election, of course, and wondering why the critics of Hillary Clinton don't affect me more. Don't get me wrong, I'm bothered by the way I perceive her as mistreated and held to a different  standard, but most of the actual criticisms never really bother me, they never stick with me.

I think this because I'm 40, and I've lived all those 40 years in Arkansas. And during everyone of those 40 years that I have a memory of, Hillary has been a presence.  She's been that aunt that you bump into somewhere but don't really know well or someone like that. And, I'll admit, for most of the time I've been aware of her, she's been the subject of some controversy. As a young girl, still forming opinions and thoughts about life, I watched this with keen interest. See, Hillary was never "normal". She was never what people thought she should be. Now this part is probably an argument for nature vs. nurture, but I admired that in her. Nothing in me ever really wanted to be normal or what was expected either.

Hillary married Bill Clinton the year before I was born. But she didn't take his last name. (Dont even ask me about the fight Chris and I had over whether I'd take his last name!)  She became first lady when I was 4 or so, I think, and she didn't do normal "first lady" things. She had her own job. She tried to affect policy. She was constantly focused on how women and children were treated, and unlike I would've been, I doubt she cared exactly how the Governor's Mansion was decorated.  All this, the parts I remember at least, intrigued me. Her hair was never quite right to suit people. Her glasses were too big, and she never dressed suitably for a First Lady of Arkansas.

Then came the National Stage. Bill ran for the presidency. This was huge in Arkansas. And all those things about not fitting in that I admired in Hillary?  Boy, those were whoppers on the big scene. She had to change her hair, her last name, her clothes.... I assume she got contacts.  She didn't have a cookie recipe.... I could go on. Oh, and then the other women, Bill's other women, came out. I didn't know what to make of them. I mean, by this time I was old enough to know that sexuality was a thing, and that women were considered the weaker sex. And women could be and were often taken advantage of. So there was that. I could also see that there was advantage in women coming forward to try to harm a political figure. There was that too. But I'm not really concerned with my thoughts on Bill right now. I was still figuring him out.

Hillary though, intrigued me. How would a strong, self-sufficient woman like Hillary handle herself, her marriage,  and her young child during all this?  Well, she did it with what my conservative, Southern upbringing told me was style and grace. In a day and time when divorce was becoming normal, she hung in there. She saved her marriage.  She did the difficult thing and prioritized her daughter and marriage, and probably saved her husband's political career.  Oh, and she pissed off Tammy Wynette in the process. I remember thinking that was silly. And I remember my little feminist becoming self thinking she was probably the better half of that marriage and should've left that cheater, but there still being an ounce or so of awe that she didn't, and for the first time in my by then teen years thinking maybe there were bigger influences and considerations in marriage than being wronged. 

I'm still in my formative years at this time and can't even drive when Bill Clinton won the Presidency in 1992. But luckily, I had a great big brother who could drive and took me and my then boyfriend to Little Rock to see the newly elected president's acceptance speech.  I'd never been in such a throng of excited people before. I was attending and witnessing, history.  I just tried to take it all in.

So much happened in the 90's that had nothing to do with politics. My first love, my first car, high school, my first job, graduation (high school and college), my second love, getting to vote, falling in real love, buying a house, getting engaged, and getting married, my first real job, getting into law school, becoming chronically ill and watching dreams die, loving people, losing people, etc. Not necessarily all in that order.  Bill Clinton was president through it all. And Hillary, god bless her, she was Hillary through it all.

I knew there were scandals. I knew about something called Whitewater, but didn't really understand much about it. I knew there were rumors about a guy named Vince Foster.  Didn't mean that much to me or anyone I knew.  Oddly enough, now I know members of the Foster family who think that particular scandal is ludicrous.   But you know, I've learned that for some people, the Clintons can do nothing right, and are guilty by mere association of everything bad they've ever been associated with, and nothing good they've ever been associated with.   

I won't go through Hillary's Arkansas resume here, you've got Google for that.  Just like everyone "in the arena," Hillary did some great things for Arkansas, and she made mistakes.  I don't know anyone attempting to do big things that doesn't also make mistakes sometimes.   

Hillary wasn't the "normal" national First Lady, just as she hadn't been the "normal" Arkansas First Lady. She tried to change healthcare, which was an abysmal failure. Many women would've decided to just pick out the china and dresses for State Dinners after that. But not Hillary. She kept fighting for women's and children's rights everywhere she went and she still fought to affect policy.  I won't pretend I paid the most attention during these years. I was building my own life, becoming chronically ill, figuring out who I was, what marriage was about, and watching the dream of being a high powered attorney, like Hillary had been, fade away. But times were peaceful, and prosperous, and I didn't have to think about politics that much.

Then Monica Lewinsky came into the picture. I don't pretend to understand the Clinton marriage. I've known plenty of men like Bill Clinton, who love women, all of them, as often as possible.   But I've always imagined this intellectual intrigue in the Clinton marriage, and, yes, a love. But it's the matching of intellects, and passions about the same issues, that I think drive that coupling.  I mean, what do I really know?  I can't figure out some marriages that I've witnessed up close, from the beginning, so how can any of us really know much about the Clinton's marriage?  But still, the little feminist in me wondered what went through Hillary's mind?  Why did she stay?  This time, there was a lot more riding on it. I don't think a President had ever divorced in office. Chelsea, whom I adore, was older, but still Hillary has always seemed to me to be a mother before all else.
I don't know why she stayed. But I was married by now, and struggling a bit with it myself, but I understood what taking those vows meant and how though a husband could hurt you like no one else in life, he also at some point became the center of your world and he could put broken pieces together unlike anyone else too. So, still, I didn't understand why she stayed, but I was intrigued and awed by her commitment. 

Then, she became a senator. I was in awe again. This woman was battle tested, had broken all molds set before her, and now, finally, was in the spotlight for herself and her accomplishments. I was so proud of her. 

I won't pretend I didn't wish they had moved back to Arkansas and that she had run for office here. But once the Clinton Foundation began, it was obvious to me they needed to be somewhere high profile. And then I began traveling some myself, and I understood just how different the world outside of Arkansas is. Wow, it would have been a shock to the system to move from DC back to Arkansas. Don't get me wrong, I love my home state, but it's hard to travel to a fast paced city with public transportation for even a few weeks and then come back home. 

When September 11th, 2001 occurred, I was happy Hillary was the senator from NY.  That city needed a fighter, and Hillary is all fight, no quit. So when there was no money given by the Federal government specifically to help New York, Hillary fought. When 9/11 responders were getting sick with no special healthcare treatment for their sacrifice, Hillary fought. And she got results.

Before too long, we were in the thick of two wars, one terribly ill advised war with Iraq that I still believe was more about George W's daddy's issues with Saddam Hussein  than it was with 9/11, and one "just" war, going after Bin Laden, Al Queada and those who attacked us on 9/11.  Then came election time again. The 2008 election.

For full disclosure,  I didn't support Hillary, not because I hadn't always admired her or didn't find her qualified. It wasn't about her at all. I just knew about Barack Obama and found him electrifying. I knew a little about Michelle, and I was intrigued by her, too. Fired up, and ready to go. So I totally get the Bernie effect. While not young and charismatic like Obama, Bernie's new to the national scene, for those who don't pay a lot of attention to politics, anyway, and has what I call "grandpa" charisma. But this time, I wanted Hillary. I had been so impressed with how she and President Obama put their differences aside and worked together.  As Hillary said, when your President personally asks you to serve your country, you serve.

I loved how she made women's issues front and center during her term as Secretary of State. What a weenie job title for such a high powered job.  Anyway, she was scrutinized as SoS too. But here's the thing, nothing, absolutely nothing happened while she was Sec. of State that hadn't happened before. Private emails, embassy attacks, all had happened before. Just not while the Secretary's last name was Clinton.

I'll admit, Hillary wasn't immersed in good ole fashioned Southern charm like so many of us in Arkansas were.  That makes her unrelatable to many, and many people want to be able to relate to their President.  But I want a president who knows what to do and does it.  As Bill Clinton has said, Hillary is a change-maker, and he says politics is about making things better when you leave them than they were when you got there.  I have absolute faith that Hillary will do that.  It's simply who she is and what she does.

If I've learned anything in 40 years, yes literally almost 40 years of watching the Clintons, it's that they aren't ever going to be treated like other people.  I've thought long and hard about this. There have been other political power couples in history, but no one quite like the Clintons. Singularly, either of them would be a force, but together, they are unlike anything we've seen.  I think the Republicans recognized this, and decided whatever the Clintons did, it would be wrong, it would be scandalous. To be fair, Bill Clinton's private life is ripe for scandal.  And probably in response, Hillary has become more protective and guarded of her own personal life. But I've read books about Bill and Hillary, I've read about their scandals and about the Hunting of Bill and Hillary. I've met them and talked to people who've known them well, for years. And I believe the threat the Republicans saw in them was something that they thought should be destroyed, by whatever means possible.

So, in my 40 years of admiration, awe, intrigue, and, yes, wonder about Hillary Clinton,  I've watched group after group, agency after agency, special prosecutors, Republicans, Congress, and the FBI try to tear her down. And I've seen them come up empty handed, every time.  And now, In 2016, I've even seen some of those same people who tried to tear her down unsuccessfully, endorse her for President.  

So, I guess on November 8th, when this woman I've admired as she marched tirelessly forward, always raising up others as she went, wins the presidency, I'll have just about seen it all. That is, until its Chelsea's turn!  

Monday, June 9, 2014

A day when nothing cooperates ....

All of you know I have intractable migraines. A migraine is bad every day, but some days it's really bad--make you want to curse God and scream at the world and die bad.  Today was one such day.  As soon as I cracked my eyes open,  I immediately longed to be back asleep where I felt no pain.  I felt as though someone had my head open wide, and was stirring my brain with a whisk. Everything in my head felt loose,  as if it were moving against my skull.  My eyes felt like they were being scraped. My eyelids felt like sandpaper.  I immediately began to cry because the pain was so bad. Crying never helps,  of course,  and in fact usually only makes things worse, but sometimes it cannot be helped. 

So, on days like these,  you depend on your medication to save you. But there's a phenomenon that's little known outside the migraine world called gastropariesis that's says, No, your meds aren't going to work today.  Gastropariesis is basically paralysis of the gut and it happens once the migraine process is full blown.  Things just shut down, oral meds don't process. What goes down often comes back up.  This is why injectables are an important part of treating migraine. They bypass the stomach and go straight to the bloodstream.  Unfortunately,  I don't have any injectables right now. My meds are oral, so all day, I've been taking med after med, just hoping and praying one of them might eventually get through,  with no such luck.

Now finally,  it's late enough I can justify taking my night meds.   I have no idea if they'll work any better than any other med I've taken today. Being awake all day in this pain, waiting on relief that never comes,  has been excruciating.  I can only hope the night meds will be more successful and the peace of sleep will fall upon me soon.  Please,  as you read this, hope with me for relief and peace and much needed sleep. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A new illness, and a perfect day.

So, it's been awhile since I've written and I feel the need for an update.  I believe the last time I wrote I was still in basic hell.  I was in bed about 22 hours a day.  Thankfully, that has ended.  My migraines have improved drastically with daily opiates and new preventives.  The choice to move to daily opiates was a big one.  It felt like giving up on standard treatment in a way, but then again, it didn't feel like there were many choices.  So in the end, it seems to be working.  My headaches are a low level everyday still, and they spike to true migraine still on a regular basis, but I cherish that low level headache time.  I consider that a big improvement.

In the meantime, however, about a month ago, I began having pain in my hands and feet on a daily basis.  I saw my primary care physician, and after some blood tests, we discovered that I have an autoimmune disorder and I was referred to a rheumatologist.  We don't know which disorder I have, because there are many different autoimmune disorders, but once I see the rheumatologist, she will narrow that down and give me a diagnosis and start treatment.  I can't wait for that.  I just want to be treated and feel normal again.  Since I have seen the PCP, the pain has spread to other parts of my body, so I have general body aches all over daily.  I am ready for that to stop.  When I have that pain and a migraine, it just adds insult to injury, you know?

So, anyway, I want to tell you about my perfect day yesterday.  It was so nice.  I woke up at 8 a.m. and felt good all the way to bedtime at 11 p.m.  That hasn't happened in SO long.  I just ran around, got some errands accomplished, shopped, visited friends, went to a Democratic Women's meeting, then out with friends--I did SO much and felt great through it all.  It was wonderful.  I can't remember the last time I felt so good.  My body aches weren't even that bad, and my head didn't bother me at all.  It's just almost impossible to explain the giddiness I felt last night over my great day.

I wish I could say today has been so great.  I am afraid today is back to real life, complete with a migraine, full body aches, and emotional swings....  I think yesterday was just a carrot representing the life I want to have, dangling in front of me just out of reach.  But surely I'll get there, right?  If it happens once, it surely can happen again.  At least that's what I am holding on to.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Shout out to my Boo!

If you've read this blog often, you know I am smitten, intrigued by, and head-over-heels for my husband,C. C takes care of me so well, I can't imagine how he's not burned out and so tired all the time. But not my C.  He says he loves me and his most important job in the world is taking care of me.

A few things he does for me:  I get either Shipley Donuts or Chocolate Gravy every morning because he worries about how little I eat and the mornings are the one time of day I have an appetite.  He brings me whatever I ask for in bed--not because I physically can't get up and get it but because he knows it increases my pain to have to walk around.  He helps me reason through medication options when my brain is trashed from migraine pain and I can't think for myself, and on top of all this, every bit of house work has fallen on his shoulders for months now.  Again, I don't know how he does it, but C does, and still manages to love me in spite of it all. 

He also takes me to the ER in the middle of the night when I need to go, he sits with me in the dark when I have a migraine to keep me company, he brings me medications when it's time and I need them.…. There are very few things C doesn't or wouldn't do for me.  And I love him so for it. 

He tells me someday I'll get the chance to return the favor.  Though I want to return the favor, I don't want him to ever be as sick as I am now.  I know I don't control these things though, and with him being older than me especially, I likely will have to return the favor.  When or if that time comes, if I can be just half the spouse to him that he has been to me, and show him even half the love he's shown me, I'll be a pretty darn good caretaker. Because he's downright amazing.  

Monday, July 8, 2013

Talking about migraine without bumming everyone out

Migraine is a big part of my life. It's not ALL of my life, but I inevitably find myself talking about it wherever I go.  I try not to be a Debbie-Downer about it, but it's hard to feel like I don't bum everyone out when I talk about my struggles with migraine.  (BTW, where did the phrase Debbie-Downer come from?  I know three Debbie's and they are all gloriously positive people.) 

I especially feel like I bum other migraineurs out when I talk about my experiences with migraine.  I try to tell them "please don't judge your situation/expectations on my experiences, because I am an extremely hard to treat case," but I feel like that's not enough. When I hear of a migraineur who is worse than me or who has been chronic longer than me, my first thought is "oh no, will that be me someday?  Is that what I have to look forward to?"  I just can't help but compare our situations and put myself in her shoes.  

Then, I get bummed out about it.  It's hard to be positive when your sure your future is filled with more of the same bleakness and pain.  So if this happens to me, I know it probably happens to others when they hear my stories of migraine.  The getting bummed out and knowing your future will be filled with pain just like me. But I don't know how to honestly talk about myself, my life, without talking about migraine.  

I used to avoid talking about migraine as much as I could, for fear of looking weak or being misunderstood.  Now, I realize they are such a big part of my life I can't avoid talking about them and talking about them is a good thing.  It brings awareness to a problem that needs more awareness.  

So I guess all I'm saying is that it's a really difficult subject to put a positive spin on, so if I've ever been a bummer to you when discussing migraine, I certainly apologize. It's not my intent.  I do hope I've raised awareness of the issue without being a Debbie-Downer. (There's that phrase again…)  

And for all you Debbie's out there--stay positive!  

Friday, July 5, 2013

Just a little vent

So, I need to vent a little.  It's multiple things really.

The first thing I need to vent about is that I have been chronic now for 15 years.  That means having migraines on more days in a month than not.  I happen to think that's a LONG time.  Longer than anyone should have to live with chronic migraines and that surely my effective treatment method is just around the corner.  Then today I read a friend's blog, and she's been chronic for 20 years.  Twenty years.  So you can guess what that makes me think.  It's possible effective treatment for me isn't just right around the corner.  I could do this five more years.  Maybe longer.  My friend hasn't found effective treatment yet.  Can I do this five more years?  Am I strong enough?  It doesn't feel like it sometimes.

I also want to vent about how I am sleeping, or rather not sleeeping, lately.  I am trying trazodone to sleep instead of lunesta.  I am on a low dose of trazodone to start out and just moving up on the dosage slowly.  It's not working out very well.  I am just not sleeping unless I take something to supplement the trazodone, and then I only sleep for a few hours at a time.  You can imagine what this sleep deficit is doing to my migraines.  I have daily migraines anyway, but they happen earlier in the day and I get no break at all when I don't sleep well at night.

Last night was rough.  Not sleeping is rough.  I'm constantly worried about how much longer this can go on.  When I first started having migraines, I was terrified of the "next one".  They were so bad, and I always knew I would have another, and it terrified me.  Now, I'm not terrified of the next one.  The next one is a given.  It's going to happen and it's going to be awful and I'm somehow going to live through it anyway. Now, what I'm terrified of is how long they can last.  How many hours a single migraine can last, and how many years migraines in general will last.

I hate complaining about things, but some days, you just need to vent.  Today was really one of those days.

Thanks for reading.