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I am a mother, an artist, a dialysis patient, and a dork.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Alternative behavior techniques for self injury

I have compiled a list of behavioral modification techniques for the self-injurer. This could be triggering to those who self-injure I am not a Doctor. I am a recovering self injurer. These are just tips and techniques I have learned to help cope. 
    I have been a self-injurer for nearly 20 years. I have used many of these myself. Some times they worked, other times it was too much and I relapsed. I have been ‘clean’ for almost 2 years now. There is hope. I struggle on an almost daily basis not to harm, but as long as I can make it just ‘one more day’ than I know I have succeeded. When I relapse, I forgive myself, and move ahead. I do NOT look back to the past. There is nothing we can do about what happened in the past. (There is nothing wrong with reflecting, and learning from the past, but we cannot dwell in it.)
    It is important to remember that not all of these techniques will work for everyone all the time. Some days you may relapse, and that is okay. It does happen, even after being ‘clean’ for many years. You have to forgive yourself, and start over. No one is perfect.
    You cannot expect to get better over night. This will take time. It will take effort. Some days will be very challenging.
    After reading this list, you may find a combination of more than one to be helpful. If you put your energy into finding the right technique, you may lower the need for self harm and make it “one more day”

    First, and foremost, you should begin by journaling. In your journal, write what your triggers are. (What caused the need? What was going on? When? Who? How were you feeling at that time. What about injuring makes you feel better? What is your method of injuring?)
All of these things are important to learn about yourself in order to find the ‘right’ technique.
In your journal, you should consider also adding daily goals, such as trying a new technique, or ‘I will try to hold of harming for 10 minutes at a time, until the feeling passes or I cannot take it anymore’ And as the days progress, the time progresses. (ten minutes, fifteen, thirty, an hour…)
Short term goals could be equally helpful. Short, weekly goals, such as ‘I will limit my harm this week’ , or ‘I will not cut this week.’
Reward yourself when your goals are met. (A piece of chocolate, a new song or cd for your collection, a star sticker on your journal page?)
**Do NOT make unrealistic goals. It will not help. If you do not make your goals for the week, it is okay. Keep trying until you have met it. Forgive yourself and try again.

    Be Productive! Keep yourself busy. The more time you have available, the more likely it is you will relapse. If at all possible, keep your self around other people. You are not likely going to harm when you are around others.

    Exercise can also play a big role in how we feel. Exercising releases a lot of different things that aid in sleep, depression, and removing toxins from your body. Even if its as simple as a walk around the block, it will make a difference in how you feel.
(Trust me when I say, I loathe exercise! I am an overweight person who is very lazy. But I can attest to the fact that doing some exercise really does make you feel better!!)

    Another important thing is getting plenty of sleep. It is recommended that you get 8 hours of sleep each night. This can be difficult for many people. Try some of the relaxation techniques I will list below.
 If that doesn’t work for you, if it is at all possible, talk to the doctor* about taking some over the counter Melatonin. It is a natural sleep aid, and even children can take it. Or, (s)he may suggest another alternative for you. *( I recommend talking to a doctor, in case you are on any other medications, or have preexisting health issues!!)

Rest and relaxation:
*Deep breathing - as you take deep breaths in, tense your muscles and hold in your breathe for a moment. Exhale slowly, *relaxing muscles. Repeat.
*Take a hot bath or shower. Aromatherapy is also a nice touch. (chamomile, jasmine, lavender, Marjoram, Sandalwood, and Ylang ylang are all great choices.)
*Listen to classical music. Even if you aren’t a fan of it, it can be relaxing.

Remember, Keep yourself busy! Be productive!
*Be artistic or crafty. Make something, draw, write. Perhaps sell your work?
*Take up a new hobby. Knitting, dancing, model cars?
*Learn something. A new language, sign language, a new theory, useless knowledge?
*Join a club, at school, a book club, etc.
*Volunteer. Donate your time to local charity, help out at a nursing home, homeless shelter, or vet clinic.
*Make a  blog.

Comforting misc.-
*Pop some bubble wrap
*Turn up some good music and jam, dance! Sing your heart out!
*Take a walk and enjoy nature, go to a park and swing, take time to smell the flowers.
*Chew on some ice, or a good piece of candy. Listen to the crunch.
*Blow bubbles. Yes. Bubbles. Its fun!
*Have a pillow fight with your wall. It sounds silly but it can get rid of some of the bad energy.
*Count down. 10, 9,8.7.…1
*Breathing technique
*Have a familiar toy, or object to hold
*Make a list of people you can call for help.
*Make a list of possitive affirmations you can look at when you need to
*Scrub the floor, or clean something vigorously.
*Do a crossword puzzle, or some other type of game like that.
*Watch a comedy

For Destruction-
*Punch or scream into a pillow
*Destroy a piece of paper. Some find that writing the problem on the paper before destroying it helps. Rip it, burn it. *Whatever works for you.
*Break something. (don’t break something that isn’t yours! Go to a thrift store and buy some cheap dishes, or the grocery and get some eggs!)
*Throw ice cubes at a wall
*Rip something up. An old phone book, newspaper, stuffed animal, tshirt, etc.
*Slam a door
*Pull weeds
*Hit a punching bag

For Sensation-
*Keep a rubber band on your wrist, snap when needed.
*Wax your eyebrows, or upper lip.
*Hold ice to your skin.
*Put your hands in freezing cold water
*Rub Ben-gay or Icyhot on your skin.
*Run, or exercise hard.
*Tweeze arm or leg hair.
*If you are of age, get a piercing or tattoo. Be warned though, it could be addicting.
*Eat a hot pepper

*Freeze red food color in ice cube trays. Hold the ice to your skin. It will be painful and the red food color will look and somewhat feel like blood. It is messy though!
*Draw on your skin with a red marker, or paint. Use food color, or a red marker, to ‘cut’ yourself or a piece of paper.
*Carry an item or picture of something that reminds you why you don’t want to harm. (a picture of a family member, a bracelet … a self injury awareness bracelet would be a great idea.)
*The Butterfly Project - draw a butterfly (or something else) on your wrist (or the place you prefer) and try not to harm as long as it is there. Temporary tattoos are a good idea for this.  **link below!

When the time is right for you, Throw out all of your self harming tools. Avoid triggers, and objects you use for self harm.

Additional Information-

Books on self harm:
Bodies Under Siege by Armando Favazza M.D.
Cutting by Steven Levenkron
A Bright Red Scream by Marilee Strong
Skin game by Caroline Kettlewell
The Scarred Soul by Tracy Alderman
Understanding Self-Injury by Kristy Trautmann, Robin Conners
Women who Hurt Themselves by Dusty Miller
Healing the Hurt within by Jan Sutton
When the body is the Target by Sharon Klayman Farber
Coping with Self-Mutilation by Alicia Clarke, Carolyn Simpson
Women Living with Self-Injury by Jane Wegscheider Hyman
Stopping the Pain: A workbook for teens who cut and self-injure by Lawrence E. Shapiro
See My Pain! Creative Strategies and Activities for Helping Young People Who Self-Injure By Susan Bowman, Kaye Randall
Crosses by Shelley Stoer (fiction)

Help lines and sites:
*Local helplines can be found in the phonebook
*S.A.F.E. Alternatives (US) 1 800 DONT CUT www.selfinjury.com
*Bristol Crisis Service for women (UK) +44 (0) 117 925 1119
*Boys and Girls Town National Hotline (for teens) 1 800 448 3000
*To write love on her arms http://www.twloha.com/

**The Butterfly Project-

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Dialysis "Diet"

I say "diet" because most people equate diets with losing weight, and with this crappola diet, its nearly impossible. I mean, really, its mostly sugar. (I am SO thankful I don't have diabetes, I would be starving!)

For starters, I have to have high protien, low sodium, low phosphorus, low potassium.... Also, a fluid restriction.

I love food. Well, its a love/hate relationship. There are days I do not want to eat, but I have to, so I can take my "binder" (a pill to give me calcium, and it blocks some of the bad stuff) Then there are days that I want to eat constantly, and it is usually stuff I am not supposed to eat! (chips, chocolate)

The things healthy people consider healthy food is typically off my list. Try having THAT conversation sometime. They look at you like you are stupid. It makes me frustrated, mostly because I love veggies, fruits, and wheat breads!
It really is confusing too. I can't have OJ, but I can have Mt. Dew, and if you read the ingredients of dew, it has OJ in it. How does this even make any sense?
I have been looking for convenience foods for me. You know, quick and easy, eat on the run type snacks. There is none. Yes, I could pre-prepare some things, but who wants to do that? takes the convenience right out of it!
So, this leaves me with this thought. My doctor always uses this statement, "The good outweighs the bad"
Does this mean if I want to lose weight, and also enjoy life(read: food) then I should just be careful and do as I please? Or, should I really crack down and forbade myself the convenience and taste?

For those of you who want more info as to what we can, and cannot eat, here are some helpful links.
 ihatedialysis.com the best site ever!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Legends living forever

You know, I wish that I could come up with something that will be remembered forever. There are many things that we learn, hear, see, or do, that are never forgotten.
For example, I have this stuck in my head constantly:

                                                      This is the song that doesn't end....(1992)
You're welcome!

Another thing that will withstand the test of time:

                                  How many of you JUST started humming the theme???(1983)

There are tons of things like this, that just keep going and going....

                                                         See what I did there? LOL (1989)
What makes these things so iconic and memorable? What keeps them coming back year after year?
Brought to you by the letter Y...(1969)

Go, go power rangers! (1993)

Pikachu! (1996) 
 These have been around forever! And they are still popular!!!!!!!!!!!!

This isn't even a complete list of awesomeness! Think about it, how many, many different things out there have truly been around forever, or at the very least, still remembered! 

I am just saying, it would be awesome to go down in history, like some of the classics. 

                                           "You'll go down in hiiiissstttooorrrryyy" (1964)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Resolutions or bucket list?

There has been some debate on whether or not the world may end in 2012, so this very well could be our last new years. I don't believe that, but you never know. Perhaps, the end of the world as we know it?

Anywho, how many times have you made a New Year's resolution? Have you ever kept it? Maybe this year, with all the fear of it being the end more people will make and keep their resolutions. And probably even add to it a bucket list! What do you think?
I am nearly positive I will keep at least one of mine. At least! Maybe. 

So, without further ado, here is my 2012 New Year's resolution/bucket list. 

Live MY life for myself, not everyone else.

Work on my self esteem.

Work on my conquering my fears.

Be a better friend. I tend to be a bit of a recluse.

Be a better parent.

Teach/show Jareth something amazing.

Be more proactive in life.

Donate more time to causes.

Make all of my dialysis treatments, stay the whole treatment.

Get one type O kidney transplant

Follow my dialysis "diet" a little more closely, also, my fluid restriction. 32 ounces!

Eat something new and different.

Join a gym, or curves. again. Please note, it is not "lose weight" but I do genuinely feel better when I get some exersize 

Devote more time and effort into my art, possibly sell some.

Make a pair of Squirrel pajamas.

Keep up my journal.

Finish my book.

Continue to write "Letters to my son"

Go to a haunted house and not be pussy.

Visit somewhere I have never been.

Go to Europe.

Go to random museums and the like.

Take my son to Disney.

Get a massage. Pamper myself. Have more "me" time.

Get an amazing, professional tattoo.

Get a professional piercing.

Dye my hair blue, or red and black, or any other color I want. And not care what anyone has to say about it.

Learn the words: "No" and "Help" and realize using them does not make me a bad person.

Learn to conserve better, in all ways. Also, be a little "greener" (even though I loathe that term)

Volunteer more.

Find a church or religion that matches my spirituality.

Im sure Ill add to my bucket list!! These are just the first few things to pop into my head!

                                 HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tis the season (for insanity!)

Yes, my friends, it happens every year. Stores put out there sales and Holiday decor, family sends ridiculously posed photocards to relatives, and the madness begins!
Ho Ho HO!
I don't know about you, but I certainly begin to lose my mind around the holidays. The stores are packed, the traffic is unbearable, the expectations never live up to reality.
Paper cuts, burns, an endless mess of ribbons and wrapping paper for miles and miles!
You spend hours wrapping gifts, for them to be ripped to shreds in seconds. You spend countless dollars on crap that might be useful or fun for about a day.
Bah Humbug!
But, you know what? We love it. Or we wouldn't do it. Plain and simple. I don't sit and make over 70 ornaments because it is fun, or because "I have to" I do it because I am showing my appreciation and love for those that I care about.
I can't afford to go out and spend a bunch of dollars on a bunch of random worthless crap even if I wanted to. So, I make gifts. They may not be great, they may not be worth anything, but at least I took the time to think of them, to pour myself into something for them.
I personally would rather have a handmade something, than a store bought something.
I was told that I am wasting my time. People wont appreciate the things I do.
I don't care if they end up in the trash can. As long as I tried to do something nice for someone that has meant something to me, that is all that matters.
This year has not gone as planned, some of the things I am making have been put on hold until after the holidays, due to the supplies I ordered not getting sent to me on time! It makes me sad, and I don't have time or money to do something else in time for the season!
But, it hasn't deterred me from trying to make this as special as I can for the people that I love. Even if they aren't getting Ipads and Iphones from me!
Come on people, bring back the love. Lets forget all this crap of who gets the best of the best. Even if you aren't creative, you can write a simple note to show your appreciation. Bring in some cookies for staff. Anything.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Raising a rockin' awesome kid

It was brought to my attention today that I have never really censored my son when it comes to music. I always told myself that I really wouldn't want to. Until today.
                                                     "Parents just don't understand"

He is now a fiesty 7 year old boy. He is a smart ass, just like his mommy. He loves to make others laugh, have a good time, and he is really bright. All great qualities, if you ask me.
Lately, I have wanted to stop him from watching some shows on Nickelodeon! I never, ever thought I would need to censor a kids channel, but he came home with a lovely hickey, and I ask him, "whaaaat is this? and who taught you how?" I got the answer "Fred" (who is this fred?!?) He means the 'interent sensation' and current movie star, Fred. Oooook... 
                                  And not to mention, ICarly.... Oh my.

That is G rated! I have let him watch shows like Batman Begins and there is less sexual innuendo!
When I had him, I also told myself he would never become a 'couch potato' In fact, we didn't have cable until we moved back home! But, that quickly changed. He loves his shows. And that is just fine, but now I find myself having to watch some of them, just to be sure he isn't learning anything... unsavory.
Now, when it comes to music, I, personally, have eclectic tastes, and listen to everything. We have never come across anything that he has found worthy of repeating. He knows what cursing is. Mommy, don't say that! It is a bad word! So, it came as a small shock that he would even repeat the F word. But, he did. 
I can't hardly be mad about it, I was the one who played the song, I am the one who allowed him to be exposed to the language. Hell, I've even been known to slip up and say it myself, right within his earshot. How could I possibly get mad? I simply tell him, "You know that was innapropriate, and you are NOT and adult" and I leave it at that.
So, now I am left with wondering if I should or should not censor him. I know he is a great kid, and honestly, they are just words. He will hear them at school, on t.v., movies, music. So, why censor it? I wasn't. And I turned out.... well, decent. HA!
Besides, he may just become the next death metal supah star. Boy sure has some lung power! You never would have known he was a premie!!
This kid is amazing. He shocks me daily. And, I admittedly LOVE it.
There are so many other things that we will have to worry about when they get older, I really do not think that censoring words is a battle worth having. Teach the kids the appropriate time and place.
When I was his age, When I was in middle school, I was still playing Barbies, watching kid shows, I didn't own a cell phone, personal computer, mp3 player, the latest kicks, jeans, whathaveyou. Facebook didn't exist, and family time was a must. Little girls wore clothes, actual clothes, and didn't look like little whores. We wore make up to play in, and the occational times for concerts. Not a daily occurrence for anyone that young. What the hell happened to innocence??
Sorry, I got a tiny bit side tracked there for a minute. Relevant, but side tracked, nonetheless.
Point of my post is this, my son is a good kid, he would be the first to help another in need, hes smart, sweet, and he has manners. He cares and he loves to make people laugh and smile. So, should I really care if he listens to music that may or may not be appropriate for his age?
                    And, he doesn't mind the "stage" make-up! Hollywood here we come!
I may be biased but, I have one hell of a rockin' awesome kid!
God, I love my son!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Squirrel pajamas

I want squirrel pajamas! They have bunny, they have leopard. What is wrong, my friends, that we do not have squirrel pajamas?!
I looked it up, and this is all I could find:

I wont deny they are somewhat cute, but I want the fluffy tail goodness!
Any takers? :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My holiday wishlist?

 I normally loathe this time of year, because it is all about Stuff. I want, I want, I want! So, I decided I would post the ridiculous crap that I want.
1. Pajamagram
They have the cutest pjs I have ever seen! I LOVE hoodies, and I love footie jammas. But I am often hot, and so I have no footie jammas *pouts* (Enter Pajamagram infomercial in the middle of the night) 
Hooded feetie pajamas that have zipper removal??????????? LOVE! OH! Animal print? WITH ATTACHED TAIL AND EARS??? *squeeeeeee* Until you see the price tag, that is.

2. Pocket Chair
Who wouldn't want one of these? Picture it, you are out at some place, filled with people. People are slow, large groups of people are ridiculously slow. Lines. Lines everywhere. You get tired of standing, you just pop out your handy little pocket chair. Especially handy for dialysis patients, whose blood pressure can plummet at any given moment.

pocket chair

I swear it has absolutely nothing to do with me being lazy....

3. Titanium Spork
Yes, that is right. I titanium Spork! I want! I LOVE sporks. Part spoon, part fork, all awesomeness! No more snatching cheap plastic sporks. This is the spork to rule them all.

Titanium Spork

4. One type O kidney please!
I would love to have a new kidney for Christmas!!! Do I really need to explain? And, I wont post a pic of that... ew.

Other random things that I have seen and wouldn't mind having include the best of the best mp3 player, a new laptop or even a desk top computer, and almost have of the weird crap you can see on late night infomercials. Mostly because I think its hilarious that people spend money on these things... Like the perfect meatloaf pan. Excuse me? My meatloaf is perfect without that pan! :p

I know, its weird that I like these things... But if I join the material world, this is what I would spend my money on.

I sometimes long for the simpler times,of oranges and apples filling the stockings, one simple handmade gift. That's what I want.

Happy Holidays

My life as a dialysis patient pt 2

After "sleeping on it" I decided to add a few things to this post.
 Warning; this post may be disturbing to some! Dialysis is a life saving treatment for kidney failure.

Life without dialysis (when you need it) is death. I have to do dialysis if I want to live. Many people struggle with this decision, they argue quality over quantity. What kind of "life" would you have being trapped by a disease? What kind of "life" would it be, to have to do something to live? Well, let me tell you. It is AMAZING! I am alive because some dude was smart enough to come up with this little machine, that can clean my blood!
I won't sugar coat it, and say it is all peaches and cream to be doing this all the time. It is hard, it is stressful, and it involves a lot of pain and some days I don't even want to get out of bed. But I do, because I can. I decided a long time ago, I will not let dialysis define me.

Let me rewind a bit, and tell you a little bit about my own person experience with this.
When I was 10, I lost my right kidney due to a tumor being removed. I grew up just fine, not knowing anything else was wrong. I was told I would never have children, unrelated to the kidney issues. Well, they lied. I got pregnant at the age of 20. I was 26 weeks when they decided he needed to join our world. He was a whopping 1 lb, 6 oz when he was born. (He is an amazing little boy now, doing very well!)
The doctors were concerned, and sent me for a kidney biopsy, where the discovered that I have focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (yeah, try to pronounce that..) or FSGS*. So, the nephrologist tells me, "Oh, you probably have about 10 years before it will ever even effect you."
Me, being a procrastinator, was none too worried about it.
Fast forward to 2007, that is 3 years, and I am very unwell. The doctor sends me a letter, that simply states, "Will need fistula* soon"
"What is a fistula????" I thought to myself. I looked it up. At that point, I was scared, unsure, and didn't know what to think. It was also the first time I had even heard of dialysis. I had no idea. I was not prepared for anything.
Over the next few months, I had surgery after surgery trying to get this fistula thing, getting MRSA, hospitalized, ending up with an ash catheter in my neck, and everything else.
Then, in July of 2007, I had my first dialysis session. I started at a Davita clinic. After a few years of... well... I don't want to talk smack about the clinic I used to go to, but let me just say I ended up choosing to stop dialysis, rather than go there. I ended up in the hospital, very sick. That is when I decided to go to this other clinic.
It is an amazing place, the people are great, the way they run is excellent. They gave me life again.
After some time on dialysis, I was fortunate to find a group of people who are amazing, wonderful, and I don't know what I would do without them. I hate dialysis (www.ihatedialysis.com) has been a life saver for me.
Some of you may wonder, what exactly is dialysis? And don't use medical jargon I dont understand!!  How would I express what dialysis means to me?
I chose to do in-center Hemo Dialysis. It is a treatment that keeps me alive. I go to a clinic 3 days a week, the treatment takes me 4 hours. Times vary by patient. They take my blood out of my body and put it through a filter (think coffee filters stuffed into a tube) and then put the blood back inside me. It takes out all the toxins that I can't get rid of myself, as well as the fluid. A lot of people on dialysis do not urinate, so we rely on the treatment to take out all that fluid we put in!
It is rather 'magical' to go in, have your treatment and come out 10 lbs lighter!
Some times, after my treatment, I feel better, but typically, I feel drained and weak. Some people feel differently. It is very personal to you. No two patients are alike.
When I first began dialysis, I was told I couldn't have a transplant, due to my weight. I was too fat for a transplant. And my doctor was just sure that I could never lose the weight, so I never really even tried. But, somehow, I managed to lose 100 lbs. Now I am eligible to try, so I did. I was denied from one of the transplant centers I tried to go to, but I was accept as "inactive" on the list at another. Basically, that means I have some work to do while I wait. I had to have a hysterectomy, and some tests done. Now, I wait patiently for my type O kidney to come my way. :) Any one have a spare? :p

Being a single mother, and a dialysis patient, has it's ups and downs. On one hand, I have to be thankful, I am alive and here for him. On another, I feel as though I am selfish, making him put up with me being sick all the time. I do try to push myself to give him the best possible life I can. I even bit down on my pride and moved back home, where I get much needed assistance from my uber wonderful father.
It saddens me that my son has had to deal with my sickness, and that I haven't done all of the fun things I had planned for us before I got sick. We do some things, but I wear out rather easily. He seems to be very understanding, and such a sweet boy.

I think that's about it. Below I will post links for the words used in here, in case you are interested. 

*AV Fistula
* Hemodialysis

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My life as a dialysis patient

As some of you may know, dialysis is "a process for removing waste and excess water from the blood, and is primarily used to provide an artificial replacement for lost for lost in people with renal failure."
I currently do dialysis 3 days a week, and the treatment lasts 4 hours. I wont bore you with the gruesome,scientific details of what happens during dialysis. Long story short, they stick 2 rather large needles in my arm, clean my blood, and I go home. 
I consider myself to be very lucky. There are many people who have far worse fates. My life as a dialysis patient is relatively easy. I am otherwise healthy, and I have a decent support network.
I am 28 now, but I began dialysis in 2007. I have had many surgeries. I am currently on the waitlist for a kidney. The waitlist in Illinois is about 4 years, in some places it is much more!
Some days are better than others, as with most things.

Insert shameless plug here:
As a dialysis patient, I feel the need to let everyone know how AWESOME it would be for you to sign your donor cards for this holiday season! * You need to share your wishes with a loved one!!
I understand that it is a grim topic, but lets face it, life can be pretty grim. Noone gets out alive. (buh dum buh cha!)
Please, spread the word! 

Also, for those of you in the giving spirit, there are plenty of organizations out there that can use your spare change and/or time. I wont list them here, because I believe each and every charity needs assistance, and I will not be one of those people who push one or the other.