Vacation or Staycation

This morning marks the beginning of a much needed 10 day vacation. Except for a pesky cardiologist appointment this morning, we’ve got a lot of adventuring planned! Number one on the list is a camping trip at a little state park in the Berkshires. Camping is my favorite summer activity and with the addition of little Arrow, it should be even more exciting.

I’ve been making lists and organizing supplies for the last several weeks.  And we’ve got all the essentials: a brand new percolater, twinkly lights for the screen room, card games, books and of course binoculars 🤗
Here’s a pic of our cute little tent…

And my favorite morning view…

There’s nothing like waking up, mostly outside,  on a cool mountain morning … the birds chirping, the sounds and scents of the forest. I can hardly wait!

The campfire is another essential! Breakfast, Dinner, s’mores, natural insect repellent and of course the constant shuffling to avoid great plumes of smoke(which reminds me to pack the camp chairs!)

Lola loves the fire, but she and Paco really prefer “glamping”🤣

We decided on the Berkshires again this year because it cools off so much at night and the lower humidity makes it easier for me to breathe. Plus it’s absolutely gorgeous!

Here are a few shot of the area…

The one possible glitch is my cardiologist appointment this morning. I know there will be lots of testing in the next few weeks, including a potential heart catheterization. It just never occurred to me that it might interfere with our camping trip. Just a few days ago it dawned on me that the testing may start right away and I found myself saying, “Don’t worry about the testing, I can take care of it after we go camping!”

WTF, Amy… you know better! What happened to self care? What happened to doing everything you can to keep your body in the best shape possible? Grrr. I could easily make a case for camping and all its health benefits, but my gut is telling me not to put things off anymore. And now that I’m finally listening to my gut, it won’t be ignored.

So I sit here this morning really bummed that our much anticipated vacation may turn into a staycation.  I’m leaving it up to my dear friend, the goddess of benevolence and hoping for the best.

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Failing…

I woke up this morning feeling really inadequate. The symptoms I’m having from Congestive Heart Failure are so debilitating. I’m exhausted, can’t catch my breath, and any exertion makes me feel really woozy. 

Little miss was up at 5 am as usual and ready for her walk. I have found this is the only time of day I can stand to be outside without gasping for air. And I enjoy our time, it’s quiet and peaceful in our neighborhood. We stop periodically so I can catch my breath and we practice her tricks. This also serves to keep her calm for the rest of the morning routine.

 

But today, I couldn’t do it. I literally could not get up and get her outside. 

I feel like my body is failing me, and because of that, I’m failing others. I can’t give little Arrow her morning walk, I can’t go grocery shopping, take care of the house, or even do much cooking. I can’t “take care” of anything. And that leaves me without much of a sense of purpose. 

I came across this recently and I’m trying to get there.

But I have to acknowledge that part of the reason I’m not able to do, or give is because I haven’t been listening to my body. I pushed and pushed way past its limit and I’m not the only one paying the price.

The hardest lesson for me really is listening to my body, my intuition and TRUSTING it to tell me what I need. That’s the kicker… trusting myself. After years of guilt, shame, self-loathing and feeling a real disconnect between my body and mind it has been one of my biggest hurdles. The thing is, lately I’ve realized I am trusting myself more than ever. But as with most things, it takes practice. And when it comes to my physical body, I have not been listening. 

So here I sit. With a puppy who needs a walk, an exhausted spouse trying to get one more hour of sleep, and my worn out body. Figuring out how to maneuver through life with CHF is going to take time. And the only thing that’s gonna buy me time is caring for my physical form. I need to let the guilt and shame around my inabilities fall away and get back the optimism this girl had just a few weeks ago.


“I may not be able to breathe this morning but my hair looks great!” #thisiswhathumiditylookslike #missedmycurls #lookingonthebrightside

I’ve got a Ct scheduled this morning and I can’t “do nothing” between now and then, so I’m gonna breathe. Just Breathe…
I’ll leave you with a few quotes, the last one from my heart poet Ms. Plath❤️


Solitude

Websters Dictionary describes solitude as

: the quality or state of being alone or remote from society.

That is exactly what I’ve been needing, and what I’ve been fighting against most.

This past weekend I spent in solitude, basically because the universe pulled rank on me and I got sick. It was my cousin’s graduation party and a trip to see my new baby niece! I was heart sick to miss out, but of course I knew I couldn’t go if I had a cold. Sweet little Kilei is not even two months old!


Here she is, just a few hours old and barely five pounds!😍 It was love at first site.

Six weeks later, she is still just under seven pounds,  but thriving

I was really bummed to miss out on the chance to go home, to hold her, she’s just so fresh and new! But the decision had been made for me. I couldn’t risk infecting this precious little person.

In an attempt to lighten my load, my spouse took our new puppy Arrow with her so I didn’t have to worry about a rambunctious 13 week old. It was nice not to be feeding, walking, feeding, walking etc all day long but I  missed this sassy pup…

Pretty soon after my crew left for the weekend, I became restless, I decided to clean the house top to bottom. I had plans to organize and rearrange things. I made a whole list of things, thinking I was being productive. Well as bedtime neared I realized I was using all those “chores” as a distraction so I didn’t have to FEEL. Feeling is the scariest thing for me, because I associate it with painful memories.

As I have continued to do the inner work, more and more painful memories are surfacing, and it has been difficult to manage all the feelings bubbling up. I was processing with friends, I was writing constantly in a desperate attempt to make the scary feelings go away. It was not working.

 
Early Saturday morning I was sitting on my back porch having coffee (here’s a glance at my coffee spot)

and a butterfly came to visit. I’ve been in the city for two years now and have not seen a butterfly in that entire time. I watched in amazement at her presence. She fluttered all over my body, up and down almost touching my skin. This went on for almost a minute and then she flew away. I knew her visit was a message and I was eager to find out what.

I have an old set of medicine cards I use occasionally. More often than not, I use the book which describes each animal to see what these visits are meant to teach me. Butterfly did not disappoint! I don’t want to get bogged down in the details, but suffice to say I have passed through the chrysalis stage and I’ve got my wings!🤗

 

I sat back on my couch in amazement! I was feeling everything, thinking things I would never want anyone to know, without shame. I felt whole. And even more, I felt free. Those debilitating demons were nowhere to be found!

 
I spent the rest of the weekend just BEING. Feeling not an ounce of self doubt, guilt, or shame. And I actually enjoyed the quiet solitude. A friend recently told me I already have all the courage I need. It turns out she was right! I sat with all that scariness, and pretty soon I found I had released it, set it free. Just like my little butterfly ❤️

Time for self care

I’ve been feeling kinda lost the last week or so. The trial was a major focus in my life the last 2 1/2 years. It’s the same feeling I get with any ending, even a good one. I remember when I finished undergrad, I had to figure out new way of “being.” I was happy and pleased with my achievements, but felt more than a little adrift.

That’s exactly how I’m feeling now. I can sense possibilities for the future, but have no clear vision. I need to rest and recharge. But more importantly, I need to dial things way back. It has taken my entire life up to this point for me to truly “get it.” The IT being that when shit hits the fan, when my world is spinning out of control, I need to focus inward.

A few months ago I got sick, and lost my voice for several weeks. I would try to speak and all that came out was a squeak. I kept forgetting, and tried to force it. I was finally reduced to coughing fits if I even opened my mouth. It was literally the worst kind of hell I could imagine. I always said the only way I could process was out loud. To say that I’m a talker would be a giant understatement! It took those 3 + weeks with no voice to get me to be quiet. Not just verbally, but once I gave up trying to communicate… I felt quiet inside.

That experience taught me the most powerful lesson I’ve learned about myself, maybe ever! When I quiet my body and mind completely, the answers to the questions both spoken and unspoken come effortlessly. Maybe my years of practicing meditation and guided hypnosis finally paid off!

It’s time to go inside. I don’t know how to “be” in the world as it is. I can’t feel a purpose, or even a way to channel all this anxiousness that comes with not “knowing.” Tomorrow morning I board the bus, and off I go to immerse myself in what feeds my soul, music and Mother Nature.

Thanks to my incredibly supportive spouse, I can leave everything behind for a few days and just BE. Since the bus doesn’t allow animals, I am leaving her to care for our 4 fur kiddos. One of which is only 12 weeks old! I don’t know what I’d do without her, she really is my teammate, my partner in crime, my best friend, and my biggest supporter.

I’m sure I’ll be doing a lot of writing, and probably a shit ton of crying. But I can feel that little spark inside already getting warmer. Because I am on the other side of all this. And that means there’s room for a whole new beginning ❤️

His name is Thomas Packard

They took away my right to take the stand. They took away my chance to speak the truth for a jury to hear. They stripped me of my shot at Justice. But I will not be silenced by anyone. Never again.

 

Thomas Packard was the only Pediatrician in North Conway, New Hampshire in the 1980’s. He used his practice to violate innocent girls. He told mothers they had to leave the room. “Girls this age don’t want their moms around.” He would say. Once alone, he pounced.

 

He left the state in the 90s and worked for many years in New Mexico as a traveling Doctor. Destroying young lives every day. When he retired, he volunteered as a sex educator at a Juvenile Detention Center where his victims were literally locked in.

 

He was an active church member. He volunteered at the local soup kitchen. He raised money for charities. He led mission trips. He was and still is, a master in the art of deception. He is a dangerous predator allowed to live free. The local community has rallied around him, while vilifying those of us who came forward after all these years.
Once again the rich, the powerful, the leaders of communities are given free reign to inflict indescribable harm on the young and innocent. All that’s left for me to do is say the truth and try to let it go.

His name is Thomas Packard.

And it’s off again

So the trial has been postponed, AGAIN! We’ve never gotten this close to the date, so I was caught by surprise AGAIN! They won’t even give me a time frame. I was simply told it was cancelled until further notice. A little bit of back story…

Over a year ago I received a notification stating that I was required to release all my mental health records to the court. I had no idea this would happen and was very confused. My therapist explained this is a tactic used by the defense to intimidate the victims in a case of this nature. Her advice was to contact the advocate and let her know this was unacceptable.

Imagine my shock, when I learned that the request actually came from the prosecution! The advocate was just as surprised saying she’s never seen this happen. A letter of outrage from my Therapist and a few major mistakes later, the prosecutor was fired.

Skip ahead six months and a new prosecutor called to personally assure me that things would be different going forward. She said all the right things, and before you know it, I was back on board.

One thing that didn’t sit right was the fact that they were going ahead and petitioning the court to release our mental health records. She posed it in such a way so as to make it appear to be in my best interest. She said she wanted the judge to take notice that the prosecution was willing to work with them. So reluctantly I signed the papers that would release any and all mental health records for what is known as an In Camera Review.

An In Camera Review means only the judge can see the records and can only share exculpatory evidence. An example of that would be if I had ever said that I was not, in fact raped. Or if I was diagnosed as a compulsive liar. I knew they would not find anything of that nature so I signed off again. A piece of my heart broke, though. It was another huge violation.
Skip to last week. I got the call from my advocate saying the trial is off again. At that point I didn’t even care why, so I didn’t ask. She offered no explanation. As the days went by and my brain adjusted to this new reality, I began to wonder …

I called the victims advocate yesterday to ask the reason for yet another delay. Her texted response was “they have not received all the medical records requested.” It literally did not compute at first. So the trial has been put off indefinitely because they haven’t done a good job of collecting records they should never have asked for in the first place? Are you shitting me? For real?

I’m not one to feel sorry for myself for too long. If I have a pity party, I try to keep it short. But I’m … I don’t know, I can’t describe what I’m feeling. It really is indescribable. One thing I do know, is I smell a rat.

This perpetrator was the only Doctor in a small town, is very well connected, and has been treated with kid gloves because he’s old. I see bias in the news coverage and politics at the state attorneys office. Are they just stringing us along til he dies? Seriously, my best interests, and those of all the other victims, are clearly not a priority.

So I sit here this morning trying to channel my anger. But anger isn’t the most accurate word for what I’m feeling… I’m not sure there is one. And there’s no one involved with the trial I can turn to, no one who will give me a straight answer.

As usual, I’m trying to find a way to wrap things up nice and pretty. I just can’t because I’ve been left hanging yet again.

I’m so punny😂

I love to laugh. It’s my favorite thing to do. There’s nothing bad about it and I feel so good after. That being said, I am a sensitive soul. When you combine that with sustained childhood trauma, my tolerance for any teasing or poking fun, even in a lighthearted way is virtually nonexistent. I just get flustered and anxious.

I must admit there have been times where I didn’t laugh for years. I didn’t think the current popular jokes were funny, even if everyone else did. I literally didn’t understand them. And don’t even get me started on practical jokes!

For so long I thought the problem was me. That I was too naive or something. People used to tease me mercilessly about how gullible I was and that just exacerbated the problem. I can’t stand to be tricked, which is why I hate April fools day. All I see and hear is folks laughing at me because I didn’t get the joke. 

I won’t get bogged down in the PTSD/ Trauma response, but suffice to say it was those deep wounds, the violation at such a tender age, that made it hard for me to  process things. I am easily confused. Add to that the rigidity that comes with indoctrination I was subjected to and I was completely stifled. 

I used to have a very hard time being silly. I was so busy trying to hold myself together that it was next to impossible. I just chalked it up to the way I was wired. Like I was a “stick in the mud” and I felt so sad about it. It was such a relief to find that isn’t me at all. I was injured body and soul, and that changes the way your brain functions and alters your abilities in many ways.

My favorite thing about silliness is there is no trickery, no need to “get” it, no teasing, and no laughing at someone else’s expense. Plus it’s just sooo much fun to be silly!

So I took baby silliness steps, with great trepidation at first. Next thing you know, I’m laughing again! Everyday, all the time! And I have found that folks respond in kind. I still can’t bear to be tricked or teased, and yes, sometimes the jokes go right over my head. But that’s ok, cause that laugh that comes from deep in my belly is back, and it’s here to stay!

To quote good old Uncle Albert from Mary Poppins…  “I love to laugh! Loud and long and clear. I love to laugh. It’s getting worse every year.” 😂🤣😂