Archive for January, 2019

Allergies

Posted January 31, 2019 By kmarrs

When I was pregnant with Thomas, 16 years ago, I developed an apple allergy. I go into full anaphylactic shock.

Over the past year or two, while my body has been otherwise failing me physically (more on that to come) I’ve been also developing new and exciting allergies as well. The one we’ve been able to pin down is spaghetti sauce. But we ruled out, on our own, that it wasn’t the tomatoes, mushrooms, parsley, oregano, or, basil. So about a year ago, I went to see an allergist. The following is pulled from my tumblr from the next day.

“So I went to the allergist yesterday for allergy testing.  See as an adult I’ve developed an allergy to apples (awhile back though it’s gotten much worse in recent years) and very recently Prego pasta sauce.  Both make my throat swell closed.  

Now I can avoid both, but what is it about the Prego that sets me off, was the million dollar question.  See, with some careful experimentation we ruled out tomatoes, mushrooms and your more common herbs that would be used in a pasta sauce.  I mean fully ruled out.  We’ve since switched to Kroger brand red sauce and I can eat it just fine.  Tons of it.  We also buy Stouffer’s lasagna and I also eat that just fine.  A few other red sauce things, just fine.  It’s only Prego brand sauce.  So what’s in Prego that isn’t in the others?  Is it how they preserve it?  Also, the label is no help.  So my doctor referred me to the allergist.

“So you think your throat swells,” this brilliant doctor asks.

“Well, my throat becomes tight, I can’t breathe very good, and I have a lot of trouble swallowing.”

Like I said, you /think/ your throat swells.”

He proceeded to confirm I have no trouble with tomatoes.  No trouble with mushrooms.  Proceeded to confirm we use basil, oregano, and parsley all the time, no trouble.

So what does he test me for?

Tomatoes, mushrooms, basil, oregano, and parsley.  Nothing else.  Not a damn thing else.

Like fam, I’m not saying there is a test specifically for the preservatives used by Prego, but come on.  There has to have been other options than the common ingredients that I, on my damn own, completely ruled out and stated as such.  Red pasta sauce is a staple of my diet.  I love mushrooms and eat them all the time.  Pat seasons a lot of things with those exact herbs,  If any of that gave me trouble, we’d know by now.

What the FUCK was the point of going to that office, I cry, beg, and ask.  What did I even learn?

His professional advice?  Stay away from Prego and apples.

Yeah.  Really?  Because I look forward to using my EpiPen.  That’s an experience to be cherished.

And whatever this mystery ingredient is, I guess I just have to hope not to run into it again.

Oh!  OH!

He did offer, very matter of factly, that if I wanted to bring in some Prego, he’d test me for that to see if I was allergic to it or not.

Because, after all, I only think my throat swells shut.

I must also be imagining that tightness in my chest that comes with it.  And all the other classic symptoms of Anaphylactic Shock.

*sigh*

I knew I needed a second opinion from someone who wouldn’t gaslight me, but I was not in a good place so I put that off a bit and continued to narrow down, on my own, what I was allergic to, with EpiPen in hand.

In time, I realized I was allergic to all jarred pasta sauce, and even some pizza sauce. But it remained true, that it wasn’t the tomatoes, mushrooms, basil, parsley, or oregano.

Pat eventually made his grandmother’s red sauce from scratch, otherwise using all the same ingredients, and I ate SO MUCH of it and did not have a reaction. Not even a hint of one. This has led us to hypothesize that it’s the preservative I’m allergic to.

So it was time to go to a different allergist and get that second opinion.

I was there bright and early Friday morning. I explained everything, including the failed allergist appointment the year prior, to the doctor and just preyed that she would be different.

And OMG. That was one of the most validating appointments with a doctor I’ve ever had. She came for my life and then validated every tiny bit of it.

Now she was honest, and confirmed what I kind of suspected, that there was no test for the preservatives. But she listened to everything and declared it both not unheard of, and the probable source of trouble.

Then she did full allergy testing on all the usual suspects.

The first, interesting thing to note, is that I’m not actually allergic to apples. Not even a little. I’m apparently allergic to birch which cross pollinates with apples, and therefore I have the reaction. Of course, because of this, all apples are now suspect and I still can’t eat apples, but it’s not the apple’s fault. Everyone else finds this hilarious. I’m… bitter.

I’m apparently also allergic to dogs. I’ve just failed to ever notice it.

Something, something pollen and ragweed and shit that will cause reactions in the fall when everything is dying, which I basically already knew and had told her about. But it was good to have that validated.

She had also decided, before she even did any testing, that she was going to put me on an antihistamine. The goal being to calm my body down some. However, the tests did confirm that was a good idea.

There were no other reactions of note. So while there are other undetermined things at this time that I’m allergic to, they aren’t anything that’s going to show up on a test. Just like that preservative. So all I can do, really, is keep a journal of sorts and track what I eat that causes a reaction.

And keep my EpiPen on me.

So that is basically that.

On Monday the 4th we’ll talk about my anemia. That’s been a bit of a bumpy ride too. But I’ll fill you all in, in a few days.

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My Plant Children

Posted January 28, 2019 By kmarrs

The last couple of posts have been kind of heavy soul baring stuff. So I’m going to lighten things up by showing you and telling you about my plant children.

This is Frederick. My local Kroger had a selection of succulents this past spring and I asked Pat to buy me one. This is the first plant I’ve kept alive for more than like a month. I work very hard at it. By mostly ignoring him and then once every Thursday watering him until the soil is not drowning but soaked. He thrives under those conditions. He needs a better light. That’s why his leaves are so spread out instead of nice and condensed. But I’m working on that. He is next to a window so it’s not horrible. But the lighting could be better. As an added bonus, since it’s a uv light and he’s sitting on my desk, when I’m at my desk in the winter it’ll work as light therapy for SAD. I think. Won’t hurt, anyway.


This little gal was a mother’s day gift from my Sammy. Her school likes to buy those little cardboard pots and put a single… uh… something flowery for mother’s day. I think they are meant to go outside with friends. Or maybe sit on the window sill. I’m not sure. I accidentally killed the one she brought home in 2017. I am not good with plants. But this one I put in a bigger pot (there is room to plant a second if she brings one home this year) and gave it some light and the beauty flowered well through the summer. She hasn’t flowered in months now. And she may never again? But she is still a pretty touch of green on my desk that is, as you can see, thriving. New leaves all the time. And you can see from a couple of the photos where completely new shoots are starting. I know she was meant to be outside, but she’s lasting much longer on my desk and I like that.

This gal was a Christmas present from my Lucas just this past Christmas. I actually know what this plant is. She is an aloe and I love her. She’s too new to have grown much in my care but I have strict instructions on how to keep her alive and well, so I’m working hard at it. I did not expect this beauty at all. My LouBear kept that secret spectacularly. And I love him for it.

Anyway, all three of my plant babies live on my desk. I’m getting them a better light soon and hope to keep them alive for years to come.

I might actually be acquiring a green thumb. Which I never expected. But apparently, while it was late in coming, I do take after my mom and grandma after all. This makes me super happy!

I want to try violets next. I’m notoriously bad with violets…

Edit:

Oops.

So this is Florence, or Flora for short. And she is a Tradescantia Zebrina.

See…

IN MY DEFENSE!

I’ve been eyeing her for weeks upon weeks and loved her from the start.  So when I finally asked how much she was and found out she was on clearance for 3$ I just… what was I supposed to do?

She’s purple.

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ADHD

Posted January 24, 2019 By kmarrs

So many years ago I suggested to my meds doctor that I might have ADHD. She was willing at the time to medicate me for it, but insurance put up a fight and I just wasn’t up to fighting.

Now I have come to the terms that I almost definitely, though it’s self diagnosed, have ADHD. There is no denying it. And I’m to the point in my education and career, that if I’m going to succeed, than I need medication.

So I called my meds doctor the other week and asked her if I could come in sooner than planned and discuss me starting meds. I’m willing to go through the diagnostic criteria, and I have a better handle on the symptoms now, that I can really make a case for myself. So I should hopefully be medicated starting in maybe mid-February.

I’ll check back in around then to fill you all in on how that goes. I’m also due for a meds update post, but I might as well wait until I know what’s going to happen with ADHD treatment.

Also, while we’re on the topic, I’m pretty sure I’m autistic. They are comorbid a hell of a lot of times. However, I will never seek diagnosis there.

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Dysphoria With Presentation

Posted January 21, 2019 By kmarrs

This was a Tumblr post I wrote about 3-4 months ago not long after I sent that email to my family I shared with you.

So this whole coming out as nonbinary thing.

Like… I present female.  Not because I consider myself female but because pants are bullshit and dresses and skirts are just a million times more comfortable to me.  I don’t wear makeup.  I shave my head all the way down to fluff.  But I still wear a dress or skirt 95% of the time.  I actually only own one pair of pants that fit me.

And like… I feel like I’m not valid calling myself nb because I am afab and I look like a girl and I may never try to pass as nb other than maybe top surgery.  But even then I’m not sure if I want to go all the way flat or maybe just down to a B-cup.  (I’m very top heavy.)

I just feel fake.  Or more accurately I feel like I come off as fake even if I know in my heart I’m not a girl.

And further, how do I… like my parents…  “Ignore the skirt.  I’m not a girl.”  Like they aren’t of a generation that will understand that some men wear dresses.  So I don’t know… I feel like my mom is thinking to herself, “It’s ok.  She still wore a dress this weekend.  She’s still you daughter.”

I just don’t know how to present myself as valid.

Maybe… are like, men’s pants more comfortable?  Is that what I’m doing wrong?  Shopping in the women’s section?  I don’t mean mentally more comfortable.  I mean physically.  Because pants are kind of really bullshit.

I will say I feel a little bit better since then. For Christmas my dad got me Doc Martins combat boots that are waterproof. I intended them to be winter and yucky weather shoes, since the keds I normally wear aren’t weather resistant or friendly. I honestly wasn’t sure I’d be able to wear the boots all the time. My feet are all fucked up from the fibromyalgia so it’s really hit and miss (mostly miss) with shoes. I wear the keds with everything because they were the only shoes that were really comfortable. I have a pair in white and a pair in black. But anyway, I put on these boots and it was like magic. Not only are they comfortable, but I feel… not feminine in them. Like they add an edge to even the softest of dresses.

I think I’m also going to get a handful of flannel shirts and add them over the dresses and just… I realize it’s a butch lesbian look and I’m not a lesbian, but I think it will help.

I’m not aiming to look like a boy. And I don’t think I’m going to stop wearing dresses and skirts. Pants are and forever will be bullshit. I just want to… rough up the look. I dunno. Gender is confusing and gender presentation is even more confusing. I’m basically making this up as I go along, trial and error.

Trial and error.

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New Therapist

Posted January 17, 2019 By kmarrs

We’ll start with the old. I saw my old therapist, Cindy, off and on for some 12 years. I was pregnant with my middle little when we paired up and I started DBT. It was right before I got pregnant that I was diagnosed with BPD. And he’s turning 11 in just a few days so almost 12 years seems pretty on the nose.

And Cindy was/is great. She specializes in BPD and DBT and I adore her. I would not have the skills I have now, if not for her.

But I’m at a point in my life where one of the primary things I want to talk about in therapy is my identity of being queer. (Which is how I choose to sum up my sexuality and gender identity.) And Cindy is not afraid to talk about me being queer, but she has no experience with it personally or with people in her life so she had no practical advice to offer. She had great listening skills, but I need a little more.

So I did a literal google search for trans therapists that are local to me and I found Ruby. I don’t know if she herself is trans. I honestly can’t tell even after a session with her (which is fine) but I do know she has a Master’s in Gender Studies and gender queer people in her life, beyond her own experience. (She did say she is queer. It just hasn’t been defined out. Which again is fine. I don’t need her life story beyond the generalization that she’s qualified in this topic and issue.)

Additionally, she’s also fully versed in BPD a lot like Cindy is. So I’m not completely sacrificing whatever help I need with BPD, just to have someone whom can relate to gender issues.

Anyway, as of now I’m going to start seeing Ruby every Monday after work. My first session was this past Monday, the 14th of January. And I want to talk about it. Not the details of what we talked about, though I will sum it up, but instead the general feel of it all. Why Ruby is the perfect fit for me.

She was just coming in from being outside when it was time to start our session. So we go into her rented office and she starts going around the spacious room and turning on a dozen floor and table lamps. No harsh overhead florescents. Nope. This isn’t a sterile office, this place has a living room feel. There are comfy places to sit with an abundance of pillows and blankets. Rugs on the floor. A play area for children. Huge, wall conquering book cases filled with books. This place just immediately felt like home. Which, as nervous as I was, it put me at ease.

After she turned on all the lights, she sat in her own comfy chair, bent down, and took off her boots revealing fun cat socks. Like. There are just no words. I picked her off this long list of therapists that I found because she was friend shaped. I was delighted to discover that she specialized in what I needed her to specialize in. But the initially what made me go to her website, off the list, was that she just looked warm and friendly. Warm. So warm. So to have her kick off her shoes, which is honestly my person aesthetic, was revoltionary. I didn’t know therapists could do that! From now on, any new therapists I try out, if they don’t kick off their shoes, then they just aren’t for me.

The office. The no shoes. I just felt really safe.

Moving on, though I could spend another 5 paragraphs talking about the no shoes and fun socks…

I’m pretty secure in my gender identity now so while I wanted someone who specializes in it, it won’t be the main focus of therapy. We talked about that some. Most the session was just a brief outline of who I am. Standard first session shit. But we did discuss the goals.

My main objective is to deal with my anger issues I’m finally admitting I have. I… when I’m frustrated by my kids or spouse I turn red with anger and before I even realize I’m doing it, I start yelling. All the fucking time. I don’t want to yell anymore. I need to replace it with something, I don’t know what because the kids don’t listen. But I don’t want to yell anymore. It’s just not how I want my home life to go. So over the next however many weeks and months, Ruby is going to help me learn skills to stop the yelling, and parenting skills as to what I can do in place of it to get the kids to listen.

Cindy probably could have done that for me. But now, with Ruby, when gender issues are on the forefront of my mind, I can bring them up and we can tackle them as a team. It’s not the primary objective of therapy, but it’s still a thing that can coexist.

So every Monday at 4 I’m in therapy with Ruby, who works out of what could easily be a living room, if not for the insurance agent across the hall, and who kicks off her shoes to reveal relatable socks. I’m… it’s a good way to spend my Monday afternoons.

I should have kicked off my own shoes. Next time.

And then after therapy I have a standing dinner date with my dad. Which will make for a long day, but it lets me avoid rush hour traffic in getting home (therapy is on his side of town, my house is decidedly not) and I really should spend more time with him anyways. So this is good. I get home 10 hours after I left it and exhausted, but that’s just how it is sometimes.

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The Blogging Scedule

Posted January 15, 2019 By kmarrs

So here is the plan as I get back into the swing of things.

I will have an ongoing queue of posts that I’ll write in advance that will post on Monday’s at noon est.

But a queue that is a month out doesn’t always work for more time relevant things. Like my Lucas broke his toe last week, and instead of telling you about it when it happened, it was going to end up in my queue and by the time the post when live, it would have been healed. Which is, I guess, fine. But ultimately, is not how I want to run things. I like posting about things as they happen.

So some (every?) weeks there will also be a Thursday post (same time) and it will be more time sensitive. There is no queue for the Thursday posts. As such, some weeks there just may not be one. I can’t plan in advance for exciting or tragic things to happen in life. But at least with the Thursday post, I can talk about it in a timely fashion. Which is the goal.

So TLDR: Every Monday at noon est look for a post from my queue. Most Thursdays at noon est look for a post for current events. If there is no Thursday post it’s because life has been boring that week and there is nothing to talk about. I value the quiet moments though, even if it does make blogging hard.

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