Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hope For A Sea Change- a memoir, by Elizabeth Aquino

Elizabeth is a writer and blogger and one of my first and best online finds. Her blog A Moon, Worn As If It Could Be A Shell has grown in voice and talent in the last two years to a point where Elizabeth writes blog posts that leave me mulling over once again what an awesome gift it is to have privy to free, original writing like this online. Elizabeth writes primarily about her children, and even moreso her daughter Sophie, and this is the subject matter of her first published book, the memoir
Hope For A Sea Change.

I can tell you that this memoir is about Elizabeth's infant daughter Sophie, how she flicked and quivered in a way that scared her parents, how she was eventually diagnosed with the unthinkable- a serious, life threatening disorder, how her parents came to realize there was going to be no instant or even 'hard fought for but possible' cure in the coming years, but instead a long uphill battle for treatments that never worked the way any parent would want them to for their child.

What I can't tell you is how reading Elizabeth's voice will affect you. It hits me in the gut, and it is to her immense credit as a writer that this effect is not even solely because of the serious, heartbreaking subject matter, but instead it is Elizabeth herself who grabs you by the throat, heart and mind and insists that you look at things the way they are, the way they were for her, and illuminates those events with a particular intelligence and sharp but deeply human observations. Elizabeth is a stirring writer, and a wonderful friend and I am so proud of her and this work she has created. Look to the end of the memoir for a glimpse into hope- a sea change.

Buy Hope For A Sea Change here at Shebooks or here at Amazon

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

everything in threes

Listening to Elvis love songs in the car, California skyscape and Ever's bright face in the rearview mirror, wind in my hair and dark blue chipped nail polished nails gripping the wheel. I recognize the joy in my life like you recognize beautiful artwork. I am not in it. I stand outside of it chewing the inside of my mouth, waiting to be taken in by my own life again.

The doctor turned the vaginal ultrasound and turned her old yellowed machine my way so I could see: one thickened uterus, one missing ovary, one ovary with a 3 centimeter endometrioma hanging off it like a boil, and another almost as large 'normal' cyst, simply filled with blood, instead of tissue and blood, like the endometrioma. The doctor pressed firmly above my pelvic bone, willing that other ovary to be seen, but she could not find it. What is more concerning, the ill ovary we can see, or the mystery ovary?

Next month, come back, she said. For free, this time. I'll look again during a different part of your cycle, and surely your uterine lining will be thinner, and surely this cyst- the 'normal' one- will be gone. As for the rest, well, you're fucked dear.

She didn't say that, but the doctor in my head did.

Endometriosis. Such a bizarre word, like octopus. Fitting for a bizarre disease that grows willy nilly all over your organs, leaving behind hot pulsing buttons, lesions that bleed like water dripping off of pipes, and scar tissue that builds thick and balky like the tissue of nails, twining guts together, piercing the lining of tissues so tender they never see the light of day until the body gives up the ghost. It hurts. It really, really hurts.

My old doctor, decade ago, thought I was a freak. When my cysts grew, I could feel them. I could feel the blood pumping into them. He would say, no- you can't possibly. But then he would do the ultrasound, and there they were, baby octupi, spitting out blood and swelling their bulbous heads into my pelvic cavity. Where it hurts most, you can feel the heat radiating from my body. If you press your hand there, you will feel it. It feels good to have a hand pressed on my swollen abdomen. I ask Lola, sometimes, to knead my belly like dough while we watch Ally McBeal. Just avoid the cysts. What an awful word, cyst. Fitting.

In the morning I wake to my right side throbbing and swollen, and Ever jumps on me, three years old, three, the number of centimeters my cyst is. Everkins is in a fantastic mood because I remembered that I hadn't been paying enough attention to her, which as a mother has never been my failing, but lately, with my job and this insane moving from house to house... after I realized her zipping crazy making was due to attention grabbing, I scooped her up after work and we spent three hours together, just her and I. Eating, ice cream, the park. She was glowing the way only the very young and healthy glow, like a sunflower, like the sun off of water. She was full.

Now that we live nowhere, the car feels like a home. We are in the car so often, and it is more familiar than the beds we are sleeping in. I slide Elvis in the CD player and the girls and I take off. The wind is dry and crisp, the sky is blue and my thoughts are simple. It is just the three of us. For the moment, I move my hand from my side and in the air, waving to the girls in the back. We slide down the street. I know what I have. I don't know how to make it real again, but I am good at not giving up.

Monday, July 21, 2014

cloud cover

Depression is to the _ as the cloudcover is to the field.

Standing in a Starbucks I hear an old man respond angrily to an inquiring barista. She is a heavily bracketed, peppy woman in her late fifties with salty hair and a grim, relentless smile. ' How is your wife, ' she asked. ' Dead! ' he barked. The grim smiling barista took a step back with her shaker. ' Oh, ' she said.'  I was feeding her. She didn't look good. They told me she had more time! I left the room and she died! ' he cried out, shaking his head to the floor. His hands were so tightly clenched they looked like tree stumps. He repeated ' They told me she had more time. ' The barista had replenished her grim smile and tossed the shaker determinedly. ' I'm so sorry, ' she replied. ' Was it a sarcoma? '
The old man stared across the room, one leg crossed over the other at the ankle, his arm bent over the barista partition. He looked like he was talking about taxes. Or his last vacation.

I paid for his coffee without saying anything to him and he said nothing to me about it in return.

Our eyes met. I felt a terrible and infantile sadness that I might, forever- now almost 40, close to eternity in our culture- be the kind of woman who when in the company of men, wonders if any of them has ever raped or molested a female. Even old men who have just lost their wives to a possible sarcoma.

My mind can see, in a moment, the endless possibilities of the circumstances these molestations could have come about. He was drunk, and had been rejected by his girlfriend for the millionth time, and this girl- she was a nobody, a mouse, and his father had always talked this way about women, and even though he was going to be different, this one time- well, no one would know. She was nobody. Or he was in his late thirties, and found himself with a Lolita on his lap at the slumber party of his youngest daughter, and his business was failing and his wife was skin and bones and he was alone on this planet, as alone as a moth, or a lizard, or a rock thrown into a field, and he had been hiding the idea his entire life that it was socially unacceptable but true that young girls liked the sexual attentions of older men, that it gave them confidence and esteem. Or maybe he was a teenage boy and his father always emasculated him and his girlfriend said 'not in my underwear' for the thousandth time and he had every image of every man taking what he wants from a woman- so many images- stored in his brain, just enough- more than enough- to reassure his subconscious that somehow in the scheme of things this was, how it goes.

The list is long.

I can't feel my fingers, I can't feel my toes, this is the song, you know how it goes... depression isn't an essay that ends with a period or even, an ellipse. Depression is not a book, nor can its shadowy form be captured in oil, photo, or art, however great. For me, the only true expression of depression is in the face of mammals. Human beings, monkeys, tigers, lions, sea lions, their trembling whiskers turned downward.

Depression is to _ as sea lions are to _

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

red wine, sleep

if you don't have an image are you really a blog post?

the louder my life is roaring around me the quieter i am. i have little to say. 

here in la jolla the ocean is blocks away. i hear it roaring and it fills the empty place where my thoughts were tangled like a briar bush. we are fading like roses from the sunburns of a long afternoon on the shore.

my autoimmune diseases are blooming. too much staying on top of things brings the body under.

my side hurts and hurts like the persistent crying of an infant. no soothing stops it. it wakes me at night, drags me from the edge of sleep, pulses under the ocean sounds. under. i have an appointment, expensive. they will look deep inside of my body and see what is there to be seen. ovaries that hang like buds waiting to burst or be dead headed. i might be angry at them. they might kill me one day. they are diseased already. but they brought me my children. and the last, Ever, they allowed me after two white coats said she was impossible, that i was done carrying children. 

i am ready for red wine, and sleep.
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