BEYOND MERE SURVIVAL


Finding information and sharing information

It’s been a long while since I posted because I am not sure about what I want this to be. there are so many facets to my life, that choosing to write about one, or present one only seems so reductive and limited. I wanted the blog to be a forum to share information and knowledge that was useful to me, but it started to seem schizophrenic. do I write about parenting or grad school? dealing with being poor or health care vows? music/art stuff or gender violence ? it goes on and on.

Still, as I am harvesting knowledge to be able to survive and function, it is starting to feel short-sighted not to share it. Especially when there seems to be a lack of information out there that could be helpful to people, which brings me to my present scenario.

I have recently been diagnosed with uterine fibroids, and as I started to do my research I quickly realized that there isn’t a ton of reliable information readily available. What I found is often contradictory or unclear and even doctors seem to have diverging opinions ( surprise surprise). For starters it was difficult to get a diagnosis in the first place. I began having symptoms a few years back, actually, but my yearly exam did not yield much besides the routine “oh well, you know, you should get on the pill to help with cramps”.

Maybe I was just going to the wrong doctors. It also may be that fibroids are hard to find until they become sizable, or the symptoms become disruptive to everyday life.

Even figuring out what a fibroid is has been a challenge. It is a growth, usually benign ( though not always), that can grow in and around the uterus. It can cause pain, heavier bleeding, bloating, cramps, and infertility. The causes of fibroids are unknown though there is a correlation with hormonal imbalances, stress, being overweight, poor diet, and being over 35. So I got the stress, but I am not over 35, or overweight. I eat well, and don’t drink.

Still, they came.

Where it gets even murkier is: how can fibroids be treated?

One doctor told me I should do an ultrasound to see where the fibroids are located, and make sure they are benign, in addition to monitor their growth closely. She also let me know that at their present size (she used a golf ball comparison, and now that’s all I can think about when I see a golf ball) they could seriously endanger my ability to have a child. Another doctor instead was fairly dismissive and suggested the pill to take away my period completely and manage the symptoms. BUT, if there is a correlation between fibroids and hormonal imbalances, why would you want to throw in more hormones, and synthetic ones at that? I am wary of that.

There is surgery and ultrasound therapy although it is prohibitively expensive and often the fibroids just come back. Not for me.

 

Other things that have been shown to help are acupuncture, changing your diet ( no processed foods/alcohol/refined sugar and all the other bad stuff), exercise and therapeutic massages. The problem with those things is that they are expensive, in a way that can only make my stress worse. Still, not doing anything is not an option.

Thank god the Chicago Women’s Clinic has sliding fee scale acupuncture, so I had my first session today. Acupuncture is definitely not pleasant, the insertion of the needles is not painful, but I did feel an ache, tightness and electric shock-like sensation that was pretty unpleasant. I also was given supplements by the acupuncturist to help with healing.

I imagine it will take a bit for acupuncture to make a difference, but when I came home the pain that I usually have where the fibroids are flared up for a few hours and I had to lay down. I am hopeful it will get better.

So here is where I am at. I do want to share how treatment goes in the hopes that it can be helpful to others dealing with similar situations. I am embedding some links that I found in doing research, though it is only a portion of the information I came across.  I wanted to include some of the sites that seemed to explain things clearly and in a concise manner.

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italia, 2010
July 17, 2010, 2:21 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

so, i went to italy to see my grandmother last minute , because she fell very ill, and it was time to go say goodbye.

i knew it would be painful, and i thought that making a sort of video diary would help diffuse some of the most overwhelming feelings.

i always forget how much i miss being there until i am there, but  then as i listen to some fucked up racist or homophobic joke i also remember why i left, at least partly.

it was especially helpful to see some very old friends, and feel some continuity between past and present which often eludes me.

here it is:

o'hare chicago

second of the three flights to Italy

thank god i get to sit by a small dog, nessy

making the leap

greeted by the austerity of the Frankfurt airport

but also a majestic older man free-handing landscapes

last leg to Milan

alps, right from above

milan train station, not yet done with the travel

one last empty train

mariano

casa della nonna

dead plants

been there since before i came into the world

two beds minus two people

familiar places

.....

the hospice

my grandma, or possibly her shell

lemon popsicle

deserted streets in the heat

2am, 3am, 4am, 5am, 6am, can't sleep

borrowed sunglasses

she can't call this home

no people again, just hot air

briscola

piccioni

6am, again

in house entertainment

got my back since 94'

lake of como, rainbow, storm

water to quiet my thoughts

lago di como-barche

pietro

when you like someone a lot and you are 14, stay away from needles and ink, unless you want shoddy tattoos for the rest of your life

the daily bread

childhood rituals - mercato I

mercato II

beauty hour

machines

nonna

tramonto

crash!

castello sforzesco - milano

worked here for two years

this is the place i feel safest in the whole world

duomo - pavimento

jesus on the web

the magic chapel

the devils, my favorite window

duomo

cappuccino

the pika, 4am

dirty dirty city feet

6pm feels like 6am

12.50 euro

buddies from high school

more high school buddies

last high school buds

"thank god i am not french"

all nighter at the park

all nighter at the park II

let's pizza

breakfast thanks to lufthansa

alps on the way out

40 hours, no sleep

frankfurt, goodbye



A>M>C
June 22, 2010, 12:34 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

back from my third Allied Media Conference, and feeling like it has been the most beneficial yet!

of course the workshops and skill sharing was visionary and inspiring, but more so what got me is all that is intangible and unexplainable, like the sense of community or acceptance.

it felt like home, which is such an elusive concept for me in my day-to-day life. I am so fortunate that I was able to bring my daughters with me this time. They were a bit apprehensive at first, but dove right in it, and voiced feeling comfortable in a way they had not felt in a long time.

the downside of this is that coming back to chicago feels like dipping your feet in icy water, the sense of community and nurture dissipated. It’s such a hard city to crack, and even as I have been having conversations with people who have grown up here, or have been here for a long time, there is a general agreement on the fragmentation that seems so particular to the city, its outwardly deeply individualistic nature.

my faves this year were the secret survivors project, and the awesome m/others discussion workshop.



present pasts project
May 16, 2010, 12:04 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

yesterday was the culmination of the Hull House artist in residence experience with our collective show.

It was really amazing to get to dig through the history of the house, and of the city in general. It’s funny that while I was putting up the silhouettes this dude stopped to tell me that he thought the Hull House was one of the most evil places in Chicago, because of all the ghosts. I have only felt safe and protected by the incredible strength and history of all the amazing people that passed through here.

my project, “present pasts”, is an attempt to capture some of those fears and mistrust that expose themselves in the ghost stories and let them out into the open. I also wanted to create a connection between past and present immigrant experience. the silhouettes are from 19th century immigrants, and the words I embroidered on them are from contemporary ones that moved to the city recently.

the twist of the story is that all of the work got stolen within the first day of being up. Very upsetting if i think about the unending hours I put into this, but no gain being pissed.

at least i got some pictures!



opening! exhibit!
May 5, 2010, 2:54 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized



.the cost of getting educated.
April 16, 2010, 2:10 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

so, i got my financial aid letter from SVA, and it’s too funny not to share. so many schools talk about how they value diversity and equal opportunity and how they are committed to helping students.

right.

the estimated cost of school is 54,000$ a year. which is insane. but even more insane perhaps is how much they are offering me.

0.00000000000

they are willing to loan me 22,ooo dollars, and the rest i guess i am expected to borrow from a bank, or a private corporation.

i am posting this because money is so taboo within the art school context it’s becoming suffocating. no one wants to talk about privilege, and inequality. it’s all about the arts, ideas and an inflated sense of entitlement or merit.

i want to expose how the reality of paying for fancy art schools is impossible unless you are rich ( or your family is wealthy). today i send in my letter turning down SVA’s “offer”. i would love for people to share their stories of how they paid for their education.

p.s i blacked out my address because i don’t really want it to be public.



parenting is a full time fund raising job when you got no money
April 4, 2010, 2:43 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

this might seem totally ridiculous, but since i am totally broke, i have to come up with creative solutions to the growing needs of two growing children.
oona and florence have ben wanting to learn how to dance for so long, and it was always too expensive. ( oona tap, florence hip hop).

i have looked into grants and scholarship, but there is nothing for individual students that want to learn, only for ” exceptionally talented individuals”  and all that. how is a kid supposed to start doing thing they want and get good at them?

there are many excellent schools in chicago, but of course i can’t afford them. i started a kickstarter to defray cost of tuition, i hope it works!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/832366834/we-are-10-we-wanna-learn-how-to-dance