Down the Hills and Round the Bends

My kids have a lot of Thomas stuff. And over the years, people have commented about it. I always just shrug it off. At best, they’ll think my kids are lucky. At worst, they’ll assume my kids are spoiled brats with far too many Thomas trains.

But there’s a story behind why we have so much Thomas stuff and it runs pretty deep. If I were to tell them how we ended up with so much Thomas stuff, they might end up feeling uncomfortable and I don’t like making our houseguests uncomfortable. So I shrug it off. Their worst assumption is better than the discomfort they may feel knowing the truth.

Back when I was going through fertility treatments, I used to bring Emory to the doctor with me. He was about a year-and-a-half when I started going (March, 2009). He was two-and-a-half when I stopped (June, 2010). I don’t think he remembers any of it. At the time, all he knew was that we very regularly visited a doctor. I packed a bag full of toys and snacks and we’d sit together in a big waiting room. He kept me company. Most days our visits were fairly uneventful. I’d have some lab-work done, maybe a sonogram or two.

On Friday, May 30, 2010 we packed an entire Thomas bookbag full of Thomas trains and headed to the doctor for an IUI. For IUIs, Em almost always came along because Toby had to be there as well. That day, Em wanted to take all of his trains and since he had a Thomas backpack specifically made to hold Thomas trains (equipped with a compartment to display favorites and everything) he had room for a LOT. Nearly every train, as well as a few tracks, came with us that day.

Toby’s part never took all that long. He was off to work in no time. My part took longer. Not only did I have to undergo the actual procedure, but I had to wait for the sample to be prepared as well. That usually took between 15 and 30 minutes. The sample was given to me in a tiny vial, the contents of which were usually pink.

Before our first ever IUI, I had no idea where to store the vial.

“What do I do with it?” I asked the tech. “Do I just stick it in my purse?”

“Many women put it in their bra, right here.” She told me, pointing to the center button on her lab-coat. “Keep it near your heart. Maybe it’ll help your chances.”

I sent TobyJoe a text message: I HAVE YOUR SPERM IN BETWEEN MY BOOBS.


So, hold up. I know what some of you are thinking: this sounds horribly unromantic and unnatural. And it is weird. I’ll give you that. But at the time, it was just the way things were. The process became my job. We needed to go through this in order to have a second child. And believe me, I have had every last thought you might be having as you read this, even the terribly judgmental ones. It’s OK. I get it.

I won’t sugarcoat the truth. Ultimately, and it’s become clear to me now, I was being selfish. It’s that simple. I just really wanted another baby. Therefore, I went ahead and carried a vial of pink sperm around in my bra for 30 minutes and made jokes about it. I brought my kid to the doctor with me since we didn’t have childcare. I packed backpacks full of toys and snacks and we camped out so I could hopefully, one day become pregnant. I did all of these things and overlooked all the weirdness involved because I didn’t know what else to do. I couldn’t let it go. I wanted so badly for my son to have a sibling.

I was unlucky to have to experience it, but lucky I was able to.

So, yeah, about those trains. After you pick up your sample, you wait a bit longer for the doctor to perform the actual IUI. So Em and I made ourselves comfortable in another, larger waiting room. I usually stared out the window (the office had a pretty decent view of the East River) while Em played with his choo-choos. Many times, there were other kids present, families in the exact same situation we were. So Em often had a playmate. Overall, our visits were pretty OK.

When they called my name, we packed everything up and headed into a room that looks exactly like any other gynecological exam room.

The procedure itself only takes about 30 seconds. But after it’s done, you have to lie there for a bit as it doesn’t bode well to get up and start walking around right away. And then sometimes they’ll want you to have some blood drawn, so we were shuffled off to the lab.

And this is where we left the trains.

It wasn’t until after we got home, did I realize they were gone. I ran out to the car—nothing. I texted Toby, letting him know so on his way home from work he could maybe pick up a few. He managed to find an L Train and a 6 Train at the drugstore. (Thank you, MTA!)

I called the office the following morning and a woman informed me that they did indeed have the bag and that they would put it aside for me. I told her that if my son was OK with it, we might not be back for a bit. I was scheduled to have a followup appointment two weeks later to check HCG levels (pregnancy stuff) so I figured that if we could wait until then, we would. She told me not to worry, they would be there.

We didn’t rush back right away. And I regret that. I was so wrapped up in myself at the time, I didn’t do the right thing for my kid. I didn’t drive back the very next morning to get his trains.

Thirteen days later, we headed back to my doctor’s office where he would confirm what I already knew; I wasn’t pregnant. Again. I was already feeling pretty down for obvious reasons. I’d failed for the umpteenth time at this seemingly basic thing. But when the woman behind the front desk told me the bag was gone, I fucking lost it. Right there in the middle of the waiting room, I went off the rails sobbing.

Now, I’d seen several women break down before in that waiting room. My breakdown wasn’t anything special. I was just another sad woman crying in the fertility clinic. The trail of tears leading to and from that place is Nile long and Amazon wide.

The woman behind the counter just stared back in bewildered horror, apologizing for her mistake as she was the one who told me they’d be there waiting for us.

I looked down at Em. He had been excited since we’d be getting his trains back. I talked about it all morning. He just looked up at me and said, “Choo-choos, mama?”

Tears poured down my face and onto the floor below. I was unraveling.

I was crying because I couldn’t get pregnant; I was crying because I’d lost a baby 11 months earlier and I still hadn’t properly mourned it; I was crying because my doctor’s office was going to close for 3 months that summer and everything would be placed on hold; I was crying because I completely fucked up and lost my son’s favorite backpack full of his favorite toys; I was crying because I wanted to punch whomever took the trains; I was crying because I didn’t have the energy to argue with the woman who broke her promise; I was crying because this was all my fault; I was crying because I failed at everything.


I explained to Em the best I could why we weren’t getting his trains back. I explained that I would make it up to him somehow and that I was so, so very sorry. I was sorry for far more than just the trains. But he didn’t know that.

Well, we never got those trains back. The backpack is gone too. And I have often wondered about the person who took them, if they felt badly about what they’d done. It occurred to me that it had to be someone working there—at a fertility clinic!—where they worked with hormonally charged women, often heartbroken and/or desperate. I realized they must have been pretty ballsy.

I wonder if they have any idea how much pain they caused that day. Would they have even cared?

Later that morning, I called my mother and told her what had happened. She knew what I’d been going through. My mom was pretty crushed by the whole ordeal as well, and immediately went out to buy Em some Thomas stuff. At some point, she told the story to my aunt, whose job includes visiting dozens of garage sales every week. She hit the jackpot somewhere in New Jersey. That aunt told some of my other relatives, and before we knew it, we were being inundated with Thomas stuff. Em ended up with at three times the number of trains we’d lost that day.

I saw the inside of that waiting room once more after that. It was for an IVF class, exactly two days after I broke down at the front desk. And I didn’t know it at the time, but I would become pregnant with Elliot (naturally!) 8 days later. Who, incidentally, is the biggest Thomas fan I know.

The Lost Years: Living With Infertility.

I didn’t write about my infertility while it was happening and I wish I had because I know many of you could have helped me. Over the years, I’ve tried to go back and write about it, but that’s been difficult for me. Writing about it after the fact feels a bit disingenuous since I’m no longer immersed in it. While I was going through it, I was a totally different person. I’m not trying to be dramatic here. I was simply different. I’m not entirely sure what that person would have written and I’ve often wondered if I’ll do a decent job.

Toby and I refer to that time as “The Lost Years” because our life together became about one thing, and everything else was put on hold. Our attempt at having another child became our main focus. Well, it became my main focus; I merely brought him into it with me. And I have long since realized that had I married a less understanding man, a less caring person, I’d probably be divorced right now. Infertility puts a massive strain on even the best relationship.

So today, for the umpth time, I’m going to try and write a little about The Lost Years. And maybe if I start, I will find it in me to continue. Because there are so many stories, some of which are even humorous. I sat in that doctor’s office every day for two weeks during every month for a year. I watched countless stories unfold before me. Sometimes they were horribly sad. But on a few occasions I found myself texting Toby Joe and laughing about something I’d witnessed. And many times I’d text him as a way of keeping notes, because I regularly thought, “One day, when you feel better, you need to share this because, bad or good, it’s important stuff.”

I think, if nothing else, it will help me to write it down. And I hope that one day it might help someone else as well.

And so! If you’re reading this, and any of what I’m about to write sounds familiar, please know you’re not alone.

My Recollect

I remember the endless testing, the Clomid, the injections, the daily blood draws, the sonograms; I remember the catheters, the weird headaches, the expense of time and funds, the pregnancy tests, the HCG shots in my ass (administered by a nurse in a line of cubicles filled with other nurses administering shots into other asses).

I remember feeling guilty we had the money to go through it at all, and then feeling pissed off I had to.

I peed on hundreds of sticks, some of which would be a clear negative so I’d throw it out. Then, 30 minutes later, I’d return to the bathroom, dig it out of the trash (even though instructions EXPLICITLY say not to!) and imagine seeing a faint line. And on a few occasions, I would see a faint line—an evaporation line! Oh how I hated those lines.

I would hold sticks under sunlight, in front of TV light, beneath candlelight—any light that MIGHT show me a positive.

I took them apart, believing that maybe the window wasn’t clear enough, that the clear plastic might not actually be clear?

There were the times I would get my period and STILL come up with reasons as to why I could still be pregnant. Implantation bleeding! (On day 28?) I had to hold onto hope somehow even if it meant entering some type of fantasy land.


Hope was my most necessary friend and my worst goddamn enemy.

(Perhaps you’ve met her? She gets around.)

I remember changing my diet based on something I’d read, then doing the exact opposite based on something else I’d read. I remember eating a LOT of pineapple and flax.

And, oh my goodness, the records I kept! You should see my iCal from 2009 and 2010. It looks like the work of an insane person. I thought about posting a screenshot, but I went all out. If you haven’t witnessed the diary of woman furiously charting her cycles, all the while going through fertility treatments, you will not like what you see. Let’s put it this way: on top of the concise (driven by desperation) information involved, there are many, many creative ways a woman can describe cervical mucus. (Too much? My apologies but be thankful I didn’t post an image of my iCal.)

I used to pass pregnant women on the street and feel anger toward them, complete strangers. I’d see women pregnant with their third child and sometimes, on a bad day, curse them for overpopulating the world. How dare they have THREE! Yet, I’d have had three if I could. But when you’re having trouble getting pregnant, you don’t think rationally all the time.

I held onto so much sorrow and that turned into anger pretty quickly. Maybe it was a survival mechanism. I don’t know. But if I let the sorrow consume me, like it did directly after the miscarriage, I don’t think I would have made it out alive. (Not to sound dramatic again, but that sorrow is inexplicable.)

The constant googling in the middle of the night, searching new terms, finding new ways to blame myself for failing at the ONE basic thing I was SUPPOSED to be able to do as a woman. The thing I ironically worked so hard trying to avoid in my 20s. I locked myself away and went temporarily mad.

After the miscarriage, in a fit of despair, I broke down in front of my primary care physician who immediately gave me the name of a shrink as well as some medication to help me feel a little better, just until I got back up again. I took the meds for a while, which made matters worse because I started to blame them for my inability to get pregnant. I went off the meds immediately.

I spent months hating myself, loathing myself for failing. I hated myself even more when I dealt with my emotions in such a childish manner. Each time I had a less than positive thought about another friend getting pregnant, I would add it to the pile of self-loathing.

I pushed away an entire group of friends because of my infertility. My inner turmoil took over completely. My inability to talk to people candidly about what I was going through was new to me as, up until that point, I’d been very open.

Who was I becoming? Why was I so full of anger? Was I a horrible person on top of being broken?

Thing is, had I just told them the truth, had I simply said, “You know something? I am REALLY fucked up right now. I am sad and sometimes very angry. Please try and understand and help me. It’s really not about you at all.” maybe we’d still be friends. Instead, I avoided them like my dog does when she gets beat up at the dog park. But the only person beating me up was me.

Not that any of that matters now. I torched the living shit out of that bridge.

If you can relate to any of this, you’re not alone. You may feel alone, but I sat in that waiting room for countless hours, watching hundreds of couples come and go through those fancy elevator doors. There are so many of us, too many of us. So why are we often too ashamed to admit we’re having trouble getting pregnant? Why don’t we talk about it more often?

Unexplained Secondary Infertility

I have some regrets. Both Toby and I do. Since we already had one healthy baby, we have since wondered if we spent too much time trying for number two at the expense of our first child. Was I too selfish? I can’t get that time back with him. And we have some sorrow linked to that. It wasn’t just OUR life I put on hold. And that thought gives me chills sometimes.

Thing is, I only wanted to have another child for Em. I wanted him to have a sibling. So I’m hoping one day when they’re older and thankful for having one another, I can forgive myself.

There’s another level to all of this, one I still feel uncomfortable writing about. With secondary infertility, you don’t often know where you fit in. Your inability to get pregnant and/or successfully carry a baby to term is very real, it’s painful and horrible and tragic and awful. But! We DO have one child already. So we often feel unfair discussing it at all as there are others with none. So, many of us keep even quieter. That silence is why secondary infertility is often misrepresented. They don’t actually know how many couples suffer from it as many feel bad discussing it at all.

Looking Back

The clarity I have now because of what I went through during that time is pretty great. I am different. I have changed in many ways. Some good, some bad. But I do like myself a great deal more now than I did before. And I know so much about the female reproductive cycle! I could go on and on about hormones and sometimes I do when talking to girlfriends (and someone should probably just tell me to shut up at that point). I’m no longer afraid of needles! So, there’s that as well.

But more importantly, I am not nearly as cynical as I used to be. I try and forgive easily, and I realize that many people are suffering one way or another, fighting a difficult and personal battle. I try and remember that everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt (and maybe an unsolicited hug or two).

Lastly (for today!), I want to reassure you that when you’re in it, there is no such thing as a “wrong” thought. You are not a horrible person for having even the ugliest thought imaginable. You are a human being, one going through something very difficult. You are a woman. You are not broken. You are not alone. Find your people. Ask questions. Know you’re not alone—and that you’ll be OK.

Don’t be silent. Because the loneliness you experience from infertility can be all-consuming. Please speak up. I really wish I had sooner.

One last thing, and forgive me for the language: If someone should ask you why you’re going through all this trouble when there are SO MANY unwanted children in the world, and that you should just adopt instead; OR, if someone suggests that since you can’t get pregnant “naturally” there’s probably a reason for that, tell them Michele said, “Fuck Off.” (Sorry for the language, dad. But I held that one in too many times before now.)


Mia has gone through some serious downfalls as of late. Things really, really aren’t going her way.

Her mother has breast cancer. That’s an ongoing, serious problem she’s coping with as best she can. Problem is, her mom can’t seem to beat it. It just keeps coming back. And that gets her down.

On September 1st, her apartment burned down and she lost everything including her two kitties (shown below) who she loved like children. She doesn’t care that she lost all her clothing, her baking supplies, her fire engine red KitchenAid (the irony is not lost on her), everything she’s ever owned. All those items she collected from boys over the years, all the postcards from friends, life’s mementos, they are all gone. She only cared about the cats. She made that very, very clear.

Then she went through a break up. That happened the day after the fire.

Yesterday her Saint Tropez road bike was stolen.

OK, so let me make this about me for a minute.

Em broke his arm on Friday afternoon. He was pushed from the monkey bars by another child, a child known for aggression. I don’t want to slam this child, however. He did NOT plan on causing this much damage. But it did suck. None of this would have happened had this kid not pushed him.

Anyway, it was a level 4 break. I didn’t know what that meant up until Saturday, but now I do. He had surgery. He has pins and wires holding his arm together. The whole ordeal was pretty rough. We were in the hospital from Friday afternoon all the way up until Sunday night. At times I became very angry toward the other child.

Then something happened on Sunday afternoon that stomped my anger out completely. I am not at liberty to write about it. I promised this person I wouldn’t as they didn’t want it to be about them. They didn’t want to turn it into a publicity stunt. You’ll just have to take my word on the fact that it’s a pretty remarkable story. What began as a terrible weekend, ended with one of the most cherished days of my life. And I genuinely mean that. It was a day that I will remember until the day I die. Think of the most selfless, awesome deed you can possibly think of, it was better than that. Really.

I am changed. This weekend changed my family and me forever. I think we came out the other side better than we were before. And we owe that to a community of people and this thing someone did for my son (and me) that I promised not to write about.

Em is on the mend. He has even forgiven the kid who pushed him as have I. He’s getting stronger by the day.

This weekend taught me that I need to tell the people in my life, as well as complete strangers, that I love them, that I need them around. I also need to reach out and do more for the people living around me. I have to pay it forward. Because we were given a most precious gift this weekend even though it was born out of tragedy.

So, anyway. Mia. I love Mia. I met her at culinary school. I immediately liked her. She is delicate, gracious, kind, funny and just beautiful. And I want to make this a little bit easier on her. She makes very little living here and is even considering moving away having lost it all. So I’d like to make this time a little easier. The best way I can think of to do that, besides offering her up my cats for snuggles, is to give her some money and hopefully make everyday life a little bit easier. And maybe, just maybe, she can buy a new bike.

So, I’m going to put it out there for you guys too. Do you have a few extra bucks for Mia? She doesn’t need much. And she will likely kick my ass for doing this. Even a hand-me-down bike might do the trick as it was her main means of transportation. If you feel like donating her some money, you can do so by PayPal. My account is: mihow @

I promise EVERY last penny will go to Mia.

Also: please makes sure to make it a gift or donation so you can write it off or whatever.

Lastly: hug a stranger someday soon. It actually feels pretty good.

Mamapundit, Mindy Bizzell and Practicing Grace.

I have been online for a long time. I am 38. I was a designer for over a decade. I spent years in front of a computer. I spent many late nights tooling around IRC, commenting on message boards. I had a blog in the mid-90s. I started this one in 2001. I have experienced my fair share of online relationships. (I met Toby because of a message board called Dreamless.)

This is not some type of BEEN THERE! DONE THAT! rant. Not at all. I am writing this brief history to explain why I currently avoid most Internet drama. I have learned that nothing really good comes from it. Really. Nothing. I would say 99% of the time, Internet discussions and faceless, online interactions leave a person feeling agitated, upset, misunderstood, and obsessive. Someone is always going to be wrong on the Internet.

But it took a lot of wasted, agitated minutes to learn that it’s best to avoid Internet drama altogether.

Today, I’m not going to do that. Because I just can’t let this one go for some reason. And just when I thought the Internet was no longer capable of surprising me, the Internet went ahead and did just that.

A little backstory…

A woman named Katie Granju runs a site called Mamapundit. Let me begin by saying that I do not read Katie Granju. I do not follow her blog. But I do know that she lost a teenage son named Henry a few years ago in a most devastating manner. I am not sure how I know this, but I remember reading about it at my mom’s house at some point. I remember where I read it because I remember crying on my mom’s couch while trying to hide as much because I didn’t want to explain why I was crying. I was also knocked up and emotional.

I will say this much: it’s a horribly sad story. NO PARENT should lose a child.

So, a few days ago, a friend of mine sent me a link to a post on Ms. Granju’s Facebook page. Basically, someone sent in a postcard to Postsecret.

For those who don’t want to click the above link, the shot is of the name “Henry” written in the sand. Written on top of the image is the following:

“I took two Percaset today a gift to myself on my birthday. They do not make me miss you less, my sweet baby boy. Love Mama.”


Anyway, Ms. Granju took to Facebook, twitter AND her personal Web site and began accusing the person of being “cruel and disturbed“.

Believing that this person was out to get her, she accused the person of being dumb for misspelling the word Percocet.

There were other hateful things as well. It got really ugly, really fast.

Some people suggested it was a coincidence, that another grieving mother lost a child named Henry. But Ms. Granju’s paranoia fueled her. She started to come up with conspiracies, suggesting that it had to be a hoax because her son is named Henry. She called him her “sweet baby boy” and it was her birthday as well. Henry also referred to her as “mama”.

Ok, so, let me interject. I’ve been there before. I mean, not right where she is; I have not lost a child. The mere thought makes me want to die. What I mean is, I’ve been to the point where I think EVERYONE is out to get me. We women have a knack for this. It’s usually in my real life, however. Not online. But I have been there. I used to not have any control over it. But now that I’m older, and I’ve experienced it enough (usually happens during certain hormonal times of the month, for what it’s worth) I can stop my brain from going to that dark, terribly selfish place. Not everything (in fact very little) is about me.

I do not fault her for feeling this way. But I do fault her for taking it to the Internet. I do fault her—a woman with many, many followers, some of whom are willing to attack ANYONE on her behalf—for taking her paranoia to Twitter, Facebook and her own site. This should have stayed with her, among her friends and family.

Well, as it turns out, the original sender of the postcard was indeed another grieving mother who lost a baby named Henry. And her name is Mindy Bizzell. She was forced to own up to her secret after so many of Ms. Granju’s followers questioned its originality. Everything Ms. Granju wrote about her, as well as all of the responses, got back to Mindy. She read that she was dumb and evil and cruel.

Can you imagine?

Even if the hateful comments didn’t have Mindy “the person” in mind, as the people leaving them felt they had a cruel liar in their midst, it still must hurt to read these things. It must hurt to know that people assumed you were making it all up, that your grief isn’t as genuine and real as you experience it. It must suck to see so many people assume the absolute worst instead of giving another individual the benefit of the doubt.


I left a comment on Ms. Granju’s facebook page the day it all happened. I used my real name, of course. I wrote that I was surprised she thought it was about her in the first place. But I was more surprised at how hateful people became without knowing even a morsel of the truth. I wrote some other stuff, stuff I would write again. Many people suggested that we shouldn’t assume the absolute worst, that it’s not always about us, that sometimes it’s just what it is.

I felt, given how ugly things started out, that they were moving in the right direction. We had an example of something go from ugly to positive, especially given Mindy Bizzell chimed in about pain, loss and forgiving people. It was really remarkable. And it’s too bad you can’t read it now because Ms. Granju erased everything.

We all make mistakes, some worse than others. We can learn from them, however. Other people can learn from our own, if we allow them to. Sadly, there is no record of any of this anymore. Ms. Granju even rewrote her blog post, or so I am told.

I keep asking myself, Why can’t you let this go? I still don’t have an answer. Perhaps I’m entering one of those hormonally imbalanced phases, who knows. But this irrationally upset me. I hate that everything was erased, swiftly. I wrote as much on Ms. Granju’s page once more, (Update: Page has been deleted by Ms. Granju.) saying that I felt she was irresponsible for doing that, trying to erase history when so many people are involved. But I’m also upset that so many people blindly backed her up when she originally posted her feelings about the postcard. Are we THAT cynical? Are we that willing to throw away common decency to blindly follow another person? So much so, we write hateful things about another without having ANY of the facts?

I guess that we are.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I tend to have a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to blogging popularity contests, cliques and the like. And what I watched unfold this week between Ms. Granju, her readers and Mindy Bizzell, well, it just added to my distaste. But I so want things to be better somehow. I want to be a better person as well, less cynical about it. I want people to step up and apologize for the RIGHT reasons. I want people to admit wrongness (which Katie finally did, a step in the right direction). I want readers to hold bloggers accountable for their actions.

I think it’s time to call others out when they abuse their popularity even if it makes you less popular, even if you lose followers. Because I bet you’ll gain a few as well.

But mainly I just want people to be nicer.

I am by no means better than the next guy. I have my FAIR share of issues and problems, insecurities and ugly traits. We all do. But please don’t let these issues cloud your judgement. Err on the side of grace. Give people around you the benefit of the doubt. The truth is always a lot simpler than what our brains lead us to believe.

I have had the pleasure of talking with Mindy since this all unfolded. She is a truly wonderful, strong, gracious woman. I wish her the very best. Mindy Bizzell suffered a tremendous loss and somehow, in spite of all that, has an insurmountable amount of grace.

Lastly (and unrelated simply because I watched this Mountain Goats video and I’m feeling a touch emotional): give someone a hug today, someone you haven’t hugged before. I bet they need it.

The Penn State Thing: Take Two.

(This is an slightly updated version of what I put up yesterday. The first four comments were left on the initial post. And while I didn’t change much, please take that into consideration. This version sits a little better with me. Also: I wrote this rather hastily still. This is precisely why I don’t blog much anymore, no time to refine and edit. But hey, I wrote something!)

By now everyone has read about Penn State. I won’t reiterate what’s taking place because it’s a waste of time, which I have very little of these (summer) days. This post is about my thoughts on the matter. It’s probably pretty selfish of me to write about my feelings (again) but this is a blog and I do that sometimes.

I mentioned before that while I went to Penn State I was no fan of football. In fact, I held a great deal of disdain toward the sport. I was an art student, one who saw firsthand just how much attention and money the football program got. What annoyed me most is there was, and continues to be, so much more to Penn State than its football program. Penn State is a great school, filled with intelligent, creative people. It was difficult watching all of that get overlooked because of football. So my hatred for the sport intensified.

I graduated, moved to DC when I was 23, and started to watch the occasional game with friends, friends who’d gone to other Big Ten schools. We’d get together at a local dive bar or someone’s apartment, make some food, drink some beer and heckle one another. Football became kind of fun.

I started to pay attention. My football-following friends made Joe Paterno seem charming, admirable; I started to really like the guy. The more I liked him, the more I liked the team. I became a fan of football. Weird.

So there I was, age 37, when the news broke last November. I truly and honestly believed he was a good and honest man, one who never would have looked the other way had he known a child was being abused. I still, to some degree, believe he was a decent human being. I don’t think he is the epitome of all evil. I believe he suffered from a powerful dose of denial, coupled with a massive ego, one Penn State University helped build.

After I read the Freeh Report a friend said to me, “I hope you’ll finally stop defending Paterno.”


I won’t sit here and defend Paterno. He is guilty of idleness, of not doing the right thing. I admit that. So, no, I will not defend him. But I must defend myself.

I’m conflicted, you see; I reckon many of us are. This man did great things for hundreds of people, many of whom were kids.

YET. This.

This ugly truth that he didn’t do more for abused boys and should have. This ugly truth that he could have stopped a pedophile and did not.


Does that undo everything he’s ever done? For many, yes. I suppose it does. But the world isn’t always black and white, especially when it comes to one’s emotions and so I remain confused, conflicted and surprised.

I was wrong. I truly believed Paterno was 100% innocent and did everything he should have done based one what he knew. He wasn’t. He didn’t. He could have stopped Sandusky, just like Spanier, Curley, Schultz, McQueary, and the janitors who were too afraid to say something because they might lose their jobs. (Incidentally, stop making these guys out to be victims. I don’t care how hard up I am for cash or how many children I’m supporting, if I saw a child being sexually abused, like actually saw it happening, I’d lose that fucking job straight up. But I digress.)

I was wrong. Joe Paterno could and should have done a lot more. He had the power to stop years and years worth of abuse.

I was wrong. I hope it helps people to read that.

And I hate that I was wrong, but not because I’m embarrassed for “being so blind” or “defending Joe Paterno”. I don’t need to hear another “I told you so!” I hate that I was wrong because I liked liking Joe Paterno; who doesn’t need more people to admire? We all need heroes. I have hundreds of heroes. Some folks I know personally; some are athletes, teachers, parents, doctors; many work with animals; some I’ve only ever shared a minute with on the subway. I like admiring people. I liked admiring Joe Paterno.

So, yeah. I very much believed he was a good man who did many good things. And I wanted to believe he did everything right this time, did everything the way he should have.

I was wrong. But I wasn’t wrong for believing in him. Please don’t make me feel badly about that.

I Have No Shame.

You know how some bloggers only post attractive pictures of themselves? NOT THIS BLOGGER!

Check this out:

OK! So I had to buy this for a few reasons:

One: The socks.

Two: Age 2.

Three: The bags under my eyes are growing increasingly more envious of my double-chin. I just needed proof. I have it now.

Four: It appears I’m molesting my left nipple.

Five: My KT Tape is showing. (Proof I should not have “run” on Sunday. Run is in quotes because I hobbled through this race. It was a 4-mile race. Four miles is pretty easy for me these days. I welcome a 4-mile run. But I’d run a pretty decent 10K the day before so my legs were screaming. I needed to recover. Also: I got my period on Saturday morning.)

Six: It looks like I might be having an allergic reaction to shellfish.

Seven: I look like The Joker.

Eight: I apparently have gills.

Overall this image is a whole lotta unawesome, which makes it thoroughly more awesome. So I had to buy it and share it.

What I Learned From Rolling Paper.

A little over a month ago, a Friday, I was sitting on the couch with Toby when I told him to turn the TV down. “It’s too loud. It’s going to wake up the kids.”

“It’s at 13, Michele.”

Thirteen?!” I asked, shocked. “Are you kidding me?”


Earlier that day, I’d been to the ear doctor. I don’t like visiting the ear doctor. It’s the only medical professional who consistently gives me bad news. My ears have been a problem since I was a baby.

We went over my history. I have a long one. We did the usual song and dance. I tell him what I’ve had done. He looks into my ears and comments about how damaged they are. There was so much wax in the left ear, he couldn’t even see my eardrum. So he suggested he clean it out with water. I said NO WAY. He tried to suction it out. That didn’t work. That made my ear feel funny, which he took to mean that the previous operation had worked and the hole had indeed sealed shut. He convinced me to clean it out with warm water.

I haven’t ever willingly let water into either one of my ears. Ever. Every time I’ve accidentally gotten water into one of my ears, I’ve ended up in pain and with bloody pus coming out of the sides of my head. So, no. No water. But I let him. And it felt AWESOME, like being touched for the first time after spending decades on a deserted island talking to nothing but a soccer ball.

After he cleaned out the left side of my head, I went in and failed my hearing test. I’m used to that. But this time I failed terribly so.

“You need a hearing aid.” He told me. “Soon.”

“Really?” I wasn’t convinced.

“Yes. It’s time.”

I’ve been saying no to hearing aids for over a decade.

Here’s the thing about hearing loss: it happens over time. You adjust. You read lips. You turn the TV up so loud your neighbors bang on shared walls. It’s a slow deterioration. You adjust so well, you don’t know how bad it really is. I know I am hard of hearing, but I can hear, even if it’s just a little bit. It’s easy to pretend it’s not that bad.

But now I know how bad it is. I’m terribly hard of hearing. And all it took was a piece of rolling paper to make me realize just how much so.

Let me explain.

After we went over my test results, he suggested a temporary fix for the right ear, the one still with the hole. There’s a technique they use for people who have accidents where their eardrum is suddenly punctured, they go from hearing to not hearing in an instant. Their hearing is still there, and will return once the eardrum heals, but they need a temporary fix, basically a band-aid. (Whereas the hole in my eardrum won’t heal because it’s surrounded by scar tissue.)

“I’m going to put a tiny piece of cigarette paper over the hole.”

“Like, actual rolling paper?”


Some might find this odd, raise an eyebrow or two. But I’ve been hearing about strange aural procedures all my life. This? This was just another possible cockamamy procedure in the long list of procedures. The difference this time was there was no general anesthesia involved, it only took a few minutes, and it couldn’t cause any more hearing loss. So what if it’s temporary and the moment the paper slips away from the hole, I would lose any hearing I’d gained? Why not hear for a few weeks or months?

Now, this next part is crazy still to me. But I could hear! INSTANTLY. I mean I could actually hear! Like a normal person! I could hear the fan above my head, the hum of medical equipment. I could hear his staff breathing. I could hear the traffic outside. I think I even heard outer space, which is weird since I don’t think sound travels in outer space. But it did for me!


What’s more? I was totally and completely freaked out.

I am not sure when I stopped being able to hear like a normal person. Maybe I never could? But, this little piece of cigarette paper put my hearing loss into great perspective. For the first time ever, I realized just how much I couldn’t hear. And if this is what it was like to feel normal, I am very hard of hearing.

Once I hit the Midtown street, I became even more freaked out. I had NO IDEA how loud New York City was! My thought: Why aren’t even more New Yorkers going crazy from this?

I called my mom. “I finally understand cats!”

“You’ll get used to it.” She reassured me.

Thirteen, y’all. Which is, incidentally, my favorite number. The TV volume was at thirteen.

Normally it’s at 25.


I stood at the kitchen sink, my back to the TV. House Hunters International was on.

“I can hear what they’re saying. The TV is on 13 and I can hear them.” I began repeating what I was hearing to Toby Joe. “I can hear them! And I’m not looking at them! You have no idea how insane this is.”

“How do you normally hear people?” He asked.

“I usually hear a bit and fill in the blanks, like a puzzle. And I do a lot of guessing.”

“My god.” He whispered. “You must be exhausted at the end the day.”

I’ve since lost that temporary hearing boost. And it was great while it lasted. I could hear things I never knew were there. And I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t wept that night.

(Man! I’m wordy! If you’re still reading this: I’m sorry!)

Anyway, I’m finally getting a hearing aid. After thoroughly making fun of the Widex naming convention, I chose the Widex Clear Passion. I am only getting one, because I’m not ready to give up on my right ear. Knowing all it takes is one tiny piece of rolling paper to fix the hearing in my right ear, means there is still hope.

And, yeah. I do hope I’m less exhausted, not that I was aware of how much work I’ve been putting into just getting by. But I reckon I might be able to put that brain power toward more important things—like talking to Saturn.

And I hope I’m able to hear better, and that I don’t totally freak out and dart into oncoming traffic. Because, I learned something recently: THIS CITY IS LOUD!

The First Board.

Em asked for three things this Christmas: “Spiderman stuff”, binoculars and a skateboard. I’m not sure what he has planned, exactly. I’m assuming it doesn’t entail dressing up like Spiderman, hitting the streets and peeping into windows. Not that I know anything about that. I prefer do my peeping from the comforts of our couch. But whatever his plans may be, he wants these three things. So these three things he shall have.

As of yesterday, I’d gotten all but one: the skateboard. You see, I’d been putting off the skateboard because of where I’d have to go to get the skateboard. Normally, I’d have just gone, thought nothing of it. But I’ve been going through something lately that has me acting strangely.

I wouldn’t call it a midlife crisis; I’m not thinking of joining a roller derby team. It’s that I’m aging faster these days, faster than I’ve ever aged before. I have a lot more wrinkles, wrinkles that weren’t there last year. I’m noticing grey hair, new aches and pains, my inability to do things I used to do. It’s becoming a minor obsession of mine, actually. I always have something to obsess over. Whether it be infertility, weight, pregnancy, or running, I have something. And, if all goes well and nothing truly tragic happens (please god, no) 2012 is going to be The Year Of Obsessing Over My Age.

I worry about everything now, from wrinkles to hair loss, from aches and pains to tumors and cancer. I was never a hypochondriac before. I never worried about my health even when I probably should have worried about my health. Now, suddenly, everything is bothering me. The fact that I used to smoke? Yeah, I’m dying. And that weird skin thing? That could be some “bad” cancer. Is this what it’s like getting older? Hypochondria, nasal strips and tiger balm?

Maybe this is due to my having two kids and being responsible for the both of them. And buying the 4-year-old a skateboard yesterday sure as shit ain’t helping. What if he gets hurt? He will get hurt! Of course he’ll get hurt! He’s an active little boy! They’ll both get hurt. They may even break a couple of bones. OH MY GOD! WHAT IS THAT DARK SPOT ON MY NECK?

Anyway, my new obsession with aging is manifesting itself in strange ways. At first I was becoming a little too concerned about fitting in—or not fitting in. I realized this only recently while at my externship. Most of my coworkers were right around 24-years-old. I’m not 24 anymore. I don’t want to be 24 ever again. I hadn’t even really thought about 24-year-old me until I started hanging out with 24-year-olds. And I think I needed that, to go back in time. In truth: at age 24, I sure as shit didn’t believe I was a kid. But I was. I know that now. Had you told me that then, I’d have wanted to punch you in the throat and then I’d have fallen from my barstool.

I was a kid. And I have no desire to be a kid again. But I enjoyed talking to my coworkers, and since I’m still not totally over-the-hill, I went back and forth between “friend” and “mother”. It’s not that I acted like their mother, at least I hope not. It’s that I started to think of my coworkers as my future sons. They became my educators, in a sense, glimpses into my future. What might my sons be doing one day? How hungover will they be on a Saturday morning at work? Will they still be drunk? Will one of them jump the turnstile in the subway and get arrested? Will they be doing drugs named “Molly”?

(I had a first skateboard once. My mom took me to get it when I was 13-years-old. I was just getting started, dipping my feet into my teenage years. There wasn’t a tomorrow. There definitely wasn’t any grey hair.)

Lately, I’ve been trying to remind myself of how cool I used to be, which is dorky on so many levels, I can’t even begin to describe them all. I might as well be the kid hanging from the tree by her underpants. Or the shitfaced aunt at a wedding who does the Electric Slide better than ALL the bridesmaids put together.

(This weekend, while at an event, a couple told me about a party they catered and how the people were trying to act like they were 24 again. But they weren’t 24! They were old! Like, 40!)

Perhaps it’s that I don’t want to let go of 24-year-old me. And there’s a part of me that wants people to know who I used to be and how cool I was, (or thought i was). I used to be able to drink all night, show up for work the next day without totally and completely wanting to kill myself because even that would be better than an adult hangover. And while I never did any drugs named “Molly”, I think made out with one under a table at Galapagos (before it moved to Dumbo).

But now? Now hangovers last two days. So I can’t do much in the way of drinking. And if I’m up past 10 PM, I get twitchy. I have wrinkles and grey hair. I’m getting older. That is a fact. And no one cares if I think I was once cool. None of that matters anymore.

So I strapped the baby to my chest and walked into our local skate shop to buy a board for my 4-year-old. The guy behind the counter could not have been any nicer. He helped me decide what to get and helped me pick out a helmet. And just as I was finishing up he said, “The first board is a big deal. You’re doing a really cool thing. My mom just sent me a picture of me on my first board. I was six. Make sure you take a picture of your kid on this board.”

What’s wrong with getting older anyway?

The Penn State Thing

I served Joe Paterno a grilled Sticky once. I worked as a waitress at The Diner. He came in one morning and sat at the counter. My coworkers excitedly pointed him out, “THAT’S JOE PATERNO! You have JoePa in your section!”

“Yeah. So?” I scoffed.

Back then, he was just a customer. I didn’t give a shit about football. The only reason I knew who he was at all was because of hundreds of cardboard JoePas I’d seen in windows all over Penn State. I didn’t care about football at all. I only wanted Penn State to win because of the tips. Sad, drunk fans left terrible tips.

Joe was just another customer.

The Penn State Thing.

When it happened, when everything unfolded, my emotions were all over the place. At first I was in shock. Then that wore off and I became obsessed. I read everything. I dug up Sports Illustrated articles from 1998 looking for hints, something. I read it all. And I tried to write about it. The more I read the more I wanted to write about it. But I bit my tongue. There would have been some pretty intense posts had I let myself write about it last week. First of all, I would have stated that I don’t agree with the firing of Joe Paterno. And I would have backed up why and that would have started a few fights. But I knew it was too soon. I knew that I would have written something I would have regretted. My emotions were raw footage; I needed an editor first.

Things have settled down a bit since then.

But not before I canceled everything.

I was supposed to meet up with a friend and her new baby. I canceled. I was supposed to meet a few moms at the playground. Canceled that too. I was supposed to go out for drinks. Canceled. I even canceled a doctor’s appointment. I didn’t want to do anything. I couldn’t muster up the energy. I didn’t want to see anyone. I wasn’t going to be very good company. So, I quit. Everything.

Last Thursday night, as I combed through even more articles and (stupidly) through comments sections, something finally occurred to me: I am depressed.

I don’t live with depression. I have written that before. I go through ups and downs like most people. My downs are manageable, and they don’t come out of nowhere; there is almost always a catalyst. My miscarriage was a catalyst. Our move to San Francisco, another. My infertility, yet another massive catalyst.

So last Thursday when I realized I was experiencing depression, I knew right away the catalyst was The Penn State Thing. But I couldn’t figure out why it was hitting me so very hard.

A Bit Of History

I moved to State College from Raleigh, North Carolina when I was 15-years-old. I didn’t want to move even though we’d been moving my whole life. I can safely say now that I was headed down a very wrong path in Raleigh, but I didn’t want to leave. I considered State College boring, lame, pathetic, loser-ish—all normal angsty teenage things. No one worth a damn could possibly live in a town called State College. And who names a town STATE COLLEGE? What a stupid name for a place to say you’re from.

I met a boy. A boy who broke the shit out of my heart. REM helped me get over that.

I got a job at Kentucky Fried Chicken. I got fired a month later.

I made some friends. We’d drive to the Altoona Salvation Army, load up on Taco Bell and cheap cardigans. Nirvana’s Bleach was our soundtrack.

I got a job at The Diner where I would continute to work for 8 years.

I graduated from high school, something I probably wouldn’t have done had we stayed in Raleigh. Moving to State College saved my ass in so many ways. Who knows what would have happened to me had we stayed in Raleigh. I’ll leave it at that.

I was accepted into Penn State. I declared Philosophy as my major. (Ha!)

I got a second job at The Nittany Lion Inn. Eventually I got promoted and started working more important, smaller gatherings for high-ranking Penn State officials. (Incidentally, I waited on a few of the men involved in last week’s scandal.)

I declared Graphic Design as my major.

I made a lot of friends. Friends I still call friends.

I could sit here and recall every last memory, they are endless, but that’s like telling people about a dream. Boring. And I’m probably no different from anyone else when it comes to memories. But the backdrop for my memories are very much intertwined with the fact that they took place in State College. And at some point during my twenties, after graduating from Penn State, discovering (and loving) college football, and getting a “real” job, I realized something: State College is where I am from.

State College, y’all. What a dumb name for a town, right? Even the talking heads from last week’s media frenzy said it with confusion—like, who names a town State College?

I don’t know, Talking Head. But that’s where I’m from.

The Scandal and Its Aftermath

News broke. Several boys were sexually abused by a Penn State football coach. This, while not yet proven in a court of law, is likely the case. I’ve read the 23-page indictment. I believe it to be true.

Then more news came out about who may have known what and how they didn’t do enough (or nothing) to stop it. Several people were fired. Others quit. It was a shitstorm, a State College shitstorm. And the media ate it up! When 1,000 Penn State students rioted in downtown State College, the media went crazy for it even though that number represents the smallest sliver of Penn State’s student body. Suddenly every student, past and present, was guilty of some of the most heinous crimes known to man. Online, people began referring to Penn State as “Pedophile University”. People demanded the football team forfeit their upcoming game even though those kids have nothing to do with any of it. People slammed the whole lot of us. All of Penn State was guilty of something. Anything. Whatever. It didn’t matter. Fuck Penn State!

Or so it seemed to this wounded alumnus.

Twitter exploded with finger-pointing. Everyone had something to say about it. Those involved in the scandal were guilty as charged. So much for innocent until proven guilty. Hang the lot of them! For many, Paterno was the worst of all because of his allegiance to kids, because of his otherwise stellar history. He had a lot further distance to fall and a name.

Believe me, I don’t blame anyone for reacting with such intense outrage; Sandusky, and the people who allegedly did nothing to stop him, warrant your anger. I get it. I really do. It’s when you add it all up, and start to see every reaction as one big one, well, that’s when it looks really ugly.

And I couldn’t escape it.

Here’s the deal, State College has been our idealistic little town for a decade and Penn State plays a huge part in that ideal. Toby Joe and I wanted to raise our boys there. I very nearly got a job at Penn State two years ago. If it hadn’t been for the fact I would have to relocate from New York City, it would have been mine. State College has been on our radar for as long as we’ve been together. It has been our town, our little slice of heaven, an ideal. Hell, we’ve even been carrying around our dead cat’s ashes because (and I quote), “State College is his home. That’s where he’d want to finally rest.” (Go ahead! Commence with the eye-rolling!)

Basically, no matter how bad things got elsewhere, we always had State College. We knew we could make it in State College. It was safe. It was home. Even though in the back of our minds we knew we’d probably never return, it was home.

On Tuesday, a friend asked me how I was feeling about the whole scandal, putting aside my emotions regarding the crimes committed and the firing of Joe Paterno (which, I will go on the record with saying, I don’t agree with) I told her it feels like my town was bombed. My idealistic hometown no longer exists. The place I wanted to return to, the place I wanted to move my boys to, is gone. Just like that. Gone. And every time I think to explain my feelings, the thoughts come out sounding laughable, absurdly so. It’s a town, after all. Just a town. Why so dramatic?

I don’t know. But I do know it’s egotistical. This terrible story has nothing to do with me yet I’m making it personal somehow. And perhaps I’m putting State College on a pedestal. But it’s hard not to when it’s home to so many of my best memories. And doesn’t everyone have someplace they fantasize about when times are tough?

State College was my safe-haven even if it wasn’t.

In past last two weeks, I have received five emails from different business located in State College begging me, a prior customer, to come visit. Last night, I got one from my high school letting me know my 20-year reunion is next spring and that I should plan ahead! Because rooms fill up. These emails just made me feel worse. Because I know they are being sent by people who are facing unknown hardships. They are uncertain about their future. And they have their tails between their legs because their hometown was emotionally leveled. A place most people hadn’t even heard of before last week is now known as one of the ugliest, most horribly secretive places in America.

I’m even mourning the businesses of Penn State.

It feels like my town is gone, y’all. And Sandusky had a lot to do with it. But the media frenzy is to blame as well. State College is wounded and it will take years, maybe decades, for it to regain what it’s lost. The town will suffer. The university will take a huge hit. The football team is as good as done… at least for a while.

This is far from over. And my skin is thin right now. And the town I’ve been idealizing all these years, the safe place to raise my boys, it’s not there anymore. And that breaks my heart a little bit. I feel a little empty.

The Seven Year Itch

(This might be the most boring post I’ve ever written. But I wanted to put it out there on the off chance another person is suffering as well.)

I was 30 and living in San Francisco when I first wrote about it. I wrote about the razor rash on my legs. At the time I thought it was from not ever changing my razors due to my neurosis about sharps in landfills. That wasn’t the case.

I moved back East and it persisted, sometimes it got worse, sometimes better. But it never fully went away. I wrote about it again.

I’ve been to at least a dozen doctors over the years. I’ve seen gynecologists, fertility specialists, primary care physicians, allergists, dermatologists, endocrinologists. I even asked a psychologist about it. The best I got was a prescription strength steroidal cream from a dermatologist. That helped, but it still didn’t go away.

Not one doctor had an answer for me. No one even seemed to care. I became more miserable and they wrote my misery off as razor rash or dry skin.

I decided I’d probably live this way forever.

But then last six months things have become much, much worse. The rash and hives have spread. They’ve moved onto my thighs and hips. And have finally reached my stomach and arms. Living a comfortable life was becoming increasingly more difficult. I’d wake up at night with blood on my shins from scratching. In the evening the rash was always worse. The removal of a pair of socks or pants seemed to trigger it. Taking off my bra made my chest itch. I stopped wearing shorts or skirts.

There was no relief. I tried every over-the-counter cream I could find. I gave up soap. I used certain detergents, none at all. I stopped taking hot showers, would go a few days without one. I stopped shaving. Started using natural ingredients only. Nothing got rid of the itch. I began to think maybe I was making it all up, that it was all in my head; maybe this was the first step into complete madness.

Desperate, I asked Twitter for new dermatologist recommendations because the woman I’d been going to for years wasn’t helping. On top of that she has a two-month waiting period. It didn’t even seem as if she listened to me anymore.

Missy came to my rescue. She suggested I see her dermatologist. This doctor had answered a lingering skin question for her. I got an appointment for the following week. This time I’d go in and beg for help. I wouldn’t leave without some sort of answer, even if it was just a plan.

On Monday, a 7-year long question MAY have been answered. After running a test on my back, the dermatologist diagnosed me with Dermatographic Urticaria, or chronic urticaria. She said there’s no way of knowing how or why I developed it. Usually there’s an event that jumpstarts it. A person might be bitten by a lot of mosquitoes all at once, triggering an intense histamine response. That response is remembered and the body begins creating its own hives. It could have started from stress. No one knows.

Here’s the bitch: the more I scratch, the more my body releases histamine creating a terrible cycle. The more hives, the more scratching; the more histamine, the more itching. Repeat until I’m covered in hives.

There are some days I look like a leper.

She prescribed me a super strong allergy medication, which will turn me into a zombie. I have two kids. One is a baby. Turning into a zombie, unable to stay awake, is not an option for me.

When I got home that evening, I had the biggest outbreak I’ve had in a while. I scratched myself raw. My mother was visiting and asked me to stop and I couldn’t. We covered my legs in ice and I took a Benadryl. It helped. About 30 minutes after the itching stopped, I had a piece of dark chocolate. My legs broke out immediately. I took a picture.

That’s when I realized that I’d had chocolate right before the initial outbreak. Could this be a food thing too? And, if so, could I find a cure without using medication?

So I researched. I discovered there’s low histamine diet where one avoids foods containing high amounts of histamine. You can’t avoid the chemical entirely, but avoiding foods containing higher amounts can help. Here’s the list.

The surprising thing is, several of the items on that list have given me allergic reactions in the past—more common allergic reactions. (At age 26 I went into anaphylactic shock after eating shitty shellfish. I have had an epi pen ever since.) Cinnamon is on that list, as is red wine, cheese, chocolate and bleached flours. Most processed foods trigger high histamine responses. And preservatives are the devil. All of those items, except for cheese, have given me problems in the past. (During my allergy screening, cinnamon and lobster were my two highest offenders.) What’s more fascinating to me is that the longer shellfish and seafood has been sitting around, the worse the histamine response. This explains why fresh seafood and shellfish doesn’t give me any problems. Weird, right?

I am entering day three of this diet and my itch is gone. I have no new bumps (the old ones are still healing) and there haven’t been any hives at all. Not one.

So, I’m going to follow this diet for at least a month to see if it does indeed help. I need to go for at least that long to make sure this isn’t still a hormonal issue, which is what I thought was the case in the past. One thing is for sure, this has gotten much worse the older I get and seems to progress with every pregnancy.

This diet hasn’t been easy! I don’t eat red meat and I enjoy seafood a great deal. So the list of what I can eat has become really, really small. Even soy products are a no-no for now. And I eat a great deal of soy. And giving up chocolate might be impossible, but at least I can cut back on everything and sneak some treats in from time to time. That is, if this works. If not, I’m back to square one.