Well, I have a reading response to write on the first chapter in Liz Conor’s The Spectacular Modern Woman: Feminine Visibility in the 1920’s and discuss how the main character in Anita Loos’ Gentlemen Prefer Blondes exemplifies the qualities presented by Conor. I also have to start an essay about David Trotter’s statement in his book, Cinema and Modernism, that “The modernist will-to-automatism should be understood as at once a concession of human self-presence to the machine, and a refusal to recognize the machine as the principle or mythology of absence, of the non-human” and as per the professor’s instructions, “explain how both this concession and refusal are evident in the works of Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse) and Charlie Chaplin, defining also what they had achieved.” Yeah–that’s for my 6 pm class tonight. (At least the essay isn’t due until Wednesday, but I have so much else to do.)

This doesn’t include the chapters I need to read for American English Grammar tomorrow–my toughest class for I am having trouble keeping track of all different parts of speech and rules and modifications to rules and what-not. I need to read Chapters 14 and 15 in A Student’s Introduction to English Grammar by Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, and do exercises from each chapter. And I cannot forget to read certain entries highlighted for this week in our other text, a fun compilation of an online blog on language, the Language Log, published in book form as Far From the Madding Gerund and other dispatches from Language Log.

Oh–can’t forget Women’s Literature on Thursday, which is usually my favorite class, but this week we are doing Aurora Leigh by Elizabeth Barret Browning, and it is all poetry, which stumps me so often that I normally freeze at the mere sight of verse and rhyme. But I will persevere, so I can participate in the discussion on Thursday and enjoy the work of Browning’s that our dear professor chose to share with us.

Yes, it appears that I do have so much to do that is so very, very important to my graduate studies . . . so why am I back writing a blog? I remembered it is Monday, and it is time to go for the prompt on Anonymom’s blog and write about the Motherhood (and Fatherhood) Monday Fiction Meme #13. Regular writing practice is a priority of mine, and rightfully so, and writing about motherhood is something that I need to focus on for therapeutic properties and leaving something for my son to read later.

And here is this week’s prompt, straight from the source:

So, in honor of 13, write about something lucky. A bet, a talisman, a chance encounter. Make it as short or as long as you want, but remember to stick with our motherhood theme. Or maybe I should call it a parenting theme, since I am inviting male writers to participate this week. Everyone should get a chance to roll the dice.

Uh, make it about something lucky, and it’s okay to keep it short, as long as it is about motherhood. Well, I am okay there, for while I was seemingly babbling above, getting myself organized for this week’s homework (and finding some cool links that I need to share with my professor!) I was thinking already about what I needed to get out. So here it is:

Luck is such a relative term, for when it happens, what is good may appear to be bad at first. When I was in the throes of an intense illness I couldn’t name, which left me vomiting profusely and urinating every few minutes, it seemed, and losing forty pounds in just a few months, I managed to get pregnant. Just my “luck,” eh? I’m so ill that I am looking longingly out my bathroom window at the hospital tower I can see a few blocks away, willing myself there in the hands of people who can take care of me and tell me what is wrong with me and help me get better. On top of this already frustrating time, I add a pregnancy that brings on gestational diabetes–requiring me to inject myself with insulin daily and keep pricking my fingers for blood tests–and high blood pressure, of which my doctor was so kind as to inform me that “high blood pressure during pregnancy can kill you, you know!”

When I finally met with the doctor, he diagnosed my months long agony as Graves’ Disease, a hyperthyroidism condition. Which is interesting, because the bout of illness I went through was also a repeat of occurrences when I was fifteen and nineteen (Graves’ can go into remission, just like cancer), but both times the doctors blamed it on stress, and the last time I was labeled “manic-depressive” and treated with anti-depressants and worse during the ten years until this visit with the kindly endocrinologist who finally attributed my mood-swings and other issues to a PHYSICAL disorder, not the mental disorder the doctors tried to treat for an entire DECADE. (But that is another rant, for another time . . . I will give the doctors this: the Graves’ Disease is exacerbated by stress, and times of high stress–like at 15, 19 and 29, bring it out full force.)

As bad as it sounded when the doctor told me what was wrong with me and started me on treatment, I was so relieved to finally know what was the matter and put a name to it. Being able to say, “I am sick today because I am suffering from hyperthyroidism” was such a relief over trying to come up with a reason before and getting all sorts of “helpful advice” and “home diagnosis” about what was wrong.

Not that these friends, family and acquaintanices didn’t mean well, but they aren’t doctors and sometimes their tips led me in drastically wrong directions! Like my mother-in-law, when I had abdominal pain that the doctor called an ultrasound for–“Oh, it’s just a tumor, nothing to worry about. My daughter had one and she had it removed and she’s fine.” Well, on the screen, when the nurse went off with my urine test, I was left with an image that strangely looked like the poster on the wall of a five-week old fetus–making me not surprised to get the little test back with a plus sign on it. Incidentally, that’s how my husband found out about the baby–I was so nervous and juggling around the library books on pregnancy and childbirth I picked up on the way home, I just handed it to him and let him figure out the results of my doctor’s visit! So much for the tumor theory!

The funniest thing about my having that little test come back with the plus sign was when I finally had my appointment with the endocrinologist the week or so after, he had to laugh when he diagnosed me–because one of the main reasons that women go to the doctor and get tested and discover they have Graves’ Disease in the first place is infertility–which apparently wasn’t one of my problems.

When I was starting to get sick, naturally I thought it was a pregnancy then with the symptoms, so I had a urine test done in January–negative. Blood test done in February that showed the Graves’ and required me to make an appointment with the endocrinologist, who I couldn’t get in to see until May (and I had to wait all that time to hear the results, not knowing even thought they knew, because it was his job to tell me and treat me). Somehow, in the meantime, I got pregnant in March, and when I went in for my yearly appointment with the gynecologist and he found the abdominal tenderness, the path to discovery of our son Ian was begun.

So, the doctor told me that most women who have Graves’ Disease are like 93% infertile, and instead, I get pregnant. Despite the complications and how much trouble I had raising a son with all the illnesses I had and especially the fibromyalgia that hit my body after the trauma of the long illness and child-birth, yes, I would have to say that I am lucky, for now I can truly say that I love my son–despite everything–and he is the sweetest thing in the world and the light of my life. Yes, lucky does apply in this situation . . . or rather, looking upon his name Ian, the Scotch version of John meaning “gift from God”–this child was just plain “meant to be.” Luck had nothing to do with it, if you see it from a spiritual and faithful side. This boy was meant to come into our lives and bless us forever. And that would make us luckily blessed to be his parents . . .

Oh drat–that wasn’t very short, was it??? I said that I needed to get a lot out! I apologize for the rambling and the lack of tightness, but this was a free write on an incredible prompt (can she come up with my prompts for class?) and I just let it all flow. Someday I will come back and take all these writings and put them into my own book. But for now, I am still just getting in touch with my feelings and coping with them.

If you actually read to this point, I thank you. And if you read all this, you might be experiencing some of the same issues that I cope with–so bless you with your life and all that you have to face to get by!

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