October 29, 2012

Amanda Todd - The Peace and Escape - A Devastating End


I truly am so sorry, Amanda.  I did not know you, but I did.  I am you, with a different face.  I am you, 38 years later.  Nothing has changed.  Nothing has improved. 

I look back and I really can't understand how I never took my own life.  Going to school was so painful everyday.  No bully could hide behind Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or their texting.  The bullies were right in my face every day. 

I can remember in kindergarten being isolated and treated bad.  The bulling just got worse every year of public school.  I never did anything mean to anyone.   I was not ugly, or fat, or terribly poor.  I did not smell or wear dirty clothes.  I was not super smart, not rich and not gorgeous.  I was just normal and average.  It doesn't matter though how normal you think you are, or plain, or not deserving of such cruelty; bullies always find something to pick on you about. 

Bullying is all about power and control.  Like most horrible events in life: childhood sexual abuse, incest, domestic violence, workplace harassment, gang  violence, religious and political corruption all are the result of abuse of power by people in positions of authority and forcing their unwanted control over you.

Although my days at school were frightening and all I wanted to do was cry and escape, I managed to get good marks and pass grades one through eight. 

I was always picked last and always left out of groups.  I so dreaded any school work where you had to work in a group and when the teacher left you to find your own group.  Why do teachers do this?  All group work should be set by the teacher.  Just do the 1, 2, 3, 4 thing, all the two's together, all the three's etc.  It was so hurtful being singled out when I was left with no one and then the teacher would just stick me somewhere where I obviously was not wanted.  One of the best lessons in life is learning to work with people other than your friends.  Grownup 101 at the office. 

I was so thankful that I was a walker for most of my elementary school years.  I was able to run home at lunch to have some reprieve with The Flintstones for thirty minutes.  Some months I did have to ride the school bus at different ages and it was awful having no one save you a seat.  Kids saying you can't sit here.  One time I was stabbed by a boy with a pencil on the mini bus.  I remember his name K.P.  I don't remember why he did it or what he was saying to me.  I still have the grey mark in my hip where the lead broke through my skin today.

In the mornings I remember in like grade four or five we would have to do these morning warm up exercises.  All the kids would find a spot in the classroom and the teacher would put on some music.  I remember a boy, D.B. calling me a slut during these exercises.  I never even had a boyfriend in elementary school, until I moved away for grade eight.

I grew up in a very small town, pop. less than 900.  We had a corner store, a post office, a train station, a I.G.A., a tavern, a bank, a couple churches, and a Chinese restaurant.  There was no hospital, no high school and no mall.

The girls at school were worse than any boy that stabbed me with a pencil, once.  There was a lead bully, she was chubby, freckle faced and not pretty, quite big for a grade six.  Her parents were well-off and she made sure everyone knew it.  The other girls were her posse.  I think they were all so scared of her that they were her little, obedient droids.  I can remember them all by name. C.K., S.F., T.G., S.G., And N.C.  I cried to my mother, and told her I was sick, I heated thermometers in hot tea to have a fever, I begged to stay home.  I told my mother I was picked on daily.  She did nothing.  Never did she call the principal.  Never did she go to the school.  My mother never went to parent/teacher interviews.  Nor did she ever contact any of these girls' mothers to confront them with their daughter's bullying of me.  She enabled me, by letting me stay home, but I could do this for only so many days, and the inevitable would return, the name calling, the belittling, the put downs, the being made fun of.

One time the lead bully, C.K. had gathered all the girls she controlled and when the end of school bell rang and I was walking out the gates on the road of the school grounds they all charged me.  A grade eight girl, grabbed me and was punching me and pushing me, they were all yelling and cheering her on.  I had done nothing to provoke this.  It was all just for kicks.  I ran away as fast as I could, crying.

Once a new girl had come to our class.  I thought here's my chance to have a friend.  She was very nice to me.  We hung around together a recess.  I was so happy.  The bullies were leaving us alone.  This went on for weeks.  Then one recess, the lead bully with all her girls circled behind her came up to me and N.C.  I was sitting on a small, plywood box by the side doors of the school, and I saw N.C. move over to the bullies.  Then C.K. laughs and says, you think N.C. is your friend?  She's not your friend.  She's our spy.  She's pretended to be your friend.  I was devastated.  I don't remember talking about any of them behind their backs anyway, but the entire humiliation just squashed me like a bug.

I felt worthless as a young girl.  I liked learning, but I hated school.  No teachers ever did anything.  My mother never defended me, never protected me from bullies or sexual abusers.

A childhood without friends is very difficult.  I never was invited to parties, or to sleepovers.  I was alone.  I had no one to talk to.  I don't think the Kid's Help Line was around in 1977-1981. 

I think about finding my bullies on Facebook and telling them how they ruined my school years, but what for?  I can't go back and have a do over of my pre and tweener years.  What I have done is make sure that my own child doesn't suffer at the hands or words of any bully.  I am his advocate.  I am his protector.  I will never standby and allow anyone to hurt my child.  I have taught my own child to not be a part of any mean and cruel actions.  To never be a bystander.  To help those who cannot help themselves.  He knows how disappointed and ashamed I would be of him if he were the one being hurtful to someone else.

I don't know how I survived.  No one ever told me these problems are temporary.  You'll grow up and these people won't be in your life.  The day to day pain was to much to bear for Amanda. There was no more crack of light through the trees for her to hold on to. 

Every young person who takes their own life because of bullying has been failed by the system: schooling and government.  This is unacceptable.  It doesn't matter how many frigging legislative laws you put in place, if no one enforces them they're worthless.  There is no zero tolerance.  All I see is out right tolerance. 






Every time a youth takes their life, they have been failed by all entities that influenced their lives:  parents, authorities, teachers, health care, family, friends, government--even music, movies, television, magazines and the Internet.  That one person in your life that truly cares about you needs to teach you about the tough shit in life and how to cope with it.  This person needs to educate this young, vulnerable person.  We need to arm our kids with knowledge, strength and integrity.  Children need to know that one person will, WILL, stand behind them always.  I didn't have this one person, but I think my alter ego was her, that warrior of me.

In the end though, we all have a choice.  I was a twelve year old girl once for 365 days, and I chose to continue the crappy life.  I wasn't telling myself this is only temporary and suicide is a permanent solution.  I didn't know that.  What I knew was fishing, swimming, Christmas, candy, Barbies, Archie comics, T.V. and potato chips were worth living for.  What I knew was I didn't have to go to school on weekends.  This is how I coped. 


October 11, 2012

Cool Cakes for Youth and Past Connections

These are all cakes that I created for my son on his birthdays. 

It's odd how with all the anger I hold for my mother, I am still thankful for the memories of all the cakes she put so much time into decorating for my birthday when I was little.  I never was left with the feeling though that my mother put her heart and soul into decorating a cake for me, but it was an excuse for her to have something to do with her time and to show-off how well she could do cake decorating.  Now that I think of it, I only remember when she made me a huge diamond cake for my eleventh birthday.  It said 'you are a real gem' on it and had two large number ones for eleven.  Around that same time, is when she caught my brother violating me in the bottom bunk bed in my room.  I still remember exactly what she said to me--"take a shower", and that was all.

I was eleven when the sexual abuse stopped.  My brother tried once more after our mother interrupted him, and I told him he couldn't do that to me anymore.

Not to spoil the great cakes I have poured my heart into for my child, but it's funny, well not funny, how there is a connection to the past.

The difference for me is I bake and decorate these special cakes not for my own pleasure, but for the pleasure I get from seeing the smile they put on my amazing son's face.  He is always so surprised, and I do think he admires my creativity, and the fact that I pay attention to what he is in to any given year. 

I love him dearly, and protect him every day with full awareness to all his surroundings and the people that may be in his surroundings.  I will never be blind to any pain my child may endure.  I will always be here to keep harm from him, to give him every means of emotional love and comfort.

The Mask of Light - Lego


Fire breathing Dragon

MW3 Xbox Controller
Other cakes I've done: teddy bear, Bob the Builder Tool, Hulk, Jolly Roger flag, 5 foot Snake, and a Bakugan.  I'll have to find those pics to share.

Happy Birthday Cake emotions!


October 9, 2012

The Value of a 2nd Opinion - Hope Reignited!

On Thursday, October 4th, 2012, the candle of hope inside of me was shining bright.  I arrived to my appointment with the second opinion neurosurgeon at 2:45pm.  His office on the second floor, I stepped off the elevator and paused for a moment deciding to visit the restroom, but it was occupied.  As I stood outside the elevator waiting for the lavatory, these two elder women were waiting to get on.  I observed the one holding the other's elbow to stabilize her on her feet.  Figuring she had also just visited the neurosurgeon--I overheard her say, "well, he said at least you're walking".  The woman with her said, "so does that mean you don't have to come back again?".  In reply, the limping lady said, "I guess, no surgery for me."

My heart sank.  Of course, I don't know this person's medical history or issues, but hearing these comments made me more anxious and worried that he would reject me to, and I would live out my remaining decades in pain.

I put on the charm upon approaching the receptionist.  The way to the road to success is to win over the receptionist/secretary immediately.  You know they are the backbone (no pun intended there) of every office, so make nice.

I completed the information sheet and provided the typed sheet of all the lease invasive alternatives I have tried over the past 18 months.  Too my surprise at a cost of $3500 to date.  I think that's a pretty good indication of proof that I have been trying to resolve my pain issues, or manage. 

I couldn't sit in the waiting room because it hurts and there were only these lush, big, puffy, sink into and can get out of brown and black leather arm chairs.  It was exceptionally hot in the office as well.  I think I was the last appointment of the day at 3:30pm.  I didn't have to wait long to meet Dr. M.  He appeared businesslike, no jacket, red hair and beard, glasses, late forties. 

I had a plan this time around to be more assertive, more prepared.  I guess when I met with the last surgeon who had done my first back surgery, I assumed she would just fix me again.  I provided him with my MRI DVD.  His exam room was spacious, clean and had a PC on a small desk.  He loaded up the images and said they were good, clear images and he could clearly see the recurrent disc herniation at L5, and a new one at L4.  He examined me thoroughly, testing reflexes, stretching, bending, walking and flexing my legs.  I have no reflex in my heel and he noted the obvious weakness in my left leg.  He asked me why I didn't go to Dr. S.  When I said I did, and she said it wasn't surgically correctable, that it was scar tissue fibrosis, Dr. M asked did she look at your MRI?, I replied with not that I witnessed.

When he said to me he'd do the surgery, a laminectomy/discectomy I burst into tears!  I felt validated.  The risks are at 1 and 2% for spinal fluid leak, cutting the nerve and infection.  I felt my first surgery was a success, and knowing I can wake up with no pain in my leg is worth it.


For all these months of struggling with pain, gaining weight, being a lesser wife, mother and employee, being judged, being told a positive attitude makes all the difference, so being made to feel like all this pain is in your head, I say fuck you!

I have enough reality in my life making me feel ashamed, guilty, not worthy and ill.  I won't let anyone judge me any longer!

My next challenge now is to apply for longterm income protection benefits and CPP disability benefits.  If anyone has any advice, please comment to me.

We don't have to "live with it"!  Seek a second, a third opinion.


October 2, 2012

How to Add Pinterest Pin It Button to your Blog

I'm not sure why there just isn't a gadget already developed that you can just add to your blog without having to add code and jumping through a dozen hoops to make it actually work.

It took me quite some time to figure this out.  Reading through comments trying to find someone with the same issue as me as to why is this not working?!

So now that I've figured it out, I'm going to make your life so much easier.

Here's really how you do it.

The easiest instructions I found are at these two links.


Notes:  When she says to do this:

3. Look for <div class='post-footer'> and paste the code directly after that.
Directly after that means:  not under or below; paste it right after the greater than sign > no spaces, so it should look like this ><

There are several 'post-footer' words in the html code, so you drop the code that's in the link immediately following the <div class='post-footer'> where you see </b:if> just above it.  So it looks like this.

    <div class='post-footer'><div style='float: right; margin: 4px;'><a href='javascript:void((function(){var%20e=document.createElement(&apos;script&apos;);e.setAttribute(&apos;type&apos;,&apos;text/javascript&apos;);e.setAttribute(&apos;charset&apos;,&apos;UTF-8&apos;);e.setAttribute(&apos;src&apos;,&apos;http://assets.pinterest.com/js/pinmarklet.js?r=&apos;+Math.random()*99999999);document.body.appendChild(e)})());'><img alt='Pin It' class='aligncenter' src='http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v419/green_tea/pin.jpg'/></a></div>

The second thing I had to figure out was once the Pin It button is there, how do you actually Pin it?  It may seem simple, but when crucial details are left out of a tutorial you're set up to fail.  Again, I had to read through the comments to find someone who was having the same issue as me.  I see the Pin It button but when I click it nothing happens.  I couldn't pin.

Comment question:  I noticed this works great, but you have to be in the individual blog post for the button to show up. Is there a way for the button to show on the main blog page?

Comment answer:  This hack (button with counter) is suitable only for post pages.  You won't see it on homepage as it is designed to only appear on post pages.

You can't Pin it from the homepage of your blog.  You have to click the title heading of the actual blog post that you want to Pin, that takes you into that specific post and then you can Pin from there with no problems.
  This link solved this for me.



October 1, 2012


I don't know if I will ever 'just be'.  
Everyday feels like a struggle—an exhaustive, up hill, draining, unproductive time.  
Can I commit to anything?  
I'm pausing already—typing is even like running a marathon for me.  
Why do I feel this way? 
I feel so fake.  
Who am I?  
I have no idea.  
I'm terrible at moving forward.  
Achieving coping skills that work continuously—when will I be successful?  
Is this self-pity?  
Is this depression?  
Is this my failed physical health?  
Is it my daily self-loathing?  
Never worthy.  
My insides feel decayed.  
Where am I?  
Lost in all my pain.  
How do I fix my life!?  
An actress is what I am.  
I hate myself.  
Things weren't supposed to be this way—turn out this way.  
Let me drift...


Thank you Sarah Henderson

I just stumbled upon this blog called Writing for Recovery.  Inspirational.  I could use that right now more than ever.  I look forward to reading all of her poems and writings and gather strength from her motto, "say the unsayable".

Honorable Woman
I am an honorable woman
I live in an authentic way
Honesty suits me well
You can trust that I mean what I say
I am an honorable woman
I know when to walk away
To not take less than I deserve
If it’s not right than I won’t stay
I am an honorable woman
I am loyal to those close to my heart
Love is what gives life its meaning
Even when we are apart
I am an honorable woman
I hold myself in respect
I treat others how I wish to be treated
I never abuse or neglect
I am an honorable woman
I’m accountable for my actions
I’m responsible for my part
Of my personal interactions
I am an honorable woman
I stand up for what I believe
I want to change the world
And I don’t think that is naive
I am an honorable woman
I have faith that things will work out
I believe that God’s on my side
Even when I am in doubt
I am an honorable woman
I work as hard as I can
To maintain the standards I hold
I will not be controlled by a man
I am an honorable woman
I have a powerful voice
I use it without holding back
To proclaim my freedom of choice
I am an honorable woman
My love is both tender and fierce
I will love through pain and desire
I will love through laughter and tears
I am an honorable woman
Who continues to learn and to grow
I am an honorable woman
And should be regarded as so
© Sarah Henderson 2010

Pre-Second Opinion Appointment with Neurosurgeon

I'm feeling rather nervous.  It's been near 18 months now that I've been with a left, numb leg, an absent front, foot push-off, no reflex and living in chronic back pain daily.

I am reaching for strength and hope that my fate will be of a good nature when I meet with another neurosurgeon on October 4, 2012.  I've never in my life had to seek a second opinion.  It feels stressful and coated in a thick paste of the unknown.

My first appointment in August of 2011, with the surgeon that did my first back surgery, a discectomy/laminectomy back in July of 2009, dismissed me in five minutes, stating to me that there was nothing she could do surgically.  Even after I told her I'm dosed with pain medications, attending physiotherapy, massage therapy, and chiropractor; tried ultrasound, shockwave, heat, acupuncture, and yoga; purchased orthotics, a stability belt, ergonomic chair, therapy ball chair, and lumbar chair supports.  As well, I had no sexual function for seven months after my near fall in April of 2011. 

She read the MRI report briefly, examined me briefly, and said it's fibrosis, which is scar tissue; here try neural flossing with your physiotherapist and here's a recommendation to your family doctor to refer you to a pain management specialist for epidural nerve block injections.

Needless-to-say, I was devastated leaving her office in tears.  Where do you go from there when you're in pain everyday?  I disagree entirely that my issue is scar tissue because I was 20 months post-operation and was doing great until the near fall in April 2011.  Scar tissue forms in the first six to 12 weeks following surgery.  I had no issues until I jolted my back that Friday right before Easter long weekend, which put me in bed for seven days.  My CT scan clearly showed a recurrent disc herniation and inflammation.  I had no numbness, tingling, sharp pains in my leg and foot until that jolt.  I was a surgery success story.  I continued on pain meds and the various coping treatments including the neural flossing, which had no fix results whatsoever.
In May of 2012, after far too much sitting in my office chair hunched over the keyboard (computer job-life is going to be the death of me), I just couldn't take the pain anymore.  The inflammation was at its worst.  I felt like I'd been in a car accident and was pushing old-age.  I would come home from the office to put my housecoat on and retreat to my heating pad in my bed when it was only 4:30 pm.  I had nothing left for my family.  I hadn't cooked in nearly nine months.  I had told myself that when the one year mark approached, April 2012, I would either accept this life or do something about it.  Well, at 42 years old, I couldn't bend over and stay like this.  Pain, pain every day!  Not able to work!  Not even able to walk with a proper gait, having gainned near 20 pounds of fat!  No, I am not going to stay like this !  WTF! 

So, as the second opinion day approaches I'm not sure how to prepare.  I will be much more assertive this time around, tearing down whatever roadblocks may breach my goal.  Yes, I know my place.  I'm at the mercy of this surgeon. 

My feelings haven't been all warm and fuzzy about him either.  For starters, my family doctor made the referral in February of 2012, via fax.  Four months went by with no response.  The fax was faxed again in May.  I finally received a phone call from the surgeon's secretary in July.  My appointment was set for September 12, 2012.  I asked her if written correspondence would be sent by mail confirming the appointment.  Snarly, she said, "no, you'll have to write it down."  Obviously, I was writing it down, but it did seem unprofessional that proof of the appointment wouldn't be provided.  I would have liked to provide that to my employer since I was off work due to my back, and it would be helpful to substantiate that I was pursuing trying to get some relief. 

Disappointingly, I was notified on September 8th, that the surgeon was going to be away for two-weeks and my appointment was rescheduled to October 4, 2012.  This was left on my answering machine with no written correspondence.  Thankfully, no one in the household erased or forgot to tell me about this message.  In the least, I was not too happy, but again there's nothing you can do.  You don't want to piss off a surgeon that you've been waiting to see for nine months.  Well, again on Friday, September 28th, I got a phone call notifying me that my appointment was now reschedule from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm, the same day.  My heart sank as I was anticipating another date change!  I was thankful, once again, that it was only the time.  I called the surgeon's office confirming that I would be there.  So, I kind of already don't care for this surgeon or his staff.  People are in pain and waiting for you to make them feel better.  And what's with always notifying people on a Friday?!  I'll talk about this business of 'Friday notifications' in anther post. 

I opted not to try the epidural nerve block injections for several reasons.  Firstly, in my city there is only one pain management clinic and it is run by one anastegeologist, who I have heard from several different and reliable sources to not let him touch me.  Also, from my research, these types of injections are very shortlived for pain relief, if it works for you, and injections into the spine can cause more scar tissue.  I didn't even get an epidural when I was in labour with my son.

I will bring with me all DVD MRI and CT scans, and medical reports to support my reasons for wanting surgery.  Needing.  Needing surgery.  I believe, I have made every effort and exhausted all alternative pain relief resources and methods.

I'm presently, also on a waiting list to work with an occupational therapist, but we have none locally in private practice, so I'm waiting to see one at our local hospital and the waiting list goes by triage.  I've been waiting since July 2012.

Please help me dear second opinion surgeon.  I am not able to work because sitting kills me.  I don't want to live like this.  The pain makes me want to just reach for sleep because when you sleep you feel no pain, same with when you are dead, but I don't want to die.


The Keyhole to My Mind's Closet

The Keyhole to My Mind's Closet
Blogging = cleaning = healing.