I Had Surgery, or Did I?

On June 6th I had an exploratory laparoscopy to look for endometriosis, or did I?

In true Alyssa fashion, things did not go as planned. Preparing for the surgery, everything went fine. I had some anxiety after my pre-op visit with my OB/GYN who was doing the surgery, but then I felt okay and had very little anxiety on the actual surgery day. The day of, things also went well before I went into surgery. They got my IV in with one stick, everyone was really nice, and they even started on time (seriously, when does that happen?). However, I woke up to news I was not expecting to hear.

Essentially, my surgeon tried for an hour and a half (the longest amount of time they are allowed to keep you under at the surgery center I was at) to get into my abdominal cavity. She received so much resistance that she was not able to get in at all. They even called in another surgeon to try, and he couldn’t get in either. Confused? Don’t worry I am too. They told me that I either have so much scar tissue and adhesions from when I got my gallbladder and appendix taken out that they couldn’t push through it, or there is so much endometriosis that they couldn’t get through it. The surgeons weren’t able to see anything at all since they couldn’t get in.

I’m going to have to have surgery again unfortunately. I am being referred to a gynecological oncologist to do the next surgery. I definitely don’t have cancer, oncologists are just better surgeons and work with the whole abdomen and not just the pelvis like OBGYN’s do. As much as I do not want to have another surgery, I am really hoping that whatever it is that kept my surgeon from being able to get into my abdomen, can be removed and that it will help my pain. My surgeon said she’s never had to abort an exploratory laparoscopy and has never not been able to get into someone’s abdominal cavity. My body is so incredibly weird, and I guess there’s a first time for everything. My best guess is that EDS is playing some role in this, but I guess I’ll find out what’s going on soon enough.

Even though this sucks, I think it’s kinda funny. Imagining the surgeon trying to get into my abdomen, only to receive so much push back that she couldn’t is pretty funny to me. I wish I could have seen the look on her face. I told my parents I’m so stubborn I wouldn’t even let someone into my abdomen. This is one of those things that you just have to laugh at or else you’ll be upset. I hope you all are doing well!

*If anyone has ever experienced something like this (especially if you have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) please let me know!*

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Pride Month 2019 TBR

Happy Pride Ya’ll!

While I usually read mostly queer books, this month I am going to exclusively read books with some sort of LGBTQA+ representation. Growing up, I did not see any representation of myself, in regards to being a queer person, in books. The fact that I am able to go to my local library and pick up queer books brings me so much joy. Here’s the five books with LGBTQA+ representation that I’m planning on reading this month…

  1. The Astonishing Color of After By: Emily X.R. Pan

astonishing

This book follows Leigh and her travels to Taiwan to meet her mother’s parents, after her mom dies by suicide. Leigh also strongly believes that her mother turned into a bird when she died. To be honest I find this to be a weird concept, but I’ve seen a lot of people rave about this book, so I’m interested to check it out.

Representation: One of the side characters is a lesbian.

2. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe By: Benjamin Alire Sáenz

aristotle

This books follows Ari and Dante, two boys who are seemingly very different, and their budding friendship. This is a coming of age story about friendship, sexuality, and the intersection of sexuality and being a person of color.

Representation: Multiple queer men

3. Fun Home By: Alison Bechdel

fun home

Fun Home is a graphic novel memoir. Alison Bechdel is an openly lesbian writer and cartoonist, most famously know for her “Dykes to Watch Out For” series.

4. When I Grow Up I Want to be a List of Further Possibilities By: Chen Chen

chen chen

This is a poetry collection from the poet Chen Chen. He is an Asian-American gay man, who writes a lot about those intersections. His work also talks a lot about the abuse he faced from his parents after he came out.

5. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo By: Taylor Jenkins Reid

seven

This book follows Evelyn Hugo, an elusive Hollywood actress, and Monique Grant the reporter hired by Evelyn to write about her life. This book has been wildly popular and I’ve seen many people singing its praises.

Representation: Evelyn is bisexual

 

This month is quite busy for me, but I’m hoping to be able to finish these books and more. I have some books on hold at the library that I’m really hoping come in this month! What are your favorite books with LGBTQA+ representation? What book(s) are you currently reading? I’d love to know!

 

Welcome to College, You’re Going to Hell

On my first week of college in the Fall Semester of 2018, I sat outside my biology class waiting for the previous class to exit the room before my class began. A person then walked down the hall handing out papers folded in half. Since this was our first day of class, I thought that maybe they were the TA, and were handing out a syllabus or other document important for the class. I took a paper from them, said “thank you,” and then unfolded it as they continued to pass them out to the rest of my classmates. Much to my surprise, this had nothing to do with my class, but was instead a hateful document handed to me by a member of a discriminatory church in our college town.

areyoureally.jpg
(Image Description: photo of a document titled “Are you REALLY a Christian? If not, turn to Jesus!”)

Less than a week later I would be aggressively handed another one of these papers when I didn’t take it right away. The cynic in me finds it humorous. People like this have no power over my feelings, and are incapable of invalidating my identity as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. However, the Christian in me is saddened by their complete lack of understanding of the way Jesus lived and loved. The aggression and clear bigotry shown in this document does not correspond to the message of love Jesus preached. I also find it a bit paradoxical that one of the “deadly sins” they list is anger. They seem pretty angry to me.

I do not think it is right to push your religion on anyone else. Faith is an incredibly personal thing, and should not be forced on another person. The last thing anyone is going to do when reading this paper is want to join their church. As a queer Christian, and progressive person, I find it incredibly hard to identify with other Christians. So many of their actions are the exact opposite of what I believe in and feel is right. The anti-catholic rhetoric is also incredibly unhelpful, and leads to even more divisiveness within the church.

My college is very progressive for being located in Texas. If you are a hard-core conservative, you are in the minority at my school. This has lead to street preachers targeting our campus two years in a row with a similar (yet much more vulgar and aggressive) message. While many members of the student body have loudly protested these hateful messages, it still leads to students feeling unsafe on campus. Many students came to my college to flee their conservative and unwelcoming Texas hometown. It deeply saddens me to think that they would feel unsafe here because of people like the street preachers, and the group who handed me that paper on my first day of class.

These hateful actions need to be called out, but disruption and arguments are often the goal of these groups. It can be difficult to find ways to rebuke the ideologies of these people, without giving them the emotional response they are seeking. As a Christian, it is my job to speak up when groups discriminate against others in the name of Christianity. While I am proud of the student bodies response to messages like these, I hope we can progress to a time where these messages are not sent in the first place.

Finals are over, which means I’m back!

Hi!

It’s been a while (that’s how I start every post now, sorry!). I have not been super active on this blog for a while now. My spring semester of college is over! The biggest reason why I haven’t been on this blog much is that this semester has been incredibly difficult. My health has been bad, and one of my family members had some very scary health moments at the end of January that were quite traumatic for all involved. Needless to say, life has been stressful and I barely had it in me to complete my school work let alone use any energy to blog. On the bright side, this is the first time in seven years that I’ve completed two semesters of school in a row. What a huge win! It may have been quite difficult, but I did it and I’m very glad it’s over.

This summer is going to be quite busy for me; I’m leaving for vacation in less than two weeks, I’m having surgery in the beginning of June (more on that later), I’m taking summer classes, and then moving in August. I’m not sure how this is all going to play out since I haven’t been doing well, but I’m hopeful that things will work out. I am also still waiting to hear back from the colleges I applied to transfer to, but should hear before mid-June.

I appreciate everyone who continues to follow my blog during my absences and those who have reached out to me over the past few months. I’m planning to be more active on here this Summer, and can’t wait to catch up on everyone’s posts that I’ve missed. As always, I hope you are all doing well!

 

 

 

Rest In Peace Chronically Jaquie

Today, April 29th, 2019 Jaquie Beckwith, also known as Chronically Jaquie on social media, passed away.

I am honestly at a loss for words regarding her passing. I’ve watched her videos for a few years now, starting when my health was at an all time low. I was in a place where I only left my house for doctors appointments, and felt incredibly lonely because of it . Watching her daily vlogs helped me feel less alone in really trying times. She had many of the same health problems I do, and so it was nice to be able to feel like someone else was going through the same thing. Although Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome itself is not deadly, this is a very real wake up call that deadly complications can arise. You truly never know what’s going to happen with these chronic illnesses.

My heart goes out to her family and friends, and all the members of the chronic illness community that feel affected by this. It is hard to grieve the loss of a member of this community, especially one as active as Jaquie. I can’t imagine what her family is going through, especially her husband Judd. I pray they can find some peace during this difficult time. Thank you Jaquie for your advocacy and activism. You will forever be missed in our community.

 

( I have been gone from this blog for quite a while, and plan on coming back after this semester of school ends. I just couldn’t not say something about her passing. I hope you are all doing well, and are taking care of yourselves.)

Right Over Left: A Poem

Hands laying
One on top of the other
Right over left
Fingernails digging into her wrist

That all too familiar feeling
The dread, the sorrow, the anger
Swallowing tears, pinching her wrist
Holding it all together like she always does

The painted smile
The makeup, straightened hair, and stylish outfit
A costume of poise

One breath in, one breath out
Fingernails clawing at her wrist
Praying for numbness
Oh God, when did she start praying for numbness

Commanding the tears not to fall
Digging deeper and deeper into her skin
Pleading silently for the subject to change
Because this girl who seemingly can handle it all
May just crumble if she has to feel those tears run down her cheeks once again

Kevin Hart and the Oscars Conundrum

If you’ve spent any amount of time on social media in the past month, you’ve probably heard about the Kevin-Hart-Oscars-Situation. Essentially, after it was announced that Kevin Hart would be hosting the 2019 Oscars, some journalists noticed he deleted homophobic tweets he made back in 2009-2010. Tweets were not the only documentation of Hart’s homophobic past, he also included homophobic “jokes” about not wanting his son to be gay in one of his stand-up sets.

When all of this began to blow up in his face, the Oscars asked Hart to apologize, and if he didn’t they were going to replace him as host. Kevin Hart then refused to apologize, stating he already had and would not do it again, and then stepped down from hosting the Oscars. Before I unpack this whole mess, let me just say that I believe people can change. I want to see people change, and I think even those with the hardest of hearts can be different if they chose to be. I also think we should forgive people, if and when they make a sincere apology and show changed behavior. I do not believe this is the case with Kevin Hart.

Many journalists have looked for this elusive apology Hart claims to have made, but it has yet to be found. The fact that he was not willing to simply apologize and move on in the first place is very telling to me. The incredibly dismissive and defensive nature of Kevin Harts interviews since the backlash shows me, that not only is his half-assed apology, that only came after stepping down from the Oscars and continuing to receive backlash afterwards, is insincere but Hart also does not see the serious repercussions that the LGBTQIA+ community faces when people like him promote homophobia.

Ellen DeGenerous had Kevin Hart on her show for him to tell his story. On the show he did technically apologize, but not without excuses and continuing to bring up that he had already apologized. She then forgave him and said she believed he should still host the Oscars. Ellen does not speak for the whole community, she doesn’t even speak on behalf of all white lesbians, because I definitely disagree with her. On her show, he said he just wanted it all to go away and to stop being talked about. That only continues to show his lack of remorse. He also painted himself as victim, with a sob story to follow, feeling very much like he thinks the blow back from the LGBTQA+ community took the Oscars from him. When you are the perpetrator you don’t get to decide when the conversation is over.

CNN reporter Don Lemon did an amazing segment on this situation that I think everyone should watch, if you haven’t already. In a follow up, Lemon talks about how Kevin Hart has behaved in other “apology” interviews he has done. To be honest it blows my mind that Hart can’t give a genuine apology. Every single apology is followed with, “…but I didn’t say these things to ACTUAL gay people,” “… but the times were different,” “… but I already apologized,” “… anyone who refuses to accept my apology is a hater and that’s their problem.” He also said that “It’s not his life dream to be an LGBTQA+ ally” in response to Don Lemon suggesting he uses his platform to help end homophobia in the black community. Guess what Kevin? It’s not my life dream to constantly be bombarded with homophobia but here we are.

So, what’s the answer to this situation? I don’t need Kevin Hart to apologize again nor to I need him to be a champion for LGBTQA+ rights. We clearly aren’t going to get a better apology, and I can accept that. I hope we can see his apology through changed behavior instead. I also hope this sets a precedent to show that homophobia is not okay, and our community will hold you accountable for it. Honestly, at the end of the day this could have been a simple situation. One genuine apology would have changed everything. Homophobia comes in all different shades, every homophobic person is not holding a “I hate fags” sign, sometimes it comes out in jokes and comments. While this whole situation may seem silly to some, the reality of living as a minority teaches you even the most palatable bigotry and hate is deadly.