Friday, September 18, 2009

All About Me

I was brainstorming for blog topics and couldn't think of anything I felt like writing about this afternoon. It occurred to me that everyone likes to talk about themselves so I figured I may as well flesh out my profile a bit.

My name is Rachel and I was born in a small city in Ontario in 1981. I had a fairly typical childhood up to the point where my parents divorced and my dad took off for a couple of years. My mum took custody of my brother and I and we lived in various small apartments while my mum made a living working retail and cleaning homes. My dad came back on the scene, but was never good for much. My mum remarried in 1991 and moved us to a dairy farm out in the country. Our little step family was less than harmonious and in the years to follow it became clear that my mum was suffering from mental illness and alcoholism. At one point she was diagnosed as a major depressive,but that eventually segued into full blown bipolar disorder. In my early teens I myself was diagnosed with clinical depression. At the age of 16 I was diagnosed with Complete Partial Epilepsy. This diagnosis finally answered questions that had been plaguing my family and I for many years as to the odd symptoms I had as a child and the delay the the development of my fine motor skills. No one can ever be 100% certain as to why a person develops epilepsy but the theory for me is three fold. Number 1 is that my great grandmother suffered from Grand Mal epilepsy and there may be a genetic link. Number two was the way I was born, my mother needed an emergency C-section to deliver me as I was stuck with the cord wrapped around my neck and my oxygen levels dropped very low, possibly causing brain damage that manifests as epilepsy. Number 3 is that I have a condition where my red blood cells are covered in a spiky membrane instead of a smooth one. The condition has a long name that I just can't remember. All three issues combine to form a perfect storm, really.
My teenage years were typically rebellious and angst filled. I fancied myself a poet and dressed in black and smoked pot and listened to grunge and punk music. Looking back now, I see that I was fighting tooth and nail to get away from my mothers influence, I wanted to be nothing like her. I despised her for allowing herself to be trapped in two different unhappy marriages and for allowing us to live in conditions I felt at the time to be primitive and embarrassing. I hated men and hated my mother and hated myself. I experimented with drugs and various forms of self mutilation. The years passed in a blur, and I don't have too many clear memories of those times. When I turned 18 I met my future husband and we began to date. My mum disapproved of this and she kicked me out. I moved in with a cousin and continued to see my boyfriend. After a few months of that, I became very ill with a chest infection and my mum relented and let me come home.
Around this time I developed a keen interest in midwifery and made plans to pursue schooling in that field. I was accepted to college to begin my training. Then, my epilepsy became very severe and I was having several seizures a day. I ended up being hospitalized due to the form they were taking. Not all seizures leave you twitching on the ground. Mine took a psychological form, and I would hallucinate and see and hear things that weren't there. My mum threw herself in to finding treatment for me and I went through a long period of trial and error to find a drug that worked for me. During this time, schooling was put on the back burner while we searched for an effective treatment for my epilepsy. I was on such high doses of medication that I became immune to them and had to keep trying new ones. They all had horrific side effects and I gained a lot of weight on some of them, lost a lot of weight on another and suffered vision problems with another.
When I was 20 years old, my father made contact with me again. Unfortunately it didn't go well. Things were said and things were done that left me shattered. I spun out of control. I dumped my boyfriend, left home and took up with a much much older man. He was a bad man and I did stupid things. For a year I lived in dire poverty and in unspeakable conditions. I finally came to my senses and patched things up with my mother and my boyfriend. He and I became engaged to marry. I moved into a small apartment near my mother and stepfather and things were normal for awhile. Then my seizures started again, with another round of hospitalization. An effective drug was found and it seemed as though my life would be somewhat normal again. I accepted the fact that I would never be able to drive, even when on medications and this put my midwifery training almost out of reach, as the training required a lot of travelling to several campuses across the province. My fiance and I decided to go ahead and get married as soon as he finished his college education. We were married on October 26, 2002.
We moved to Brampton, Ontario where he worked for a security company and I worked in retail at a mall. Even with our combined incomes, life in the Greater Toronto Area was expensive and we struggled for a year before deciding to move back home. My husband began working for his father's tire recovery company and he works there now. After a year of marriage my desire to have a baby became very strong. After consulting my doctors, who said the risks of pregnancy were low, we decided to go ahead and have a baby. My eldest son was born on July 13, 2005. I stopped taking my seizure medications during my third trimester as the "low risk" they presented for my baby was something I wasn't comfortable with. Turns out, my seizures were no worse off the meds then they were on them. Nothing had ever totally controlled them and they were manageable when I was unmedicated so I decided to forgo medication and just control what factors I could. By trying to remain as stress free as possible, getting enough rest and trying to stay healthy I can avoid stresses to my body that seem to trigger seizures. For the past 4 years I have been seizure med free. I gave birth to my second son on Jan 31 2008 and life has been very good to my family. I started my business on Etsy in order to give me something non-housewife related to think about, something to use my natural talents for, and I needed a creative outlet. All of which is served by Stitches In Time.
If you made it this far, I give you my hearty congratulations. I didn't intend this to be so long...I didn't think I had that much to write about. Anyway, thanks again dear reader. It's rather cathartic to see ones life story summed up in several paragraphs. I highly recommend doing it!!

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