I know, I know ... What the huh?! Didn't I abandon this space and open up a new, less well-publicized ranting area? While it's true that I've been writing elsewhere (although not so much recently because OMG, who has the time?!), I kept this space for a reason. I just didn't know what that reason might be.
I've got a couple things I want to put out here now. The folks who read this blog (the ones who are not related to me, that is) are the perfect sounding board for some issues that have been bouncing through my head.
I want to talk about issues of race, in particular those issues facing the black male children of this country. I won't go into depth about the way in which our legal system treated Trayvon Martin's death. Let's just say that I stand with the mothers of all the dead children, and leave it at that. This issue has caused rifts between my family members in ways and in places that I would not expect. Again, I won't go into detail. But I need a space to talk about this stuff, and if I can't talk about being the mother of a young black male in this space, where else can I go?
My son (whom you all knew as Squeaker when he was a little guy) is 4-1/2 now. And he's already been racially profiled. We were at a local playground about a year ago. He was not yet 4. I was carrying my daughter in the Ergo on my chest. My son was playing happily by himself on the play structure. He was his usual rambunctious self, but he was not bothering anyone. A woman standing near me struck up a conversation. She explained that she was here with her several children, that they were not from these parts, and that she had given each of her kids whistles that they could blow if they felt scared or threatened. "I almost told them all to blow their whistles when I saw that boy," she said, indicating my son.
I was so flabbergasted that I couldn't respond. Instead, I walked away from her and went to him, checking in to see how he was doing. Letting her know, without a word, that she had just made a colossal ass out of herself.
But her words stuck with me. She found my child to be a potential threat to her kids. My 3-year-old child.
Stuff like this is going to keep happening. And I'm working out ways of dealing with it. More importantly, I'm working out ways for my son to deal with it, during those times when the Mister and I are not by his side. Racism is ugly, but he's got to learn about it, and he's got to learn that it has nothing to do with him, that it's all a construct of ignorant, fear-based people. And if we don't teach him what to expect and how to protect himself, what kind of parents are we?
The other thing I want to toss out there is infertility-related, and I'm really talking to the older moms who have been through infertility treatments (whether successful or not). Did you experience any long-term physical effects from the treatments?
I'm losing my hair. And it's not the usual hair loss that most post-partum women experience several months after giving birth. I went through that, and it was disturbing, but temporary. No big deal in the grand scheme of things. This time, however, it's pretty significant. I'm not pulling out handfuls of hair, but my hair is noticeably receding all the way around in the front, sides and back, with some associated skin disturbance along the receding edge above my forehead. I've also noticed that my eyebrows are thinning.
My GP listened to me describe my current life and opined that it's probably stress-related. I was tempted to deck her, but restrained myself. She prescribed dandruff shampoo and said she'd refer me to a dermatologist if using the shampoo for a month didn't work. I just emailed her to let her know that gosh, I'd sure like that referral NOW please, since I'm noticing another half-inch of bare scalp in the front, despite my use of the dandruff shampoo. Dandruff ... gone. Hair ... also gone! Not good. To her credit, she acknowledged that the fact that I'm 48 and breastfeeding a toddler could be playing havoc with my nutrition. She ran a full set of blood work. I'm not anemic, my thyroid is normal, I'm not deficient in Vitamin D. None of the usual suspects associated with hair loss.
After several long sessions consulting Dr. Google, I've come to the conclusion that the most likely suspect is frontal fibrosing alopecia, a non-reversible form of hair loss usually found in post-menopausal women. I've done all the reading (c'mon, you know how I am about medical research!) and I'm pretty certain this is what I'm dealing with. The prospect is depressing.
It's an inflammatory ailment, and it's quite likely related to hormonal changes. I've been experiencing other inflammation-related issues (primarily involving my teeth) and I'm going on 5 years without sleeping through the night, and sleep-deprivation is a key cause of inflammation. My diet sucks, I'm getting no exercise, also associated with inflammation. And I've obviously had my share of hormonal changes in the past 5 years -- hormone-related shots of all kinds, pregnancy, miscarriage, pregnancy, childbirth, nursing, extended nursing (my daughter is 1-1/2 now and still nursing whenever she gets a chance, the little addict) ...
So I'm wondering is whether others who have been through infertility treatments have also experienced long-term physical effects related to long-term use of hormones, and if so, why we're not all talking about it. I can't possibly be the only one, right? There are plenty of articles out on the internetz about the increased risk of certain cancers and possible effects on fertility, but ... hair loss?
So there it is. Hope this finds all of you well and healthy. I'm looking forward to chatting with you more often in this space.