Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Excuse me for posting on the brink of a melt down, but I don't know what else to do but write.

I've had type I diabetes since I was 3 years old. There came a time when I was in my mid teens that I had this huge realization: It was never going away. Ever. As in, lifelong. I did the whole rebellion thing, tried to pretend I didn't have it, yada yada yada. Now I pay for those years with neuropathy that (surprise!) will only get worse with time.

But I digress (good at that, you know). When I first got my ASD diagnosis, I was so excited. Finally, a name! A reason! (I mean, I'd been given reasons before, but none that remotely made any sense). Now that I had a reason, I thought I could fix it. Yeah yeah, I knew all that stuff about autism being incurable, but I thought I could smart my way out of it, you know?

And that's how I began to approach life 2 years ago, when I was diagnosed. I began to figure out every deficit I had, to mull over symptoms, and to make lists. Why? So that I could ameliorate it all. Find the loopholes. Think my way out.

After 2 years of this, I'm in so deep I can't get out. I'm constantly trying to fix something about myself. To be honest, the research study I'm in adds greatly to this self-defeating train of thought. Examples:

Can't read facial expressions? We'll break them down feature-by-feature, describe each of the "big 7" using a paragraph. Good, now memorize the paragraphs and the faces. Got it? What's this one? Close... try again. No? Okay, what's this one? And so it goes....

People with ASD are known for being absorbed in themselves. Today we'll learn how to give support. Think "WHAT:" W- Warmth and Empathy, H- Hopefulness, A- Acceptance, and T- Take the person's perspective. Here are nine billion examples; come up with a supportive statement incorporating WHAT for each one.

Now we're going to learn how to "take" someone's "emotional temperature." Are they "hot" or "cold?" Who is hot in your life? How do you deal with that person? Is that an effective way to deal with them? Let's make you more effective.

You know, in these exercises you've been doing, we've noticed that you don't really make eye contact. So now, you're not allowed to talk unless you make eye contact, k? That'll fix ya up real nice.

Wait- you mean you're not using this in real life? What's wrong with you? Come on, already!

Fix. Fix. Fix.

Fix my skin (I pick at any little imperfection to the point that I've ended up with a secondary infection in the form of can-be-fatal MRSA. So Mom's making me go back to the dermatologist to put me on "something stronger" [birth control and prescription creams not having worked] so that my skin clears up so that I don't pick. What they seemingly refuse to understand is that I'll just find something else to pick...)

Fix my behaviors. What can we do so you don't stim in church? What can we do so you don't melt down? What can we do so you don't hurt? What can we do so that you make better eye contact?

Fix my thoughts. Don't be angry. Don't be sad. Don't be that word that I can't for the life of me nail down (but I can point to it on my emotions chart, found here), which is useless right now as I'm home alone and can't point to it for Leigh or Mom or anyone who can help.

Um, hang on, I need to melt down.

Anyway. Back to your regularly scheduled program...

Fix. Fix. Fix.

I'll give you this: I'm the source of a lot of this wanting to fix. I mean, I get it from therapists and doctors and Mom, but probably only because I initiated it. Everyone, thus far, has been under the impression that I want to be fixed.

Will life really be any easier if I become more socially aware? I think it'll just mean noticing it more when I don't fit in...

Will I be any happier if I can read facial expressions or make eye contact or whatever?

I don't like things being broken down and torn apart so that I can understand them, like with the facial expressions. I don't like being corrected every left turn. Don't rock your chair. Don't tap your feet. Eyes. No, you have to listen sitting down, not standing up. And, darn it, do you really have to drink so much diet soda?

Don't get me wrong, either; I'm all for self-improvement, but only to a point. When can a person just... be?

Maybe I should make my decisions more carefully about what to improve. So far, it's been "fix anything that means I don't fit in," but that's just not working out. A mild wide and an inch deep, it is. What if I pick one thing at a time and let the rest just be? Or what if I focus on fixing only the things that are making my life uncomfortable?

Or, here's one for you, what if I only fix what God would have me fix? Don't ask me how I'll sort that out or make those decisions, but doesn't that sound better? For example, nowhere does God's Word say "Thou shalt make eye contact." Anywhere. Promise. It does, however, say to trust in the Lord with all your heart, and how am I really doing at that? I'll give you a hint: If I truly trusted God with all my heart, this melt down would never have happened.

Maybe if I take the things God would have me improve upon, pray over them, and consider just one thing at a time... inch wide, mile deep, if you will... I don't know. I'm just thinking.

I'm not sure where this leaves the research study and all its fixing. I mean, I'm halfway through the 18 months and I sort of committed to them... and I'm not saying I think what they're doing is entirely wrong, just maybe bad timing for me. Sigh. The greater good or... my good?

I think I've beat this duck as dead as it'll get. And I didn't answer any questions... sorry. I usually wait to write posts until things sum up nicely.

Not this time.

Monday, September 27, 2010

One year

Do you remember this post about last year's pumpkin?

On Saturday, Mom and I went to a local farm to nose around. While there, I got my big pumpkin (okay, it's not that big; it's a pie pumpkin, but it's perfect for my little house). Once again, I just couldn't resist the little pumpkins. I sought out the tiniest one (believe me, it's small) and made my $0.81, with tax, purchase.

In case you're wondering, thus far, I'm not quite as firmly attached to the little guy this year as I was last year, but I think in general I'm also much less anxious.

But the new pumpkin got me thinking... that was a year ago. A whole year. Think about how much has changed.

A year ago, I was working in the photo lab, feeling no sense of purpose in my life. Now, I work at the animal shelter and feel much purpose in what I do.

I was working on my book daily. Now, said book has been published and is being read around the world, though not in great quantities.

I hadn't even found my church. I was driving the hour up to my college once a month to go to the Anglican church with Leigh. Now, I'm settling in with Mom at the new church... still trying to find a place where I belong, though.

A year ago, Leigh was just starting her senior year and was just an hour away. Now, she's 4 hours away, working, living at home. Those first 6 months or so after graduation are pretty tough, aren't they?

Mom hadn't even thought about me moving out yet. Now, I'm in my own apartment with Elsie P!

We hadn't even heard of the Autism Waiver. Now I'm about to start services.

I was between hospital visits (one was in July, the other in December). I haven't been in the hospital in 9 months now!

So, obviously, a lot has changed in a year. 525,600 minutes. A few hundred hours of medical transcription. About 150 blog posts. A couple of hospital visits. One apartment.

Makes me wonder what next year will bring! Also makes me think that I should have saved this post for December 31st...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Have you heard?

Adults on the spectrum are really getting up in arms about the DSM-V.

Oh, you say you haven't heard? They APA is proposing to do away with Asperger's Syndrome.

Now that's a short life for a disorder. Asperger's, its tomb stone will read; 1994-2012...ish. Because let's be honest, we don't know for sure when the new DSM will actually come out.

But people sure as heck have latched onto the name. Aspies (shudder). Aspergians. Call them what you will. Personally, I refuse to call them anything but people with Asperger's (Syndrome). I think changing the name of a disabling disorder to make it cute and fun is ridiculousness. I feel the same way about people calling diabetes "'betes" or "the 'betes," as kids and counselors used to do at camp.

Now in case you're shouting and flailing at your computer, "But you can't speak on this subject! You don't even have Asperger's!" Well, if you want to be very technical, no I don't. But my neuropsych's office isn't all that technical. Rather than basing a diagnosis on early development (i.e., taking into consideration early language acquisition or acquisition of self-help skills), they look at the adult's current language skills. And now, I very much fit the bill of Asperger's, so that's my diagnosis at that office.

Now that I've got all the preliminary stuff out of the way, let me go on to explain my thinking about the recategorization of ASDs in the DSM-V.

Point 1: Asperger's and autistic disorder have much more in common than not.

Point 2: The age at which a child develops language or given self-help skills is an extremely poor indicator of that person's command of language or self-help skills as an adult.

Point 3: I keep hearing adults with Asperger's who argue something like this: "But I don't want to be lumped in with them." Them being "low-functioning autistics." Just as I do not believe in "Us vs. Them" in terms of autistic and not autistic, I (perhaps unsurprisingly) dislike even more the proposal of diving up the autism spectrum on an Us vs. Them basis.

Point 4: Not all people with Asperger's are more independent, more intelligent, more social, more... you name it... than people with autistic disorder. I know many people with Asperger's who can't hold down a job, carry on a conversation, or graduate from high school. I know people with autistic disorder who supprt themselves financially, live completely independently, and hold a college degree.

Point 5: If someone is that bent on dividing up the spectrum, then why pick early language acquisition and self help skills? Why not:

- absence or presence of mental retardation based on standardized IQ tests?
- hyposensitivity or hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli?
- level of verbosity as an adult?
- ability to live independently or the lack thereof?
- absence of presence of early regression?

Point 6: Who honestly wants to tell anyone that they have assburgers? Suddenly, that Aspie thing isn't sounding quite so bad...

I don't think that we've hit the nail on the head with ASDs as of yet. Now, I have not thoroughly researched the topic, but I'm leaning toward the idea that there is not one autism. Rather, I'm wondering if there are not various autisms.... environmentally-induced, vaccine-induced, allergy-induced, prematurity-induced, etc.

But until we can figure all of this out scientifically, and from that I think we are many years away, we have to stick with the idea of syndromes, or a collection of symptoms, regardless of cause. Because we can't differentiate based on cause, all we have is the results, the symptoms, by which to diagnose. People who, more or less, have the same symptoms have the same syndrome or disorder.

And I think autism spectrum disorder is the best we can do with what we have.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Not a fun subject

A lot of misunderstanding and myths surround autism in general, don't you think? Genetics. Diets. Treatments. Number of hours of therapy. Intelligence and testing of such.

I think that one highly misunderstood topic is that of violence, either against self or others. Although it's not an across-the-board thing (as in, it's not as if every person on the spectrum is violent in some way, by any means), it's definitely more common among those with ASDs than it is among those without.

I was always a biter. I would bite the back of my hands when I got upset or overwhelmed as young as 2 years old. I even have dreams about biting other people (I had one last night!) in anger. While biting to the point of injury has long since stopped, I still have a marked tendency to "chew" on my hands when I'm nervous.

Personally, my lashing out at other people stopped around age 10-12. I would hit, bite, and push other people when my emotions got out of control. I wish I could say that I got better control over myself and that the problem was solved, but that's not the case. Just about the time my violence toward others ended, the self-inflicted injury picked up.

Therapists called it a lot of different things. Anxiety. Borderline personality disorder. Pre-cursor to full-blown schizophrenia. Everyone had an opinion.

But it wasn't just when I was anxious, and it wasn't a plea for attention by any means, and I certainly didn't have any of the positive symptoms of schizophrenia (just the flat affect, flat tone of voice, and lack of eye contact). Basically, it was all just missing the ASD.

So I thought I'd clear things up once and for all. Why do I hurt myself and (once upon a time) other people? What's going through my head? What can be done to stop it?

Why? Because my emotions are beyond my ability to express them. This can be anxiety, nervousness, (I'm bad at this...)... uh... anger, I guess, frustration, and I'm not sure what else. Naming emotions is not my strong suit.

What's going through my head? White. I get white in my head. As in, no thoughts, no words, no organization... just white and twisted and crying. I'm a cryer. Also, fix it. I've long ago learned that I have a tendency to hurt, and so now, in an attempt to avoid that, I want to fix it quicky as possible. Fix whatever is making me upset. That's easier said than done, because I sometimes don't know what's upsetting me, or other times whatever it is isn't fixable.

What can be done to stop it? Holding the cat works wonders, but at my worst, I get afraid that I'll hurt her, and that scares me to death. I have fairly significant OCD... namely in the form of intrusive thoughts about hurting other people, things I know I'd never do. I also think of the worst thing I could say/do in given situations. These intrusive thoughts are upsetting, but the best thing to do is to infact hold the cat and show myself that I won't hurt her.

Help with my words helps a lot, too. Usually, if I can find a way to express whatever it is that's bothering me, why, and how I'm feeling, then the urge to hurt significantly diminishes. But I need help to do this, sort of a step-by-step guide and answering concrete questions in order to label my emotions.

Reminders that I'm okay, that it will pass, that hurting is not an option (all Magic Words) helps, too. I usually can't come up with these on my own, but Leigh is good at reminding me, and that goes a lot way.

So, I don't know what else to say on the subject, but if you have any questions I'm happy to try to answer them. Either leave a comment or email me ( and I'll see what I can do.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Please hold

Bear with me while I mentally process something I want to write about, please.

In the meantime, here is Leigh looking like a cool duck in "our" sunglasses :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ways to make one autistic girl smile

This post is an attempt to think of the good things in my life. My doctor doesn't think that my depression needs to be treated, per se, but that I need to do some basic "perking up" things and reminders of the good things in life. I completely agree and am thrilled that the psychiatrist didn't jump on increasing medication. So far my attempts are paying off very well.


1. New pictures of Joe (Leigh's cat), or your own cat. Last night I got one of Joe doing loaf of bread, and I loved it.
2. Anything new and exciting... a new smell-good candle for my house, new blue zebra-print sunglasses, new Bible study, new friends.
3. Go somewhere. Anywhere. I like to go places. Tomorrow, we'll go to Penn's Colony, a historical "town" and folk art show. I'm so excited.
4. Go to church.
5. Kiss the cats at work. Especially Grace, who loves to be kissed.
6. Let Sofia Loren (a b-e-a-utiful cat at work) stand on my shoulder like a parrot. I can't hold back the giggles when she does it.
7. Take a nap!
8. Make my bed in the morning and then crawl in. I swear, it makes the weighted blanket even heavier when it's been "made" all day.
9. A email. From anyone. About almost anything. My favorites are parents who have kids with autism who write to encourage me. They go suuuuch a long way. Also emails from Leigh with Lolcats. Those are fantastic too.
10. A freshly-memorized Bible verse to add to the list. The one that is officially "memorized" today? "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing one another in love." (Ephesians 4:1-2)
11. A cold diet soda never gets old!
12. Making something. Again, anything. Most recently I made a velcro itemized morning routine schedule. I left the house without make up once or twice (I wear very little; just enough to cover any red spots that Mom insists are due to rubbing the cat on my face and I say then it's worth it... but I feel funny without my spots covered) and without testing my blood sugar a few times, so I thought it was time.
13. Phone calls about updates from the Autism Waiver. We're getting close...
14. The specific food that I'm craving, right when I'm craving it. Cheesecake. Pizza. Mexican. All of which have happened this month! (Note: At least temporarily, I'm not gluten free, as it's so expensive. I may well go back to it if ever I have the money, though. So far, reflux and rashes are nonexistant... this is probably because I eat just one thing with gluten in a day. I'm just not buying any GF stuff).
15. Tigger. Remember Tigger? He's been living with me since sometime this summer. He sits on my computer desk and reminds me of Leigh, and I like him. A lot.
16. My duck. My aunt got me a duck statue from the garden store, and he, too, sits on my computer desk, right next to Tigger. The duck makes me laugh, because it's a duck and... there I go on ducks again.
17. Elsie, especially this morning, because she was using her paw to get a chunk of my hair in her mouth and then going... YANK! Then letting it go. A bunch of times. She had food in her bowl, so all I can figure is that she wanted me to get up. Now, I might add. You just can't get annoyed with such a cute kitty.
18. Losing a half pound a week for almost 6 months by doing absolutely nothing. It's totally fair though, because I gained a lot of weight by doing absolutely nothing.
19. Puzzles that I can do in one sitting.
20. Really stuck now? Oh, I know...

You telling me what makes you smile. That would be great.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Only one thing to do

When you're suffering from some situational depression, there's only one thing to do.

Why, go to Kohl's and get blue zebra print sunglasses (that just happen to fit over your regular glasses...).

But there's a bit of a story behind these sunglasses. You
see, when Leigh got them last weekend, I absolutely fell in love. They're not just blue, they're almost teal. And they're zebra print. And you never can find sunglasses that slide effortlessly over your regular glasses. But these do!

But they're $10, and Mom told you that you can only buy food and gas for the next few weeks, because you're even poorer than usual. So, while you mention to God that you would love said sunglasses, you pretty much give up all hope.

Until you go to Mom's one evening and she gives you a $10 gift card to Kohl's that came in the mail.

And even though they shouldn't honor it until the 15th, and this was only the 13th, they say they'll honor it anyway.

And your blue zebra-print sunglasses are only $4.80 now.

And did I mention that they're zebra print? And blue?

And while you're not entirely sure how she feels about matching you, the fact that they match Leigh's makes you smile.

And now, that depression is just a little bit lighter.

Sometimes, God really pulls through in the details, eh?

(Excuse the blurry picture; all I had was my phone)

Monday, September 13, 2010

On your mark

"So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts of Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't. (Romans 12:8ish, The Message)

Okay, so I realize that I don't write exclusively to a Christian audience on here, but I think everyone can glean something important from the above verses, don't you? Especially the italicized part (that's why they make italics... to emphasize or drawn attention to a certain word or phrase, eh?).

Now that I'm done cracking myself up (and I'm doubting anyone else thought it was funny)... I can hear your head, saying, "Lydia, make your point already!"

I'm Lydia. I'm not Mom, I'm not Sister, I'm not Leigh, and sadly, I'm not Elsie. That means that I can only be what I was created to be and glorify God the way that He intended for me to do so. I can't try to grow flowers like Mom and wonder when I come up failing. I can't try to live my life like Sister, with her NYC clothes and money, and wonder why I fall short. I can't try to relate to people like Leigh and then wonder why it doesn't work.

Perhaps closer to home, this also means that I can't try to have boyfriends like seemingly 98% of my peers, can't try to work full time like most people and earn lots of money, and can't try to take jobs any number of miles from home, like a lot of people I know have done in the year or two after college graduation. I can't try to get married, have babies, get a dog, teach... the list goes on.

But here's the thing (isn't there always a thing? I seem to say that a lot...).

I can help mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and teachers reach seemingly unreachable children. None of my friends do that.

I can comfort a cat whose only comfort is the fact that, wherever it goes, it still has a litter box (and will even sleep in it for security). I can love each and every cat at work as an individual, in a place where as one in a hundred, they have lost all individuality. No one else at work does that.

I can write, publish, and sell my own book. First time in my family anyone's done that.



Forgive me for stopping in what feels like the middle of a train of thought, but let me explain. As I was telling Leigh tonight via Skype chat, I don't always know a lot about myself. I don't know if I'm quiet or loud, thoughtful or inconsiderate, patient or impatient. Most aspects of personality and character, especially when it comes to myself, completelye evade me. This holds true for others, too... I couldn't tell you much about Leigh, either, other than the fact that she's Leigh and I don't want her any differently. But outstanding qualities and characteristics? Uh...

I'd like to add to this list that I have this outstanding character quality or that fruit of the Spirit, but the fact of the matter is, I don't rightly know what I am or what I have. The note to self has been made to work on figuring that out.


So I pick up where I left off. In Romans 12, Paul says that we are all part of Christ's body (which leads me to wonder if I'm a toe, or an eye, or a liver, but then I might be thinking too literally). Elsewhere, he questions us thusly: wouldn't it be ridiculous for the toe to fuss that it's not a hand, or the heart to complain that it's not the stomach? I don't want to be kind, talkative, social, and a good singer... why can't I be like her, instead?

Isn't that exactly what I'm doing in all my fussing? I don't want to be autistic, a writer, a blogger, and a cat-lover... why can't I be like Mom/Sister/Leigh, instead?

I can't have what they have for a simple reason: I have what I have, and that is no less wonderful, providential, and intentional.

It is just thus for you, and you, and you. You have a purpose that only you can fulfill. You were perfectly created with just the gifts, talents, and abilities to fulfill that purpose. God ordained it before time began... when it comes to your purpose, you cannot fail.

Isn't that a comforting thought? Let me say it again: You can't fail to fulfill your purpose in life. You don't even have to know what it is in order to accomplish it! Oh, sure, you might end up doing a lot more good along the way if you sort of take inventory of your qualities and capitalize on the best ones, but you can't fail to bring to fruition the very reason that God created you.

So rest easy, my friend. Take heart in the part of the body in which you reside; we would not be a complete body without you. You are not more or less than the toe, the hand, the heart, or the liver. You are you.

So let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be.



Friday, September 10, 2010

Here we are, falling behind

The older I get, the more I fall behind, and I don't like it one bit.

Now that I'm in my early 20s, my friends are going through bigger changes than ever before. Many are getting married. Some are starting families. Some are moving far away from home.

I can't help but feel left in the dust. I'm living in my own apartment, yes, but I'm only ten minutes from my mom and I see her 3-5 times a week. I couldn't do it without her.

My biggest fear is Leigh getting married. I know what happens when people get married: they don't need friends anymore. You can't get them by themselves; you always get the spouse too. I just know she'll forget about me (yes, Leigh, I hear your voice saying, "I'm not a jerk, don't treat me like one"). And this moving across the country to be near a certain boy sounds might fishy to me... like it's on the road to marriage. My biggest fear is underway.

Part of it is the fear of losing her, and part of it is a twinge of jealousy that it's not me. Don't you know what I was supposed to be a surgeon and live in the South? That was my childhood dream. Autism has ruined that dream, confining me to stay near Mom and work part time at a low-paying job, likely for the rest of my life. Part of me is happy to be doing as well I am (er, was...), but part of me remembers what I'll never be and wants that. Part of me wants independence, money, a husband...

Oh, husbands. I keep praying that I'll find one. The truth is that the idea of being married (and dare I say it? sex) appalls me and I want none of it. But it seems to me that the only way not to be lonely in life is to have a husband. Friends come and go, parents pass away, but husbands are forever. I need someone who will love me for life. Who I know won't turn away. I know, I know, Jesus does that, but I mean someone on this earth. You can't deny that everyone wants that. That's part of why people get married, isn't it? That's why I want to get married. If I knew Mom or a friend would be there forever (realizing that God could really take anyone away at any time, but you know what I mean) then I wouldn't want a husband. But it's not so.

But what husband would want to marry (or even date) a girl like me? I can't imagine one that would. And is it really fair for me to marry someone? I mean, I pretty much don't like boys. I got nervous around a boy in 8th grade and couldn't speak... was that liking a boy? If so, that's the only time I've ever liked one. Never since. It doesn't sound fair to marry someone you don't like. That's not to say I couldn't love someone, just that there is absolutely no sexual attraction.

Sorry for the deep thinking and lack of answers today. But, this is where my head is, and you agreed to come on this journey with me, wherever it took us, right? So this is where we are right now, quickly falling behind, worrying, and confused.

Sounds like I need a cat-shaped band-aid. Don't worry, she's right here.

Edited, not to change, but to add: About that "friends are temporary" thing... a certain friend (just, be obtuse for me, and pretend you don't know who I mean, k?) assured me that she is not temporary, or at least has no intentions of being such. Given that, maybe I can forget about the husband thing. Yuck. Never sat right with me anyway.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

God has Skype?

Leigh and I were talking on Skype. I was asking if she thought I would get out of my recent depressed mood, something I truly haven't felt in years, if ever, and is honestly scaring me.

Me: Crying.

Her: You're ok.

Me: Am not. Crying.

Her: But you will be okay.

Enter cat.

Yes, you read that right. A cat came up on Skype. Leigh wasn't typing. I wasn't typing. A little, iconic cat with a pawing motion graced my computer screen for about 5 or 10 seconds.

Her: Whoa. I. Didn't. Do that.

Me: Did you see that?

It was gone. No more cat.

Me: No more crying, though. Smiling.

Her: God has Skype?

Some googling quickly revealed that "paw-like activity" on the keyboard produces a temporary cat on the screen... as in, when craziness is happening on your keyboard, similar to that produced by a cat walking across the keys (Elsie does this frequently), Skype assumes it's a cat and interprets the message accordingly.

Take it as a crazy coincidence or what have you, but Leigh and I think that God has Skype.

Here and gone

As I was driving to Bible study early this morning (shuddup; I call 8:45 early, okay?), I came up with an idea for a blog post. I started to outline it in my head, come up with examples... I even had a title.

And then I lost it.

Maybe it was about Bible study, and how God has worked everything out so perfectly. He found a way for me to get the book (the church provided it for me) that I couldn't afford. He made it comprised of women decades older than myself, with whom I am more comfortable than those my own age. He provided me with a "buddy," Heather, to guide me through the study, stick by me, make sure I'm okay in the large group. He has given me everything I need as I stretch myself and learn more about Him through the book of Esther.

Or maybe it was about the fact that, while I have nearly everything I want, I can't have the thing I want most. Leigh will be moving across the country for graduate school in the coming months. I know that God will use this move to glorify Himself and that I will grow closer to Him through it, but darn it, I don't like it. Not one bit. At all.

Maybe it was about the fact that I can be really, truly, downright mean sometimes. For example, in processing and dealing with Leigh's move, I have said some pretty nasty things to her. I honestly can't see beyond the end of my nose. It hits too close to my heart for me to be rational. She visited this past weekend (another wedding in the area), and we spent half the time with me melting down. Sigh. Sometimes I wish I could be better behaved around Leigh; the fact is that I'm so comfortable around her, that sometimes the ugly is what happens first. It needs to come out somewhere, and it knows it can safely come out around her. Still, that's not fair to her, and I always regret it.

Or was it to tell you that Elsie is doing better, knock on wood? She hasn't thrown up since Thursday night.

It could have been about my interview with my favorite pastor, Pastor Betsy, this morning, for my new book. I wrote up a list of questions to ask her. Mom bought me a little handheld digital voice recorder to use for the new book's interviews, and I made use of that. We chatted for about 45 minutes. She even told me that I'm "really cool," which I thought was, well, really cool.

No, it wasn't any of those. But I honestly can't remember what it was! I'll get back to you if and when I even remember... otherwise, I'll get back to you about something else in a few days, and whatever that thought was will come back around in its own time.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sad day

How come when things go wrong, they really go wrong?

They put Cindy Lou Who down yesterday. No one called me. No one even told me when I got to work. I told them months ago that I wanted to adopt her first (just officially), and no one even gave me the heads up so I could do that. She died as nobody's cat, on paper. I don't like that.

And if it's this hard with a cat who never even lived with me, how will I ever survive it when it's Elsie?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

One meal at a time

I have bad news. But don't fret, as there are also pockets of blessings within that bad news.

Elsie's inflammatory bowel disease is progressing, and in the last week, she has started to throw up almost everything she eats. We have increased her dose of prednisone (from 0.3 mL every 2 days to 0.5 mL everyday... a big increase) but to no avail.

I don't mind cleaning up throw up. Really. If it means keeping my cat, I'll clean up throw up 10 times a day. I mean, I do it all the time at work.

But here's the thing I keep asking myself: Is she suffering?

Thus far, the answer is definitely no. She's content. She throws up and then purrs almost immediately. She's acting totally herself.

But if things change, as Mom said, we'll have a decision to make.

As I said, there are little blessings in this. I came home tonight to no throw up! I think I have found the trick to Elsie keeping her food down, which is this: Feed her extremely small amounts, every couple of hours. We're talking 15 pieces of dry food or two teaspoons of wet food. More than that, and it comes back up.

How long can she go on eating like that? No way of knowing. Is the total quantity of food enough for her to maintain her weight? Time will tell.

I ask for your prayers for my girl. I know that no matter what happens, she has had the best of lives and will one day go to praise her Creator forever (yes, I believe that animals go to Heaven). Still, some more time with her here on earth would be wonderful....

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

Elsie P on my tall dresser (5 ft tall), watching over my room so I can sleep

Cindy Lou Who in her favorite place in the world

Cindy Lou Who climbing into my lap

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3

Today at the research study I have to give a short presentation (less than 5 minutes) about myself. It follows a specific outline. I am not allowed to use notes. As a final practice before I leave for the study, I will type out what I plan to say (minus a lot of "uhs" and "ums," I'm sure).

My name is Lydia. I have lived in (city) almost my entire life, except for a few years near Atlanta when I was young. I have an older half sister, three step sisters, and two little half sisters. My hobbies include anything to do with cats, writing, reading, puzzles, and listening to KLove on the radio. I graduated from (college) in May of 2009. My interesting experiences include having a cat named Elsie who is designated as a service animal, writing a blog, and recently publishing a book about living with autism. I'm starting to work on a second book about autism and faith.

"The first quality I value in myself is kindness. One example of this quality is my rule that people come first. If I am doing something, and a friend or family member needs me, I always try to drop the "thing" for the person. I like to perform random acts of kindness at work, like filling up cat litter bins (a heavy, tiring job) or refilling bleach buckets for someone else. I especially try to be kind to someone if I am angry at them, as it puts my heart back in the right place. I value kindness because it is a quality that everyone likes in a friend, and also because the Bible describes it as a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

"The second quality I value in myself is gentleness. For example, I have noticed that very shy cats warm up to me more easily than they do to most people. I also like to spend time with children, and they tend to like me. I value gentleness for several reasons. First, I was not always gentle; I used to act out and sometimes even hurt people, so it is something I have worked hard to obtain. Secondly, it allows me to to the things I like to do, like work with shy cats and children. Finally, gentleness is also a fruit of the Spirit.

"In summary, I hope this presentation has allowed you to learn more about me."

The two presenters who have gone before me have been extremely formal and well-rehearsed. Not that I haven't rehearsed, but I tend to stumble over my words and lose my train of thought frequently. I'm not going to sound like they did, and I'm nervous. I don't want the group to think I haven't practiced. But I have! Oh, well. Here goes nothing.