Archive for June, 2011

Cognitive Dissonance

I had a plan for today:
Get up, go to doc and brag about how good I’ve been doing.

The best laid plans of mice and men …

I got up this morning, pulled out my yoga mat (sans coffee for fasting lab, I complaiend rather bitterly on Twitter about this, it helped, but only a little). I started in and noticed a pain in my chest and nothing I did made it better. Every breath I took, it hurt. It only hurt when I took a deeper breath than normal, which is 90% of the breathing in yoga (for me anyway). I wound up giving up about 1/2 way through trying to balance what I need to do vs what I wanted to do.
It’s hard sometimes to realize that this one thing that does SOOO much for me can be something not so good for me at times.

I got dressed, popped on my jewelry, necklace, earring, bracelet, anklet and of coarse, ring. (20th anniversary ring I wear instead of wedding ring) Off to the doc, driving there I realized that my bragging about doing so well was going to have to take a back seat to this breathing pain.

I get to the office and there is parking lot construction. I get out of my car and immediately feel my lungs protest … asthma and tar aren’t friends. I walk in and they are remodeling the building and now I’m wheezing. Dust and asthma/allergies are really not friends!

In the office, she notices that my feet are swollen … we’re talking about my pain when she notices it, then my hands, and elbows are swollen as well and all around joints (gives doc much relief). My chest is HOT where the sternum is (hadn’t really noticed chostrochondritis pain so was surprised by that). Doc listens to me breath and decides to do a pulse ox (93). So, she sits down and gives me her standard “yoga is pain control, not disease control” lecture she’s given me 4 times over the last year .. yeah, I know. (dang! just realized I forgot to talk to her, again, about pain meds!)

I get home and find out a friend, a long time friend (about a dozen years or more) has passed away from lupus. Suddenly it hits me how unimportant my flare is .. in the grand scheme of things. Yet, at the same time, it seems even more important to heed docs advice to take care of my flare and myself in general.

My frustration at the flare getting my way gave way to gratefulness that I am in the state I’m in and improving as time goes by, not worsening .. how much of a blessing that is!
My annoyance at needing to take care of the flare gave way to urgency to be the healthiest I can be … maybe in tribute to those who can’t be or will loose their lives to this terrible disease.

Cognitive dissonance … my brain going to directions at once with the same information, coming up with conflicting resolutions … and yet they end up in the same place. Taking care of me is the most important job I have, so that I can
go to school and get my degree and have my career of my dreams
be the kind of mother I want to be
be the wife I want to be
be the friend I want to be.

Rest in Peace, my friend.


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I’m supposed to be





I’m expected to be

problem solver




I’m told I am to be





I behave as if I am





But I am



strong at times

weak at times

I could use

a hug

an encouragement

someone else’s strength

an advocate

I wish I could be

a little bit


everything and

a little bit

of nothing

Just be me and that be ok.

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I made a decision … I’ve been thinking a lot about it. But when I was younger my goal was to run a marathon by the age of 30 … then MG entered my life … my dreams of doing so went out the window …

While I will likely never ever run a marathon (though, I’m never ever going to rule anything positive out ever again)I have wanted, for quite a while walk in a fun run/walk for charity. After much googling (and drooling as I’ve been watching many of my friends participate in races) I found the perfect one.

It’s for the Athiritis Foundation and is called the Jingle Bell Run

I formed a team today

98 and 3/4 Percent Guarenteed is the name of my group ..an odd name (odd is fitting for me) but rather meaningful .. it’s from Dr Seuss’s book “Oh the Places You’ll Go” and it ends with

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3 / 4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

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OK … here’s the plan

Instead of a senior thesis that will get me 9 hours … I will do an independent study this fall, (3 credit hours) and then a senior thesis in January (9 credit hours). I like the way that adds up. Plus the independent study will make for a foundation for Senior thesis .. which theoretically will lead to a masters research and then PhD research.

My Advisor is now more than my advisor, but officially, Academic Mentor. (I didn’t quite get how that is an advantage other than the obvious … most things are easier with a mentor).

My topic will be one, that un-beknownst to me when I picked it, will work with EITHER my psych major or minor, and given that I’ve not taken a single class in my minor (I need 18 hours for it)and they MOVED my minor to the Talequah campus … this, is a very good thing. Broken Arrow Campus (4 miles away) has 2 of my classes for my minor, the rest are in Talequah and hour/hour and a half away. Which means only 1 class that I will have to go to.

My topic of choice for the Indepedent study is the issue of families who have children with disabilities having a high rate of divorce.

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The Child In Me

The Child in me, at age 4

Let’s go for a walk, while we share our heart,
Lessons for life, things in which you’ll take part.
Life can get hard; I know it doesn’t seem so
Let me tell you the things that you should know.
When darkness comes, and trust me it will,
Remember your faith, darkness can’t kill.
When loss and terror strike out of thin air,
Keep your heart open, remember to care.
Things will happen you can’t even dream,
Not in the darkest nightmare scream.
But you’ll come out fine, stronger and bright,
You’re so young now,some day you’ll need insight,
You won’t deserve to live in that cage.
You’ll need help to turn the page.
Destruction will happen, by you and by others,
You need to separate, yours from another’s.
The Grace of God, you’ll depend on often,
But it will take a while for your heart to soften.
In time you’ll understand what you need,
To breathe, to love, to hear your own plea.
But for now, let’s suffice it to say,
You’ll learn very early just how to pray.
Lessons you’ll learn, you’ll stand proud,
Even when you hear the voices a crowd.
You will find peace over and over again,
Even when all around you is dim.
If I could stop it, I promise I would,
Many times you will think that I should.
Someday, maybe not too far away,
Our hearts, together again to stay.
Listen up; you’re me, thirty years ago,
This path that we walk is not just for show.
A heart that is wounded, heals even stronger,
You can bear this all, just a little bit longer.
When in the future, I forget you’re me,
Remind me together the future we see.
A young girls dreams, I do treasure them alway,
I’ll lose the path, but come back some day.
Together we’ll face this … the adult in your eyes
The child in me, no more fright in the lies.
No longer, I promise, to ignore you inside,
No more will you worry that I too have lied.
It’s time to come play with me in the sand,
Swing high, climb low, play in the band.
Time to move forward, with one heart aligned,
It’s our future that we have yet to sign.

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That was my nickname within my family when I was growing up. My mother used to tell people that if they looked at me crosseyed, I’d tear up (which, inevitably made me cry).

I would cry when I was happy, cry when I was sad, cry when I was mad, cry when I was bored, cry when I felt I was being treated unjustly, cry when I was bullied, cry when it wasn’t my turn and I wanted it to be, cry .. cry ..cry .. I was the “crybaby” my sister declared me to be.

In high school, it took very little to get the tear ducts working …

In my early adulthood, I think I cried more than I laughed.

I got married … and soon after, divorced. I’m not going to go into reasons for the divorce as that is more his story to tell than mine. Yes, it effected me, deeply, but it is still his story and I respect him for it.

Despite him telling me that his reasons were his own and not me … I still decided that ‘crybaby’ was the cause … the day he came and asked for a divorce, I went back into my apartment and sat down and cried and cried and cried.

And then I stopped … I had no way of knowing that they would all but stop for good.

I didn’t cry the day the divorce was granted. I didnt’ cry when my first relationship after him broke up. Or when the next guy that I was dating (engaged to actually) broke up to move back home.
I didn’t cry …

I can name the times and events that brought tears to my eyes since … and in 26 years I’m not sure there should be so few times that one has cried that they can name them.

I’ve had many reasons to cry …but only a few times that the tears have fallen …

I’m working on feeling emotions … really feeling them. Not supressing them. Not ignoring them ..but experiencing the emotions ..both good and bad. I’m trying to figure out how to get the tears turned back on. So far, I’ve not found that key.

I will tear up for happy, so I know the tears ducts work ..

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I wonder when in my life I became less afraid of failure and more determined to not let failure stop me?

As a 15 year old, I was refusing to take algebra and willing to put a dream I’d had since (by my mother’s report) I was 3. I do remember the book my older sister used to read me about a ‘girl doctor’. I have clear pictures in my mind of the illustrations. Apparently, my first doctor (till I was almost 6) was a female and I was determined to become a doctor. First aid was my first brownie badge earned, and first girlscout badge.

I can remember being in the 4th grade, a year that bloody noses seemed to be a daily part of my life, having one bloody nose that took me to the ER in an ambulance (from school). I remember sitting on the table holding something (packing?) up to my nose and the doctor talking to me about what I’d learned since I was last seen by him. (our little community only had 3 doctors). A nurse came in and he introduced me as ‘The future Dr. Pearson’ (my maiden name). I had the full support, it seems, of the community. Everyone knew that was my goal.

Somewhere along the lines, failure became something to fear .. and by high school, it was so totally unacceptable, that it was better to not try than fail. My freshman year in high school I refused to take algebra. I took Business Math and no one said a thing. My sophomore year, it was different, I enrolled in accounting and got called into the principals office of our tiny school.

Mr G told me that algebra had to be taken my freshman or sophomore year, since I’d not taken it the year before, I must take it this year. I told him that I had no intention of ever taking algebra.
He told me that I HAD to take algebra or I’d never become a doctor.
I said “fine, I won’t become a doctor.”
He then said “But Peggi, you can’t even go to college without it”
I said “fine, take me off the college prep list” and got up and walked out of his office.

Suddenly, I went from ‘college bound’ to who knows what. I laid down my dream in that moment to become a doctor.

Fast forward 30 years and I’m suddenly looking at going back to school and knowing that algebra would be a requirement .. only not just college algebra, I’d have to take 3 semesters of algebra .. the 2 credits I did not get in high school and then college algebra.

By now, I’d understood that my fear of failure was behind my willingness to just quit a dream. The idea of failure was so distasteful to me that it was stronger than any desire to succeed.

I enrolled and gingerly went to that first class. The day of my first test, I had a panic attack that was so severe that it was visible. A professor in the nursing department grabbed me and asked if I needed an ambulance. They got me settled down and I went and took my very first dismal algebra test. I had no idea what was facing me .. but it was only the beginning.

I took the class, and failed miserably with a 45% (though the prof had mercy on my soul and put a D on the transcript). I retook with the same professor and got out with a very high A. A lot of work and repetative (as well as an AHA moment the 2nd class where things suddenly made sense) as well as a whole bunch of tutoring … left me realizing that failure can’t hurt you (well, it doesn’t feel good ..but it can’t really harm you) and it’s not the final say … and figuring that I just might have a repeat performance in intermediate algebra …

So I retook it ..and failed, retook it again and failed again .. retook it again and got a D … which was not high enough to move on. (I could go into much detail as to how this should not have been a D .. but that’s not the point of this essay …

So here I am …working hard at a 4th stab .. and knowing full well that if I don’t get it, there will be a 5th because ultimate failure isn’t an option.

My goal .. once again .. in life is to have the title of Dr before my name, granted, a PhD rather than MD ..but none the less … that’s the goal.

Funny how fearing failure once defined me and now, it charges me up, increases my determination. I’m not sure what changed in me …

But I do know that failure isn’t something to fear, be annoyed by, yes but not feared.

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