Toughen Up

If you read some of my stories than you know that I was adopted and I’m pretty proud of my parents for taking on such a basket case of a child.

I tell them regularly that they got ripped off and they should research adoption lemon laws.

Right out of the gate (gate meaning uterus) I was broke (financially and physically).  I was born with a crooked jaw.  Birth defect?  Future doctor’s thought I may have been dropped when I was delivered.

Mother’s Home = Free= You get what you pay for

“This one’s broke” as the nuns stare at me and try to tilt my head so it looks like my jaw is straight.  “With this face, we’ll never find a home for #363.5.”  (I assume I was just a number in the baby slammer).  This may have been the reason that I didn’t have a home until I was 4-6 weeks old.

As the years went by, things didn’t get any better.  Some issues were normal childhood problems other’s may have been a little off kilter.  These are just a few that I remember/haunt me.

  1. Sore throats seemed to be a common pattern with me.  And although other kids were not only getting their tonsils out but they were also enjoying popsicles and ice cream, I wasn’t given this option.  I had to deal with a raging red and inflamed throat that felt like I was swallowing razor blades every other month.  Toughen up they said.
  2. Earaches came occasionally for me until I was in 6th grade and then all hell broke loose. One of my teachers turned on the movie projector unaware that it was set to full volume. It blew out my eardrum.  I had to leave school and go to a specialist who instructed me to hold my nose and blow out until my ear popped.  I had to do this like 15 times a day for 7 days which probably led to my brain blow out.  More on this later.  Toughen up they said.
  3. In our neighborhood if you couldn’t do a backflip on your own, you were instructed to put on a belt and two people (who were not professionals) would hold it and help you flip over. After doing this one week over and over again, I developed symptoms of appendicitis.  After a night in the hospital it was determined that my side was just severely bruised from the inside out.  We arrived home from the hospital and I was all ready to plop on the couch and watch “The Brady Bunch” when my dad instructed me to put on my catcher’s mitt so that my brother could warm up for his game that day.  Although, I was feeling a little tired, I did what I was told.  My brother was a very fast and powerful pitcher so I shouldn’t have been “behind the wheel” if I wasn’t 100% ready. I missed the ball and yep, it hit me right smack on my injured side.  My left side has never been the same.  Toughen up they said.
  4. One evening I was in the middle of a killer headache when my body just became paralyzed. I’m not even kidding.  My whole body went stiff.  My parents called the ambulance.  Thank God, the fire station is only 4 houses down because I tell you, our family has gotten their money’s worth.  After the paramedics had me situated in the ambulance, one of them said to my parents, “This happened to my daughter and she’s been paralyzed ever since.”  Thankfully, I recovered but there are times I can’t get off the couch which I blame on my temporary paralyzation.  Toughen up they said.
  5. This next one, I really contemplated if I should tell you or not but then I decided it’s just part of life. If it’s too much for you, just move on to the next part of the story.  But it does involve alcohol so hey, it’s up to you.  I was born with a tilted uterus.  Crooked jaw, tilted uterus.  I’m a mess.  Anyway, tilted uterus=excruciating menstrual cramps.  Bad enough to make me want to miss my basketball games.  BTW:  My dad wouldn’t let me stay home or sit out and told me to work through the pain.  Toughen up they said.  My mom had her own solution.  Peppermint Schnapps would warm the abdomen and after a shot you’d either feel better or buzzed.  Well, one day, I was trying to take a shot but it didn’t taste right.  My mom told me to hush up and drink it and maybe drink two for good measure.  Come to find out later, it was straight vodka.    Did she run out of the Schnapps?  What the hell.  She didn’t even have the decency to add spritzer water and dash of lime juice.  Anyone that knows us, knows that we are a good family.  Anyway, I found out later that if you have a baby it will straighten out your uterus.  Thank you, Mandy.  Teenage pregnancy can solve problems.

From the ages of 18-25ish, I felt pretty good and then BAM, things went downhill again.

  1. Sometime in my early thirties, I decided to take a math classes that had been holding me back from earning my degree (A thousand classes later and I still don’t have a college degree but I’m well rounded).  I felt exhausted and blamed it on going to school and raising teenagers.  Around three weeks into the class, the lady sitting next to me asked about the numerous bruises on my legs.  I told her that my daughter had noticed them too and that maybe I was just running into things.  She worked for a doctor and told me that I should have it checked out.  After I had blood work done, the military base doctor called me in a panic and urged me to get the emergency room ASAP.  I explained to him that I had one more load of laundry to do and I had to pick my kids up from school but then I would definitely head to the ER.  He explained that my platelets were so low that if I were to get into an accident, I would bleed out.  So… after my kids were home safe and sound and the laundry was neatly folded and put away, I made my over to the hospital to find out I had Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP).  A rare blood disease that required 7-8 plasma exchanges.  I did end up going into remission and have been ever since.  Toughen up they said.
  2. Remember that messed up jaw? One very smart oral surgeon decided I needed to have further test done. During one MRI, they found a hole in my head (I needed that like I needed a hole in my head).  A little piece of my brain was poking out from the inside of my skull.  The good news…it looked like it sealed itself.  The bad news…I was to never lift over 10 pounds again and if I ever had spinal fluid drip from my nose, I was to head to the emergency room ASAP (as long as the laundry was done and my kids were home).
  3. One morning in 2012, I woke up to what I thought was a runny nose from either allergies or a cold. After a week of one side of my nose running like a faucet (that had been left on medium), I decided to have it checked out.  Diagnosis: Right Temporal Lobe Encephalocele (the seal that was over the hole in my head had broken) and it was spinal fluid leaking from my nose not snot.  I was flown from England to Texas for a 7+ hour surgery and a recovery sentence of one month in Texas.  I’m pretty proud of my husband for staying with such a basket case of a wife.  He says he finds me interesting.

Let me wrap this extremely long story up and tell you that for the past 5 years, I’ve been doing well and that would have been true, but stay tuned, the story may continue in the next few weeks.  It’s always something.

So, between spending a month on my own as an infant (party at my crib) and my mom and dad totally not being helicopter parent’s, I’m a survivor.

Toughen up, I say.













3 thoughts on “Toughen Up

  1. Diane, I enjoyed reading your story and offer my encouragement—you sound very tough indeed. Your sense of humor and lighthearted approach toward dealing with afflictions is commendable. Those who suffer the slings and arrows of misfortune are often best able to console others who also suffer afflictions. “If life is a bowl of cherries, how come I got all the pits?”

    I noticed from your last name Soave that your ancestors built the Castle of Soave in the Province of Verona, Italy, a medieval military structure with a gate and a draw bridge built in the 15th century. The brutal toughness of the regime was legendary for withstanding adverse conditions and rough handling. Bones found within showed it was used also as prison and place of torture. Perhaps, this is a form of hereditary succession? Judith

    • Yes, I feel like humor has saved me so many times! Tough girl only when it comes to medical stuff otherwise, I’m kinda wimpy. lol. Thanks for taking the time to read my story.

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