Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Was touched

Back in October  2017 when I got my autism diagnosis I wrote a thank-you note to Tania Marshall on Facebook:

Hi Tania,

I wanted to thank you for putting the various checklists on AspienGirl. I was sent by a friend the checklist for 5 year old girls, and though I'll be 55 years of age this year, I was stunned how much I related to it. With your checklist in hand I went to see my therapist and explained how each of the points on your checklist pertained to me. And for the first time in 8 years my therapist saw the ASD instead of just the quirky female patient he'd diagnosed with ADHD, SPD, GAD etc over the years. 

He had me assessed by someone specializes in ASD and I got a formal diagnosis. Now everything finally makes sense! I know I'm exactly the way I'm supposed to be. I want to express my thanks for the work you've done that permitted me to get to know why I'm different and the fact that there's nothing wrong with this difference!

Again many thanks!

A few days later she responded to me:

Dear Kali, Thank you for your beautiful message and you’re very welcome regarding my checklists and my work. It’s always very rewarding for me to hear from people like you that they came across my work and were able to get their doctors Or therapists or whomever to see that all the different labels really are just one label: neuro diversity. I can’t tell you how pleased I am to hear of your experience as I know how much a diagnosis helps a person realise that they’re not weird or a freak or crazy, that just have a differently wired brain. Thank you for taking the time to message me and congratulations

I was very touched. I didn't expect any kind of answer, but I wanted her to know how much her work on the topic is appreciated by women who need answers.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Why functioning labels aren't helpful

Functioning labels aren't helpful. Basically high functioning is another way of saying your autism is hardly felt by others. Low functioning means it is heavily felt by others. In real life, I might be an autistic level 1 but it's not that helpful on the days I'm so overwhelmed and I can't get out of bed. Or I'm having such a bad meltdown that people think I'm bipolar or have serious anger issues.

Women who suspect they are autistic and get turned away need another doctor. Saying you don't have enough problems to warrant a diagnostic is STUPID. it's like saying you're a little pregnant. We're not going to address it now. Come back when you're more pregnant. 

 I got to 54 years old without a diagnostic. I spent 2/3 of my life thinking I was a loser who can't keep it together. I spent a few years researching bi-polar disorder and was convinced I might be bi-polar 2. Except I asked my mother and she said I was nothing like my dad, who was bipolar. If I'd known I was autistic maybe I'd have a better self image. I got told most of my life "For a bright girl you sure make stupid choices". Yeah I have an IQ of 135 but on some days I can't get out of bed. How is the functioning label helpful???

The younger an autistic person knows they are autistic the sooner then can 1) know it's ok to be the way you are 2) know there are challenges 3) get the resources and help when you need the help.

In my 20's and 30's I struggle with work, motherhood, relationships.But I trudged through. The older I get the harder it is to spend all my life masking. Pretending I'm something I'm not so I don't stick out like a sore thumb. It's also harder to keep going and there is such a thing as Autistic burnout. I've had 2 so far.

As far as getting diagnosed for autism, I used the checklists from Tania Marshall. She has one for school aged girls and one for adult women. The one for school aged girls was helpful for me at 54 because both my parents are dead. I could at least describe myself at 5-6 years of age to the therapist so he could see my issues aren't new. I had the same type of issues in grade 1. 

Once I convinced my therapist I could be autistic, he reviewed the IQ tests, the reviewed the MMPI, [I did those 8 years ago, when he first assessed me with ADHD] asked me questions about my childhood and then sent me tested by someone else in his office who had me do the ADOS [which is a test aimed at children and teens - so explain how to brush teeth, make a story out of random objects, make story from a book with just pictures. etc.. ] and apparently though I thought the ADOS was weird, it was that which confirmed my diagnosis. My therapist then said I was really "high high functioning".

Yeah. He actually said that.  Meaning I hide my autism so well it took him 8 years to notice it, even though I've mentioned it at least once a year the past 6 years!   

So most days when I get home from work, I cry for an hour because I'm tired and overwhelmed and can't cope. So I'd rather autism level 1. Because I certainly don't feel like I'm functioning!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Buddy says Happy St Patricks Day!

Why do the big cats get to go outside?
DO you think there's enough toys?
Photo with his ears flat, wanted to see if stripes were noticeable
Happy St Patricks day!
AM I not the cutest?

Monday, March 12, 2018

Meet Buddy

He gets his name from Bud Roberts, who is originally a character on JAG, which is the series from which NCIS was a spin-off. Bud Roberts appears in 4 different NCIS episodes during the last 15 seasons.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Favourite winter boots!

Vans winter boots
My Vans close-up
Since I've been a child growing up in Quebec, I've always dragged my feet in Winter because boots area always much bigger than feet so I end up dragging my feet. I bought these Sk8-Hi MTE last year thinking I'd only wear them in spring and fall when there was no snow. HA! I've been wearing them most days unless it's snowing heavily.  Otherwise I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Vans. I can walk faster on snow with these than any other boot I've ever had! 

Monday, March 05, 2018

New top made this week-end.

I did a bit of sewing this week-end and finished this top:

McCalls M7572

Friday, March 02, 2018

Sewing in 2018

First dress of 2018. I stole the bell sleeves from another dress

Made 4 dresses with 2 pieces of fabric to test them out.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Good gluten free veggie pizza

I occasionally order gluten free Pizza from Domino's. Last time I tried the "Pacific Veggie" with gluten free crust. I have to say it was one of the most delicious vegetarian pizza's I've ever tasted. Even well peppered. I never find anything ever has enough pepper, but I could taste it. Was incredibly delicious.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Meet my Savannah F4 Kitten.

He's so cute. I got him February 28th, and he's 3 months today, so he was born November 28th, 2017. It's hard to take photos of him as he moves really fast. I still need to find a name for him. All the NCIS names I come up with Terry shoots down!

I dislike going to the hairdresser!

I've always disliked going to the hairdresser because I really dislike having my head touched. As a child I used to find it a torture. My mom made two braids in my  hair until I was in 5th grade because my hair would get less messed and I would cry less.  In 5th grade I got my hair cut short and I didn't do that again until I got to college, when I actually got 2-3 perms in a few years.

Then I went back to not going to the hairdresser. For many years I trimmed my own long hair. Since I moved to the West Island of Montreal, the rare times I get a haircut I go to Maison Elysee on Gouin in Roxboro. I've since realized they opened the year I moved here.  So I've been going to see them the past 28 years. In that time I've probably gone 8-10 times. The most was in 2010 when I got my hair cut twice in 6 months!!!!!

One time I went the hairdresser asked me why I came so infrequently. I told her I hate having people touch my hair, but she was ok. She gave me her name. Since then I always ask for Miriam.

I went a few weeks ago, and again I was so thrilled to have Miriam. She tells me she is known in her salon for being the most gentle. Well she is gentle enough for this autistic woman who hates having her hair done to see her at least every other year.

It took a total of 20 minutes to wash, cut and style my hair. It cost me a whole $24.50. [I paid $30 to leave a generous tip as I was delighted with my experience] and I left there with a haircut I like, and I can still put my hair in a ponytail.

Terry was surprised. He took me to the hairdresser and when I came out 20 minutes later, he was like "You're finished??" I've never met a woman who takes so little time at the beauty parlor!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

From the trip to England I took with my Grandpa and great aunt in June 1980

At Charles de Gaules Airport sitting with my grandpa June 1980

At the border crossing to England June 1980

Me sleeping in the Lobby of the ConcordeLafayette hotel in Paris

In Hotel room in London, June 1980
At my aunts funeral I was handed a box of photos, most of which was from the trip I took with my grandpa in June 1980 when I was 17 years of age. HEre are some highlights.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I never knew

Until recently I never knew how much of a great actor and imitator I am. I'm impressive. I mean I hid my autism and my stims for 54 years!

The reason I found out I was autistic now is because the amount of effort I put in to pass in society is draining me faster as I age. This article is so much on point, I wanted to cry after reading it.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Autistic people are not failed versions of Normal!

Great Ted article

I spent most of my life seeing myself more as a failure than as a success. Because somehow my high IQ didn't translate in an MIT degree.  However now that I know that I am autistic and that to function in society I had to work 3-4 times as hard as most people, I'm actually a success.  I always wondered why it felt things so were difficult. I was always told I seem to make things so difficult. Well because for me they were difficult.

I realized recently that the 8 years of therapy I've been doing has empowered me. It has given me the ability to understand my emotions.  I know it seems incredulous that a 50+ year old woman would not understand her own emotions but I didn't. I couldn't identify how I was feeling. I could not understand why I got so frustrated at times or would just blow up.   Now I understand that I get sensory overload.  When I'm overwhelmed anything can set me off to have a meltdown or shutdown.   I  am able to identify emotions and process them sometimes on the same day, or the next day.   Before it could take me weeks or months to process. Sometimes I'd forget about the event instead of identifying the emotions associated.

It explains why sometimes when I relate a story from the past I can get very angry. I never processed the emotion then, each time I retell story I reget angry all over again. It also explains why I can seem to lie when asked how I'm feeling and say different emotions for when I appear to have same emotion to others....

I've realized also that the 8 years of therapy gave me the language to be able to tell my therapist I thought I was autistic and why. I've suspected on and off for years honestly, but then kept thinking... my mom would have known... she was a first grade teacher.   I know when I first read about Aspergers nearly 20 years ago, I wondered how much it applied to me... I knew that I had many male friends around me that would be on the spectrum, especially in computer and BBS related environments.

Valentine day gift

Was stunned. Terry got me a Kali Tshirt for Valentines day. I didn't even think he knew who Kali was! And he also got me my favourite chocolate bar from the only vendor who's chocolate I've been eating the past 2 years. Sadly I can't find the boxer briefs I made for him :( Gotta love how well I hide things!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Took dirt off laptop CPU fan.

My old laptop, the red Thinkpad edge that got fucked going to Toronto, was shutting down every 30 minutes. I figured it might be overheating. So I opened it up and when I saw CPU fan I knew I was right. I took Q-tip with rubbing alcohol and passed everywhere there was dust. Then waited about 15 minutes to make sure all alcohol had evaporated and put the thing back together. I has not rebooted once since.

I've been using it to watch Grey's Anatomy. 14 seasons and I had watched up to somewhere in Season 5 and was watching the spin off Private Practice instead - which I liked a lot.  But I'm getting into it now and will be watching all 14 seasons.  Gives me something to watch during the Olympics as my typical TV shows are on hiatus till march. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

2018 started weird for Izzy

My poor daughter, with her brain surgery ended up with 21 fucking staples holding her head together after the surgery.  She's been home with an IV, and will be taking antibiotics by IV till mid march. She sees a CLSC nurse daily who changes her bag.

Now she has Shingles, because having brain surgery wasn't stressful enough!!!! Boy am I happy that I got vaccinated against shingles in December.... at the same time I got my tetanus and diphteria shot.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

My mom's sister is dead.

Tante Lucille passed away February 6th around lunch time. She was 86.

Here is the link to the OBIT

Friday, February 02, 2018

They wanted breakfast

When I opened my bedroom door, I found that my 3 cats were waiting for breakfast. They had even found the foodballs.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

So they sent me a photo

Of the back of Izzy's head. She had 21 staples. Count them. 21!  Her scar looks about 6 inches long. Crazy!

When we do things we don't do it half ass! And hopefully this is the last of the surgery. I mean in 2016 Sam had surgery to remove a Cyst in her breast, that left a 6 1/2 cm hole that had to heal from the inside and took I think nearly 3 months. Then there's my skin cancer surgery in 2017, and now Izzy with two brain assesses.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Last dress made in 2017

Terry's mom gave me a Fabricville giftcard for my birhday and with it I got the Fabric I used to make this Dress. It's based on a Burda pattern but I made different sleeves, and I put a shorter zipper. It turned out great! When I was coming out of Costco earlier today the woman who checks your cart on your way out stopped me to compliment me on the dress.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Izzy is going to be OK

So turns out the lump over her cerebellum was 2, yes 2 abscesses

Izzy said to me last night "Surgery went well. It's an infection, no tumour or cancer. Lots of antibiotics in my future but generally good news".

She will be seeing the infectious disease doctor in the following days, as she also had 2 cysts in her armpits in the fall. That seems odd to get cysts and abscesses all in a short time.