Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Beginning

Let me take you  way back to the very beginning of my story.

I was married in 1999 to my high school sweetheart, Erick.  We both were working at pretty good jobs - Erick, an accountant, and  I, as a research coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh.  We owned a home in the suburbs of Pittsburgh  which was very convenient  for me to get to work since it was on a bus line.  I had to bus into and from work because I don't have a driver's license.

Yes, that's right, I don't drive.  I never did (well at least not legally).  When I was a Sophomore in high school, I started noticing that I couldn't make out the writing on the  chalkboards very clearly and people's faces were blurred from a distance.  After a few tests with on the the best Ophthalmologists in the city, it was determined that I would be diagnosed with Stargardt's Disease.  I like to explain to people that i's very similar to Macular Degeneration but instead, it occurs in children and adolescents.  So, I was given corrective lenses to help with the vision that I still had but there are no treatments for the disease itself.  So, I sat up front in all of my classes and my teachers would give me large print versions of tests, etc.  I couldn't read anything from a regular text book.  The local Lion's Club provided me with a Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) which is a machine that magnifies text.  It was the only way I could read anything clearly.

I think back to my high school years (which I absolutely adored) and think people must have not known about my visual impairment unless they were in a class with me.  I probably ignored people walking through the hallways of school because I honestly couldn't make out faces clear enough sometimes to identify someone.

How do I do work on the computer?  There are such great resources now for people with visual handicaps.  I use a program called Zoom Text.  It automatically enlarged the fonts and icons to whatever size I set it up to be.  It's wonderful.  Yes, I still miss things and easily make typos but it does the job.

I digress....

OK, we're married and working, living in Edgewood, and we own a dog and a few fish.  Pretty easy life.  After all of our close friends all got married, some of them decided to start having families.  We weren't quite there yet.  We really liked the freedom of this life of no real responsibilities.  Then as the babies started arriving,  I started to get the  itch.  We decided to not try but not take precautions either.  In September of 2002, we found out that we were expecting a baby.

THIS is where the story of Olivia would begin.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

No Yoga for you

So much for releasing stress and anxiety in hot yoga today.  Instead, we sat in traffic and rain behind a few fire trucks due to an accident.  Home now, safe and sound.  I suppose I'll do a T25 workout instead.  

I do hope that everyone else is safe and sound today as well.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

one day in as a blogger

Well, I've done it.  I've started writing my own blog.  I wrote my first post this afternoon.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's HOT yoga class with my friends.  We started going several months ago and I've really become addicted to the release of stress that it gives me.  I swear I can feel the toxins of anxiety and stress ooze out of my pores.  Do the stress and anxiety return?  Yes, but that is why I keep returning each Wednesday.    I can also tell you that I'm utterly ravenous after each hour and 15 minute yoga session.

I never much physical activity while Olivia was alive.  It wasn't interesting enough to me.  Other than walking my dog, that was about the extent of my exercise routine.  It wasn't until about a year after Olivia passed when I contacted a local personal trainer, Tim.  I started meeting with him once a week back in March of 2013.  He really helped me to enjoy activity and made me more confident in my abilities and strengths.

They say that exercise is good for the sour, right?  I think so.


Welcome to my new blog, Liv Strong.

I chose this title because I used to call my daughter, Olivia, Liv.  She is now the reason that I decided to start this blog.  I will share with you my journey through life with and without my sweet Olivia.

For those of you who my be  new to mine and Liv's story, this picture is of Olivia.  She was a third grader when this picture was taken.  It's her school picture that appeared  in the yearbook.  Not as a student who was moving onto a new school and the 4th grade but as a student that never did finish her 3rd grade year.  Her picture included her birth and death dates along with a abbreviated version of our poem to her.  Olivia was died about 5  months after this picture was taken in a boating accident while she and I along with my parents and other extended family members were gathering for a weekend of fun and reconnection in Florida.