18 January 2017
I’m not sure how you stumbled in, but I’m glad you’re here. With every corner of the Internet screaming “Look at me!”, I’ve only got a few moments to tell you what I’m doing here. It’s pretty simple really: I’m truth-telling. About everything. Even myself. That last one seems to be a rare commodity in today’s world. The truth seems to make people uncomfortable, even when you’re talking about family secrets from generations long past.
My family has plenty of ghosts in the closet. Some family members have gone to extraordinary means to hide their past from loved ones, the church, business associates, and friends. During my childhood my mother spent so much time escaping the past and crawling out of poverty, that neglect gave way to abuse that lasted for over 4 decades. The effects were long-lasting, seeping into every aspect of my adult life.
The one area my mother couldn’t go – my professional life – soared. With just a few college courses, my professional career culminated in a lucrative IT consultancy. I developed positive self-esteem, but it didn’t extend into my personal life. That had been a train wreck until I met my second husband. As my mother’s emotional abuse continued, it spread to my children. Everyone wanted me to break free of my her, but I felt sorry for her and didn’t. Anyway, I didn’t think I’d do well. I didn’t know who I was as a person – I’d never been given the freedom or guidance to find out. By the time I was 45, I’d had enough. I walked away from my mother and never looked back. It’s one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made in my life. And also one of the best.
What my mother didn’t realize at the time she was telling me “I’ve never don’t anything, to anyone, ever, that I need to apologize for” was that I was stuck in traffic, on my way home from the office. I tried to get off the road, but was trapped. When she hung up the phone, I simply opened my car door and leaned to the side, as my lunch slid onto the pavement. That’s what happened when I was over-stressed. Shortly after that, the clumsy kid she ‘raised’ was diagnosed with a progressive, incurable, and often fatal neuromuscular disease. My cerebellum was falling apart. I’d had the disease my entire life. Age only made the damage more apparent – the disease was speeding up. A DNA test, MRI studies, and consultations with an Ataxia Expert confirmed everything. Just when I needed a parent, I didn’t have one. My mother could never pull-off warm-and-comforting anyway. Then last year a small tumor was found in my stomach. My brain disease made general anesthesia risky. Since they needed to monitor it 3-4 times a year, I’d need general anesthesia 3-4 times per year. Yeah – no thanks. So I opted to have it removed instead.
On the 6th of February 2015, I had surgery. And a stroke. And my entire stomach and much of my small intestine was removed. I spent time in a nursing home, where I was physically neglected and then abused. Seven months later I had recovered all I was going to recover. Which brings me back to truth telling.
Once recovered enough, I decided that my focus (for the rest of my life) would be trying to stay alive. That’s exactly what every specialist told me, no matter their specialty. It’s truly tough to stay alive when you’re not absorbing the nutrients you need. I didn’t/don’t have the energy to continue to walk on eggshells – for anyone, to hide things from my grown children, and to continue to keep my abusers’ secrets. I also realized, my children really don’t know much about me, beyond their perceptions of me as their mother. And I’m not that person anymore.
So that’s what this blog is about:
- The past and how it shaped my life
- The present and how I’m surviving
- The future and the plans I’m making
- The evolution of me, as a human being
- Anything else I want to say, while I can still communicate
So who am I?
My legal name is Pamela McKinna Ross. I’ve had other last names (from my step-father and first husband). My name is not Pam. I use my legal name for medical, legal, and professional purposes.
My friends and [some] family members use Sweets. It’s a nickname and a term of endearment that separates the time I spend with them, from the time I spend getting poked and prodded when I’m Pamela. Most of my friends use nicknames as well – it’s very common in my previous line of work. I prefer being called Sweets.
I’m a truth-teller.
I am brave.