Archive for November, 2006

White! All I see is white!!

This world I am in is so white. I have forgotten that I have chinky eyes and straight black hair (what is left of it). I forgot about my stout frame, my deep brown eyes, my wide face. All day I see white. White on TV, the nurses that flow in and out, the food I am given to eat, the smell of this room, and the writing on the walls…. all white. All signs that I am in a white country, a white city, a white building, a white room.

A few days ago they removed my femoral picc line, wires and tubes and bags and I was once again vertical. Into the bathroom for a shower and I caught a glimpse. Is that a Holocaust survivor I am looking at? Victim of Darfur? Nope… just a sick Asian chick. But wait… Asian?? Oh yeah! There are those chinky eyes, the straight black hair, the wide face.  I had forgotten. More shocking than my hip bone protruding from my frame, my ribs clearly visible… was this face… this Asian face that I had forgotten about… again.

Talking to another KAD friend of mine yesterday I vented to her (thanks Laura!) about all the white. I said, “How come this world is so white?” She said, “It’s not. We’re just on the wrong side of it!” True that, Laura! True that!

I want to not forget that I am Asian. I want to stop being shocked at the face that looks back at me in the mirror. I don’t want to be a minority anymore. (Minority? I am the ONLY one!!) I don’t want to have to be prepared for what the next new medical professional is going to say. The silly look on their face when they are expecting to meet “Julia Mendelson” (it says so in the chart!) and instead they walk in and see Goo, Ji Hye. Smile and walk out. Two seconds later they return, confused look and slightly flush in the face, “Julia??”

I’m tired of being exotic, being “unique” and rare. I don’t want to hear “we’re all humans” from another person who is trying to get past our vast differences that make them uncomfortable. If one more person takes a glance at my Korean face and speaks louder and slower to me I am going to scream!

November 28, 2006 at 8:14 pm 7 comments

Things they say…

People say some crazy things to KADs. I’ve decided to randomly post some as they come. If you have a crazy KAD/Stranger moment that you want to share… email me: juliasworldny@yahoo.com or send as a comment.

Here is a recent one that I had with Dr. Sillypants (my name for the new MD on the floor).

Dr. Sillypants: [reading through my chart] “So, you did not find a match in your family?”

Julia: “No. I am adopted.”

Dr. Sillypants: “What do you mean?”

Julia: “I mean I was born in Seoul, Korea and then adopted by white Americans as an infant, so I do not know my biological relatives.”

Dr. Sillypants: “Oh.” <insert long pause here and confused look> “I just thought….” <insert the sound similar to hmmph> “I thought only the niggers give away their babies.”

How would you have reacted??

November 26, 2006 at 6:26 pm 16 comments

Adopted, Again.

I’m told that my first word was “mine.” My second word was “beebee.” My mother calls me “baby crazy.” She said that when I was just about 12 months old I would sit in the cart at the store and point out all the other babies (some older than I was) and scream out, “beebee!!”with such delight. I loved my baby dolls as a very young child – treating them like real babies… being sure to entrust a proper baby-sitter to them when I was not allowed to take them with me. In Kindergarten, I made a “Book About Me” and after the line “When I grow up I want to be…” I wrote, “A Mommy.” I wanted to be a mother so badly that my mother would call me “Mamala” (Yiddish for “little Mommy”) from the age of about 11 months until this day.

Last year, a friend of mine gave birth to her first child. The process of watching her through her pregnancy and then entering motherhood got me thinking a bit more realistically about what this experience is all about. I became frightened at the idea that becoming a mother would be walking in the shoes of my own birth mother… as all I know of her was that she was once a pregnant woman and then she birthed me. It ends there and that is all she is to me. The idea of having someone in my life who is my biological relative as well is scary. What will I tell him/her about who he/she is? I know nothing about what it is to be genetically me. I only know how to be alone, genetically speaking.

So, when I started to feel sick from the chemo, in the early stages of this cancer battle…. I started to think about what was happening to my body and how this would affect and effect me later in life. I secretly wondered, “would I become infertile from these treatments?” I was afraid to ask my doctor this question, because I was not sure yet if that would be a blessing or a curse. I just pushed the idea away and as things got harder day by day, my life became more of a focus on survival rather than reproduction.

After the bone marrowtransplant (BMT) in a somewhat silly conversation, my boyfriend made a comment on the fly to me about how I was now a genetic mix of three different people. The simple comment got me thinking about how I might have changed, genetically, from the transplant. I wondered, again, [disclaimer: at this period of time I was taking lots of meds and I was not thinking very clear] how this might effect any offspring of mine. The wonder became worry and the worry became obsession. I decided to ask my doctor.

One thing I have learned: When a medical professional says, “_________ does not always cause _________” what they are really saying is, ” _________ will probably cause ________.” So, when my doctor said, “well…. chemo does not always cause infertility.” I heard, “you will never be able to know another biological relative.” That is when I knew this was a curse and not a blessing.

Maybe it’s because when you know you cannot have something that is when you want it the most. But, I feel adopted again. I feel robbed again. I feel like the victim again. And I just cannot wrap my head around why me? Is it not enough that I lost all of my genetic connections in 1984? Don’t I deserve another chance to know someone related to me? Don’t I deserve it more than anyone else?

November 19, 2006 at 12:48 am 8 comments


Julia’s Jam

It’s just not that black & white. Not because I am taking a stand against. Just because, the issues I face are somewhere in the grey area and to weed through them, I blog. I blog. ~

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