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Born on the Cusp...and then I drivel off into one of my "before surgery talks to myself"

Updated on December 1, 2010

My Garden

Weeping Willow to the West
Weeping Willow to the West
The pond surrounded by bamboo and oak trees, the seats are just the right height to sit and drum.
The pond surrounded by bamboo and oak trees, the seats are just the right height to sit and drum.
I love creeping English Ivy.
I love creeping English Ivy.

Born On the Cusp

Born on the Cusp

April 23, 1968: On the cusp is what they call it, when you are born in the beginning of the Astrological sign – very close to the change between one sun sign to another. It is thought that those born “on the cusp”, have the traits of both astrological signs.

I was born not only on the Cusp between Aries and Taurus, on the Taurus side; but also on the Cusp of a generational gap that only the tragic few who have fallen into and know the secret seem to completely understand.   There seems to be a Cusp between the Baby Boomer generation which ended around 1965 and the next Generation commonly referred to as Generation Y, the New Boomers, in 1975. Those of us born between 1965 and 1975 made up “Generation X”, although I never really identified with that label. Or any label. I do know that we were born during turbulent times. I was born during the Vietnam War, one I’ve studied long and hard – to try and wrap my brain around the entire psychological trauma it caused everyone, no matter where they stood on the game board. The marches led by Dr. Martin Luther King inspired the nation but also sparked riots and violence in the city where I lived. College campuses must have been like fairgrounds or combat zones at times.  Murders, Assassinations, Kidnappings, Invasions, the Space Race, and the Cold War all raging in full bloom - turbulent times indeed.   

A child on the Cusp, born into the fray – I had it as good as any other would during those times I thought and my family was like any other. We didn’t really talk much about our home life at school, and at home there wasn’t much time or space to do anything but deal with what we had to on school nights. I don’t remember much anymore. It was forty years ago.

Today was Thanksgiving. The pain in my legs is pretty normal. The numbness is worse. I’m really dizzy. I feel numb in my face and mouth. I don’t know what that’s all about. My hips and thighs really ache.  I think I’ve lost weight, maybe its muscle. Maybe it was fat. I don’t know anymore. Does it matter? No one asks about that. I guess it doesn’t matter.

I had a migraine tonight. Right before I sat down to write this. My head was throbbing so hard. Like my brain would not fit in my skull anymore. I thought it might be trying to come out through my left eye, that’s where most of the pain was. My arms feel numb. I’m feeling some tingling in my feet right now. That’s new. Usually it just feels like the lower half of my body has been submerged in ice water, like my skin is desensitized and my muscles don’t always work the a  want them to. I tried to walk faster the other day, like I used to, and it was pathetic. I just couldn’t do it. For one thing, I didn’t go much faster. I kept smacking my ankles with the hard bottoms of my shoes and when I got to the stairs, I couldn’t feel my feet, so I half stumbled up them. And you know why I was rushing? Oh, that wasn’t the other day…it was this morning…I was outside and I thought that the way the mist was settling through the trees on this rainy foggy misty morning – just the way I could see it – through my parents bottom deck – was so pretty. With the bird feeders, and the holly tree, and the fences of the townhouses. It was stupid now that I think about it, but I wanted a picture of it and I was afraid I needed to capture the light just then. I did, but not without a few bumps.

So I wanted to take a shower before dinner tonight. A hot shower. It felt so good on my back and legs. What I could feel of it anyway, but I knew it must be doing some good. For a second I thought, I wonder if it was too hot? I wonder if I would feel it and be able to move fast enough before it burned me? I just didn’t know. And I went on to my shower.

I got to talk to my boyfriend who is in Seattle visiting his Father this holiday. I miss him so. This is the first time I’ve really been in love – in all my 41 years. Shocking isn’t it? But he has taken his time and shown me how to not be defensive and really open up and trust. He got past all my walls. I’ll talk about that one later on, it deserves a whole story – or two or three – but it makes me mad. I finally find the love of my life and this is the condition I am in.

I found out five years ago that I have Tethered Cord Syndrome. Its when your spinal cord is attached to the base of your spine at birth and as you continue to grow – your spinal cord continues to stretch with your spine instead of floating freely and wonderfully up in your spinal column. Along with this, I have a fatty tumor that has grown, a normal part of TCS, in the L1, L2, and L3 region of my spinal column.  It is pressing against my spinal cord and pushing it into my spinal column which is probably causing all of this pain and numbness. Oh and I had surgery to try and de-tether this and correct it last year – but the neurosurgeon that did the 5-hour surgery said there were too many “live nerves” in the tumor and he couldn’t get much of it out.

Well, I had another MRl. The tumor is the same size. Only now it has scar tissue from the nonsense surgery. And the new specialists and top notch neurosurgeons that I’ve been seeing say that my cord is still attached to the base of my spine. I have to have another surgery. I’ve only gotten progressively worse since the last surgery, and the pain is intolerable some days.

I went back to work last March until last month. I had to work…I need money. I have to live. I mean its not like anyone is supporting me. I’m divorced. I have a house in Colorado with renters, and I can’t sell it in this market. I need to do some work on it. I need to pay it off and pay off the debt I’ve incurred to fix the place. It’s a 110 year old Victorian. It was supposed to be my dream home. But dreams have a way of not working out sometimes. And here I am, in Virginia. Trying to stay employed at my highly cerebral job when I have to take neurological medication for all the nerve pain I’m experiencing. I feel so stupid sometimes. And I feel sometimes I’m just not as smart as I used to be.

I made it until Halloween.  I could hardly walk or sit some days. I’m afraid to drive now. I don’t multitask anymore. The pain is just too much. I can’t tell when I’m going to have an anxiety attack but my eyes will get teary, I can’t speak and I won’t be able to breathe. I feel like I just can’t get enough air. 

Did I tell you I have Bipolar Disorder too? But normally, that is easier to control. Although I hate what that does as well. I can devote another four hundred pages to what its like being a high functioning person with mental health issues. All of this together though, is very hard for me. So I have decided to chronicle my journey for the next couple of months as I can. I’m scheduled for surgery in January.

I try to keep a really positive attitude. I have faith like you wouldn’t believe, but it isn’t in anything traditional. They say that is a symptom of being born on the Cusp too. Children born on this Cusp between the Baby Boomers and Gen Y, were sometimes referred to as the Baby Busters as there were fewer children born during this time. I looked it up in Wikipedia (not my favorite source for any solid research yet, my college still wouldn’t accept it either)  and it said that we were also referred to as Generation 13 – as in the unlucky generation. Or something cursed. They say we were part of a spiritual awakening. I believe that. I don’t believe that curses have any power over you unless you believe in them. I don’t believe I’m cursed – I believe I’m supposed to learn something from all of this and somehow transform and emerge from it a new and better person. That’s why instead of complaining, I try to just move through my pain and ignore it when I want to do something. At the same time, I remember that people tell me I have to pay attention to what my body is telling me.

 I’m a firm believer that you have your own personal power – you have to charge it, recharge it, and you shouldn’t give it away. Unless you are strong – then you can use it for the good of others – to heal, teach, love, help, and encourage positive changes.  In the morning, now that I’m on disability, I go into my garden for an hour or so before I do anything else, and its there that I find the sun. I recharge my batteries, feel the solid ground beneath me, raise my arms into the sky above me and tilt my head back (when I’m sitting down or properly supported of course) and try to see the sky through the bamboo trees or the tallest limbs of the oak trees. I started earlier in the fall, collecting acorns…the ones that fell from high above and came barreling down like artillery shells around me. If they made the fall in one piece – without the caps being separated from the nut – I kept them. I have a huge collection now. Earlier I collected a different kind of acorn, but it started growing a root. So I gave them all away to people who would plant them in spaces that needed oak trees. I have no idea what I’m going to do with these or why I’m continuing to collect them.

All I know now is I’ve been writing too long and I hurt and I need to go to bed, its almost 4 AM. My sweetheart is across the entire country – but he just called to say goodnight – I keep to a better schedule when he’s here. I’ll write again tomorrow. 



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    • Erin LeFey profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin LeFey 

      6 years ago from Maryland

      Thanks so much for reading. It means a lot to me when you leave a comment. :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I read a lot of your articles and this is my first time commenting. I just wanted to thank you for your writing.

    • Erin LeFey profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin LeFey 

      7 years ago from Maryland

      Nellieanna, you don't know how much that means to me, coming from you. You truly are beautiful, inside and out.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      I'm in awe of you.

    • Erin LeFey profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin LeFey 

      7 years ago from Maryland

      Nellieanna, thanks so much for visiting. I had almost forgotten about this piece. This one was more of a diary and written a year or so ago before my surgery in April of 2010. Since then, I've just been working on recovering - I think you've read mostly that writing. Thank you for sharing all that you do in such a beautiful way. I love reading your hubs. Brightest Blessings.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Erin - or Kathy - I'm speechless. Your courage and faith are outstanding. Thank you for sharing all this. Truly.

    • Erin LeFey profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin LeFey 

      7 years ago from Maryland

      Thank you for your wishes!!! I know all about sleep cycles and when inspiration hits, it hits - especially in mania. Not much sleep then. Lately I've been going on 4 or 5 hours about 3AM til 7 or 8AM. I can't seem to make it past then. Just what my body tells me. And I hate it, I love sleeping. But I know the pendulum will swing the other way, meds or not, and I will again sink into the land of dreams and my writing will change. Never feel bad for not coming by. My hubs are always here, and I write every week or few it just grows. I just like hearing from you now and then :) I see you on other people's pages and I smile.

      Take care of yourself sweet Svetlana.

    • kallini2010 profile image


      7 years ago from Toronto, Canada


      I cannot believe I decided to read your work today. Happy Birthday! I wish you all the best, good luck and good health, as good as it can be. Some things are not in our control. I don't believe in curses, it is just so happened.

      Certain words echoed so strangely. Halloween is my birthday. Artillery - I just wrote a hub that need editing and rewriting, but still it is called "My name is Odd. Artillery Preparation", artillery being my style.

      I am sorry I don't come more often, but I don't have time even for myself. I did not sleep the night today, which should be stopped, it is not healthy.

      My doctor said - bipolar dysfunction has to do with natural and healthy cycles and rhythms - sleeping and waking as well, so I should make a schedule and force myself to follow it. But when inspiration strikes ... and everybody is asleep and nobody bugs me it is easier to write. I cannot tell you what immeasurable pleasure I find in writing these days. I think I got better in those four months.

      Now I have to pay for my sin by sleeping till noon. When will I learn?


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