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I had fish oil the other day for the first time in a decade. I’d bought an especially high quality one called OmegaCure for my two littlest ones who can’t swallow pills and was excited when it arrived. It is flavorless according to what I’d heard from my sources and I was hopeful I could get it past them. I made them each a peanut butter and marshmallow foldover and put a glug in between the peanut butter and mini marshmallows. They gobbled it right up. Now, marshamllows are such a treat for them it’s possible I could have put just about anything in there and they’d still have inhaled it. But I was pretty confident it was due to the true flavorlessness of the oil. The next morning I opened the fridge to get some berries out for my morning smoothie and the beautiful glass bottle of golden oil was there shimmering at me. I thought, why not put a tablespoon in my smoothie? And I did. And I drank it. I ran into the laundry room and excitedly told my husband the news.

“I had fish oil!”

Silence

“I had fish oil! For the first time since 2008!”

Silence

More laundry folding

“Ya know?”

Silence. Folding,

“Since Jeremy. I couldn’t take it because of the trauma…”

“Ok good.”

Clearly not something that broke his usual daily laundry folding routine

For me, it’s a big deal. For me, the question “why not put a tablespoon in my smoothie,” has a lot of answers.

The first time I asked that question and ended up vomiting was in 2012. I was pregnant with my daughter Lena and knew I should be taking fish oil heavy in DHA for brain development. It was even more important for me than a lot of moms because I already had a son with autism and malformation of his brain and optic nerves which meant any baby I carried was at higher risk for having issues and needed the best possible start, including fish oil, folic acid and vitamin D. I managed the vitamins fine but the fish oil did me in. When my husband asked me why I wasn’t taking the fish oil capsules he’d gotten me, I had to admit to myself I wasn’t throwing them up because I was pregnant. It was because of *him*. Jeremy. The Ordeal.

No big story attached to it. Jeremy made me take fish oil capsules daily, amongst his other weirdities. Some people are health nuts. He was a health sociopath.

I’ve attempted fish oil a few times since then and it was always a No Go. Couldn’t bring myself to swallow them. The one time I forced myself to swallow them and keep them down, the resultant fishy burps sent me into a daylong relapsing remitting flashback. From that point on, I decided I was going to concede the battle for fish oil. We lose certain things to trauma. It just is. You have to fight to save the things that really matter but you have to learn to let go of the things you can afford to. Lose the battle, win the war. And all that.

But as I stood peering into my fridge this week, that fish oil looked so lovely. (Like nectar collected by little hummingbirds and their magical fairy friends. I’m not kidding. See for yourself, it’s gorgeous.)And I know my kids need me healthy. And so, I figured, why not? What’s the worse that could happen? A day of fishy burp induced flashbacks again? I’ll live.

No fish burps and no flashbacks. It was a little hard to get myself to drink it, I admit. I’ve never been so afraid of a smoothie. But my two littles were sitting there with me at the table watching and I knew I had to play it cool. So down the hatch it went. And stayed.

2018 is a big year as far as my trauma goes. A decade since the trauma started, since I turned him in, since his arrest, since my school initiated their illegal persecution of me for my decision to turn him in, since I got the school’s suspension overturned, since the PTSD began.

It’s not a sad thing. It’s a triumphant thing, I’ve decided to call it my Gala Year. The resumption of fish oil is just the beginning. There’s going to be a whole calendar full of activities commemorating the events, remembering the heroes and making sure it doesn’t happen again.

I was looking for a race to run today. Now that I’m taking fish oil, by God, I ought to be ready to start running again and eat healthy and all that, right? It’s going to take a good while to get me in shape so I Googled “races november 2018 pittsburgh” to give myself ten months. I happened upon one of those obstacle races which I’ve always had an interest in despite being painfully uncoordinated. And it was a charity run for a group that serves people for autism. Perfect, I thought, I can motivate myself to run by raising money for autism. But then when I looked into it further, it wasn’t in November and wasn’t in Pittsburgh after all (thanks Google). It’s called the Beast on the Bay and it’s on Presque Isle in September. Presque Isle, Erie PA. The city of My Ordeal. The home of Sylvia Ferretti. She who sought to shame me out of being a doctor.

And so, please note on your calendar of Gala Year events, the date of September 8th. I will be completing the Beast to raise money for autism services and for The Exodus Road, a nonprofit group that rescues sex slaves throughout southeast Asia, India, and the US using a network of covert surveillance teams and individuals. (i.e. Jeremy Hunters). It will be my first time returning to Erie since his trial in February of 2011 so I imagine there were will be other Gala events added to the calendar for that weekend. Be sure to stay tuned.

2018 will mostly be comprised of healing my children of PANDAS and building up my practice. Of watching my Auggie learn to speak and sending my Lena to kindergarten. Seeing my Max become an excellent cellist and trying not to ball my eyes out on my Mies’s first day of high school (getting dizzy just typing those words). Fighting for my PANDAS patients’ recovery and learning all I can to defeat the Bear once and for all. But it will be my Gala Year too. Let the festivities begin.