Corned beef and pastrami on rye with a side of heroin.

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:55-04:00 October 26th, 2015|addiction, anxiety, death, grief, harm reduction, heroin, Life, recovery|

12 years ago today I said goodbye to my brother, who after being in a coma for days following a drug overdose, finally let go and passed away. This date will always be difficult, though some years I manage it better than others. The first year was the most horrible, because as my mother and I had ended our evening celebrating my brother by dining on some of his favorite foods, we learned that his beautiful girlfriend Ashley, had overdosed earlier in the day. I can’t possibly communicate the devastation we felt yet again, and then basically had to have the same funeral all over again a year later. Ashley’s parents were in New York a couple weeks ago. I hadn’t seen them in 11 years and to be honest, I was dreading it. Sure, we are connected on Facebook, and “likes” here and there and words of love and support have been shared online, but I just couldn’t imagine sitting with them again, face to face. I met up with them and my mother, after allowing the parents to share some time between them, and it was hard, and easy at the same time. Ashley’s parents looked great, and they were so sweet and lovely. They asked after my children and we chatted about their son, and their business, and what restaurants they should eat at while they were in the city, and you wouldn’t have known there were ghosts sharing the table with us, but they were there. Jonathan and Ashley, remembered in life, vibrant and charismatic, and missed by all of us.

One of the themes that gets thrown around in the world of drug users and recovery, is powerlessness. It’s a tough word, and a word that sets me off, because I don’t like being powerless. That motivated me to change the word in my vocabulary, at least in this milieu, because I spent part of my day today, in honor of Jonathan and Ashley, gaining power. I am now officially trained and have the power to train others, in how to reverse an overdose. If you, or anyone you know, uses heroin or opioids (i.e. morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone), you need an Overdose Prevention Kit, and now I have the capability of getting you one, and training you in how to potentially save someone’s life. You don’t have to be powerless either. Feel free to reach out to me privately at julie@totemtamers.com if you have any questions. I am forever grateful to the amazing crew at http://harmreduction.org, for answering all my questions, teaching me, and helping me grieve in a powerful and productive way. Now, there’s a corned beef and pastrami on rye with my name on it, and my brother would have loved it!

You don't have to be powerless.

You don’t have to be powerless.

Stay well.

The most profound irony in all of this by the way, is that my stepfather, Jack Fishman, invented naloxone. In honoring my brother and Ashley, I also honor Jack’s legacy.

Totems Around Town on Tuesday!

By | 2015-10-06T15:44:51-04:00 October 6th, 2015|accessories, animals, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bulldogs, dogs, gift, gifts, inspiration, Life|

I just love alliteration! Walking around town with Bulldog in tow and we came upon this familiar face!

  Bulldogs on ice! 

That’s why it’s always a good idea to have a Totem with you! Send us a picture of your Totem around town to julie@totemtamers.com!

Stay well. 

If you need a Totem, get a Totem! Visit our store at www.totemtamers.com/store!

Parenting, one stitch at a time.

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:56-04:00 October 2nd, 2015|childhood, friendship, injury, Life, parenthood, parenting, plastic surgery, surgeon|

The text from my son read “I’m coming home. Need some medical attention. I don’t want stitches.” Sure, that’s the moment when I could choose to panic, to get angry, to freak out, but thankfully that’s not the route I go. I’m good in chaos. Like when a dear friend was having some scary heart related stuff and her husband said “I want Julie here, she can help and get s*#t done.” I’m good at gettin’ s*#t done. So I text back and ask where the injury is and tell my son to get home so I can have a look. “There’s a hole in my lip,” was the response, and I knew the first phone call I needed to make was to a plastic surgeon. Thankfully my pediatrician and my google search came up with the same option which made my decision easier. I mean, to have my kids doctor refer us is one thing, but Google too?! I knew I was in good hands. Ok seriously, we did end up in the extremely kind, patient, and well-skilled hands of Dr. Monasabien and his staff. Bloodied, and with what turned out to be more than one hole in his lip, we showed up at the office, which they kept open after hours so my son could be seen. The doctor popped right out and was immediately calming and welcoming. He asked all the right questions, and not to me, but to my son, which I thought was great and empowering for my kid. Sure Dr. Monasabien was mindful of me and my concerns, but his respect for his now patient, was well-received, and garnered him the immediate trust of my son. The doctor explained what would happen so there were no surprises and took us in to the procedure room. Two nurses, who also stayed late to help us, went into action assisting the doctor, while also checking on me. My boy was such a trooper, partially because he might have been in a bit of shock, but also because everyone in the office was so completely chill.

In stitches...lots of em.

In stitches…lots of em.

It turned out to be worse than any of us had initially thought and he needed a boat load of stitches, but thank goodness it was easily sutured. He will heal and have a sexy scar to boot!

Now there’s the matter of how this happened, and it turns out it was a total accident. Basically, my sons very good friend was horsing around and clocked him. The friend walked him home and could barely make eye contact with me as he clearly felt terrible about the whole thing. There was nothing to do but relieve this boy of his guilt, knowing that he’d learned a lesson about horsing around and hurting someone he cares about, and also knowing his parents would handle it on their end.

The message I leave you with is this, boys will be boys, and always call a plastic surgeon if it involves the face!

Stay well.

I was grateful I had my Totems with me to help keep me calm and grounded. Do you have a Totem with you at all times? If not, you should! Click the link to visit our store and buy one today!