To The Lead Voter in The Parole Board, Voting About the Guy Who Raped Me

Dear Sir,

I think this is the third time I’ve sent in protests to the parole of Carl E. Chambers, who raped and sodomized me for roughly 6 hours on January 10, 1987.  It was a lovely Saturday morning in Austin, TX that quickly grew to be a matter of survival, and the ultimate nightmare.  I’ll get to what he did to  me in a minute- both during the attack and the longterm effects.   But first to Chambers character and history on parole.   I’m writing because I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to keep it together during the phone interview.  It might be a bit scattered.

Chamber’s first known (adult) conviction per the Parole Division Adjustment Statement I received, and how I understand it,    was in Illinois in December 1976 (for forgery)… his 5 year probation was revoked due to a burglary charge.  He got 1-3 years for that, but let out on parole.  Then, he was convicted of kidnapping, and released on parole in 1985.  He was then convicted of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon (I believe this was the screwdriver to the neck of a woman at a bus stop in Austin, TX), for which he got 3 years- but was paroled 8 months later, in 12/1986…. Thirty-nine days later, he lied to get me to pick up his infant nephew (a regular babysitting job) under the ruse of his brother-in-law being in an accident, and someone needed to watch the baby.   I loved that little guy, so I immediately went.   I was very naive, and knew nothing of his sociopathic or criminal  history, other than his sister telling me that that last charge was a situation where he’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time (he probably lied to her as well- she was only 19 years old).  I didn’t know what it all meant.  His sister (the baby’s mom) told me he’d been a problem as a juvenile, and the ‘black sheep’ of the family… he’s never coexisted normally in society.

With the last parole violation (domestic violence), he pled no contest… he seems to be unable to function in a world he’s never really been a part of since December of 1976.  At least 4 parole approvals, during which time he became exponentially more violent. He agreed to a 60 year sentence during a bizarre change of plea mid-trial during the trial for what he did to me.  He AGREED to a 60 year sentence.  I understand mandatory release, but why send this type of “human” back out into the public unless it’s absolutely required by law?  His track record is that of progressive violence.  He’s not safe in public.  He also moved to an unknown location while on intensive monitoring in the past.  As a sex offender, he was around his step grandsons (maybe he only has to avoid the demographic group he’s violated- just seemed weird) who were given scripted things to write for the last parole protest.  His wife married him while in prison for what he did to me- she is not a safe or reliable resource for not helping him leave the area he is supposed to be in, if they are still married.  Seriously- someone marrying a convicted rapist? He must have spun some tale for her…. her letter protesting his parole revocation screams of bad judgment and poor self esteem, if she thinks Chambers is suitable spouse material….

That Saturday morning in January 1987changed my life forever.  Yes, it’s been 28 years since he spent six hours continuously beating, raping, and sodomizing me with his penis, his fists, and a wine cooler bottle that had ragged tin foil around the top.  The force he used tore uterine ligaments.  The pain was so intense that all I could do was hold on to the coffee table leg, and focus my attention to the pain in my hand, so I could keep from screaming during the assault on my internal organs. He told me he’d kill me if I made noise.  I saw blood halfway between his wrists and elbows, on both of his arms, from “manipulating” my vaginal area.

About 11-12 weeks after the attack, I woke up with horrible abdominal cramping, and what I assume was a fetus dropped into the toilet.  I’d been a nurse long enough to remember what the photos of the pre-born look like from my obstetrics class.  I saw the side of the placenta that attached to my uterus- not the baby (who would have looked like a baby by that time).  I was so relieved to not have to carry his spawn… and yet it was a baby, and the only one I’d ever carry…. I still have a lot of conflicting pain about that.  How could I ever have made that child feel wanted, and even if I’d given it up for adoption,and  he/she found me later, what kind of pain would that cause the child to know that he/she was the product of a violent rape by a career criminal , and essentially unwanted?   I am not a fan of abortion- but I thought about it.   In the end, God was merciful enough to end that pregnancy.

I’d always wanted a house full of kids, and a loving husband.  It had been a dream for a long time. I was known as “the babysitter” during junior high and high school. I spent 11 years in the church nursery, for both Sunday services as well as the Wednesday dinner service.  I wanted my own babies.   I was a virgin when Chambers violated me, and nobody has touched me sexually since that day.  Check that out…. I’m a 51 year old virgin, minus the rape.   The thought of someone getting that close is repulsive to me.  I have male friends and family that I see fairly rarely that I’m able to hug, and it’s OK,. but  I never have been able to be intimate.  That dream of a family and kids was over.   I’ve missed a LOT of normal live events because of the rape.  Sometimes I feel rather defective because of that.

As I get older, I realize how much I miss having a family of my own.  I only have my dad (who is nearly 83 years old, so not sure if he’s going to be around for 20 more years, or ????), and a biological mom who is several thousand miles away.  There are some assorted, beloved cousins in other states.  When my dad is gone, I will be alone here, and can’t help but wonder what my life would be like had I not be so viciously attacked.  There are very few friends nearby, and they all have lives.  There is no other person who has really shared my life as long as my dad has (I was adopted at 10 days old).   I’d always imagined a husband and four or five kids.  But that dream died when the experience of being so violated changed my perspective and ability to trust.  And being “handled” isn’t something I can deal with.  Who would want to marry someone who freaks out at being touched in a normal type of relationship?  I couldn’t tolerate any prolonged physical closeness, or the awareness of someone else in my home- like when I was sleeping at night.

My parents and coworkers had a lot to deal with after I was attacked.  It never is just about the specific victim… the collateral damage goes on for several groups of people.  My mom was hurt deeply (she died in 2003, or I’m sure she would have sent in a letter).  My dad has read my police statement, per his request.  NO dad should have to read those things about his only “child”.   My coworkers had to deal with my inability to focus, and general “not me”.   I was asked to leave that job 2 weeks before the trial.
I still have hypervigilence.  I’m still untrusting of most people (never really know someone).  I still have vivid memories that bring me to tears.  I still remember the positions he put me in, all over the apartment, that cold winter morning.  I remember being an object.  Each time I send in parole protest letters, it starts it all over again, and yet I feel a responsibility to fight to keep him contained.  If the person who was attacked before me had done that, I wouldn’t be writing this.  My jaw is still ‘weak’ when I open and close my mouth (it literally cracks).  I still feel the scar in my mouth where my teeth went through my lower lip when he slugged me in the jaw.  I’m still triggered when I hear about something in the news, or even in a movie.  My perspective about a lot of things is different now.

These are the ‘simple’ reasons I don’t want Chambers let out.  Emotionally, it’s much more complicated.  He will hurt someone else- it’s his pattern.  I don’t wish him ill will… but I do feel a need to do what I can to protect others from him.

Thank you for your time.
Sincerely,

The Survivor/VIctim of TDCJ# 00453210
His 60 year sentence is also a life altering sentence for me.

eBay Buyer Wants Refund First, Return Later… No Refund W/O Return (at my expense)

Someone bought a doll I had listed.  I’ve sold MANY dolls on eBay (like more than 100 since 2004), and never had any issues.  I made a mistake on the brand of this doll, and the buyer wants to return him. No problem.  Normally, I have a no-return policy, but I did make a mistake.  I’ve repeatedly let her know that I’d be glad to send the shipping costs to her, and once I get him back in the same condition I sent him (pristine), I’d refund the remainder.  I have more than 1,200 transactions (buying and selling, since 2004) with %100 positive feedback.  She has 6 as a buyer.  Since 2010…. that’s it.  She has no clue.

I will NEVER accept bids or buys from someone with less than 25 transactions and %100 positive feedback again.

Thanks for that, Shelley P … you successfully taught me to never trust a newbie.   I did make a mistake.    I don’t list a lot of stuff- sort of like a periodic mini garage sale.  I aim to be accurate.  I missed one.  But I’m not a doormat or ATM (geez, I’m on disability… the eBay sales help cushion a deficient income).  To get a refund, the item MUST be returned.   End of story.  NO negotiation.   I’m willing to send shipping money… if she refuses that, she’s out of options.

According to eBay policy, the merchandise is to be returned prior to full refund.  I’ve talked to two eBay reps about this, and have a list of e-mails between us that eBay has full access to in reviewing this pain in the ass buyer.   Like she could go to Target and ask for a refund without the merchandise?

With her first complaint about the brand being the wrong one (looked just like a Berenguer- he’s been on the shelf for so long, that I forgot he was a Dia), she also wanted to send PART of another transaction back…. to pick and choose, on a listing that was correct (and not eligible for returns).  AND to be refunded for all of her purchase expenses, while keeping two of the four dolls in the correct listing.  Seriously?   I’m questioning her mental capacity.   I will block her once this is resolved.  She will no longer be able to bid/buy anything I list.  The stress of people like her isn’t worth it.  My life is much better without her being even a fringe possibility.  As soon as someone comes across as untrustworthy, they’re history in my book.   And I don’t trust her.  Her demands are nuts.   I’m sure her planet misses her.

I’ve received 4-5 messages that she wants her money before sending the doll back, and have said the same thing each time- I will refund her fully after she sends him back at my expense.  I made a simple mistake, and apologized for that.  She’s trying to fleece me because of it.  I’ve reported this to eBay twice by phone, and in 2 ‘report buyer’ options.  Fortunately, eBay can read any messages between the buyer and myself.

For the new eBay users who can’t bid on items because they have fewer than __ transactions, this is why.   People like Shelley P.  don’t want to play nice.  Thank her

17" Dia (brand) doll... looks a LOT like a Berenguer.

17″ Dia (brand) doll… looks a LOT like a Berenguer.  This is the condition he was shipped out in… I’ll take him back.  And THEN refund the purchase price. 

 

 

Attention Prilosec / Omeprazole Users Who Have Intense Fatigue…

Obviously, folks should check with their doctors, but here’s an observation I have made in the last two days.   I’ve been on omeprazole or pantoprazole for about 7.5 years.   That coincides with the approximate time when my energy level tanked big time.  I wasn’t great before, but really went downhill.  I thought it was from various other things- including other meds and  chemo, which is a special kind of “nobody home”.  But I’ve been done with chemo for almost 4 years… and have still had debilitating fatigue.

A week ago, I changed over to ranitidine (Zantac OTC); I’d talked to my doc about changing because of cost a while back.  I finally got some, and made the switch.  The first week wasn’t great with the GERD, but I was more alert.  I’ve doubled the dose this week to see if that makes a difference (checked the package label to be sure dose was OK).   Today, I looked up some of the interactions and side effects with omeprazole (and PPIs)- and sure enough… there were issues with the other meds I was on, as well as other people talking about severe fatigue.

I’m on clonazepam (seizures and dysautonomia), which doesn’t clear as well when taking PPIs (class of drugs omeprazole is in).   I didn’t know that !  Diuretics are also not great with the PPIs.   Plus, now, they’ve been linked with heart attacks.

I’m not running marathons, but have gotten some things done that have been sitting here for years (literally).  I sent an e-mail to my doc (she’ll get it on Monday).   Anyway, I’m just throwing this out there in case some other folks with horrible fatigue might be on one of the meds in the same class as omeprazole ( they end in ‘-azole’).

UPDATE:   Zantac/ranitidine isn’t working… had to go back to pantoprazole.  :(

How Far Can I Safely Restrict?

I’m struggling with weight loss.  I gained a lot during chemo for leukemia, then went into menopause shortly after finishing cancer treatment.  My ability to drop weight nosedived, and it’s been really hard to look at what my body has turned into, and not be able to get rid of the weight.  With a history of anorexia and bulimia, I also struggle with how much I can restrict my intake, and not fall back into full-on eating disorders.

I’ve done the Nutrisystem thing (I can’t take all of the sweet food).  I count calories.  I watch fat and fiber content.  I see what I look like, and desperately want to get rid of the horrible weight.  I’m not looking to get skinny… just not ‘gross’.  I’d come to terms with my weight before the cancer, and while I wasn’t at my ideal weight, I could live with myself.  I know that appearances are ridiculously stupid reasons to diet- but how I feel in my own skin doesn’t seem so superficial.  It feels really important.  My thigh muscles are atrophying from neuropathy (diabetic and that was made worse from chemo as well), so I need less for them to lug around !

SO, how do I reduce calories more, but not get crazy?   How do I see the numbers go down (about 20 pounds total so far from the highest post-chemo weight), and not slip into the ‘numbers game’ ?   How do I resist the urges to not eat once I start losing weight steadily?  (Assuming I will lose weight steadily).  How do I get healthier, without getting sick in other ways?  How do I not get back into the ‘high’ of losing weight?   And it was a ‘high’. A really strong, gripping ‘high’.

I already think about it 24/7.   My grocery list would make Jillian Michaels proud.  I buy things in single portion packages when possible.   The produce section is my favorite place to shop.  I can eat plain fish or shrimp,  cottage cheese, and hard-boiled eggs, and LIKE them.  I’d rather have an orange than the ultra-junk Nutrisystem desserts.   But even healthy fats make me nervous (avocado, olive oil, nuts).  “White” foods (rice, potatoes, pasta, bread) are ‘bad’.  And yet, I’m not losing this disgusting fat.  I don’t know what else to do.  I just want to feel healthier from a weight standpoint.  And not fall apart.

The More I’m on Social Media…

…the more I don’t much like people.  I don’t mean the people I actually know (though I’ve pruned the herd on Facebook recently- I mean really… who needs to be ‘friends’ with someone they have had no relationship with other than passing glances 30 years ago at church?  I keep ‘friends’ limited to folks that I have something in common with besides some mutual friend).  I’ve booted some nice people, who just have nothing in common with me, other than some superficial acquaintance-ness in high school.

I LOVE Facebook for keeping in touch with family and friends who I actually know, and who add something positive to my life.  The updated photos, blurbs about what they are up to, the chance to wish them well during good and bad things in their life, etc…. that is what I want to keep in contact about.  NOT some fringe association with someone who is negative, or has an ego larger than their zip code.

The folks who really drive me up the wall are the negative posters.   Those who find all they can about some situation or person that is negative- even if nothing of the sort is part of the actual article.  Some of this is on Facebook, and some is in the comments of articles elsewhere online.  They can’t see something positive in anything.  IF someone handed them $1M in actual cash, they’d whine about the serial numbers on the bills.  I don’t get it.   Their lives must be so miserable that to spread their nastiness is the only way they can feel better about themselves.  Pretty pathetic- and not something I want to bother with.   That last part is hard, since I do like to interact... (online is my primary source of human interaction)… it’s just gotten to the point of anticipating that there will always be jerks, and the nice folks get lost in the shuffle of bitterness.   IF someone posts a photo of a baby wearing sunglasses, some bonehead will want to alert child protective services, as the sunglasses could break into pieces that could puncture the kid’s eye…. all from a photo, and a staged one at that.  Geez- lighten up, and enjoy the cute kid !!

Why is it so hard to look for the positive?  I’m not exactly sitting here without challenges.  I’m disabled, and essentially homebound- and yet I’m so thankful that I’m still able to live independently, with a functioning mind, ability to read, crazy dog, nice TV, safe apartment, etc.  I could dwell on the negative things that have gone on in my life, but what would that accomplish?  I’m in pain every day.  I’m diabetic. My spine is deteriorating. Blah, blah, blah… but I’m here, and find joy in the simple things.   Do I miss my life before things went south?  Yep.  But things can ALWAYS be worse.  When I worked on a neurology/neurosurgery floor, and later a head injury rehab center, I saw some seriously messed up people.  Many would never function independently again.  Others would eventually die from complications from their disorders, diseases,  or injuries.  THAT is sad.

I also don’t understand the self-righteous outrage about things that are irrelevant to the person being so negative.  Who cares what someone else does?  If there is no obligation or mandate that I do what I don’t like, why does it matter if someone else does?  I can’t live any life but mine.

I’m a Christian, and constantly hear about how ‘stupid’ Christians are.   Well, I don’t find atheism to be logical based on my beliefs, but who am I to tell someone that they are of subpar intelligence because of that?  Just over a difference of beliefs or opinion?  Why?  Why make it an attack?  I’m not demanding that someone believe what I do.  How are my personal beliefs of anybody else’s concern?   Am I only supposed to express what someone ELSE finds acceptable?  Does the First Amendment only apply to certain folks (a list that changes daily)?

It’s so hard to be a part of anything where the participants are so hellbent on being cruel and condescending.  Why would I want to believe or listen to someone who hears one thing, and makes a snap judgement about me, and is always negative?  Or interact with someone who can only see things through their own limited knowledge about who or what they think I am?

Now Facebook has settings, that I can’t change, that ‘force’ me to weed through posts made by and to my friends.  People I don’t even know have their stuff on my newsfeed.  If anyone ‘likes’ or comments on something or someone else’s page, I have to see it.  That means if I like or comment, my friends are stuck with it on their page.  How is that supposed to be pleasant?  I want to keep up with people I know- not their friends who I’ve never heard of.  Getting specific personal messages on my newsfeed from my friends’ friends that were posted to them specifically seems intrusive.  The messages weren’t directed to me- why should my friends’ personal interactions be on my page?

“Old fashioned e-mail” is looking better.   And I’m so glad I have a dog to interact with.  She might not talk much, but she’s always positive ;)

 

The Weird Thing About PTSD

I was raped, sodomized, and beaten for six hours back in January 1987.  Twenty-eight years ago.  Initially, I knew what I “should” feel like, but didn’t really register much.  But that wasn’t really anything new- I’d been pretty good about not registering specific feelings for a long time.  As I’ve gotten older, and had more life experiences, the specific emotions have become much more identifiable.  And unpleasant.  I’ve been through enough therapy to recognize specific feelings, as well as have a greater understanding of what others go through who have been in similar situations.  And sometimes, not so similar situations.  Those can be triggers as well.

I had never been much of a crier.  I’d boo hoo once in a while, but for the most part, I could suck things up and move on.  That has changed.  Some of that is from a good thing: I’ve been able to understand how other people feel with both good and bad events.   That has been a huge ‘plus’ in so many ways, but it also makes my own memories and reactions that much more intense.  I’m a regular faucet now whenever there’s anything that remotely sets off my own memories.  Doesn’t even have to be all that similar.  Just has to trigger a feeling of some sort.

With another parole protest going on, I’m even more on edge.  For the most part, my daily functioning is ‘normal’.  Movies and TV shows can be really tough.  The news stories can be absolutely grueling.  I feel SO badly for those who are violated and/or lose a significant part of their life.   I have to ‘pace’ my exposure to the news.  With TV and movies, I generally have seen most of the episodes before from several series, so know to ‘brace’ myself during specific scenes… but sometimes even that doesn’t work so well.   In one episode of “Law & Order: SVU”, ‘Olivia’ walks out into the squad room after having been held hostage by a serial rapist/stalker who takes her out of the city to a seasonal house (that doesn’t belong to him).  She beats the snot out of him, and has to make a statement.  When she walks out into the squad room, it brings up all sorts of feelings of when I had to walk out of the apartment of my neighbor, after being raped.  There were news stations/cameras and people lining the sidewalk, and looking at me.  One of them lowered her camera, and looked down- giving me the first bit of dignity after that life-changing event.  When ‘Olivia’ walks through that group of people, it stirs up so much.

Some would argue that watching such shows as “Law & Order: SVU” and “Criminal Minds” are poor choices given my background, but I disagree.   In those shows, they show as much as they can about the impact that crime has on the survivors (I hate the term ‘victim’) and, they get the bad guy in 48 minutes.  The good guys win.  There are characters that include the ‘collateral damage’ of crimes against individuals.  And sometimes, the shows are hard to watch.  But it was much harder to live through an event that would be a plausible story line for those shows.

I’ve been much more ‘tender’ this time around with the parole protest.  I’m getting so tired of them, but at the same time, I feel responsible to keep fighting to keep him locked up.   He doesn’t deserve to be out. He agreed to a 60 year sentence in a plea bargain.    He offends EVERY time he’s on parole. Since he was 18 years old, parole is just another opportunity to rack up more ‘victims’.  I’m angry that the woman he attacked prior to attacking me just blew off sentencing.  Had she made sure he got as much time as possible, I wouldn’t have been raped.   I don’t want that same burden on my shoulders.  I may not be able to control the decisions of the parole board, but I am involved.  If they let him out, it’s on them.

In the meantime, I have to talk myself down now and then.  And sometimes, I have to just let myself cry and feel whatever is going on.  On good days, I write.  And every day, I have to remember how much I have to be thankful for.   PTSD isn’t something that gradually resolves in a predictable manner.  It comes and goes when the triggers set something off that is associated with some memory or feeling.  It doesn’t have to make sense.  It just is.

 

Brain Dump… or Just Getting Weird

OK, for those who know me, the ‘getting weird’ part might be nothing newsworthy.  I go through times when I’m skating along fairly well with the medical stuff, and then something happens, which freaks me out because of the cancer history and neurological issues, and I get in a funk.  I’ve been having trouble swallowing consistently, and have finally asked for a referral to the ENT (should hear about an appointment time soon).  Raw carrots and medications get stuck regularly, and things like rice or dry chicken are sometimes downright scary.   I guess I’ll find out about that when I finally get to the appointment.

The continued atrophying of my thigh muscles is still an issue.  I do what I can to stretch, walk around the apartment, take out the trash, and do my own grocery shopping (very painful).  The days after my monthly grocery store trip are generally miserable- but I’m also not good at taking the pain meds.   I try to make them last, and since hydrocodone is now a Schedule II (and requires a paper prescription for each refill- no faxing from the pharmacy), it’s inconvenient and painful to go get them. But, I’m going to have to give up and just go get them.  My doc can give me two refills per trip- just all dated for different months – so have to be filled at spaced intervals.  And, I have to take them.  I’m meticulous with other meds- but the pain meds hit me the wrong way- like I just need to buck up and get a grip.  That doesn’t work well when I’m lightheaded from the pain.

My blood pressure is also shifting (going low), so that is a problem.  I’m adjusting the meds for that.   I’m requiring less insulin, which is good- but sort of trial and error as I readjust the dose.  None of these things are any big deal… but sometimes the pile-up of several things is exhausting.  I’ve also lost a little weight (about 25 pounds from highest chemo weight; 14 since March 1st )- so that’s good, but still trying to shed more.  But I bailed out of Nutrisystem.  It was getting too focused on numbers, and my history doesn’t bode well with compulsive number calculations.  I get back into thinking about how much easier it is to lose weight when I’m NOT following some relatively rigid rules.  I think it’s a good program, but NOT for someone with a history of eating disorders.  I could feel those old patterns swinging from the rafters of my brain.

Then I look at the world at large, and the horrible things people do to each other.  I’m not going to go into specifics, since I’ll just get upset.   When I see tragedy on TV, I just want to reach through the screen and wrap my arms around those who are suffering.  SO, I pick and choose what I watch anymore. Tonight I had the weather on, as we were having severe storms again, and more tornadoes hit the area.  We had an EF-4 come through on April 9th that really tore up one whole town, and heavily damaged another subdivision.  Tonight, a 6,200 ‘lot’ camping ground was hit.  They’re still looking for people as I write this.  The other towns hit in April haven’t got their lives back together, and now some folks 10-12 miles away are looking for their lives, that are scattered around the neighborhood.  As of now, they know of 5 who are injured, and trapped  by flood waters.  But they haven’t accounted for everyone yet.

The shooting in South Carolina was an abhorrent act- and the congregation of that church are amazing examples of how NOT to hate back.  Truly inspirational people, and all before a week has gone by since nine of their friends and family were mowed down.

My brain is tired.  My limited ability to DO anything to help is so frustrating  (I can’t be outside in this weather because of the heat intolerance).    And yet, I have SO MUCH to be thankful for- and I do realize that.  I’m very blessed in so many ways.    Today, I got something I’d wanted to try for a while – Mexican street tacos- they were outstanding, and a real treat since I don’t leave home more than 2-3 times a month for groceries and MD appointments.  This did make me happy today :)  They were so good.

Street Tacos with steak, pork, and beef tongue (which was like pot roast)

Street Tacos with steak, pork, and beef tongue (which was like pot roast)

Sometimes, I just need to blow off steam :)