Thursday, August 28, 2014

Conscious Avoidance

At some point in this whole adding another member to the family process, we realized that we were going to have to rearrange almost all of the house. The kids have moved rooms, we've walled in the loft, regaining some of the spaces we had lost to them before. It's been a long undertaking, and it's almost done.

One of the final bits of it all involved moving the entertainment center and television back into what should be the family room, but has mostly been wasted space for five years or so because it was beneath the loft...the loft that we were using as a bedroom even though it didn't have a wall. Consequently, we always had to be quiet after the kids went to bed and the room became the place old toys and furniture went to die.

Somehow in the process, my husband sweet talked me into a new tv. Which we needed, and I know that we needed. The old one didn't have the proper connections for any of the devices or blu ray players we use these days, so it really was a rapidly aging dinosaur.

We got a new one. The enormous old tv that doesn't work with anything anymore is still sitting in my family room until I can figure out a way to get rid of it. The other tv that had been down here, even older than that one, migrated up to our room.

We finally have a grown up tv in our room. We've been married for 16 years. Not in a hurry around here. Nope.

The problem with moving it up there is that it was too big for the space we had in the armoire. To make it fit, my husband had to take out the shelf that was in the armoire.

That shelf.

The one that collected all of the things that I couldn't deal with.

Some of them had been there for a very long time.

This shelf, full of things that I put there because I couldn't read them or sort through them or look at them, it's sitting on my floor at the moment. The contents piled up in the cradle because he had nowhere else to put them.

This shelf, it was full.

There are the trinkets the kids have made over the years, tiny baggies of lost baby teeth. Notes from friends who'd been in the places I'd been, carrying words of wisdom and understanding. Containers of things my mother sent when she was frantically cleaning out the house after my father passed away, when she was in this bizarre phase of purging and buying and purging and buying. Every bit she discarded or mailed to me was replaced and then some, so she never made any actual progress. Containers I haven't opened in over three years.

There is a stack of cards from when my father died, some of which I still haven't been able to read. The rough draft I hand wrote of the eulogy I gave at his funeral is in there. Notes from the people who came to the funeral tucked into my hands as they said their goodbyes. Boxes from his dental lab full of random pieces of who he was. A gift bag stuffed with pictures...

The bag of pictures.
Moments like this make me so insanely
grateful for the existence of digital photography.
God.

Leaking out little pieces of the things that happened, I am. Bit by bit, it comes out.

When he was in the last days, we all sensed it, him more than us. We followed his lead. We let him sleep when he needed, we made him all the margaritas he could have wanted. Ran to get whatever food sounded good to him. We rearranged furniture almost constantly and adapted medication schedules every single day. We knew the time would be soon, though I don't think any of us had any real idea of how close it was.

Mom, though, she was lost. Manic is really the only word that could describe it. She couldn't deal with the fact that he was dying or that she couldn't dictate how it was going to happen. Perhaps if we hadn't been there, things might have been different. I don't know and guessing about things like that does me no good.

She compulsively had to occupy her time in whatever way she saw fit, even if it wasn't productive or useful. Even if it was destructive.

In those last days, she became very destructive.

There are moments from that last week that I've tried to block from my memories because they were so awful.

This bag of pictures, part of it all.

At some point in the last month of his life, she decided that she needed to make a scrapbook. I'm not sure who it was for, honestly. He could have cared less. He was too busy dying to be bothered with anything like that, and he knew that he wouldn't be around to ever see anything completed anyway.

She said she was making it for him, but I think that's just how she rationalized it all.

We all knew she was doing it for herself. To stay busy.

In the process, she was making a huge mess almost constantly. Scraps of paper everywhere. Tables completely taken over by it all. I don't know how many of you have scrapbooked, but it's not a contained and tidy hobby. Combine that with a house full of medical equipment, people coming and going, a dying father, and the general chaos of all that she was...it wasn't pleasant.

We tried, oh how we tried, to just let her be. Clearly this was her coping mechanism, even if it didn't make any sense to any of us, and so we tried to let her be.

We tried. We tried until one night when we saw what she had begun to do in the construction of this scrapboook. She'd started to disassemble all the photo albums in the house and cut up old pictures.

She was cutting up wedding pictures and the only remaining copies of pictures of them from when they met in high school. She was cutting people out of pictures, destroying the images left from our childhoods. She was even, gasp, cutting polaroids. You can't cut polaroids without completely ruining them.

We all stood there, shaking our heads in disbelief.

And so when she went to bed that night, we sorted through what wasn't glued into the scrapbook already. We chose carefully, selecting the most important pictures to us, taking enough but not too much. We didn't want her to realize that some of the pictures were gone, but we had to try and salvage some of it. We couldn't let her ruin it all.

Those pictures. They've been sitting in that bag ever since.

I'm not even sure what I grabbed anymore. I have never been able to bring myself to look in the bag.

And now it is time.

I have to sort through it all, I can't avoid it anymore. The shelf that used to hide all these things from me is gone, and they're filling the space that I need to clear for the baby to come home.

I don't have a choice anymore.

I can't avoid it.

This has been bothering me since the weekend, bothering me more than I realized. Last night, several vivid dreams of everything that happened back then. It's coming back and I have to deal with it now.

Conscious avoidance has served me well thus far, but I can't do it anymore.

Confronting the past is awful sometimes, but right now it's my reality.

These are the things the living are left with when the dead are gone.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Post Partum Depression and Placenta Encapsulation

Yesterday, I finally asked the question that I've been meaning to ask my obgyn for months and had been putting off. I needed to know whether the hospital I will be delivering at releases placentas to patients. I need to know now so that I can get the things ready to take it with us and set up a person who will be processing it for me.

In the days leading up to the appointment, I had to actually tell my husband about my plans too, assuming that the hospital would let us take it home.

You should have seen his face. The abject horror.

I think maybe he thought I was going to make him eat it at first.

He's heard me talk about things, you guys. The dangers of living with a doula.


While I marvel at the magnificent wonder of the placentas I've seen, while to me they are easily the most fascinating organ that exists, while I could stare at them for hours with each opportunity I get to see them...he sees them as the same thing that most people see them as. A byproduct of birth that goes in a bowl over there, and then they throw it away or incinerate it or whatever they do with it because it's bloody and gross and looks like a slab of raw meat.

This is why I'm the doula and he isn't.

Incidentally, when I told him why I was having it done, he was 100% on board with the idea. I would process it myself, but I don't have all the necessary equipment here to do it.

Anyhow, I'm bringing the placenta home from the hospital, and I am having someone (not sure who yet, still working on that part) encapsulate it. Essentially, it is processed by drying it and grinding it into a powder that is then put into capsules that I will have to take as needed after delivery.

Every batch of capsules, necessarily specific to each mother/child combination.

I'm not frying it up in a pan or planting a tree or any of that stuff. I absolutely do not have any issues with anyone who does any of those things with theirs at all. I know women who have eaten them. I know quite a few women who still have theirs sitting in their freezers.

Placentas are not gross. They are ridiculously cool. End of story.

Let me tell you a little bit about them, and hopefully it'll be enough to turn some of you out there reading into true believers.

The placenta is the only organ that ever spontaneously arises. It has one goal and one goal alone, which is to connect one life to another. It doesn't actually belong to either the mother or the baby, it belongs to their union. Somehow our bodies figure all that out, and escort the placenta right on out shortly after birth barring any complications.

If you ever have occasion to attend a birth where you aren't the one delivering, ask to check out the placenta afterwards. I can promise you that it is way cooler than you think it is. Umbilical cords are just as awesome, and they come in all shapes, sizes and colors. A dear friend of mine delivered a child with a true knot in the cord, and we all gasped in the delivery room when we saw it, knowing how lucky she and the baby had been. A client of mine once had a twin gestation that ended with only one baby. The placenta, though, it held all the evidence we ever needed that there had once been two babies attached.

Fascinating.

The reasons for placenta encapsulation are a few. For my purposes, I am having it done in the hopes that it will help me to avoid and/or manage any symptoms of post partum depression. I have a history of developing the condition, and have chosen to be pro-active about it this time. I don't want to sit here and wait to see if it manifests, I want to know that I'm doing what I can to avoid it.

Placenta capsules can help increasing both the volume and quality of a mother's milk supply, can help ease the transition from pregnancy to motherhood. They are said to assist with pain relief and anxiety, to help rebalance hormone levels, help with physical recovery, reduce bleeding and more.

Many cultures around the world recognize these benefits far more than we tend to, and in most instances women will consume the placenta immediately after birth.

Encapsulation allows the benefits to be spread out over a longer period of time, on an as-needed basis.

In addition to trying this strategy, I'm also working on being a lot more open about my history. Part of that means telling all you guys that I've dealt with it before, that I'm afraid of it coming back this time, that if I start to sink into my hole, hopefully someone out there reading will pick up the subtle cues if I fail to admit it again.

Part of it means that my husband is totally aware of what is going on with me now. PPD was something I managed to keep from everyone, including him, for over a year. A flipping year. I fully anticipate that he'll be all up in my business this time around, mostly because he has learned the hard way just how stubborn and secretive I can be, and how dangerous that is.

Part of it means that I have a therapist all lined up in case I need to go there.

Part of it means that I have to talk about this stuff, not just with medical professionals, but with friends, with family, with other moms who've been to this dark nasty place.

Part of it means that I have to force myself to face it, because I know how bad it can get if I don't.

So, yeah...I'm bringing a baby and a big bag of human meat home from the hospital. On purpose. Then it's going to help me heal.

Don't make that face. 

Honest. As a doula, part of what I do is educate people, women in particular about the benefits of all this stuff. Our bodies are pretty freaking amazing and they can help in so many ways that we may not even know about because of societal biases against them.

Birth isn't supposed to be sterilized and clean and neat and tidy, even if we've been conditioned to believe that.

Birth is messy and real and bloody and gross.

It changes us, and it isn't something that ends the moment the baby is born. The postpartum period is as important as whatever happens before then. We need to come around, as a society, about this truth. We need to teach moms to take better care of themselves, and we need to start by doing it ourselves.

Maybe that means we encapsulate our placentas, stick them in the fridge and pull out a few on a rainy day.

Postpartum healing.

This time around, I'm going to kick it's ass.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the welfare drug testing, NFL bans and medical research edition

Seems like there is a lot to be pissed off about this week. Could just be me I guess.

I do generally avoid the internet during the weekends, and even with a few days of that, I still have a very long list.

I guess we should just get to it.


All The Wasted Money
It never ceases to amaze me that there are all these states filled with all these people who are hell bent on drug testing welfare applicants even when the evidence keeps coming back very clearly that it is a waste of money. 

These programs are failing miserably to reveal what those who advocate for them seem so sure they will...the testing isn't at all allowing programs to refuse aid to people on the basis of drug use. It's revealing that welfare applicants use drugs at a far lower rate than the general public and the amount being spent on the testing programs is vastly more than any savings that can be identified.

The naysayers are quick to find some fatal flaw with the programs. That people are cheating on the tests or lying or they're all smuggling in clean urine or whatever. Why? I don't know. I honestly think it is because people have become so convinced that those in need are mooching off the system and abusing it that they can't wrap their heads around the truth that might not be the case at all.

Are there people who abuse drugs on welfare? Of course there are. Are there people who abuse the welfare system? Of course there are. Are those people enough of a reason to humiliate every person who comes into the system? Hell no.

We'll forget for the moment all the constitutional arguments that render these testing systems illegal, we'll forget for the moment that the vast majority of adults on welfare are caring for hungry kids, we'll ignore the fact that many of the elected representatives pushing for these tests can't keep their own noses clean....let's just rely on assumptions that keep being proven incorrect to embarrass those in need. Sure. That makes sense. While we're at it, let's waste tons of money too.

Bangs.Head.On.Wall.

Profiling is a real thing.
The events in Ferguson and St. Louis have placed the issue of profiling and how race is handled by the police in the spotlight again. A story that I first saw a few days ago is picking up more traction now, and it's one that everyone who tries to claim that profiling doesn't happen needs to read.

Seriously, go read this.

How mental illness is handled (or not) by the police
There was a shooting in St. Louis that brought up not just profiling but how mental illness should be handled by police last week. If you've not seen the video, I have to tell you that it is tremendously disturbing. In it Kaijeme Powell is seen behaving erratically. He'd been stealing from a small store in the vicinity. Police showed up on scene, shot him to death and released statements about what happened. They initially said that he was coming towards them in a threatening way with a knife over his head and that he was within a couple feet when the shots were fired.

Then the video came out. It did not line up with that story at all. His behavior was unusual to say the least. His arms were not raised over his head. He was at least 6 feet away from the officers. They shot him ten times.

It seemed pretty clear to me that something was "off" about Powell. The unfortunate reality, though, is that in cases like this one, the police don't seem to be equipped to try and diffuse the situation without the use of lethal force. What happened to tasers or disarming suspects? Why are they just being killed?

The issue isn't something that is happening only in Missouri, either. It happens far more often than most people realize, mostly to young men, all over the country. It happened again in Kansas this week when police shot an unarmed white suicidal teenage boy 16 times.  

My personal opinion here, one that I don't believe anyone has to agree with, is that these incidents are being exacerbated by the militarization of the police. I have friends and family in law enforcement, many of them in the generation ahead of us. They were trained to use their voice as their first weapon. They were trained to take down suspects. They were trained to diffuse situations. They were trained that for every action taken by a potential suspect, there was probably a reason.

They weren't trained to shoot first and ask questions later. Some of them, with decades of experience, almost never drew weapons. Ever. Even working in some of the most violent areas of the country.

As a society, we need to figure out how to stop these gut reactions and start talking to people again. We need to diffuse volatile situations instead of making them worse...and it's not just the police I am talking about anymore.

There is absolutely a time and a place for police force. There are absolutely situations where there is no other option, but I refuse to believe that those times and places exist as often as we are seeing them.

Medical Research Funding
One of the unintentional side effects of the ice bucket challenge has been that it revealed the drastic cuts in federal funding to the NIH. Budgets have been slashed year after year. The ugly truth is that we'd need ice bucket challenges to be this successful constantly to even have any hope of making up for the amounts cut.

I shared a story about this harsh reality, and realized that I needed to write a little bit more about research funding because it is something that I don't think most people really understand. Some think that we can reasonably rely on the private sector and the goodwill of people like those involved in the ALS fundraiser to adequately fund medical research.

We can't, and I'll tell you why.

There are several reasons.

The first is that biotech companies, pharmaceutical companies, and all the related incarnations, are only going to bother doing research on conditions they have a chance to churn a profit from. Meaning, they want to make a profit because that is their ultimate goal. We may want to believe that they are do-gooders and want to cure disease to save the day, but it couldn't be further from the truth. They want to make a pill, preferably a really expensive pill that they can score a patent on, that they can sell to a lot of people and make a boatload of money on.

The profit incentive is what makes the industry go around, which is why it is so rare to see any research in the areas of rare disease. There aren't enough people with ALS or (insert any other rare disease here) for them to bother. So they don't. There has been ONE cancer medication approved for children in the last 30 years. ONE. There have been an abundance of drugs for all kinds of lifestyle issues and for conditions that people live for decades with, though.

Diabetes is one of the areas that hits home for me, because every time someone shares a story about possible cures, I read up on it. It's not usually a cure, but some new treatment or medication, possibly something that can buy T1 kids a few years at a time without insulin. It would be huge progress, but it's not a cure. Because no one has a financial incentive to find a cure. They have a financial incentive to manufacture new treatments and drugs for all the patients with these conditions because they make a fortune off of us caring for ourselves and our kids.

Remove the profit incentive, and you get essentially no research at all for most rare diseases, which is exactly why the federal government needs to do the underwriting of it. And, for a long time, the federal government did just that. They sponsor what is primarily known as basic research, or huge undertakings that have multiple applications. Think human genome project stuff...and there is a huge wealth of information as a result of that program, which is then made available to all those who want to take that basic research further to find treatments, discover causes, etc. It was an insanely expensive undertaking that no private company could have or would have ever underwritten...and if they had, they would have tried to protect proprietary rights to that information.

Pull that basic funding, and all that is left are the profit motivated conditions.

So, we get meds to grow longer eyelashes while people dying of ALS get nothing.

Before you get mad at anything about the ice bucket challenge, email your representative and tell them to go back to funding research. We ALL need the basic research to be funded adequately and we absolutely cannot rely on private industry to do it.

The NFL and it's assbackwardsness
Matt Prater, kicker for the Denver Broncos, was suspended by the league for four games this week. The reason? He violated their substance abuse policy...tenuously. He has a prior DUI and they found out he'd had a few beers on vacation. (oh! the horror!) Apparently, the powers that be wanted to suspend him for the entire season, but settled on four games as a compromise.

Prater is pissed, and rightfully so.

Most of the suspensions handed down so far this year have been for substance abuse violations, but most of which have to do with off field behavior, not use of banned performance enhancing ones. That's a whole new can of worms, and they just don't want to go there...

What has people like me the most upset right now, though, is the fact that Prater is being forced to sit for four games for reasons that don't actually seem to make that much sense. I mean, yeah, he's had problems in the past. He didn't this time. He was on vacation.

Meanwhile, Ray Rice was forced to sit only two games, in a suspension that actually generated MORE controversy when he was charged with domestic violence. Rice was seen on video dragging his then-girlfriend out of an elevator, arrested and charged.

Let's just make this clear.

Drinking a few beers on vacation is worse than beating your girlfriend.

Bangs head on wall again.

Monday, August 25, 2014

This Body of Mine

This body of mine, we've had some hard times together.

I wrote a post over the weekend, a short status about how people seem to have commented on "how big" I am throughout this pregnancy. How I shrug it off and laugh and pretend like it doesn't bother me. How I know that their words aren't intended as a criticism or commentary on me per se, but are based on whatever their observations are at that moment without whatever filter they'd ordinarily have.

Something about being pregnant makes people feel compelled to comment on things about you they never would otherwise. It's as though there is this flashing "OPEN" sign to the world inviting comments from everyone who sees you.

I have tried as much this time as I ever have to not take these words personally. For the most part, it has worked, I've been able to keep the words from working their way into the recesses of my brain and setting up camp. There have been times though that they have tapped into that long standing self doubt, the voices in my head that told me for years that my value as a person was contingent on a number on a scale.

I was anorexic. 

Technically, I still could be, although that probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense since I've never been thin. 

One of the greatest misconceptions about eating disorders is that they only happen to people who are already thin, or who become that way. There are all the people like me, who never achieved those unreasonable goals, but still starved ourselves in some attempt to get there. 

The other great misconception about eating disorders is that they have to do with food or exercise. The food and the exercise are a means to an end, not the root of the problem. They come from anxiety, from a feeling of needing to control something, anything about our lives. 

I still drift that way when things spin out of control. I've learned to catch myself when it happens. When I begin to welcome the gutteral pains, when I start skipping meals, when I push the food around my plate, when I'm just "too busy" to be bothered with eating, when I start obsessing about the number on the scale...that is when I know it's back. 

So, I'd suppose then that I wasn't anorexic. I still am, and probably forever will be, though it may not be active at any given time.

Like now. 

I will be 33 weeks pregnant this week. I'm doing a very delicate balancing walk on the thin ice of gestational diabetes. I have to be super disciplined about what I eat and when and how. I have to manage my medications and my other conditions and adapt and adjust with each day to make sure it all stays in check.

When you are pregnant, everyone assumes that you want to eat all the time. That you have cravings and can satiate them. That if you want to eat a piece of cake or four slices of delicious French bread, that you can. That it's a free pass to eat, to gain weight freely, to enjoy eating for once.

I can't. 

It doesn't even phase me though because I am so conditioned to food restrictions, even if they aren't self imposed at the moment. 

I can eat like a robot, a robot who dwells in this constant state of lingering hunger, never ever permitting myself to overeat because I can't. And I can do it because I have been anorexic. 

I'm well trained.

I have cravings, but I'm well equipped to ignore them. Pretending to not feel the grumbling in my stomach is something I've refined over the years.

People ask me all the time if it bothers me to have a diet this limited. They try to find me some kind of alternative or tell me it would be okay to just have one of whatever they want to feed me.

It doesn't phase me because I've been doing it for so long for a different reason. I don't want to even talk about food because it's not worth it to me. Nothing tastes good. Anything I'd ever want I can't have. And it doesn't even phase me.

It's a strange and twisted set of abilities and circumstances, I know.

It's with all of this that the words others say come into my ears and dwell in my mind. Sometimes I can fight them off, sometimes they linger and burrow.

Never mind that I will deliver this child at the lowest weight of any of my pregnancies. 

Never mind that my blood sugar is better controlled than it ever has been in the past.

Never mind that I haven't had trouble with swelling like in prior pregnancies.

Never mind that my blood pressure is perfect so far.

Never mind any of that.

Part of what is bothering me the most right now are the assumptions that my obgyn seems to be laboring under. She, maybe because it is what she sees in her practice, seems to be convinced that no matter how stable and well I am at this moment, that it's all set to go to hell and that it will and that she's certain about it and that she will be shown to be right. She's become trite about it, commenting on how much I've grown, except that the baby has only ever measured in the 50-60th percentile range from the beginning. 

It's as though she is almost hoping I deliver a gigantic baby or suffer some serious complications just so she can say I told you so

She wants me to doubt this body of mine, and I refuse.


I refuse.

This body of mine, it isn't perfect but it isn't broken.

This body of mine, it doesn't fit into our society's parameters of beauty.

This body of mine, it struggles sometimes.

This body of mine, it is working beautifully right now.

This body of mine, I'm taking the best care of it that I can.

This body of mine, has birthed four children and will soon welcome a fifth.

This body of mine, it is stretched and tested right now.

This body of mine, it's doing just fine.

This body of mine, it's doing what it is meant to do right at this moment in time.

This body of mine, it doesn't need your criticism.

This body of mine, I am celebrating it for all that it can do and has done.

This body of mine, we can't hear you.

I don't have much time left with this pregnancy. The days are passing quickly and soon it will have completed this, its last gestation. I will never be pregnant again. I will never have this opportunity again to sit and marvel at the movements in my striped and scarred abdomen. 

So just let me have this. 

Let me embrace the magic of this time without your harsh words. 

Let me enjoy these final days. 

Give me a chance to appreciate this body for all the amazing things it can do.

xo

Friday, August 22, 2014

Summer School of Rock - Guns and Roses

There are several albums in the world of music that belong firmly in my personal soundtrack, the running background music of my life thus far.

Appetite for Destruction is one of them, without doubt.

Oh, hi. We're doing the Summer School of Rock today and Guns and Roses are up.

I have a special place in my heart for them because they hit the scene at the exact time that music started to speak to me as more than just notes and words, but as stories told, heartbreak lived, angst documented. Axl was edgy, he was raw, he was the consummate bad boy.


He was pissed. He was angry. He was passionate. He was sexy as hell. And it all worked. The guy was clearly meant to be a front man for a rock band. Having Slash beside him only helped.

That man, a single spotlight, a guitar. Magic.

The band originally formed in 1985 in L.A. with Duff McKagan on bass, Izzy Stradlin on rhythm guitar and Steven Adler on drums. Slash, of course, rocked the lead guitar and delivered some of the most easily recognized solos in music history.

They've gone through a great many lineup changes, and as of today the only remaining original member is Axl.

That first album, Appetite of Destruction, contained their biggest single song ever, Sweet Child O'Mine. They arrived on the scene at a time when rock music had been dominated by hair bands, when pop music was all the rage, and are credited with helping to reestablish a pure rock sound again.


The album, the whole damn album, was just so good. Here. Get sucked into the vortex with me.


They followed up with G N' R Lies in 1988, which went to 2 on the Billboard charts.  That album didn't churn out as many singles, but did contain one of my personal favorites of theirs, Patience. You know, one of those songs that I still find myself coming back to at times when I need to hear it again.


Use Your Illusion I and II came out in 1991, immediately hitting the top of the charts. We all had these albums, right??? I think Metallica's Black Album and this duo were the first CDs I ever purchased.

The biggest hits from those albums were Live and Let Die and November Rain, the video for which became a piece of our culture on its own merits. And yeah, you have to watch the entire thing. The whole video. The shortened radio edit version just doesn't count.


The last album recorded with Slash and Duff was The Spaghetti Incident in 1993. It was not a wild commercial success, filled with covers and signaled the end of the band's greatest days. Chinese Democracy was released since then. They'd never again see the raging hits of their first years.

In their prime, they were controversial and made news all the time. They wrote songs about topics that pushed boundaries. They managed to piss off just about everyone at one point or another, which comes with the territory when you have loud, opinionated and outspoken members. They've been accused of being racist, of being homophobic and more. They've had serious struggles with drug abuse, with violence at shows, with showing up late, with rants and more. Axl is well known for carrying on about critics on stage.

Slash's departure was a volatile one, and Axl still refuses to deal with him at all. The tension is so bad that when the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (in the first year of eligibility) in 2012, Axl refused to attend. Slash, Duff, Adler and later members Gilby Clarke and Matt Sorum were there for the ceremony.

They've never been short on passion or drama, that's for sure.

I suppose that we can always hope that Axl and Slash will at some point agree to be in the same vicinity of each other in the future, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Lightning doesn't strike the same spot twice, so they say.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The other bands and artists profiled already, in no particular order.

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