Just a first time mom writing about the randomness of life and how being mom is full of laughter, tears, fears and happiness. Living it out one gray hair at a time.

And the Countdown Begins

After hearing from the pediatric anesthesiologist last week and talking with him for 20 minutes, we have decided to go through with the MRI. Like I said before, it’s not the MRI that worries me it’s the anesthesia. That stuff can be potentially dangerous.

As the date approaches closer, July 13th, I can feel my heart dropping into the pit of my stomach and I catch myself tearing up every so often. If I’m alone, I start to cry.

Then why do it if I’m still so very nervous? Well, if my daughter does have a tethered spine, which is what they expect, the repercussions of not waiting until she doesn’t have to be put under are as follows:

1. Leg weakness

2. Loss of bladder control

3. Muscle weakness

4. Back pain

If any of these happen while we are waiting until she is a little older, it is irreversible. They would still be able to snip the thickened filum, which is what causes the tethered spine, but any “side effects” that happen cannot be undone. Like I told a friend, it’s a double edged sword.

On the one hand (decision #1), if we wait until she is 10 to have the MRI completed, meaning no general anesthesia, there is a possibility of the list above happening to her. Then, on the other hand (decision #2), there are the risks of putting your child under. I am constantly reminded of the little 13 year old girl that went in to Children’s Hospital in Oakland (which is about 15 minutes from where I live) for a tonsillectomy.  She has been a in coma ever since and this was about a year or two ago. So, as a parent, which do you choose? Option #1 or Option #2?

As the day approaches, the worse I will be getting. The most difficult thing is hiding your emotions from your child. The last thing you want her to see if the fear and worry you have for her. I asked the pediatric anesthesiologist if they could mix me up a Versed cocktail to get me through the hour or so she will be out. He just laughed at me. I don’t think he took me seriously. No, really dude, I’m gonna be needing one of those cocktails! It doesn’t have to be Versed. Just give me what you got! Too bad we don’t have bars in the lobby like some hospitals in England.

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Even though the guy helped ease my nerves a little bit about general anesthesia, nothing will really ever make me feel “ok” with this whole situation. She’s my baby, I’m suppose to protect, but all of this is just out of my hands. I have absolutely no control and that terrifies me.

Childhood Anesthesia: The Fear Through a Parent’s Eyes

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General anesthesia is deemed safe per most doctors and hospitals. A majority of individuals have gone through it. I have been through it three times. Once when I was 4 and had my tonsils taken out. Once when I was 20 and had my wisdom teeth taken out. Both of these were done with complete sedation. Then, when I had my daughter, I had to have a C-section. A different form of anesthesia, but anesthesia none the less. I don’t do very well with anesthesia. With the sedation, I get ill and emotional.

I remember when I had my wisdom teeth taken out, my mom told me that the doctor’s had to come get her after the procedure because I was crying hysterically. I have no memory of this, just what I was told. My mom said that she had a difficult time calming me down and that I was crying the whole way home. No idea as to why. I do, remember, pulling into the garage at home. From this point, my memory is in pieces. I can remember the garage. I can remember my mom leaving the car and me still sitting in it. I can remember my dad coming down the stairs into the garage. I can remember seeing a hand reach out to me and then I remember just seeing the color white. I’m assuming I passed out or just took a little vacation at this point. The next thing I remember is getting into my room and vomiting. Then, of course, the crying began again. I have no idea why it does this to me. Just a reaction, I guess. After that, I slept for 3 hours and woke up perfectly fine (except for the chipmunk cheeks).

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Supposedly, I was the same way when I had my tonsils out when I was 4. Woke up crying and puking. I also woke up mid-procedure. I clearly remember, to this day, waking up and seeing the doctors and nurses around me. I tried to sit up and a hand was placed on my forehead, pushing me back down. After that, they must have administered more medicine because I blacked out. I also woke up understanding, or remembering, some French words. I was told afterwards, by my dad, that the doctors were speaking French during the procedure.

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With all of this done and survived, you would think I wouldn’t be as panicked as I am when told that my baby has to be put under general anesthesia for an MRI that is scheduled July 13th. 

She is undergoing an MRI for a possible tethered spinal cord. Here is the definition for a tethered spinal cord for those of you who do not know what that is.

Tethered spinal cord syndrome is a neurological disorder caused by tissue attachments that limit the movement of the spinal cord within the spinal column.  Attachments may occur congenitally at the base of the spinal cord (conus medullaris) or they may develop near the site of an injury to the spinal cord.  These attachments cause an abnormal stretching of the spinal cord.  The course of the disorder is progressive.  In children, symptoms may include lesions, hairy patches, dimples, or fatty tumors on the lower back; foot and spinal deformities; weakness in the legs; low back pain; scoliosis; and incontinence.  This type of tethered spinal cord syndrome appears to be the result of improper growth of the neural tube during fetal development, and is closely linked to spina bifida. Tethered spinal cord syndrome may go undiagnosed until adulthood, when pain, sensory and motor problems, and loss of bowel and bladder control emerge.  This delayed presentation of symptoms is related to the degree of strain placed on the spinal cord over time and may be exacerbated during sports or pregnancy, or may be due to narrowing of the spinal column (stenosis) with age. Tethering may also develop after spinal cord injury and scar tissue can block the flow of fluids around the spinal cord.  Fluid pressure may cause cysts to form in the spinal cord, a condition called syringomyelia. This can lead to additional loss of movement, feeling or the onset of pain or autonomic symptoms.

Pretty scary stuff to hear as a parent, especially when the pediatric doctor she had been seeing since she was 9 months old said that her little crooked butt crack was nothing, when asked a few times about it by both my husband and I.

It wasn’t properly diagnosed until we had to switch health plans this year, resulting in a new pediatric doctor. My daughter had gone in for a bumpy rash that wouldn’t disappear. When the doctor looked at her bottom, which is where some of the rash still was, she immediately asked, “How long has she had this deviation?” (pointing to her little crooked butt crack). I told her that she was born with it. The doctor said that she was going to go get a camera and take a picture of it to send to a neurologist. I, of course, immediately began to cry. What was wrong with my baby? Was she going to be okay? Why wasn’t this diagnosed sooner?

A week went by and the neurology department called me, wanting to set up a consultation. At the consultation, the neurologist checked for any leg weakness (which my daughter had none) and other symptoms of a tethered spine. Everything seemed to be normal, but the only real way to check was to have an MRI done. An MRI? No big deal. That’s simple enough, until she told me that my daughter would have to be put under general anesthesia to ensure she would not move during the MRI. I understand that an MRI can be loud and scary, especially to small children, but putting my child under complete sedation? Was this truly necessary?

Time passed by and the MRI department finally called a few weeks ago to set up the MRI appointment. I reluctantly set up the appointment and immediately began to panic. Would she be okay? I don’t like the thought of them putting her under. Of course, I can’t be with her when she is having the MRI, so I will be pacing the floor waiting until they are done and I can go to recovery to be with her again. On top of this, what makes me more nervous about the whole situation is that my husband is starting to slightly freak out.

Let me explain a little bit of how my husband and I work. When I’m a nervous, emotional wreck, he is the sound of reason. That calming voice that says, “Everything will be okay.” When he is a nervous wreck (which is not often) I am the calming voice. So, if he’s becoming a nervous wreck over this, and I already am, than my gut is telling me something is wrong.

I wrote the neurologist with a BUNCH of questions, mainly about the anesthesia, hoping it would calm us down. She told me that she would have a pediatric anesthesiologist contact me to address any concerns I had, since I would not be talking to the actual anesthesiologist until the day of the MRI. I am still waiting for this phone call.

The doctors act like:

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And then there’s me:

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I try to do my research, but that’s doing nothing but freaking me out more. Still not sure if I will have this done now or if we will be waiting for it to get done. I know that this MRI is a preventative procedure and if she does, in fact, have a tethered spine, then she will need surgery to snip that little thicken filum that connects your spine to your tailbone. Another major worry. And then they make you sign all these waivers that say you will not sue the hospital if something happens to go wrong during the procedure. You better bet your ass I am going after somebody if something does go wrong. Praying to God that it doesn’t.

What about you? Has your child ever been put under general anesthesia at a young age? Did you have the same type of worries?

Reunited (and it feels so good)

I'm Back

Yay! After lots of crazy, stressful life situations (which are still going on, mind you) and losing my entire password notebook (I’m getting old and my mind isn’t as sharp as it use to be), I have finally reset my password (which I will inevitably forget) and am reunited with you beautiful people. Well, for those that follow and read, anyway.

I have LOTS to talk about, but first I have to sort all of that in this mess of what I call MY BRAIN.

Once I get a little more organized, I will start writing again.

Woohoo for reset passwords!!!!

5 Ways I’m Turning Into My Mother

We all say we will NEVER do it, but honestly, it’s inevitable. Whether we like it or not, we all turn into our parents one way or another. I remember specifically telling myself, “I won’t be as strict as my mom.” Hahahaha…my poor kid. You are screwed child! Not to say I had a bad childhood, I didn’t. My mom was just a little overbearing, okay actually a lot overbearing, but what I didn’t understand then was why. Now that I have a child of my own, I totally get it! The world is a scary ass place! There are lots of crazies out there. Thank goodness I have a husband that is so completely laid back, that it balances out my over-protectiveness. That balance, however, doesn’t make up for the rest of my ever growing transformation into my mother. Below are five characteristics I have noticed thus far and I’m sure more will come as my daughter gets older.Duh-dun-dun!!!!!!!

1. Over protective doesn’t even begin to describe it!

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My mother was extremely over protective. Man, the stories I could tell! I swore, before I had a kid, that I would NEVER be as protective as her. Notice I said “before I had a kid”. Now that I have my daughter, I totally see the world in a different way. It’s hard for me to judge now as to what degree I am like my mom, but come back and ask me in 8 years. I’m sure I will have a more definitive answer for you then.

2. The mom-isms that come flying out of my mouth.

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The first time I heard myself say the words, “Because I’m the mom and I said so!” I immediately threw my hand over my mouth. What was this I had just said? Holy crud, did my mom just come out? Yes, yes it did. In fact, I’ve lost count as to how many sayings I say in a day that my mom use to say to my brother and I. It’s terrifying, actually. At least I don’t say “worsh” like she does, in my house it’s pronounced “wash”.

3. I am now a self proclaimed germ-a-phobe!

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Yep, not totally proud of this fact. With how often my kid gets sick, and in turn I get sick, you would think it wouldn’t matter anymore. But oh it does! I am equipped with Wet Ones and sanitizer. I can clean those hands in 1.2 seconds flat when need be. It’s a sad truth, but I have learned to accept it.

4. I’m an over worrier.

me-worry

I guess this goes without saying considering #1 and #3. I stress about everything. My mind is constantly ticking about the what if’s and the need to do’s. I am EXACTLY like my mother in this way. She even comments on this fact from time to time.

5. Taking care of my family will always come first.

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My mom is a selfless woman. She did everything she possibly could to take care of my brother and I, even when we didn’t have much. She was a stay-at-home mom for most of my childhood, until about middle school. My dad owned an auto-parts store in our home town and she did the books and delivered parts when she could. When the business went abruptly under, she never let us know how bad things really were. Now that I’m older and know how close we were to losing our home, how that woman held it together amazes me. The most important thing to her was taking care of her babies and making sure they had everything they needed. Times are tough and I get that need to make sure my child is taken care of. You sacrifice things for yourself to ensure your child is fed, clothed and cared for. My child is everything to me and I will do everything I can to make sure she has what she needs.

So to my 5 year old daughter, I apologize for half of this list. I will always worry, I will always be over protective, but I will always love you. Just wait until you have a child of your own (although I don’t even want to think about THAT right now), you will be the same, if not worse than your mother. 

This post was written in response to Mama Kat’s Losing It writing prompt: In what ways are you turning into your mother?

Challenge: Me In 5 Words and Why

I have been really, horribly sick for the past 3 weeks. I swear, I don’t think I have EVER been on this much medication! But, I am finally feeling better enough to sit down and write this post, that probably should have been written over a week ago.

So, the friendly gauntlet has been thrown down. Ms. Suzanna, over at It’s All In My Head, has challenged me to describe myself if five words with the explanation of why I chose that word. You can read her post here and get to know a little bit more about Suzanna. She’s a really nice lady, whom I have never personally met, but I’m pretty sure we would get along pretty great if we were ever in each other’s company and if you haven’t checked out her blog YOU SHOULD!!!!!

Let’s see if my head is clear enough to do this. If anything, this drug induced blog post might be comical. Enjoy people!

1. Observer

I am a total people watcher. Actually, I guess you can say I am a “situation” watcher. I assess my surroundings constantly and kind of sit back and watch the crowd a little before I dive in. I like to see what I may potentially be getting myself into. It has also made me a pretty good judge of character. I don’t really have an explanation as to why I am like this. I just am.

2. Dreamer

Call it the Pisces in me, but my head is constantly in the clouds. In fact, I would say about 85% of the time I would much rather be where my thoughts are rather than where my actual body is. Being an adult is hard sometimes, walking on the clouds serves as a great escape for those moments you want to bang your head against the wall.

3. Creative

I grew up with the women in my family constantly crafting something and making foods from scratch. Thankfully, those skills were passed down to me. I can be pretty crafty on occasion AND when you are on a budget, I have learned to make a meal out of nothing. I also have to give credit where it is due. My aunt use to constantly challenge me with my writing. It was tiresome at the time (I was a tween) but it really has helped me grow as a writer. It’s where I feel completely comfortable. It’s where I feel I shine. I am most comfortable when I am with pen in hand or at a keyboard.

4. Lover

You know that saying, “I’m a lover not a fighter”? Yeah, that’s me. I dislike confrontation and seemingly avoid it at all costs. I much rather get along with people than bicker with them. Call me a coward, call me a hippie, call me whatever. I pick my battles carefully and if you do on the off chance really make me mad where it’s cause for me to confront you, it’s probably not a good thing and it may not be a battle you will win. Like I say about my mom (who’s 4’11”) you gotta watch out for the short people.

5. Motherly

I think I have always been this way. I take care of others before I take care of myself. My family comes FIRST and it will ALWAYS be that way.

So, let’s see, to sum this up: I am a quiet observer who has their head in the clouds, who’s creative, dislikes confrontation and takes care of everyone before I take care of me. Hmm, I guess that pretty much sums me up. I did a post similar to this before. Either way, that is me in a nutshell. 

Now, to challenge the next victim…I mean, wonderful individual. I think I am going to choose my good friend Eli Pacheco over at Coach Daddy. Go check out his blog, he’s a really funny and great guy and we have respectfully written on each other’s blogs. Good luck to you sir! 

What I am Thankful For: A-Z

I came across a great post by my friend Suzanna (you can read the post here). She had read a book by Max Lucado entitled Before Amen. In a chapter, Suzanna describes how the author wrote down what he was thankful for, listing them A-Z. Seeing how this is such a cool idea, Suzanna made up one of her own. I loved Suzanna’s so much, that I decided I would do one myself. 

This isn’t an easy task. I commend Suzanna for doing such a great and thoughtful job on hers. Coming up with just a few things you are thankful for can be difficult, let alone 26 AND alphabetically. Here we go!

A: Alice (my almost 10 year old cat)

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I love this cat SO much. She talks ALL THE TIME. I can seriously have a conversation with her, although the conversation understanding is kind of one sided. She snuggles with me, she gives me kisses and she is super patient with my daughter.

B: Buddy (my almost 9 year old cat)

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5 years ago, almost to the date, we almost lost him. He became really sick and began losing kidney function. With lots of TLC, mucho doctor visits and giving him fluids at home, this little guy got better and is fine now. We have no idea what caused the kidney failure, but I am so very thankful that he is still with us. Sure he walks around in the middle of the night trying to wake me up so he can eat when he wants to eat, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

 C: Canada

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Yeah, you read that right. From blogging and twitter, I have met some really amazing and wonderful individuals (a lot who live in The Great White North). When I pack up and move, maybe I will just go there.

D: Diana (my bestie)

diana

Isn’t she beautiful? She’s beautiful on the inside too! She is such a good mama to 3 wonderful children I am lucky enough to call my nieces and nephew. We have been friends for 13 years now. Easily the longest relationship I have ever been in. She’s the one that told me to give my now husband a chance (the little match maker). I don’t know what I would do without this lady. She lives a few hours from me now and we don’t see each other that much, but I KNOW she is always there for me, as I am for her. She’s my sister from another family and I am so lucky to have her in my life.

E: Emily (my absolute everything)

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This kid! Words cannot even begin to describe how much I love this child! She is the center of my universe. God blessed me with such an amazing, beautiful, smart (sometimes smart-ass) girl. She makes me want to be a better mom and person. If I could pluck a million stars out of the sky and give them to her as a bouquet of shimmering light, I would.

F: Family

DSC_0144 Brown Family Xmas 2014

Both mine and my husbands family mean the world to me. They do everything they can for us and my daughter and I couldn’t be more blessed to have these wonderful people in my life.

G: God

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I’m finding him more now than ever. Not like he wasn’t there in my past, it’s just that there is SO much going on right now with family members and other things that are just out of control, that I am trusting in Him more now than ever before.

H: Home

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I moved into my Nanie’s home after she passed away 9 years ago. If we didn’t make this move I can almost guarantee you we would renting somewhere. This house has served as such a blessing to me and family in more ways than one. It’s nice to have my daughter growing up, essentially, in the same home I did. Combining old memories with the new, not very many can say that.

I: Ice Coffee & Imagination Movers

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I feel I may have an addiction to the stuff. Not saying to which one (or maybe both). ;)

J: Judy (my aunt) & Jordan (my nephew)

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I’m slowly coming to terms with the past regarding my aunt. She has been gone for 8 years now. She taught me so much when I was a kid and I am grateful for that.

My nephew Jordan is such a good kid! He adores my daughter and plays with her every time he’s with her. So proud to be his aunt.

K: Kalana, Kalei and Kali

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These wonderful girls are my nieces and I love them so very much.

L: Love

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Where would we be without love, right? Everyone needs it and everyone should give it!

M: My Mother

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This woman! She gives so much, even when she can’t. I am so lucky to have the mom that I do. She is the strongest woman I know and I can only hope that I am a quarter of the mom she is for me.

N: Nanie

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There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. She was an amazing person and I miss her every single day. Not a lot of people can say they had two moms; I can!

O: Opportunities

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Starting this blog has really opened up a lot of opportunities for me. I am thankful for the people that open up their own blogs and personal websites and allow me express my own thoughts and share it with their audiences. Thank you for allowing me to do this.

P: PBS (specifically Downton Abbey)

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Words cannot express how much I LOVE this show! I am so thankful that it is on a local channel so that I can actually watch it, unlike tons of other shows that are on Showtime or HBO or something like that. I absolutely adore Maggie Smith! She has some of the best lines in the show. Also, I just want to thank the casting directors for casting Allen Leech. Irish accent and he can do “the smolder”.

allen leach hot

Q: Quiet

Relax

This precious moment doesn’t happen very often, but when it does…never taken for granted.

R: Rainbows

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Not only are they beautiful to look at, they also remind me of hope. Sometimes that reminder is all we need.

S: Starbucks

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Like I said with the letter I, I have an addiction. Someone call an intervention!

T: Typical Mommies

Typical Mommies

I am so lucky to have this forum to write articles for moms (and dads too). Thank you Dee for letting me write for your awesome website!

U: Understanding

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This word is a powerful word. I have to be completely honest, there isn’t enough of this in the world. There is too much judging. If we could ALL understand this word, I think we would all get along a little better.

V: Vacations 

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Whether it is to Disneyland (which I LOVE) or Tahoe, these little trips keep my and my husband sane. It’s a nice little distraction from regular life.

W: Water

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I am a true Pisces. I need to be around it in one form or another, otherwise I just feel like a “fish out of water.” It calms me, it centers me.

X: X-Ray (MRIs to be more specific)

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No, this isn’t the only X word I could think of. My daughter has to have an MRI done this summer to look for a thickened filum which, if she does have one, could create problems later in life. The MRI will give us the answers we need and the course of action we need (or not need) to take.

Y: You All

Thank-You

Thank YOU for coming back, subscribing, and reading my (sometimes random) posts and rants. It means a lot to know that people actually enjoy what I write and continue to come back and read my posts. So, thank you!

Z: Zippers

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Without this invention my pants wouldn’t stay where they should, an nobody wants to see the aftermath of that situation. ;)

Book Review: “Mama Don’t You Worry”

Recently, I was contacted by an children’s book author, Louie Lawent, on my Facebook page for this blog asking if I would like to do a book review for him. Being an aspiring author myself, currently working on self publishing my own, I jumped at the chance. Writers need welcomed feedback and reviews. You have to get your own circle going, sometimes, in order to succeed.

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The book lovingly titled, “Mama Don’t You Worry” is about a 6 year old boy who, like all 5-6 year olds, wants their own little independence. The little boy talks about how holding his mom’s hand “cramps his style” and just wants to be treated like a big boy. That is, until he loses his mother in the mall. While the mom is trying on shoes, the little boy wonders off to the toy store. After playing, the little boy loses his way and is unable to find his way back to the store his mom was at. He quickly remembers what his mother taught him if he should ever get lost and is quickly reunited with his mother. After this unexpected, scary incident, the boy realizes that maybe it’s okay for his mom to hold his hand, “after all…I’m only 6 years old!” 

The story is well written in a sweet little rhyme and is a great story to read to kids. As a mom of a 5 year old who I consider a flight risk (she’s taken off a few times in stores and then there was that trip to Disneyland we had to prepare for), this is a great story to read to her. It lets her know that someday she will grow up, but for now she needs to listen and stay with me. It also teaches kids to remember what to do if they ever do get lost.

If you have a child that tends to wander off on their own, I highly recommend this story. The story is currently an E-book on Amazon and you can purchase it for only $1.29. Click on the link, Mama Don’t You Worry, to go straight to the Amazon page.


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