Saturday, July 31, 2010

Nine Lives...And I Have Used Eight!

Here I sit pondering the flux of precious life from my hospital bed, having narrowly dodged the icy gripping fingers of death, escaping its evil clutches once again. Remember that "worst headache I have ever had" I was bitching about last week? Well it turned out to be the initial-onset symptom of one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. Last Friday afternoon while in the shower a sudden writhing and gripping pain in my head violently sunk me to my knees. Over the course of about an hour the vice-grip slowly released its choke-hold and settled into a terrible migraine. This was a migraine that should have warranted more attention, if only I was not so pathetically weary of being sick and for some stupid reason secretly believing I could just will it away by refusing to acknowledge it. After a few more excruciating episodes accompanying a constantly aching head, I finally relented to an appointment with a P.A. at my doctors office on Tuesday morning, having calmed myself to this point by chalking all of this up to some sort of hormonal shift or another. We discussed, she examined, and we agreed I was indeed suffering from a hormonal-fluctuation induced migraine headache. She gave me a shot, ruled out any neurological origins and sent me on my way with a prescription for migraine meds.

Wednesday morning I was getting ready for work when suddenly the most intense throbbing-stabbing-excruciating pain gripped my brain, permeating each cell and every membrane in my head. I flung myself onto the bed, pressing and poking every spot on my face, head and neck for some pressure point or way to diffuse the pain, to no avail. My puppy-boy pressed himself tightly against my body in a distressed attempt to comfort me while I clawed my face, wailed in agony and thrashed around wildly, desperately seeking some relief from what was quickly becoming obvious needed IMMEDIATE attention. I composed myself enough to sob through a phone-call to my dear friend and neighbor pleading for a ride to emergency, each pulse of my heartbeat sending electric-shock-waves of torture through my brain. She took me to the ER and I was given both a CT and an unsuccessful attempt at a spinal-tap before a Neuro-radiologist discovered blood in the frontal region of my brain scan. I was immediately medic-transported to the Neuro ICU at a nearby sister hospital and given a contrast-CT, contrast-MRI, spinal-tap and catheter-angiogram during the next 2 whirlwind days. Two arteries were intentionally punctured during this process and I was mandated a total of 10 hours of strict bed paralysis, not allowed to move a single muscle while I recovered from these risky procedures. I required constant eyes-rolling-back-in-my-head narcotic shots to keep the pain at bay. My husband and mother rallied around me, all three of us completely terrified because each test was successively ruling out the more mild possibilities and words like aneurysm, stroke, brain tumors and death were whirling around my hospital room high up above my head.

Then suddenly Friday evening around 6PM my world-class neurologist emerged from the drug-induced mist before me and declared he had a diagnosis! I was shocked that he could decipher a clinical diagnosis so quickly, given my ridiculous history with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. We listened to him give us the best case scenario that could come out of this horrible situation. I had suffered from an extremely rare subset of Vasculitis called RCVS (Reversible Cerebral Vasoconsriction Syndrome), fitting the med-school text-book definition to a T. I had suffered not only 1 but 2 strokes, luckily with NO neurological damage to speak of. No drooping eyelid or drooling face, memory impairment, paralysis with a lifetime of assisted living or worse. The first word in the name alone was cause for rejoice- REVERSIBLE! He then went on to describe the treatment; steroids (yuck but I better shut-up and be grateful there is a treatment) for about 4 months and calcium-channel blockers for under a year with no residual aftermath and very little chance of re-occurrence. We had just heard the words from the doctors mouth that hundreds of faithful voices had been pleading to God's ear these last few days, and I was not dying any quicker than the rest of us! He left the room and my husband and I stared uneasily at each other with a surprised if not-quite-believable glee as I watched the stress and tension visibly roll from his back, the light sparking back in his eye. Here I had lie for two days, death repetitively and obnoxiously knocking on my door, watching the devastation this was having on my husband and mother through a Dilaudid-filtered haziness, with so many questions and so much fear. But once again the Grace of God was upon my life and it was spared, and not just my existence, but the quality of it as well. So as I sit here coming to terms with this journey, off of the IV pain drugs and out of the ICU, I started counting my lives...

1) Pancreatitis & Appendectomy- April 2000
2) Pancreatitis- August 2000
3) Pancreatitis- November 2004
4) VICD & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (HHV-6)- June 2005
5) Fibromyalgia- July 2006
6) Pancreatitis- June 2007
7) Stroke- July 23, 2010
8) Stroke- July 28, 2010

Alright so maybe 4 and 5 were not in-and-of themselves life threatening, but so quality of life devastating that I am going to count them. Besides there was at least 1 additional potential stroke last week, anyway. All of this has brought me to the conclusion THIS IS IT FOR ME, I have had it! I am marching toward a long and full life of nothing but amazing health, happiness and prosperity. I have paid my dues, worked through my karma, put up with more than my share, and I am done. Besides...I simply don't have any more to spare and its time to go bother someone else!

Thanks for joining,

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Happy 9th

Today my husband and I celebrate 9 years of wedded bliss. He took the day off work and we planned on a relaxing air-conditioning-cooled day of leisurely perusing Cezanne and other masters of post-impressionist work on installation at the city art museum. We commenced our day with a trip to the doctor to see about my now 5-day migraine. I got a shot and was given a prescription and we set out to enjoy our anniversary. But first there was the big fight over how fearful of the next thunderbolt to hit our lives we are, how my headache is making him feel that after so long and so much struggle I was just going to get sick all over again. We talked about how much dysfunction we still possess from our respective families of origin and how badly my disease and the choices we have had to make because of it have fucked us up. He poured out his fears and remorse and I hurled at him my determination for a better tomorrow and undying love.

We talked it through and calmed ourselves down, deciding to venture on, go see that drop of culture so badly missing from our daily lives despite holding such prominence in our psyches. But as we approached the museum we discovered it was closed! I live in a major metropolitan city and the museum thinks it can take both Monday and Tuesday off? Preposterous! So we dejectedly piled ourselves into the truck, heading back toward home, not really sure what to do with ourselves or how to make the day fun and special. And then I saw it...looming ahead in its city-block long chipped-yellow-paint glory...Mo' Money Pawn Shop! We went in and meandered down aisle after aisle of glimmering and sparkling gems and precious metals, purchased with so many hopes and dreams and sold in such desperation. I speculated about the story behind each piece, what tale it told. We enjoyed admiring beautifully engraved pistols and skipped past rows and rows of appliances, electronics and tools. We tumbled out into the blazing sunshine laughing and back on track. The experience had lightened our load, revived our perspective. We went on to enjoy a wonderfully luxurious lunch (where I discovered a drink called Retail Therapy that alone made the whole experience worth it) and spent the rest of the day shopping and relaxing. It was fun, mellow and low key, but the biggest point of difference is that we did not let our mood or fears or a thump in our plans ruin our day. We dusted off that long-forgotten virtue of spontaneity that has been hidden back in the deep, dark recesses and forged on to make year number 9 better than ever.

Thanks for joining,

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The River Wild

My hormones are going wild, but not in a bad way ;) I have not felt this much energy surrounding me in years! Unfortunately I have also had what is vacillating between a raging migraine and horrible headache since Friday afternoon. I will have to make an appointment to see the doctor if I wake up with it again manana. I can't help but think they are related. I have had such a rush of functioning coming back to me in the last few months, as though someone has been chipping away at a dam for a very long time, and holes are finally sprouting up everywhere, water shooting through as though its a cheese grater. Pretty soon it is going to burst in a flurry of intense flooding waters, white-tipped with foam driving it forward to fill the dry and dead riverbed that has appeared in the wake of its abrupt departure. The question I am struggling with now is how do I keep these springing leaks and rushing flood of function from wreaking havoc in my carefully re-constructed life?

Thanks for joining,

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Free Laser Tattoo Removal

Are you kidding me? I signed up with Google Ad's and was promised only advertisements that were applicable to my blog. Then I log on today to find this: Free Laser Tattoo Removal crap. I am so vehemently against laser tattoo removal and am not too sure I fit with their methods of deciding what ad to place on what site. This is what I was worried about...

I have 7 tattoos and am nowhere near done. I started at age 17 with a blooming sunflower stretching across the right side of my lower back and top of my ass. Not quite a tramp-stamp, it actually saved me from that now-dreaded lower-back tattoo nearly every girl my generation is left not-so-proudly sporting. My senior year of high school I guinea-pigged it with my best friend's tattoo-artist boyfriend and let him create permanent art on the back of my body. The second I felt the intensity of those multiple needles piercing and poking into my flesh, depositing eternal ink strokes deep within my skin, I was hooked. It hurt so good! I suffered through the sitting, only blacking out for one brief moment, more a pill-and-pot induced reaction to pain than anything else. The involuntary flinching of my skin crawling and the spearing into each pore of flesh produced a desirable pain. What imprinted on my mind as it drifted past the haziness of whatever Valium induced trip I was on were the smells and sounds. The buzzing tattoo gun and billowing cigarette smoke, the blaring punk rock music and distinctive scent of disinfectant and ink. I found myself in quite a bit of a quandary a few days later when I arrived at my mother's house and settled in for one of her powerful and amazing full-body massages. She finished with my upper back and moved to the lower, pulling down the towel to reveal a freshly inked flower of bright yellows, purples and greens, nearly half-a-foot in diameter. "What the hell is that?" she hissed, simultaneously smacking my raw and scabbing scar with something not-as-bad but in-the-same-vein as my childhood spankings.

My next tattoo came a year later in the form of a flower-encrusted inner left ankle. My father lectured me about regretting these tattoos when I was older and I told him, confident and sure my 18-year-old self had it all figured out,
"I never would regret a single tattoo,
because to do so would be to regret who I was in my youth,
and I was never going to be that person."
Oh the poor guy! The bouquet of purple irises, future theme for my not-yet-envisioned wedding, was secured deeply within the layers of my dermis my sophomore year in Northern California. Nestled between my shoulder blades, the graceful stems stood proud and tall against the creamy fleshiness of my skin. The next one was either the small Leo symbol above the sunflower on my back that the black ink fell out of immediately, leaving just an outline, or the design of my own creation, triangled turquoise and brown marbled scar-tissue resting on the inner top part of my left arm.

College graduation comes and money went dry. I sat stagnant with the 5 I have until we were living in San Francisco a few years later and strolling through Haight-Ashbury one lazy-sunny-Sunday afternoon. That leaves me better off with a beautiful yellow and orange calendula with drooping, lush petals encased in a teal border enshrined on the top of my right arm, just under the shoulder. I had now entered the realm of the visibly tattooed. Never again would I be able to hide behind my blonde tresses and pearly white smile. I had proclaimed an eternal edge to my persona. It gave me a certain notoriety and served to stereotype me in a completely different way than ever before, and I kinda liked it. It felt good to put the inside me on the outside of me.

In 2006 my husband and I were anticipating our 5th anniversary and wanted to do something to commemorate our union. I was about a year into CFS, still working and yet to develop full-blown Fibromyalgia. The Sacred Heart called out to us as a tribute to the blessing of our marriage, and we each created a representation of this beautiful image suitable for our person and gender. His was strong and masculine, stemming down from the base of his skull, the large cross at the top merely an outline against the licking, burning flames. His heart was dark and troubled, and his thorns long and sharp. Mine was a more classical depiction, a soft red heart dripping nectar from the wound, flames securely enveloping the small wooden cross above it. My green, fresh thorns tangled into a matching blend of our initials, mimicking his barren, dead shards. They are both beautiful and we wear them proudly, but it was damn near the most painful self-inflicted thing I had ever done to myself. Tattoos may hurt so good, but a tattoo with Fibromyalgia on the inside fleshy part of my upper arm was hell in a hand-basket. I had to dig my nails into my stomach to counter balance the pain. I had to practice what I imagined to be Lamaze breathing methods to create distraction. I had to force myself to lie still and not move, all the while crying out inside from the searing, burning pain. About 1/3rd of the way through I realized this was a very bad idea. Wrong place, wrong artist, wrong time? But I looked down and he was nearly done with the outline. What the hell was I going to do with just an outline? When would I ever want to come back and finish it? So I guided my husband to continually squeeze the shit out of my hand and settled into blinding misery. Near the end, as the artist was coloring in the contours and shadows, my body was involuntarily writhing but I was not able to take any more Percocet without fear of vomiting. The tattoo had become so red and inflamed, an oozy gush of a mushy bacteria-filled petri-dish. Red hot infection was radiating around the brilliant glow of my newly crowned Sacred Heart. I actually had to treat that tattoo with antibiotic cream and lots of moisture with very little friction. It is my most beautiful and prized today.

Each tattoo has been a permanent mark on my body that perfectly captures the person I was at that time. An image that does not grow with me, into the person I will become, but stays true to who she was then, unable to mould and grow with the future. Each tattoo, style, location, a stamp in time. I capture my tattoos in a quick glance in the mirror now and then and think about the experience of each one, and it is a hauntingly real encounter to remember what it was like to be that girl.

Thanks for joining,

Friday, July 16, 2010

"...And Scene...Manic Phase Over"

I went back to work today. I had 9 days off and my deluded ass really needed the reality check back to reality. But I am hurting and having to take pain meds again and can't remember anything from 1 minute to the next, they make me so damn forgetful! I was in a flurry of craziness these last few days. Definitely manic in retrospect, but I even kinda knew it then. I am still overwhelmingly amazed at how quickly and drastically I have been improving since I started stretching. It is good to be back to work, to restore the balance. I am not one that does well with too much time on my hands. Ever heard the phrase "Idle hands are the devil's playground"? Yeah, well they coined it for me.

My husband has been researching his new career choice and is beginning to come out of his fog. He is excited and animated and projecting a fabulous future. We both have to hang in there for just over 5 months and it all will begin to change. We will be out if debt and in with options. Options of how we wish to live our life, not just manage the left over garbage that is shoved our way. Options to pursue dreams and passions and fun and laughter. This is what I was pining for when I just wanted to get up and go, sail down to Mexico a few months back. All I needed was a break, a reprieve to allow us to catch our breath and chart the next phase of our lives, establish the course we will travel to arrive at the destination we desire. Once again I find us full of dreams and possibility and passion, and I thank the Lord for another opportunity to find our path of Their desire.

Thanks for joining,

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Is It Okay To Feel This Good?

I think I am going through a manic phase but maybe this is just what it feels to be normal. I have not taken pain medicine in days, am laughing a lot more and increasingly expanding my horizons to feel that I am finally on my road in life. Perhaps this energy I feel surging through my body is just the absence of pain. Not necessarily an over-abundance of chemicals, but what it feels like to not have Fibromyalgia, to be healthy. I don't truly remember that. I don't remember that girl or that life or what path I was on or what objectives I held dear. I have a vague recollection, a looming memory of what it felt like, but I sure don't identify or really remember what it was like. I feel that someone plucked me up in 2005 and dropped me off in 2010. Those 5 sorrowful and sad years in between, those years are a blur of un-ending pain, suffering, instability, loss, confusion, anger and fear.

But now I feel that I have broken free and am living and breathing again. I am dreaming and believing and challenging myself...and succeeding! I am racing toward that life I have always wanted, pushing myself every step of the way to get there as quickly as possible. I feel like I have already lost so much time and don't have any more to loose! Maybe this is manic? Whatever it is, it feels so good to finally feel good again.

Thanks for joining,

The Dark Side

I feel manic again, these last few days. I have not worked in over a week and know how much that contributes, but we had some friends over for dinner and since I have not been taking any pain medication (no need due to not working), find the overwhelming compulsion to majorly self-medicate. I passed it off well enough today at the pool and carried on well into dinner, but the truth of the matter is I am constantly looking for the stopping point and just can't ever seem to find it. Is it completely insane to say I have an overpowering and insatiable compulsion to explore? What, I don't know, but I am feeling that draw to the dark side of life that seldom rears its head, but when it does hits hard. Not the real bad side, no not that. But certainly not the middle-of-life self-imposed suburbia my sweet little house-wife ass is sitting in right now. The side of life I would have never even lived to see if not for the husband that has made me this sweet little house-wife ass.

I was not on a road to success when I graduated from college at 22. It may have appeared that way externally, but my self-destructive habits were going to kill me quickly, if not in body than at least in soul, of this I have no doubt. The small college town I lived in held me together with the accountability of taking daddy's cash and a wholesome facade of sorority-row, ivy-covered brick buildings and tree-lined streams. I was relatively controllable under those constraints, but was just getting to know the Las Vegas-San Francisco-Los Angeles-over 21-year-old wild-child that had recently been unleashed...and she was not a girl that was takin' it slow! Yet 1 month before graduating I made a conscious decision to start dating a man that had been my friend for a couple of years, and I let my guard down. I trusted him and it became easy to fall in love and believe in a great future of happily ever after. That was all it took, and we set off on the race-track of life together that has been a whirlwind entirely of its own. Meanwhile I laid these other thoughts and behaviors down, the deeper and darker places I have gone, and was heading toward, and flung myself into wifedom and respectability. But tonight, with surging chemicals, drunk on sweet-tea vodka at 3 o'clock in the morning, Eminem emanating rage and pain out of my computer speakers, scarily I am indulging and allowing myself to conjure these deeply buried babies up.

Oh my,

Monday, July 12, 2010

I Need Writers Block

Monday morning finds me up late. Obsessively blogging until nearly 3AM kept me in bed 'till just after 10. I woke up and took out the babies...who might I add are doing amazing! She is a completely different dog than the one we brought home from rescue 3 weeks ago. She is funny and bouncy and playful and such a puppy! She has gone from twirling around at the end of her lead, having never been trained to one, to pulling and choking herself in her unfailing attempts to catch up to her big brother. They cuddle and play and roll around on the ground locked in a tender, biting embrace. He is happy with her and adjusting quite nicely to being the oldest, the 1st child. He is secure in his alpha position (we made damn sure of that!) and secure that he is the most important in our life. And he is playing like a puppy again and teaching her all sorts of good-dog civilized behaviors. Thank the Lord, I just knew this one would work out!

I literally could sit here all day and blog, allow this garbage to pour out of me and form into the written word. Starting this blog has been so overwhelmingly cathartic it has revolutionized my life. To see my experiences, choices, actions and reactions charted, documented, exposed. But I still have a life to tend to. I need to send my aunt's sympathy card, make sauce for dinner tonight, give myself that damn pedicure I have been stalling on for so long and give the babies a bath, not to mention clean the entire house. Guess I better get busy!

Thanks for joining,

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Anniversary Of Diamonds And Platinum

Dear Auntie,

I have watched and observed your dedication to your husband as one wife understands another. You went above and beyond for so many years and your love for him was apparent with every touch, every trip to the doctor, every effort to bring your husband back to you. You have won my admiration and respect many times over. I know you feel you just did what needs to be done, but a lesser woman would have caved long ago. I hope and pray for your peace and healing as you adjust through this very difficult and very emotional time. I will know I have been a successful wife if my love for my husband shines in my life as yours shined in your life.

With all my love,

I watched my aunt struggle with a sick husband for the last 10 or so years. She put in a good fight and lost him a few weeks back. Watching her hang in there has been tough, but one of the few truly rewarding exchanges I have observed in quite some time. I hope she lays him to rest knowing she did everything she could for him and not only felt it, but showed her love up until the very end. There were no hollow echoes of long-forgotten laughter, tender moments lying dusty in the back of the mind, as one moves on while the other lives in decaying mental or physical limbo. She was involved in every minute aspect of his life and her purpose served only to make his life better. Oh that I could be that kind of woman, that kind of a wife to my husband! Lord please allow me to find that true and selfless outpouring of unconditional love that only the wholly blessed are given to experience in this life. I pray you make me worthy of my husband's love, in every action and every deed I perform. And if we could be around to lay claim to it for the next 61 years that would be pretty awesome, too. Celebrating our 70th anniversary, 2 little 95 year old wrinkled and worn souls joined together in the journey of a lifetime. I can see it now! Hey, that's only 30 years after my Arizona drivers license expires. Makes it seem not so far away ;)

Thanks for joining,

Saturday, July 10, 2010

ATM Knock Out

I had the funniest encounter at the ATM the other day. I was in the process of using it and a lady walked up very close to where I was standing so I glanced over at her. She immediately piped up that she was sorry to be standing so close to me but was trying to get out of the sun and stand in the shade, only available on this side of the building from the awning over the ATM. I told her it was fine, just always a good idea to know who was around you and she agreed. I then narrowed my eyes and took a good look at her. She was a petite and slender white blonde female of middle age. I gave her a sideways glance and said, "Anyway, I figured I could take you on if I needed to." She replied that I was younger so most likely could. I then called back as I was walking away, "I have wooden shoes on too, so I was not worried". She said, "Yeah, you could kick those at me!", and we both laughed.

It was nice to have a lighthearted exchange with a random stranger. Finding humor in something trivial and meaningless instead of an angry encounter with every idiot-infuriating-stupid-moron out there, as I used to view the general public. When your chemicals are not right, something as insignificant as pulling out of your driveway can become a major source of irritation if someone is blocking you or in your way or taking too long. When we first moved to San Francisco depression hit me very hard. After the initial frenzy of a new city, new job, new friends and new everything calmed down, I found myself sad, bewildered, unsure, insecure and severely unhappy. Why? I was living in the city of my dreams with the newlywed love of my life and truly enjoying my job for the very first time in my life. Yet I would march down the street, seething anger at everyone I saw, jealous at laughing people out enjoying their lives, families together, friends and lovers. I would get pissed at homeless people asking me for money. I had to get up and go to work every day, why the hell were they off the hook?

After years of therapy I was able to identify my sources of pain and unhappiness. I was able to start parenting my inner-child and setting limits with myself. I now introspectively recall that time in my life as shedding the snake-skin of my youth. I began to separate ugly learned behaviors from qualities that were inherently mine. I emptied out the garbage that had accumulated during the first 2 decades of my life and recognized I was an empty vessel waiting to be filled with opinions, realities and points of view of my own choosing. I was no longer just my parents child, I was my own person! I was a married adult that paid my own bills and lived my own life, and I was ready to claim it and start filling up with all the good things I wanted out of life. I believe this is what got me through the devastating emotional loss of Fibromyalgia. The foundation that I laid down during this phase, the skills I learned and introspection I acquired, gave me the strength and courage to fight with all my might.

Thanks for joining,

Friday, July 9, 2010

I'm A Space-Bound Rocket-Ship And Your Hearts The Moon...

Dear Eminem,

Thank you for your transparency. Thank you for having the guts to wear your heart not just on your sleeve but cloaking and surrounding yourself in it. You show a vulnerability in your hard and profane "kill-a-bitch-by-driving-off-a-cliff-with-her-strapped-up-ass-in-the-trunk" ways. You spoke your life into your lyrics. Your messy, complicated and dirty life, delivered with a meticulously twisted mastery of the spoken word. Your mind combined with your gift melded with your experience has been honest and raw since the very beginning, and this latest masterpiece is no exception.

My husband has been through his own share of self-imposed and randomly delivered misery in his life. The chronicles you tell delve deeply into the complexities of human behavior and emotion. Many of those stages have paralleled with his personal journey to free himself from his own demons. Album after album, he has identified with your rise, height, fall, rebuild and rebirth. The cycles in his life mirror your passion-fueled nightmares so eloquently laid out on tracks ready for purchase on the nearest computer or at the closest corner store.

So I want to say thank you. Thank you for having the guts to claim your life the way you have. Thank you for your honest and horrifyingly-frank recounts of your emotions and experiences. Thank you for the bravery it took to lay it all out there and to do it your way so your words can reach those in despair and pain that you will never even meet.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Streamlining My Supplements

I have cut back on a few supplements because I don't have enough money to keep them in supply as well as wanting to simplify this process to make it easier on my mind and body. Take less pills and eat more vegetables, right? Duhh! Supplements are my security blanket of health. I do feel quite a difference in my mood, energy and stability when I wean off the protocol, so for the foreseeable future this is what I take daily:

~Whole food multi-vitamin & mineral (general nutrition)
~Calcium/Magnesium/Vitamin D (general nutrition)
~Amino acids (general nutrition)
~Selenium (antioxidant/trace mineral)
~Fish oil (general nutrition/EFA)
~Lecithin (neurotransmitter/liver/triglyceride)
~Pro-biotics (immune & fungal balance)
~L-lysine (viral suppression)
~N-acetyl-cystine (immune booster/balances Lysine/liver)
~Pancreatin (pancreatic enzymes)
~Milk thistle (liver support)
~Maca root (nourishes endocrine system/balances hormones)
~DHEA (hormonal pre-cursor)
~Tumeric (inflammation/antioxidant)
As needed:
~Valerian Root (pain & sleep)
~Epicor (immune booster)

I am on a good cocktail for my conditions. Check out Swanson Vitamins. They have great prices on some really good supplements and I even get a bunch of organic/natural body products from them at a deep discount. I am slowly loosing the 30 lbs. Lyrica packed on and feel mentally balanced with a minimum of pain. My pain levels are greatly affected by sleep, activity, hormones, diet and stretching, so it truly is up to me to keep myself healthy. When I first got sick I wanted a cure. I wanted a pill, surgery, treatment, anything to just whisk this sickness away. I was raised in the USA during the 1980's and 90's and that is just how modern medicine works, right? You go to the doctor and tell them what is wrong, they run a bunch of tests and tell you what you have and how to get better. NOT WITH THIS SON-OF-A-BITCH! Just getting a diagnosis was a nightmare, let alone successful treatments.

I have now come to believe that what I was actually suffering from was a sickness deep inside my soul. The virus had penetrated the nucleus of every cell in my body and created a sickness so buried it was born out of the pure essence of who I was. Getting better required some pretty heavy medications, but the purging of all the garbage inside me and all I had to do to dispel it is more telling of its true origin. I had to vomit the hurt, betrayal, anger, fear, anxiety, unjustness, sadness, disappointment and self-righteousness out of my life and begin to build anew. And that is when I finally started to get better!

Thanks for joining,

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Big Fat Surprise

I spent the day lounging at the pool in the mild Arizona heat of 108 degrees, sipping on some strange concoction of vodka and Malibu Rum topped off with Squirt (not one I would recommend), enjoying the day with one of my dearest friends. We were idly chatting and simultaneously attempting to cool off and crisp to a golden bronze while enjoying a mild buzz when she informed me that a co-worker of ours was terminal with cancer. "WHAT???" I proclaimed, hand fluttering to my mouth. "No! What? Are you sure? OHMYGOD! What???" were the only words that tumbled from me. I was shocked, deeply saddened and terribly confused. She was surprised that I did not know and filled me in on the specifics. Stage 4, not long to live, chemo and radiation and surgery already exhausted. I warmly recollected this lady as a gentle, kind and dear woman and attempted to place her into this circle of ugly illness and shortened life. It was just a wrong fit and I became quite upset.

I felt like I had just learned a terrible, dirty secret about a good friend, one that I did not really want to know. It changed my perception of who she was and challenged my idea of reality as a whole. But it also gave me a bit of perspective. I sit here and bitch and moan and cry and fume about the impact of Fibromyalgia on my life and how it has totally screwed it up, and my feelings are very valid and true. But to imagine this dear lady, staring death right in the face, that still gets up every day and puts her game face on and heads off to work to guarantee her health insurance was more than I could bear. As a wave of gratefulness washed over me I realized I DO NOT count my blessings nearly often enough, and I do not tell those I love that I love them nearly enough, and I take for granted so much that I have, and although Fibromyalgia has been one mean son-of-a-bitch, it is not a disease that will kill me. I will keep this dear lady in my thoughts and prayers and hope for the best possible outcome for her and her family. I will also try to keep my perspective, marching ahead but always stopping to lend a hand to those along the way that demonstrate even the slightest need. For the truthful thing to say is that Fibromyalgia is not as bad as it gets.

Thanks for joining,

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I Shoplifted!

I went to my favorite local health food store this past week and my first stop before hitting the dairy case was to grab some incense. I proceeded with the rest of my shopping trip, checked out and went to grab the keys to my car from inside my purse. I opened my bag to begin fishing through the mayhem and sitting right on top of everything was the incense!? I asked my husband if he had put it there, he had not. I racked my brain trying to figure out how it had gotten in it is slowly dawning on me that in my spaced-out medication-dazed-Fibromyalgia-haze I had most likely put it inside my purse instead of in the cart! Still not willing to admit that my auto-pilot had failed me so, I frantically scanned my receipt, hoping I had somehow paid for it though I had no recollection of how it had come to reside in my purse. No dice, not on the receipt. Cold panic grips my heart as I realize I had just shoplifted! So I grabbed my wallet and the incense and headed back into the store and got in line. I paid for my $1.50 box of incense, left the store and went on my way. My husband asked me what they said when I told them I had left the store without paying for it and I looked at him incredulously and proclaimed, "You think I told them?!".

This breakdown of thought to action could get me in serious trouble. At the very least, it is extremely alarming that my brain (void of conscious thought) had directed my body to place something that was not mine into my purse. It kinda makes me question all sorts of things that I take for granted, and not just "Did I lock the front door?" or "Did I turn the coffee pot off?" kinda stuff. What really big lapse am I capable of "unconsciously" committing? How can you even begin to explain something like that? "Sorry officer, I just paid for $96 worth of groceries but felt it necessary to steal a $1.50 box of incense!" It terrifies me to wonder how much of my life I spend tooling around in this daze. I guess all is well that ends well. I did not actually steal anything, but I did manage to scare the bejesus out of myself and start to worry about all sorts of "unconscious" actions that could be happening at any time.

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Monday, July 5, 2010

I Don't Want To Be With Me Ahora Mismo

I am mad. I am snippy and critical and paranoid and bitchy. I am constantly nagging my husband, irritated with my family and deluded about myself. I am confused and unsatisfied and restless and snappy. I am experiencing labored breathing, body pain and stiffness and a headache, but mostly mental chaos. I feel directionless and unaccomplished and scattered and just plain unhappy. I feel like everyone thinks they are entitled to a piece of me and I don't want to give any away! I want to hide in the corner with my tail between my legs and lick my wounds and bare my teeth to anyone that comes looking for me, needing me, expecting from me.

This monthly cycle is leveling my playing field once again, and I am getting really damn sick of this! It's like going to the gym twice a month. You never really make any progress, just keep warming up without advancing. That is how I feel about my life. I am working so hard to improve, marching toward the life I want, practicing discipline and re-routing my impulses and parenting my inner-child. I will process so much and then...BAM!...a week and a half of hormonal realignment and it is all undone. I have made so many lists and charts and graphs over the years, plans for the future and how if I just do this or just do that I will be successful and finally become this magical, happy and productive person I feel is lurking right behind the door of worn-in dysfunction. I am seeking to become this perfect housewife and employee and...oh gosh, I can't even begin the nitpicking litany of all that I wish to be, it makes my stomach roll and head pound! It makes me want to go to sleep and never think again of everything that I should be or do.

So all this serves to tell me that I need to calm down! I mentally scan my inventory of substances to dull this menstrual tantrum I am so cocooned in, but I am not getting up to take anything. I am sick of always having to take something! It's almost as though I enjoy sitting here and wallowing in my misery, my pathetic, hormone-reactive misery. I am overwhelmed with the puppies and money problems and work and obligation and expectation and eating bad and too much. I am Downer Debbie, Ebenezer Scrooge and Groundhog Day grouchy. I want to feel light and free. Happy, at peace, flowing with life-force and glowing with excitement. I want to rejoice in all my blessings and appreciate my husband and grow our relationship and grow our life. Yet I find I am stalling out on all of these. It makes me want to make a drink or take a smoke or pop a pill to gain perspective, blessed hazy perspective. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired and a vodka-ruby grapefruit cocktail may indeed be just what the doctor ordered, or at very least the only way to exist in harmony with myself right now.

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bubble Gum Life

It all started when I first saw The Girls Next Door. I was introduced to a life of fluffy-white-cloud bubble-gum-pink rainbows-and-unicorns. It was a life of luxury and mindless care. It was about flaunting beauty, fun, youth and sex. There was no want for money, but its exploitation was mildly minimized as well. Anything these girls desired was readily available with the butterfly flutter of a kohl rimmed eyelash or the "oops!" of an itty-bitty-bikini spill. But a genuine kindness of heart was represented frequently and abundantly as well. I watched three busty-bleached-blonde babes frolic and flounce amidst the backdrop of old Hollywood and soft-core porn. Initially I was not sure if they offended my feminine sensibilities or embraced them. They would literally bounce around up-and-down in a circle topless, squealing and giggling and holding hands. But eventually I was love! When I was terribly ill and disabled I began to anticipate each episode as some sort of blissful release. Release from the pain that was eternally shock-waving through my body. Release from mounting money problems and mounds of medical bills. A break from a union of hopefulness gone softly awry. Each day was a struggle just to exist in my real world, but the message Holly, Bridget and Kendra were selling was not lost on me. Life is for the taking, and for those who dare to step up and take it. The young, the beautiful, the passionate, those that expect risk and opportunity to come at them hand in hand. They also reminded me to get up off my ass and put some makeup on and fix myself up every day. Its as if there was some secret message shrouded yet embedded like the monthly caricature, reminding me that when you look good it is much easier to feel good.

Then I started "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" on a regular basis and was given a glimpse into celebutante sibling-hood unlike any I had ever even known to wish for. I saw live-or-die friendships blended among the family drama and ludicrous antics. I saw a slice of nuclear relationship that was foreign to me, and I felt all warm and fuzzy inside as Kim would guide Kourtney through some over-indulged spoiled rich-girl trauma or another. I watched the makeup/breakup dynamic the 3 sisters shared, and the meddling in each others lives, the closeness I saw in a family steeped in unconditional love.

And I realized I wanted nothing to do with sad, painful, heartbreaking or devastating anymore in my life. I had had enough. I wanted only the happy and light of heart. I would attract and give off only positive energy, good energy. I have experienced physical pain beyond what most ever will know. Pain that caused me immeasurable emotional anguish and cost me 5 of my prime years, my child-bearing years, my career-building years. Years 28 to 33. I had given up enough already, and whatever I was left with at the end of the hurricane-tornado-earthquake of Fibromyalgia, I was going to hold onto with all my might and race to the other end of the rainbow with. So take your emotionally traumatic movies and books and stories. Take those stirring and haunting and moving tales of loss and near-redemption. Take the victims and broken-hearts and tragic glimpses into the other side. Take them all. I don't want them. I have been there, and I am never going back.

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