Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Friend Alexander

There is a children's book called Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day that was one of my favorites as a kid. If you did not have the pleasure of reading this book as a youth, and as an adult have not had the joy of sharing it with your children or grandchildren, I would recommend picking up a copy. For if you don't you are surely missing out. The story is about a little boy named Alexander who woke up one morning to find himself quite grumpy. The day keeps getting worse, every little thing going wrong or screwing up or becoming messy, dirty and complicated. The people in his life all compound these problems and create another source of irritation. His solution? Move to Australia to get away from his misfortune. Its a cute reminder that a bad day can be just that, a bad day. And when you wake up the next morning everything is okay again.

I had not thought about Alexander in quite some time. My brother was on the phone telling me about his bad day when I remembered the book. Of course my little brother remembered it as well because he inherited his copy from me. I thought about poor little Alexander and how lucky he was. For he gets to wake up the next day, or worse case scenario a few days later, and the bad juju complicating his life is gone. Mine usually lasts for a week, at least, and honestly has been going on for six straight years. Normal people, normal things, normal life, I just can't deal with it anymore!

Yesterday I was supposed to get my carpet cleaned. The spots are so bad I am embarrassed to have people over. So I stayed up the night before until 3AM cleaning and moving furniture out of the main ares. I was all ready with a day full of activities, dog friendly I might add, to keep us out of the house for a few hours so the carpet could dry a bit before we walked all over it. So I sat here during my "window" from 9-12, ready at the drop of a hat to throw my computer in my bag, snap leashes on my dogs and go. Finally around 1:30 I get the message they are not coming due to emergency flooding. Re-scheduled for this morning, last night around 8PM the flare hit. And I knew there was absolutely no way I would be able to do this all over again the next day. So I got MAD, furious, angry. Sobbing like a 3 year-old as I washed dishes and felt my body slip deeper into pain and hurt. Why is it so hard to exist in the outside world? Why does something as minor as the carpet getting cleaned a day later put me in bed for a week? And the biggest one of all, lying deep down at the bottom of all the others; why am I sick, why me, why why why? I need to know! So Alexander boy I feel you today. But no offense to Australia, Santorini is calling my name.

Thanks for joining,

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Carpet Cleaners

I have been amazingly forthright with you all about my complete lack of housekeeping skills. Or more specifically, my complete lack of an interest in flaring my pain so I can have a clean house. Its easier to keep it straightened up than it is to clean it. Vacuuming hurts my shoulder, dusting makes me all nasally and sneezy, and cleaning the bathroom just sucks. And unfortunately, I cannot afford a house cleaner. I grew up with a free-spirited mom and OCD step-mother, finding my balance in adulthood as a "kinda" clean working wife. My house was hardly perfect but nobody was calling the health department, either.

Then I got sick. I could barely empty the dishwasher or make the bed. I could not work, grocery shop, do laundry or pretty much move. I sat and watched layers of dirt and dust pile up all around me. The beige carpet (why do apartments always have light beige carpeting?) turned grayish because the vacuum was the last thing I had the strength, or interest, in running. Years passed and I watched it build, dust bunnies rapidly multiplying and gobbling up my decorative accents. My house became one where I could not invite somebody over spontaneously, for it was downright embarrassing. I grew to accept this as a limitation of my illness and thankfully my husband told me repetitively he did not marry me for my housekeeping skills. Thank God.

The apartment complex I live in cleans my carpet every year when I sign a new lease. First time in 15 years of renting so needless to say that is quite thrilling. So last year I scheduled the clean and we moved everything out of the walkways and main areas of the apartment and golly gee gosh, I got my carpet cleaned! But two weeks later it was dirtier than before. This made me mad. So last night we were moving everything out of the walkways and main traffic areas in preparation for another cleaning. Except this time I was vacuuming. That made me realize I had not vacuumed the year before. Well no wonder my carpet got dirty so fast, the cleaners only removed the top layer of dirt a vacuum should have already picked up! I looked over at my husband once I realized this and said wow, I really am improving. Last year not only could I not vacuum, I didn't really care. This year there is a bag full of white socks sitting by the front door and I am determined to keep the carpet clean this time. At least for the first two weeks...

Thanks for joining,

Friday, November 25, 2011

Time To Get Going

I stumbled upon this pearl of wisdom and raised a cynical eyebrow. It spoke to me. Was exactly what I needed to hear at that specific moment in time. Loud and clear it blasted the rubbish in my mind and blew through the fog. See I wasn't doing very well, the frustration and negativity of being sick consuming me. I was just so darn angry all the time. At everyone, everything, nothing specific but all of it in general. I was bitter and sorrowful my life had been wrought with so much illness, scrambling to keep my head above water since before I could remember. I reflected on the normalcy I sacrificed as I watched my friends get promotions and have babies and buy houses while I argued with yet one more hospital collections department to accept my meager monthly payments against an insurmountable bill. I was one unhappy girl and felt slated. 

Then the pounding headache and sharp amethyst pain of a flare woke me up the next morning. "Ahhh," I grouchily mumbled to myself, "so this is why you have been so unhappy." Something happens to me when I get Fibro-socked. Something chemical or mental or hormonal, who knows. But I get so grouchy and negative even the Grinch who stole Christmas gets jealous of my attitude. Then I get mad at myself all over again for getting mad at myself the day before when I feverishly searched for a source of my sourness. I spent the whole day blaming me for my despair and bashing my brain against the wall trying to figure out what causes it, how to make it go away and stop it from ever happening again. 

But this is just the illness. This nasty and confusing and painful illness I have lived with for over six years. I should know by now there is no magic solution to get me through a flare. There is medication and sleep and time. There is managing it so I don't create erupting volcanoes with every person I hold near and dear in my life. There is isolation, my best friend. A few days later I woke up and was happy again. My body did not throb or feel like it forgot what sleep was. Its easy to move on, get to the next chapter when everything lines up right. The lesson comes in learning how to not go back to the beginning of the book just because the paragraph I am stuck on is stupid, painful, confusing and does not seem to be going anywhere.

Thanks for joining,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Woman To Be Remembered

The world lost a woman yesterday.
A boy lost his grandmother, three people lost their mother and a man lost his wife.
This woman was a pistol, tough and strong and a force to be reckoned with.
I grew up with her tails of adventure, living overseas while young and newly married, her husband in the military.
I learned of a day in 1929 when this girl took a shoe box of money she was saving to the bank, to be turned away empty handed, for her money was worth nothing.
I recall dramatic and gory stories when she worked as a nurse, the night shift in the E.R.
I ate many holiday dinners at her dining room table and swam many summers in her swimming pool.
I never shared blood with this woman, yet she is the person who gave me one of my mothers.

And she too suffered from a silent illness, Lupus.
An illness of shared compassion to us Fibromyalgia patients.
But she braved herself up and raised her family, one of her daughters developmentally disabled and by her side every single day.
She was a woman of courage and strength and integrity, a beauty from a bygone time.
Blessed with a long life, part of her will go on.
In the friends she loved, each child she created.
Birthed and raised and taught right from wrong.
Each life she touched, I.V. she poked or Special Olympics she attended to watch her daughter win gold and silver medals.
That is what goes on.
The memories her loved ones share when brought together as they laugh through their tears, recalling something they did that made her really really mad.
The animation and times of a person with a life well lived.
Respected and remembered.
Rest in peace, you will be missed.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The River Wild

This blog was originally published on 7/25/10, the day after my first stroke. I did not know it was a stroke at the time and just assumed I was having a hormonally induced migraine, even though it was the worst headache of my life. I had such a simultaneous rush of energy I believed I was healing from a 5 year journey with CFS & Fibromyalgia and eagerly anticipated feeling like a normal human being again. It is very interesting to look back with the wisdom of the future...

My hormones are going wild, but not in a bad way, necessarily. I have not felt this much energy 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 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 is shooting through the holes like 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. It will fill the dry and dead riverbed that has appeared in the wake of the abrupt departure of the life I used to live. The question I am struggling with now is how do I keep these springing leaks and rushing floods of function from wreaking havoc in my carefully re-constructed life?

Thanks for joining,

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Senses

There are five classic senses most humans are blessed with. See (look), taste (eat), hear (listen), touch (feel), smell (sniff).  They are our internal physiological responses to the outside world. As a collective species we group our experiences into categories of sensory perception. If I eat moo shu pork and you eat moo shu pork chances are it will taste pretty much the same to both of us, and everyone else sharing our general circumstances. If a baby cries you and I are likely to hear a similar sound. And we will both want to do something to make it stop, for that needy wail has been carefully designed to attract attention. I can walk into a room and say, "It smells like rotten eggs!" and you can agree or disagree with some accuracy since we both have an identified scent in mind.

But there is one we are are having a very big problem with, and that is touch, or feel. A certain class of individuals are rapidly multiplying throughout the world with this same problem. Millions upon millions of people are complaining about the same feelings, experienced the same way, over and over. Allowing small variances for individually, of course. Fibromyalgia is darn near becoming an epidemic, with worldwide numbers reaching as far as 400 million people*. Yet nobody knows what medically causes it or why we are the ones to get it.

400 million people. That is a lot of people that feel what you do. Every time your body goes off half-cocked and your mind follows suite remember that there are 399,999,999 other people in the world that can kinda relate, at least on some level. They too are raising their children and working their jobs and going to school and playing with their grandchildren. Many of them push themselves to burnout, present company included. The crash of all the senses that finally takes you under, jammed up and overflowing because of all that darn pain stamped across the central nervous system. But I do believe we are getting somewhere with our awareness efforts. Every single time you open your mouth and utter the word Fibromyalgia you further this cause. And if you don't feel up to it that day, that 's okay too. But we will keep fighting, and winning, until we one day get the recognition, respect and results we deserve. Nearly 20 years since the World Health Organization recognized Fibromyalgia and gave her an individual ICD-9* code and the patients are still doing backflips to prove what they feel is real. That is simply unacceptable.

Thanks for joining,

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Work Work Work!

I am frustrated. I realized yesterday what I am doing to myself and logically wondered how I could be anything but frustrated under these circumstances. Before I got sick I used to make myself a "to do" list a mile long, and expect to accomplish everything in one day. I never did, and it would roll over into the next and into the next and on it would go. So is life. Well I got sick, broke down, got right back on the horse and have been pushing myself one step further, always, ever since. I will ask myself when I am in the madness, feeling the walls caving in, "Am I doing too much, expecting too much, pushing too hard?" Sometimes I have to stop and reassess because yes, I have pushed myself too hard! My expectations are unrealistic and my body pays a steep price. 

But for every time I have pushed myself past the brink there are a dozen times where I have not. That challenge, high expectation I set for myself, is what has propelled me forward in managing the beast, the Fibro beast. But it has also kept me back, because that is the "old" way of doing things that got me so deep into this whole chronic illness mess in the first place. There is only so much demand one mind, body and soul can take. So I am frustrated because things are not jiving. I don't have enough hours in my day. And yesterday when I was complaining about this it hit me like a frying pan to the face out of nowhere. I am doing too much, expecting too much, pushing too hard. 

I sit under a blanket of tremendous guilt that I don't work, bring in an income. I watch my husband weary himself to the bone to make ends stretch together. But running a house is work! Cooking is work, cleaning is work. Paying the bills, grooming the dogs, doing the laundry. Work work work! Successfully managing a chronic illness is tons of work. Writing a blog is work, running a support page for Fibro patients is work. Getting a "your not crazy, the world is ignorant" patient-empowered awareness campaign up and going is work. And writing a book is tremendous work! So even though I don't get paid for doing these things, yet, I am working very hard. In the eternal struggle we endure, how to live a productive life in a sick body, I decided to lighten up and think of myself as in "college" right now. I am working my booty down to the bone so one day I can be successful. I just all too frequently forget to remind myself how successful in managing life I already am and that my booty has been worked to the bone before and really just needs to rest. I think today I am playing hookie.

Thanks for joining,

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Purpose Through The Pain

Oh Mark, you tricky bastard! I never heard this gem of his before and stumbled across it as I perused the internet. And I got goosebumps, rushing through my body, shivering up my spine. I got it instantly to the deepest depth of meaning. See I was just telling my husband how hard of a time I have relating to the world at large. I only identify with people that have suffered, those possessing a depth of soul, the heartache of consciousness. He challenged my prejudice. "When is somebody's struggle valid enough for you? Isn't that what you get all upset about people doing to Fibro patients? Judging your suffering as not real enough?" Yes, he had me, I sure did. Hypocrite! I called out and pointed to myself. 

Many many many people ask me how I got "better" from Fibromyalgia. I don't have an answer to that question. I have 75 answers to that question. And I did not get better, I got it managed. Every single aspect of my life is different now compared to how it was before I got sick. Everything has changed, all of it, todos. I am fundamentally a different person at my core. I eat different food and drink different water. I sleep differently and stress and cry in a whole new way. I do laundry and set expectations like I never did before. I pray with a different mindset and work and exercise with it too. That is what it has taken for me to regain a quality of life worth living.

But if I get off my little disk of "managed" floating high in the sky I body-slam right back down to the suck of Fibromyalgia. And it all crumbles away, washing down the big drain of pain and anguish sitting behind every door waiting for me to stumble so it can pounce. I must live very carefully to keep myself afloat. And when I fall it is a very hard climb up a very long ladder to get back there. But through this struggle, sacrifice and sorrow I have found my way. I discovered my divine purpose, tapped into my heart and found the sap of my soul. Through imprisonment in a pain I never imagined was possible I discovered why I was born. And that discovery set me free.

Thanks for joining,

Friday, November 11, 2011

Love & Marriage

Being sick has been very hard on my marriage, as it is for most folks that are chronically ill I assume. I got hitched when I was a healthy and vibrant 24 and thought we would easily skip off into the sunset of happily ever after. Buy a house, get a dog, have a baby. Do those things everyone else in the world seems to do. But first we needed our great adventure so we moved to San Francisco. And a great adventure it was! But on Thanksgiving three years later I was in the hospital, watching my husband eat turkey dinner from the cafeteria and giving my thanks to God I survived a very severe pancreas attack. After eight days I was sent home and jumped right back on that train of great adventure. That was how I was raised, to persevere, forge ahead and keep going no matter the obstacle in my way. Fall off a horse, you immediately jump back on, right? 

But two months before my fourth wedding anniversary I started having symptoms no doctor could diagnose, no blood test or imaging would confess. Life as I knew it slowly swirled down the rabbit hole as misery and sickness overtook me. My husband kept me together, from falling completely apart and blowing my life to smithereens in the depths of my despair. The personal cost he paid was high but that man meant the vows he promised me on our wedding day and by my side he stood. His faith in me, that unwavering devotion, gave me strength to cling to as I scoured for health. I searched high, low, under every rock, behind every tree. I foraged, hunted and scrutinized the world (wide web) over for a way to get better. I could not accept this no treatment no cure junk the doctors were telling me. I could not live like this for the rest of my life. It was maddening.

Years passed and I slowly started improving and gaining stability. And my husband fell apart. See he had been holding everything together for both of us out of sheer necessity. But because of my psychotic sickness spewing all over our lives he had lots of feelings, too. Feelings I could not handle when I was really sick and sleuthing for my own sanity. But once we were out of "crisis" mode his dam burst and those compacted and rotting feelings deep inside him rushed out, stood miles high between us. I had to get right in my head, for he was going down fast and it was of course all my fault, I blamed like it did anyone any good. So I learned how to listen to him and try not to own his rage. I encouraged him to talk about his feelings. I heard him tell me he was mad at me for getting sick, with more guilt in his voice than I ever thought possible. Hell, I was mad at me for getting sick, why wouldn't he be too? And after a few years of that we finally reached our balance. Yes I am still sick, he works very hard to support us and life is not peachy keen. But sometimes he looks at me and tells me I am the strongest person he knows, having survived pancreatitis, CFS, Fibromyalgia and strokes. All I can say back to him is I did not have a choice, but he did, and he chose to stay. That easily makes him the strongest person in the room.

Thanks for joining,

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I have just done something so extremely liberating I can hardly stand it. I don't know if a woman has felt freer than I do right now, since the first ERA fore-mother took off her bra and burned it! See Fibro has made a lot of changes to my lifestyle. At first it was very physical, these changes. I was in pain, could not work, cook, clean or do anything of much use. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME made simply taking a shower more than I had energy for. Emptying the dishwasher was my exciting afternoon event. Through an odd combination of acquiescence and war I have moved past that disabled state. Flash forward six years and I will have to say the Fibro I have now is a mere glimmer of the Fibro I had then. Thank God.

So now that my body is out of immediate fight or flight mode my brain is wigging, morphing. I was always a social girl. Only child until the age of 12, I spent a lot of time around adults. I had lots of friends in high-school and college. Working intimately with the general public for over a decade rounded this out. Face to face, 4" apart, I slathered on face cream and swiped on eyeshadow. I talked my way through thousands of encounters with the throngs that swept through downtown San Francisco. I was a people person. Bonafide, verified, through and through. Then all sorts of strange stuff started happening to me and I got sick. Severe trauma and pain stamped one too many times on my central nervous system, giving me Fibromyalgia. The world ceased to be an adventuresome place as constant agony overtook me; mind, body and soul. All I knew was pain. All I felt was hurt. I had to shield myself from the world, avoid it, use with caution. This retreat was subtle, but after all this time I am starting to become aware of the extent it has truly changed me. 

I can hardly stand people, they are difficult and demanding. I rant and rave about technology like a 90 year-old resistant to change. The phone ringing makes me crazy. I get overwhelmed easily. Basically I want to live solitary, undisturbed, so I can indulge myself in writing for days on end, only resurfacing when I needed a break and some amusement. I believe I have become anti-social! Today, in my final act of acceptance that this is what I need right now to continue improving my health, I turned off every ringer in my house, muted the answering machine and put my cell phone on silent. With a smile on my face I did this, my equivalent to burning that darn bra.

Thanks for joining,

Monday, November 7, 2011

What If

Let's suppose I tell you about something that kinda happened this past weekend. I say kinda because nothing else but me freaking out actually ever happened. On Friday night my husband and I went to Costco to exchange a package of bread. I did not bother to check it last week when I bought it and half of one of the loaves was missing. So we are in the parking lot and he is between aisles, about to cross the main entrance. Well he sees a spot on the other side of the entrance and slowly drives towards it. A car enters the parking lot and is coming right at us. A big ol' honkin' white Cadillac with the lady from the Wendy's "Where's The Beef" advertising campaign driving it. Remember her, the one with the big bun on top of her head? Yeah, well she is careening slowly towards my passenger side. But my husband does nothing. He does not stop, does not even accelerate. I am screaming at him to DRIVE! GO! He slowly keeps scooching into the car heading straight to t-bone us on my side and does NOTHING! I am screaming DRIVE DRIVE at the top of my lungs and not understanding why he is still inching into this accident! Seriously, what is he doing? He has not even honked! He slowly passes and we don't hit because Where's The Beef stops her boat so we can cross.
Oh my dear husband, feel sorry for him, because at this point I have seen my future and am screaming ballistic. Like psycho crazy woman. I am so angry. I trembled and yowled in confused rage as he woke up or came back from wherever he was (wishing he was far away from me I can be sure). But I had seen it, a car accident. A smash of vehicles which if it did not injure me would surely absorb countless hours of my life in complication. I got so mad because I realized how close I walk the edge of  "more than I can take." I witnessed how easily a person's innocent negligence could destroy this carefully knitted and nurtured house of cards I have made for myself. The only life I can stand after being so sick, in so much pain, for so long. I became overwhelmed with the feeling of, "Once she finishes swimming in the depths of one Andy Gump lets just throw her in another!" So no drama, we were lucky this time. But if that didn't show me I better toughen up and do it quick then I don't know what will. Life is a brutal game and I gotta be prepared to take the punches. It just would be so much easier if I knew when and where to expect them.
Thanks for joining,

Friday, November 4, 2011

Is It Okay To Feel This Good?

I think I am going through a manic phase but maybe this is just what it feels like 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 unending 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,

This blog was originally published on 7/15/10, nine days before my first stroke. I can't help but wonder if this was related in any way. I was not only feeling great, I was believing it too!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Timer

When I was a little girl my mom would tell me I could go play but had to be home at a certain time. Like, an hour, let's say. So I would run up the stairs all excited to the 3rd floor and knock on the door my friends lived behind. We would laugh and play and have a gay old time but six year old me couldn't read a clock. I was just learning about the big hand and the little hand and the designated hour of play would slip away unnoticed. Until my mother came pounding on the door a few hours later, totally irritated with me, that is. So she got hip and found a solution. She would hand me the kitchen timer. You remember those that count 60 minutes and have a dial on the front and a bell in the back, batteries not required? Well she would set it for an hour and send me on my way. That worked out great until I realized Barbie and Skipper needed a little more time to decorate the dream mansion. Then I got hip and realized I could nudge it back just a little, allowing the budding interior designers time to complete our charge.

I recalled this memory and laughed this morning. I was rushed, hurried and irritated that I leave everything to the last minute. Then I get mad about all the things I should do. Get up, make the bed. Eat something, put the dish into the dishwasher. No, I don't seem to have it down to a science and the result is clutter and chaos which only increases my irritation. So mom, you don't even know it, but you have helped this Fibrate discover motivation today. See, I found if every couple hours I set the timer for 15 minutes and did stuff and then sat back down when it went off, I reached my goal. I got stuff done without overexerting. What is it they call this? Oh yeah, balance.

Thanks for joining,

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fibromyalgia Sponsor

I got to thinking the other day just how isolating this illness is. How scary it can be when all these strange things keep happening with our bodies and minds. There is no "Fibromyalgia Survivors Guide" pamphlet sitting on display in the doctors office that I have seen. Sometimes folks go through horrible terrible efforts to even get a doctor to take them seriously and believe their symptoms are real. Family and friends can tell you "its all in your head" or "get over it" and list a litany of things you must do to feel better. Since modern medicine does not know the answer surely they do! So as your body breaks down so does your mind, self-esteem, self-worth and often confidence in your own sanity. 

What a ridiculous set of circumstances. In bringing a bunch of Fibro patients together the one resounding thing I hear is, "Nobody understands unless they have it." I think that is true about most things in life. Marriage, parenthood, cancer, wealth, who really knows what any of it is unless you have experienced it yourself? I am finding the longer I walk this journey the more parallels I discover to a long-successful and well-worn institution called Alcoholics Anonymous. It has already been established that recovery from alcoholism is a hard process, a daily choice facilitated by determination, commitment and support. Fibromyalgia patients are in a sort of recovery process ourselves, for surely we are not given the opportunity to choose this illness, but we do get the opportunity to choose how we respond to this illness.

An integral part of the success of AA is the sponsor. A person who has more time than you do on the other side, more experience in navigating the challenges of everyday life. Ideas on how not to "trigger" a binge and someone to talk to when there is no other way down but off that wagon. Well why on earth do we Fibro patients not have the same? A friend, a mentor, a fellow patient that will tell you to stop crying when your legs are shooting daggers into your feet and you are all but convinced they are going to fall off. A person that gets it when you say, "I have not slept in 4 days and can't remember my own name!" and does not look at you like a total loon. Someone who will listen to you wail and cry over the heartache and heartbreak of living chronically ill and does not have to fix it, does not offer you myriad solutions, but is just there. On the other end, silently listening and understanding and wrapping you up in the blanket of compassion. Knowing exactly what it feels like to be you at that moment. I think having that would surely help me. So maybe I am going to go look around and see if I can't find myself one of these!

Thanks for joining,