Questioning Everything

Hello everyone. 🙂 I’ve been both present and not-so present around here for quite some time, mostly from an emotional standpoint. I’m not going to apologize for that. No one should ever apologize for taking care of themselves, or the crap in their lives. If someone tells you their life is perfect, I’ve got a bridge to sell them in at least two states. 😦

My x-rays came back and showed nothing. That was two and a half weeks ago, and my doctor never deigned to get back to me. In fact, she idiotically had an assistant tell me my spine is “perfect” (If that was true, I would NOT be in excruciating pain every day of my life.) and to “keep taking the muscle relaxers” and “do yoga”. I REALLY didn’t appreciate the “do yoga” comment. This isn’t a pulled muscle or a stretching issue, not by a long shot. I told the assistant “Where did the damage to my spine go? It did not miraculously heal itself because IT WAS INOPERABLE.” Her response? “I’ll tell the doctor you’re not happy with the results.” Click. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! One, I never said that. Two, I stated that I wanted to find the root cause of the pain so it could be properly treated. If you’re going to “assist”, at least get your shit together. 😦 Picture the angriest face in the world, because that’s how I’ve looked at times dealing with this crap! 

I called the office today and left a message for the nurse practitioner to get the ball rolling on the MRI. They need 24-48 hours to hear back from my insurance company because apparently, doctors used to abuse the privilege of running tests and now need to run such things past the insurance. Angry, annoyed face makes her appearance.

I had an appointment scheduled with her for tomorrow afternoon, but decided to cancel. I’d rather talk with her, ask for the MRI to be pushed through, and reschedule once the results come in. It’s pointless to go in and rehash my issues with someone new, especially considering the amount of pain I am in. Just showering and get dressed is terribly painful, especially when I can’t bend down. I wake up in so much pain each day, I simply cannot commit to anything at the moment. I cannot drag myself in to the office when I can barely drag myself from one room to the next. Yes, it’s less than five minutes away, but just the thought of going in for another chat is a waste of time in my eyes. Especially since I see how much they’ve been billing my insurance company each time, and how much the insurance actually pays out. Let’s sum it up in one word, LUDICROUS. I should start sending bills to my friends/family when they call for advice!

I hate admitting this, but fighting through all of the day-to-day pain, and some extremely upsetting things I have learned over the past few weeks, has made me want to cancel the rest of the year, pretty much. There is a deep, dark cloud of depression hanging over everything. I hope & pray it all works itself out, that the impossible will soon be possible, and that changes will start working towards positivity. I hate the way I feel and when I feel this way, sharing my thoughts isn’t always wise.

I saw the new therapist last week. For now, I’ll go in once a month. Not because I feel I need it, but because it’s good to have someone in place in case I DO need it. There are some painful things coming up in my life, and in the lives of those close to me, and I might need a neutral third-party to help me get through it. I don’t love her, but I don’t hate her. I think she’s fair and I appreciate that she likes my direct approach and honesty. My doctor, apparently, said a lot of wonderful things about me to her before he left. He told her I deserved someone amazing. That means more to me than a lot of things he could have said. When someone’s perception of you is incredibly kind and positive, it’s nice to get that feedback. I am sure plenty of people don’t have the same insight into me as a person, and that’s fine, but anyone I work closely with who gets it has the opportunity to either see that in me or they can choose to see something else. That’s on them. I’ve got a hard enough time dealing with my own personal stake in who I am.

I’m writing. I am researching extensively, and trying to flesh out my characters to give them more depth. As solid as the story is, and it’s so good I can’t believe I wrote it, I know the characters need more substance. You want to get deeply enmeshed in their lives from the first chapter on, and you want to root for them. It’s already there, but going deeper is important because otherwise, I will certainly be told that the characters need more trials and tribulations. I do read-throughs on it and always think “This needs something MORE.” Being tired, in pain, worn out, and often-times triggered by the smallest things, have made me feel like I needed a break from the writing. I started research for a new project the other day. I’ve never written a crime mystery, but I’m contemplating it. Why not? It’s personally uncharted territory.

I have been managing a pain support group for well over a year now. A few days ago a member approached me to start a petition for 100,000 signatures to go in front of the President. She offered to help, as did her husband. Is it terrible that I wanted to say “Do it yourself; I’ll sign it and help you promote it.”? This is a small group of people and they only come to me with ideas that are enormous undertakings. Whenever I present something small, they ignore me. All of them. I understand that many of them assume I am a pain advocate, but the truth is, I am a patient who is struggling and can’t even fathom getting 100,000 signatures. Do I for one single second feel the current “President” gives a shit? NO. He’s trying to revoke the current status and privileges of roughly 800,000 people by what he’s done with DACA, so why the hell would he care about pain patients?! If he were a reasonable person of sound mind, I’d feel more confident that what I say will be heard. However, he’s not a reasonable person and he’s proven he’s not sane, so this feels like a fight I don’t feel I can take on. And yet, I said I’d do it. Mostly to see if it can be achieved. I don’t have any expectations.

I hope everyone had a happy, safe, fun summer. I hope you enjoy the remainder of it because Fall is definitely on its way. For the first time in a long time, I’m not excited about it, or anything, really. Each day of my life is so monotonous, I can’t bear waking up each morning. Here’s hoping that changes.

Wishing you all a peaceful and safe Full Moon.


copyright © 2017 Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Personal Year In Review


I wish I had fabulous things to share here as I look back on 2016, the year itself as a complete “body of work”, as opposed to how I genuinely feel about it.

Here’s the unadulterated truth; I’m filled with mixed emotions, anger, pain, and the more I think about it, additional anger on top of the original anger, which is never a good sign. I make no apologies for my honesty. I’m many things in my imperfect human way, but dishonest isn’t on the list.

I take no issue with the company in my life, or lack thereof. I am a firm believer that we all go through hard times and that hard work, love, and prayer will get us through it. I take no issue with surviving (Life should be more than that though, right?) and having a few good days here and there (Though I am determined to not allow people to ruin my days when I’m feeling good and their moods aren’t meant for me. However, this is a process. It will not happen instantaneously.), but I do take issue with things outside my control.

I am a self-admitted control freak when it pertains to a lot of things in my life, and with other things, not so much. Overall, I’m tired of my best not being good enough, and having people remind me of my failures. Never look down upon someone unless you’re helping them up. Asking for help through tough times is not a grave sin. It’s honest, it’s real, and it’s admitting something vulnerable and scary is occurring that you cannot figure out how to face on your own. Why do we diminish that?!

I was raised to believe that as long as I do my best, it is always “good enough”, because it shows effort. And then I moved to another state where I know very few people, where “my best” is NEVER “good enough” because some unattainable level of perfection is expected at all times. It makes me feel like a bad Stepford Wife. 😦 I would not know what happiness was if a radioactive spider bit my ass. I haven’t known happiness in so long, it scares me. I feel emotions, yes, but happiness is almost never among them. How’s that for honest?

My brother has been through a torturous, evil kind of hell this year. I highly suspect that whatever was done to his heart set off a myriad of other health issues because I cannot recall a time when he wasn’t under the age of ten and on antibiotics as often as he’s been this year. He has been in and out of the hospital so many times that I’ve damn near had a multitude of nervous breakdowns every single time. I am currently waiting to hear back from a surgeon as he embarks on surgery number five in just slightly over a year; which is more surgery than he’s ever had in his entire life. It worries me on such a deep level, it’s difficult to convey.

I am immensely disheartened by how uncaring and unkind people are being towards him. At the beginning and end of each day, we only have so many family members in life, and as we’ve established, life is as short as it is long. My brother & I don’t have a lot of family, so we’ve had to rally around each other and be each other’s biggest support system through what has been, in essence, the gates of Hell. I may yell at him and get frustrated, I may say nasty things to him in the heat of the moment because he pushes my buttons, but ultimately, I’m not ignoring him or pretending he doesn’t exist in the hopes he’ll simply go away. I might not respond to a phone call or a text message when I’m sleeping, and sometimes I am guilty of ignoring him for a full twenty-four hours because I can’t handle the stress, but I do speak to my brother. I might not admit this to him, but he’s one of my best friends.

I say a painful goodbye to 2016, a year that has made me suffer in ways I can’t discuss; physically, mentally, and emotionally. I hope and pray that 2017 offers me more opportunities, better work, better pay, the same high-quality friendships I’ve maintained since day one (I’ve gotta say it; my friends are the BEST friends. They’re the first people to ask if I’m okay, to see through answers when I’m 100% NOT okay, and be as supportive as they can through crises. I would not have made it through parts of this year if it weren’t for the relationships in my life, both old and new, that have helped reinforce who I am as a person.), a real directional shift that leads me exactly where I need to be lead, and a year that allows me to achieve goals I have set for myself. The big goals, because at the moment, small goals aren’t cutting it.

I’d like to see some medical breakthroughs to help me better manage my pain and overall health. I was hit in the back with a shopping cart today at a local grocery store. This woman was on her cell phone and obviously thought she had enough room and/or didn’t even see me. I swear I am invisible to 99% of the “human race”. Initially my response was “Excuse YOU!”, but the lunatic just kept on walking, loudly debating stupidity on her phone. I did not feel it was worth pursuing in the moment, but now I am sorry I didn’t. I’m not sure if she did any real damage that wasn’t already there, but the level of pain I’m in is not something I want to take with me into the coming year, or any other year. I truly think CBD oil is in my future, as the “war on opiates” in this state is far too ridiculous to pursue with a doctor. I will, but I, like so many others, need a backup plan to help manage the pain in my life. No one should ever have to live like this.

Blessings to you all, as we say goodbye to 2016 and welcome in what will hopefully a bright New Year! 

copyright © 2016 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.



Friday, How I’ve Missed You

I don't feel or think all of these things, but I know many people who do.
I don’t feel or think all of these things, but I know many people who do.

I have come to cherish my weekends like a newborn baby. The arrival of Friday makes me feel less guilty about self-care. This week in particular, I need it.

Early yesterday evening, I had a coughing fit come out of nowhere. In the midst of said coughing fit, I felt something in my upper spine pop. The sound resounded through the room. My immediate thought was “This is NOT good.” Already in a pretty harsh Fibro flare, I did NOT want or need to add to the pain I was already in. My brain kept saying “I can’t believe you hurt yourself coughing! Why can’t you have a more interesting way of causing your body excruciating pain?!” 😦 Don’t worry, I shut that fucker up.

Less than an hour or so later, I was in bed. On top of being exhausted, I could already feel that this sudden pop was going to make things worse for me for a few days. As I sit here writing this, the pain has escalated immensely between 6:45 last night and now. Moving my neck too much is completely out of the question. I’m contemplating Icy Hot. I already took over-the-counter pain medication, whatever good that will do, but I’d rather attempt to treat it as opposed to doing nothing at all. I know it’s going to be achy and sore for a few days. I just need to allow myself proper rest so that it doesn’t get worse.

ifanationI had planned on getting some editing done today. I have decided to limit it to a chapter once my neck loosens up and isn’t screaming in agony. Hell, I’ll do two chapters if I feel okay, but no more than that because I don’t want all that sitting and neck movement to aggravate this and make it worse than it already is, and it’s pretty fucking bad. If I feel better tomorrow, I can do another 2-3 chapters and so on. Hopefully that means I will finally rid myself of this nightmare manuscript, for good. It’s a first edit of a fourth draft. I suspect it will need 2-3 additional rounds of editing, but if I am asked to do additional work on it, I absolutely MUST price it better because it’s tormented me from day one and explaining that to my client in a nice way is -cough- difficult because this client isn’t a very good listener.

If you’ve never been edited before and you’re worried about how long it takes, not understanding the editing process and how thorough I am, then think about how long it took you to write it. If you tell me “I wrote this in three months.”, I already know it’s going to be full of issues. This manuscript is full of issues, and it is also one of the reasons that I want to focus on my work, which probably does have some issues in it, but if nothing else, it is predominantly clean and flows beautifully. I know this because I’ve been writing it for five years. I also know it flows beautifully because the last time I read it, I was so caught up in the story, I forgot that I was the writer. Color me impressed. 🙂


I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, but I did sleep. I was unable to take the 9:00 a.m. nap I thought about yesterday morning, mostly because I was in a lot of pain, have a lot on my mind, and couldn’t get comfortable. On the plus side, I did fall asleep pretty quickly last night and I slept soundly for nearly three hours before I heard my phone buzzing. If I don’t leave it on vibrate, any ringtone will make me come right out of my skin or it will make me yell at whomever is calling. After listening to the other person for damn near 30 minutes, I practically growled and hung up. It’s not wise to talk to me after a certain time when I’m A) Still in sleep mode and B) Hungry. It’s like trying to negotiate a ceasefire with a dragon. I’m not exaggerating, I’m aware when I am unpleasant.

Do you have anything special planned this weekend? Do you feel guilty when you have to prioritize your health over the demands of others? Let me know in the comments.

Have a safe, pain-free, pleasant weekend. If it can’t be all three, aim for one positive thing.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.




I’ve been plagued by pain in so many ways over the last week and a half, that I really haven’t been able to finish anything I’ve started to write. Work, at the moment, is that thing I should be doing, but can’t because sitting here for 5-12 hours editing is excruciatingly painful. I won’t lie; I feel a tremendous amount of guilt over it. I shouldn’t, but I do.

I have been extraordinarily exhausted. If I’m up longer than 12 hours, I will start to fall asleep wherever I am. By 6:20 last night, I seriously thought about getting into my bed without my favorite blanket. I went downstairs to pull it out of the dryer, basking in its warmth. There’s something incredibly cozy about a blanket fresh from the dryer, especially when you have chills and need to go to bed. Once again, I was in bed before the sun went into set mode. Sometimes it’s just a 3-5 hour nap, and other times, like last night, it was a total “lights out” moment. I rarely sleep straight through the night. I woke up once sometime after one to yell about something (it might have been my wicked next door neighbor’s new dog, which must have come home with them from their vacation because they’ve never had a dog since moving in. The dog, naturally, is as annoying as they are. It barks at its own shadow, and everything else it can see. I don’t want to hear your dog at 1:00 a.m. or 5:00 a.m. Train the beast! I’d be able to tune it out if their backyard wasn’t right on top of my bedroom window.) and after that I didn’t wake up until kitten walked on my head. As supreme “can opener”, this makes me a favorite between cat and kitten. Especially since kitten is always hungry, unless she’s sleeping.

I haven’t had much to say this week. I have ideas and other things swirling inside my head, all of which will come to fruition at some point, but mostly I am tired, stressed, and in so much pain, it’s hard to see straight.

You have absolutely no idea how much time you spend sitting until sitting becomes the single most painful thing you can do. My back and I are at odds. Every single thing is painful. Walking, standing, bending down to pick something up off the floor, even being in bed is uncomfortable. I lucked out yesterday and was finally able to do the laundry I hadn’t been able to do over the weekend. I didn’t want to make my back any worse after Saturday morning. It’s bruised, sore, and achy, but I think with continued rest, it will be all right. If it’s not, you can all send me weird things while I’m in the hospital (No cheese, Lucy! LOL.).

I hope everyone is having a happy, productive week. Me? I’m glad it’s almost over.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

For the record, I am still young & vibrant. Therein lies the problem!
For the record, I am still young & vibrant. Therein lies the problem!