Forks In The Road

Welcome to all the new readers, and those who’ve been with me for years or months. 🙂 I’m happy to greet you all.

I’ve been working on a piece about racism and my personal experiences with different forms of it, but mostly, I have started to notice just how worn out I am, which lends to me feeling completely useless. I am not sleeping well; and I am trying not to rely on prescription sleep medication because it either doesn’t work or it leaves me with sleep paralysis. I am burnt out, stressed about life and the future, thinking about all of my relationships, etc. I’ve been trying to allow myself the honesty of all of my feelings privately, which hasn’t been helpful, though perhaps I am too close to say if it’s helping or not. I do know there are abysmal highs and lows these days.

I will be taking some brief breaks for the next month or so. I don’t know if they will be obvious or not, but I think it’s necessary and needed. I think it’s time to get my head into some sense of normalcy and keep pushing for betterment. I hope you will all understand the reasoning. I will still be present, but there will be days when I’m not. I hope it’ll be fine, no matter what.

For the month of March, I will be focusing on a few charities in support of Colorectal Cancer and Women’s History Month. I also have my Goddaughter’s tenth birthday approaching. People always say, “You’re way too young to be a Godmother.” I don’t think they understand what an honor it is to be asked to be a part of a child’s life in such a deeply personal way. There is no age requirement or limit involved. It’s an honor and a privilege, and yes, it is also a responsibility. It says something about me, as a person, that people fully trust me with their child.

I will do my best not to be too “out of it” here, but will also do my best to rally. For now, though, this picture near a local trail says it all. I’m walking towards the color, because everything else feels too harming and bleak.

Wishing you all a peaceful week. Bright Blessings.

Tuesday Thoughts

Hello one and all. I hope you’re having a great start to the week.

My procedure yesterday afternoon went okay. I think I’ve just gotten used to it, though my anxiety was still pretty awful. Usually there’s an epic migraine and so much physical pain after this treatment that I come back, feed my cats, and drag myself straight to bed. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel as horrible as I normally do. Completely different side effects this time around. I wasn’t quite prepared to be slammed with nausea late last night into the early morning hours, but that’s what Promethazine is for. It helped quite a bit, and I did sleep, but today, I feel physically, mentally, and emotionally numb and exhausted as hell. I’m supposed to rest, not push myself too hard physically, etc. I felt overwhelmingly exhausted by 1:00 PM, and spiked a fever around two. 😔 Hopefully it’ll be gone soon, otherwise I’ll call tomorrow since this has NEVER happened before. Is it a potential side effect? Yes. I’ve just never experienced it before. A few other rare side effects have popped up, too. I’m erring on the side of caution.

Traffic was mostly avoided yesterday, which was awesome. 🎉 Boston’s tunnels make me feel like I’m in a James Bond movie and about to be shot at. Plus, they definitely mess with my head in the “sensory deprivation” sense. I was able to avoid returning with a migraine. My headache specialist is REALLY pleased with my progress. It’s helping my cervical spine tremendously, and since I was the first person to report remarkable results, she said, “Isn’t it amazing how, we don’t always know if something new will work, but we try it and we end up feeling so much better?” It nearly eliminated my daily neck pain and helped me reduce how many muscle relaxers I take. It has reduced my migraines by about 30-40%. I still get migraines, and there’s still pain to contend with, but they don’t attach themselves to my skull for 3+ weeks anymore. Going 21 days without a major migraine was shocking. Sadly, it takes a while to realize you’re not in agony every single day. Bear in mind, I still have Fibromyalgia to contend with, but help is help, and I feel relieved that this is something I might be able to stick with. 🤞

I chose, from day one, not to disclose the treatment method because I was already being judged by friends and a handful of family members, and because, from a public standpoint, I wanted to see how I’d do before talking about it. No one wants to discuss another failed effort. The fact that it’s successful doesn’t mean it will remain so. My doctor has a backup plan should this fail at any time, and I am confident in both options. Until I’m ready to discuss it, I think it’s perfectly okay to keep it private. Thus far, I highly doubt I’ve run into a subscriber in the building, but you never know. 🤷

I definitely feel blue today. I feel isolated, unsupported, stressed, and exhausted, but I’m trying to look forward towards better days. I KNOW they’re on their way.

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Sadness Had Very Little To Do With It

“It wasn’t that she was sad—sadness had very little to do with it, really, considering that most of the time, she felt close to nothing at all. Feeling required nerves, connections, sensory input. The only thing she felt was numb. And tired. Yes, she very frequently felt tired.” ―Nenia Campbell

Another Caturday

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I am really struggling today. 😦 My insurance company denied my doctor’s request for an MRI, so even though he got on the phone and argued with them, I received two separate letters “explaining” the denial. They want me to do six weeks of physical therapy in order for them to agree to an MRI. Does this sound even remotely cost-effective to any of you? Yeah, I didn’t think so. I will be writing my own appeal letter this coming week because, quite frankly, I don’t appreciate being told “Unless you have cancer…” as one of the reasons why they would be willing to pay for it. Most of their reasoning is bullshit, and they know it as well as I do. My doctor was at such a loss, because he didn’t understand their explanations, either. He asked me if I wanted to even pursue this further and I said “I need to know what is causing this and how to proceed. I don’t want to live with un-diagnosed damage.” He agreed with me, and I was glad that he’d spent a week arguing with them before calling me back. Very few doctors would be willing to do that.

My father experienced a lot of pain in his shoulder for months before finally listening to me and going to the doctor. He kept thinking, much like I often do, that he’d slept on it funny. An x-ray showed a broken shoulder and bones in his arm were also badly broken. The doctor was confused, because these aren’t normal breaks one gets without an underlying issue. Because x-rays only show bone (my x-rays show nothing but perfect bone), it was an MRI that showed a baseball sized tumor on his shoulder, which is what caused the broken bones and resulted in major surgery and reconstruction of the bones. It was a tumor that, when removed, it took additional time to get it out because it was bigger than what the MRI showed. I believe the words “It was more like a softball than a baseball.” were used. I don’t know what is going on with my neck at this point, but I do know I am in excruciating pain, experiencing a lot more paralysis (Most nights, I cannot move or vocalize the paralysis, so I just lie here, hoping it will pass. I am awake the entire time, even though it looks as though I am asleep. I’m not, but I can’t scream out for help.), and I can’t deal with it for another minute. Physical therapy will only result in me screaming the second someone touches me. This should be an interesting experience for someone trying to assess me.

There is legitimately too much stress going on in my life right now. Jumping through hoops for my insurance company isn’t on my list of “things I’d like to do”, but I am NOT forcing myself to do anything until I exhaust the appeals process.

As I sit here bone-tired from lack of sleep, feeling guilty that I can’t run errands like a normal person, I desperately want to sit and cry. Unfortunately, I currently lack the emotion to do so.

A rainy Saturday being ignored by my cats. When two feels like twenty, it’s terribly exhausting on top of the fact that I couldn’t sleep, have a migraine, and everything is dull and uninteresting to me. I hope I come back as someone’s beloved cat because being human isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 😦

 

Cat And Kitten Send Mommy To The Doctor

I know what you’re thinking. “This is the first time they’ve thought of it in all the years they’ve owned you?!” In all seriousness, I made the appointment myself, long before my Urgent Care fiasco of last Tuesday.

However, at 5:00 a.m., I really don’t need Large Paws (Kitten) walking all over me from head to toe to shove me out of bed. I’m not sure what that was about, other than to annoy me and get me into the kitchen to give them their breakfast. Five a.m. Really?! Since when is that acceptable?! I mean, it was still dark out (at the time). This is what happens when you raise food-aggressive cats, people.

When I woke up and started making actual sounds, having dragged myself to the cough medicine, I heard Cat plummet down from wherever she was with a little “Boom!” onto the hard wood. The second I do anything even remotely interesting, day or night, I am subjected to the “Boom!” and her elephant steps come flying down to see what I’m up to. I walked into the kitchen and said “Are you both in here?” before turning on the light. There is NOTHING normal about that kind of behavior, or discussions with cats who only want food and nothing else. I swear, I won’t see either of them until I get home from the doctor. Unless I’m feeding them, they now have zero use for me whatsoever. Can you feel the love?!

Later today is my first appointment with a new doctor in a little over five years. My last one went a little something like this “I don’t want anymore pain patients!”, which was practically yelled at me, disdain as long as a month on this doctor’s face. Yeah, and I don’t want a doctor with a stick up his ass, but “pain patients” are probably the reason you can pay your student loans from the subpar ‘medical school’ you went to and we’re probably the reason you can make your car payment each month, so shush.

If you’re a D.O. and not an M.D., you didn’t go through the same training methods or learn the exact same things. If I wanted someone to treat me holistically, I’d go to a naturopath, not a D.O. Call me a snob, but I want someone who has their shit together, regardless of the two letters after their name. I’m a person, not a number in a chart. I don’t want to be passed on to the Physician’s Assistant (especially not this doctor’s assistant who could have killed me if I wasn’t a smart patient that spoke up last week.), Nurse Practitioner, etc. I just want to keep it real. If I have to wait weeks on end for an appointment with the actual doctor, then I want to SEE the actual doctor. It’s not a lot to ask.

I go in today with zero expectations. Honestly, they couldn’t be any lower than they are. I did write up a detailed medical history for her since it’ll be a while before she gets mediocre-at best records from my previous physicians. The lab is next door to the doctor’s office, so I suspect my first order of business is to be thoroughly vamped. Good luck. The only way you’ll get so much as a drop of blood is by going into my hands or wrist. You might have better luck with a paper-cut. At the mere mention of blood work, my veins disappear. I typed that and only two are visible in my left wrist and forearm. The others have gone bye-bye. They’ve been through a LOT over the years. 😦 My appointment is a little before 3:00 PM, so there’s no way in hell I’m fasting on the potential she wants to run tests I don’t actually need. I don’t have diabetes (Thank God and Goddess.), but she can run a hemoglobin A1C ’til the cows come home. The only thing I think will be high is my cholesterol, because it runs in the family, but it’s always been good previously, so I’m not going to agonize over it. My white count will be elevated, as it always is, which is indicative of an infection OR an autoimmune disease. This time, it would be hard to tell which because I’m fighting off two infections. I’m usually just fighting my body. 😦

In the history report I started with concussions and worked my way up to the reason I’m going there. Not once in this report do I use the words “Chronic Pain” or “Fibromyalgia”. I decided I want to be diagnosed properly, and therefore, she can refer me to a Neurologist and a Rheumatologist, and whomever else for that matter, but I’m not using those words until a new doctor does. I do not want or need another doctor treating me like crap because the words “Chronic Pain” and “Fibromyalgia” make them uncomfortable. Or worse, label me as a “drug seeker” when I am not. I’ve never once asked or demanded pain medication from a doctor.

I am still recovering from the infections I have and the case of Bronchitis. I missed a couple of doses of antibiotics, so I still feel pretty awful. My sinuses are terribly painful. I keep hoping it’ll rain and that some of the pressure will ease, but thus far, not a single rain drop. Figures.

I won’t lie; I’m concerned that so much is wrong with me and that no doctor on this planet will ever get to the bottom of it. I’m sick to my stomach, wondering what I’ve inherited genetically considering my brother has had a quadruple bypass, which the doctors said was not anything he did or didn’t do health-wise, but a genetic issue. Both of my parents had heart issues young; my mother died as a result of her heart giving out. My Grandfather died at 40 from a massive heart attack. More than half of my family has had or had cancer. So while I’ve got good genes in the looks and youth department, internally, I have just cause to be concerned.

I am the only person in my family with any form of Chronic Pain. My brother told me that his migraines got better post-bypass surgery. Ever since then, I’ve wondered if my heart is a ticking time bomb waiting to take me out, despite being told twice that it’s healthy and working as it should. And when it comes to cancer, I have a lot of cause to worry as a non-smoker who was subjected to secondhand smoke for the majority of her life, which is precisely how my Grandmother got cancer, twice. She also hid from the sun my entire life and still managed to get skin cancer. I’ve spent the majority of my life covered in sunscreen, and now and then, I still get a little burn here and there if I haven’t reapplied and have been out in direct sunlight longer than two hours. We talk about global warming, but we should also address the holes in the ozone layer when we discuss the need for sunscreen. People are developing allergies to the sun, and are wearing SPF 100 just to be outside for 10-30 minutes a day, if that. Hell, they have to wear it indoors too, because UV rays can and do come through the glass.

Less than an hour has passed since I fed Large Paws and Bunny Paws. I haven’t seen them or heard from them since. They’re doing a lot to boost my self-esteem, let me tell ya!

And so, today’s journey begins with pulling my shit together, preparing myself for this appointment, and going. Like I said, my expectations are low, but I’ve managed to work myself up into some very respectable panic attacks between Sunday and this morning. 😦

Wish me good luck. I keep hoping I’ll just be hit by a MACK truck and be able to call it a day. What can I say? I’m tired of this crap.

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I zoomed in on this photo, so you could see that Cat is sitting inside a bag of bags. She’s OBSESSED with bags from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. She’s also annoyed that the camera comes out every time she does something even remotely cute. Doesn’t she look bunny soft? She is.

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

 

 

Friday Night Rewrites

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I started rewrites on this novel late last night/very early this morning. I’m fifty pages in and I’ve never felt more like crying for a protagonist in my life. For the record; she’s never made me feel like this before, so I feel protective and unsure.

I thought a new introduction to the story would be better, or at the very least, give me a third option to present. Instead, I find myself struggling. I get the distinct impression this is what April is really bringing me; stress. 😦

I love this story and I’ve enjoyed writing it, but this rewrite is making me doubt myself. I hate to admit it, but I’m not a born writer of fiction. It’s not what I cut my teeth on day in and day out. My brain doesn’t function in alternative realities or universes, unless written by others. However, I AM determined to get this written. I just have to be realistic about my time and energy. I have to cut myself some slack and not expect perfection. I’m at that point where I just have to write and write well. No bullshit, no filler, no nonsense. Just pure story.

I’m exhausted and burnt out. Every time I take an hour to distract myself, I find myself back in front of the damn file, trying to work out the story and get it back on track. The problem with this rewrite though is that the others were completely on track, and this one is a new direction. The direction is scary, but I have to allow it to play out before I decide if it’s good or if it belongs in the scrap yard.

Yesterday someone told me I’m “an amazing writer”. I politely said “Thank you.” because what else was I supposed to say? However, today is one of those days where I wish I was a little less something and a little more something else. I’m not entirely sure what though. 😦

Wishing you all a peaceful, relaxing weekend. If you get stressed, keep in mind that I’m sitting in front of the screen with a migraine and neck pain, wishing this story would unfold instead of cause me emotional heartache. To add insult to injury, I need a new heating pad for my neck. I’m not sure how I killed mine, but it hates me. Bleh!

Back to the grindstone…

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