Of late, the few pieces I began working on for all of you have seemingly gone off the rails. I find myself triggered, upset, angry, introspective, and a myriad of other emotions. These are not emotions conducive to writing the truth. It requires me to take a step back, work on healing, and then move forward slowly, and with grace. I hope you can remain patient with me, and when I do share what I’ve written, that you will be able to really hear me in the words.

Last week ended badly, the weekend was so traumatizing, and I ended up heavily triggered Monday into Tuesday, without realizing it until I was ass deep in alligators. This resulted in me returning home from a medical procedure yesterday afternoon, and actually having a bad reaction for maybe the third time ever. I found myself huddled under a blanket, writing, shivering, and physically shaking. I had eaten, but hadn’t hit the right amount of calories because I was so nauseous. It carried over into this morning with more shaking. Hell, I am shaking as I type this, and I’ve eaten a balanced, nutritious meal over an hour ago. It’s as if all my muscles are trying to detach themselves from my bones. That’s the only way I can describe it.

I made a decision a few years ago, when it all started, not to share what I am going through medically. Mostly because I don’t want to hear people’s judgmental comments, or ever feel like I have to justify my personal health choices/decisions to anyone. Let me be clear: I will not validate anything to anyone. They were not in the room with me when I received the information and they were not there to balance the positives versus potential negatives.

I have already heard how people perceive this without ever realizing that millions of people benefit medically from some questionable options presented to them. It is life or death. It is quality of life over torturous agony. They are making such rude assessments, all while not knowing I am doing something smart in order to help myself. The very thing they are sitting in judgment over. Judge away; I know my truth, and I know the person I am.

The percentage of personal information shared here is so minute, yet often seems like a lot. It’s made me question how much should be shared publicly. In fairness, I know what I am doing and saying, and I only try to share what absolutely matters. There are boundaries, though. Sometimes more than I ever imagined I’d need.

I am going to take a bit of time to step back and breathe. I need mental healing time. I need to get some restorative sleep. I need to talk to my tribe and truly heal the physical and mental aspect of all this, because before long, I have to turn around and do this all over again. I have very little support, but thankfully a friend is moving a few hours away soon, and this will bring forth some happier times ahead. It’s time to explore and find a balance because stress is breaking me down from head to toe. I feel it in my body and it’s not good. The amount of joint pain I experience every day of my life is beyond excruciating, and there is no end in sight.

And so it goes… A small dose of Kratom. A lot of ice water. Arnica for the obscene bruising. Bed. Maybe I’ll feel human tomorrow. That’s an enormous maybe.

copyright © 2022 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Another Week, Another Needle, Or Three

It’s been another one of those weeks where time has flown by, and I feel dizzy from the rush of it all. I realized this when traffic was backed up in Sumner Tunnel. The whooshing of the fact that you’re underwater is the first thing you can feel, and it made me nauseous. Normally, tunnels don’t bother me, but Boston tunnels make me feel like I’m in a Bond movie and about to be shot at. Every.Single.Time. I would not have been in the tunnel if it had not been for the fact that I was headed to an appointment with my headache specialist. Generally, that’s not the normal route, but again, traffic.

I thought I did okay. I rewarded myself with an iced green tea (Which is my standard Starbucks order when I want something cold and naturally caffeinated. My other one is the iced Passion Tango Tea, which is herbal and caffeine free, and tastes amazing. Occasionally I’ll order an iced green tea lemonade. It all depends on how much sugar I’m thinking about, or not. Are they doing something special other places aren’t? No. They just happen to be in the building and I’ve got a ton of gift cards to use up. I don’t drink coffee any more.), and then got startled when I stopped off to get a genetic test done at the lab. The lab was full, and a Grandmotherly type barked at me for looking for the check-in sheet like I was an untrained animal, so I walked out. I logged onto their website and scheduled an “appointment”, and came back when it was less crowded. The phlebotomist managed to mangle me. I’d show a photo of my arm if I wasn’t utterly grossed out that she did such a horrific job for a single vial of blood. I’m always straight-forward about which vein is the best one to use. I have two that are guaranteed to not cause issues, so I feel like speaking up is helpful, not to mention, honest. Being a woman, you’d think she’d listen to me, but she didn’t. She chose a tiny vein in the crease of my elbow and then made a rude comment about the shape my veins are in. There’s a reason I offer up the best veins I’ve got so that I don’t have to deal with that kind of nonsense. The end result is that it is painful as hell (It’s not even a bruise, it’s worse.), and she made me paranoid about my veins in general. I left feeling dirty; truly. The comment was completely inappropriate and disrespectful. I will never allow her to do my lab work ever again.

My actual doctor’s appointment was for nerve blocks. My insurance is arguing with my doctor about the necessity of them. They called the treatment for my trigeminal nerve, “experimental”. She was LIVID. As a result, she’s going to argue the point with them for the next two months, which is when I go back, so next time I go in for this procedure, I will actually be getting a bunch in the back of my head which they refused to pay for this time. She should have warned me that these involve a larger needle. I am generally fine with needles. I’ve got the piercings and tattoos to prove it. 😉 But there’s something about these that was quite different. It might be that half of the nerves she blocked are in my face. At one point, I couldn’t see because she had me pressing gauze to both of my eyes. Like I said, she should have warned me. I was trying to process the pain, but she kept injecting.

Overall, these were not a big deal. I didn’t appreciate the ones in my face, but that’s okay since I can’t feel my nose or my right ear at all (That’s how it was before the nerve blocks.). The rest of the injections went into the top of my head and then I had trigger point injections in my neck and shoulders. This is to see if they help at all with chronic migraines and tension, as well as the arthritis in my neck. She mentioned that most of her patients who were athletes for half of their lives have the same neck pain I do. Hello, gymnastics. Thanks for the memories and the injuries. 😦 She said I’d be able to tell if these are working right away. I think they are, and I say that because I haven’t reached for my muscle relaxers once, which is not something that happens very often. Ostensibly, the nerve blocks could last three to six months, but will likely wear off before February. When I go in next month for my follow-up, I will be given the next appointment for nerve blocks. She can increase the dosing as I try this treatment option, and since she was great at explaining it ahead of time, and before I sat down, I felt more comfortable overall about saying yes. My previous spine specialist refused to answer any questions about trigger point injections because I wanted to know why steroids were necessary at all. The one’s I got this week were a local anesthesia, and they did make me seriously drowsy once I was able to fall asleep the following morning, but beyond that, no issues. You know, after I came home and washed the blood off of my face (I’m not kidding.).

It’s a wild thing to put yourself through all of these different treatment methods in the hopes of feeling better. There’s a list of things I’ve been doing for years which I’ve never talked about, and I am not sure if I ever will, but I would discuss it if I thought it would help even one person. I know so many people who are afraid of the treatments I put myself through, and I always assure them that it’s their choice. I cannot rely on daily medication to help me with anything, so I have to go with alternative methods here and there. I’m grateful they exist, but I know they are not the answer for everyone, which is precisely part of the reason why I’ve kept my mouth shut about one method. I know there will be some serious judgment involved if I feel comfortable enough to bring it up and explain my decision, and honestly, I don’t share these experiences with my readers to be judged. If you’re reading my work and sitting in judgment of me, then you should unsubscribe and develop a hobby. I hear knitting in popular.

As for work, I’m trying to kick my ass into gear and get something important done. Unfortunately, I have not felt well enough to do so, which was disheartening as the deadline approaches. My only option is to prepare a different deadline date, and nail that one. Ultimately, I feel that’s the best decision for all involved. When anxiety, stress, and discomfort due to knowing you’re about to jump right out of your comfort zone are involved, it’s okay to take a step back and reestablish your personal boundaries. It’s not failing to say, “I can do this, but I know in my heart I need a little more time.” When In doubt, trust yourself. I know so many people struggle with this, and I am here to tell you that your intuition does not lie to you. Everything will fall into place if you are patient with yourself. It’s the patience I struggle with, most.

On that note, I’m off to refocus a bit on the task at hand. Wish me good luck. If I don’t have the opportunity beforehand, I wish you all a wonderful holiday season. Hopefully, I’ll be back before then, but just in case, I will be thinking of you all. My WordPress anniversary is fast approaching. It might look like I’ve only been here for seven years, but that’s not actually the case. I started on a blog in 2012. The blog has sat, untouched, since I decided this was what I truly wanted to do, and I am grateful every single day for making the decision to walk away from that which did not feed my soul, and for investing in my voice here.

If you need me, I’ll be writing, because that’s what writers do. Even if we’re not one hundred percent thrilled with the first draft, we know we can always come back to something and hit it out of the park. Here’s to hitting it out of the atmosphere. Here’s to moving closer to a major goal.

Udakhgüi ta nartai yariltsiya (Talk to you all soon),

Copyright © 2021 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Poison In Lethal Doses®™ is a registered trademark.

Crickets, Dark Depression, Change, & Investment Power

I haven’t written anything here in a while, and I have my reasons. No, I wasn’t too busy. I was stuck in my own head, with my own thoughts, and then I had work in front of me which I was so determined to get done. Most of it went great, but now I’ve got some things I hadn’t anticipated sitting on me. I am handling it. Begrudgingly. The more prevalent issue which has kept me quiet is the fact that my depression has been so bad, I haven’t been myself for a really long time. Most people didn’t pick up on this, though I am certain I’ve mentioned it before.

Despite being under the care of a physician, I’ve had to fight for almost two years to be prescribed new medication. I pick it up this weekend, and there simply aren’t any guarantees it will make me feel more like myself. Honestly, I have no expectations. I’ve been on this hamster wheel a long time and I no longer place any hope on what medication will or will not do for me.

I’ve never taken this medication before, which is surprising because I’ve been on over thirty-five different drugs in various medication classes. It can take up to four weeks for this one to work, and I am starting out on a really low dose because I am chemically sensitive to anything which messes with my brain chemistry.

The benefit of knowing my body really well is that any time a drug starts to screw with me, I mentally shut down the ability for it to change me. I don’t want to be a mindless zombie, nor do I want to take something which shuts off the intelligent creativity I feel is a gift.

For example, I was put on a new (to me) drug a little over three years ago. One of my first reactions to it was, “Okay, I see why this is a controlled substance. If I had an addictive personality, I’d be in trouble.” Early on in my journey with this medication, I was out in public one day and had to take a mid-day dose. I felt it immediately try to give me what I refer to as a, “head high”. It shuts off your thoughts and then you’re basically left thinking, “Oh, this is what normal people’s brains are probably like. I could hang curtains in here. But wait… It’s not normal to have nothing going on inside your mind.” I fought against it. It would shut up my thoughts, but it would also distract me until it wore off. There were times when I didn’t mind the quiet, except that I needed to still be a high performance kind of writer.

My doctor was shocked and impressed that I had the ability to say, “Yeah, you’re medication, but you’re not going to screw with me or turn me into someone who is obsessively dependent on a tiny pill 2-3 times a day, every single day, for the rest of my life.” In all his years as a physician, no one had ever said to him, “I can see why this is addictive, but I’m NOT letting it reach me in that way. I’m only going to take it as needed.” Most people would never have caught the tiny change to their brain, which I did, and that’s because I am realistic about how science works within the body. I could physically feel it try to tickle my brain, and I rejected it. Bear in mind, this drug was one of the most successful I’ve ever been on and I still take it on occasion. It does help, but it’s brief and because I am careful with it, I don’t worry about taking it. I know that taking it every single day is unrealistic for me from a health and mental health perspective. The less synthetic crap in my system, the better off I am.

My doctor and I later talked about the mind and will power it takes to fight off the addictive qualities of something that is supposed to help you feel better. To this day, that drug still makes me feel better temporarily. I can focus in a sharper way and get more done in a day, because it often provides me with a false sense of energy. I’d recommend it to anyone with my ability to fight off addictive qualities, but because it is so often abused, I never talked about it publicly. In fact, the reason I didn’t speak about it is because I had a former friend tell me it was poison when I was suicidal (Which, to this day, still pisses me off. That is medication shaming, and I’m not here for it.), and another friend recently told me, “You don’t need it.” I’ll be the judge of that, thank you very much. She did not present her medical license after the fact, so I set her straight very quickly. Here’s a little known fact I want to be clear about; when I talk about a prescription and you feel the need to be a disrespectful twat, I will NEVER confide in you again. I have boundaries and if you cross them, I am okay with you no longer having access to me.

When someone says, “I take this so I don’t hurt myself.”, please respect that. Do a little research before you say something hurtful, cruel, asinine, or go straight to, D) all of the above. You don’t know what others might be fighting when all you see is a smile or someone who is put together, or all you know is the person who always has your back, so please judge less and educate yourself more.

I remember when someone told me they’d been diagnosed with a specific disease. I didn’t know much about it at the time. In order to not offend or say the wrong thing, and to be supportive, I researched it. It takes five to ten minutes of reading about something so you don’t come off like an asshole. Never once did I want to make this person feel bad about themselves, about medication, doctor’s appointments, etc. I came from a judgment-free place because it could easily be diagnosed for someone closer to me tomorrow. Those are simple enough facts to put me into research mode, as opposed to, “Let me hurt this person’s feelings.” and show how ignorant I am. Yup, I just rolled my eyes. Basically, no matter what you suffer from, I probably understand far more than you realize and I’m NOT going to judge you. Especially if it’s something someone is confiding in me. My brother always says, “My sister is like a Mossad agent on steroids. She will never tell you a fucking thing. She magically knows things before you even say a word. It’s fucking creepy.” Yet, when I do speak about something or someone, I don’t name names. I’ll discuss a situation, but I keep names out of it.

A few days ago, someone I’ve known for about six years took offense to something I said about a newer migraine medication. Her comment was directed at both myself and a close friend. I replied by saying it ISN’T recommended for chronic migraine. It isn’t, and anyone who suffers and does their homework knows this. It’s on the damn packaging and they make it clear in all of their commercials, as well. She said she suffered from chronic migraine and hadn’t had one in about six months. Okay, that’s great, but be honest about how often you get migraines and how it is prescribed. The new injectable CGRP drugs are not for people who have over thirteen migraine days a month. That’s not considered chronic migraine, either. I’ve had migraines which have lasted for months on end, so I am coming from a place of knowledge and experience. I keep track of every new drug being researched or tested within the pipeline, and everything that’s in the final approval stages. I do this on a global scale for everything involving mental health care, migraines, chronic pain, etc. I can’t afford to be a stupid patient. Nothing I said in response was even remotely offensive, so when she decided it bothered her, I almost laughed. Mostly because she said nothing, but acted like a child. I will never force someone to remain friends with me, but I also know I didn’t come from a cruel place or say anything insulting. That’s not who I am. Her being offended is not going to magically change anything about me. In fact, I am good with being unfriended, especially when I didn’t do or say anything wrong. People who are uncomfortable or who somehow feel inferior with me being myself aren’t my real friends, and I know this. I’m not taking it personally because I do find it amusing when a person can’t admit that another person makes them uncomfortable. Those aren’t my issues to carry, so as far as I’m concerned, it’s all good. I also know I didn’t offend the person I am actually closer to, and that’s more important to me. I don’t go out of my way to offend people.

This year I have felt especially protective of my real friends, and far less protective of anyone who merely wants a surface level relationship with me. I am not the kind of person who will do surface level bullshit with you. I realized this about myself during lockdown. There was a serious shift in priorities. There still is, because we’re not out of the woods yet.

For starters, I stopped wearing makeup entirely. That sounds vain, but for me, it took away the creativity I channel when I do put makeup on (Eye makeup is my art project. It still is.), and pared me down to the most basic of self. My skin was probably thrilled for the break, even though I never wore heavy foundation or anything like that because I didn’t need it. I still don’t. The downside was that I developed a lifelong skin issue because of a chemical used on all of the paper based masks we were all wearing. Even after switching to cloth, my skin still hates being confined. My doctor said I’m allergic, so I have to be careful with everything more than I used to be. The bonus was (finally!) meeting with my dermatologist who said, “Whatever you’ve been doing, just keep doing it. You don’t have a single sign of aging, you have zero sun damage, and it’s obvious you’ve always taken really good care of your skin. Trust me, this doesn’t happen every day. Most people are coming in with things they want lasered off because they have never worn sunscreen in their lives, and you wear SPF 100 anytime you’re going to be in the sun for more than five minutes.” At my most recent appointment, we talked about the treatment regimen I use to help the skin issue I developed. The treatment I am using is both life-changing and skin-changing, and I’ve recommended it to so many people who’ve talked to me about being embarrassed that they don’t have flawless skin. Neither do I, but on a good day, and skin deep, I appear to. I remember sending a new photo to a family member and the first thing she said was, “What foundation are you wearing? Your skin is flawless.” The truth was, I only had concealer on in that photo and a very basic neutral eye look, which I’d matched with a lip gloss I’ve had for way too long (Seriously, I should replace it immediately. I’m not even sure the company is still in business!).

People actually thought my wearing makeup was a mask, and it never was. Now, people are seeing my skin and asking me more about skincare. There’s a reason I still consult with brands on their skincare lines. When they send me boxes of products to try and give an honest opinion on, I am working with a blank canvas. As a result, I no longer feel the need to do a full face of makeup. Unfortunately, I should at least use the eyeshadow because a company sent me five palettes recently and I just had to turn down nine more. Five years ago I would have been ecstatic over this opportunity. Now, I am trying to be more minimalist than ever before. You’ll hear me say, “I don’t have to put makeup on. No one is looking at me.” I have days when I do grab a palette and do something a bit dramatic with my eyes, but I also wear sunglasses wherever I go, even in the dark, so sometimes that defeats the purpose.

I chose not to be a freelance makeup artist, and decided to invest in something more valuable; myself. I pared down the one slightly dramatic thing about me, and now, people listen more. I noticed pretty quickly that people were more inspired by what I have to say. That’s fantastic, and a lovely compliment, but I’m not going to stop washing my face. 😉

I appear to have been quiet for many months, but the truth is, I’ve been working and working through shit. Writing has been good to me this year. I will have success, and potentially the occasional failure, like any other human-being, and I know there’s nothing wrong with not being “normal”. There’s nothing wrong with being transparent about the imperfections of life, health, etc., and still managing to remain authentic.

I don’t buy followers or readers. I will never do that on social media or on my website, because I’m not desperate for attention. The right attention finds you when you’re putting out the right vibe and the right material. Period. This is nonnegotiable, and I hope people realize I practice what I preach.

Back to work I go, at 5:30 a.m., on a Saturday. What will I do next? You’ll have to keep an eye out for all of it. I am already incredibly proud of the work, and hopefully you will like it, as well. 🙂

Wishing you all a healing, restful weekend,

copyright © 2021 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Poison In Lethal Doses, and all involved logos, are registered trademarks ®™ owned by the author. Information about the designer is available via written request.