Monday, October 29, 2018

It's been almost a month; I'm still struggling

Koko died October 3rd. She was 11. This is the 3rd fur baby to whom I've said goodbye. She was a significant presence since I got sick. She was, in fact, a gift for my 40th birthday. I had been ill, not realizing I'd NEVER GET BETTER, for several weeks when we brought her home. With her birth Feb 3rd, she was ready to come home in April; at that point I'd been ill for almost a month. I still expected to recover fully.
When I did not, Koko was there, seemingly equipped with the support I didn't even know I'd be needing. We spent the next 11 3/4 years together. We each had an ongoing battle for our own health.
Koko spent her life dealing with an endocrine malfunction. She struggled with pseudo~pregnancy, bloating, intermittent hair loss, anxiety. After having a single litter of 5, she got an inter~uterine infection and had a hysterectomy.
That little sprite was a force of her own. I miss her a lot.
Her passing snapped into focus the fact that she fought an invisible enemy since very close to the time I was diagnosed. We were kindred spirits. And her body wore out. I don't feel like I had enough time with her. I also feel a large void due to the fact that she was my therapy dog. It's been said that animals are very sensitive to humans being ill. I can attest to the truth in that. Koko slept closer, became quieter, whenever I was having a flare, or a crash. She spent her entire lifetime caring for me. And I, for her. We were a good team.
If her illness shortened her life, what can I expect for mine?
I've learned to live with my condition, but the what ifs? never seem to stop. I continue to find acceptance; I continue to grieve.
RIP Koko Bella Bambina
I love you!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Dear {Insert Name Here} #2

Dear {Insert Name Here}

All of this Supreme Court Nominee stuff in the media is causing me awful anxiety. I cannot believe that the Republicans are questioning these victims! It's triggered a whole re-visitation to dark events when we were young. I am keeping the details vague, as I've had several days to consider whether naming names would serve any positive purpose. I decided that because you apologized in public to me, and it would never change the outcome, or help me heal, I'm going to remain mute on the who's who details. You and I know.
 I was Bleep-teen years old, a month into my role as the "new girl" at a new school. It was a bit overwhelming for me because in my hometown, I was pretty much a pariah. From as early as First Grade, I recall feeling an outcast. Tough time making friends. Poor kid, dumpy haircuts, shit clothes, ADHD, anxious as fuck, etc. 
Here I was, in the probation period of friendships. Lots of cool kids, from various cliques, wanted to be friendly. I got invited to the first BIG party of the year. 
You were there. I recall you were the All-American Guy. Very good looking, very popular, multi-sports star, and I'm pretty sure you were smart as fuck too. Teachers and students alike adored you. None of these were known to me until the weeks after that night. I barely knew "of" you prior to this night. 
I had WAY too much to drink, so the 2 girls I was with left me to sleep it off in the flatbed of a truck. I was told (later) that it was the truck of a friend of one of the girls I was with, but was not the vehicle in which I had arrived to the party. 
You stumbled outside (perhaps to pee?? I cannot fathom that you actually PLANNED this encounter. I believe you were not that vile) and somehow figured out I was there as you walked by. You crawled up beside me and proceeded to unbutton my shirt. Which, by the way, bore a HUGE signal as to my condition, I had spilled a DRINK down the front of my pale shirt (pink or white) and that drink was blackberry brandy or some shit. I recall the shirt went into the trash because I could not imagine that horrible stain away. You were undoing my pants, then yours, all while I had my eyes half closed, slurringly pleading for you to stop. I even threatened I was going to throw up, perhaps to make you stop, perhaps I really felt it coming... I don't recall which. My bra was undone, shirt pushed up, pants half down, and you tried to have sex with me. What saved us both was the fact that you were so drunk that you could not maintain your erection. I shudder when I think of the alternative ending that may have been. 
What has caused me the most detriment was not even the act itself. Instead, I just shrugged the girls away when they later asked about the condition of my clothing upon returning to get me very shortly after. I didn't even share details with them until AFTER the shitstorm on Monday began. 
I was by my locker between classes, and you walked up behind me. I had been sneered at since my arrival to school that morning. EVERYONE seemed to know, although I cannot recall how. I have a hazy recollection of your departure that night. I don't recall if someone found us, or you left on your own. I was in and out of consciousness. I do know that I did not have sex that night. I had my period and I still had a tampon still properly in place when we got back to my friend's house after the party. 
When you approached me at my locker Monday morning, I recall hearing a whoosh inside my head, and I was afraid I was going to faint in front of all of these people. Then you APOLOGIZED for "what happened Blankday night" and I just stared at you, and then the floor. I scuttled away, trying to avoid the stares all around me.
What changed me forever was the way all of the FEMALES talked about me and shunned me. I was called a slut, a whore, and my potential 'friend' list shrunk to almost no one. People who weren't even AT the party, deciding they knew what happened better than the two involved. 
I've never been able to trust women the same. In the instant I consider a woman might be a bit competitive or cynical toward other women, etc. I shut the door to that relationship because I don't ever want to be on the receiving end of that feeling again. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Body Image

In the summer of 2017, I got a RAGING case of poison oak or poison ivy. The doctors could not determine WHICH by sight, as my rash was so inflamed, there were large patches all over my legs  and my low back. It didn't matter, as they were treated the same way. The answer was steroids. 
Ugh. I actually burst into tears at this point, begging the doc to tell me ANYTHING else. I have severe side effects to steroids. I blow up. I break out. Like bad. Enough said. Just wanted to set the scene for you. 
More than a year later, I'm still trying to shed the effects of the steroids. (It's excess weight left now)
This morning, I woke feeling a bit disgruntled, not such a great night of sleep, I'm feeling more painful for the past day and a half because I ventured out Sunday. So, I dragged my butt to the bathroom, thinking an epsom and essential oil bath was just the ticket. When I got to the bathroom across the hall from my bedroom (a journey of 8 steps total!), I began to verbally blast my body. 
"I HATE this body!" 
"It's broken and I want. A. NEW. ONE!"
I determined that I was a bit above the pain threshold for considering a bath.
Then I went back to bed for a rest. 
And I heard my voice. I have 2 daughters. I'm all in for making sure my girls don't do what I just did. So I decided to change the narrative. I don't hate my body. I actually ADMIRE this body. It's broken, but it still gets me through every day. I'm just getting ready to enter the next chapter in life. My firstborn, Zachary, is planning his wedding. My second oldest, Samantha, just celebrated her 27th birthday! In December, my third, Dylan will leave the teenage years behind, and enter the 20's... and my baby bird (who HATES being my baby bird!) Peyton, is 16. I will have only one teen left. 
Soon I'll be someone's grandmother, with a super hip moniker, like "Mimi" or "Nina" rather than grandma.... 
I'm not ready to be done. And this body will carry me there. How can I hate it? I respect this body, because only I know the great lengths through which it travels, just to get me through each day. This body has an average daily pain level of a 6. That's a good day for this body. I will no longer criticize her, nor will I wish this body replaced. I will work to remind myself every day.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Dear {Insert Name Here} #1

Dear {Insert Name Here}

You'll know who you are if you happen upon this. If you're not sure whether it's you, then it's not. Get it? You'll KNOW if it's you. I don't mean that to sound trite, I'm actually throwin' out a loose disclaimer before I begin, because my aim is NOT to offend or hurt anyone. 

Anyway... where was I? 

I have always felt terrible about the way I treated you as a teen. I sort of dropped the ball of humanity, I blame immaturity, but I'm aware it was tough on you. I'm going to be transparent. So I'll share my dirty lil truth here. 
When you kissed me, you had a LOT of saliva in your mouth. It was just too much for me. That's why I broke up with you. I did not want to hurt your feelings by telling you, but I also couldn't just fake my way through kissing you if I didn't like it. I started dodging you when you seemed to seek more answers. I was such a betch, as I've often admitted aloud. I'm sorry if I was cruel. 
You had so many good qualities, I overlooked them. I hope life has treated you well. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018


Have you ever had a toxic relationship with someone, and considered yourself the 'victim'? Or, you cringe every time someone opens their mouth, as you've become Pavlov conditioned to do, simply because they don't have the same opinions as you?
Have you ever thought about that relationship from a completely different perspective?
Try this:
Imagine that EVERY negative 'rub' involved in that relationship was seeded with something YOU did or said, and every word they say, or don't say, now, is a REACTION, or response to what you, in fact, had begun. Even if you INSIST they "started it" .... just pretend it's your fault. Maybe for over a decade, you've allowed a relationship to deteriorate. You're SURE you are the victim. What if you're not. Now what do you do? I recently decided to view a changed relationship as though I was never the victim, but THEY were. I'm astounded at how much I now "get" their improper behaviors. I'm stunned, really. And now I feel as though it's my responsibility to get this "out there" ...
I will elaborate on the subject as soon as I have the energy to put my thoughts into words. Nap time. Now enjoy this lil cutie creeping across my hand, while I rest.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

I miss...

I miss spontaneity. 
I miss muscles.
I miss energy.
I miss coffee.
I miss being pain-free.
I miss sound sleep.
I miss bar hopping.
I miss coffee dates with Zack.
I miss brunch and pedis with Sam.
I miss Dyl being a mama's boy.
I miss Peyton remembering me healthy. 
I miss being the fun spouse.
I miss road trips with Tina. 
I miss baking/cooking. 
I miss a clean home.
I miss the NY Times Crossword in PEN. (completed!)
I miss Scrabble. (winning!)
I miss theater dates. 
I miss Stephen King. (my cognitive ability is messed up, I can't read and retain the words any longer, even though I've been reading and loving him since I was in high school. 
I miss girl's night. And day. And everything in between.
I miss wedding receptions, family reunions. 
I miss the holidays. 
I miss looking healthy. I miss me. 

I'm a bit broken, but I'm still ALIVE!

As one does when left to their own devices, for many hours of each day, I've pondered my condition more than I'm comfortable admitting, but it's not always a pity party. There's still a muthafuckin' Taurus in here, I am NOT about to just accept a life sentence without a bit of push back. 
That's led to MANY small steps to improve my health, whether or not it magically heals me. 
(spoiler alert: nothing "cured" me... magic is an illusion)
July 2017, I weaned off of ALL Rx pain medicines, and since, have used only cannabis and essential oils for pain management. (That's my SUPER POWER) 

When I was learning to live with this fuckfest, I initially tried to consume more coffee to increase my energy levels (didn't work at ALL) and to try and be more alert. At first, I did not realize the brain fog was here to stay. I thought it was connected to the onset of this illness, but I thought it would level out when my system adapted to being chronically ill. Yeah, that was denial. So, after realizing that the caffeine could not 'help' in any way, I decided that I should just stop putting it in my body. I haven't banned the substance, and I still love the smell of fresh brewed coffee, but I stick mostly to tea now. Better for me, and just as yummy. I drink as much water as I can, even adding those magical essential oils to enhance the flavor. 

This might sound trite, but I am being straight here. If I was back in Elementary School with this level of cognitive deficit, I would have been diagnosed with a moderate learning disability. I often feel trapped in my own head, frustrated because words have ALWAYS come easily to me, and they make me work very hard after 11 years. The worst consequence (in my whiny world) is the fact that I am no longer able to enjoy the newer works of my favorite author, Stephen King. As one who used to inhale his words, I struggle to recall what I've read, and make sense of said words. That's been a struggle. I rely on my Kindle almost as another appendage. But in the past decade, I've been painfully aware of the decline. It's increased in the past 2-3 years, to the point that I struggle to find the word I want when talking. That can be scary, as I did have a leaking brain aneurysm when I was 23, but I'm confident that it's "only" due to my current condition, and not a call for another brain surgery. (haha?)
I've replaced commercial deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, bath products, lotions, perfume. I make my own, using carrier oils, cocoa butter, shea, aloe, beeswax, etc. It's pretty easy to cut out the artificial scents etc. I thought it would be more difficult to sever my relationship with Bath and Body Works products, but it was actually easy. (Well, I had incentive to try and improve my health) 
What's especially interesting is that when I smell those products now, they actually induce headaches, and they overpower my nose. I cannot believe I lathered myself with those chemicals for decades, I've been self-poisoning for years. Yuck. Well, when you know better, you do better. Right?

I've tried to have an open mind when people tell me they have the "perfect" way to cure me. I will try almost anything once, maybe more, if it improves my quality of life. But don't be insulted if I disregard your diagnosis. There's NOT going to be an improvement if I "get outside" more. Nor will I suddenly be healthy if I "think positively" . I know most of this comes from a good place, so I try to be patient, but I admit, I'm only human, I may get a lil salty if you advise me as though you know my body better than my doctors.