Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Good Intentions

I have a basket in the corner of my living room that's overflowing with good intentions. Or rather it's overflowing with Newsweeks (which I used to devour and wait impatiently for the next to arrive, but no longer have the time or energy to read), National Geographic (which I feel I should read so I will be a better person), and Self (which my sister feels I should read so I can get my slammin' pre-mommy bod back).

Last night I found myself in the tub decompressing from a horrifying personal episode, which is definitely not blog-worthy, for fear of being that person who shares way too much (it might already be too late for that however). I had brought a 3 month old Newsweek along with me and discovered an article which is rather pertinent to my life. The article, "Charity: The Psychology of Giving" can be found here:

It is about the bystander effect— the idea that "if I hear someone calling for help, and I am the only one around, I am more likely to help than if there is someone else with me who also hears the call but does nothing." We all know there are people and causes that need help, but since my neighbor doesn't donate time or money, I don't need to worry about it either. Besides, the problems are too big. What good would my $10 do anyway?

Almost a year ago I decided that it was time for me to try and do something. That's when I teamed up with my friend Somer to make the Love to Breathe pendants. I donate 100% of my profits to research Cystic Fibrosis, a life-threatening lung disease. Since then I have been so honored to play a small role in the lives of so many people. They send me stories about loved ones they have lost, or friends and family members who are still fighting to breathe a little easier. People wear my jewelry in tribute and in solidarity. I hope that when they wear one of my pendants, they might inspire their neighbors to no longer be a bystander.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Have you been gardening in those pants?"

A while back Kris's socially-inappropriate grandmother looked down her nose at my jeans with designer tears and factory-installed frayed seams, and asked me if I had been gardening. I had no idea why she would ask me that, until she gave a nod to my pants. In her mind, I suppose, one would only wear such ragged things to do chores. One would certainly not wear them to Sunday Dinner. I explained that the kids these days pay extra for pants that come with holes.

As I was actually gardening in the very same pants just now (which is why we are now discussing my pants and Kris's aging grandma) I got to thinking about how spoiled I am. Grandma waited out Hitler in the Netherlands, which was occupied during WWII. She understands poverty and hard work on a level that I never will.

I rarely keep my pants long enough, nor do I regularly perform the type of tasks that might wear holes through the denim. How ridiculous is it that I would pay more money than Grandma would spend on groceries in a month, for a pair of pants that look like they are about to fall apart?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Lissa Needs...

As per Maren's suggestion, I thought I would ask google what I need. I typed "lissa needs" into google and then reported the first few hits here.

Lissa needs an injection of SOMETHING... you mean there's an injection to cure insanity?

needs one to hand to someone and never has a stash.

Lissa hasn't written any blogs

Lissa needs an oxygen tank. A HUGE one.

lissa needs the sun.

Funny thing is, I must have left the oxygen tank for my torch open a bit, because it is flat empty. Lissa does need an oxygen tank... but only a medium one.

Monday, April 6, 2009

artificial peace

I took this photo in the Presidio in San Francisco while I waited for Kris to finish the Nuts Across the Bay 12K in 2005.

It's like there's a politically inspired cease fire between my peripheral nervous system and my brain. Both sides are still angry, but they have been forced to get along by your friends and mine: Lyrica and Cymbalta. This duo is potent. I know that the Cybalta is supposed to take up to six weeks to fully work, and I'm still building up my dose, but I can already feel a change. Namely-- blithering intoxication. This would not be a problem if I didn't have a darling child to care for. I would love to drift into this drug induced stupor, but then who would burn, I mean cook the fries and chicken nuggets?

Besides my inability to follow conversations or drive my car, there is also a lovely numb sensation most of the time. That is unless I think about the fact that I feel numb. Then it subsides and the pain comes back to center or my attention. So I have to think about not thinking about the pain. If that makes sense.

Apparently neither my nerves nor brain seems to want to let go of it's nasty inflated pain signals. I'm pretty sure the drugs just help distract me from it all so that the fun numbness can invade my consciousness. This false sense of relief leaves me feeling nervous that at any moment the pain could come charging over it's borders, ending the cease fire for good.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's official

Ever since I got an official fibromyalgia diagnosis, I have been lost in thought over the implications. Before I started to research it, I had a pretty bad impression of it-- just like most of the people I know.

My darling neighbor occasionally hosts his nephew, who travels to Salk Lake to see a specialist. My neighbor whispered under his breath that his nephew has... (with a quick scan of the street) "the fibromyalgia." He seemed embarrassed to tell me about it. I almost cried when the rhuematologist said, "FMS is a good fit for your symptoms." Not exactly a confidence-boosting delivery of the big news. But I just didn't know how to feel about suddenly being one of the crowd who has to explain that, "it's a real disease, no-- really it is."

People in pain have always faced skepticism (I am already intimately aware of that). Then add to that the fact that most of the people with this disorder are women, and our male doctors calling us all hysterical rather than admit that they don't understand or know how to treat the pain makes a lot more sense.

They say it's just a label, but now that I have the official fibro diagnosis, two things in my life have improved already. Medication is one. My Lyrica experiment is going shockingly well. I would say that I have had an 80% improvement in overall pain. I never thought that would happen. I am about to start Cymbalta this evening, which was only recently approved by the FDA to treat FMS. I watched a webinare (which is apparently a word now) and it explained with 8x10 color glossy picture with circles and arrows on the back of each one (not really) about ascending and descending pain signals. When I told my doctor that Lyrica works on ascending pain and Cymbalta works on descending pain messages, he said after a pregnant pause, "you're right! Those will work well together." So an understanding of the mechanisms of this pain, as well as access to new and exciting medication is my first benefit.

Allowing myself to be exhausted is the second. For 19 years and 4 months I have gone above and beyond to prove that I am fine! I may have pain, but I am fine, and I can do anything and everything the rest of you can!

But lately I have allowed myself to recognize that sometimes I am overwhelmed with exhaustion. When that happens I sit down. This is new for me. I think I like it. Thank god for hulu.