Thursday, October 16, 2014


Sometimes I think I'm psychic.  It's not a skill I can call upon when I need to find my keys and we are late to
Kindergarten (again) but every now and then I just know how some facet of my life is going to work out.  For example: As I listened to my mom cry about everything that went wrong in her life, I knew with unmovable conviction that I would not share her fate.  I would be happy.  Like, fairytale happy.

I was right. 

I also knew that someday Science would hand me a little blue pill that would take all my pain away.  I have been able to see this mythical pill in my mind since I was a child. A beautiful tiny blue oval of relief.

And I was right again.

I may have never found my Little Blue Pill if it weren't for the fact that my life got really hard awhile back.  Not, like, busy-mom-raising-two-kids hard. But three-out-of-seven-people-you-love-most-betrayed-you-while-you-face-possible-crimnal-investigation hard. Is that a thing? There should be a better word for it. 

Even though I spent years ignoring the connection between stress and chronic pain--because that made the pain seem arbitrary, imaginary--both stress and pain were running away with my life in tow. My flare up was ridiculous. Since I don't really like to talk about my flare (up) lets just say that when I could no longer tolerate shoes I knew I had to go back to the doctor.

I did not know where to start.  I felt frustrated by every doctor I'd ever seen, so I opened up Google to find someone new.

And I found the most unexpected thing.

A doctor, essentially 5 blocks from my home, was treating RSD/CRPS with ketamine infusions. I have been reading about other RSD patient's experiences with this drug for years, and eventually planned on traveling to one end of the country or the other to find a doctor willing to try it.  But there he was 3.7 miles from my played-out-red front door.

My dance with Special K (because that's what the kids are calling it) was fascinating.  I had very little idea what lay in store, so when I felt the first drips come through my IV, and the outpatient surgical center literally started to swirl before my eyes like a drunken cartoon character's hallucination, I tried to let go of any semblance of control I had over my mind and enjoy the ride.  However, I had a terrible migraine and my body was no longer responding to reasonable requests. I was paralyzed and in agony.  I was unable to speak to ask for help.  It was, quite possibly, the worst thing that had ever happened to me.  And it was only made worse by that fact that the entire staff couldn't stop talking about some guy they knew who had committed suicide over the weekend. They went on and on about how he did it, and where.  Then they told stories about every person they ever knew who had attempted or succeeded at the same gruesome feat.  There I was trapped in my migraine, and feeling like the ketamine had ripped open my very soul and exposed it to the light.  Like I was able to take a peek into my subconscious for the first time (having never dabbled in drugs as a teen) but I was constantly being interrupted by these disgusting stories.  I tried to ask them to stop talking about it.

"Hello?" the nurse repeated into the phone.  "We're still waiting on our order of Propofal." she paused to listen. "No. We can't wait until next week.  Fine." She hung up.    
"Like I was saying," the other nurse chimed back in. "His wife found him in the car.  In the garage.  You know--dead,"  she whispered the last word.

It was like their voices were being broadcast directly into my head. They seemed so much louder than they should have been. I writhed in pain and anger. I tried to explain how they were hurting my aforementioned delicate and naked soul, but I couldn't move my lips. I couldn't find my breath. I couldn't do anything to protect myself.  But how could they know that my own mother had also killed herself?  That I had sporadic waking nightmares of the gun. The blood. Her sadness.  But besides that, I'm totally fine with it.  I'm not even grieving anymore.  Really.
I know I somehow managed to cry, because the nurse wiped my face when she came back in to unhook the IV. My four hour stint in hell was done--for today, at least.  "We'll see you again tomorrow, dear," she said.  "The doctor will be back in a few to follow up."  As she finished removing the IV from my arm, she pressed the gauze to the leaking hole, and gestured for me to take over.  I lifted my hand to comply, which was impressive considering it weighed roughly 17 pounds. I failed to move my finger back in time so it got stuck in the tape she was smoothing over the gauze and my elbow. 

"How was your pain level during the infusion?" The doctors voice suddenly interrupted my withdrawl.

"Uh," I eloquently replied, as I searched my brain for the instruction manual that came with my mouth. "It was, like... there. But not there...but different...somehow." That didn't come out right.

He laughed at me. "How about we talk about it later." He turned to go.

"But," I said and dropped my eyes to my hands, willing them to move in protest.  "I had a problem.  My head still hurts. And... the nurses.  They kept talking about..." I searched for a way to gently say the s word,  "suicide."

His face twisted in confusion.  He pulled the curtain aside and yelled to the nurse's station, "was anyone talking about suicide out here?"

More confusion.  A chorus of no trickled back.

"No one was talking about that. You were most likely experiencing an auditory hallucination."

I felt heat and shame cloud my face as the situation continued to render in my head.  "I..."  "My mom...
she...  killed herself."  Did I really just say that out loud?

"It happens," he said. "The hallucinations, I mean," and held out his arm to help me off the bed and into the wheel chair.  The CNA came to push me out to the waiting room.  The clinic was closed and every one was waiting to go home. I hoped she wouldn't say anything to me.  Mostly because I was mortified, but I also knew I had zero chance of deciphering her accent in my current state.

An all too familiar churning stole the spotlight in my mind as a barf bucket was conveniently thrust in front of me.  I heaved and puked in my wheelchair with approximately five people watching.  I was gray and shaking and rank when I realized that my husband would be bringing my children with him to pick me up. I pressed my finger to his name on my phone and waited for him to pick up.

"I'm on my way.  You were done sooner than I thought," he said not bothering to start with hello.

"Please don't bring the kids."

"Ooookay, what am I supposed to do with them?"

"Find a neighbor."


"They can't see me like this!" I interrupted, surprising myself with the desperation in my voice, and wondering when I was cast in a Made For TV Movie.

"I'll be there as soon as I can."

The nurse came back with a shot filled with something that would hopefully erase my memory of the last five hours of my life. Or something to make me stop puking.  Either one.

As soon as I got home I counted down the steps between the door, and my bed.  I crumbled into a shape that was close enough to comfortable and closed my eyes, pretending that I didn't have to do it again tomorrow.    

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hello? (echo, echo echo)

Just in case anyone still has this blog saved in a reader, I have news:  I started a separate blog about how to make jewelry, and my adventures selling it.

Go see!

I also fancied up the website:


Thursday, February 10, 2011

How Quickly We Forget

The brain is made to forget pain. When it is chronic, you never really get a chance to forget it. However, my approximate year spent in remission from CRPS/RSD and Fibromyalgia was pleanty of time. I was not 100% pain free, but compared to where I started, the relief was more than a dream come true. So here I am in my third trimester of pregnancy, and to put it mildly-- I hurt. A fair amount of discomfort is normal at this stage, but I'm quite sure that my nerves are more active than they should be since this didn't happen with my first baby. I've been dealing with all of the classics neurological pain has to offer with the shooting, stabbing and burning pains popping up randomly all over my body. The worst part is that I can't deal with it like I used to. I wince, gasp, and shudder. I feel like a brand new pain patient trying to find ways to cope, and failing. I have lived in pain for more than two thirds of my entire life, you'd think I'd know how to do this. But really, this ability to forget is a beautiful thing. It's the only way we ladies would consider having more than one child after all, but I would sure like to have my coping skills back. At least for another 5-8 weeks.

Monday, November 22, 2010

How Things Change

Christmas was the hardest day of my year for a long time. Even when I still lived at home, the day would dissolve in tears and screaming most of the time. After I ran away from home it only got worse. I was alone, and intruding on my boyfriend's family... just watching from the outside. I couldn't sort out the part of me that wanted to go home, and rest of me that never wanted to see my mom again. It was a terrible day, and I almost never looked forward to it. That's life with mental illness. Days that should be the best, usually suck the most.

Then a few days ago my three year old daughter was telling me everything she knew about Christmas. "There will be lights, and ornaments, and a tree!" she said. "Mama, is it time for a tree?"

I actually caught myself feeling genuinely excited to put up a tree and decorate the house. I'm not saying that having kids magically makes the day better. It could easily be a terrible day for all of us if I chose to wallow in the past like my mom did and destroy any future hope for peace and happiness. Life is all about the choices we make. And things really can get better.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Well Hello Blog World,

I know I am not the first person to feel this way, but somehow it's November.


Pregnancy is going well in terms of all the things I thought would go wrong. It took me quite a bit longer to get pregnant than I planned (note to self: planning such an event is just silly). I had hoped that I could slide right off the coat tails of remission to pregnancy, and control the pain better that way. I worried the longer it took that I would start feeling really crappy again at any time, but it didn't happen. There were days and weeks that were decidedly unpleasant, but on the whole my pain levels were the lowest I can ever remember. And they've pretty much stayed low in my new delicate state.

So I would say I'm doing great... except for the new Divine Comedy of Hormones that is taking place in my body. Thanks to hormonal irritation, my gallbladder has called it quits. No more red meat, dairy, or greasy things-- let's just say anything that actually tastes good. There's the eczema, sciatica, heart burn, indigestion, insomnia, and graceless emotional outbursts. But on the plus side, my butt looks amazing. No, really. Perhaps my hiney deserves its own blog post.

In other news, I've decided to give this business thing another go. A natural slow down in sales coincided nicely with my first trimester, near-comatose state, but I'm ready to make a run at this thing. In other words... Google gave me free advertising for a spell ;) There will be a few new designs for Christmas. Stay tuned.

I hesitantly put some paintings in the Etsy shop, and watched them do nothing for a while... But then! Someone I don't know gave me money in exchange for art and said really nice things about my work. Let's hope she still feels that way now that they've arrived. It was very stressful to put my paintings in a box and send them out in the world to be seen (and judged) by others. But here's to getting the opportunity to try it again.

Next up-- t-shirts and cute tiny baby things. I can't wait!

Check out my new digs over at

Monday, August 30, 2010


Good News, Everyone!

I'm pregnant :)

My stars, it's been a long time: about 13 months to be exact. I know that's just one month over average, but it felt like forever to me. The first time I was trying to get pregnant, I was excited, but not determined, because I didn't have the fever. But this time I was driven by this artificial goal of spacing my kids just right blah, blah, blah, and just really wanting a new baby. As a result, I went a little nuts.

After several months of letting nature take its course (and nature failing miserably) I researched the crap out of the whole process. Throughout my research I occasionally landed on personal blogs, and repeatedly found useful information and comfort, so I thought I should write down my winning combination.

Step 1: Get your crazy on.
Your well-meaning friends and family will tell you to relax. Once you've finished punching them in the face, then you're ready to bust out the basal body temp chart and get to work. I resisted the temperature game FOREVER because I simply couldn't remember to do it first thing, and I also thought it was loony toons. However, had I been doing it all along, I wouldn't have wasted so much time. Once I started, I thought it was interesting, and rarely forgot to do it. makes it easier to chart.
Charting 101-- It won't quite predict ovulation (you can pee on a stick for that), but it will tell you when it's ok to stop trying each month. Useful info since you might ovulate later than you think... or not at all in my case. The chart will tell you that too, and then you can medicate accordingly.

Step 2: Embrace CM
That's cervical mucus. Read this--

As you get older the number of days with fertile CM decreases drastically. I thought I would help the process along with Pre-Seed.

I only had to use it one month! I really think it made the difference.

Step 3:
Instead Cups... TMI?
They help keep the good stuff next to the cervix longer than just laying flat. Enough said.

Step 4:
Endure the two week wait until you can start testing. I didn't find anything that made this part easier... except Aimstrip Pregnancy Test Strips. I got a positive on 10 dpo!! (days past ovulation)

That's it I guess. I learned a lot more about my body and getting pregnant, but I think this is the really important stuff. I've been holding off the excitement, but I think this one is staying around :) I'm 8 weeks along and will have a new baby in April!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

CAPS left and right, just like that Dooce lady.

Haven't been here in a while...

But I have some big news worth firing up Blogger for: I can bend my ankle a tiny bit more. I know... I should have made sure you were all sitting down for that one. If that statement didn't knock you off your chair, then let me explain. RSD/CRPS caused my achilles tendon to shorten, which limited the movement in my ankle to just a hair past 90 degrees. That's not quite enough to walk normally. But over the last month or two I began to notice a change. The stairs got a little easier. When I danced, I found that I could bend my knee and my ankle at the same time (a little). Then finally, I thought I would try walking like a normal person (bending my knee instead picking my leg up, and swinging from the hip). IT WORKED! And it felt AMAZING. I haven't taken steps like that for 21 years. It takes too much concentration to walk like that all the time, but I'm practicing.

In the past I have spent countless hours in physical therapy, or doing exercises at home to loosen my ankle, but it never budged. Here's the thing. I haven't been in PT. This just happened by itself. I feel like the RSD just let go. I was HAPPY with the huge pain relief I got from my Body Project antics, but now my body is physically changing for the better, and reversing some of the damage chronic illness caused. Happy doesn't begin to describe what I'm feeling now.