A few of you recently made comments about my lack of updates.   The major reasons for that are:  Fibro fog, Fibro fatigue, and pain (caused by Fibromyalgia, herniated discs, pinched nerves, torn rotator cuff, etc.).  It’s a miracle I can hold a job and get meals on the table.  My online journal, or blog, or whatever you want to call it, is simply not a priority for me these days.

Anyway, I have the day off because of a snow storm, so I decided to devote some of it to a review of 2010.

January: Went to a welcome home dinner for a young man who was kicked out of the armed forces and sent home from Afghanistan after someone blew the whistle on him for being gay.

A furnace repairman might have saved our lives… He discovered that the hot water heater exhaust flue had been knocked off the flue vent.  It must have been off for quite some time because the flue gasses melted some of the pipe insulation. According to him, we were in danger of dying from carbon monoxide poisoning.

February: As I was going up to bed one night, I lost my balance and fell down a couple of stairs, twisting my right leg in the process, and landing heavily on it.  X-rays at the ER the next day revealed bone contusion and bruised muscles.  I just love adding more pain to my life.

In an unrelated incident – you know you’ve had too many MRIs when the technician recognizes you and greets you by saying, “Back for more?”

March: One of Leigh’s dear friends died during heart surgery.  Rest peacefully, Quicci.

Leigh had to have her cat, Simmy, put to sleep.  More heartbreak.

Daniel and I celebrated anniversary #5.

Developed an addiction to Chobani pomegranate Greek yogurt.

April: Had a “Scary headache” for the entire month.

May: Had the front porch painted, which turned out to be a very good thing because that’s pretty much where I spent my summer vacation…

June: Refinanced our mortgage to go from 6.25 interest rate down to 4.875.

July: Went to Seaside Heights.  Would have enjoyed it more if not for the god-awful heat. It should be against the law for temps to get that high (102).

My grandmother turned 99.

August: I was trapped at the chiropractor’s for two hours because of a devastating storm that passed through the area. Five cars in the parking lot were crushed under trees. One car belonged to my neighbor, and another to my cousin.  That storm was a sight to see!

The city damaged our driveway when they cut down the tree in front of our house.  They failed to respond to my letters, so a legal consultation will have to be the next step.

The front page of our local paper featured an article about a 17 year old girl I knew very well who was killed in a horrific accident the previous morning. In another section of the paper there was an obituary for a good friend of mine.  In three days, I lost two people I loved.  Rest peacefully Natia and Bob.

I turned 56.

While I was standing in the parking lot of a restaurant, a guy yelled, “Shorty, shorty!” When I turned around he asked, “Are you married?” I have to say that being called “shorty” made my day.

September: Adventures with ambien – Objects in photos seem to move just like they do in Harry Potter! Freaky, man.  I also discovered that I sometimes indulge in online shopping while under the influence of ambien. Definitely not a good thing.

Found out that the stabbing victim in a recent homicide was my father’s best friend.  Rest peacefully, Ron.

The results of my skin test revealed that I have perivascular dermatitis.  Because of the effing rash, my legs were so swollen I had elephant knees!

Reconnected with old friends (one of whom is Snooki’s mother).

Our community lost yet another young person who died much too soon. Rest peacefully, Zach.

October: One morning when Daniel was getting ready to drive me to work, we found a dead cat under the front tire. (No, it hadn’t been run over – it must have crawled there to die.) Not a good way to start the day.

This year’s Dress Up As A Literary Character costume – Esmeralda (from THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME by Victor Hugo)

Had a very enjoyable time at the Sheep &Wool Festival. Chatting with some llamas and alpacas (actually, they were humming) was the best part.

Four years…I miss you, Mark. Rest peacefully.

November: An old high school friend died after a long battle with cancer. Her brother (who was a very little boy at the time) gave me the only nickname I’ve ever had – “wild eyes.”  Rest peacefully, Beth.

A former student and friend of my daughters died unexpectedly. Rest peacefully, Peter.

I found out about a whopper of a lie that was spread about me 25 years ago… Apparently, I was a coke addict!  Diet coke, maybe, but certainly not the white powdery stuff.  Sheesh.  I guess there’s a statute of limitations on slander/defamation of character, huh… Oh well, at least I got a good laugh out of it!

Was stunned to learn that an old online friend took his own life. He was such a kind person and gentle soul, not to mention a brilliant mathematician and skating enthusiast. I’m really going to miss his nickname for me (Stephanova) and the praying mantis warnings (personal joke). Rest peacefully, Robby.

Spent over three hours at the ER – Leigh’s myoclonic seizures caused her to fall down the stairs AND on the driveway as we were guiding her to the car to take her to the hospital. They did NOTHING, and we finally announced that we were leaving (but not before I created a bit of a scene).  As Leigh pointed out, a Veterinary Clinic wouldn’t treat an ANIMAL that way. They wouldn’t just throw a cat or dog in a crate and let it seizure for three hours. Unbelievable!

Another ER visit  – for me, this time.  Diagnosis: mesenteric lymphadenitis – inflammation of the mesenteric lymph nodes. Causes pain that mimics acute appendicitis. I hope I never have to experience that kind of pain again.   That was the most agonizing experience of my life, and I’m no stranger to pain.

A former student (and Leigh’s childhood friend) celebrated the release of his first book. Congratulations, Daniel!

December: As usual, I hosted the Christmas festivities.


My former mother-in-law died on December 28th.  She had just been at my house for Christmas, and was in fine spirits, and seemed to be in good health. During the early hours of the 27th, she had a hemorrhagic stroke and had already suffered irreparable brain damage by the time she was found.   The all-day bedside vigil before she passed away was heart wrenching and draining. Rest peacefully, Marj.

All in all, it was a pretty shitty year with far too many deaths.  Which is another reason why I didn’t update.  So there you go.

Song of the Day: Bad Year by Sicko

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Enough is Enough

October 18, 2009

A lot has happened since I last posted here.  Right before I went back to work in early September, my grandmother was admitted to the hospital.  She was there for quite some time, and it was touch and go for a while.  She ended up getting a pacemaker.  As you can imagine, that was a very stressful time.

Last month, I participated in our annual  “Dress Up As A Literary Character Day”  at work.  I went as Jacob Marley from A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens.  What a trip that was.

On Tuesday, the husband of a much loved co-worker died unexpectedly.  I went to the shiva house after work on Friday, and was dismayed to see how frail and fragile my co-worker looks.  She and her husband were married for 41 years, and they were incredibly devoted to each other.  My heart aches for her, as it does for my darling LA, her fiancée, and his family as they deal with the very recent loss of Mick’s grandmother.   Please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers.

A little over a week ago, my father had a total knee replacement.  At present, he is in a rehabilitation facility for physical therapy, which means that my 98 year-old grandmother is alone.  Michele, Mike and I have been running around like those proverbial chickens with their heads cut off.  I am beyond exhausted, and in extraordinary pain.  I don’t know how I’m going to walk to work every morning this week (Daniel is visiting his family in Canada)… The walk home isn’t too bad, but I am especially stiff and achy in the morning.  This is going to be very difficult for me.

Yesterday, Leigh had to go to a walk-in clinic because she thought she had a UTI. Turns out that she has an unusually high amount of protein in her urine, which the doctor said can be indicative of kidney disease.   He wants her to follow up with a urologist.

To top things off, Tuesday will mark the third anniversary of my brother’s death.

As I said on Facebook, my “downer” quota has been filled for the month.  No more, please.

Song of the Day:  Downer by Nirvana

I had an appointment with Dr. Spine Specialist yesterday to review the results of my latest MRI.  I already knew that I have a herniated disc in my lumbar spine.  What I didn’t know is that I have three of them.  I also have quite a bit of arthritis, as well as a fair amount of scar tissue in the area of the discectomy that was performed back in 2004.  All of these things contribute to my lower back pain.

Dr. Spine Specialist mentioned surgery as an option, and warned me that it will be a more complicated procedure this time because it will involve spinal fusion.  Umm, no thanks.    Not unless I absolutely can’t bear the pain any longer.

Before I left his office, Dr. Spine Specialist gave me an autographed copy of his book.   Thanks, doc.  See you again in five months.

I can’t believe summer “vacation” is almost over.  I use the word “vacation” loosely because I didn’t do any vacationing this year.  What a bummer.  I did get to the beach on Monday, but it was just the Long Island Sound at Hammonasset State Park in Connecticut.  It was brutally hot, and, when I tried to go in the water to cool off, I had to turn back because the bottom was so rocky I was afraid I would lose my footing.  So, I sat there in the sweltering heat for four hours, and ended up with a sunburn, despite wearing a large straw hat and heavy applications of sunblock.   I’m really hoping to get to the ocean before I go back to work, but I’m not feeling very optimistic about that happening.

At least my daughter, Rebecca, got to go away on vacation.  She and her boyfriend just got back from a wonderfully adventurous trip to Mexico.

They snorkeled on the reef and in a cenote, saw the ruins of Tulum, and went zip lining and rappelling.

While I am truly happy for Becca, I also have to admit that I am green with envy.  Sigh.

Song of the Day:  It’s Not Easy Being Green by Kermit the Frog

Nokay

July 1, 2009

I received an email from Sunshyn this morning asking if I’m okay.  I appreciate her concern, but, the truth is, I’m not okay.  Here’s why.

1. Scary headache – Day 31 (not to mention all the other pain).
2. One of my sisters is in crisis, and she is at my house almost every day.  I want to be here for her, but it is draining and stressful, to say the least.
3. I still haven’t found out whether or not I’ll be working summer school, which starts on Tuesday.  It’s not looking good.  This is a potentially catastrophic situation, financially.  I am sick over it.

Song of the Day:  I’m Not Okay by My Chemical Romance

My brother, Mark, would have been 42 years old today.  These “significant days” are harder to bear than regular ones.  Mark’s twin, Mike, will have his own particular pain to deal with today.   My heart goes out to him, and to my parents and other siblings.  We all miss Mark so much.

As for physical pain, I’ve been suffering even more than usual lately.  The worst of it is that the scary headaches are back.  Living with chronic pain takes so much out of me.  By the time I get home from work, I’m too exhausted, both physically and mentally, to do much of anything.  Weekends aren’t much better, although I do push myself to get out of the house as much as possible.  It’s too easy to fall into a depression when I’m trapped inside for long periods of time.    It’s bad enough to be trapped in this pain-ravaged body.  I need all the distractions I can get.

Something else that is causing me stress (which adds to the pain) is that I will only be receiving one more paycheck until September.  This is quite disturbing because we can’t live on Daniel’s salary alone.   I applied for summer school about a month ago, and have been anxiously awaiting word about whether or not I got the job.

On Wednesday, My Friend informed me that she had received an email from the summer school principal informing her that she had been recommended to teach summer school.   I became distressed upon hearing that, and emailed the principal to ask if a decision had been made about the summer school Teaching Assistant position.  I reminded her that I have held the position since it was created, with the exception of the past two summers when I was unable to work because of back pain that was the result of a work-related incident.   (It should also be noted that the principal at the time the TA position was first created lobbied for it with me in mind.)

Ms. Summer School principal responded to my email by asking how many years I held the position, and saying that she has to check the “union issue.”  I suppose that means that the person who was assigned the position during the summers when I was unable to work has applied for it again this year.  However, it is my understanding that seniority is a factor, so I should get the assignment.  Also, I should not be penalized because I was unable to work due to an injury I sustained on the job.

I am a nervous wreck about this situation.  If I don’t get the summer school position, we are up the creek without a paddle.  Even if I do work summer school, it will only be 16 hours a week for six weeks.  We still won’t be able to make ends meet.  But, without that extra money, we will be in serious trouble.

All positive thoughts will be much appreciated.

Song of the Day:  Get a Job by The Silhouettes

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Isabella, We Are Rising

April 10, 2009

Wednesday morning, My Friend asked me to act as a model for her Reflexology display at a Wellness Fair at a local college.  It was great.  I lounged on a zero gravity recliner chair wrapped in a blanket, getting my feet worked on.  It was so relaxing.

Afterwards, I paid a long overdue visit to my chiropractor, who said that my neck was in distress.  That would explain the horrendous headache I’ve been plagued with all week.  While the headache is not quite gone, it is more bearable.  It also helps that we’ve had a couple of days of decent weather.  Yesterday morning I put some pansies into porch planters.

In the evening, we went to dinner to celebrate Leigh’s birthday. My baby is 21.

As for Easter, at first we weren’t going to do anything. My sister, Michele, and I declared that Thanksgiving and Christmas are more than enough when it comes to hosting family gatherings. We refuse to bear the burden of another holiday. It would suit me just fine to stay home and try to mentally prepare myself for returning to work on Monday (I’m dreading it), but The Ex invited us to his place. Fortunately, it will be very low-key.

Rebecca is taking me out to lunch for Pad Thai this afternoon, so I’d better get back to what I was doing (moving the light clothing up and the heavy clothing down). Groan.

Song of the Day: Easter by Patti Smith (from which the title of which this entry comes)

I was dismayed to wake up this morning to find that the damn headache that clutched me in its agonizing grip all day yesterday is still holding me hostage. I’m hoping Doc Bill (my chiropractor) can help when I see him tomorrow…

In the meantime, I can’t do much of anything because the pain is so severe.  I’m wondering what happened to the “break” in spring break… I sure could use one, and here is where I’d like to get it.  This place is absolutely amazing!  If you don’t have Power Point, you can follow this link, but it’s not as pleasing an experience.  For the Power Point presentation, click on the page to advance the slides.  If you use the second link, click the next page button (>).  Enjoy!  I know I did!

Reading (re-reading, actually) The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

Song of the day:  Paradise By The Dashboard Light by Meatloaf