Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tin foil shoes, too much math, and flat ginger ale.

My husband is a technogeek.  He only interacts with silicon and wires, and prefers to shield himself from the rays of human eye contact.  He can make or fix anything, he is truly the MacGyver of the future.  Tonight, when I walked in the door, I noticed he bought himself some awesome new sneakers, online of course:

Now, he will look more like a robot, and fit in with his silicon brethren..

Unfortunately for me, my semi-human husband had to work late tonight; building servers, duh.  What ensued was a horrific and deeply unskilled attempt at me to ship someone a shirt that I sold on Ebay.  Sounds simple, doesn't it?  Well, its not, NOOBS!! 

In order to save $1.23, I decided to forgo my general priority shipping methods (we have a stock of about 100 free priority shipping boxes of varying shape and size, btw), and do a basic ground shipping method.  "It's easy!" Husband said.  "You can make a box out of anything!" he said. 

I searched for a normal box, which in any normal amazon-reliant household (I'm talking an average of 2 boxes a day coming to our door), so that I wouldn't have to 'make' anything at all.  I dug through the basement, garage, and finally, the recycling bins.  I found something I thought would be suitable; a nice shiny white piece of cardboard that once held a large picture frame.  "All this needs is some packing tape and a few folds in the right places!!" My hopelessly optimisic mind thought.  "It'll be done in a jiffy!" 

Packing tape has destroyed my soul.  I spent 45 minutes mangling, folding, cutting, and beating the beautiful shiny cardboard into submission.  Using a box cutter, cause, you know, it was a BOX! perfect!, I made kindergartenesque, horribly uneven lines to outline my box.  Focusing on the next step before completing this one, which seems to be a severe medical condition of mine, I proceeded to drop the box cutter on my big toe.  I let out a sound which made my cat scramble out of the room, claws scratching the floor in panic.  After 5 minutes of moaning on my part, she came to my 'aide' with a meow and tried to get me to pet her.  THANKS CAT.  WHY DON'T YOU EVER PET ME!? 

It took me 20 more minutes to tape the box.  Packing tape is the most maddening material I have ever encountered.  It stuck to everything; itself, my hand, the counter, the floor, all while forcing every edge of itself to whatever surface it encountered, so not only could I not pick it back up, I couldn't even freaking see it.  

This is what my 'box' looked like after 65 minutes of assembly. 

I noticed that the left side of the box was an full inch higher than the right, and that most of the edges didn't fit together.  "All it needs is a little more tape!!!" I thought, beginning to panic as I saw my evening melting away in geometric hell.  

After a barrage of  intense force, groans, and curses, I finally bent the box to my will; stuffed the stupid shirt inside, and breathed a sigh of relief.  I tried to take a picture of it from a side which laid flat, but found that none of them did.  Not bottom, top, or any of the sides.  I think there are too many sides.  Yes, I had the foresight to take pictures during the process.  The knowledge of hilarious failure is strong with this one.

I began to panic as I noticed the almost empty roll of packing tape lay on the counter... my original shipping weight was 13 ounces.  After some overly complicated weighing procedures with my bathroom scale and smartphone (cause I ain't smart), I determined that it was probably about 11 ounces.  PHEW!  I shoved the damn thing in the mail box and poured myself a glass of flat ginger ale, with a 'moderate' (most of the glass) splash of blackberry wine.  I needed relief.  I needed to write this down.  Looking forward to my drink and writing with joyful mania, I headed to the garage where my husband is working on a computer-tinkering project, because that's where our fastest and biggest computer lives.  I began composing this post in my mind before I put the glass down on the desk, another example of beginning a task before finishing the first one.  So now the question for my husband is this: do microprocessors still work after being drowned in ginger ale and blackberry wine? Because I smothered your microprocessors with ginger ale and blackberry wine.

My 32nd birthday is in 27 minutes, and I feel like a hopelessly useless human being, who happens to be in a lot of pain (my toe really freaking hurts).  May tomorrow be better than the last 73 minutes of my life! At least 32 is an even number; it will be easier on my brain.  That hurts too.

To whomever is getting my shirt, I pledge my full and complete apologies. Oh, and please don't give me bad feedback.

*I noticed I have some new followers now that I don't even KNOW!! YAY! Welcome to my crazy life.   Btw, if anyone wants to follow, its easy.  Just type your email in the upper right hand corner where it says 'follow by email'.  It goes through feedburner- you won't get any junk, promise.  Also, please leave comments below and don't send me emails.  I like to keep em all in one place.  Thanks!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Homeopathic Day Six

Its been 6 days on my anti-inflammatory diet!  Its going great, although its not easy.  I tell myself that this is a hobby and not something I have to be perfect at (because as you will see below, I'm very, very not haha).

Belvita whole grain biscuits
1/2 cup red grapes

wilted kale, tomato basil salad, 1/2 hard boiled egg, wild rice, asparagus and avocado
jasmine green tea

One giant donut with chocolate frosting.  WHOOPS.  Man, I was hungry.  Don't think I had enough protein at lunch lol

dinner went better ; )
squash blossoms stuffed with jalepeno, wheat germ, fresh basil, and cheese
tomato basil salad with navy beans, chia seeds, apple cider and balsamic vinegar, and tumeric
black cherries and blueberries
1/2 cup plain unsweetened kefir

supplements: Omega 3, green tea extract, chinese skullcap

Major Note!! My lil buddy treatment is ready to go! Unfortunately Im on antibiotics for a sinus infection, which makes the lil buddies sleepy, so I have to hold off for a few days :(  I'm going to take extra iron for a few days to stave off any anemia from the lil dudes.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Going all Homeopathic on her ass- Day 1

* Note:  by "Her" I am referring to my colorful array of autoimmune diseases and fibromyalgia.

If you've read any of my prior posts, you will know that I take *a lot* of medication for my conditions, including some that can cause cancer, blindness, and severe birth defects.  However, I still feel like crap pretty much every day.   I have decided to supplement my drug cocktail with well-researched homeopathic treatment plan including 1) An anti-inflammatory diet and 2)another alternative therapy.

So, while I "eagerly" (no, not really) await my first buddy treatment, I have decided to begin another homeopathic treatment, an anti-inflammatory diet.  Surprisingly, this is the harder treatment for me.  Reason being, I am addicted to donuts.  and sour patch kids.  Oh, and chips ahoy (especially the reeses kind!).  First, second and third on the list of 'most inflammation causing foods' is hydrogenated oil, sugar, and refined carbs.  DOH!!! Not cool.  The idea of the diet is basic: eat foods rich in anti-inflammatory chemicals, and you won't have to take as much medicine.  Let me note that I have no desire or intention to lose weight, in fact I could stand to gain a few pounds, and the sole purpose of this is to STOP FEELING LIKE CRAP! If you want more info, check out this article.  Actually, there is a lot of yummy stuff; tons of spices, olive oil, salmon, mangoes... not too shabby.  Being that I am certifiably insane, I have become a bit obsessed with this, and made several trips to natural food stores and online supplement shops.  My cupboard now resembles that of a sophomore Womens Studies major at Sarah Lawrence.   Anyway, what follows is what I have consumed over the course of the day.  We'll see how many days I actually last! Asterisks follow the 'super-duper anti-inflammatory' foods

1/2 cup red grapes*
1/2 cup blueberries*
1/4 cup yogurt with flax* and chia* seeds (yes, exactly like the 'chia pet')

Olive Oil* pan-fried Cod* with ginger*, tumeric*, rice vinegar, honey, and soy sauce
steamed bell peppers and green beans
basmati rice

One chocolate brownie with peanut butter.  Oops.
1/2 cup almonds

6 small beets*
1/2 cup seaweed* salad with chia* and flax*
roasted sweet potatoes* and carrots with oregano* and thyme*

I also consumed the following supplements: Vitamins C, D, and Bs, and Chinese skullcap.  (I also have grape-seed and green-tea extract coming in the mail!  In addition to kelp powder.)

It all tasted pretty good, ESPECIALLY the brownie :).  Only issue is that I haven't eaten this much fiber since I went on a crazy-vegetable diet when trying to lose weight to cram myself into an impulsively bought, incorrectly sized dress for my wedding (8 years ago).  I went out for ice cream the first night of the honeymoon and never looked back! :)  Anyway, I have a stomache-ache.

Join me next week! (or maybe 2) for an excited account of the welcoming of some new 'lil buddies into my life, and more (exciting I know) lists of what I ate!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The "bad card"

Dealing with the neverending stream of prescriptions and medication changes that come with chronic illness, and the often extreme side effects.  

I'll start on a positive note:  I am happily married, I have an unbelievably gorgeous and bright son, My husband and I are both successful and happily employed; we don't have to worry about money.  I'm told I'm "pretty" and am a size 2.  I have a beautiful home that backs to a forest with a sprawling deck, and I live in a great community, surrounded by family and friends.  I used to say "Nothing bad has ever happened to me".  My life was even-keeled and always going in a positive direction.  I knew it would change some day, and it did.  About 8 years ago, I was finally handed a "bad" card.  My health, both physical and mental, took a sheer nose-dive.

I have had anxiety since the age of 7, but it was manageable until I got sick, at which point it became debilitating as an adult.  Additionally, I never once had a suicidal thought until I could no longer get out of bed, or brush my teeth... or care for my son due to extreme pain and fatigue. I have suffered from severe depression off and on since becoming diagnosed with my hodge-podge of diseases. But, I've learned how to breathe, and was trained in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT),  amazing and powerful tools that I can only wish I had access to as a scared child!  However, the more frustrating, and often painful, wrench in my life is my physical health:

I suffer from a variety of autoimmune diseases and Fibromyalgia, whose single purpose in existence seem to be to make the sufferer feel like 'crap'.  I have constant severe and constant pain, and debilitating fatigue.  To treat my physical problems, doctors have prescribed me, over the course of 7 years, at least 40 different medications.  Forty.  Different medications.  Currently, I am on a relatively stable list of 5 medication which are helping to control my symptoms, and my brain is relatively used to.  But it never lasts.  About every 3 months, one of my 6 trillion doctors either recommends a new medication, the cessation of an old one, or a dosage change.  In addition to my mental and physical problems, I was also blessed with extreme drug sensitivity.  Part of the reason I've tried so many medications is because I cannot tolerate most of them due to their unintended psychoactive effects, or other severe and crappy side effects.  Just to name a few of the most severe instances, I have become full-blown manic on at least 3 occasions thanks to immunosuppresant medications.  I have gotten serotonin syndrome at least 4 times (when my current drug cocktail interacts to increase serotonin to unsafe levels; serotonin is increased in a surprisingly huge list of drugs, not just SSRIs).  I have been unable to get out of bed due to sudden deep depressions.  I have been suicidal on multiple occasions,  and could list other similar but less extreme experiences.  Some of this is certainly normal given my history of anxiety and depression, but in the severe instances, each one is directly attributable to a recent medication change.

So, in order to prevent my premature death and other severe consequences of my physical health, I seem to be trapped on a medication-induced-crazy-coaster.  I want OFF!  But I am trapped.  Without my medications (which I've tried) I am bedridden and end up depressed anyway because of the pure suckage of being bedridden.  With them, I am a wild mix of emotions, mood swings and irritability.  Sometimes, I forget who I really am.  I take time every day to meditate and remind myself of my goals and beliefs- breathe.  think carefully before you speak (to avoid snapping), live in the moment, take it one day at a time.  But there's only so much my meagerly powered cognitive forces can do when up against a brain on a drug-fueled crazy spree.

I have to admit I'm getting a little desperate and hopeless, like I said, its been 7 years.  My physical health is just getting worse, and with the new symptoms come new drugs and more side effects..  I have decided that my goal for this year is to try homeopathic treatments; I am the newest guinea pig in an experimental (but highly researched) autoimmune treatment involving parasites.   I am also attempting to start a anti-inflammatory diet, which sucks because donuts is my favorite food group.  I am crossing my fingers that there are calmer, healthier, and happier waters ahead.  And believe me, so is my husband!

Six Months Later: Update!

Wow, looking back at this, I hardly recognize myself.  I kept my promises and have tried several drug free and experimental treatments for both depression (TMS or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation), and parasitic  therapy for my Autoimmune disease.

The TMS was intense: it is for "difficult to treat" depression only, and I had to have treatments 5 days a week for 5 weeks, then 4 weeks of tapering.  My depression scores went from "severe" (like go to the hospital NOW) to "None".  NONE.  Its mind-boggling.  I am tapering off my anti-depressant medication, while at the same time experiencing a long-lost, beloved emotion called "Joy."  It is truly wonderful, and I highly recommed it to anyone who has had no luck with drugs (I had tried over 12 different drugs and several therapists with few results).  TMS is now covered by many insurance plans and is FDA approved for the treatment of depression and anxiety.  Google TMS depression for more information.

The parasite therapy is actually not as intense!  It is a relatively new, experimental treatment for autoimmune diseases (especially Crohns, Ulcerative Colitis and MS), and severe allergies.  However, it is well researched and most patients go into remission within 3 months.  I am still going through treatment, but I have already noticed some amazing results.  My allergies are gone; they used to be a nightmare.  I no longer need to take celebrex in order to move my joints without pain, and I am down to 1/2 of my original dose of immunosuppresant medication!  I am confident that I will also go into full remission.   Here is my most recent post on the therapy.

Along with the therapy, I have also begun an anti-inflammatory diet, attempting to be as gluten-free as possible, while eating as many veggies and fruits as I can.  I am not perfect; I still love donuts and pizza rolls on occasion, but on the days that I stick to my diet, there is a noticible shift in my levels of pain and (especially) fatigue.  I go by Dr. Weils food pyramid, which I found on Google. Its easy to read and helps me remember what to eat and what to avoid.  Also see my full blog post on the diet.

2014 is looking pretty damn good!  Check back for possible announcements from my husband and I.... yup! I feel well enough to try to have another baby.  Awesomeness!

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