Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ain't Life Grand?...At Least In MY World...




Did anyone secretly bet I would return from the beach yesterday with a sunburn on my nice, pasty-white self? Did anyone secretly WISH I burnt the heck out of myself in retaliation for rubbing in the fact I was GOING to the beach?!? LOL Well, if you did have "wishes" or harbor desires of my demise, you got part of your wish to come true! My face is a bit tomato-red and the tops of my feet are on fire (from sandals)...but, other than a bit of redness, I HAD A WONDERFUL TIME! WOOHOO!

Miss "T" and I were up and on the road only seconds after Dawn flashed her crack (OK, y'all know THAT'S NOT true...but we WERE on the road before noon!)...we drove, gabbed, and gossiped our way to Ocean Shores, WA. Food became a priority, so we decided to hit the quickest and most harrowing type: McDonald's. We each ordered a "Big Mac" (can you spell h-e-a-r-t a-t-t-a-c-k, children?!?), having not had one in many years (we were on "vacation" from work! Give us a break...), ate our treat, and drove onto the beach.


Now...THIS is where the "story" changes to suite our desired tale...

When we left Seattle, it was already approaching the 70's...the forecast was to be in the 80's, which in this region of the world, is considered HOT! So, we both packed only a pair of shorts and light jackets (mine was a long-sleeved blue jeans shirt, Miss "T" wisely packed a sweat shirt). We emerged from the safety and warmth of the vehicle, only to discover a "colder-than-a-well-digger's-ass" WIND blowing off the Pacific Ocean!!! Who knew?!?

Eventually, after the shock of the chill had worn off, we regrouped our clothing options, repositioned our beach chairs (using the car as a wind screen), and proceeded to have a chilly, but fun time. LOL We took a very long walk down the beach (with our noses running from the chill and wind), played frisbee with Miss "T"s hound, figured out how to construct and FLY a two-stringed kite (this actually got pretty funny as neither one of us knew what we were doing...it attracted a bit of attention from the surrounding crowd as we repeatedly nearly gave each other a closed head injury by dive-bombing the kite contraption into the sand!), found some beach treasures (aka, sand dollars, etc), did some "tourist" shopping (because we needed a refrigerator magnet to add to the collection at work...don't ask! LOL), ate at a wonderful Irish Pub (I haven't had good Shepperd's Pie since I was a wee lass!), and proceed to donate a fair amount of money to the Quinault Indian Tribe (casino) in just a few, short hours.

BUT...IF ANYONE ASKS YOU...THIS is the story we are telling: The weather was fabulous, we walked at least 10 miles on the beach in bikinis, we were asked to enter next year's acrobatic kite flying contest because of our mastery skills, we ate like birds, and we made out like bandits at the casino.

That's just in case anyone ASKS you...LOL...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Can I Make You Feel Any WORSE About Where You Live?..

And all y'all thought that little trip to one of the Islands over the weekend was pretty? Well...



I'm heading to THIS beach tomorrow:




Yep...it's true. My vacation days are NOT over! Miss "T" and I have EARNED a day off together from work on Wednesday and we are taking 'er full tilt to Ocean Shores, Washington. It's about a 2-3 hour drive, so we are leaving at OUR crack of dawn in the morning (ah, that would be some time around 10ish...LOL).


Remember those grueling training days we both put in during March and April? Well, being the successful "guilt" mongers we are, we convinced our Big Boss Lady we "deserved" an extra day off...together. And, much to our surprise, our wish has been granted!


So, I am off to bed now to try and get a few hours of shut eye before our drive in the morning. We have grandiose plans to fly a kite on the beach, eat really good food, and even hit one of the Reservation Casinos on the way back...if we win any "big" money, I'm sure we'll happily give any of you a loan! LOL


But what is most likely to happen is, we'll both get sunburned, lose a couple of bucks in the slot machines, eat at a drive through, and come home tired...ah...good times...good times...LOL...



Tuesday, May 29, 2007

As Long As I Am Breathing...And Have Multiple Sclerosis...

One of you loyal "CHEESE" readers brought to my attention the following thought:

"Now that I (AKA, BrainCheese) am seeing considerable improvement in my MS symptoms, will I (AKA, BrainCheese) STILL be faithfully writing this blog (AKA, crap)?"


It's funny, because the thought has NEVER crossed my mind to NOT splatter my ever-loving opinion all over this web page! I imagine as long as I am breathing and HAVE an opinion (which, I am pretty certain if I AM breathing, I will remain "subtly opinionated" LOL), I will continue to egocentrically drown you in my thoughts/activities/mundane life--hopefully "all y'all" will continue to escape to the surface of my cesspool of writing and...well...gulp air!


It IS true...my MS appears to be very nicely in remission...FINALLY. All one need do is look back over last year's cornucopia of crap (sorry...I still do not have all of the AOLBRAINCHEESE transferred to this site...I'm working on it! If only the minions would cooperate...LOL) to get a clear picture of the absolute MS HELL I was living in for nearly 10 months. It has been an extremely long and winding road (isn't that a song? "The Long and Winding Road"?...I digress as usual) getting here...right here...where I am in this moment. And I am very thankful to BE here (throwing some salt over my left shoulder and knocking on wood for good luck).


But, just in case you've forgotten (or have tried various hypnosis techniques to remove the picture from your mind), my MS in 2006 started with a relapse that continued from March until 2007...with an occasional peak and valley in between. There were multiple medications tried, physical therapies, "other" specialists consulted, a hospitalization, a couple of ER visits, and a very hopeless and unhappy MS PATIENT circling the drain at the center of it all...ME!


My "new blue drug", Novantrone, has seemed to work miracles for me...so far. I STILL hold my breath every day (because it's become a habit now) and wonder in the crevasses of my mind "if"...if today will be the day the unrelenting disease of Multiple Sclerosis resumes its rumbling in my brain? If today will be the day I awaken and can't walk again, or I'm too weak, or my world is spinning, or my vision is gone, or I am in severe pain again, or...the "ifs" can be overwhelming if I let them be.


So, to avoid being overrun by "ifs", I am continuing to get out of bed each day (still have to do the morning "bed ballet" to walk upright first thing...whatever!), breathe in the wonder of my MS remission, and try to live my life to the fullest...with or without MS slumbering away in my brain right now. I know at any time, it (MS) could awaken like a dormant volcano, and erupt all over me. But like any skilled seismologist will tell you, there's just no predicting the activity of a volcano...and THAT is what my MS feels like to me right now...a slumbering and peaceful mountain, which could turn on me at any moment!


Fortunately, I live very near the magnificent Mount Rainier...she is ALSO a slumbering volcano/mountain. Living this close to a dormant volcano "could" bring on much anxiety and fear. But most of us who live in this region know, "if she blows", she blows...there's no stopping the gorgeous peak from erupting and there's no predicting when or IF (there's that lovely "if" again! LOL) it might happen. There are certainly safety drills and awarenesses one incorporates into their life living this close to the mountain...but beyond that, there's little else to do...except KEEP ON LIVING.


So...that is most likely what you will continue to see documented here on "CHEESE"...my "keep on living" approach with MS. Oh, sure...I'll throw in some MS research now and again just to keep you science-types occupied (LOL) and I'll probably continue to have a Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named story every so often. But I "hope" (as I believe YOU do, too) I have little discouraging MS news to self-report...that I can report instead on the wonderful "glaciers, forests, and peak" surrounding my quiet MS Mountain...and SHE remains a silent beast within...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Photos From The Island Woods...






















I had a wonderful and relaxing time...still swimming in the pool of "vacation" today, but will write more later...Ahhhhhh....

Saturday, May 26, 2007

What IS The Proper Greeting On Memorial Day?...

Well, it can't be "Happy Memorial Day"...that sounds a bit trite and contradictory. And "Have a Pleasant Memorial Day" seems sort of...oh, I don't know...vacation-esk. I mean, aren't we SUPPOSED to be remembering the men and women who served and gave their time and lives to protect the freedoms of our country? I "think" it is supposed to be a solemn day of remembering...but like so many things in this country, it seems we've lost sight of the day's true meaning.

At any rate, I certainly wouldn't want to alarm any of you by not posting something in the next 24-48 hours. But, I am going to one of the Puget Sound Islands for a bit of "R & R" for the weekend, so I most likely will not post anything until Monday when I return (I'm sure you are ALL breathing a sigh of relief to know this...not the "alarm" part, but the "I won't be boring you with another mundane post" part! LOL).


So...be safe, be well, be happy, until I return. And have a "Memorial Day" any way you like it...

Friday, May 25, 2007

The "Mini Me" Thyroid And MS Lecture...Just When You Thought I Couldn't Lull You To Sleep!..

Well, as promised, because I am NOT one to go back on a “promise” (oh, sure…I’ll LIE my arse off, but NEVER break a promise!), I give you the Mini Me Thyroid lecture. And, as usual, this post is comprised of a pinch of medical knowledge, a touch of research, and an ounce of black magic! LOL

I suppose I should first start out talking about the ever-popular thyroid…or as I like to refer to it, “that lump in my throat”. The thyroid gland IS located in the neck region of the body just below the larynx (otherwise known as the ”Adam’s Apple”) or the “voice box”. This highly popular gland sits just below the protruding neck bulge in males (women have a “voice box”, too…it just doesn’t protrude like it does in men). One of the thyroid’s primary responsibilities is to squirt out a hormone called Thyroxine. Thyroxine controls and regulates body metabolism. But the production of Thyroxine is dependent upon an appropriate intake of protein and iodine AND another little gland, called the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is an entirely different and complicated gland, but trust me when I say it works in tandem with the thyroid by releasing yet ANOTHER important hormone called thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH, for all you peeps who wondered what those abbreviations were on your lab reports). TSH stimulates the thyroid to release the Thyroxine, thus stimulating your metabolism…is anyone LOST yet?!?

Thyroxine production from the thyroid can also be dependent upon a number of other environmental factors, such as psychological stress, prolonged exposure to the cold or excessive heat, ingestion of certain drugs, and I believe also the planetary alignments (that planetary suggestion is where the black magic comes in…LOL).

There are three, main types of thyroid dysfunction: 1. An enlarged thyroid (goiter), 2. hyperthyroidism (Grave’s Disease), or 3. hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s Disease). You can also get thyroid cancer and an inflammation of the thyroid gland, but why bring up THOSE subjects here when there are soooo many other interesting topics to discuss?!?

There are a whole bunch of lab/blood tests doctors can look at to determine how well your thyroid is functioning. The most common labs you’ll get BILLED for are testing your T3, T4, and TSH levels. I’m not going to go into a long and drawn out discussion of what each of these “levels” are measuring…basically, because I went to school like a hundred years ago and I can’t really recall! But the “biggie” is the TSH level. Doctors LOVE to test your TSH level…and the funny thing is, unless they are an endocrinologist, THEY probably don’t remember what T3 and T4 stand for either! But I digress…

The MAJOR and BIG connection you should remember (because there WILL be a test on this after class…LOL) is, both Grave’s Disease and Hashimoto’s Disease are thought to be AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS…now, doesn’t THAT little fact ring a bell??? Uhhh…Multiple Sclerosis anyone? Remember MS is an autoimmune disorder as well??? And there is some belief out there (and even current studies being done) that people with MS will OFTEN have a clustering of autoimmune disorders or quite often at LEAST have more than one autoimmune disorder going on.

Now I CAN’T possibly pass up this opportunity to give you a LIST of some of the more common clustering of autoimmune disorders seen with MS…I’ll get back to the thyroid in a minute, so hold your horses! Autoimmune diseases that are reported to occur more frequently than expected in patients with MS include:


• inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)

• type 1 diabetes mellitus

• pernicious anemia (vitamin B12 deficiency)

• thyroid disease (Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis)

• uveitis (inflammation of the eye)

• seronegative spondyloarthropathies (diseases that cause inflammation in specific areas of the body, particularly in parts of the spine and at other joints where tendons attach to bones)

• myasthenia gravis (disorder of neuromuscular transmission)

• rheumatoid arthritis

• psoriasis


Dammit, Jim! And I thought having MS was enough!


So, back to the exciting thyroid. LOL Let’s start with hyperthyroidism. When the “roid” begins to over react/activate, it’s never a “good thing” even by Martha Stewart’s standards. The gland goes out of control and secrets TOO MUCH thyroid hormone and people feel like crap…but they’re usually to “sped up” to stop long enough to care! Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism (or Grave’s Disease, if it’s really bad) are:


**Nervousness, agitation, irritability, ravenous appetite (but often still with weight loss because the metabolism is running on over time), diarrhea, heat intolerance, major sweating, rapid heart rate, tremors and uncoordinated movement, and a VERY CYCLIC MOOD (see, I promised you some psych information here, Have Myelin!)…one tends to look a bit psychotic over time with hyperthyroidism…”one” could find themselves locked up in a psychiatric hospital before it is discovered it is a thyroid problem, too! LOL And let me not forget to mention a fancy term here called, “Exophthalmos”, otherwise known as “Marty Feldman” eyes.**


When experiencing HYPOthyroidism, there is not ENOUGH Thyroxine floating around in the system. It tends to look and manifest almost exactly opposite as hyperthyroidism (Grave’s Disease). The worst forms of hypothyroidism are called, “Hashimoto’s Disease” or “Myxedema”. This is most commonly what we middle-aged women might develop, but in a milder form than Hashimoto’s or Myxedema. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:


**Fatigue, lethargy, mild sensitivity to cold, dry skin and hair, constipation, forgetfulness, depression, apathy (there’s the psych issue again), mild to moderate weight gain, and a generalized feeling like a “slug” disorder. Now don’t THESE symptoms sound an awful like some associated with that “other” autoimmune disease (MS)?**


If you are into making mountains out of mole hills (and God knows, I am), there was a study done in 2005 and published in the Journal of Autoimmune Diseases that suggests there really IS a significant co-occurrence of thyroid disorders and MS. Here’s a link: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1308850 . That is, if you are INTO reading this sort of medical mush. LOL


I hope this answers some of those questions all y’all were commenting on here at “Cheese”…I don’t claim to know much at all about thyroid disorders…frankly, I don’t claim to know much at all about ANYTHING! I suggest if you think you ARE having some kind of problem with your own “roid”, you consult your doctor or go see an endocrinologist. And if THAT fails, may I suggest seeing a priest…LOL…

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Well, I'll Be Dayumed!..

Today was the first day in my life absolutely NOTHING funny happened...no joke...there was nothing funny or even mildly humorous going on today. It was really rather boring and disconnecting.

Almost EVERY day SOMETHING funny happens...many things occur in my day that I cannot write about here on "Cheese", but usually SOMETHING else funny goes on in my life that I CAN share. Nada...Zip...no go today.

I woke up this morning as usual and lay in my bed pondering just what funny thing might go on during my awake hours...nothing came to mind. This struck me as odd. I almost always have an idea of what "might" go on in my life that "could" send me into gut-wrenching stitches from laughing...my mind was blank.

So, I began my day a bit on the cautious side....perhaps today would be the day I would I have to SEARCH for my humorous encounters. I don't like to have to do this...it wastes energy and kind of zaps the whole experience a bit. Comedy/laughter is ALWAYS best unplanned.

Cautiously I stepped out into the big world today, adjusting my rose-colored glasses (which also have a nose and eye brows attached to them), and went about the motions of living...waiting like a kid playing hide and seek, for that "Hi Larry Us" moment to jump out and grab me...it just never came. The day progressed without ANY sense of humor and, try as I might, I just couldn't "force" it. Humor doesn't like to be forced...it grows best in spontaneity and lightness.

And now, here I sit at my computer, trying to type a blog...I usually pride myself in making these posts somewhat "Seinfeldishly" funny. But all I can do is apologize tonight...I've got nothing. Someone must have stolen my joy in my sleep and turned off my laugh button.

Anybody ELSE have something funny THEY'D like to share? I'm desperate here...LOL...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Operation "HAVANA" complete...

Was the photo taken in Canada or the USA? You decide...LOL

I am back from my smuggling operations in Canada and WITHOUT having to write this from "Gitmo"! The entire trip was a success and a beautiful day to drive and visit our wonderful friends who border the Northern United States.


I wasn't sure how the day was going to go as I did NOT start out in my "happy" place...I was tired from a very long week of work and a bit on the crabby MS side. I had made a copy of the song "O' Canada" on the wrong type of CD (my loverly Honda won't play data disks...who knew?!?) and could not blare the music at the US/Canadian border as planned...this was truly a big bummer. So NBF and I just had to sing the song instead. Unfortunately (or perhaps with GREAT fortune), we only know the first stanza of the song, so it was repeated like a broken record...LOL


When we approached the "gate to paradise" (Canada), we were greeted by a very nice Canadian Customs border agent (you should be proud of your peeps, Andrea)...he asked what our business was and how long the likes of two US citizens planned on being in his sacred country?


"Just going shopping and having dinner today," I replied in my most courteous and friendly "Stater" manner. "We'll be heading back to the States this evening." I figured if I was REALLY clear about our limited time we would be spending in this man's fine homeland, he would not become suspicious of the seriousness of our maple syrup smuggling operations. Besides, I was pretty sure the Canadian people would sleep better knowing we would only be spending a few, short hours on their turf.


The Customs Agent smiled and glanced toward the back seat of "Luna" (my sleek and silver Honda). He then spoke again. A fog rolled into my brain...I could not understand what he was asking me.


I somewhat nervously looked at NBF riding shotgun in my car and raised my eyebrows, as if to say without words, "What the heck did he just say?" Because NBF and I work together on a daily basis, she knew this facial sign. She tilted her head slightly, smirked, and shrugged her shoulders. She had no idea what this man of serious intent had spoken either.


It was in this moment my comfortable life as a Washington State employee flashed before me...visions of tin cups, bread and water, and sharing a Federal detention cell with Martha Stewart passed before me. The Canadian government was on to me...someone had warned them in advance two middle-aged, casually dressed US citizens were about to attempt entry into their country and try to make off with a gallon of maple syrup and a few "other" items not sold in the highly regulated and very anal United States of America. We were surely busted. A tiny bead of perspiration began to glimmer on my forehead.


I turned back to the Canadian Customs Agent and, in my nicest and most apologetic way stated, "I'm sorry. WHAT did you just ask me?"


The agent repeated his question slowly, as if speaking to a hearing impaired or mildly retarded US citizen. "Do you have any gifts you are taking into the country?"


My eyes darted again at NBF who, by this time, was trying to contain a full-belly laugh without making any noise. She was shaking her head, "No".


"Oh gosh no," I replied. "I'm not the gift-giving type."


The serious Canadian Customs Agent smiled, appearing to attempt to maintain the authority of his job, and simply waved us through...I'm sure he was contemplating whether we might need an "escort" for our own safety (being mentally handicapped and all) or if we would ever find our way BACK to the border later in the day.


We drove forward just out of earshot of the Agent and I turned to NBF, who was laughing out loud at this point. I inquired, "Did YOU understand what he was asking me?" I was fairly certain she did not.


"All I could hear him say was something about 'gifts'," NBF laughed. "I didn't hear what he was saying to you."


I felt embarrassed at this point and a bit dejected. So in my best effort to save face (and my pride) I decided the only approach was to sarcastically announce the interaction was not MY fault...it wasn't my fault because, "I don't speak Canadian!"


We giggled all the way to Vancouver...LOL...

Oh Can -i- DA!..

Canadian National ...

Off to Can i DA in just a few, short hours...I'll be dressed in my "Canucks" vintage hockey shirt and swing by north Seattle to pick up my derelict coworker, NBF, on the way to the border. Should no one hear from me in the next week, it is because dear Andrea (who works for the Canadian Customs and reads "Cheese") has called ahead and alerted the American Feds that I am engaging in covert terrorist activities and smuggling maple syrup across the wire!

Wish me luck...I'm going in...LOL...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Thumpa, thumpa, thumpa, THYROID!..


Where HAS all of this THYROID talk come from here on "CHEESE" of late? (I know Sherry/Have Myelin...it must suck!)


I don't have the time (or the energy) tonight to launch a thorough "thyroid" discussion, but I wanted to leave a quick note here to say, "I hear you!" I've been asked to put together a post regarding thyroid disorders, which will include (as always) some basic medical knowledge mixed with black magic...LOL


I CAN tell you there is some belief certain thyroid disorders are autoimmune related (to give a basic response to your question, JOYCE/HARKOO) and quite possibly why those of us with MS quite often have a "malfunctioning roid" (not to be confused with hemorrhoids, however...a "roid" of a different nature! LOL). I can also tell you hyper and hypothyroidism will often have accompanying psychiatric symptoms that are "thyroid" induced...but I'll talk more about that later when I find the time to research and write the "Roid Post".


Poor Marty Feldman...he was a primary example of a thyroid gone haywire. But those bulging eyes of his (caused by hyperthyroidism/Grave's Disease) DID come in handy for him in his acting career. I suppose if you have to have a disease, you might as well profit from it...


More later...

Starting To Feel That Slide...


"Hi. My name is Linda and I have MS."


This is where you're supposed to reply, "Hi, Linda"...that is, if we were at a REAL meeting of Multiple Sclerosis Anonymous! LOL But instead of relapsing on a "substance/alcohol", we'd all be talking about our MS relapses. And of course, at the end of OUR meeting, instead of saying, "Keep coming back it works", we'd say..."Keep coming back, it sucks!"


Today was a not-as-great-as-it-has-been day...perhaps it was merely the rainy weather (I DO live in Seattle after all) or my recent bout of restless sleep. But today, I noticed a slight sliding in of that nasty FATIGUE symptom again. And it's not just the fatigue, but also a weird kind of "dizziness" feeling that made its way into my life today...keep coming back, it sucks...


I am only just entering my 4th week of post Novantrone infusion and I had hoped the "high on life" feeling/symptom-lessening effect would have lasted longer...that ability to feel like I DIDN'T have MS anymore! Keep coming back, it sucks...


I really DO hope this sensation today is simply from being overly tired OR the rainy weather and I will still get to have a few more weeks of that wondrous place of feeling "normal" again...whatever...if my symptomology changes/worsens again, I can STILL thank my lucky stars I am getting a few weeks of reprieve from it all. And I can count the days until my next Novantrone infusion with high expectations/hope.


On a brighter note, Saint EB has been pronounced/diagnosed with a virus...she does NOT have TB (this was never an expectation) or lung cancer (this was never considered LOL) and WILL most likely be healed in a few days to begin the rigorous training schedule I am about to bestow upon her! I plan to drive along beside her bicycle in my car to provide her appropriate "training tunes" and encouragement. LOL Oh yes, she WILL ride again...


I have also noted several new donations to her goal and want to thank each of you for your generosity...Steve, Corrine, Sara, Sharon, especially. The other donors have been personally thanked with offers of my first born, etc. And since I HAVE no children, I think they are safe for the time being (although I DO have this feisty feline resting on my shoulder while I try to type this...there's an idea/destination for the Devil Kitty!).


And for those of you with MS, I hope it is comforting in some way to know these wonderful "peeps" exist out there giving toward our "cause" (and for the couple of you with MS who have made donations, "shame on you" in a completely Jewish mother chastising, yet praising your generosity way! ADINA can explain that one maybe...).
I must go now and try to run the stink and devil out of this cat as she will NOT be ignored...she is currently biting at my typing fingers to get my attention...Ouch! Will stop now while I still have fingertips...First born...remember, this COULD be yours if you donate to the BIKACIDE (that ought to keep the rest of you from considering charitable causes for the rest of your lives...)...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

No One Died On My Watch...That I Know Of...

It was an extremely busy evening at my work today as you can probably tell by the hour of this posting (2:30AM)...I am just getting home after about 10 hours of "helping" people. At least I'd like to think I helped SOMEONE today anyway...

So much of the work that I do is surrounded in secrecy, privacy law, and simple social taboo...I work with mentally ill folks, after all. And even though the days of "lunatics" (mental illness was thought to be brought on by the full moon or lunar cycles) and the "ship of fools" (when the mentally ill used to be cast out on a ship to sea and simply forgotten) are only read about in Psych 101 text books as history, there is STILL so much mystery, apprehension, and even FEAR regarding the mentally ill. Mostly because I believe we do not understand and cannot comprehend or rationalize mental illness in simple terms...and many fear at any moment they could be afflicted with it...it is human nature to fear that which we do not understand.


In July of this year, I will have worked in the mental health field for 21 years...it seems like such a very long time, and yet, there is still so much I do not know and have yet to learn about my practice and my patients. I have no simple understanding of mental illness to impart upon anyone...and yet, I feel I have learned to "understand" mental illness in terms most would never comprehend.


For instance, it is NOT the mentally ill that I personally fear...but instead, I have great apprehension about those who think of themselves as "normal" because there is NO such thing when it comes to the mind and human nature. We tend to live by social "norms", but even these preset societal beliefs change and become outdated or "abnormal". All one needs to do to witness this fact first hand is to turn on your TV and watch a program from the 1970's and then catch a clip of a show airing or filmed in 2007...1970 appears very "not the norm" to our world/society today.


I often wonder (and have even written about it in the past here) how my life, my mind, my beliefs, my socialization might have been different had I chosen a DIFFERENT line of work or profession? Had I become a traditional house wife or computer programmer or school teacher...what would my world view be today had I NOT seen the side of mental illness and human nature that I view on a daily basis? I don't spend a lot of time dwelling on this issue, but it does lend me pause at times to "wonder"...


I believe in a very simplistic, dualistic manner of thinking flowers DO grow out of s#!+ (fertilizer) and I have seen a LOT of "fertilizer" in my job. Because I am often placed in the center of this "fertilizer" pile, I believe I have grown a greater appreciation for the "flowers" of the world...sometimes I have to search for them, but the "flowers" are always there somewhere...pushing up out of the s#!+, budding, and blooming.


I don't know why there is mental illness in our world...I don't know why many of the tragedies and sorrows exist. But I DO know why I am here and why I have BEEN here today...after 10, long and fairly difficult hours, dealing with a variety of "events" in others lives, I have been here to bear witness to someone's story...to be present in another person's life...to accept them, to care for them briefly, and to let them go. Believing that I have somehow made a difference and taken notice of a tiny "flower" covered in fertilizer...


And so it goes...I promise when I am less tired tomorrow, I will return to my ever-sarcastic and violently humorous self...really...seriously...LOL

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Just What We Need...MORE Testosterone!..

Has anyone ELSE been following the latest publicity of "research" (I put this in quotes because using the word research in reference to this issue is really stretching it!) regarding testosterone and Multiple Sclerosis??? I absolutely find this flooding of the media about the issue both fascinating and peculiarly intriguing...kind of like being unable to take my eyes off a bad car accident on the freeway...I slow down, I gawk, I am intrigued, and then I feel GUILTY for looking in the first place! LOL

If you haven't heard or read about the latest "research" regarding the hormone and it's alleged benefits for MEN with MS, let me fill you in. Here's a snippet of a news release:


Study finds testosterone helps MS patients
Reuters
May 14, 2007
By Will Dunham
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A testosterone gel slowed brain deterioration and boosted thinking ability in men with
multiple sclerosis, according to a small study showing a possible new way to treat the incurable disease.
Writing on Monday in Archives of Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles researchers said the study was based on the fact that men develop MS less frequently than women and the idea that the male sex hormone testosterone may be protective.
MS is thought to be an autoimmune disease -- in which the immune system attacks rather than protects the body -- that affects the central nervous system. The men in the study had a common form of MS in which periods of symptoms alternate with periods of remission.
The men applied a testosterone gel to their shoulders daily for a year. Tests of cognitive function -- the ability to think, learn and judge -- improved, and brain atrophy diminished to the level of normal aging, the study found.
The treated men also had increased muscle mass.
But the study involved only 10 men, and bigger studies are needed, the researchers cautioned. The average age of the men was 46.
"The reason it's important is there are no neuroprotective drugs for MS, and so this would be a candidate," said Dr. Rhonda Voskuhl, a professor of neurology at UCLA and senior author of the study, in a telephone interview.
There is no cure for MS, which affects more than 1 million people worldwide, including an estimated 300,000 people in the United States. It is twice as common in women than men. Symptoms often first appear between the ages 20 and 40.
Multiple sclerosis can be a mild illness in some people while causing permanent disability in others. Symptoms may include numbness or weakness in one or more limbs, partial or complete loss of vision, tingling or pain, electric-shock sensations with certain head movements, tremors and an unsteady gait.


I'm sorry, but does anyone else notice that the EXPLANATION of MS takes up more of this article than the actual STUDY? Could it be because only TEN subjects were used in this highly informative and scientific research?!? Could it also be a result of a "backlash" of sorts in response to scientists discovering PROGESTERONE in pregnant MICE seemed to slow MS? I can't help but wonder if this is not simply a battle of the sexes here. LOL


Frankly, I think we've got enough TESTOSTERONE in our world today...MS or no MS...I promise to eat my own shorts if this "research" proves to be anything more than a shot-in-the-dark speculation and an attempt to sell TESTOSTERONE cream!


But I'm a female, so maybe I AM a bit biased here...LOL...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Overwhelmed With Gratitude...

Just a quick note to say, "thank you", to some of the greatest people I know...YOU! I just checked Saint EB's donation site and I was completely overwhelmed that she has already raised $550.00...it brought me to tears.

Sometimes the kindness in the world overwhelms me almost as much as the sadness I see. I see heartbreak, disease, and hopelessness every day in my work...I've grown some pretty tough skin as a way to deal with this and shield myself protectively.


But I've never managed to grow any kind of "skin" to either shield or deflect the wonders and blessings of the world...thank goodness. I simply become overwhelmed with gratitude instead.


What a blessing it is to have YOU in my life...even if it is simply cyberspace that brings us together. And, although not a "blessing" to be living with Multiple Sclerosis, this disease has brought me countless gifts I never would have experienced without it. This disease, as uncertain and heartbreaking as it can be, has brought me great strength and a deeper connection to the human Spirit...it has brought YOU and I together.


MS has given me the gift of YOU...and that, my friends, is a blessing I count...

You'd Think I Was Smokin' Crack...

Wow, but I DO love this Novantrone 3 week post infusion BURST! I can't seem to stop myself from getting things done and I am ADDICTED to feeling better! (Remind me of how great I feel right now in say, 4 weeks, when the "high" of life without Multiple Sclerosis wears off...at least it did with the first infusion.)

I got up somewhat early (for me) this morning and began sorting through my lists...there are just soooo many things I need to get done, so I keep lists to organize the items (OCD? Me?!?). And I have to take full advantage of my time when I am feeling better to try and tackle some of the bigger projects...as those of you with MS know, tomorrow can be a whole different ball game of uncertainty and feeling like S#!+...


I started out by running errands...oh, and gabbing on the phone for an hour. First to Saint EB (she's contracted a respiratory infection from the mere THOUGHT of biking 150 miles!), then my long-time friend and cohort in crime who lives in North Dakota. After making some necessary check in calls, I headed out the door with the "list".


The home improvement store, a locksmith (don't ask), the bank, the pharmacy, and FINALLY back home. The sun came out just as I had requested, so it was time to work in the abyss I call the YARD.


My neighbors are selling their house and offered to give me several stones from their walkway (30, to be exact) if I wanted them. Anything "free is fine by me", so I began hauling all THIRTY of these somewhat heavy stones from their yard, up the hill, to mine. (Note To Self: Need to work on that upper body strength a bit.) My arms were somewhat noodle-y by the end of the load and sweat and dirt had accumulated in my eyes and hair.


Not wanting to ruin a good "look" (the hair caked to my face) by quitting and cleaning up, I next installed a new latch on my fence...I'm rather handy with power tools, so this really wasn't a big deal. Except it was in the sun, which caused more perspiration, which resulted in a steady trickle of sweaty dirt running into my eyes! LOL


After the gate, I repaired a lattice fence...it would have been easier to just purchase a new piece of lattice, but no...I had to "repair" it. Not an easy task even WITH power tools.


Then it was time to weed a garden box and dig up an area to put a ground cover in...I broke the handle on my hand shovel doing this! Guess we could use a little of the rain that is forecast for the weekend since the ground is so hard! I planted the ground cover and weeded another rose to toss some mulch around it. But I didn't stop there...


No...I simply moved my "projects" indoors at this point. I cleaned my bathroom (after showering the now mud off my face!) from ceiling to floor AND have done a couple loads of laundry. I did the laundry while I steamed some fresh asparagus and grilled myself a steak! I'm not joking...look out Martha Stewart!


Had I KNOWN I could have this much energy on Novantrone, I would have BEGGED for the drug two year's ago! What was I thinking?!? Oh, yeah...I was thinking a toxic chemotherapy agent could KILL ME, THAT'S WHAT I WAS THINKING!!!!!


Whatever...I feel pretty darned good and I won't apologize. Because in just a few, short weeks, y'all might be begging me to STOP WHINING. Or, perhaps you might be encouraging me TO smoke some crack...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

My Cat Took A Crap, And I Crapped Out...

It's been a red-letter day...Meha, the cat, otherwise known as "Devil Kitty", finally did the "2". Thank God...I was beginning to tally the vet bills in my mind pre "Do whatever you need to do to save her" conversation with her feline friend, the veterinarian! But alas, she finally let 'er rip on her own. LOL I don't tell her I'd give my left kidney to her if she needed it (now THAT would be a transplant miracle, eh?!?) for fear she will get on the Internet when I am not home and SELL my kidneys.

Aside from my cat scraping the box today, I nearly ended up IN a box today, AKA coffin! As most of you know from previous posts, I have been trying to incorporate a bit more "health" into my living. This has included shutting down the Alaskan Pipeline of caffeine I was pumping into my system, eating better meals, AND trying to exercise more. On top of those looming self "projects", I have also appointed myself chief coach and inspirational motivator for Saint EB's BIKACIDE in September...this means, encouraging her to train for her near-death-experience ride!


Saint EB and I had planned a walk in the park today...a 2.4 mile walk on flat terrain, to be exact. My last stroll through the "hood" took me an even 2 miles, so I made a plan to bump that up a notch and take the loop around one of my favorite parks with one of my favorite peeps. That is, until Saint EB called to say (in croaking voice) she had contracted an upper respiratory infection while on vacation earlier this week and did NOT feel she could make the walk...she chose BREATHING over walking with ME! Go figure...


But have no fear...another one of my "peeps", who I refer to as my "neighbor", jumped at the chance to fill in for Saint EB. It was another beautiful afternoon in Seattle, so instead of driving to the park in the late afternoon traffic, we opted to stroll the "hood" once again.


Neighbor and I USED to take relatively LONG walks together last year...before MS decided to rear it's ugly head again. We USED to walk anywhere from 2 - 5 miles at a time...note the operative word here is "USED" to. Back when I was feeling a bit more spry and spunky, we USED to wind our way through a few woodland parks and trails along Lake Washington and climb some fairly steep embankments in the name of a "good workout".


So Neighbor says to me we will just "take it slow" and maybe walk down to the lake or something. It is exactly 1/2 mile from my home to Lake Washington and going DOWN to the lake is quite easy...it's coming BACK from the lake that is a killer. But I decided to be a sport and try it anyway.


By the time we got down to the lake, I still had feeling in my legs and actually felt pretty good. So Neighbor says to me again that maybe we could just walk down to one of the parks and cut back through on the trails UP in the general direction of "home"...my completely spirited and unrealistic side agreed.


So, we took off down the shore of Lake Washington and headed through the park...I had forgotten this particular park has death cliffs in it! My legs were also forgetting they were attached to my hips at this point. But still, I climbed.


I climbed and I walked and I huffed and I puffed until the blood that used to supply my brain simply drained into my legs to try to keep me moving...all reasoning was gone and survival kicked in. I HAD to make it through the trails to get home where I could collapse on my couch!


After a long and extremely painful 3 miles, we finally returned to home in the "hood"...I was never so happy to see my deck in all my life! My legs had become rubber and my brain congealed like Jello...I gasped for air as I tried to point my shaky finger at Neighbor and bark out, "You just tried to kill me, didn't you!?!" All that could be heard was the deep wheezing in my lungs and the occasional drip of sweat leaping from my forehead as I threw myself down on my deck.


Now, after a few hours of rest and a "present" found in the cat box, I'm a bit less hostile about the walk and feeling a tad bit smug...I just made it THREE MILES through hills and valleys and trails through cliffs!!! Six months ago I could not have walked a block let alone ambulate on hills! Woohoo! I'm back...and it's a relief to feel some strength again (privately I do the "victory" dance and say, "F YOU, Multiple Sclerosis!").


Now, pardon me while I screw my legs back on and try to drag myself to bed...I hope my legs eventually thank me for my stupidity today! They are definitely "crapped out", but in a totally wonderful way...

Not Much To Tell...

Well, the news here at Lake Wobegon is pretty slim (that's a reference for all of you NPR fans...the radio station?...Garrison Keillor?...ah, forget it!).

I think my Devil Kitty, Meha, might be constipated...that's the news flash of the day. LOL She hasn't done "number 2" for about 24 hours, which is highly unusual...she's not acting any differently, however. Still attacking my feet and trying to make her break out via the screens.


You may be wondering how I KNOW D.K. has not "relieved" herself for 24 hours? Well, that's simple...she's an indoor only cat (litter box) and when she DOES hit the pan with the "2", it's like living next to Union Carbide (refinery)...practically melts the paint right off the walls!


Other than my cat not crapping, life here continues on status quo...I am off work until Friday, when I return to do another "fiver" in a row (remember: my fives are between 9 - 10 hour days!)...then, I'm off on my 6 day furlough (WooHoo!). I have plans with a coworker to make a "drug" run to Canada next week...that should be exciting...LOL


As most "Staters" know, Canada not only has CHEAPER prices on most pharmaceuticals, but many things that can't be purchased over the counter (OTC) here in the USA CAN be found OTC in the great Land O' Canada...it's just not exactly "legal" to import said pharmaceuticals. Whatever...I'm actually going along to ride shot gun and smuggle some Canadian/Cuban cigars across the thin line between the countries! LOL


I have a couple of good buddies (Rojoo, being one of them) who enjoy a good cigar every now and again...I'm "crossing over" in hopes of finding a few good Cubans to bring back for these buddies...it's the least I can do for my dear friends, who have given soooo much to me this past year of MS Relapse Hysteria. And the "least I can do" is most likely TIME in a Federal prison! Yes, I WILL do time for my friends if I have to! LOL


I mean, it's NOT like I'm a terrorist...and Fidel Castro may already be dead. Does anybody REALLY know his health status these days?!? That embargo we've got going on (for the past 40 years, is it now?) with Cuba could be lifted VERY soon and we could ALL be smoking a Cuban with no threat of prison time...but what fun is there in THAT?!? Once Cuban cigars are legal again, they'll lose their luster...


Now, I know there may still be someone out there from Canada reading this post...there used to be someone who WORKED for the Canadian "govmet" who regularly read "CHEESE" on AOL...AND, she worked in Customs! Am I setting myself up for body cavity searches and prison time with Martha Stewart by writing this?!? I think not...


"I think not", because the Canadian peeps are some of the greatest people in the world...I know this because a few of my friends are Canadian and I feel I can speak on behalf of the ENTIRE country! LOL It is only the AMERICAN side of the border that has it's panties in a wad over such "atrocities" as bringing an embargoed cigar across the wire.


Living less than 3 hours from the Canadian/American border brings many of these issues of commerce and craziness close to home...it also brings me a greater appreciation for Canadians. It also brings this blog full circle back to the original picture...since Lake Wobegon is near the Canadian border, too...in Minnesota...in MY mind...tangential? I think not...LOL...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

You Asked For It...Here It Is (ADINA!)...

OK...I may have stretched the truth a tiny bit to protect the innocent! That would be to protect Saint EB's virtue. LOL


In the previous post regarding her "BIKACIDE" ride in the MS150 local charity ride in September (the one where she's riding FOR me?!?), I referred to her as a "middle-aged" woman...this stirred some controversy regarding my definition of "middle-aged". Some even pointed out the fact I, me, myself, am middle-aged. LOL


So just to be on the safe side, let me rephrase this issue regarding Saint EB's age...she is a "bit" older than me...certainly old enough to know better than to sign herself up for a NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE!!! Yet, she has gone and done it anyway...sigh...


There has also been someone with MS (I won't point any fingers here--ADINA!) who wanted to know how to donate on line to Saint EB's ride. This is a wonderfully kind offer...I must first put a disclaimer out regarding my personal fund-raising drive for Saint EB's ride/BIKACIDE, however.


Those of us WITH MS already are "donors", if you will...by chance circumstance, fate has dealt us this disease, which we will continue to manage for the rest of our lives. Several folks with MS are not as fortunate as I am...to remain employed and basically in good health. Many people with MS are on disability, which HARKOO/JOYCE has pointed out to me in the past is a "no-no" for making charitable contributions...the LAW simply won't allow it (I guess if the "govmet" is giving you money to barely live on, they feel one shouldn't frivolously throw it into someone else's charitable pot). So I would NEVER request or even imply any of you with MS should donate ANYTHING to the MS Society...the very charity organization that is supposed to be GIVING BACK to YOU. But still...ADINA asks...LOL


There are also those of you I work with (you know who YOU are!) who read BRAINCHEESE, do good deeds on a daily basis, and already donate to local and national charities. Unfortunately (and I say with tongue in cheek), you ARE employed and have the pleasure of working with ME! For this, you ARE being asked to "pay the piper"! LOL And ask anyone ELSE you know who could part with a few dollars to pledge/donate to Saint EB's ride/BIKACIDE.


So here's how to pledge/donate:


1. You can go to the local Greater Washington MS Society web page and click on the MS150 ride link. Here's their link: www.nationalmssociety.org/was


2. Once you get to the Great Washington Chapter MS150 web page, look to the left (red area) and you will see a link called "Find A Rider". Click on this and you'll be redirected to a search page.


3. Yes, you will have to type in Saint EB's real name (Elizabeth Baker) and your search will reveal two entries. Click on Saint EB's link with the "Smyelin Babes"...this is the MS150 team she is riding with. You will be directed to her personal donation page. Donations can be made as simply as a credit card here...it's so easy, you'll WANT to tell your friends/family/enemies how to part with a bit of THEIR change, too!


4. OR...you can try simply clicking this link: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR?px=3652696&pg=personal&fr_id=2030 It may or may not redirect you to Saint EB's "home page" for donations...I'm not computer literate enough to figure out how to place the link directly in the page any other way!


And if ALL OF THE ABOVE FAILS, the MS Society isn't picky about accepting CASH or CHECK donations made out to them with the "memo" part filled in as MS150/Elizabeth Baker...it will all go to the same pot of gold anyway.


So now's your chance...Saint EB has only set a goal of raising $500.00. It's her first ride (and most likely her last as well as the end of our glorious friendship! LOL) and she may choose to do the ONE HUNDRED mile stretch versus the full ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY miles...the fact she is even choosing to ride at all (in her middle-aged-ness and everything!) nearly brings me to tears each time I think about it.


How blessed I am...to have such a wonderful person I call "friend"...to have those of you who read my blathering prose, who I also refer to as "friends"...to have Multiple Sclerosis and STILL have a job, a home, a car, and more "things" than I could ever wish for in a lifetime...to have my sight, my mobility, feeling in my hands and feet, a workable bladder, a bowel that functions, and relatively MINOR MS effects in comparison to some with this disease.


I AM truly blessed and hope to KEEP all of the above I have in my life for as long as I can WITH MS...but if you are searching for a reason to donate/pledge money toward Saint EB's ride/BIKACIDE, all you need to do is ask someone WITH MS who DOESN'T have some of the above listed gifts in their life...there is NO CURE for MS, but charitable donations can make a difference in their life/lives.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Trying To Be More "Health-ful"...

It is amazing how GOOD I feel just a couple of weeks post Novantrone...this happened after my first infusion, too. About 10-14 days following the blue dye drug, I have what I am calling my "flight into wellness" period...I get a few weeks of feeling almost as good as I did prior to being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 4 years ago.

So I've decided while I'm having my "flight", I will try to maximize the time (because I can anticipate nothing good lasts forever...like last infusion, I base this prediction) and also support a flight into "healthfulness" as well.


I have not yet craved Mountain Dew...odd, yes I know. LOL So I simply have not had any caffeine to drink even AFTER DownSize Me ended (minus one cup of hot chocolate over the weekend, of course!). I HAVE had a malt and a bit of chocolate syrup on some ice cream since Friday...sue me.


But what I HAVE been trying to do is eat a more rounded diet (you mean chips and vending machine food ISN'T considered "rounded"?!?). I have been eating more salads, either buying them or FIXING them (yes, PEEJ...I DID fix myself a salad tonight in my OWN kitchen, thank you very much) and trying to eat more vegetables in general.


I also started walking again last week...well, actually I never gave up WALKING, but I'm talking about distance walking here. LOL Tonight, I came home from work and immediately made myself go out and stroll the "hood"...I ended up doing 2 miles of strolling (how do I know this?...because I have one of those fancy schmancy satellite pedometers, that's how!), which felt "good" initially. I have to be fairly careful in not over doing distances, lest my spastic calves begin to seize up on me and render my lower legs useless. I'm a bit stiff tonight after my walk, but I think I'll be OK in the morning with a pinch of Zanaflex for good measure. I also did a tiny hand weight work out on my floor while watching some silly sitcom...talk about a "flight" into wellness!


It seems somehow a remote memory that just 4 years ago I could walk the Seattle half marathon (13.1 miles) in under 4 hours...I wonder sometimes if I will EVER be able to do such a thing again. But with Saint EB planning to "bikacide" in my name in September, I feel I should also TRY to maximize my own physical fitness...to whatever level that might be now.


I don't have to work tomorrow, so I plan to take advantage of the non-alarm morning and try to catch up on my beauty rest also...I have years of sleep to bank before THAT will ever be fulfilled, but still I try...LOL Much like my efforts at physical "fitness", beauty rest may just be a pipe dream.


And now I'm off to dream land...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Look Out Mother Teresa!..

I know Mother Teresa is on the fast track to Sainthood...I guess that happens in the Catholic Church when someone who does good works their entire life finally dies. But in the "Church Of BRAINCHEESE", I'd have to say my friend, EB, has already reached such lofty heights (and I already call her "Saint EB" here, so this should come as no surprise).

My dear pal is currently on a brief vacation in the woods of Montana (probably eating deer and skunk as I type)...but before she left on her train ride, she announced to me her plan to ride in the local MS 150 in my honor. I was dumbfounded.

The MS 150 is just that...a one hundred and fifty mile bike ride over the course of two days. That's about 149 miles MORE than I could ever ride in my lifetime (or at least right now in this MS life!). She had talked about doing this ride, which I thought was absolutely preposterous...150 miles? I don't think I'd last 150 miles riding in a CAR these days, let alone with my fat arse seated on a bicycle and PEDALING! But she continued to voice a desire to "give it a try".


Saint EB is a few years my senior...a middle aged woman...hardly self-described as "athletic", but a very determined soul once she makes her mind up about something. Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named has a team that rides every year, so I emailed her with the idea Saint EB might want to ride with them...she replied, "This is exciting!" I only hope Saint EB continues to muster up the same "excitement" for this grueling task.


So, since Saint EB plans to try to kill herself in my "honor", I have decided the VERY LEAST I can do is become her "fund-raiser"...her very own poster child for MS. This shouldn't be hard because I already HAVE MS...squeezing pennies out of my social service working friends might be a bit more challenging, however.

I may have to come up with some kind of local prizes...I have found my Pavlovian friends salivate over the chance to "earn" food, particularly sweets. I'm thinking of some kind of silent auction at work to entice donations out of their pockets...either that, or I'm going to have to resort to simple guilt...whatever works! LOL

Now, for those of you "locals" who read BRAINCHEESE (and I KNOW who you are...my computer site stats don't lie!), I'll be posting something probably later this month on how to pledge/donate to this very worthy cause (Saint EB killing herself in my "honor") either online or in person. And don't forget...for those of you I WORK with...I know where you live, where you work, and I'm sure I have some kind of "dirt" on you that you would NOT want publicized here on BRAINCHEESE! (if auctions and guilt don't produce, I'm not above threats! LOL)

The ride is in September...warm up your check books now or spend the next 3 months trying to AVOID me...something I'm sure some of you may already be practicing without my knowledge...LOL...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Ahhhh!..

It started like this:















And ended like this:

The chocolate malt attack is over, but not forgotten! This WAS my supper tonight, I am proud to say (hey, protein, calcium, Vitamin D...what's not to love?!?)

I am now swaying on the brink of a complete sugar/carbohydrate slump...you know the kind. About an hour after indulging, the brain and body begin to shut down and tell you there's nothing else to live for? LOL

I'm going to go rest my weary bones now and contemplate the lint in my my belly button or something important like that...my sleep has been SO BAD having to work these day shifts. I need all the "down time" I can squeeze out of a 24 hour period!

But this too, shall pass...HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all!

Friday, May 11, 2007

It Is Finished...

In the words of one of the greatest prophets of all time, "It is finished!" Although I think my "long-suffering" during DOWNSIZE ME should probably not be compared to a crucifixion...I suppose that's a bit sacrilege.

But it IS finished! I have made it through 28 days without caffeine (except for that one bite of chocolate cake)!!! I thought today might never come...LOL


It has NOT been easy...mostly because old habits are very hard to break. And that's really what caffeine AKA Mountain Dew has been for me...a bad habit. Guzzling the wonderful elixir became a "habit" more than a need...my graphed statistics prove that. Not only did my fatigue level DECREASE significantly, I also began to sleep a few more hours a night. I can't say there was much change in my weight (although I'll take the 3.5 pound weight loss over nothing!) and my blood pressure certainly does not seem to have been effected much at all.


The initial reason I began DOWNSIZE ME was because of recent "migraine" headaches (remember? I barely did!), which I had never experienced before in my life. My neurologist DID start me on prophylactic "migraine" medicine (Verapamil), which I've already stopped taking a full dose of anyway (because I can't be expected to remember to take pills twice a day...short term memory loss!), but I'm not sure that has had anything to do with my absence of "migraines". I STILL think I may have had some kind of weird virus (I think I wrote about my coworker's brother and mother suddenly having migraines as well? They haven't had any more either and THEY didn't even give up caffeine!)...interestingly enough, my 14 year old niece has been having a "migraine" all week as well (in Missouri) and doctors can't figure out why SHE is suddenly having a headache either.


So what does this tell me? Not a whole damn lot really. Except that my belief I NEEDED caffeine to ward off fatigue and "pep" me up on a daily basis seems to be false...I've really done better without it.


Does this mean I'm going to continue to deprive myself of ALL caffeine? Probably a big "nada" on that one, too...LOL. I imagine I'll start taking in caffeine again on a moderate basis or at least stop being soooo hyper vigilant about the issue anyway. And I'll probably start this weekend by TREATING MYSELF TO THAT CHOCOLATE MALT I'VE BEEN THREATENING TO MAKE!!!!


I appreciate "all y'all's" support and down right "hi-larry-us" comments about this issue...let's face it...if it hadn't been for the risk of PUBLIC HUMILIATION, I doubt I could have made it through this without you!


So...since this stretch of day shift (yuck) hours are kicking my butt right now, I think I'll go retire to my couch and watch a bit of bad TV with my under privileged cat...she seems to be suffering from a different kind of "attention deficit" disorder than I am used to seeing in clients!


I'll keep you posted about that malt...LOL...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Not A Minute Left...

I slept horribly (due to alarm failure phobia), showered, fed cat, dressed, took bus to work, attended staff meeting, stayed awake, participated in staff meeting, ate lunch, evaluated a patient, filed legal paperwork, made phone calls, demanded to speak to an administrator of a mental health agency, joked with coworkers, cleaned out filing cabinet, joked some more with coworkers, took bus home, fed cat, changed clothes, walked 1.7 miles (satellite digital pedometer), drove to get a salad, ate supper, watched Grey's Anatomy, talked with friend on phone, played with cat, avoided cat's claws, and now...I'm going to bed to DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN TOMORROW...



Looks like my appointment book is filled for a few days...LOL...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

DOWNSIZE ME Update...

Just a quick post before I head off to bed (without any tranq's tonight since I have to get up at the crack of...you know...for a staff meeting). Tomorrow begins what is otherwise known as "hell week" as I start off the beginning of a five day stretch of DAY SHIFTS with a staff meeting as the kick off. LOL




I had every intention of going to the grocery store today and "pre-purchase" my ice cream, malt, and chocolate syrup for the "end of Downsize Me" bash I plan to have on the weekend...as I said, I HAD every intention. LOL But then the thought occurred to me, if I had these items in my home, I might not make it to the weekend...so I didn't go. I went clothes shopping instead (which is akin to having a root canal for me!).




I spent today...my one day off before working a straight 5-er (and please DO remember...I don't work a NORMAL set of hours. My days are anywhere from 9 - 10 1/2 hours long...yes, I'm whining.), completing chores around the hut, shopping for some much needed garments, repotting plants, and trying to enjoy the anomaly of something called "sun" outside in Seattle. All in all, it was a good day...and my fatigue level is sooooo much improved right now.




As you can tell by the "scientific" graph above, I HAVE been sleeping more and my fatigue level is less. Weight and blood pressure continue to remain constant, but that's OK. Who knows...once I binge on my homemade malt, I may just return to a caffeine-less diet (operative word in that sentence is "may". LOL)




I only hope this stretch of day shifts doesn't KILL me...or worse, that the days suck my will to live...LOL...