Friday, August 31, 2007

Some Things Are Best Left Unsaid...

For about my "mood" of late? Best left unsaid. Talk about the recent stressors of my job? Best left unsaid. Talk about my Multiple Sclerosis and current post steroid withdrawal? Best left unsaid.

So, given those parameters, there's just not a whole heck of a lot left TO say. LOL But some of you have commented and/or sent me emails *concerned* over the lack of my typical verbal diarrhea of late that usually gets posted here. I must confess. I just haven't been feeling all that well mentally and physically to be a wizard with words and find humor in the mundane of my life. I have been trying to decompress from a harsh work week and wean myself off the Prednisone the past few days...both of these actions have been a full time endeavor.

I've also been fairly focused on preparations for the MS150 ride, which is now less than a week away. As the self-appointed "tent mother", I have several errand tasks and food projects to accomplish BEFORE next Thursday...Saint EB and I will be heading to LaConner, WA on the 6th of September and I have a lot to get done before then. Like, for instance, baking about a gazillion dozen cookies, shopping for my new family of 30, and getting together decorations for our tent. I return to work on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, so I have a LOT to do in the remaining 3 days of my furlough.

Which reminds me...anybody have a good Pico de gallo recipe out there? Zee? Anybody? I need to make about a gallon of the stuff.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My Bad...

Thank you all for graciously humoring me with drive-by's here on spite of my delinquency in getting to YOUR blogs to read and leave my deliciously intelligent comments (you know, like "huh"? and "woot"?...genius comes in small words. LOL). I HAVE been reading your posts in the very wee hours of the morning, but have been trying to preserve the minute bit of wicked wax I have left in my candle for other illumination. In other words, I've just been too friggin' tired and steroidally hyped up to comment! But I've still been reading. LOL

Today is my last shift of work before a 5 day furlough...Yes, Virginia. There is a Santa Claus AND a GOD! I've been burning my candle at both ends with very little sleep, roid rage, and fulfilling a most unholy schedule. I am looking forward to having at least one day of drowning in my own drool while eating bon bons and watching Oprah on the BoobTube (I have no idea why I say that? I never watch Oprah or eat bon bons...hey...but there's always a first!). My eyes are so bleary, I am worried I may get sent to the EAP for an alcohol assessment to be done ON ME. Oh, if ONLY I still imbibed in the nectar...sigh...

I'll be spending my 5 days away from work making final preparations for the MS150 Ride on September 8th and's only a week away now! Saint EB, in between managing the move at our office, remains committed to the ride. It's inspiring to be around someone who has that...commitment. And I have "committed" myself (argh joke) to the party preparation team of ONE who will be arranging the "extras" for the 20+ team riders hanging out at our tent and wearing the "SMYELIN BABES" jerseys. As the team mascot, I'll be preparing the "comfort", booze, decorations, cheering, massage, and whatever else is needed. Short of hand-stitching costumes for the riders or breast feeding, I'm becoming the team mascot mom...odd role I suppose for someone who FORGOT to have their own children. LOL

Well, I must go now and prepare for my final hours at work to either sink or swim...or I suppose there's always the option of being burned at the stake as well. LOL

Who Are "We" Today, Sybil?...

I fear that by the time I have finally completed this round of oral Prednisone, I will be jobless, homeless, penniless, friendless, and utterly mad!

Webster defines the word "irritable" as: 1. Easily annoyed. And the word "annoy" is defined as: 1. Make slightly angry. And the word "angry" is defined as: 1. Inflamed.

Hmm...aren't I ON steroids to decrease "inflammation"?!? Now I'm REALLY irritable...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Oops I Crapped My Pants...

I've had one of "those" days...a magnified version of a crappy day enhanced by steroids. Yes, I'm STILL on the oral Prednisone taper and won't be off the roids for a few more days. And for whatever reason, I've been getting horrific abdominal cramps/diarrhea, most likely steroid-induced (Too Much Information?!?)...these "episodes" are NOT pleasant nor conducive to my job.

But being a long time sufferer of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), I've grown accustomed to "urgency" episodes...doesn't make them any easier...just familiar. LOL Today was one of those such episodes. Running around like a puppy looking for the paper! It's just a good thing I can laugh at myself and see the humor in most bodily functions.

It kind of made me want to get some of THESE:

Monday, August 27, 2007

Taking Cover...

It's a full moon tonight and President Bush will be in town later this evening.

I am afraid to leave my bunker and go to work...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Steroid Mania...

So far today, I've done my laundry, washed my dishes, dug a planter area for hostas, taken out the trash, hung a lavender wreath in my bedroom, paid bills, chatted with a new MS friend, made a meatloaf, and watched about 45 minutes of Kathy Griffin's "The D-List"...and it's not even NOON.

It's amazing what one can accomplish when not wasting time with the fundamentals of sleep...LOL

Saturday, August 25, 2007

This Just In...Three Months Ago...

It appears the AMERICAN RED CROSS has reversed its prior decision regarding blood donation with a confirmed diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. I just ran across this article at ABOUT.COM which highlights the May 24, 2007 revision of donor guidelines.

If you're so inclined to want to peruse the ENTIRE donor inclusion/exclusion and criteria list, here's the AMC link for that, too:,1082,0_557_,00.html

So, dammit MS Team! Let's get out there and donate the gift of life...before "they" change their mind again...I'm feeling a bit anemic just from the thought...LOL...

Please Ignore The Man Behind The Curtain...It's Just The Steroids Talking!...

Day #7 of the Prednisone taper...need I say more?!? But, since I can't seem to keep my mouth shut, I guess I WILL say more...LOL

Overall, this recent round of steroids has gone remarkably well. I have managed to keep my clothes on without even once veering naked and running wildly down the street...I consider this fact a success. I did gain an initial 5 pounds of feeding frenzy fat, but even this has managed to dwindle back down to 1 pound. The pain in my calf and foot is so minuscule, I simply CAN'T complain about it anymore without risking "whining"...and the numbness in my upper thigh?...well, still numb. But my leg is operating without a hitch, so I don't care. And the funky "buzzing" sensation I developed in my left shoulder has started to feel more like free massage with a's all a matter of perspective.

What has NOT gone well during the Prednisone taper is my mood...something I seem to lack any control over. As is typical when I am on steroids and tapering, I get the initial "manic" buzz (insomnia, jitters, etc.), which is followed by the most sincerest CRASH of all insight and emotional coping! The fact the sun doesn't shine brightly can become interpreted as a personal affront. Any little perceived slight (and believe me, it really IS a matter of perspective!) becomes an emotional outpouring of soul-searching, possible anger, fear, resentment, name it...I can slide down the emotional gauntlet with great speed. LOL

I used to refer to this time of the steroid crash as "not being fit for public consumption", and it really is true...I shouldn't be interfacing with society right now. But, alas...I must STILL go to work to PAY for my steroids and I DO work in the mental health field. I am damned before I open my beady-little-sleep-deprived-eyes in the morning. I am tearful one minute and laughing hysterically (or plotting the death of a suspect) the next. I consciously KNOW it's the steroids talking and try to let others know this as well, but this insight doesn't change the MOOD SWINGS.

I imagine if I were wearing one of those "mood rings" from the 70's, it probably would be melted to my finger given the intensity of changes!

So...seriously...just ignore the man behind the curtain. It's just a bad dream, Dorothy...LOL...

Friday, August 24, 2007

Phone Calls To God...

I tried to place a call to "God" yesterday in a fit of harried desperation, and this is the message I got:
Guess I need to spend a little time unblocking my line...LOL

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Handle With Care...

It's not often I participate in "extracurricular" work assignments...and when I use the word extracurricular as applied to my job, I mean WORK outside of work.

But today, I am traveling to Tacoma, a city about an hour away from Seattle, while on my day off to participate in a State-wide Task Force regarding the training and implementation of a recent legislative law that directly impacts my job. I volunteered for this assignment...because I so strongly BELIEVE in the legislative intent.

You see, in 2004, a colleague of mine was killed in the line of duty...the very same duty I perform day in and day out on my job. The duty of assisting the mentally ill. The task of "keeping the mental health peace" and making legal decisions about individual dangerousness as it relates to their mental illnesses. The duty of providing, watching over, and advocating for one of the most vulnerable populations of our society. The DUTY of human services.

I did not personally know the colleague and man who was stabbed to death while providing assessment and service in 2004, but we shared the same job title and role in a different part of the state. I attended his funeral service along with many other colleagues from across the was incredibly moving and such a celebration of his life and work. I left that memorial service with a conviction to do what I could in the strongest ways I could to safeguard against the tragedy of such a death again...I left that service KNOWING, but for the grace of God go I.

As in any political arena, there are agendas...some blatant and many hidden. I am about to enter one with an entire state impact, which may be a mix of chaotic agenda and politics. But as I sit here this morning at my computer remembering the man who's death and circumstances caused these political wheels to churn, I am solidly clear of my AGENDA. Life is ANY circumstance...and we MUST nurture IT and handle IT with the fragility of a snowflake while it is still ours to admire and touch.

"Marty. Your LIFE and your WORK will never be forgotten."

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Calm Amid The Steroid Storm...

When chaos abounds in my life, I play in the dirt. Much with the enthusiasm and vigor of a child making mud pies, I immerse my lily white hands in the soil. It brings me such comfort to scoop up the grainy substance in my palms and attempt, with aging eyes, to dissect the minute particles of matter...pausing to wonder perchance where each tiny grain originated.

I feel at peace with the inexplicable attraction between us. If not for water and blood and muscle and nerve fiber, the dirt and I would look very much alike...kindred and sister spirits of sorts. I can sit in the dirt, covered in what some might find offensive grime, and relax...letting all my worries sink deeply through my feet to deposit in the soil. I consider this the most sacred art of let Mother Earth take upon her shoulders those burdens too heavy for me to carry and transform them into beautiful acts of nature.

The dirt listens to me without ever uttering a word. It patiently awaits with chasmic arms, ready to embrace me at any moment of any hour of any day. It doesn't care if I am grumpy or lonely or sad...the soil knows the value of it's companionship.

Today, I have spent some brief time in the dirt. It never seems long enough, but life "above ground" beckons my attention. I envision one day, this body I call home will rest comfortably in the soil...and with enough rain and wind, I will one day travel the entire world.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cubicle Hell...

Week number two of CUBICLE HELL commenced without fanfare on a dreary and rainy Monday morning in the fine Emerald most of you know (and probably don't care), my office moved into a new swanky building last Friday, of which, we are NOT accustomed to!

And, I have had the unfortunate displeasure of working my every-seven-week rotation of daytime hours...I'm really not a morning person. But what's more important is, I'M REALLY NOT A MORNING PERSON ON STEROIDS EITHER!!!!

I am currently on day 3 of my oral Prednisone taper (60mg) for my recent MS "event"...I just can't bring myself to calling this episode a relapse, in spite of the condition. LOL It's sort of like labeling my recent physical activity "exercise" just doesn't rise to that grand occasion. But I am happy the steroids seem to be accomplishing their goal so far...lessening my "event" to a more manageable level of discomfort. The pain in my leg and foot is merely an annoyance and the numbness in my upper thigh is...well...still numb. But my steroidal brain just doesn't seem to care all that much about it!

GoodYear did call today to inquire whether or not I might be willing to place my body on standby status in the event their blimp should fail...I guess they've noticed my eating patterns also while on steroids. LOL I insisted my work partner stop almost every hour today while we were driving just so I could hit the closest convenience store for more food "supplies"'s not easy satiating the grumbling steroid gods in my belly these days.

My sleep continues to be steroidally "challenged" as well...which may account for my sudden and dangerous MOOD SWINGS! Or not...hard to say. I find I can only rest in spurts while roid raging...

And, as you can probably tell by this post, my thoughts are a bit scattered and dare I say, "nonsensical"? So it's probably best I just sign off now...while the "gittin' is good"...and while I may still be clinging to a thread of dignity...LOL...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Steroid Feeding Frenzy...

Artist - Track 01....

Please take a moment to hit the grey/white arrow "play" button on the widget above...the song will take a few seconds to load. Take a sip of your favorite beverage...relax...let the music take you directly into MY world...

Now, pause for a few moments to breathe in the song that is remember it, don't you? The theme from the movie "JAWS"???

Note the photo below:

Yes, I am on steroids...yes, I am currently in a steroid feeding frenzy and eating for two...ah..HUNDRED!!!!! Somebody stop me...LOL...

Friday, August 17, 2007

I Knew That...

Well, it's has just proven my EX really DID give me Multiple Sclerosis!!!

I ran across an interesting article of research done by my lovely Texas friends regarding the effects of STRESS on the immune system and guess what? Who KNEW that stress really DOES play an important role in breaking down our bodies and setting up lovely autoimmune diseases such as MS?!? Well, hell...just ASK anyone with MS and they could have told you that!

But the article IS interesting and fully worth breaking all copyright laws to post it here:

How Chronic Stress Worsens Neurodegenerative Disease Course

Science Daily — The evidence is accumulating on how bad stress is for health. Chronic stress can intensify inflammation and increase a person's risk for developing central nervous system infections, neurodegenerative diseases, like multiple sclerosis (MS), and other inflammatory diseases, say researchers presenting at the 115th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (APA).

These researchers have demonstrated for the first time that stress-related increases in central nervous system
inflammation are behind the adverse effects of stress in an animal model of MS.

Researchers from Texas A & M University used mice to show what role social stress plays in the immune process to influence the course of an MS-like disease. They proposed that stress-induced increases of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are proteins that regulate immune and inflammatory functions, inhibit the clearing of a virus and allow the inflammatory process to run amok. Stress, say the authors, may interact with viral infections to increase vulnerability to diseases such as MS. Meta-analysis of studies investigating the impact of stressful events in patients with MS show an increased risk of worsening symptoms of the disease.

In a series of experiments on mice, the authors showed that increases in a particular cytokine -- interleukin-6 (IL-6), which is released during stress and regulates the part of the immune system that fights infection -- can make socially stressed mice vulnerable to MS-like illnesses.

The researchers used a social disruption model (SDR) to simulate social stress for mice and then infected the mice with Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis (TMEV). Infection with TMEV results in an acute infection of the central nervous system followed by a chronic autoimmune disease similar to that seen in humans with MS. Their laboratory has previously shown that exposure to social stress prior to infection exacerbates both the early viral infection and the later autoimmune demyelinating MS-like phase of the disease.

To create a stressful environment, researchers housed three young male mice together for several weeks. After the mice established a stable social hierarchy, researchers introduced an older aggressive male into the residence for a couple of hours. The intruder exhibits aggressive behavior -- posturing, fighting, wounding, pursuit -- that results in submissive behaviors and social defeat in the younger resident mice. This procedure was repeated for three consecutive nightly two-hour sessions with one night off, followed by an additional three nightly sessions. To keep the mice from getting used to the intruder, a new intruder was introduced for each session.

What they found was this stress appears to elevate levels of IL-6, which subsequently increases the severity of the MS-like illness. Furthermore, using specific IL-6 neutralizing antibody treatments during the stress exposure can prevent the stress-related worsening of the disease, said the authors.

In one experiment, they showed that mice exposed to social disruption had elevated central and peripheral levels of IL-6. However, infusing the neutralizing antibody into the brain prevented this stress-induced increase in IL-6. This demonstrated that the antibody could effectively reverse the stress-related increases in IL-6 in brain and in circulating blood.

Results from a second experiment showed that administering the IL-6 neutralizing antibody during the stress exposure prevented worsening of the TMEV infection. By blocking the stress-induced elevation of IL-6, TMEV infection was weakened, which lessened some of the disease symptoms, such as motor impairment, inflammation in the brain and spinal cord, and the viral level in the central nervous system.

Based on these findings, Dr. Mary Meagher, the lead researcher, proposes that the adverse effects of stress-induced IL-6 on TMEV infection are enough to create a pro-inflammatory environment that interferes with the immune response to infection. Because the early immune response shapes the later specific immune response to infection, impairment of the early response could account for the increased viral level, prolonged viral infection, increased CNS inflammation, and the subsequent exacerbation of the chronic autoimmune disease.

There is a growing body of evidence in both animal and human studies that suggests that exposure to stress can increase and sustain the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines following an assault on the immune system. Thus, the present findings might help scientists unravel which biobehavioral mechanisms offset the adverse health effects of chronic social stress in humans.

"Similar to mice exposed to repeated social defeat by an aggressive intruder, people exposed to chronic social conflict experience high levels of stress and consequent dysregulation of the immune system, thereby increasing vulnerability to infectious and autoimmune disease," said Meagher. "The cytokine response during chronic stress appears to play a key role in exacerbating the acute CNS infection and the development of subsequent autoimmune responses."

Furthermore, interventions that prevented or reversed the stress-induced increases in IL-6 in the mouse model may have implications for humans, said Meagher. It is possible that the adverse effects of social conflict on people who are vulnerable to certain inflammatory diseases may be prevented or reversed by treatments aimed at blocking increases in this cytokine. Recent evidence suggests that some potential interventions include certain anti-inflammatory drugs, exercise, antidepressant medication, omega-3 fatty acids, and mindfulness relaxation training. However, human clinical trials are needed to fully evaluate this issue.

Presentation: "Severe or Traumatic Stress and Inflammation in Multiple Sclerosis," Mary W. Meagher, PhD, Texas A&M University, Session 1157 -- Symposium: Traumatic Stress, Cardiovascular Disease, Metabolic Syndrome, and Neurodegenerative Disease, August 17, 2007

Now, I'm certainly NOT saying my EX was an "older aggressive rat", but...well...maybe I should just stop with the analogy while I'm ahead!!!

At any rate, it's nice to see science finally catching up with what we MSers already innately know. I don't suggest we should all run out and quit our jobs, get divorces out of stressful relationships, or sell our children to the circus, but it might pay off to really take a close look at what is stressful in our lives and try to eliminate that *stress* as much as possible.

And if you have fate chance of running into an "older aggressive rat", I'd say run the other way fast! Unless, of course, running causes you MORE stress...LOL

On The Roids Again...Just Can't Wait To Get On The Roids Again...

I've got that darned Willie Nelson song, "On The Road Again", stuck in my head like a bad earworm...except "road" has been replaced with "roids"! But I am happy to report, all seems to be going well on my "ROID TRIP" this time around.
I am scheduled for my last dose of IV Solumedrol in about an hour...I suppose I should at least pretend to act like a decent human being and jump in the shower, comb my hair, put on some deodorant, and ACT like a normal person before confronting my infusion nurse! But I AM just slightly expansive in my thinking (one might even use the term *grandiose*, but "one" best not say that in my face! LOL), so I consider my bedhead hair and slight underarm *condition* to be just fine. Fortunately, I have not lost all common sense and WILL bathe before I go!

I'll write more when I return...because right now EVERYTHING I write seems absolutely "hi Larry us" to me! Of course, all y'all might be hoping my computer flashes the blue screen of death before I return today and can be spared the "expansive thinking" of a steroidally-plagued mind...ah...that would be ME!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Number *One* & Number *Two*...

Day One, post Solumedrol infusion...I drugged myself with the skill of an addict yesterday evening and actually managed to SLEEP a few hours! This, by all medical and psychiatric standards is a VERY GOOD THING. LOL I remain clothed and no more stark-raving mad than prior to the infusion...let's all hope Day Two (today) goes as smoothly, shall we (and all of you just waiting to read about my capture naked on the Space Needle...HA!)?

But the title of this post really has nothing to do with infusion days...I know, I know...then what the heck am I talking about?!? Well, basically and *Seinfeldishly* nothing as usual! There's just something on my mind about my new office building that I feel I MUST share with all y'all...and, seeing as I so often take great "glee" in the discussion of bodily fluids, this post will not disappoint you! ( certainly might disappoint YOU, but not ME. LOL)

I may have mentioned to you my new county office building has been engineered and constructed to meet the high standards and title of a "green building"'s supposed to be environmentally sensitive...low impact/less toxic to the world...well-planned to preserve the peace and dignity of the fragile ecosystem. Oddly, however...IT IS STILL A LOOMING SKYSCRAPER IN DOWNTOWN SEATTLE! But I digress...I suppose we all need SOMEWHERE indoors to work and a tent without electricity or running water just won't do. LOL

So...our move down into the real world of mental health...we were prior isolated in our own space, on a vacant floor, of another office building, far, far away from the politics of those PAID to be political in our division. We worked out of what was commonly known as the "Bat Cave". Since we are a 24/7/365 service to the community, there is always some in our office...we often eat there, occasionally sleep there, and refer to our space as *Home Away From Home*.

Just like in ANY grouping community of people, there are those of us who are (how shall I say this without sound smug and superior? Whatever...LOL) *neater* and more organized than others...there are those of us who eat with the manners of Emily Post and those who, well...are a bit "piggish". Consequently, over the years in our old office space, it became somewhat trashed...for which we were ALL proud...neat freaks included. It was one to post new rules, monitor our business, or overhear our peculiar dialogues!

In our new space, EVERYTHING is monitored and it feels much like being a rat running a maze of an experiment. And, there are the "others" in the division on the floor who we must content with. They are a different political breed with different agendas...AND, they appear to be *neat* and tidy. I'm not sure we are going to fit in well with this crowd. LOL

My first trip into the politically correct, highly sanitized, *green* bathroom was a bit of an adventure. Perfectly manicured and sterile walls greeted me with high tech hand washing and toilets. I was nearly blinded by the shine of it all. I stepped into one of the stalls (peering around for a possible camera surveillance!) and sat down to do my "business"...NUMBER ONE. I generally ONLY do NUMBER ONE in a public toilet as I have a bizarre phobia about NUMBER TWO in a public place (an entirely DIFFERENT post).

I finished my business of NUMBER ONE and got up to properly flush my business down the sterile pipes of the *green building* sewage system, only to discover there was no handle to flush...there were two, unlabeled, half-dollar sized buttons on the wall behind the toilet. The first button had a slash in its middle, the second just a solid piece of metal. I pondered this choice for some time.

What if I pushed the wrong button and the Sewage Police came running in to arrest me? What did I NEED two buttons for? The choices were overwhelming. But, being the risk taker I am (hehe), I cautiously chose the first button with the slash, hoping a french bidet didn't shoot a steady stream of water in my face!

Much to my delight, a suction that could have swallowed a small child occurred and sent my NUMBER ONE product disappearing into the "green" sewage system. It was a great relief (in more ways than one...well, just NUMBER ONE, but whatever).

But then, that investigative nature overtook my brain, and I decided I MUST find out what the second button was, after all, my right to know. So, I gingerly pushed the second button. Again, a powerful suction blasted the bowl, but this time with MORE water!

"Ah, ha!", I exclaimed out loud. This button was a NUMBER TWO button! More power, more water HAD to equal a system for more...ah..."refuse". I grew oddly excited...briefly. But then the disappointment began to overtake me as I realized I would never get to USE the second button as I so rarely (unless dire emergency) DO NUMBER TWO in a public place! Sigh...

But of course, I could not just stop my thinking at this junction. I became indignant. Even if I DID do NUMBER TWO, why was I being forced to decide if my deposit REQUIRED a second button? Did the designers just automatically ASSUME I might be full of crap? And if I DID a NUMBER TWO and pushed the first button, would I be held financially accountable for any sewer line repair that might take place should my "load" cause a malfunction in the delicate system? WERE there cameras in the bathroom for this very purpose? expose the low flusher/high volume producer culprits??? Who WERE these people???

I left the bathroom in disgust...yet another political dilemma to complicate my work place. I'm really hoping the Division will come to their senses once they realize exactly what KIND of neighbors and employees they have moved in to their high tech building (that would be us slovenly folks down the hallway. LOL) and decide to move us out...maybe a tent with electicity and running water AND a portapotty would be better...LOL...

Just Some Stuff From The Bowels Of My Brain...

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bartender! A Round Of Solumedrol For Everyone!..

Steroid drinks are on me!

In just a few hours, I'll be filled to the brim with IV Solumedrol in an effort to get this recent Multiple Sclerosis relapse completely snockered...this is what it's come down to.

I'm just hoping during my "steroid intoxication", I don't become a sloppy drunk, so to speak. I have a bit of *history* with steroids looping me out like a stumbling drunk in the past. You know the kind...stark-raving mad and skipping wildly down the lane! LOL Fortunately, I have an *in* with the county specialists who make those legal decisions whether someone needs to be (how shall I say this?) "put away" for a bit when stark-raving mad.

I've got my usual assortment of folks on stand-by, medications available to tranquilize a medium-sized "Dumbo", and three days off from work to entertain myself while I get juiced up at the steroid bar. Ultimately, my biggest concern is not what the steroids might do to me, but what they might NOT do, i.e., relieve this pain and numbness in my leg...I'm hoping for the best and that the Novantrone already on board will make fast friends with the Solumedrol and quickly eliminate my current condition.

I must go shower now and prepare myself for my infusion (by flexing my anticubital area of my arm repeatedly in the mirror to strengthen its ability to hold an IV catheter/Heparin lock for the next three days! LOL)...there's nothing worse than a smelly steroid drunk. Well, actually steroid BREATH can be worse, but hopefully no one will be near enough to me in the next three days to smell neither my breath nor my armpits!...

I'll keep you posted...unless, of course, psychotic. Then you'll simply hear about my adventures on steroids several days later after release from my padded room...LOL...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Chaos And Pain. A Lethal Combination...

My work office has moved down the street to a fancy, new building. A new place, new parking, new procedures, new protocols. *NEW* currently = CHAOS. Our section of the floor we are now housed on is filled with a sea of orange moving crates...some unpacked, some have "mystery" contents...some appear to be ticking, which is most disturbing! LOL

Saint EB, the mastermind behind our move and backbone of the office has somehow kept her poise and dignity throughout this entire event. I observed her today managing, organizing, struggling with stupid questions being asked of her...she is DEFINITELY a role model.

I, on the other hand, am NOT role model material. LOL Generally I *fear* change (quote from 'Wayne's World, the movie)...any change...all change. I like my world to remain status quo. But on rare occasions, I CAN be flexible and adaptable, too. This particular move/event has not been one I am flexing with, however...I have become snarky and sullen (most attractive!) as well as irritable. I am not dealing well with this change.

It is very hard to be upbeat and positive when in pain. There...I said it. Yes, I AM blaming my recent mood on the pain I am experiencing in my left leg and foot! I AM blaming THAT'S a surprise. But I really DO think I'd be dealing with the chaos around me in more productive ways if I weren't experiencing CONSTANT pain right now. Oh, and also if the act of simply WALKING weren't such a me crazy, but life is much easier to navigate with TWO feet/legs that work.

My last email exchange with Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named occurred late Sunday night...she's ordering steroids...she's most likely weary from my complaints. LOL Heck, even I am weary from my own complaints! It's such a toss up right now as BOTH relapse and steroids are an inconvenience to me (I am never pleased it seems).

This recent bout of mobility problems is wearing me down as I try to continue to remain productive at work (did I mention IN PAIN?!?), but a round of IV steroids "could" render me incapacitated as well (or naked and running down the street!). I've never tried to "work through" three days of roids on board before, but I feel like I MUST continue to try to be at work if at all possible because our recent move has been so taxing on our infrastructure. My thumb has been worn down from flipping a coin and trying to decide what would be "best" to do...what I NEED to do at this point.

I am hoping to hear back from Dr. SWWNBN tomorrow as she returns to her office in the flesh...I need a clearer itinerary of her plans for me. I also really need some sign this combination of chaos and pain will be relenting soon...short of cutting off my left leg or just calling in dead/quitting my job, I'm not sure what other options I have besides steroids and time? Well, there IS that lottery ticket option, too...LOL

Off to bed now to try and dream of my "happy place"...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Just A Quickie (*snicker, snicker*)...

Oh, get your mind out of the gutter...not THAT kind of "quickie". LOL

I am frantically trying to get myself ready for work this afternoon while trying very hard NOT to step down on my left foot...still has that burning pins and needles sensation in it with pressure. It DOES make walking an "interesting" event!

But before I hobble out the door, I thought I'd share with you some flowers from my yard...we could ALL use a bit of brightness to our Mondays, eh? (I will write more after work or tomorrow...I promise!)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Weekend Update...


That's right...thanks to several CHEESE readers, an assortment of friends, and a whole bunch of other donors I don't know, the MS150 Team Saint EB will be pedaling with has reached their fundraising goal. And Saint EB has raised over $1,500.00 of that wad of cash herself...she's the second highest fundraiser on the team so far.

As the weekend draws near for the BIKACIDE, final preparations must be put in motion. I have dubbed Saint EB's final workout music on CD...this is MOST important! LOL Songs such as, "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister and "We Will Rock You" by Queen have been added to the selection. It's vital to have appropriate "theme" music at this stage in the preparations...I can't expect her to ride a bazillion miles on her bike without proper THEME MUSIC, can I?!? Unfortunately, many of these songs are from my...ah..."era" of living and I'm not sure my classical-listening-friend will recognize ANY of the selections. LOL Whatever...

On a more personal note (because this blog IS all about me!), I have decided my recent "leg situation" may possibly be signs of a relapse versus just "overdoing it", as Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named suggested. The numbness in my left upper thigh accompanied by a burning sensation in my lower calf and fiery pins poking me in the sole of my foot when I walk has remained unchanged...except that I am growing *used* to it, unfortunately. It's really hard for me to reply when people ask me if my leg is any better..."No, but I'm growing used to it", IS my typical response. Oddly, I think people mistake that as's not. The physical discomfort remains the same, but my MIND has just accepted this is the way it is...again. And, like most functional human beings, I adapt.

I have spent most of the weekend back on bed rest, watching bad TV and baseball games...only because there is NOTHING else on the BoobTube! I have lost email contact with Dr. SWWNBN, which is probably a good thing. Because we verbally spar repeatedly in email back and forth, the Club Med email system frequently marks my emails as "spam" and blocks them from her's just as well. I've got nothing new or improved to report, which might only result in her feeling a need to be "more proactive", AKA, DO SOMETHING, like insist on IV steroids or some other notion we could REALLY fight over!

It bothers me greatly that my "leg situation" is feeling more like a relapse...I've had such a wonderful run on the Novantrone and was beginning to feel invincible again. Isn't it just like MS to knock the wind out of me with a friendly reminder IT/the disease is in charge?!? Hopefully the Novantrone is working to keep whatever is occurring at a lessened affect...that can be a hopeful thing, too. I am chomping at the bit to get back out there and enjoy the remainder of my summer! Thus, the cowering and submission into following the "rest" orders of Dr. SWWNBN...there's a small chance she COULD be right and this, too, shall pass quickly (for once in my life, I really, really want the crazy doc to be right! LOL).

Awright...back to baseball on the Tube. At least the Mariners ARE kicking the Chicago White Sox butts so far in the series. Sorry, Suzy in Chicago's TRUE!!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I Guess You Had To Be There...


Saint EB has been working her butt off...literally. She has not only been preparing for her BIKACIDE ride (which, by the way, is now only a few weeks away!) in September for the MS Society, but she has also been the RING LEADER at my place of employment in steer-heading our chaotic move to the new building. In her own words, she's become a bit "manic" with everything going on in her life.

All of these near traumatic events did not stop her, however, from coming to my rescue yesterday evening and insisting on taking me out for a chocolate malt because (as we ALL know), "A chocolate malt can cure anything!"

Our trip to get a malt started out innocent enough...I had developed cabin fever after only two days of "bedrest" as ordered by Dr. SWWNBN (because I wouldn't/won't agree to much of anything else the good doctor has to offer me)...Saint EB had developed a full blown case of "mania" from lack of sleep and very long hours she has been working to try to make the office move run smoothly. Needless to say, we both had the "giggles" know the kind...where nothing is really funny, but everything makes you laugh and it is infectious.

Soooo...we had our malts (or I should say I had a malt...Saint EB had a rootbeer float) and she announced to me there was a brief errand that needed to be run. It was a trip to the local hardware store for "zip ties" seems the moving company that brought the ten thousand JI-NORMOUS crates to our office had neglected to leave enough zip ties to close the darned things. Saint EB was on a mission to retrieve the zip ties before morning so she could complete the loading of the one million crates (oh yes...the size and numbers of the huge, orange bins grew substantially over the course of a few days...but I DO exaggerate, too. LOL).

We headed down the street at dusk toward the local hardware store, laughing and continuing to carry on like deranged fools, and stopped at a red light. Just above the street was a giant billboard that caught our attention. It was one of the local MS Society's ads about Multiple Sclerosis in the Northwest.

Now, in case you've been living under a rock and not heard the statistics, MS is quite a popular disease out here in the Emerald City and state. Estimates range from about 8,000 to 10,000 individuals diagnosed with the disease, which is a very large density of MS in ratio to the population. This past Spring, the local MS Chapter launched a billboard awareness campaign to let EVERYONE know MS was an issue in our fair city.

The billboards are actually quite tastefully done. Many have pictures of area landmarks (like the World's Fair Space Needle...when you think Seattle, don't you think Space Needle?!?) and they all contain questions regarding the unknown cause of MS. The billboard we were staring at had the Space Needle in a sepia tone with large rain drops on it and the caption read, "Is it in the air?" It is a quite striking billboard really...hats off to the creators (it mentions nothing about a "movement", thank goodness!).

So, we're sitting at this red light, staring up at this billboard, and Saint EB reads the title out loud..."Is it in the air?" she says to no one in particular.

At the very exact moment she finishes her sentence, an obvious albatross flew somewhere over the paling sky (we later decided it HAD to be a large bird...although there ARE no albatrosses near Seattle) and relieved itself. With the sonar exactness that only a bird has, it relieved itself squarely on its mark...directly on the driver's side windshield, and splattered with a most disturbing "thud" sound.

There was another very brief moment of silence as we both digested what had just occurred on the heels of Saint EB's, "Is it in the air?" statement. I think we might have been silently pondering the meaning of this physical "sign".

And then, the gut-wrenching laughter broke out as I stated, "Well, I guess it IS in the air!" Neither one of us could see clearly as we wiped the laughter tears from our eyes and tried to compose ourselves for the trip inside the hardware store!

It is for moments like these, I toast my dear friends...for keeping me crying from laughter versus crying from heartache...for the chocolate malts...for the comradery in chaos...I guess you really HAD to be there...LOL...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The NUMB & DUMBER Report...

Sigh...DAY TWO of left leg numbness has rolled in without much fanfare. I remain home "resting" as ordered by Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named.

I awoke this morning with a bit of a change in my symptoms...on some level this is encouraging...on the sensation/pain level, it is NOT! I've now developed a burning sensation on the outside of my left calf with prickly pins/pain on my outer foot and sole while the rest of my leg remains "I-could-jam-a-pin-in-it" numb. It definitely limits my ballet dancing at this point. LOL

I begrudgingly emailed Dr. SWWNBN this morning with her "keep me posted" update. It went like this:

"Resting" sucks...icing sucks more. LOL I stopped the Zanaflex as suggested...I have developed a most unusual combination of numbness and BURNING sensation in my left leg now today...still numb (like I can stick a pin in my leg and not feel it numb), except for a wildly burning sensation along my lateral left calf and lateral side and sole of the foot (sole feels more like my leg SHOULD feel if I stick a straight pin in it in a thousand places...prickly). Still able to walk, but feeling the prickling when I step down...makes for an "interesting" delay in my gait, unless I'm really concentrating on the movement. I took today off from work again, but really must go in tomorrow afternoon as our office is moving at 5:00PM to the new county's a bitch to be needed. LOL

Any further suggestions/thoughts/demands/orders/funny ideas? Just wondering...

She responded in kind with one line:

Can you have Kate see you today,?

I pondered this for a bit. Since I don't know who "Kate" IS, I considered perhaps the good doctor had me confused with another patient who might KNOW "Kate". LOL Certainly I would never look a "Kate" horse in the mouth if it meant "Kate" might have a suggestion that could be helpful. But for all I knew, "Kate" was a colonic emails were exchanged a few more times.

It turns out, "Kate" is a Nurse Practitioner, who works in Dr. SWWNBN's clinic. But I never heard back from the neurologist extraordinaire exactly HOW I was supposed to get on "Kate's" books to see her I sit..."Kate-less". AND, my leg remains unchanged.

I'm not sure exactly just *what* Dr. SWWNBN thought/thinks "Kate" could do for me...and, having never met "Kate" before, I'm sure she'd be in for the ride of her life! I'm not a wildly popular a matter of fact, if I rarely follow doctor's orders, I'm not even sure I can qualify as a "patient". LOL I think doctors have to be able to say they've TREATED you for something versus merely making "suggestions".

And I imagine "Kate's" suggestions would fall along the lines of a dip in the steroidal pool, which I fear drowning in. Actually, it's not the pool itself I fear...but the running naked and stark-raving mad down the street AFTER my steroid swim I shy away from. Call me old fashioned. I enjoy wearing my dignity. LOL

As my email this morning stated, I really DO have to get back to work's a big day at the office. If I can tolerate the discomfort in my leg, I think I can "fake" the rest (the faking part being cognitive functioning!). Of course, there IS the tolerating of the people around me, too...which could be far more challenging than faking a smile while in pain...LOL...

An Inspiration...

Check out these guys . I first heard about the Bike The US For MS locally here in Seattle on one of the area TV news stations. Four boys (OK, really young men...but I AM old enough to be their mother!) setting out to ride across the United States (4,000+ miles) to raise $100,000 for Multiple Sclerosis. They just left this past week and are journeying across the upper state of Washington currently.

The Quartet is raising money from their ride to go to research at Partners MS Center , an affiliate of Harvard University. Their website says they chose to donate to this particular organization because they felt so inspired by the research work being done there. I am inspired to "put the word out" about their ride because of this particular young man. Read his profile...his mother has had MS for the past 23 years and he is riding for her.

Spread the word...and if you LIVE somewhere along their route , I'm sure they would enjoy an email invitation for a meal and/or a hot shower! They are riding WITHOUT a support vehicle and camping on the roadsides. The "boys" are also writing an entertaining blog along the way.

Such heroes...MY heroes anyway...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Instantly Numb...

Someone snuck in my bedroom last night while I lay drooling and snoring asleep, and rubbed that cream (in the picture) on my left leg! I swear it...I woke up early this morning and had barely any sensation in my had become "instantly numb" over night.

Unfortunately, the "Instantly Numb Fairy" did NOT rub the cream on my right lower calf or lower/mid back. Oh no...these areas remain alive and well and in pain!

Since I've never had an entire left leg "instantly numb" before, I consider this yet another new and improved symptom of my Multiple Sclerosis...or at least a sign of "whatever" is going on with me this week (still haven't ruled out a cold/flu virus, the weather change, cancer, or the planet Mercury going retrograde!).

I called in for work today...what a *drag*...(argh argh! Get the joke? Left leg drag?!? OK, I'll stop.) and immediately emailed Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named for a professional opinion. I still DO consider her one of those...a professional, that is. I did my usual email medical synopsis that went like this:

I've been having some annoying/painful stiffness in both my calves for about 5 days--worse when I've been sitting or standing for a few minutes. I thought it might just be from the increased walking I've been doing. Started taking 2mg Zanaflex 2-3X's day initially to see if it might help, then upped it to 4mg/2-3X's/day 2 days ago. Yesterday, I felt very fatigued, rather "sore"/achy in most of my joints, and like my back had become a tight rubber band.

Concern is, this morning my left leg is numb and heavy...hard to describe. I CAN walk on it, just have oddly little sensation in it. Do you think the Zanaflex could be causing this? It's the only thing that's "new"...

I was immediately bombarded with an Auto Response from the Club Med facility where Dr. SWWNBN considers herself gainfully employed. The Auto Response quite coldly and efficiently told me the good doctor would be out of the office until the 14th and to simply call "the office" for any concerns.

This IS my lot in seems whenever potentially *bad* things happen to me regarding my MS, a seismic tremor is sent out along a fault line, rumbling into the communication center of my neurologist, and she AUTOMATICALLY (thus her Auto Responses) leaves on a vacation from work! The good thing I KNOW about Dr. SWWNBN is, she can never seem to draw herself away from her Blackberry and email...I believe she can't STAND to have nothing to say and to miss an opportunity for either mocking me or proving her superiority of intelligence...LOL

She emailed me back within minutes to say:

sounds like you overdid it and then made things worse by taking the zanaflex. Rest up and ice your leg and let me know how you do.

Now...what should I make of THIS?!? Let me list the "pros and cons" here.

First of all, a "pro" is the fact she is not AUTOMATICALLY suggesting I be hosed down with steroids, which is often her typical response. This is good...and I imagine by now, she has grown weary of my refusal to take the steroids. She's a quick study. LOL

Another "pro" is, she is not instantly dialing in a prescription for some Gawd-awful chemical created by the makers of arsenic and wanting me to simply *take a pill* to shut me up. And, as history would prove itself, I rarely AGREE to take these pills anyway...again, she's a quick learner.

The third pro, which should frighten me into a total mop of grey hair...she is actually agreeing WITH me! I don't believe this has ever happened in the history of our tumultuous-yet-humorous relationship. Frankly, now I am worried she is sitting drunk on a beach somewhere in Acapulco and should not have access to her patients in this state of mind.

But then there are the *cons*...of course.

Con Number One: Resting. Not something I do well or easy. And for how long? Until I regain feeling back in my leg? Until I feel like I can run a marathon? Until I lose my job because of absenteeism? These are just thoughts I have...

Con Number Two: Ice my leg. My entire leg? Is this some type of practical joke? Am I secretly being watched on a "Nanny Cam" here?!? I'd have to have a rather large chunk of glacier ice to cover my entire leg. And let's forget the fact IT'S ALREADY FREAKIN' NUMB, shall we?!? I tried a spot of ice earlier just on my upper thigh where the sensation feels the "heaviest"...I couldn't feel the freaking ice! I'm a bit concerned I might get a freezer burn from this...I have however, considered plucking every, last hair from my left leg to avoid EVER having to shave it again...there's just GOT to be a silver lining in this cloud. LOL

So...I've tried "icing and resting". I'm already bored with this...but, if the truth be known, beneath my wildly humorous twist on this ordeal (or at least I think I'm funny anyway!), I remain *CONCERNED*. I do hope we are both right...I've just over done it a bit and this, too, shall pass with some quieting of my nervous system for a bit. I have been "riding it like I stole it" all summer and fully enjoying my freedom from MS with the wonders of's been wonderful. I suppose I shouldn't bitch about a little needed rest right now. But you KNOW me...if there's opportunity for "beauching", my mouth is open! LOL

Off now to take my "instantly numb" leg back to the couch before I develop "instantly numb" arse from sitting up too long...the thought of icing THAT region of my body gives me chills...and NOT in a good way!...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Me Me ME!

This is the What’s In A Name Meme started by Two Moms In A Blog. I was tagged by MDMHVONPA of White Lightning Axiom: Redux (because he obviously HATES me!).

My name is: Linda

Origin: Spanish
Meaning: Beautiful

Possibly derived from several sources such as the shortened form of Belinda or Melinda, from the Spanish "linda" meaning beautiful, or the short form of Germanic names ending in "lind" meaning "tender, soft." The name was listed among the top 10 from 1940 to 1965 due to the success of actresses Linda Darnell and Linda Christian. The name has faded since that time but is still listed among the top 500.

Now, as you can see, I was obviously MISNAMED! I was the third girl born to a pair of tired parents who allowed my two older sisters (ages 4 and 8 at the time) to "name" me. Fortunately, common sense prevailed or I might be called "Melody" to this day! LOL

I am tagging: MISS CHRIS; MERELYME; and ZEE. You KNOW who you are! (And your blog links are displayed to the left over there, so EVERYONE can follow up!)

If you have been tagged, copy and paste all of this - from the image to the end of the instructions - into a blog post. Then, change the information to match your name and tag three other bloggers. If you don’t know what your name means, you can try looking it up on Baby’s Name World.

Underneath The Granite Slab...

Today has not been a great day...I'm entitled to ONE every now and then! I've had difficulty getting my body going and my mind seems to have taken a recess break. Oddly, I feel as if I am being held under a giant piece of rock and I'm just not able to wiggle my way

Perhaps it has been the mourning over the death of my beloved printer...or maybe it is the effect of the cloudy weather we are having here in Seattle this week...I might be coming "down" with something, too...or, last but not least, "maybe" the MS is pushing down on me again. I really, really want to believe it is the weather! LOL

I've begun to notice of late (for about a week really) a serious tightening/spasticity returning in my calves. It bothers me most when I have been idle or sitting for a few minutes, then try to get up and walk again...the pain in my feet/ankles/lower calves is quite sharp. I have begun to hobble as if someone has rammed a rather large cob up my...well, you get the picture! LOL No graphic description needed.

At first, I thought this tightening sensation was the result of my fairly active exercise program, but I don't think it is now. After all, I have been exercising increasingly more and more since the end of May and have not had this tightness before now. The good news is, once I finally GET my legs moving (versus appearing to hobble on poles!), the tightness eases and I return to a fairly "normal" gait...I quote *normal* because I have always appeared to walk like a trucker just out of the cab on a long haul!

I finally broke down and started taking a pinch of Zanaflex (for good measure) throughout the day just to try to ease the pain and loosen my muscles...this appears to help...somewhat. And now I'm wondering if the addition of this medication is what has caused me to feel so "pressed" today? Maybe the drug is messing with my generally jovial mood and trying to hold a good laugh down?!? LOL

I wouldn't be as concerned if I hadn't also suddenly developed a few "other" unusual for instance, my short term memory seems just that...waaaay too short term! What was I talking about? Oh yeah...And my word-finding ability been found! I feel very tired today also. So much so, I have only left my home briefly and returned to lie around on the couch and read/nap for most of the day...this behavior has NOT been conducive to getting chores completed that need to be done as I return to work tomorrow for the next three days.

I'm generally not one who has "mood swings"...or at least mood swings I would ADMIT to! And today has felt like an "on-the-edge-of-tears" day for no apparent reason. I suppose I can easily justify this by acknowledging my WORRY WART status and feeling concerned I "might" be going into another relapse. But I don't want to think OR believe this could be possible, so I have allowed my denial and ability to self-distract free reign throughout the day...thus the napping and reading a trashy novel.

What I HOPE to be true is that I wake up tomorrow morning and realize I have fretted for not...that I find I really HAVE a rather large cob rammed...well, you know where...and that I have developed a cold or flu. It's a very sad statement to Multiple Sclerosis when one WISHES they have contracted a nasty virus to explain a change in symptoms. LOL

I'll keep you posted...even if it is coming from beneath this ROCK I seem to be trying to crawl out from under!...

Monday, August 06, 2007

May She Rest In Peace (Or Pieces)...

Well, it finally dearly beloved HP Printer bit the dust. I was in the process of printing some very important page of crap (I'm certain of it), when my dear girl grunted and ground herself to a halt. I had to pause for a moment of silence. LOL

I'm sure many of you who have followed my CHEAP printer woes are thinking, "Oh no! Now what will BRAINCHEESE do? She is obviously too cheap to purchase another and I fear her days of printing fake ID's might be over."
After a ceremonious unplugging of the old faithful HP, I have just installed the NEW HP PRINTER:
I really haven't had time to play with all the bells and whistles it comes with...I've been too deep in mourning over the OLD one! But I think I saw somewhere in the owner's guide (as I was flipping through it trying to figure out how to plug the darned thing in!) that the NEW HP Printer "might" do my dishes...or at the very least, vacuum. I don't know...I just thought I read that somewhere...LOL

I'm going to go lie down soon for bed and close my eyes...and when I wake up in the morning, I am hoping the NEW girl has turned herself on and completely cleaned my house. I don't think that's too much to ask for, do you?!?...