Monday, December 26, 2011

A Not-So-Friendly Reminder from your Hidden Disorder

Holy fucking jesus christ.

Sorry Jesus.

Sometimes, with as much work and medication we've gone through, that we can slide by and nearly forget the attachment disorder.

I was chatting with a friend yesterday who said, "What happened?  Weren't you telling me he was doing well?"

Well, he was.  Then three things have happened that have contributed to difficulty and stress for this child and our family as a whole.

First, I quit my job.  I was so stressed I couldn't sleep at night.  It was making my illness go crazy.  So I quit.  Maybe not the wisest, but I did it anyway.  I'm not sure if the skipping school started before that or after, but the grade issues have been all year.  He was taken out of regular classes and put in honors classes this year, and he seems to feel he's not smart enough.  Ha.

Next, his biological family visited.  His older half sister and maternal grandmother.  A day later he tried smoking and he skipped school.  His older sister has pictures on her Facebook page that would make a hooker blush.  Arguing grew, and so did his disobedience and nastiness.

Finally, the decision was made for my husband to move back to our home state to try to find employment.  It's been a hard decision, but this child has lost his mind.  He's convinced everything is done TO him.  That he's the only one who needs to be considered.

And that tormentor, attachment disorder, has reared its ugly head again at the reality of his dad leaving.

In the last week, I've been called everything from a child abuser to someone who should never have children.  I'm stupid, hateful, a loser, get the point.  And it doesn't come out nicely, either (would anyone expect it would?).  It comes out in shrieks and screams and booming yells that only an wounded adolescent in pain can create.  Every once in awhile I can see the fleeting panic and pain in his face.  And I wonder if he can see the pain in mine.

We saw the psychiatrist again the other day.  I don't think he knows what the hell he's talking about.  He babbles on and on about ADHD and sleeping problems.  His cure is a medication to help the child sleep.  I think the child has a full blown sleep disorder.  The psychiatrist says he isn't bipolar but his mood swings are massive and quick, and he spirals like crazy.  ADHD is often a cross diagnosis or misdiagnosis for attachment disorder.  My biggest concern is this child often talks about his depression and yet the psychiatrist refuses to treat it.  So what to do?  Get a new psychiatrist?

I often wonder if I'm one of those people who knows just enough about this to be dangerous.  Probably.  But I strongly believe that regardless of whatever else is going on, this child is struggling with depression, and I don't see how bipolar disorder can be ruled out, given how he cycles.

So where does this leave us?  With a husband who's moving, a very angry teenager, an unemployed and sick mother, and an almost teen girl thrown in the mix.  Stay tuned for our next adventure...but lest we forget, attachment disorder never really goes away.  It lies below the surface, ready to grapple its hooks right into any shakeup.

Monday, October 31, 2011

When It Hits Hard


I was sick all last week and basically did very little.  Now it's Monday evening and I'm facing a ton of work and it feels like it's all due by tomorrow morning.

Tonight is Halloween.  I felt like crap earlier, but had planned to take my kid out trick ortreating (yes, I have two but one's too old).  Anyway, I shower, change, get ready to take her, and boom! she hasn't done anything she was supposed to do.  It's ten til six and she's done no studying and no chores.  She's still in her school clothes.  For what seems like every day for the last two weeks I've been after both kids to be more responsible.  And I burst into tears, telling her she'd blown it—there was no way we'd make Halloween now.  Trick or treat here ends at 8 p.m.  Even I can do math.  And she can too—she's tested two grades ahead of the 7th grade math class she's in.

She sighed and said guiltily, "You're right.  I won't go this year."

And I wanted to scream, "What about ME?  What about the costume I bought you that was beautiful?  What about the fact that this is the last year you're allowed to trick or treat in this city?  Did you think about any of THAT?"  But I was crying too much.

So I'm spending Halloween night crying, lying in my bed, feeling sick and staring at all my work that I have about fifteen hours to complete.  And sleep.

Right now I want to bury myself somewhere and never come out.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Today I'm going to write differently than I have in the last 160 days.  I'm going to move away from recording fibromyalgia symptoms and focus on gratitude.

Several weeks ago I planned to begin noting once a day on Facebook something that i was grateful for.  I remembered for about two days, then life happened, and I moved on to other things.  It wasn't until a friend said a week or so  later, "What number are we on?" that I realized I had completely forgotten about my commitment.

So today I started thinking of what I'm grateful for, and I noted a few things on Facebook.  Sharing my life with my kids.  Having the family i have that catches me when I fall.  The safety net that has provided for me over the last several months as my life has fallen apart and come back together several times.  The fact that my kids won't starve tonight.

One of my friends was telling me today how much her family has lost since the economy crashed three years ago.  In some ways I feel more fortunate.  I didn't have a house and a huge amount of savings to lose.  I didn't have a lot at all.  Granted, we owe the shirts on our backs to somebody, probably Sallie Mae or the government, but we aren't losing a house.  We aren't in foreclosure.  We haven't been fired and lost benefits that we had counted on.

I have a beautiful puppy dog that makes me smile every day.  I have a father who makes me laugh on occasion, usually daily.  I have a mom who would do anything to help me, and has.  I have two beautiful, bright children that I adore.  I have a husband who tries to help out.  I have friends that I love both here and in Oklahoma.  I'm lucky.

clothes on my back.  Food in my belly and a roof over my head.  Gratitude.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day who the hell knows?

So it's twelve thirty a.m. and I'm up watching Storage Wars and debating about watching old episodes of Criminal Intent.

About a month or so ago I came to the realization that I am going through a midlife crisis.  One of my friends posted as a response on Facebook that she was so sorry.  For me, I didn't necessarily feel sorry.  I didn't feel happy about it either.  It just was.

But in the last month, I've come to realize what that means for me.  It means that I'm 42 years old and I'm suddenly looking at my life with a new perspective.  I have a lot left to do.  I have a lot of people left to meet.  This is my life here, folks.  And it didn't end when I stopped being mommy to little kids and we all moved into new roles.

Monday I'm going to a hookah lounge with a new friend.  And he's male.  How about that?  I have a man friend who's just a friend and is taking me to smoke from a hookah pipe.  Because why, you ask?  Because I'm curious and I've never done it!  Good enough for me!  I'm working my job and it's a new job and I'm learning new things.  I'm drinking salted caramel mochas.  I'm interviewing for babysitting jobs with kids that may be interesting to me.  And I love my kids.

So I don't know why I'm writing tonight other than to say that a year ago I thought my life just hurt.  I cried and lay in bed and was depressed and didn't think I'd be able to do anything, ever.  And now I'm better.  I'm happier.  And I'm happy to be alive to try the things I'm getting to try.

Who knew that there really was a woman under the mommy suit, someone who likes certain things and dislikes others?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day 205—Loss

Pain- 5

Today one of my friend's daughters lost her companion, a cat named Dusty that she had had for over ten years.  Dusty was twelve years old and died of kidney and liver failure, to the best of the vet's knowledge.  I remember losing a cat I loved tremendously at the same age—nineteen—and being devastated for quite awhile.  I had found this cat when I was around sixteen at the mall parking lot and taken her in.  She honestly thought she was like me.  She met me halfway home from school every day and walked me home.  She followed me to friends' houses until I told her to go.  She snuggled with me and we both believed she was special.  She died during—or after—a chilly storm during my first semester in college.  I remember asking my dad as I left home that Sunday where she was, and he hesitated before telling me she had died.  He had found her curled up in some bushes outside, and I wondered if she wondered where I had been when she needed me.

The loss of Dusty has brought back painful reminders of losing pets, but particularly my Amanda, who was my dog for seventeen wonderful years.  She saw me through two graduations, a marriage, a cross-country move, custody of two children, and right before her passing, a custody battle over those children.  I used to pray Amanda would survive through that custody battle, because, as I would pray, I couldn't stand to lose the kids and Amanda at the same time.  In the end, the kids stayed right where they should, and Amanda continued to plug along, despite the growing pain in her body.  Multiple doctor visits to the same vet told us to give her more medicine and she would be just fine.  My gut said otherwise.  In June, she began vomiting, and i finally took her to another vet.  The vet concurred she was very sick and her kidney functions were poor, but suggested that we try rehydrating her to get rid of the toxins and see if she could get over this hump.  We did just that and she was okay—for about six weeks.  When I returned from my regular summer trip to Virginia to see my family, it was clear Amanda was dying.  She had trouble standing, she couldn't stand being touched, and she was vomiting again.

I took her back to the second vet's office but saw a different vet this time.  This vet assured me that putting her down was not only reasonable, but kind.  He told me how he had a dog in the same shape before, and he had tried to keep the dog alive, and his biggest regret was not honoring her by putting her down.  Those were the words I so desperately needed to hear, and I called my husband to bring the children up to say goodbye to Amanda.  Both kids kissed and hugged her, cried a bit, and went home with their father while I stayed and held her in my arms as the vet talked me through the very simple procedure.  When she died in my arms, I burst into tears and buried my face in her neck.  He left us and told me to take my time with her.    I did, but not knowing what was left to do or say, I left after about fifteen minutes.

I have never been treated so kindly by a vet's office and will forever be grateful for the gentle kindness they showed me that day, and the days following.  They sent me a sympathy card, which I kept along with her collar.  I gathered all the pictures I could find of her and kept them close to me.  I cried every day.  Every night I called a friend or my mom and cried about losing Amanda.  It wasn't until a month later when I decided I needed to focus on another pet that I was able to begin to heal.

I've written many times on here about Gabi and how she came into our lives, but being able to focus on healing a sick, needy puppy fixed things for me better than anything else could.  I took joy in watching her leaping around the yard, and found I could laugh at her innocent excitement.  And even though it took a long time to get used to a tiny dog curled in my bed versus the thirty-five pound mutt I had been used to, we adjusted.

I strongly believe that Gabi was aware of Amanda's energy in the house, and that her energy stayed behind for several weeks.  Many times in the first few months I would catch Gabi staring at one of two places Amanda would lay in the bedroom, and she would begin barking madly.  I wondered if Gabi could see things I couldn't.  I still don't know the answer to that, but I do believe she could feel things in those places, and knew they had been home to another animal.

For my sweet nineteen-year old friend, I don't have any great words of wisdom.  Losing a pet is hard, and for some of us, it's harder than it is for others.  I have always treated my animals with the same love and respect I would treat a family member, and I grieve them similarly as well.  The family of Dusty is planning a ceremony this evening for her, which is a lovely way to remember her.  After Amanda died, my daughter and I bought two helium balloons and wrote messages from each of us before letting them go "to heaven". That helped all of us heal a bit.

As I wrote this, I cried quite a bit.  I don't know that there will ever be a time that I won't miss my Amanda.  She was lovely and perfect and my companion for half of my life.  But I do know now that God has good things in store for us, even after the loss of those we love.  Life is full of love, loss, and more love.  And that's important to remember.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day 217—Life as I Know It

A friend of mine and I got into a disagreement over something yesterday.  He said I had too much emotional baggage, and that's not sexy.  Find a happy woman, he said, and that's the sexiest thing in the world.

And I said, No shit, dumbass.

We were chatting about this in the context of our histories and relationships.  I've had very few, but long, ones, whereas he flits and floats in and out with all sorts of women.  My hypothesis is the women he dates are either too young to be unhappy or are good actresses, until they feel they're in well enough to drop the facade.

I don't know if I've ever been truly happy.  There have been times I've been content, times I've been incredibly joyous and grateful.  But as far as relationships go, I don't know how to steer my way through that muck.

I was molested at age four.  I was a favorite, treated specially by my abuser.  I have no recollection of him being cruel emotionally.  I was a lonely little girl and he was like a wolf, a predator who could sniff the disengagement between my parents and me even at that young age.  He was an extremely close friend of theirs, and even babysat us on occasion.  A grown man in his forties babysitting his friends' kids.  There's a reason we have those feelings in our guts.

I remember his visits every Saturday morning.  He came over for coffee.  He didn't live in our neighborhood.  He had to drive.  My parents spent a lot of time with him.  So did I.

I remember, around the age of eleven or twelve, when I fell out of favor.  He had never before been short with me, never before acted as though I was in his way, but suddenly I was.  I had hit that magical time for pedophiles—puberty—when their victims lose interest due to bodily changes.  All I knew at the time was that he didn't love me anymore.

When I finally told my parents as an adult, they confided that he didn't have a phone, and after he had quit his job and moved away, they learned he had an adult son and ex-wife they had never heard of before.

Why write about this?  Why share it?  Because it's my life as I know it.  I've never lied about who I was and I can't start now.

This has been on my mind lately.  I do wonder where he is, if he ever was busted (I doubt it), and if I would recognize him should I run into him.  I even wonder if it would matter anymore.

All I can say is that we all are made of our experiences, good bad and ugly.  I spent half of my life blocking it out and denying it, and I'm not hiding it anymore.  There's no point.  This is life.  It's my life as I know it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

In and Out—Day 218


So the first thing that has jumped out at me in the last twenty-four hours is how much pain I've been in, and how much emotional pain I've been in.  One is clearly linked to the other.  And I'm starting to understand there are a lot of things linked together with this illness, more than I ever imagined.

Last night I received an email from a person I had known a few years ago, who apparently has struggled with the same symptoms as I have.  She went to the doctor and was given a similar medication cocktail.  She wasn't satisfied, and began to look at holistic ways to heal.  She gave me the names of a couple of books, and encouraged me to look for a solution that involved more than lessening symptoms.

I hadn't really thought of this illness in the context of healing before, mainly because I've been told that's just not possible.  Maybe it isn't.  But in my conversation with her, I realized that I already know things I didn't give myself credit for.  For instance, I do better when I eat greek yogurt, fruit, fiber, whole oats, olive oil, and whole, clean foods.  Fish and vegetarian foods are high on my list.  I need to rid my cabinets of nitrate-added foods.  My friend recommended that I avoid the whites, which I tend to do anyway, EXCEPT when I treat myself.  Yesterday I put together the worst possible combination I could.  I ran out of one medication, didn't take another one because it's running low, then ate cheese pizza for dinner.  Consequently I was ill all evening.  Beyond the emotional collapse I had in the afternoon and late evening, I was literally sick to my stomach.  I tend to have a lot of stomach problems without yogurt.  That was my first clue that food really REALLY affects how I feel.  Greek yogurt, for me, is a godsend.  The high protein makes me feel full for longer, and the active cultures help to control any other symptoms I have.

My friend recommended a lot of greens.  I probably don't eat enough of them.  I do eat salads occasionally—when I buy them from quick-food places, generally—but after our conversation I'm curious to add them daily in some way.  I have nearly completely stopped eating beef, and this past week discovered the joys of almond milk, particularly in cereal.  My friend also suggested watching out for sodium and msg.  I have had migraines from msg in the past, so I wasn't surprised by that, and I usually don't eat a lot of sodium, but it's still something to watch out for.

So I have some new dietary ideas.  Even more whole grains.  Less salt.  Reading for msg.  Adding greens to meals.  Continuing what I already know is right—fish, chicken, vegetarian meals, more veggies of all colors, olive oil, whole grains, and concentrated yogurt.  Oh, and fiber.  Bran flakes, all bran, whatever—mixed into the yogurt it's a great start to the day.

So today and yesterday i felt like crap. Today has been better than yesterday, and both days have been learning opportunities.  I'm figuring it out, slowly.  Tired today, but haven't cried, which makes me happy.  I want to do some work tomorrow for my job, hopefully.  Maybe get in a swim.  We'll see.

I titled today In and Out for a reason.  Often I feel like I'm weaving in and out of this maze of fibro.  The last few days have felt very much like that.  I'm in, then out, weaving information and medication to go with my body's signals.  Maybe it will make sense, sooner.  Or, less pleasantly, later.  But eventually I'll have weaved a complex tapestry that makes sense for me, for my body.  That allows me to function in a way that is useful and brings joy back into my life.  That's all I've wanted from the beginning, and all I'll be pursuing through the changes I make.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Learning from One Another—Day 220


So today is an okay day physically.

In the last several weeks, I've been investing some time into making some new friends.  Granted, most of them are online, but I'm okay with it.  Today I got an email from one of my new friends who is having a hard time.  His problems are in personal relationships, and it's one of those situations where it's clear as an objective outsider what is probably going on, but something he can't see.

It made me sad for him; so sad I wished I could be there to comfort him and tell him it would be okay, everything would work out, that he's going through growing pains and they always hurt but if he pushes himself, he WILL grow and WILL be successful at what he wants.  But again, the only one who can figure that out for sure is him.

When I listen to this particular person talk, her reminds me so much of myself that it's eery.  We have the same hangups, the same types of problems, but we handle them with opposite coping skills in many ways.  Neither of us are good at caring for ourselves.  I can see that in him and my first instinct is to help, but I know he has to figure out how to help himself.  How?  Because I'm having to figure out the same thing.

It hurts to see someone you care about hanging themselves with the same rope over and over again.  I wonder now if that's how my friends and family feel...if that's why some of my friends have taken a step back.  They realize there is nothing more they can do other than be supportive of my own process.

We all have our "aha!" moments in life, and this may be one of them for me.  Seeing my friend struggle for solid footing makes me realize how much I do the same thing, and how easy it is for me to tell him what to do to gain that footing for himself.  But I need to know how to develop my own strong footing, and no amount of somebody else's yammering is going to make that happen.  It will only happen when I'm ready to do it myself.

So to my new friend, you are in my thoughts and prayers.  You're a good person and need to remember that.  Handle yourself as gently as you would a child you care for, because when you're hurting we all revert back to scared children.  And I hope you'll talk to me when you're ready.  I think you're awesome.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Day 221—And the World Spins Round and Round

I'm so dizzy today.

I guess I should post my numbers—

Pain- 5

I forced myself to get up this morning because my mother was here and I knew she would bitch if I didn't get up.  She came in here the other morning screaming about how it was eleven or something and I hadn't gotten up.  Well actually, I HAD gotten up.  I had taken one kid to school, made sure the other kid went to school, charged up the battery in one of the cars before I found myself back in bed sleeping.  I'm trying to be patient, but there are days I want to yell, "Get the fuck away from me...I'm fucking tired!"  I want to be left alone to sleep.  I'm exhausted.  Everything is dizzy and it hurts.  My back hurts and my shoulder hurts and my hands hurt.

I know my mother thinks she's helping me.  Somehow she's gotten the idea that if she's "hard" on me that I will buck up, little camper, and do what I need to do.  All day I 've wanted to sleep.  Curl up under the blankets and sleep.  I'm cold and dizzy and achy.  I hate it.  But I hate being bugged about it even more.

One of my friends told me a bit ago that it's good to focus on the positive.  I have to admit she is right.  My earlier post was based on pain—emotional and physical—and so I'm going to focus the rest of this post on  the positive, both emotional and physical

Physically, I am able to move easily most days and walk wherever I need to go.  I have joined the Y and once I can get over to swim, it will be a good thing.  I just need to make time in my schedule.  I have watched many people my age or even younger who have lost mobility, so it's a blessing to have that.  I feel lucky that despite the pain, I have medication and doctors who are willing to help and make my life better.  That is wonderful.  Earlier today I was feeling really lonely, and asked for hi's from some of my friends in another state.  And they came flooding in, from friends and former parents of my preschoolers and former students I had.  How lucky am I?  And physically, to have the ability still to type how I need to, to meet the needs for my job, is a blessing too.  Today I felt really badly and thought about quitting.  But why?  I need to take one day at a time, and if i get in over my head I will worry about that then.

Emotionally?  I am loved beyond measure.  I have a mother and father who will do almost anything to help me.  I have a husband who loves me and two children who are beautiful, smart, and loving beyond measure.  Not every mother of a 14-year old boy gets a hug each night along with an "I love you, Mom."  My twelve-year old loves me too, and takes the time to tell me regularly.  We laugh together and love each other.  

What made the difference in my attitude?  My friend's reminder, no doubt.  In addition, a nap this afternoon made a huge difference.  Today I just needed the rest.  And I can work tonight if I'm up late.  I'm so lucky to have a job that's flexible like this.  Otherwise, I fear I would not be able to pull it off.

Friends, family, God and His loving spirit.  I am blessed for sure.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 240


Well, every once in awhile it's absolutely necessary to get back to the core of things and the original purpose of this blog.  Originally, the purpose was twofold; first, to share our battle with attachment disorder and to be able to safely process that, and secondly, to share my thoughts on the greatest detectives TV has ever known.  No, I'm not talking Columbo or Magnum P.I.  I'm talking one Robert Goren and one Alexandra Eames.

Really, how could you have Goren without Eames?  It's like having salt without pepper (or pepa, if you know what I mean).  And Eames without Goren?  There'd be no one around to poke the dry eyeballs, to eat the glue or sniff the cake frosting.  Nobody to move people's stuff around the room or to shock a confession out of a criminal.  They're yin and yang.  Eames' practical approach, laced with sarcasm, complements Goren's unconventional tactics and quirks.  You have to love them both.

I'll be honest.  There's something about the Goren character that appeals to me as a woman, and that kind of scares me.  Because if you're naming some of the most broken, fucked-up characters on television, he'd be on the list.  Why do women like bad boys?  To save them from themselves, of course.  I would happily dedicate several years to making Bobby better if given the chance.  But we all know, in reality, a man like Bobby would be too broken to have a relationship, and too smart to turn the other way and try to convince himself that he could.

Really, what a lot of it boils down to is sexual attraction.  Robert Goren looks damn fine in a suit.  So good that when he takes his tie off, it leads to all sorts of naughty thoughts.  I have plenty of friends who don't get my attraction, and that's okay.  I'll admit there are definite looks I enjoy more than others.  I'm a cropped hair, neat suit type of fan, as opposed to the curly, unkempt hair, beard, and layered tee and flannel shirt.  He looked like a logger man in those episodes.  Anyone who has watched a bit of the show over the years can tell you that D'Onofrio puts on and takes off weight fairly regularly.  But regardless of size, put him in a suit and it'll catch your breath, every time.

I find it curious that the character of Bobby Goren is who I'm attracted to, as opposed to the actor.  D'Onofrio has done some wonderful film work, and I'm sure he's a passionate, kind person in real life.  But Bobby is who I know.  He's comfortable and smart, misunderstood and quirky, and he appeals to a woman's nature--a need to "fix" things, to nurture the man who never was nurtured.

And so I find myself once again swooning over a dark navy suit in this episode.  However, should Bobby decide he'd like to loosen his tie and remove his jacket, there would be no objection from THIS peanut gallery.  Or your pants, could lose them...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 242-Plugging Along

I conquered a hurdle today.

After my "crisis" last week, anxiety settled down quite a bit but my sleep was completely off kilter.  I was sleeping anywhere from two to seven hours in a 24-hour period, but most of the night I was wide awake.  A few nights in a row, I was asleep by five or six and awake by midnight. While I enjoy time to myself, I don't like feeling off my routine.  It bothers me.

We had to leave town on Friday due to a hurricane, and surprisingly I slept fairly well both nights in my hotel room.  Considering I don't sleep well away from home anyway, I was impressed that I managed six to seven hours, and at night no less.  Last night we were back home, and I managed to sleep through most of the night, waking at five a.m.

I noticed at bedtime last night that my muscles were sore and causing some pain, especially in my right shoulder.  I only had one thermacare wrap and it was for my back.  With a little creativity and some help from my daughter, I got the thing rigged around my shoulder.  It helped the shoulder muscle a bit, but when I woke this morning, everything hurt.  I wondered exactly what marathon I ran in my sleep, because that's exactly how I felt.

A week ago I made a deal with my mother that every day I would shower, dress, and leave the house.  So after much prodding and bribery, I was able to get my daughter out of bed to come with me.  We hit the doctor's office so I could pick up a prescription, then headed to the store to look for jeans.  The poor kid was having a horrible time with allergies and clearly didn't feel much better than I did.  So I decided to scale down our shopping.  We dropped off the prescriptions, then grabbed lunch before picking them up and heading home.

In the end I was proud of both of us.  My pain today is probably at a seven.  Anxiety, maybe a four, and exhaustion about a six.  But I went.  Not only did I go, but we had a great time at lunch, and it was a good reminder of how much fun my daughter and I have together when both of us are in a decent mood.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 249 to Day 247-Balancing Act


I am so anxious I'm ready to tie my own limbs together.  As I write this I've just choked down a bowl of cheerios and put in a DVD.  It's not quite 4 a.m. and I am ready to pace the halls, drive the streets, derive my own challenge course.  I've taken medication, against my better judgment, and am trying to breathe and stop coughing.

For a person who has never had a panic attack I can only describe it as fear at manic speed.  Thoughts and adrenaline race  ahead mixed with fear into one awful jumbled up mess.

I don't balance.

Day 247- 6 a.m.

I wrote the above two days ago in the beginning of what has turned out to be an incredibly difficult and painful two days of my life.

I was supposed to start training for a new job yesterday afternoon, then today and tomorrow as well.  I was going to be traveling to Charlottesville, VA, three hours away to receive materials, be trained on the research study, and have my computer equipped with everything it needed to make it all work.  As it got closer and closer, my anxiety grew higher.  I wanted this job.  I was afraid my illness would take it from me.  I was afraid I would have even less money than I have; I am afraid that I can't support my family.  The pressure multiplied until I was no longer able to manage it.  Depression and fear gave way to anxiety, which quickly turned to panic.  Panic led to sleeplessness, racing heartbeat, hot and cold flashes, crying jags, and racing thoughts.  I realized I had put all my eggs in this basket that was quickly disintegrating in my hands.

It wasn't until my mother called me close to 9 a.m. that I realized what a wreck I was.  Sobbing, I confessed the truth--I had had no solid sleep in two days.  A nap here or there for an hour, but nothing substantial.  My dreams were discombobulated and disturbing.  I spent my nighttime waking hours curled in bed, watching hour after hour of crap TV trying to ward off the anxiety.  I even put in my favorite DVDs trying to focus on something else--and was able to sleep for an hour.  My body was hurting and I realized, as I was insisting I would find a way to make this work on virtually no sleep and in the midst of a full-blown panic attack--just how insane that statement was.  It was somewhat akin to insisting I would make it to work with the full-blown stomach flu or pneumonia.

I won't go into what was said between my mother and me; what I will say is that I decided I needed to see my doctor as soon as possible.  My husband was willing to take me to training but I insisted on the doctor instead and it turned out to be the right decision.  My doctor was able to see me a few hours after I called, and impressed upon me the importance of maintaining my medication routine.  She also started me on another medication and was very clear:  absolutely no traveling of any kind until at least next week.  My job this week, apparently, is to become stabilized.

I don't quite know what to make of the fact that I'm in a "crisis" and not "stable".  I think there's a lot of life changes that I need to make, and I'm scared to make them.  I have known this for a long time.  And the weight of those needed changes are felt in my body.  Everywhere, but particularly in my back and my upper right quadrant.  And oh, my head. @@ I guess I should be thankful I'm not in a hospital somewhere tonight, pacing the corridor.  And I certainly am thankful, although I really would love a full night's sleep again.  I guess four hours beats the two I got the night before.  Maybe we can aim for six tonight.

It would have been easier, less embarrassing, to never finish this original post.  To hide the last few days or refer to them as part of my illness, which they certainly are.  But I swore from the first word I wrote on this blog about my child that I would write honestly, from the heart and soul, and that is what I have done, not only about my child but about myself as this blog has changed and morphed into something different.  The stigma around mental illness is massive and I'm just as guilty as anyone else to dance around the term.  I found myself wondering the other day at what point does one actually fit the diagnosis of mental illness?  If one is mildly depressed?  Chronically?  Struggles with anxiety or panic disorder?  Or does it take something more major than millions of the population suffer from?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Day 251--Abuse and Recovery


Yesterday I was watching the Oprah Winfrey show.  Oprah and I go way back, and many years ago I was an avid fan and regular viewer.  I often wanted to be a guest in her audience (I mean, who doesn't?  She hauls people to Australia and gives away free cars!) and thought she had really interesting shows.  I'm not sure when I became less enamored...maybe ten years ago?  Probably sometime in the nineties, when our country was in the middle of Oprah-mania, I wore out.  No more book club, no more star interviews or concerts.  I reclaimed my afternoon and moved on.

However, yesterday I was channel surfing and found Oprah interviewing a young man named Clayton.  His story immediately caught my attention.  Thirteen years ago, Clayton was a six-year old boy spending the majority of his days wrapped in a dog chain and a wire fence, locked in a small closet by his father and stepmother.  His story is rather remarkable, because a case worker had already been to the house, seen Clayton, and decided he was not in any danger.  Clayton's fourteen-year old stepsister had run away from their home in Indiana to Kentucky and was picked up by the police.  When she begged not to be sent back to her home in Indiana, her story stuck with the officer who she spoke with.  He requested a caseworker to investigate the girl's claims of abuse, and the caseworker who visited the home found no reason to remove Clayton.  Fortunately, the girl's story was so vivid that the officer couldn't let it go, and told the family they would have to come to Kentucky to retrieve the sister.  The family did just that, and upon their arrival, the officer took Clayton and conducted an interview that revealed severe physical abuse and neglect.

Clayton ended up being adopted by his biological mother's aunt.  It was at this point in the story that my heart met this woman's in an empathic nod.  She talked about how skittish Clayton was; how his nights were filled with terror from dreams and recollections of his trauma.  She wanted everything to be as normal for him as it could be, but the one thing she said that stuck out to me was how overprotective she became.

As a parent of two children who were neglected and potentially abused in early childhood, I could identify thoroughly with what she said.  Often times I have thought that I was paranoid.  I've been told by other parents I am overprotective of my children.  Clayton's adoptive mother described her fear of someone trying to kidnap him from the front yard and her need to keep an eye on him at all times.  I can identify with those feelings.  When your children have been traumatized by things that aren't supposed to happen to anyone, the bogey man is real for them--and for you.  Nobody can prepare you for the secondary trauma you experience reliving those moments with your children.  The fear that children experience when dealing with trauma is incredibly real and vivid.  For the adults who choose to walk beside them, the journey is a long one.

Watching Clayton discuss his past so openly gave me hope for my own children.  The last four years have been particularly challenging for our son.  We all have lived through tremendous turmoil and difficulty, including plenty of days (and nights) where I have prayed for guidance in making the right decisions for this child.  There have been moments where I have doubted myself and feared for my son's future.  There have been moments where I have tearfully thanked God for the opportunity to be in this child's life.  But mainly, I've been grateful for the support of people who have guided us along this journey.

The last couple of months have shown a tremendous growth in my son's emotional capacity to listen to reason, to calm down and work with other people, to build positive relationships with the people who love him.  For years I worried I would never have the chance to laugh with him again or to enjoy his funny, sweet personality, because he was so clouded with anger and hurt.  That anger and hurt is still at the forefront of his thinking, but he is learning how to balance and manage it with more positive strategies.

Lucky we are, Clayton reminded me.  Lucky to be together and to heal.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 257--Making a Mother


I've been fortunate the last few weeks that I've had very little pain.  It's been such a reprieve after months of ongoing muscular spasming and tightness.  I can remember a time not too long ago that I thought I'd never have another day without some kind of intense pain.  The exhaustion is hard to deal with, more because of expectations from my family than anything else.  My sleep patterns are a bit mixed up at the moment and that makes life a bit harder.

My son is angry that he has to attend day camp this week.  Intensely angry.  The kind of angry that makes me wonder if it's worth it at all.  In the hour it takes me to get up, get him up, and get him ready and over to the pickup spot, we both were verbally cruel to one another this morning.  He slammed things, told me how he hated me, what a bad mother I was, and how he shouldn't have to do this because he doesn't want to.  The fact that he doesn't want to is enough of a reason for him just annoys the hell out of me.  Who in this world doesn't have to do shit they don't want to do???  Like I want to be sitting in a car being yelled at by a fourteen-year old?  Like I even want to get up on vacation at seven-thirty a.m. to take the damn kid to camp?

Lately I've been considering having a biological child.  I'm in my early forties so my time is running out and I'm well aware of it.  I have a lot of doubts about being a mother again.  I worry that I won't feel that I can give this child everything it deserves, that I won't have the energy to keep up with a toddler, or a preschooler.  That I will need to continue to work full time to support my family and my time with my baby will be limited to evenings and weekends.  Maybe more than anything else, that I will find the problems I have always written off to disorders and poor prenatal care to be faults in my own parenting abilities.  Perhaps the problems lie with me, not with my children's early situations.

As I left my sulking son at camp this morning, I was overwhelmed with tears and feelings of failure.  I doubt myself as a mother probably more than in any other way as a person.  And my god, there's enough doubt to go around fully.  But on mornings like today, I doubt that I could give enough to be a good mother to any baby, because some days I fail so miserably with my son.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 261-Mama Bears and Hibernation


Clearly I've added another category to rank--exhaustion.  You might be wondering why.  Well, because I'm exhausted, that's why. And I'm not talking about normal, "God I've worked a long day and my feet hurt" exhaustion.  I'm talking barely-get-out-of bed exhaustion.  Sleeping too long exhaustion.  And I've noticed that as my pain gets better, the exhaustion continues.

If I were to describe it, it would be the kind of exhaustion that you can barely keep your eyes open.  You stumble over your feet and into walls.  Your coordination is off and it's all you can do to stay alert.  In fact, your alertness is defined by the fact that your eyes are open, not by your mind being on.  So you think you can take a nap to throw it, but this kind of exhaustion takes more than a typical 90-120 minute nap.  This exhaustion takes a nap that lasts several hours.

I went to bed around midnight last night and had to be up at 7:30 to get my daughter to camp.  I overslept; that is, I slept through my alarm.  Fortunately my mother woke us all up.  I threw on my bra and a pair of shoes to run the kid up there.  After dropping her off (and there was drama that ensued afterward but I won't get into that now), I came home, poured myself a coke zero, and made my way back to my bed.  The next thing I know I'm waking up and it's 2:20.  That was roughly five and a half hours that I slept.  So 7+ 5= 12.  I slept twelve hours, and I've been fighting sleep ever since I woke up.

Amazingly, my pain has all but disappeared.  I'm thrilled with that.  Every once in awhile I have some pain in my shoulder and neck, but not so badly.  My anxiety is still present.  Considering my daughter is camping in the mountains three hours away, on her first real overnight campout with a group other than good friends, I'm amazingly calm.  The anxiety comes and goes, depending on what's going on in my life, like most people.  I'm really excited about getting back to work in another couple of weeks.My biggest worry, however, is this exhaustion.  Work that can be done at home independently is fine,because I can work on my own hours, including the middle of the night.  But work that requires meetings with my teachers will be set in advance, and I'm going to have to figure out how to keep myself alert.

First, I need to really monitor and control my blood sugar better.  I dove into some donuts yesterday and today.  I wanted something sweet and I have a horrible time limiting myself to JUST ONE.  Diabetics with high blood sugar will often experience fatigue and irritability.  Next, I need to build some exercise into my routine.  My experience has been that the more exercise I have, the more alert I am.  All those great things--endorphins and serotonin--work fantastically for me and I feel better.  Third, I need to push for a different antidepressant.  We have tried the classic one for fibromyalgia, which is Cymbalta, and it didn't work for me due to a horrible side effect.  My next option is Wellbutrin.  My psychiatrist has told me this drug helps to boost energy level.  I know that it can be added to one I'm already on, Celexa.  Celexa helps with anxiety while Wellbutrin does not.  Considering the intensity of my anxiety these days, I am hoping I can add Wellbutrin to Celexa, and that it will make a difference in my energy level.  I was supposed to go to the psychiatrist today but slept through my appointment.

So that's my biggest concern with my job.  I feel like it's the kind of job I can make connections and make a difference with, and my biggest fear, as always, is that I will somehow upset my employer or let her down.I truly hope I don't.

I entitled this thread "Mama Bears and Hibernation".  The hibernation part speaks to my exhaustion and how I feel I spend a good amount of time curled up and sleeping.  But the mama bear--if you could hear me suck my breath in over the internet, well, you'd be hearing it now.  My children have been in camp all week, and on Thursdays the camp travels a few hours away to go on a campout for the evening, and then returns the next evening.  My son decided immediately he did not want to participate.  He still has some lingering concerns from his early childhood when he was removed from his mother's care.  I'm not even sure he's aware of it consciously, but I do believe subconsciously he doesn't feel safe in a camp away from home with people he doesn't know.  Heck, I wouldn't either.  So he decided to stay home.  In the meantime, my adventurous one, my daughter, was ready to go this morning.  Last night she had expressed a bit of concern and said she didn't want to go.  Because she had actually chosen this week FOR the campout, I insisted that she go.

So we arrive at camp and I sign her in, then ask for a medication slip.  You see, my daughter is asthmatic and it's fairly well controlled, but there was no way I was sending her into the mountains without an inhaler.  The camp counselor insisted that we needed the original box her inhaler came ine.

That's right.  The original box her inhaler came in six weeks ago.

Now, when she's in school, I provide a brand new inhaler at the beginning of the year, complete with doctor's instructions and the box.  I understand the purpose of the boxes--they are required by social services to ensure the medication is up to date and belongs to the child.  And in any other situation I would have had a box.  But this time I didn't, and that counselor looked at me through her sunglasses and told me, "Sorry, she can't take the inhaler."

I was pissed.  "So you mean she can't go because I don't have the BOX the inhaler came in."

She didn't answer, and I called my daughter to get her stuff and we left.

My child was crying as soon as we hit the car.  So I called the organization and asked for the camp director.  She wasn't in yet, but could I call back at ten?  No, I insisted, and I need to talk to her RIGHT NOW.

So they gave me the number and I called.  I explained who I was and what the situation was.  The director started to laugh and said, "Don't worry, I'll call over and straighten it out."

When I pulled up, sunglass counselor was on the phone and finishing up.  She didn't greet me in any way.  I actually had to say, "So do you want her inhaler for your medicine box?"

They took the inhaler and locked it up, and my daughter went to find her friends.

Tomorrow is the last day of camp.  I have been less than thrilled with aspects of this camp, and I really have been unhappy by sunglass girl.  You can bet that if my daughter was treated any way other that fairly, somebody's head will be on a platter.

What people don't understand (or sometimes forget) is that in most mothers we have a primal instinct that I like to call "mama bear".  People have put down my teaching, my clothes, my way of doing all sorts of things.  They've called me fat and tackily and mean and unfair.  It bothers me, but I can get over it.  But if you pick on my children, Mama Bear will come out and get you.  Mama Bear is not a rationale, reasonable person.  She operates from the gut of emotion and her only concern is to protect her young.  You don't wanna mess with mother bear, and especially one who's been hibernating.

So hopefully tomorrow my daughter will come home exhausted but happy.  I'm fairly certain that will be the case.  But if it isn't, Mama Bear and I will be fighting amongst ourselves to maintain decorum.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Day 266--The Life of a Medical Guinea Pig

Pain-3 to 4
Anxiety-5 to 6

Okay, so this week I should have blogged at least once more because I had the best day ever, or best since I had moved back home.  I was able to get up, get ready, go to lunch and a movie with a friend of mine.  Then I came home and cooked dinner.  Altogether, a super successful day.

I'm fairly certain that yesterday was a good day too.  The thing is, I don't remember it.  I remember bits and pieces of it, like eating a sub from Jimmy John's with my husband late last night.  I think I did some laundry.  Probably watched some tv too.  But that's all.  So the question becomes why do I not remember?  My guess is the same reason that I slept all day today until five p.m.  It's normal for me to sleep in on the weekends, but not this much.  And definitely not with huge gaps in my memory.

I'm fairly certain I know why.  See, I'm on a muscle relaxant called cyclobenzaprine.  In previous years when I have taken it, I've slept for 24 hours as a result.  When I was taking it earlier this year on a more regular basis, I wasn't asleep all the time, but I certainly felt as though I was living in a parallel universe.  I had stopped taking it a week or so ago because I had suspicions it was numbing me right out of my mind.  Well, I took one last night because I was having some muscle pain.  Big mistake.

I've spent the majority of my day asleep, and my waking hours crying, feeling disoriented and just not right.  My typical Saturday routine was thrown off and everything was a mess.  I was dizzy and out of it, and I hate that feeling.  My plans to take my youngest to a theme park for a few hours this evening were squelched.  I was in another world.

So my rheumatologist can expect a phone call on Monday morning.  I cannot tolerate this medication any longer.  I'd much rather take something with less strength than suffer through something that knocks me out for two days.  Ugh.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 273--The Devil Wears Jean Shorts and a Cute Mudd T-Shirt

Pain level--2-4 today (4--end of day and right upper quadrant)
Anxiety--5 to 6

So adolescence is definitely upon us in this household.  I have been told previously that "Fourteen is the new sixteen" and that things get better after that.  Adolescence with attachment disorder is difficult for sure.  I am hoping and praying that somehow God knows how this will all work out, and the end picture involves acceptance for all of us--me for my son's disorders and for my son, acceptance of us as his family.  It is amazing to me that even from 1400 miles away, his biological family just never settles down and acts, well, normally.  No, instead now they've tried to introduce his birth father back into the equation through facebook.  How freaking clever!  Have bio dad send the kid a message promising his love and adoration!  As though it was just yesterday that he saw the kid, and now he wants a relationship because he's always loved him.

I honestly doubt this man could pick my son out of a lineup, even though they share the same gene pool.

Regardless, the adolescence I'm referring to tonight isn't my son.  It's my twelve-and a half-year old daughter, who up until recently held me in pretty high esteem.  According to her, I was funny, smart, and pretty.  I looked "so pretty" in makeup, had the best shoes, was fun to be around, and basically rocked the world.  Don't get me wrong; we've had lots of times where we've disagreed, or she's grumbled or cried about how unfair I am, or how I don't understand, or how I love her brother more.

And trust me, the love affair went both ways.  Just as she found me to be amazing, so I found her.  She's clever and smart, has a sarcastic quick wit but a compassionate soul.  She can be devious and mean one minute and lovingly affectionate the next.  She was my perfect little girl.  When I say that, I don't mean perfect in the sense of never making mistakes.  Instead, I mean she is perfect in all her imperfections.  She is a child of God and is exactly how He intended her to be.

But over the summer, she has been increasingly pulling away from me, setting up that teenage wall of angst.  Her mother doesn't understand her.  She'd rather watch on her ipod or talk to friends on Facebook.  Late night daughter-mother sleepovers no longer hold the same appeal, nor does running errands or doing a whole lot together.

I'll admit, it's hard to hold a candle to somebody your own age, going through the same experiences.  Friends who share the same doubts and fears are far more attractive to her than her mom.  After all, I don't "get" her culture or her experiences.  She's right.  I'm not a middle school kid in 2011.  But she's wrong too--I've been a middle schooler before.  I know what it's like to fall behind on your work, to feel like your work is dragging you around, to question if you're wearing the right thing or doing the wrong thing.  I know what it feels like to be crying one minute and thrilled to death the next.

Yesterday was a huffy day.  If you've had a middle schooler, you know what this is.  It's the day where every comment or request is met with an eye roll, a "hmph" or an "Oh my Gaaawwwwddd!"  My short reprieves were our lunch date, in which she chose the restaurant.  That was it.  Today was much the same; she didn't want to go with me to run errands.  She wanted to stay home on her ipod or the computer or television.

The obvious solution is to limit her screen time, period.  But it's not going to solve the problem.  The problem is that she's gotten older and smarter, and she is trying to assimilate into her peer group.  Unfortunately, the invitation wasn't for two.

I was eleven when I began to separate from my mother.  As I've posted before, my mom was never really one of those moms who talked to me a whole lot.  I knew she loved me, but I didn't know where I fell on the priority list.  My guesstimation was somewhere between "work" and "sunbathing".  In retrospect, I think my mom was just really self-involved.  I always prided myself on having open conversations with my children and had somehow managed to convince myself that my relationship with my daughter wasn't going to be difficult during the teen years.  Oh sure, there'd be some disagreements, but not the slow progression of shifting from "my world is mom" to "my world is my friends".

So tonight we went out to dinner to celebrate my birthday.  My daughter was sporting her little denim shorts and a "Happiness, Peace, Love" black tee made by Mudd.  Her long hair was still damp from the shower and you could see a natural curl appearing that has never been there before.  First, she asked if we could go to a different restaurant (because my birthday dinner is all about her, right?).  Then when we had to wait for a table, the huffy evening commenced.  She was hot.  She was thirsty.  There was nowhere to sit.  She was tired of standing.  She didn't want to wait.  Once we were finally seated, she settled down.  Thank goodness we had a pleasant dinner, because I really didn't want to follow through with my consequence of taking her home for unpleasant behavior.  I just wanted my dinner!

Afterward, we swung by an ice cream shop to pick up a treat.  As soon as we got home, she picked her treat and headed to her room and her ipod, calling, "I'm going to bed, see you later."  No hug, no kiss, no goodbye or happy birthday even.  I sat in a chair and realized the late night sleepovers were still happening.  I just wasn't included.  That sudden realization hurt.  I didn't go get her or bother her, but I cried.  I cried in my chair at the realization that I no longer have a little girl, I have the awkward makings of a young woman, and in order for her to grow I needed to give her some room.

So what does mothering an adolescent look like?  I have no idea, which sounds funny since I already have an older teenager.

This is what I think:  she needs the opportunity to have privacy but she also needs to be acknowledged for who she is and is becoming.  She needs me to be involved, but as a figure in the background.  She needs some freedom to practice making good decisions with her friends and firm expectations and boundaries from her parents and her community.

Mow I have to figure out how to go about making those things happen.  When she was younger, we had a routine of lighting a candle each night, talking for a few minutes, then making a wish and blowing it out.  I think this might be where to start.  Maybe a weekly date with each of my kids would be good too, and more involvement in their social lives as a chauffeur and a host.

Maybe I'll blog some more tomorrow about this.  I come to some great ideas when I write.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 274-Familiarity

Pain level-2 to 3 (bone spur, right shoulder, back of head, and neck)
Anxiety:  8-9

So I added my anxiety level to this post because I think it's relevant.  I have noticed lately that I am feeling either dulled and depressed and tired or anxious.  Today was the first time in awhile that I made myself get up and get moving.  I have good reasons to be anxious:  my father had been ill and was hospitalized yesterday; the dryer blew out and the washer is moving at a snail's pace; I had a nasty side effect from my new antidepressant and had to give it up.  And all the things I need to do in reference to multiple jobs seemed looming.  Because of that, I decided I was going to take a giant leap for myself and just say no to extra work right now.  No overnight babysitting for August.  And, more worriedly, no courses taught in the fall semester.  I was only scheduled to teach two one-hour courses.  Hardly worth my time anyway, but I've been putting off going to get my text and all the other things I need to do for the course to prepare.  As I was getting sick in the bathroom this morning (yay, meds), I decided, enough.  So I wrote my supervisor a short email.  I had planned to call her, but then decided I'd rather send it via email.  As soon as I sent it, this huge relief washed over me.  I can concentrate on my job!  Hurray!  My ONE job for now, relying on me regulating myself and doing good work.  I'm excited.  I won't get rich but I'll get a paycheck, and I'm fully satisfied.

Of course, none of that relates to familiarity, but I thought I'd write it down to record it anyway.

A few nights ago I was tossing around in bed.  Nights seem to be the worst and best time combined.  If I stay busy, messing around on my laptop or watching tv or whatever, I'm content for the most part.  If I try to sleep, I'm often so anxious it's difficult to sleep without medication.  I was lying in bed the other night, tossing and turning, crying and thinking of things that were comforting for me.  I thought about sticking in a DVD of Criminal Intent and immediately felt calmer.  Why, I pondered, does that show make me feel soothed?  It's not like watching death and violence is a huge turn on for me.  It only took a few minutes to realize the incredibly obvious conclusion:  familiarity.  I know the dialogue, the scenes, the characters.  I can predict what's happening and find it to be interesting and clever storytelling.  It's the familiarity of all of it that makes it so comforting for me.

It's the same reason I have such a passionate regard for the lead characters.  Every look, every snarky remark, feels so relatable.  I feel among old friends.  As I've been writing this, I've realized exactly how little familiarity I've had in the last year.  New place to live, new job, new everything.  It may be the same old place I grew up but it's not how it was then.  Cities change, people change.  My parents have changed.  Everything, even the familiar, is different than it once was.

As Bobby said, "People look for an edge in an uncertain world."  That edge also has to do with what's comfortable and feels good.  Reading certain books over and over, watching certain programs or movies again and again, eating your favorite cooky on the couch in your pj's with milk and your favorite blanket.  Which reminds me of the very tall, solid EMT who came after my 911 call the other night.  We don't need to get into the details of the call, except it was on someone else's behalf.  However, this EMT was roughly the size I guesstimate Vincent D'Onofrio to be, which begs the image of snuggling on the couch with your milk, cooky, blanket, and a warm massive Robert Goren next to you.

Okay, I 'll admit that is NOT familiar...but I sure would love to make it familiar!  Robert O's welcome over anytime.  And no, Bobby, you don't even have to call first.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 280

Pain level-9

Last night I had a hard time going to bed.  Truth be told, I really enjoy staying up late, watching bad TV or surfing on my laptop.  I'm definitely one of those people who is very wordy.  I enjoy writing, I enjoy reading, and I particularly enjoy writing things for other people to read.

I don't know what time it was initially when I was woken up but I'm guessing before nine.  To say I felt like I had been hit by a MAC truck would be a bit of an understatement.  Every muscle in my body hurt, my stomach hurt, my head hurt, and my bone spur hurt.  Yes.  My bone spur.

I was exhausted and gave in to it.  I let myself sleep, and once I finally woke up, I lay in bed for a long time, feeling exhausted and depressed and like a waste of space.  I was supposed to go grocery shopping but there was no way.

Days like today are not only physically painful, but they're psychologically hard.  The older I get, the more painfully aware I am that my time on this earth is limited.  I don't want to waste it and I get angry when I do.  As I lay in bed today, I was thinking about what i would be doing if I didn't have fibromyalgia.  I don't know if I would be doing something massively awesome, but I would be doing something.  Something a bit more exciting than watching that hideous "America's Next Top Model".

I'm going to veer off course here for a minute because, well, because I can.  It's my blog.  I am guilty of watching America's Next Top Model.  I know to most people that would be no big deal.  But it's a big deal to me, because I think it distorts girls' ideas of beauty and stresses the power of good looks.  Or unique looks.  My daughter has watched it with me before and asked to be a model.  Being a preschool teacher, I've had parents who have worked hard to get their children into modeling.  I've never modeled before, not once, so I may not know anything of what I'm talking about.  Tyra Banks goes on and on about how hard it is to be a model.  One of my favorite actors, Vincent D'Onofrio, has gone on and on about how hard it is to be an actor.  I have one word for you:  bullshit.  When I think of difficult jobs, "model" and "actor" don't exactly make the list.  Would I want a five o'clock call? Nope.  Would I want to be posing in freezing water nearly naked for a pretty picture?  No, wouldn't want that either.  But I don't think either of those things makes for a difficult job.  It's a difficult PART of a job, but every job has difficult parts.  So wahhh.  Again, I've gone off point, and in the same paragraph this time!  Anyway, that show is freakishly interesting to me.  I do feel sorry for those girls.  They're young and naive, and usually have no idea what they're getting themselves into.  They try their best but their best isn't good enough.  All but one will be sent out the door, given a hug and some sort of cheesy advice from Tyra, and then the winner will be crowned.  The most interesting part of that show is that you never hear from these people again.  I have no idea if they really work in the modeling world.  Are they walking the runways in Paris?  Shaking the booty in Milan?  Who knows?  And honestly, I don't care.

The one thing about that show that I do think  is interesting is the way they make up the models and the way they shoot them.  I think I have a secret fantasy to be made up like a mermaid and hung upside down in a net, or maybe bejeweled like a geisha girl in my kimono.  I think that probably appeals to a lot of girls...being made up to look like someone completely different.

Almost every woman in America has, at some time, had a Glamour Shots photo shoot for "that someone special".  I've never done it.  Now they look really pretentious and self-indulgent to me.  The only photo shoot I've ever had by myself were my wedding gown photos.  And I wasn't overly thrilled with those either.

I'm hoping to have my children and dog photographed together this year at a local park.  I've picked my photographer; it's just a matter of hooking up and doing them.  I don't need anything fancy, despite how fun it may seem.  I just want to capture them how they are.  How I am.  For now, Tyra can keep her advice.  We'll take your typical boring old photos.

Once my bone spur is gone.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 284--Boobies Are My Friend?

Pain level-4

There are several things that I never imagined I would blog about:  Paris Hilton's dressed up dog, Johnny Depp's ever-changing-a-bit-weirder appearance, sexual dysfunction, cream puffs.  So if you're shocked by the fact I'm going to write about boobs, me too, sister. (Or brother, as the case may be.)

I just read an article about a woman who "made peace" with her boobs and no longer wears a bra.  She is a size A cup and apparently nobody can tell the difference between her wearing a bra and not wearing a bra. Hurrah for A cup braless women!  Several years ago I taught a preschooler whose mother, we speculated, had gotten a bit of a "lift".  She always went braless and perky, and I mean seriously perky.  Nobody has natural breasts like that.  You know, the kind that worship the sun all the time.  She was clearly proud of them.  And hell, if I had invested thousands into my boobs, I'd be proud of them too.

But I haven't.  I have what i was born with, a little more than my mom and close to my paternal grandmother's size, who I pictured as having a very perfect curvy figure.  Granted, she was really old when I was born.  Super old.  But I still thought she had the perfect woman's figure--curvy breasts and hips, normal belly and legs.  Total opposite of my mom's side, which you could line up with apples and really not be able to pick them out of the bunch.

So I got a larger cup size topped on an apple body.  Fun.  When I read Miss A-cup's article, one of the things she said is that big breasts have power.  I nearly laughed out loud at this, because I think that women with smaller breasts often believe this, and there are definitely men out there who feel this way as well.  On occasion, out of boredom, I've anonymously trolled chat rooms on the internet and found that one of the first things a Mr. Anonymous asks is how big your boobs are.  What the hell, I'm up for it.  Almost always, after disclosing my size (I'm a C) I move up several notches on the "fantasy girl" chart.  It's kind of gross.  I don't ask men the size of their penis or anything else.  I don't really care, mainly because it's been my experience that size is a really immature way to measure satisfaction in the bedroom.

Here's what Miss A-cup and these men miss.  I'm no more happy with my boobs than Miss A-cup.  I'm 42 years old and believe it or not, the things change over time just like the rest of me.  I've never been a fan of plastic surgery, but if I were to go under the knife, it would be to get a "perkier" look.  I wish I could go without a bra.  I wish when I took my bra off I didn't feel like I was seventy.  What I would give to be a size A or B.

Have I had men look at me differently because of my breasts?  You bet.  I remember once, when I was seventeen and coming out of a convenience store, Bubba and his friend told me I was stacked.  (You'll just have to trust me that his name was Bubba.  The tobacco he chewed was proof positive.)  The men I've dated seem happy with what I've got.  I imagine that's the case with most women.  I'm aware that there are some men out there who really push their girlfriends or wives to have augmentation.  But more than anything else, I think we are guilty ourselves, as women, in finding fault with our bodies.

When you get past the sexual stuff and you get down to it, breasts are a source of food for infants.  You don't see a swahili mother standing in front of a mirror shifting her boobs around to make them look sexier.  No.  You find her with her child swaddled close and nursing.  Because really, that's what they're for.  The rest is just icing on the cake, as they say.

I have no intention of burning my bras--I care too much about horrifying the rest of the world.  But I do agree with Miss A-cup on this:  women need to make peace with their bodies.  Whether you're apple or pear, whether your boobs are porno big or itty bitty, our bodies are a part of who we are.  And we all need to accept the fact that whether they point up or down, fill a hand or or pitcher, our breasts are fine the way they are.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day 285- My Life Gives Me a Fucking Migraine

Pain level:  5

Welcome to the pain level recording.  It is a suggestion from someone that I record my pain level each day so that I can see the changes based on meds, exercise, etc.  The hard thing about recording a number is that I can fluctuate between several numbers in a day.  Today, for instance, I was tired but not so sore initially; now I'm battling a migraine and my back hurts.

I went to meet my new psychiatrist today.  I'm going to know everyone in this area of the country by the time I finish with all these doctors.  Interestingly enough, I asked for Dr. Charles D., and was somehow switched to his wife, who also practices psychiatry in the same building.  I answered her questions to the best of my ability, which wasn't very pleasant.  I cried, as expected, She suggested Wellbutrin because it tends to give people more energy.  I suggested Cymbalta because hey, it's what every other fibro doc has said I should be on.  So I walked out with two weeks' samples of cymbalta.

Once again, a doctor has given me the old, "You can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself" bit.  Woo hoo.  She said, firmly, "You do understand that, right?"  to which I laughed and replied, "I think that's far easier said than done."

Yes, I'll remember that when one of my children is in trouble, when my father falls over because his balance is shot, when my mother asks me to pick up a ton of shit for her and when my husband is having surgery on his foot.  I'll keep it in mind when I am busting my ass at a part time job with no insurance and the hubs isn't working.  At anything.  And especially when somebody is sick or hurt and I'm the only logical adult in the house.

All of the whining and crying is annoying, not just to her, but to me as well.  You think I don't have to choke back what little pride I have left to answer these stupid questions?  Life would be so much easier if I could just write a basic autobiography ONE time and read it to each doctor.  Better yet, fax it over, and then I'll never have to worry about it again.

By the way, if you didn't already know that most people who have anxiety, depression, and pain as adults were abused as children, it's true.  And it doesn't grow more fun to talk about as you get older.

The crying has given me the start of a migraine.  More than that, it's made me irritable.  There is nothing joyful in visiting a psychiatrist, especially one you have to lead around with a ring through the nose because they're not familiar enough with your diagnosis to help.  Of course, a month from now I may be eating my words as I swallow Wellbutrin happily and run a 5K with all my extra energy.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day287- Countdown from vacation

We've been on vacation this week, the same place we always go every year.  The Outer Banks of North Carolina cause a mass exodus of our family, with dreams of swimming, shopping, lounging around and enjoying the beach.  We've been performing this exercise for approximately thirty years.  When I was a child, it was just me, my brother, and my parents.  Now it's also my kids and husband, and we board our pets nearby so we can visit them.

This year haas been different.  The week started out okay, but has slowly disintegrated into something else.  An inability to go out, to get restful sleep, to even have the energy to don a swimsuit.  Instead I've focused on staying in my bed, taking my medicine, and avoiding everyone else.

I cannot separate the depression from the fibro anymore.  They are so closely intertwined for me.  I have struggled with depression for years.  In fact, I can't remember a time in my life where Depression wasn't an issue in my life.  I don't recall, but my mother says she found a suicide note from me when I was eleven.  I do remember feeling hopeless and fat, which to me signified every shortcoming I had.  Even at eleven, I had figured out that skinny girls had a leg up on me.

I cry a lot.  Mainly out of intense sadness and loss, but also out of guilt, that my children are paying for my illness.  The days of mom taking the kids to swim, or go to the movies, or going to festivals or amusement parks--all things I actually like to do--seem to be over.  I asked my mom, as I sat next to her crying last night, if it was getting better.  She said she thinks so.  I just don't know.

Today is the last day of our vacation.  I can still go to the pool and swim.  In fact, that may be what I do tonight, later.  I don't want to look at my entire vacation and say the highlight

Reality is that I did go out with my mother one day, and I went out with my daughter one day.  My son and I have had lots of good talks.  My husband has taken the kids out--both separately and together--to see sights and to eat and all sorts of vacation stuff.  My son was just telling me how fantastic the lighthouses were that his dad took him to see.  As hard as I am on my husband sometimes, he really can be a good guy.  I would feel so much worse--more guilty--if I were not able to do those things and he wouldn't.  He tries.  And I'm happy to report, too, that my son seems to be making more progress in the last several weeks.  My biggest regret is that I didn't go by the organic dog biscuit place and pick up some treats for my dog.  Not only that, but I didn't go see her this morning.  I was so exhausted I laid back down and next thing I know I'm waking up at two.  So depending on the hours that store is open, maybe we'll run down there tomorrow morning.  My dog would love that.

When I get back home, I need to begin calling for the kids' camps, for PT for me, and two other doc appointments I need to schedule.

I did have a good job interview a couple of days ago by phone.  I will be talking with them again in a few days after completing a writing prompt.  I feel confident in my answer to the question and confident in the fact that I will get the position.  The great thing about the position is it allows for a good deal of mentoring adults.  The bad thing is it doesn't allow me to work with children.  In fact, I am never to be in contact with any of the children in the classes where I'm mentoring teachers.

I do realize that I could probably get a babysitting job that pays decently and would be a bit less stressful, but I need to stretch my brain.  I already feel like fibro is stealing so much from me.  Some days I just don't have the fight in me.  Like today.  I'd rather sit and watch TV than take a shower, don some clothes, and go to the damn organic treat store.  Or to put on my swimsuit and go down to the pool and swim.  I still haven't had the xray or ultrasound done that my doctors have requested.  I guess I'm not a great patient.  But I'm trying.  I went to my new endocrinologist the other day and that went fantastically.  He works for one of the top diabetes centers in the nation (right near where I live, ironically) and knows that my numbers aren't super, but aren't terrible either.  We need to fine tune.  I agree.  But it's the first time I've ever gone to a doctor to treat my diabetes that hasn't scolded me or made me feel like shit.  It's the first time I haven't been told that because I'm obese I'm going to die, lose limbs, go blind, or whatever.  Of course I'm going to die.  And so are you, and my family, and the janitor at the Y, and everyone else.  Living and dying.  It's what we do.

I really just needed to write today, to forgive myself for not running hither and yon during my vacation.  That maybe my ideal vacation includes a few days of down time...especially when my neck and shoulder are painful and my allergies are nutty and I'm just tired!  The days are coming quickly that I won't have that option--to go back to bed or skip whatever's going on.  I intend to be employed in a good job.  I intend to think, to write, to throw myself back into work and to be successful.  I AM better than three, six, or nine months ago.  My life isn't over until I say I give up, and I don't.  I've made progress this week in some ways.  I'm going to keep moving in that direction.  I'm smart and able, and my relationships with my kids are good.  We are doing better than we have in months.  I'm excited to begin to work again.  I don't think I'm naive--I know there are days I'm going to hurt and I'll have to suck it up for awhile.  My life is going to change and I'm resistant to that, but if it means that I have a higher quality life with my kids, I'll do it.  I want to be well enough to go to Disneyworld again in the spring.  And not with one of those crazy rental carts that old people use (sorry Mom and Dad).  I want to be able to do all the things I've done before and enjoy it with my kids.  I just turned 42 and truly believed I was old, until I saw my endocrinologist who told me in no uncertain terms I was NOT old.  I was young and had a long life ahead of me.  I can't tell you how much I needed to hear that.  I really, really needed to hear that.

I don't know where I'll end up after this year.  Another grant?  A Ph.D?  An Ed.D?  Or maybe an alternative certification for special education?  Who knows?  Isn't that what makes life interesting--the lack of knowing?  What I DO know, what I believe, is that God is putting me where I need to be.  The reasons may not be clear at the time, but that's not my lookout.  That's what faith is about--allowing Him the freedom to lead so I can follow.  He's done a fantastic job so far--leading me into a career that I've loved, leading me to another state to affect the lives of preschoolers and their families, as well as improving the preschool lab I worked at.  And most obviously, leading me to the position of motherhood.  Sometimes I feel like I traded giving birth to my own child for mothering the two I have now.  Maybe I did, but maybe I didn't.  I'll never really know.  But I do know that my kids are smart, funny, fantastic kids who needed a mom to love them.  And I love them with my whole soul.

Well, this has been a rambling post (along with a few tears).  I am greatly looking forward to my meeting with the psychiatrist on Monday, because my antidepressant and my anti-anxiety meds are not working.  So I guess maybe expecting me to be all Yee Haw! about this vacation is kind of unrealistic.  What I did was make sure the kids got to do what they would find fun.  They swam and they saw lighthouses.  They went to the beach and ate ice cream and went to restaurants.  Me?  I relaxed.  I wrote on facebook and thought about my interview and insurance and all sorts of things like that.  I talked a lot with my son, snuggled my absolutely wonderful daughter, and talked with my mom.  I joked with my Dad and my husband.  Maybe the gift of going to the same place for thirty years is the fact that you already know what's out there and can choose to relax and know you're not missing much, because you only live 90 minutes away and can always make a day trip.

So good for me, maybe?  I think so.   I can always go get a coffee later, pick up some dog biscuits, and swim.

We'll see.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day300--Learning a bigger lesson

Yesterday was the fourth of July and I wrote a post about the benefits of Vitamin D.  Don't get me wrong, I still believe vitamin D is incredibly helpful for a lot of conditions.  But just as I was starting to feel like my old self--a self that could get up and go after the world--I wake up with pain in my entire right side, including my neck.  Exhaustion plagued me, an upset stomach was on the horizon, and I decided to go back to bed.

This is the day each week I typically pick up my father from my mom's office.  He likes to go eat and sometimes run errands, and when he called, I explained to him I felt badly.  When I showed up to get him he wasn't ready so I waited, and by the time he got down to the car it was clear he had a deposit for the bank.

I'm usually a really patient person with the majority of people in my life.  Students, children, my dad...people who I have a tendency not to take for granted get the best of me.  I think most people are like that.  My father has a lot of health problems, including an illness that is slowly killing him.  He often gets confused.  His balance is very poor and I worry about him walking for any length of time, never mind climbing up or down stairs.  So because of my worry, a lot of times I hold back with my dad and try to say things gently, or not say anything at all.

But today he got it, and he got it good.  One of the things that tends to happen to me when I'm hurting is I get snarly.  When I saw that deposit I flipped out.  "Did you tell Mom that I felt bad?" I demanded, as he sighed.  When he answered yes, I went straight into my, "Great.  Nobody cares how I feel!"  He got irritated, like most people would.  I mean, it was a deposit for a bank three blocks away.  The whole thing didn't even require me to get out of the car--it took all of five minutes.  I offered to take him to pick up lunch but he wisely said no.  I would have said no to me also.

Lest I come across as a total bitch, I did apologize to him.  But this was after I had told him through tears that I wish he and my mom could spend one day in my body.  They really don't know how it feels.  My mom's saying is, "Well, if you get up and get dressed and go somewhere, you may feel better."  And true, some days that's true.  But other days when my arm feels twisted out of the socket, my neck is so painful I can't turn my head, my hip is painful, I've got gastrointestinal problems, and I'm exhausted, it's time to take meds and relax in bed.  There is no amount of "happy talk" that is going to make this better.

The most frustrating thing about all this is that I can't predict it, really.  Yesterday I did have some nausea toward the end of the afternoon, and I had woken up with my arm sore.  So maybe there is a pattern.  I don't know how long it's going to last, but I've got to try to make it work.  I've promised my daughter we would go to tea this week, so I need to call and make reservations.  I also promised we would do some fun stuff,  One of the things I've found is that if I have a day like this, where my pain is really high, then I usually feel better by the end of the day, so taking her for ice cream or to see an evening movie is a better idea these days than trying to do something in the morning or even early afternoon.

I know myself well enough to know I will go apologize to my dad again.  He was only trying to follow directions and I overreacted, as I tend to do when I'm in pain.  So hopefully the meds will do their job, I'll do mine, and this whole thing will work--hopefully.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 301--Kids, drink your milk and go play in the sunshine.

One of the symptoms of many people diagnosed with fibromyalgia is a low level of Vitamin D.  This entire story is going to sound a bit fairy-talish, but I swear it's true.

When I went to my rheumatologist in February, we started off on the wrong foot.  She was under the impression that because my last doctor had treated me with painkillers I was expecting the same from her.  Personally, I was in so much pain at that point I didn't care what the hell she gave me.  Once she realized I really wanted a diagnosis it took her about five minutes or less to determine I did, indeed, have fibromyalgia.  She ordered bloodwork, including a test of my vitamin D level.  She explained that people with low vitamin D often suffer from exhaustion and pain.  As a type 2 diabetic, I'm so used to people drawing my blood I just hold out an arm and look away.

Sure enough, my vitamin D level was about six, I believe.  Healthy levels are around thirty or higher.  So yeah, you could say I was running a bit low.  Let me tell you, one thing I've figured out with this fibro thing is that I can be a real bitch when I'm feeling bad.  It's kind of fortunate that my mother insists on accompanying me, because I probably would have been tossed out of more than one office by now if I didn't just walk out on my own.  So anyway, the doctor prescribes me this massive dose of vitamin D to take twice a week, along with calcium--1200 to 1500 mg--each day.

At first I hemmed and hawed.  I balked at the emerald green pills.  They were pretty, yes, but what the hell?  Now I have a vitamin deficiency TOO?  What other ways were these doctors going to tell me I suck?  I felt like my body was betraying me yet again.  It already made too much insulin that my cells wouldn't use correctly; it was attacking itself and causing my nerves to go whacko; and now this.  It couldn't even absorb a simple damn vitamin.  Well, fuck that.  I don't have to take the damn D.  Just you watch.

So I took it, but only when I felt like it, and only when I remembered it.  Sometimes I took the calcium with it but more often I skipped it.  Have you SEEN those calcium pills?  They're like the size of an enema and I was supposed to swallow TWO of them each DAY.  Shit.

My next visit to the rheumatologist went even less fantastically than the first.  She noted all the ways I wasn't cooperating with her plan.  I crossed my arms and stared at the wall.  She reviewed my low vitamin D level.  I chewed my lip and listened to my mom ask questions and write information down.  I wanted to send her a silent signal--don't write this bitch's information down!  I don't want it or need it.  She doesn't care about me anyway.  She doesn't understand how I feel.

Probably not.  But the reality is that she doesn't have to understand how I feel to give me timely and accurate medical advice.  And in the two months since I've seen her, a lot has happened.  My bad days are getting less bad.  My tolerance for certain things is growing.  My willingness to cooperate has grown.  And I'm taking vitamin D every Wednesday and Sunday, along with Calcium and Vitamin D-3 every day.  And you know what?  I do feel better.

This past week I saw an endocrinologist who wanted to test my vitamin D levels.  I'm actually looking forward to finding out if they've improved.  In addition, he's testing my cortisol level.  Cortisol is the stress hormone released by the brain whenever a person is in a stressful situation.  For people who suffer from chronic pain or stress, cortisol is consistently dumped through the body.  The damages of cortisol have been studied primarily in young children; cortisol can lessen brain growth and literally alter development.  I wonder if cortisol is part of the reason I forget so many things these days?

At any rate, make sure you're getting your D.  I'm not a huge milk drinker nor do I enjoy hot days outside.  I do enjoy yogurt and a few types of cheese as well as coffee drinks and ice cream (I mean, come on!  Who doesn't enjoy ice cream??).  But soak it up and eat it up; not only is it good for your bones, it's good for your mental and emotional health too.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 305--Hope and Promises

I have had type 2 diabetes for most of my life.  I was diagnosed in 1992, and I know I had insulin resistance from my early teens.  There are certain signs you can look for that indicate insulin resistance, and in hindsight, I can easily identify them.  One of the biggest signs is discolored skin around the neck, armpits, and groin areas.  I remember scrubbing my neck as hard as I could to rid myself of that ring, only to have my skin dry red and the discoloration still there.  I even tried bleaching my skin...with Clorox.  I didn't know what that ring was or why I had it but I wanted it gone.  None of my friends had it, and some of the kids at school had noticed and made fun of me for it.  It would be years before I would wear my hair up without wearing a turtleneck or collared shirt of some kind.

Being overweight, I'm hardly a candidate for Best Diabetic of the Year award.  I eat what I want, exercise if I feel like it, lose my meters and ignore them if I don't feel like testing.  Yep.  I'm THAT diabetic.  As I've walked the last twenty years with this disease, I've learned that I'm not alone.  There are plenty of diabetics out there who are just as "bad" or even "worse" when it comes to caring for their diabetes.  I'm fortunate--my doctors stumbled upon a good mix of medication that helped to lower my blood sugar, and while it's still a bit higher than it needs to be, it's not nearly as bad as it once was.

A few months ago I ended up in the emergency room after a vicious round with the stomach flu.  The doctor was afraid I had appendicitis.  The ER doctor did not find any evidence of appendicitis but threw a new diagnosis in the mix.  He was certain I had gastroparesis, a condition where the stomach does not digest the food quickly enough and the food literally rots in the stomach.  I had my doubts about that diagnosis because vomiting wasn't my only symptom, if you know what I mean.  But he brought up the need for me to do what I'd been putting off for years--finding an endocrinologist.

The first appointment I had I cancelled.  I didn't feel good.  In all fairness, I really didn't feel good, but I was afraid.  Endocrinologists are scary folks.  I sometimes think that when people specialize in some form of medicine they kind of think they're a demi-god.  The last endocrinologist I had seen had grabbed my shoulder, punched me in a tender point and asked if it hurt.  Yes, dear, and I hope it's okay when my foot flew out and kicked your scrotum.

So today I had an appointment.  I couldn't bow out of it no matter what I wanted to do.  I have this strategy to get through scary or painful things.  I tell myself it will be over in x number of hours, and I can do anything for x number of hours.  Really, there are a lot of things I don't like that I can manage for a few hours.  Right?  So I got myself ready and my mom and I headed over.  Helpful hint--if you are in pain or have some sort of illness that makes it hard to pay complete attention, it's an excellent idea to take another person with you.  Often, they will remember things (and may even take notes) that you don't remember because you're so focused on the pain or that ungodly blood pressure cuff or trying not to watch them suck out a liter of your blood.

And shocker--this doctor and his nurse were absolutely awesome.  Nobody told me I was going to die.  Nobody treated me like a "bad patient".  Nobody asked me why I hadn't been to the endocrinologist in a long time.  They just treated me normally, like a real human being, and we discussed options to provide better control.  They didn't even lecture me for my lack of a meter.  And best of all, nobody made me feel like a bad girl.  The doctor noted that it may be helpful too, to get my blood sugar a bit more stable to help me feel better.  I really liked that idea.

Yesterday my therapist said something really important to me.  She told me that as I go forward in this process, I'll learn my own unique tricks to manage my fibromyalgia.  That I won't always feel this badly. This is kind of the bottom, and it will get better from here.  It will get better.

And I wasn't sure if I believed her, but it sure was a good bit of hope and promise.