Drink Me

My quest for all-natural remedies for my fibro pain is never-ending.  After the Lyrica fiasco, I’m no fan of  the pharmaceuticals that clog the airwaves day after day and the over the counter stuff taken at a level to make a dent in the pain would seriously pickle my liver.

My acupuncture lady, Miss J, bless her heart, introduced me to essential oils as a relaxation tool.  I’ve used them for any number of ailments and a panic attack or two with varying degrees of success.  She also likes Chinese herbs.  The stuff she has us taking for allergies smells like His Awesomeness’s socks and has a fleeting (thanks be to God) taste of celery.  Works like a charm but the ick factor is substantial.

I came upon a recipe for turmeric tea that claimed to help with pain.  What the heck…I’ll try anything once.

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Now, before you even think to ask me what it tastes like, take a good long look at the above photo.  Folks, I scraped similar looking stuff out of the diapers of The Co-Defendants.  The University of Texas jerseys are this color.  That’s right…baby-sh*t brown.  The picture doesn’t even do it justice.

The recipe said I could add honey to taste.  There aren’t enough bees on the planet to make enough honey to make this stuff palatable.  But I was game and drank most of the concoction.  It was a struggle as breathing post-sip only intensified the taste.  However, I am happy to report that my pain level is actually significantly diminished.  Is this due to the turmeric or the shock of drinking what amounts to swamp water?  The world may never know.  Will I drink it again?  Possibly, but I must find my big girl panties first.

 

No, Really, It’s You

First, it was the naysayers who informed me that fibromyalgia wasn’t real–that it’s a trumped up condition created by people who are just plain lazy and don’t want to work.  Then there’s the alternate theory that says it was created by the money-grubbers in the pharmaceutical establishment to sell high-dollar medications.  I find this funny considering the fact that I still get up (albeit creaking, moaning, groaning and very slowly) at 4 a.m., work a full day (usually in a department where I stand All. Day. Long.) and come home to run a household and ride herd on two children who consider pestering the crap out of one another (and thereby driving mother insane) an Olympic event.  As to the alternate theory, pills do not help.  Not over the counter, not prescription.  So, unless I’d like to pickle my liver and serve it later with fava beans and a nice Chianti, I think I’ll skip them.

And while we’re on the subject of ‘choosing’ fibromyalgia, let me just say that were I to cherry-pick an affliction, I’d opt for something that resulted in me being thin, firm and perpetually tan.  And no, I don’t mean I want hepatitis.

Then, it was the nattering nabobs who said acupuncture was all smoke and mirrors, a waste of time and not ‘real’ medicine.  Ponder this a moment: Plastic surgeons are considered ‘real’ doctors so I guess we’re to assume the saline-filled bubbles they sock into chicks’ chests around the globe (no pun intended) are also ‘real’ boobs?  Yes, I refer to my acupuncture appointments as ‘going to the doctor’ but it isn’t just medicine, it’s an art.  Placing a needle just so to relieve pain takes talent and patience, traits I tend to find lacking in most ‘real’ doctors.  So, while you suffer side-effects from all those pills your MD shoves at you, my only one is feeling better.  Who’s the sucker now?

Now, what’s left to deal with are the trolls who believe ‘I am hurting’ is somehow my call for the Pain-Scale Pissing Contest to commence.  I do not consider my challenge, and that’s what fibro is to me, a challenge, to be the equivalent of acne-faced boys whipping it out in the school gym locker to see whose is bigger.  Are we really that far gone as a society that we have to be in competition over pain and suffering?

To be clear, I hurt every day, all day.  It just so happens that I may not hurt as bad as yesterday or even last week.  If by chance I say I’m feeling pretty good, this does not mean I’m cured.  It just means I’m not a panting, slobbering, dejected mess on the inside at the moment you asked.  I AM NOT in some sort of competition with the world at large to determine who’s in the most pain.  Of course there are others worse off than me and am I glad I’m not them?  Yeah, you betcha.  But it serves no purpose to belittle my daily experiences in comparison to someone else’s.  You simply diminish everyone’s experiences and come out of it looking like an ass.  Save face and skip your judgment.

One recent pithy remark was that my story never changes.  Duh!  And some folks are Judgy McJudgersons only on days that end in ‘y’.  Ask yourself where you stand on the Douchebag Spectrum.

Bottom-line time: Spare yourself the angst and me your hot air.  Smile your fake smile (And we all have ’em.  I reserve mine for ill-mannered children and adults who shouldn’t be allowed in public without a shock collar.) and move on.  I’ve got better things to do and a higher class of folks to do ’em with.

Fun Fibro Friday

I sit here listening for the umpteenth time to ‘Let It Go’ (if you don’t know which movie it’s from, please crawl out from under that boulder and join the rest of us) and would like to offer up my fibro to anyone who’d care to have it.  I’ll let it go!  Anyone?  Come on, no adventurous types out there today?  Fine, be that way.

Every other week, I spend a day with my acupuncturist Jamie and her bevy of sharp-tongued needles.  Today was no exception only I had company…The Diva.  For some reason, The Co-Defendants think Jamie hurls harpoon-sized weaponry at my over-sensitized self.  Some days, I admit, it feels like it.  The Diva spent the majority of the hour peering over the top of her DS, eyes wide, making gulping sounds as if before a firing squad.  She decided the needle between my eyes made me look like a unicorn.  I admit, in my imagination, I am that fabulously unique.  As for me, I just lay there staring at the designs created by those millions of dots on the ceiling tiles.  I’ve never seen the Virgin Mary or Elvis, maybe Jimmy Hoffa once, but who can be sure?  Truthfully, that’s a departure from when I first started acupuncture sessions which I usually spent giggling, thinking of myself as a human pincushion or porcupine.  Now, I wake myself snoring.  Or drooling.  Usually both.

In addition to the fibro, I also have Raynaud’s, which is a giggle a minute all by itself.  Usually, the tips of my fingers, my toes and even my nose are cold to the touch…like touching a real live corpse.  Yahoo!  And, yes, I am that doofus wearing the hoodie in 1000 degree Texas summer heat.  I’ll admit that one benefit is the ‘no snuggling’ rule Himself has instituted.  Yay, me and having my side of the bed all to my lonesome.  And forget picking up anything cold…it’s not going to happen.  At any rate, I went in today with my palms fire engine red and hot, hot, hot.  And not in that good Tom Selleck kind of way, either.  Apparently, that’s the flip side of Raynaud’s.  Who knew?  For today at least, I am one hot broad.

Jamie’s remedy?

Blood-letting.

I can’t make this crap up.  So there I lay (laid, lied…whatever) letting her jab me in the side of my pinkie finger right smack next to the nail bed with an old-school finger jabbing device.  And all the while I’m thinking that I’m paying this woman to do this.

I’ll say one thing for this fibro gig:  there’s never a dull moment.

 

Tell Me What I (Kinda Sorta) Want to Hear

I’ll admit it to the blogging universe, but never to my husband’s face, that when I ask for an honest opinion, I generally want the person I’m asking to lie.

I once asked a psychiatrist if I was crazy.  His reply was that mentally ill folk don’t think their behavior or thoughts are abnormal so it wouldn’t occur to them to ask about the appropriateness of their actions, therefore, I didn’t qualify for ‘crazy’.  I say there’s always an exception and that psychiatrists are a lot like politicians…never a straight answer.

I asked Himself, once upon a time, what was the big deal (no pun intended) about Kim Kardashian’s badonkadonk and why everyone just swooned over it.  The man chose to make hand gestures to describe the difference between hers and mine.  He did not choose wisely, grasshopper, and spent a very lonely week if you get my meaning.  On the other hand, I’ve asked if something made me look jaundiced, fat, old, dead (pick your descriptive) and he’s lied like a champ.  Ah, well, one ill-chosen response should not make him a doghouse occupant for life.  Perhaps he thought I genuinely wanted an honest answer.  Silly man.

If you keep up with my blogging ramblings, you know I was told in a half-assed, kinda-sorta manner back in July that I might possibly, probably, take-my-best-educated-guess have fibromyalgia.  It wasn’t one of those moments that instilled a lot of confidence in the medical community, especially when it was suggested I get a sleep study first.  WTH?!  ‘Go to a specialist’, my mother intoned.  I had the doctor set me up an appointment and then I promptly fired her.  I’m sorry, but when I want answers, I want answers not some dilly-dallying, waffling crap.  I can get better info from Wikipedia.

So, Thursday I got my definitive answer.  I’d already been warned by an acquaintance to expect to basically be told what I was going to do and when with regard to treatment.  Haha!  I don’t take those meds anymore, so we’d just see how accommodating I’d be.

I’m not a huge fan of doctors.  If I’m there, sitting in my skivvies and covered only by a paper ‘gown’, it’s fairly obvious a good time is not about to be had by all.

Imagine my surprise when I was sitting in my skivvies, haute couture paper gown in place AT MY APPOINTMENT TIME!  Grab the smelling salts, y’all!  Yes, on time, I tell you…with the doctor already in the room.  As I rambled on about why I was there, Dr. F perused the paltry lab notes sent over from Dr. You’ve Been Fired.  Then I got put through the ringer.  Tender points I didn’t know existed on my body were poked and prodded and every extremity and joint I owned was put through more contortions than a cheap hooker.  We discussed the weather, the economy, immigration and politics.  He asked if I ran my household the way the President is running the country…no lie.  All while I’m sitting there half-naked and freezing.  Charming.

‘Let’s be honest here, doc.  All I want is a yes or a no.  I know there aren’t lab tests to diagnose this.  I don’t want medicine of any kind with all the lovely side effects.  Just give me a yes or a no and if it’s no, what are you going to do then and I’ll be satisfied.’  He blinked at me like an owl.  Crickets chirped.  Apparently, according to Dr. F, my attitude is my best offense against fibro.  Who knew being an obstinate, sarcastic, pain in the ass could be an asset?  Well, me, but no one else seems to appreciate the finer points of my personality.

In the end, the answer was the same: yes, to the fibromyalgia.  Was I disappointed that was the only thing wrong with me…was his question to me.  No, I’m good that that’s all it is.  Isn’t that enough?  It sucks monkey nuts that there’s nothing the medical community can do to make it better sans side effects but them’s the breaks, right?  I’m satisfied and life can now go on, not that it wasn’t already marching forth whether I was ready or not.  I mentioned the acupuncture and Chinese herbs and was impressed he didn’t roll his eyes and could actually read the herbs, written in Chinese no less, on the label.  He seemed a bit shocked that I didn’t want painkillers or sleeping pills, but let’s be honest, they’re not going to do any good.  This is life and life goes on.  It’s not like I don’t put on my big girl panties everyday anyway.

Onward.

 

The Tact Train is Leaving the Station

I have managed to accomplish exactly zilch in the quilting department since coming home from last weekend’s retreat extravaganza.  I have, however, managed to bake two batches of incredibly awesome muffins/cupcakes without anyone keeling over from shock or going into convulsions of disgust.  It’s the little things that brighten my day.

Today was another acupuncture day and this time I made myself watch while Miss J set my feet and then the palms of my hands on fire.  Have I ever mentioned I work with my hands?  Yep, that was a ‘working buttonholes in the seat’ experience if there ever was one.  I thoroughly enjoy my visits, not just because I know I’ll get some relief and that I’ll inevitably wind up giggly like a idiot, but also because I want to see what wacky Hawaiian print shirt she’ll have on that day (which reminds me, I want to try Hawaiian applique some day).  From the soles of her Doc Martens to the tippy top of her never-seen-a-comb hair, I think she’s fairly awesome.

I’m not sure what it is about going for these visits that is akin to going to a regular medical establishment-type physician, but it gets me to running at the mouth.

‘People don’t believe half the stuff you do to me in here.’  Nice one, Steph, make it sound like porn.  Idiot.

‘Do other people ever say they feel guilty for saying they feel like crap every time they come in..or is it just me?’  Sigh and chuckle is her standard reply.

Do you think she drinks before or after my visit.

I have visions of what I look like while the session is going on…

Premise : Pinhead who’s more terrifying than Jason and Freddy combined leads a group of...
photo credit: picsearch

but I know that in reality I look like this…

Clever Beastie

As far as I’m concerned, these appointments can’t roll around fast enough.  I always feel like something the cat barfed up pulling into the parking lot and like a perky pair of boobs after plastic surgery while leaving.  Carry that mental image with you through the weekend.  You’re welcome.

So, pardon me while I get up on my soapbox and do a little preaching.

I’ve been doing the pin-the-needle-in-me routine for six weeks but I’ve already had enough of the naysayers and pooh-poohers telling me that the relief is all in my head.  I suppose they have to say this because it’s not typical medical-establishment jump through hoops until we figure out what works stuff and, heaven knows, if it doesn’t come with side-effects it must not be real medicine.  It takes every ounce of tact I have (and trust me, it isn’t much) to stand there and smile and nod all while thinking ‘You are such a dillball’.  Go ahead, ask me what a dillball is.  They continue on, telling me the relief I feel only comes because I have faith that it will work.  I’ve yet to get a reply to my retort of ‘I pray, too.  Is that all hocus-pocus?’ 

Frankly, I did a little eye-rolling myself when Miss J sighed over my deficient qi, but if sticking a pin in my cranium or lighting my extremities afire gets me some relief, sign me up.  I’m quite sure there’s some sort of life lesson God is trying to teach me about patience and perseverance and suffering so I’ll be content to muddle through it and try (and generally fail) to live with fibro gracefully.  I don’t knock their choice to support the pharmaceutical establishment and gulp down pills with nasty side-effects.

Don’t knock mine.

Quilting in the Rain and My Neurotic Dog

Here in central Texas, we’ve been enjoying a bit of the wet stuff today…hallelujah and now I’ve had enough.

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Most places when it rains, it cools off.  Not so in Texas.  It just feels like someone’s slung a wet wool blanket over your head and turned on a heat lamp.  Rain also means that every two-legged creature that lives here (except moi, of course) will drag in fifty pounds of wet leaves and, not one to be left out, Lulu the boxer will choose to potty in the muddiest spot in the yard and subsequently track it all in.  Is it possible to teach a dog to wipe their paws?  I can’t manage to teach a grown man and two kids how to do that, so I’m guessing not.

This is where Lulu spent most of her day…

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That’s right…under my sewing table aka the dining table and almost but not quite on top of my sewing machine pedal.  I’m glad she doesn’t sport a long tail or we’d have issues.

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Does this Thunder Shirt make me look sexy?

This acupuncture business must be doing me some good as I cleared a few large branches that had the nerve to fall from the tree outside my kitchen window and still had energy left over to make several string blocks.

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Sorry for the awful lighting, but it’s the best I can do in a pinch.  I used a Moda Scrap bag to make these as I do not, repeat, do not save scraps.  Yes, I know, go ahead and have the vapors and let’s move on, shall we.  I’m probably the only quilter on the planet that detests scraps…think Brussels sprouts level hatred and you get the picture.  Anyway, these were taking up space in my sewing cabinet and I was in the mood to just run fabric through my machine until it overheated and begged for mercy.  I’m pretty sure I’ll sash these once I get enough to make a fairly decent sized quilt.  Time will tell.

I’m linking up to the nice folks at Crazy Mom Quilts, Richard Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

 

Where There’s Smoke

Childhood fun involved teepeeing someone’s house (that’s wrapping it in toilet paper and then praying for rain).  Adult fun (the kind that doesn’t keep you outta heaven) involves acupuncture.  Yes, it’s an exciting life I lead.  But before I get to the pinning du jour, let’s take a little side trip, shall we.

Now, I firmly believe that if we women can expect our waistlines to expand to Titanic proportions, have boobs big enough to feed Africa and stretch marks that closely resemble all roads leading to California, it’s only fair that the menfolk should suffer the monthly indignities of bleeding and cramps.  I’ll have to ask God about that little design flaw when I get upstairs.

Anyhoo…today’s acupuncture appointment was all about cramps and bleeding and bloating.  Admit it, you’re riveted..and you totally envy me.

Well, Miss J had a fix for that, too.  Who knew?  I thought it was all about needles.  Not so, grasshopper!  Today I was introduced to mugwort (not to be confused with Hogwarts) and FIRE!!  So, I got tiny dabs of mugwort applied to my big toes (think of those giant-assed termite mounds Steve-o would gush about on his wild Australian nature show only on a much smaller scale) which Miss J then lit and snuffed out just before they reached my toesies.  I lay there and watched smoke emanating from way down south.  I swear you can’t make this crap up.  I’m not sure what this was supposed to do for my girl parts, but it was good fun and a heckuva lot more exciting than say, fighting the urge to yak or watching bumpers rust.  Then Miss J broke out her needle collection…and headed for my ears.  Now, I like to think I’m a fairly unique individual, but I can assure you with 100% accuracy, that my girl parts are not in my ears.  I may on occasion have my head up my behind, but everything else stays where it’s supposed to.  I’d like to say now that needles in the ears hurt.  You there!  Stop rolling your eyes.

I got a few more needles down my legs, but it seemed the excitement was over and there was no more smoke.  Too bad.  For a minute there I thought I was at a luau and I was the suckling pig.  Where were the native men in their grass skirts twirling flaming torches?

I got sent home with four whats-its…one in each ear and one on the inside of each ankle.  I’m fairly certain that ‘whats-its’ is the technical term.  If memory serves (and it usually doesn’t) these are to keep pressure on key points until they, or the body parts they’re attached to, fall off.  Yay me.  Behold…

No, that's not a pimple.
No, that’s not a pimple.

 

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And here’s me, feeling better…

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Maybe next time, there’ll be smoke AND half-naked men.

 

Who Stole My Qi?

Today marked my second visit to the acupuncturist and the utter absurdity of what’s being perpetrated upon my person has finally sunk in.  Laying there allowing, heck, PAYING, someone to poke me with needles?!  I should be horrified; instead, I found it all quite amusing.

So, there I lay (Lay, laid?  Whatever!) on a table barely wide enough for Barbie’s scrawny plastic ass, trying to resist the urge to yank out the quills and hit the door, when the lady came back in with a little black box (hey, isn’t American Airlines missing one of those?) and, God as my witness, jumper cables.  What WAS this…Fifty Shades of Gray?!

“Hey, I shaved my legs for you this time!” I squeaked.  Chuckle.  Sigh.  This was the extent of her reaction.  What could I do, now that I was half-naked and quill-laden, to actually earn a jolt from J’s Juice Box?  I’ll have to ask Mr. Owl the next time I see him…or is his area of expertise confined to the center of Tootsie Pops?

“You said your shoulder was frozen and tight, so we’ll try some e-stim on it.  Tell me if it hurts” she replied.

Sweet baby Jesus, are you freaking kidding me?  Apparently, since I’m sitting here typing this, all went well.  If she strolls in next time with a cattle prod, all bets are off.

To top off the pin-pushing extravaganza, I was told my Qi is very low.  My wonky westernized brain says Qi is either energy or really smelly foreign cheese.  Anyhoo, because my Qi is non-compliant, I got a needle jab to the top of the old cranium for good measure.  And I worked so hard on my ‘do today.  Bad Qi, bad!

Miss J is also a firm believer in herbs and aromatherapy.  Her herbs, she promised, were the ‘perfect blend for allergies and all-around good health’.  It didn’t hurt that I wouldn’t have to sell a kidney to pay for them, either.  Over lunch with Himself, I doled out two of the little gems which looked suspiciously like rabbit pellets or droppings depending on the light.  Upon smelling them, I determined that the latter was far more likely…they smelled and tasted like celery which is practically the same thing as poo in my book.  Himself said if I started hopping about or crapping on the carpet, I’d have to stay outside.  Lovely man.

As for aromatherapy, I admit I’ve turned into something of a tramp for anything grapefruit, which is funny, because I hate them, too.  I spritzed the crap out of the inside of my car while waiting in the pickup line for The Co-Defendants with a spray called ‘Pep Talk’ whose action was to ‘motivate and inspire positive thinking’.  Hey, you can’t blame a mom for trying.  I certainly felt motivated and inspired not to take any snarky crap this afternoon.  Thus far, it’s working as they are positively quiet.  I hope the ‘Pillow Potion’ lives up to its name tonight as I expect to sleep like the dead.

Next appointment’s on Wednesday.

Pray for no cattle prods.

 

 

Pin This, Sucka!

I have an all-new respect for my trusty pincushion.  Bless its heart.  There it sits, while I poke, prod and stab it with pin after pin and it just takes it.

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Which is kind of like how I felt during my first visit to an acupuncturist.  Mind you, I’m doing this all in the name of finding some relief from the pain of fibromyalgia and not because I have a needle fetish.  And, oh, yeah, because my Mama told me to go.

After filling out enough paperwork to run a credit check and walk out with keys to a Ferrari and answering more personal question than even I thought possible (was I getting a free trial-run of eHarmony?), I found myself laid out on a massage table waiting for this motherly-looking type to commence jabbing me.  I have had brighter ideas, I thought, as I watched her prepare to jab me betwixt my eyes with one of those puppies.  Yeah, you betcha, I shut my peepers.

I won’t say it was relaxing and I won’t say it was painful (except that one jab at the base of my neck where I knew beyond any doubt I was about to see Jesus…and pee my pants).  I also won’t say I can see any benefit….yet.  However, I’m a patient person and give it all a ‘wait and see’ attitude.  What am I saying?  Y’all know I’m not patient!  I will say there weren’t as many pins involved as I thought…I was kinda thinking I could turn myself into its own Pinterest board.  And then there’s the idea that I bet I was the whitest, fattest, two-legged porcupine this side of ever laid out on that table.

I’m going back next week to do it all over again, on my day off, which is when all the exciting crap In my life happens.  I knew I couldn’t stay on that damn Lyrica as it was making my hands and face swell and wasn’t doing anything beneficial.  I don’t know that I care if the pain and fatigue completely disappears so long as it’s lessened, I’ll be satisfied.  Stay tuned.