Crash Toone

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This was one of my very high pain days! 

About three weeks ago, I had an appointment with a genetic counselor. I didn’t want to go, but I saw it as a stepping stone to getting my hysterectomy. With my fibroids and supposed Endometriosis, I thought this might remove my pain. My doctor said that she wouldn’t take out my ovaries unless I was at great risk of cancer. I can’t tell you how much that ticked me off. I was under the impression my ovaries were causing me pain. So what? I am supposed to go to this appointment to find out that I am at great risk for cancer? Really?

Well, it didn’t turn out that way. I refused to take the blood test. I don’t want to know if I am at great risk of ovarian or breast cancer. I really don’t. I also don’t want my DNA on file with some lab for them to test. The counselor told me I shouldn’t do it if I felt uncomfortable. So I didn’t.

So I went back to the gynecologist, who is also a pain specialist, who told me that there was no reason to get my ovaries taken out because my ovaries are not causing the problem. She is now telling me that I may not have endometriosis, but too tight pelvic muscles, IBS, and too much stress. Since I have heard for years that this pain is part of my reproductive organs, and this doctor’s office agreed a couple weeks before, I had a hard time believing this new information. It took her the better part of an hour and an intense examination to, sort of, prove it to me. Rather, I should say to get me to shut up and go away dismayed and disillusioned.

I walked to meet a friend who was there for me because we both knew this appointment wouldn’t have definitive answers. She and I talked and she amazingly enough comforted me as much as you can a person who is overwhelmed with emotions, and hasn’t really processed something. On the way home after leaving her I fell in a rather dramatic fashion on thirteenth in the middle of two restaurants outdoor seating. I did a slight somersault and knocked over some chairs. It earned me the nickname Crash, which I have to say I am taking a liking to. Husband says it’s shocking someone hasn’t said that before. Not only because I am unbelievably clumsy at times, but because I like to attack problems and even social situations with all the subtlety of a hammer. I think it makes me sound like a superhero Crash Toone.

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Part of the damage from my fight with the pavement

That was about two weeks ago. Since then I have been processing all this information and I have started physical therapy for pelvic pain. I have also had two of the worst weeks of this pain I have ever experienced. I don’t know if that means it is working or not. I have been on my pain pills most of the time but when I wasn’t I was crying from a deep engulfing depression. It’s been overwhelming. It has been isolating so I haven’t just stopped blogging until now but also haven’t talked to a lot of family and friends. I just had to work this out of my system.

See this new diagnosis I am holding as tentative. It requires me to go to three different doctors several times and change my diet, my exercise program, and my schedule. It is also very expensive. I could go through all of it and still be in pain.

My homework from my first physical therapist appointment is that I have to do ten upward dogs every two hours, and for three days write down my food intake and my waste outtake. That’s uncomfortable. I still have to make some other appointments. I know I should have more done but I promise you that I have been going through the worst pain in my life so far, and hopefully forever.

Last night I finally put on my big girl panties and decided to do attack this with more vigor. I am not going to be grudgingly going to my doctor’s appointments. I am going to be CRASH TOONE, attacking the pain. I am going to plan and write down everything I eat, cut out everything I need to, and do all my physical therapy. I am researching everything I can about all of these diagnoses, and going above and beyond. If this doesn’t fix me I might just have to camp out at my Doctors office until I get an answer. Crash Toone is done playing around.

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Crash Toone: Because superheroes should always have a red lip. 

I’m Back, From Outer Space

It has been a while since I have written. I am so sorry but I have a very good excuse. My life has turned upside down and across the country. Two very big things have happened in my life. First of all, because I went a year without a cigarette my doctor let me off a certain medication. This medication was causing me pain, and the withdrawal of that medication was even worse and went on for about a month. Secondly, right about the time I was feeling better my husband got a new job and we were off to Philadelphia. We had less than a month’s notice and had to pack, find a place, drive the u-haul cross country, quit my job, and move into the new place. Right now I am surrounded by boxes in my living room. It is sort of like living in a storage locker, with a kitchen and TV. We have moved from a three bedroom fourteen hundred square feet apartment in Boise, Idaho to a one bedroom, seven hundred and fifty square feet apartment in Philadelphia. The experience has been amazingly mind blowing and also exhausting.

My mountain of boxes
My mountain of boxes

My husband and I have been stressed and on high alert for over three months and I know it has taken its toll on our diet and our bodies. The month that I was in pain I spent most of it on the couch. I was still in pain while packing and trying to get rid of most of our furniture. It is hard to sell all your furniture in a couple weeks. We even had trouble trying to give items away. It was two weeks of packing and moving and trying to spend as much time with family and friends as possible. Quality time was impacted by the urge to get things done. While I tried to be mindful in the presence of my friends and family the “to do list” was always in the back of my mind and I am only just realizing that now. There were so many people I missed and so many people I just didn’t get to relate how much I love them.

The day of the move we were so unorganized and stressed. That night when we got to our first hotel with our u-haul packed with our things, I realized I had been wearing my casual dress inside out the entire day. After taking a long hot bath in the gigantic tub Brad surprised me with, I sort of scared him because I was so tired I was speaking gobble-dy gook and had to be put to bed. After two more exhausting days of driving we took a break at my parent’s house in Oklahoma. We had decided to visit for two reasons. I hadn’t seen them in a long while and I might not in a while. Also, Mom has been pretty upset we haven’t been home for Thanksgiving in about ten years. It might as well have been a spa. It was a refuge in the middle of the country. We slept a lot and ate my Momma’s delicious food and talked and joked with my parents and siblings. Also, I got to play with my nephew and what could someday be my nephew. It was so nice and restorative we were sad to have to leave after three days. We drove three more days until we got to Philly. Then after a night in the hotel I watched my belongings be loaded onto a busy city street into a hole in the wall between two dumpsters. That is where the service elevator was. I even watched a guy pee next to one of the dumpsters. After all my belongings were safely into my new place, Brad and I set up the air bed and then went to buy a new mattress on Black Friday no less. After a wonderful dinner at the pizza place across the street, we drifted off to a deep sleep. That was six days ago.

The hole we moved our stuff into
The hole we moved our stuff into

Today I am taking a strongly recommended day off. I have been moving boxes and furniture and sleeping on an air mattress which has affected my back. Last night my husband begged me not to do anything today because I could barely walk. I really wanted to get this apartment into shape because right now it feels like living in a storage locker. Being in a huge city without any friends or family I guess I am just struggling to make a home. I need one place to feel normal. However, I am taking a break for my husband’s peace of mind to write and reflect on what we have been through.

All of this leads me to the good news. In a big city like this we are walking a lot more. We gave up our car since it costs over two hundred dollars to park it here. We are going to be eating in more since I am not working and it is so expensive to eat out. I am hoping that is going to bode well for our health. Today I am taking it easy and am going to do some yoga. With a little de-stressing, I think Philly will become home.

I have been hired as exercise’s PR representative

I am lying face down on the itchy carpet in my apartment wondering if they have replaced it since Clinton was in office. Brad is gasping and grunting trying to move himself into the next position. No this isn’t coitus on the floor. We are going through a series of stretches every morning and evening in order to decrease the muscle pain I have been going through. Right now it is an amalgamation of all the stretching we did in high school and some of the yoga moves I did in first year stage movement. We are stiff and breathing heavy. I have problems when trying to stretch my arms and shoulders. My shoulder s pop and resist. Husband has resistance when doing the bend and hang stretch. It isn’t glamorous or easy for us. We are just trying to get started. The TV is primed for the show we are going to watch after and the only sounds are my breathing heavy and Brads exertion grunts. Not exactly the most restful environment. I think we need to change that.

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What my husband affectionately calls the stretching and farting pallet.

When I was in grade school I had a brilliant second grade teacher, Mrs. Goodness. She was as good as the name implies. Everyday we would start in the morning with singing and dancing. At the time we thought she was the most magical and indulgent teacher. Now I know she was wearing our little bodies out, expending childhood energy in order to calm our minds to better focus.

The most miraculous thing she did was make reading a treat. After song and dance time, with such standard fair as “the ants go marching one by one,” we would hit the work of the day and then reading hour in which we could spread out on pillows or in corners of the room and read whatever we want. The treat was, if you were the most well behaved and the best in the class that day, you got to read in a place of honor. Mrs. Goodness had a platform in the middle of the room that held a large claw foot bathtub with pillows inside. I have never worked so hard to accomplish a goal. I was a spazz. I mean my mom set up the original embargo on soda, necessitated by her sheer exhaustion. It was not easy for me to be calm, quiet, and outwardly studious. I think I only made it into the tub once maybe twice. Certainly, all those other days I envied the people in that tub.

How remarkable to make reading a reward. So many times reading is the thing you do to get pizza or some other prize. Mrs. Goodness made the act of reading alluring. There is no power in the verse like a teacher, right?

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Pretty light…also helps with the aforementioned farting.

I want to do this same thing to exercise in my mind. I want to rebrand it for myself. Why can’t I make exercise indulgent? I don’t know how many times that I have rolled my eyes when some starlet or actress says something about how exercise is a meditation, me time, or energizes them. I have never felt that. Exercise makes me tired, sweaty, and cranky. I feel put out and resentful.

There are people who feel this way about reading, and I always look at them like they are crazy, just like some people reading this are thinking I am crazy. Maybe like Mrs. Goodness did with books, I need to rebrand exercise for myself. Those stretching sessions with lovely husband need some fine tuning to be the energizing, relaxing experience everyone recommends. So I am going to get some blankets to make the ground softer, pillows to relax on in between sessions, and have my husband create a relaxing play list. He is good at that. Maybe I will even go all hippy and burn some relaxing candles in the back ground. (We know from watching Scifi that all true meditation needs candles. How else can you accomplish a successful Kelno’reem? What would Vulcans or even Klingons do without a Pier One?) Maybe the full spa experience will turn my head around to exercise. Maybe I will crave it like a good book, or maybe I will go with the sex on the floor idea.

Kelno'reem
Kelno’reem

 

Please Excuse Me While I Write a Love Letter to my Husband

 

This is us on our honeymoon.
This is us on our honeymoon.

The past few days have been a respite from the pain I have been going through. I even made a lovely breakfast for my husband this weekend. I swam and spent time with family and friends. I was limber and energetic. This lasted about four days. This morning, when the alarm went off it felt like I had been boxing all night instead of sleeping. My joints were frozen in place, and my muscles were in pain. I was supposed to go swimming but when the alarm went off, I told my Brad, please I think my body needs the hour sleep more than the swimming. (I don’t know if that is true or not) He agreed, but he was awake already so he left me, and then came back in an hour to massage me awake. Yes, you read that right. Lying down next to me in bed, he very tenderly massaged my shoulders, my back, and even my hands that were stiff and unable to move. He patiently listened to my groans and whispered protests, and softly told me he loved me. I finally was loose enough to move myself into the bathtub so that I could soak my muscles in the hot water. As I bathed and my body loosened I said to myself, do better, be better, because I want to get better not just for me but for him.

In my life, I have been surrounded by people who have chronic pain, people I love greatly and I have been at a loss on how to be of comfort, until now. My youth minister when I was in high school said something that has stayed with me all these years, “Love is not a feeling, it is a commitment.” This is so true. I have been trying to learn how to express my empathy and my concern for my loved ones, Brad has taught me how. It isn’t the words. It isn’t even the tone, it is the consistent presence. It is the habitual exchange of care and warmth. Brad wakes me up everyday gently, and he is never impatient because he knows mornings are hard. He understands when I need to spend my break refueling and calming down instead of calling him. He has been so good natured about the eating no carbs when his favorite food is pizza, he got a gym membership with me even though he hates being around other humans (especially the athletic types), he went to said gym in his pajama pants because he didn’t own any athletic ones, he eats Kale, makes sure I remember my medication and vitamins, and rubs my feet when the neuropathy hits them as it so often does. He holds my hand when I am on the floor crying.

So handsome
So handsome

It isn’t just what he does; it is the consistency with which he does it. A man who is usually only patient with computers is infinitely patient with me and my pain. He is a miracle in my life and I hope it never ends. He loves me unconditionally and because of that I feel that I need to step up and be better for him. I need to work through the pain, show him at every opportunity that I am okay and that he is the most amazing wonderful husband in the world. So not only does he comfort me this way, he engages me and inspires me to get better, and handle things better for him.

 

When he laughs, he lights up my heart. It is the truth. I promise.
When he laughs, he lights up my heart. It is the truth. I promise.

Cooking as Meditation?

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Lately, I think of cooking as a chore. I don’t know what has changed in my perception. What I used to love most was to get up on Sunday mornings and make my husband blueberry whole wheat pancakes, French toast, or my own special blend of omelet. There is something about the breakfast meal that my particular brand of multitasking is meant for; trying to get eggs, bacon, and hash browns all out and hot at once is a challenge that I used to enjoy. Not to mention, the look on my husband’s face -like he was the luckiest man to walk the earth- was worth a million breakfasts.
However, mornings have been kind of cloudy affairs lately. I wake up excruciatingly slow and only truly feel like myself after I have had something to eat. Thanks for that hurdle, Diabetes. So I wake up and sort of dry heave a little until I have something to eat. Even after that I feel out of sorts for about thirty minutes. Brad has been taking over breakfast, mostly because of my nausea. I don’t even cook it on the weekends. No, I am not pregnant.
Brad does the other cooking because he is applying for jobs and working from home. However, I feel like I am not contributing enough. I really do need to get back in the kitchen on the weekends in some form, even if it is just to show husband he is appreciated.
Studies also show that the best way to lose weight is prepare your food at home and control what goes into it. I just haven’t ever enjoyed cooking dinner or lunch in the same way as breakfast. It is sort of slow and boring. The chopping, standing, sweating, and with me the breaking things and burning the fingers.
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However, I just read an article in Yoga Journal called, “The Power of the Pan.” They were interviewing the brilliant Michael Pollan, who is the author of many books relating to food. He said something that really hit home with my new plan to slow down and be mindful.
“I was hasty in the kitchen, hasty chopping onions—mine were always chunky and I didn’t sauté’ them long enough to get them sweet and caramelized. Samin Nosrat, my cooking teacher, who was a serious student of yoga, was always trying to get me to slow down. She said the key to great cooking was patience, practice, and presence. And this was a very hard thing for me to learn. It involved basically paying much greater attention to what I was doing. Learning how to just be there is the hardest thing of all.”
Sing it brother! I am telling you, focusing on only one task is the hardest thing for me to do, but I want to be more mindful. I want to teach my mind to enjoy doing things fully. I want to learn to focus on the task at hand and just enjoy it, and I also want to eat healthy. That makes two birds but with one stone, yeah?
So this weekend I will be cooking a nice dinner for my lovely, long-suffering husband and I hope to knock his socks off.
Pollan enjoys cooking now, so maybe I will too. He says, “Once you do, it’s this beautiful process that absorbs all your senses in a way that checking your email or watching television does not.”
I am going to try this way of cooking and tell you how it goes. If you have experienced this sort of bliss, please share it here on the blog site. I would love to hear about it.

Think of all the Unsaid Compliments…

I got my hair cut. I did it mostly because I am frustrated with the heat. I felt like I was wearing a long hairy blanket on my head. While sweating is my summer normal, I didn’t feel I should encourage it any further. I hate sweating. I also felt like a change was in order. You know, the wild thought that starts in your gut that says, change yourself and the easiest way is always your hair. It is a cultural phenomenon. I don’t know if the reasons are consistent. Could it be: I am bored, let’s shake my life up a little; I will get a haircut? Or: Here I am everyday looking fabulous and no one notices; I will get a haircut, that’ll shock em? OR: All this “changing my life stuff” takes too long; I will get a haircut.

I cut my hair for probably all those reasons.  In my earlier blog I explained that I have been feeling stuck in a rut, so there you go. I went to my trusted Hair Queen, Shannon, and told her I wanted something short- as short as I could go. With my fat face I can’t really go pixie, if you know what I mean. In this heat though, I was thinking about a full on Sinead O’Connor. It isn’t just the pasted-to-my-neck hair of this heat, it is the maintenance. So I went before work one day and consulted Shannon, and this is what she came up with.

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I am never very good at the selfie

Cute right? I had a vision of walking into work with an imaginary fan running in the background and some sort of techno music over the top. People would wave and give a thumbs up in my direction. Looks of bright eyed surprise and then smiles in slow motion, and maybe even pats on the back would be in order.

Did any of that happen? Of course not. First off, I work in chat technical support. Not only is that mostly men, but most of us don’t really talk that much anyways. Secondly, we are all busy doing stuff. About an hour after I got to work, I got a text from a coworker who knew I was going to get my hair done. “Turn around, let me see your hair.” She said then said it was nice. Another coworker stopped me in the bathroom and told me it was pretty. Two compliments are still not too shabby, but I was hoping for more. I know as a thirty-something woman I shouldn’t be needy for compliments, and in a way I am not. I love my hair, it is my favorite feature. I am a confident woman who is super cute and got the good hair combination of my mom and dad. It does what I want, but I want adoration too. I am greedy.

Talking with my best friend, after she saw it and complimented me right away, I told her how everyone was underwhelmed. She said, “I don’t think Idahoans give compliments.” I thought that might be true because she and I are both Midwesterners, who, I have to say give more weight to outward appearance which is a double-edged sword. The people here who have been most complimentary to me here have been from the East Coast, take that as you may.

I don’t think it is the only reason people don’t complement each other.

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It even looks cute curly!!!

I think it is how overwhelmingly awful we are at taking compliments. I mean I’m not, I am awesome, but most people are really hesitant to hear something nice. I was in the elevator with a young, lovely, olive-skinned beauty. I said in open-eyed wonder, “You have beautiful skin.”

Her immediate curt reaction, “No, it’s just the make-up.”

We argued about this the whole elevator ride up with me explaining to her skin like that doesn’t come out of a jar, and her telling me how hideous she was. Finally I stopped the whole thing and said as if speaking to a four year old, “Wait a minute, let’s start this over. You have beautiful skin, now what do you say?”

I mean seriously, children. If someone tells you how awesome you are, say thank you already! I don’t know how your momma didn’t teach you that, but I am now. Also, I don’t take time out of my busy day to bullshit you. I am an adult with things to do. Soak in the nice words; believe them, because I mean them. For goodness sakes, stop arguing with whoever complimented you, for my sake as well as yours. I mean, if you are a bitch when someone compliments you, they might not want to compliment me for fear of the worst.

 

Thanks Momma!

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My beautiful Momma!

So, there are always good days and bad, and I think starting a new exercise makes my days bad. I mean seriously bad. So I told you about my toe issues, and the reluctant husband, but the third day into my exercise was a horrible day. I woke up with my legs seriously sore. I want to remind anyone reading that I am severely overweight and sit on my ass for a living. That isn’t an excuse it is a fact. I wanted to overcome that.

I was seriously going to walk that Wednesday, but then also it snowed. My husband spent the car ride to the work trying to talk me out of walking that day. There was ice and snow all over the sidewalks. I was going to go walking anyway. I am a slight klutz though, and Brad was worried. I am better in a car on ice and snow, than I am walking, but I was undeterred. I told Brad I was going to walk and he couldn’t talk me out of it. I was resolute!

That was until my legs developed some sort of necrosis. Sitting at work every time I positioned my legs one way for a few minutes, they didn’t want to move. Then around 11:30 I got a raging nose bleed. I mean it was apocalypse now in my nose. I will spare you the gory details. It lasted only ten minutes but it felt like my brain was coming out of my nose.

I was done. I knew I wasn’t going to walk now. I was sore, upset, and light headed. I happened to have my nook sitting on my desk open to a magazine with a page filled with cute clothes. It wasn’t on a model or anything it was just cut clothes, shoes and jewelry. I started thinking. I will never wear these clothes. I will always be fat, and never ever get to wear these clothes. I was angry and started crying. I then put my head down, embarrassed to be crying at work. I was lucky to be close to break.

I called my Mom crying. I know it sounds stupid and weak, but I was so upset. I think I was just weak and light headed. But I was also upset at my body’s inability to move without pain. I called Mom because I was hurting, sad, and missing her. The first thing she pointed out was that she couldn’t understand me because I was crying. When I calmed down enough to tell her everything she said, “I was just bragging about you to God. I was just telling him how strong you are.”

I told her I didn’t feel very strong.

“You’re just having a bad day. It doesn’t mean you’re done exercising forever.”

I sniffed a lot. I was still blubbering. Her logic was so infallible it made me feel really silly. I was taken aback. I said, “Yeah, well I guess that is true.”

“Take a couple of days off, and then go back to walking,” she said, as if it was no bigger deal than that.

Well that is so brilliant, it just might work! I was so thankful I was still crying. I spent the next five minutes telling her how much I loved her and missed her. I was coming back from break and about to let her go when she said, “I gotta stop telling God how strong you are, maybe he is taking it as a challenge.”

We both started giggling. I said, “Yeah, you gotta quit Job-ing me Mom.”

That is what I love about my Mom, I call crying and by the time I hang up I have let go of my crazy and I am actually smiling.

How dumb am I? This is what usually happens. I usually get upset and disappointed with my exercise performance or make some other mistake and throw everything through the wolves. I was really close to texting my bestie for drinks or my husband and ask him about tacos. That is what happens. I think I messed up, so I might as well give up totally. Then I cope with my disappointment with a couple of cosmos and usually half a pizza. But thanks to the logic and love of my mother and the realization that it isn’t any more complicated than, “It’s not over.”

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My parents at my wedding. Don’t they look like spies!

That night I ate within my points, and the next day I went back to walking. It isn’t over. I just picked back up. Doc said five days a week. I will make it. Thanks Mom.