Posts Tagged With: October

THE OK POLICE

It’s time for a confession:

I haven’t written in awhile. It looks like it’s been over 2 months. The truth is, I’ve been watching my back. I’ve been keeping an eye on happenings around me. I’ve been looking over my shoulder even more. I feel like my last post revealed something illegal.

It feels ILLEGAL to say “I’m OK”.

WHAT????

To be honest, I have been waiting for the “OK Police” to track me down, to find me. Clearly if I have put in writing that “I’m OK” then I’ll be found out. How dare I have MS, lupus, IBS and all kinds of other issues and be OK? What am I thinking? Clearly then I should be working and living that “normal” life right?

I MUST be ready for a job. I MUST be ready to add that chaos back into my life. I MUST feel well enough to work.

Something happened in April of this year that I have yet to write about here because to be honest I’m still not ready to get into too many details. What I will say is that an entity who shall remain nameless stopped helping me financially and my legal counsel advised me that it was because by writing a Blog and being “able to write” then CLEARLY I can WORK.

OBVIOUSLY.

OH WHAT A FANTASY. I WISH IT WAS THAT EASY.

Or maybe it is right? Well let’s see what I can do in the morning if I were to go to work right now? I can get up early in the morning, stretch my body in the bed before I even get up because due to my MS and lupus my body has stiffened through the night, I can try to do some spiritual routines to help me have hope to get through even the next hour, I can shower which ALWAYS feels like an EVENT, I can put on all the creams and do all the Dermatologist ordered regimens in order to protect myself against sun sensitivity due to my lupus, I can feed my Cleo Kitty, I can think through my fog-addled brain that includes a regular feeling of tired along with MS fog and lupus fog, I can make my breakfast, I can take all my vitamins and medications, I can pull together a lunch for the day, oh yeah and how could I forget putting on clothes which can wear me out, I can put my shoes on with hands that are probably achy and stiff due to MS and lupus, I can do my stretches that usually now take 2 hours to do that have been provided to me by my Chriropractor, my Physical Therapist and those I have learned over the years, I can brush my teeth that requires movement of my hands and arms, I can go to the bathroom which is probably TMI and obvious to some but that depends on the ingredients of this experience, I can find my keys which even to normal people is hard to do, I can be sure to wear my sun protective jacket or shirt AGAIN because of my lupus sun sensitivity issues, I can put my hat on my head and flatten anything that might have looked like a PASSABLE hair do, I can grab my bags and hope I can even carry them, not to mention just dragging and pushing through all my symptoms I might be having for the day like FATIGUE which is a huge issue for me, stiffness as mentioned a bit before, weakness, balance issues, aches and pains, the itchies, HEAT FATIGUE which is separate from regular fatigue and is still playing a bit part of my life here in LA even as October looms, SUN FATIGUE where yes even the UV rays sneak through the CLOSED window blinds and can affect my lupus, dry mouth, dry eyes, numbness, tingling, nausea, constipation, and all the other digestive icky stuff and I could go on and on about symptoms, and THEN I can hopefully remember what I need to bring and actually bring it (Memory is also a serious issue and symptom), go into the hallways into different UV rays and temperature, lock the door if I can remember to, go into the elevator, deal with the fluorescent lights that could also affect my lupus due to the UV rays that blare from these awful lights, ride the elevator and hope I don’t get dizzy (another symptom) from movement, all the while hoping I can stand this whole time if my legs will let me, walk to my car, unlock it and put the stuff in my car and then get into the other side of the car…….AND is anyone else tired?  I mean, I haven’t even left the apartment building yet.

AND THAT IS JUST THE MORNING.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it. This is what I go through every morning if I have a morning doctor appointment to go to. This is what so many of us do. Have you all realized what you do in the morning? JUST the morning? It’s a wonder we can do anything EVER.

AND YET, I’M WORRIED ABOUT THE “OK POLICE”. That I might get “found out”.

I mean, Gawd forbid I say I’m OK. It’s as if the Disability Police are going to come and tackle me and say they “caught me”. That I’m going to admonished for being “OK”.

What is OK? Well, that is a very broad term for all of us. Yet some people and entities who shall not be named choose to think it must mean all is right with me or you or whomever it the subject of those 2 LETTERS.

2 LETTERS can implicate you. 2 LETTERS have the power to make me feel guilty. To make me feel guilty about what????? I have friggin’ MS and lupus! It’s a miracle to even think I could be the LETTERS “O” and “K”. Seems to me, those that think I can do more than I do should feel guilty if anyone.

Come on now. Sure, a lot of this is in my own head. But where did it come from? It came from a society that believes that we have to keep going and going and we’re NOTHING if we don’t keep going and we must be “LAZY” (if we stop and smell the roses for goodness sakes–needless to say I really don’t like that word because there is such a negative connotation to it) and that we have to accomplish the world and yet that’s never good enough is it? We live in a world that judges based on words, based on outward appearances when so much of what we ALL go through is invisible to the eye. So we live in a life of constant stress don’t we?

WHY?

Why are we so concerned with what others are doing?  Why do we decide it’s wrong? Why do I think I’m wrong for being “OK”? Why can’t I celebrate it?????

For so long I have struggled. For so long I have felt CRAPPY. For so long something was wrong.

So why be so worried about the “OK Police”? Why can’t I just live my life? Why on earth do I have to be punished for feeling a bit better?

BETTER.

Now there’s a wide open word for ya. Oh my goodness! She said she’s better so it must mean that all bad and uncomfortable things have come to an end. I have news for everyone who thinks these things and all entities who use that word to stop taking care of someone who actually deserves the help (YES I SAID DESERVES THE HELP)! Guess what???? BETTER DOES NOT MEAN THAT I AM ALL BETTER AND I AM READY TO STEP BACK INTO THE WORLD AND WORK MY BUTT OFF NOT JUST ON TAKING CARE OF ME BUT ALSO TO WORK 40 HOURS A WEEK AND WORK AT LEAST THE EQUIVALENT OF MY PAST JOB AND WORK UP TO 50 (YES I SAID 50) MILES AWAY FROM WHERE I LIVE! And yes I am yelling.

Better means there is improvement. It means that I don’t feel so absolutely miserable that I don’t know how I can make it another day. And no that has nothing to do with ending my life. It means what I just said. It means that maybe, just maybe I can eat more than toast. It means that I might even be able to write a bit. It means I might be able to take a shower without wearing myself out.

OH NO! I’m writing a Blog! A Blog! I can clearly work right?

WRONG. Since I’ve been writing this post today my hands and arms have been throbbing a bit but I am determined to write it. I will not keep it all in and be quiet and stuffed into a dark corner where no one even has to know I exist. I have news for you. I do exist. I have a name and I have a life and I am not less than. I deserve to be heard. I have so much that I could feel crappy about. I have so much reason to think no one wants to hear me or see what I write. Those are delusions however. I will FEEL this afterwards. I won’t be able to wash the dishes by hand because we have no dishwasher and it’s the only way to get them clean. I won’t be able to think clearly for awhile because I’ve used so much of my mind energy to write and focus on this that is also so fulfilling.  I won’t be able to do the 4 loads of laundry even with my husband’s help because I’ll need to rest. I also won’t be able to focus on the bills that need to be done. Yes, I even do bills. I struggle through them cognitively (I deal with a hard time concentrating quite often due to MS symptoms.)

Oh sorry. Should I have even mentioned that I can sometimes do dishes and sometimes even do laundry with help? Or that I do bills? Yes, even those of us who are disabled have bills to pay. Lots of them. We may not have a lot of money to pay for them though. Heck, we might even have more due to health insurance and other medical expenses that drive us out of our minds. Or maybe I shouldn’t be writing this because then it will look like I can work. Again, I’d be expressing myself too which might be bad.

My awesome Chiropractor, or Holistic Healing Coach as I like to call him, ordered me to celebrate me feeling better and turning a new corner to improved healing. He said I should shout it out. I still cowered a bit when he said that and he noticed it right away. “Why are you sinking a bit?”, he asked me. I had to tell him I felt guilty. “Guilty? Why? Embrace it! Don’t let anyone make you think otherwise, especially you.” I’m trying Dr. D I’m trying.

Isn’t that the whole point? Shouldn’t I be encouraged to take the time I need to be getting the help I need even financially that by the way is not mooching from the system? Shouldn’t it be OK to see me out and about? (There’s those 2 letters. Uh oh.) Shouldn’t I be cheered on to keep doing what I need to do so I can become even more of an “accepted” member of society? Here’s an idea. Perhaps if I keep doing what I need to do to heal and recover I can go back to working because yes, I do want to be working. Sure I don’t think I can ever go back to doing what I was doing or being in that kind of environment again. It was too chaotic. It was just too much for me. That’s OK. (those 2 letters just keep sneaking up on me). But I’d really like to help people in some way. That would be neat. Maybe there’s a future career in that for me.

So today I declare that I shall not let my own mind become the “OK POLICE”! I shall not let the thoughts, attitudes and feelings of others affect how I live my life. (Oh wow. This might be too much to ask for at once.) I shall not let others get me down.

I SHALL RISE UP!

Perhaps maybe even one day in the near future I’ll be better than “OK”. How cool would that be?

But I have news for everyone who thinks that I should be able to jump into the life of a “working” person. Actually, this brings me to a new tangent. Just writing that line has sidetracked me. I’m going to keep these thoughts in this order for you all to read because sometimes stream of consciousness is so important to help us understand each other. Here’s a thought:

I AM A WORKING PERSON ALREADY.

My JOB is to keep taking care of myself. Do you know how hard that is? How good are you at taking real care of yourself? It is much more than a full time job! Heck, I need an assistant just to help take care of ME. I DO WORK. I still go to AT LEAST one doctor appointment a week. I still have to chase down my medications and supplements. I still have to try to eat healthy. I still have to exercise. I still have to make sure I get enough rest because gosh darn it life is tiring and then adding multiple sclerosis and lupus on top of it magnifies it a gazillion times more.

IT’S WORK.

ANYWAY…back to having “news for everyone who thinks that I should be able to jump into life of a ‘working’ person” as mentioned above before my tangent. MS and lupus are no joke. They are not CHOSEN as part of my life path. They are DISEASES. They literally cause way too much “Dis-Ease”. They are always making me feel something uncomfortable. Yes, I am STILL always feeling a symptom. There has not been a break in years. Over 10 years AT LEAST. And they can get worse and flare up WITH NO NOTICE. They are completely unpredictable.

SO NO. I’m not OK enough to work just yet. I’m not sure I will ever be. This doesn’t make me feel so good about myself sometimes. It’s one of the hardest realities to ever have to live with.

WHY? Maybe we’re not all supposed to be members of the Rat Race. There are so many other ways to live our lives as part of humanity. If we all did the same thing we wouldn’t get anywhere.

So you know what, “OK Police”, try it. Try to tackle me and then what? Because here’s the thing. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO CURE MY MS AND LUPUS. THEY ARE ALWAYS GOING TO BE THERE.

And it is OK (I say this proudly now) for me to be OK. It is OK for me to need your help if I asked for it. It is NOT OK for you not to help me if you are judging all I do on what you read on a screen. (I am sending this message along to an entity who judged me by my writing.) And while I continue along this path of OK-ness I’d really like it if you would at least join me before judging. We can walk together. We don’t have to stand next to each other especially because I’ll still be working on even being “OK” with you being on my path but I’d really like it if you’d try to UNDERSTAND me first before PUSHING ME DOWN and doing your best to make me INVISIBLE.

And to tell the truth to my own mind, since this really is just one big discussion with my insecure sensitive mind, it’s been 2 months since I wrote that lost Blog post about how “I’m OK” and not once have I even caught a glimpse of the “OK Police”. I can let it go now. I can at least try to.

AND I WILL CELEBRATE AND EMBRACE THE FACT THAT I AM GETTING BETTER! Sure it’s not the better I want but it is still Progress. It doesn’t have to be Perfect (dang it), but it’s in the right direction. I deserve a good quality of life just like everyone else. And I am really starting to feel it.

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Dreaming of a Non-Boiling Fall Season…

It’s fr*&^%$#@! 95 degrees in West Los Angeles (over 100 degrees in the Valley) today (October 1st) and I find myself daydreaming about the Fall Season in New England where I spent my first 22 years…

Sure it’s actually quite typical for October to be really crazy hot in Southern California. Hence, the idea of fire season. This is usually the month when the fires can get really bad out here. The vegetation HAS HAD ENOUGH. And so have the people. It’s a wonder the people don’t melt and boil as well. The best part about the temperature is that the sun goes down earlier and it USUALLY (I feel like I’m jinxing us all in LA) cools off pretty well at night. USUALLY.

But the biggest tease these days is the Internet and the access to all these social sites where those in cooler climates are praising the Fall Season and how “lovely” it all is. I find myself drooling all over the wonderful pictures of the colorful foliage and wanting to jump in the pictures to get just a taste of it. I wish I had appreciated it more when I was there for 22 years. Funny how that works…

So while I sit here in my apartment with the AC at full blast so that my MS doesn’t go completely crazy on me (been feeling the heat quite a bit today even with the AC) and the blinds closed so I can live in a cool dark cave so that my lupus doesn’t go wacky on me (joints are hurting), I thought I’d come up with this list and fantasize away. We were back in New Hampshire/Massachusetts a year ago at this time and it was wonderful. I really thoroughly enjoyed myself and was feeling quite bouncy. I even found myself frolicking in the colorful forest. I was completely invigorated!

So here’s my Fall Daydream Drool List:
*colorful leaves
*dark red leaves
*lighter red leaves
*yellow leaves–almost golden
*orange leaves
*orangey/red leaves
*half-colored leaves still changing
*even the green leaves that have yet to change
*the breeze through the leaves
*watching the leaves fall from the trees
*the crisp cooler temperatures
*breathing in the fresh cool air
*wearing snuggly clothes
*cooler chilly temperatures but it’s not too cold and freezing
*hot cocoa
*hot coffee–pumpkin flavored coffee and other fall yummy flavors
*hot tea
*hot apple cider
*the steam rising from the hot cups of yumminess
*pumpkins of all shapes and sizes–not melting like they would out here on my balcony right now
*gourds of all shapes and sizes
*decorative corn
*special jams and jellies
*mums
*maple syrup
*maple candy
*maple donuts
*picking apples
*cider donuts
*pumpkin french toast
*pumpkin pancakes
*pumpkin baked yumminess
*cinnamon everything
*the way the sun light shines through the trees and the colorful fall foliage
*scenic drives to see the fall foliage
*lots of hills to drive through
*exploring the countryside looking at the fall foliage
*my eyes watering from looking at the deep vibrant colors
*country stores
*caramel apples
*caramel yumminess in general
*scarecrows
*Halloween decorations
*Halloween festivities
*FROLICKING through the fall foliage wherever I am
*sometimes even when it’s raining in the fall
*the bright clear days and the blue blue sky
*the sunsets–although we do get some pretty good fall sunsets here in LA too
*hayrides
*yummy fall smelling candles–yeah sure I can get them here but there’s something about burning them when it’s not HOT
*NOT having to turn the AC on
*sweaters
*scarves
*sitting and watching the leaves blow in the wind
*lakes surrounded by beautiful fall foliage
*a big field surrounded by beautiful fall foliage
*baking baking baking
*the festive feeling in the air
*the wood stove smell
*all of the wonderful FAIRS!
*eating too much yumminess at the Fairs
*bread bowl soups
*seeing my breath as I breathe outside
*the fall colors in general

And I could go on and on. I know I’m missing A LOT of stuff. Do you want to add anything? Please feel free to do so. I’d love to see what you have to share. And if you have any fall pictures you want to share, please please please post them here! I’d love to see them. I can’t get enough!

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Diagnosis Part 4: “9 Times Out of 10”

In October of 2002 I’m guessing I was out of my mind.  I must’ve been.  What was I thinking?  I was working a full time job, I had just finished working as a Production Assistant on a “B” movie that I never heard about again, I was still working out and eating really healthy and then I decided that I needed to get a second job because I just wasn’t making enough money.  Hey, I was 25 and I was invincible right?

Wrong.

It was October in Los Angeles, CA so I’m guessing it was quite hot.  It usually is at that time of year.  I wouldn’t have known because I was too busy running around.  I worked full time at my day job in television which had its own stress.  I walked every day during lunch and worked out at least three times a week.  I ate well and I had lost almost 50 pounds.  My second job consisted of working in a linen store and running around lugging big bed spreads and other bed linens up tall ladders and dealing with customers.  Things were going well…I thought.  Yeah sure it was a bit hard on me but it would be on anybody.  I could do it.

Somewhere along the way as my feet continued to tingle on the bottom, I started feeling that dreaded tingling symptom travel up my left leg.  Then it traveled to my left arm.  Then my left hand.  I denied it.  I ignored it.  It couldn’t be happening.  An echo of a memory of my Primary Care Doctor’s voice rang in my head from months before, “Is the tingling going anywhere else up your leg or in your arm?” and I told him no and asked him why to which he replied, “Oh no reason.  It could just be more serious if it ever happens”…”ever happens”…”ever happens”.  Those two words rang in my head but I pushed them away.

Did you know it’s really hard to push that tingling symptom away when it doesn’t go away?  I waited two weeks until the tingling sensation then jumped from my left hand to my right hand and then I admitted it to me and somehow told Corey about it.  I wanted to be in denial.  I wanted to believe it wasn’t happening.  If I didn’t talk about it it would go away.

So somehow I got over myself and called my Rheumatologist to make an appointment.  I sat in that exam room and I told her about these new symptoms.  She looked at me long and hard and kept her facial expressions very still.  Then she said she wanted to order an MRI for me.  I freaked out.  An MRI?!  BUT it’s just tingling.  That’s all.  MRIs are to check for serious things.  I only had tingling.  That was all I had been told by how many doctors till then?  Somehow I got out the words and I asked her, “Why an MRI?” and she beat around the bush a bit and said, “Well your symptoms could be indicative of many things.  9 times out of 10 it’s not MS but it’s always good to check just in case.”  And she also made some comments about the lack of attention from my previous Neurologists and how she couldn’t believe I hadn’t had an MRI before then but that she’d get it taken care of.

MS????  What did it even stand for?  I didn’t know it stood for multiple sclerosis.  Why would I know that?  It’s not like we learn about all of the diseases out there during our normal lives.  What was that?  It sounded awfully serious.  All I could picture was those poor celebrities we had seen in the limelight who were in wheelchairs, if anything.  Then again, why would it be MS?  I hadn’t been diagnosed with anything else so there was no need to jump to any conclusions now.

So how did she calm me down?  Well she talked to me about her health problems and how she had just had to have an MRI herself and she told me the tricks of where to put my hands and how not to feel too claustrophobic and what to do when I was in the tube, etc.  She tried to show me how she could relate and some of what she said still sticks with me now when I have to have follow-up MRIs as part of my multiple sclerosis healthcare plan.

You know I somehow knew I had MS.  I don’t know how or why but something about it clicked for me.  I spent a lot of time contemplating it and talking about it with Corey while I waited for my HMO to go through the horrible rigamarole that was “necessary” to get me approved to have an MRI.  I had to wait at least a few weeks to be able to schedule my MRI let alone have one.

And you know all of this didn’t stop me from keeping up with my crazy full schedule.  To me I had no reason to slow down and stop.  Not yet anyway…

 

The next Blog will be about my 1st MRI experience.  It was a truly traumatizing and life changing experience for me that deserves it’s own Blog entry.

 

Thank you for reading my story.  It is so very hard to write but so necessary to express and share.

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