Saturday, April 22, 2017

The exhaustion of fighting with myself

Ok, I almost named this Dancing with Myself, after the Billy Idol song stuck in my head. But since that might sort of distort the type of things I usually write about, I chose the more innocent and truthful, Fighting with Myself.

Sorry if you sing Billy Idol in your head all day now.

So, an update....physically, life stinks. There's migraine pain, which is a given, fibro flares, endometriosis pain, some undiagnosed but not specific to fibro hand issues, and my husband has started a new job, and while I am SO pleased his stress level is back to "not gonna have a stroke any minute" levels, he's not working from home as often and I miss having him here. It's just comforting to know he's here, even if he's working and cursing his phone and computer and slow internet...

Thank goodness the dogs are my little cuddle bugs and keep me company when he's gone. 

And, all this stinkiness is occuring at a horrible time. Politically, after our current President's election, I grieved a little, but within a week was standing with friends at a visibility event for Planned Parenthood. I got a kick of energy after the election. It was like my fight or flight systems were activated and all I could do was fight. I co-started our local Indivisible chapter.  I began a PAC with some like-minded Progressives to change politics in Arkansas and especially my County, Faulkner Forward PAC.*  I have been involved with the Citizen's First Congress, an advocacy group that reads lots of legislation--OMG, theres SO much legislation.  Such a dance party was had by me (and I'm very certain tons of others) when this travesty of a session ended. We squeaked by with a few wins for public schools and kept healthcare as is at a state level, basically, until Congress may actually pass something someday that ruins it for all of us, but the losses were big, and likely to affect lots of lives.  Then of course I've tried to stay involved with the Democratic Party and Democratic Women. 

With rallies, Marches, almost daily direct citizen advocacy (talking to Members of Congress's offices about important policy things), leading new groups, wanting to see my husband as much as possible, and oh yeah, those seemingly weekly doc appointments, life got busy. Fast.  Like, too much for anything but illness, politics, and my husband for months. 

I learned a new skill!  I have learned to say no to leadership opportunities even if I really want them. But that gets old. I feel I should be able to do it all. I feel the healthy version of me is out there somewhere, doing it all. I wish I could meet her. Hell, I wish I could be her.  

During the election, my youngest nephew from a few hours away lived with us while attending school. I'm much more liberal than he was raised to be or has thus far decided to be. So it was interesting getting to have real, intense conversations with him, watching news and debates with him, and hearing each other's viewpoints. I'm not sure if I changed a vote or not with him, but I think it broadened the way he looks at issues, at least.

My brother's oldest child got to vote for the first time. He knew how important that was to me so he came home from school so I could be there for his first vote.  That meant a lot. We had some pretty intense conversations about things and became closer because of it I think.  I'd walk through fire for all my nephews and nieces. (Technically, I only have one niece. But I have cousins who are like nieces. They know who they are and they count!)

During this time, I don't know if it's medication or adrenalin, but something allowed me to function.  My doctors were shocked at what all I was able to do and manage, in between migraines. I told someone I felt like I was running with all my might to get things done in between migraines, crashing a few days, then going again. It wasn't ideal.  Life with migraine never is, but relatively, I was doing a lot of stuff and felt the sense of purpose and accomplishment I so need and desire to feel.

In reality, I probably just bit off more than I can chew and hid it really well until the exhaustion took over.  I am a master at the basic "Oh, I'm Ok. Same old, Same old. Now, tell me about XYZ?", said with a mustered smile.  

So, now, medication, adrenalin, fight or flight, whatever that energy was, is gone.  Not working. In its place is a constant migraine, and fibro pains, and an almost unbearable fatigue.  A dark fog of depression is settling in that makes me not want to move. I can get to a really dark and scary place when depression hits.  I'm not there, but the weight and darkness of it, it's there.

So, I guess I just really wanted to vent a little. I feel a constant internal struggle to be better, do more, and accomplish things, but that is countered with pain, exhaustion, and a basic desire to never leave my house again. It's a struggle within and that all by itself is exhausting.

Ambition and migraines, or any chronic illness, for that matter, just don't mix.

My doctor and I have discussed using steroids as a preventive.   Last time we discussed it, in late February, he wasn't ready to go there yet. I am.  So ready. Like cut something off or do some major surgery ready. Just SOMETHING with a reasonable expectation of decreasing my pain and giving me a quality of life.  

Depending on how much you know about long time steroid use, you may know that's a really big step. But, when I'm on steroids, I can tackle the world. So what if I'm losing eyesight in my 40s or having joints replaced at relatively early ages. Is it better to get the feeling of accomplishment I long for, or to languish in pain, fatigue, and depression instead?  

And, btw, do you see how those things called "essential healthcare services" the Republicans so want to do away with really are essential even to relatively young folks with conditions deemed minor (like migraines) by the majority of people?  I won't get into all of it, but if you want to know point by point, how me and millions like me could be affected by the proposed changes to our healthcare system, I don't mind the conversation. 

At any rate, I don't know what all is going to happen. I'm trying essential oils, which is interesting just learning about, trying a new acupuncturist this week, hoping to start a different preventive soon, probably going to do a few Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Treatments. I did one and had some relative success with it, so it's worth exploring, I think.  So yeah,  other sick people will recognize this as the throw everything at it and hope something sticks approach.

As bad as I feel things are getting, I know I only have one way out. And that's through it. Whatever that means.

Thanks to all of you who hang with me as friends, partners, family, "colleagues" (do you have colleagues when you don't work?  Well, I figure you know what I mean.)  From one angle, at times I feel like a demolished, worthless human being. But then I think of you all who put up with me and seem to even love me anyway, and I feel pretty amazingly lucky.

*Shameless PAC plug: if you are interested in politics and want to see some of Arkansas least Progressive legislators replaced and especially want to see more Progressive women in elected office, please visit our website and donate today.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Political Ponderings

We attended a Democratic Party dinner last night honoring some friends. I so love my Democratic Party friends. I always know their hearts are in the right place even if policy goes awry, as it's bound to from time to time with either side. 

Something was said tonight that got me thinking. See, Republicans have recently attempted to unite the country by introducing a bill it seems everyone can hate--their Trumpcare health bill, or as I call it, the Trump-don't-care healthcare bill. So anyway, it was pointed out tonight that Republicans largely won NOT by being FOR anything, or not by telling us what it was they were for, at least, but by being against things and telling us all the things we should be scared of and against too.

Instead of spending the past almost 7 years since Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act, was passed working to improve it, they gambled you'd believe them if they were just against it and told you how bad off you were under it. You know what?  The gamble paid off. They were rewarded both Houses of Congress and the Presidency. Only now, many have realized how much protection Obamacare gave, and most people including Trump voters and Republican representatives are realizing how difficult it is to come up with anything better. And all I can think is, Wow, if they'd done their jobs the last 6 or so years to fix it instead of complain about it, we might have a workable solution by now.  But to have done that, they would've had to say what they were for, not just what we should all be scared of or be against.

We are Americans,  dammit.  There's nothing we should be scared of that we can't change by working together and using our brains.

I'm finding progressive/ Democratic leaning folk don't like to just be against things. See, I'm helping organize what is supposed to be a Resistance group using the Indivisible Guide as a reference. The Indivisible Guide is meant to be about pure resistance and opposition.   However, this group of about 50 interested members don't want to just oppose. They want a positive message. It doesn't matter that Republicans did nothing but oppose for 8 years and were rewarded handsomely for it. I'm discovering if you have a progressive bent to your soul, positivity and optimism come with it. Pure opposition is not in your nature. Being FOR something is.

I recently read J.D. Vance's Book Hillbilly
Elegy, HarperCollins, copyright 2016.  (Forgive me, I haven't had to cite a book as a source in quite some time, so if that's incorrect I hope it's enough to keep me from plagiarism!)  As I was pondering all this about being for vs against things and right vs left, I remembered a passage in the book where the author tried to make sense of the white working class's relationship to the government and political Parties. This passage came to mind.

"What separates the successful from the unsuccessful are the expectations they had for their own lives.  Yet the message of the right is increasingly; it's not your fault your a loser; it's the government's fault."

The right wanted to have someone to blame, a boogeyman, the evil, overbearing government. If you've ever had a chronic illness or a random catastrophe,  you know somethings happen outside of our control with no one to blame.  The left understands this. It's not that the left feels there's never anyone to blame, or that government plans always work perfectly, but I get the sense my friends on the left would rather fix things than spend an entire two term Presidency complaining about it.

And my friends on the left understand that changing what a person expects of themselves makes all the difference in the world.  We must invest in changing expectations,  not simply finding a new boogeyman to blame. We must send kids to thriving schools with qualified educators who teach them they are capable. We must feed kids and make sure they have access to healthcare to provide a sense of wellness and self-esteem. 

Now, there I go telling you things I'm for instead of what to be against. You'd think I would've learned better by now, huh? 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

New political activists:Glad you're here and we need you!

Just a word for my friends new to politics that now consider themselves political activists.

Congratulations!  You have taken on something bigger than yourself that can affect other's lives in both good and bad ways. (We hope for good always, though, right?)

Volunteers are ALWAYS needed in politics. So thank you for stepping up. You will fall in love, give your heart and soul to candidates, issues, and campaigns. It can be very rewarding. It can also be heartbreaking. Prepare for both love and loss. Victories are amazing; losses, devastating. Prepare for both, and prepare for the unexpected, because as great as our targeting and polling abilities are, humans are humans. We do expected and unexpected things. And we make mistakes.

Politicians are people too. They have flaws. If you are looking for perfection, or a savior, you might consider being an always informed voter, but maybe not an activist. If you can realize and accept that the politician's campaign you are pouring your heart and soul in is no more perfect than you, keep fighting.

Campaigns and political Parties need money. It's sad but true. Give of your time, your thoughts and ideas, and money if you can. If you can't help your candidate or Party financially find those who can and consider hosting a fundraiser.  But your time, and thoughts and ideas are priceless. Never think anything less of yourself just because you can't donate money. 

Politics is the art of compromise.   We should fight for our candidates and policies that represent our ideals fiercely. But once the election is done, give yourself time to rejoice or mourn, depending on the outcome, then focus on getting the best policy and outcomes you can, even if that means your candidate must compromise. Just know what your dealbreakers are.

Know that your work doesn't end when the campaign does. Our legislators, at all levels, need help and need constituent support.  Stay informed, and let them hear from you. Emails are good, phone calls are better, in person advocacy is best. Hold their feet, or their opposition's (in case your candidate lost) feet to the fire. They should listen to constituents whether you voted for them or not. You are still a constituent.  

Stay engaged. There are elections at least every two years for people in Congress and state level. But don't ignore smaller local elections. City council, quorum court, and the school board are all breeding grounds for talent to move up the political ladder.  And they usually need campaign help. Those smaller, local elections are a great place to learn about grassroots campaigning and organizing.  And, even though many don't realize it, your local government can affect your life in more ways than your president can. So don't disengage and wait another four years for a presidential election. Learn all you can about grassroots campaigning and issues you care about now. Don't wait.

We need a movement of people, of activists, at the local level prepared to work, donate time, energy, ideas, and money, or who might be willing to step up and run for office. Recruiting dedicated candidates isn't easy. The more informed you are and experience you have with helping others campaign, the better candidate you'll be.

Find issues and causes that move you. They often need help and volunteers and it's a great way to learn about grassroots organizing and mobilizing people. It's also a great way to build up a community service background and network for if you ever decide to run for office. 

I keep up with issues like Migraine Awareness and Advocacy; Fibromyalgia Awareness; Mental Health Advocacy, etc because they affect me directly. I also keep up with Arkansas politics and political figures; education and healthcare issues; issues that affect minority and disadvantaged or disenfranchised populations.  I do that to stay informed and because I am passionate about those issues.

I am a member of groups that support those issues. It's a way to stay engaged and educated about the issues. I suggest you find groups to support too. 

I'm so glad you've discovered political activism. There will be hard days, and days of elation. It's not always pretty, but fighting for things that are important, well, it's an important thing to do!

Friday, October 21, 2016

How and why I am Pro-choice and Pro-life.

Because I have so many friends who are one issue voters, and that issue is abortion, I thought I would explain how I can be pro-choice and pro-life at the same time, and why really, you should be too.

I don't believe either political Party wants there to be abortions. No one likes it. So let's do away with that concept. I don't believe women want unintended pregnancies either, or really want abortion to be their form of birth control, so let's do away with that. 

What I believe is that both Parties want the same thing, to reduce abortions, but just have differing ways of accomplishing this goal.  One Party focuses on laws surrounding abortions, saying if it's illegal it won't happen, though we have evidence saying that's not true. If it's illegal, it might become rarer, but it will definitely become less safe for both mother and child.

The other Party says let's reduce abortion rates by focusing on policies that promote life. Let's make sure expectant mothers have prenatal care and make sure they know that their newborn child will have healthcare, food, and an education. Let's guarantee the same things for the mother, and help with childcare costs where we can. Let's also make sure there are fewer unwanted children by making scientific, evidence based sex education available at all appropriate ages and make sure contraception is available and easy for all to access.

And, the thing is, this promotion of life, as opposed to regulation of women, works.  I'm sure you can guess in the scenarios above which is the Republican Party and which is the Democratic Party.  Democratic Party policies promote life AND reduce abortion rates. Republican Party policies drive you to the polls to vote on this one issue, but they don't actually reduce abortion rates much.

The Republican Party focuses on laws that largely regulate women.  But, when they are in office, when they control the Presidency, both houses of Congress, 2/3rds of the Supreme Court and have high approval ratings (see Bush, George W.) they don't use that power to reverse laws about abortion.  I have "worked" in politics for almost 10 years. I've learned a lot, and a lot that isn't pretty. What I've figured out is that the actual Republican Party doesn't want to overturn Roe v. Wade. (They probably can't anyway.) But if they did, what would drive you to the polls to vote Republican like nothing else?  Please, listen to what I'm saying here. Regardless who holds the Presidency, we are a red nation. We have more Republican Governor's and more Republican State Assemblies than we do Democratic ones. And, the Supreme Court has let the States make some of their own policies, within certain frameworks, around abortion.  But still, it's the issue that drives you to the polls knowing you'll always vote Republican no matter what, because those red states rarely use that power to actually reduce abortions, for fear they'll lose that issue that gets you to the polls, every single time.

Another little tidbit I just learned, while there are other cases that affect abortion, Roe is the biggie. And when Roe was decided, it was a 7-2 opinion. Five of those seven pro-votes were Republican appointees. One of them was actually a Roman-Catholic. Of the two who were against, one was a Democratic appointee and the other was Republican. So much for the Supreme Court argument when it comes to voting and abortion.

Listen to me when I say this again, DEMOCRATIC Party policies reduce abortion rates.  Abortion laws aren't changing much, if at all, so if you care about life, abortion rates are the whole ball game.

I am pro-choice because when it comes to the most intimate decision I or any woman will ever make in my lifetime, I don't want you, or my Governor, or my President or any other lawmaker, really anyone besides my husband and health-care professional, to have a say in that decision.  I believe a woman's body is her own. And her choices about what to do with it should be hers too. 

I am pro-life because I know the Party of choice also saves lives. Lives of the born and unborn.

So instead of regulating women or having your vote manipulated over one issue, let's do things to reduce abortion rates. Let's promote life.

The following article just backs up what I'm saying about abortion rates. I suggest you don't just take my word for it. Read the article. 

To reduce abortion, stop voting GOP!

#abortion #pro-choice, #anti-choice, #pro-life

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hillary, through a young Arkansas' girl's eyes.

I have a headache, and I can't sleep through it, which always either a) pisses me off or b) makes me reflective.

Right now I'm reflective. I'm thinking about the election, of course, and wondering why the critics of Hillary Clinton don't affect me more. Don't get me wrong, I'm bothered by the way I perceive her as mistreated and held to a different  standard, but most of the actual criticisms never really bother me, they never stick with me.

I think this because I'm 40, and I've lived all those 40 years in Arkansas. And during everyone of those 40 years that I have a memory of, Hillary has been a presence.  She's been that aunt that you bump into somewhere but don't really know well or someone like that. And, I'll admit, for most of the time I've been aware of her, she's been the subject of some controversy. As a young girl, still forming opinions and thoughts about life, I watched this with keen interest. See, Hillary was never "normal". She was never what people thought she should be. Now this part is probably an argument for nature vs. nurture, but I admired that in her. Nothing in me ever really wanted to be normal or what was expected either.

Hillary married Bill Clinton the year before I was born. But she didn't take his last name. (Dont even ask me about the fight Chris and I had over whether I'd take his last name!)  She became first lady when I was 4 or so, I think, and she didn't do normal "first lady" things. She had her own job. She tried to affect policy. She was constantly focused on how women and children were treated, and unlike I would've been, I doubt she cared exactly how the Governor's Mansion was decorated.  All this, the parts I remember at least, intrigued me. Her hair was never quite right to suit people. Her glasses were too big, and she never dressed suitably for a First Lady of Arkansas.

Then came the National Stage. Bill ran for the presidency. This was huge in Arkansas. And all those things about not fitting in that I admired in Hillary?  Boy, those were whoppers on the big scene. She had to change her hair, her last name, her clothes.... I assume she got contacts.  She didn't have a cookie recipe.... I could go on. Oh, and then the other women, Bill's other women, came out. I didn't know what to make of them. I mean, by this time I was old enough to know that sexuality was a thing, and that women were considered the weaker sex. And women could be and were often taken advantage of. So there was that. I could also see that there was advantage in women coming forward to try to harm a political figure. There was that too. But I'm not really concerned with my thoughts on Bill right now. I was still figuring him out.

Hillary though, intrigued me. How would a strong, self-sufficient woman like Hillary handle herself, her marriage,  and her young child during all this?  Well, she did it with what my conservative, Southern upbringing told me was style and grace. In a day and time when divorce was becoming normal, she hung in there. She saved her marriage.  She did the difficult thing and prioritized her daughter and marriage, and probably saved her husband's political career.  Oh, and she pissed off Tammy Wynette in the process. I remember thinking that was silly. And I remember my little feminist becoming self thinking she was probably the better half of that marriage and should've left that cheater, but there still being an ounce or so of awe that she didn't, and for the first time in my by then teen years thinking maybe there were bigger influences and considerations in marriage than being wronged. 

I'm still in my formative years at this time and can't even drive when Bill Clinton won the Presidency in 1992. But luckily, I had a great big brother who could drive and took me and my then boyfriend to Little Rock to see the newly elected president's acceptance speech.  I'd never been in such a throng of excited people before. I was attending and witnessing, history.  I just tried to take it all in.

So much happened in the 90's that had nothing to do with politics. My first love, my first car, high school, my first job, graduation (high school and college), my second love, getting to vote, falling in real love, buying a house, getting engaged, and getting married, my first real job, getting into law school, becoming chronically ill and watching dreams die, loving people, losing people, etc. Not necessarily all in that order.  Bill Clinton was president through it all. And Hillary, god bless her, she was Hillary through it all.

I knew there were scandals. I knew about something called Whitewater, but didn't really understand much about it. I knew there were rumors about a guy named Vince Foster.  Didn't mean that much to me or anyone I knew.  Oddly enough, now I know members of the Foster family who think that particular scandal is ludicrous.   But you know, I've learned that for some people, the Clintons can do nothing right, and are guilty by mere association of everything bad they've ever been associated with, and nothing good they've ever been associated with.   

I won't go through Hillary's Arkansas resume here, you've got Google for that.  Just like everyone "in the arena," Hillary did some great things for Arkansas, and she made mistakes.  I don't know anyone attempting to do big things that doesn't also make mistakes sometimes.   

Hillary wasn't the "normal" national First Lady, just as she hadn't been the "normal" Arkansas First Lady. She tried to change healthcare, which was an abysmal failure. Many women would've decided to just pick out the china and dresses for State Dinners after that. But not Hillary. She kept fighting for women's and children's rights everywhere she went and she still fought to affect policy.  I won't pretend I paid the most attention during these years. I was building my own life, becoming chronically ill, figuring out who I was, what marriage was about, and watching the dream of being a high powered attorney, like Hillary had been, fade away. But times were peaceful, and prosperous, and I didn't have to think about politics that much.

Then Monica Lewinsky came into the picture. I don't pretend to understand the Clinton marriage. I've known plenty of men like Bill Clinton, who love women, all of them, as often as possible.   But I've always imagined this intellectual intrigue in the Clinton marriage, and, yes, a love. But it's the matching of intellects, and passions about the same issues, that I think drive that coupling.  I mean, what do I really know?  I can't figure out some marriages that I've witnessed up close, from the beginning, so how can any of us really know much about the Clinton's marriage?  But still, the little feminist in me wondered what went through Hillary's mind?  Why did she stay?  This time, there was a lot more riding on it. I don't think a President had ever divorced in office. Chelsea, whom I adore, was older, but still Hillary has always seemed to me to be a mother before all else.
I don't know why she stayed. But I was married by now, and struggling a bit with it myself, but I understood what taking those vows meant and how though a husband could hurt you like no one else in life, he also at some point became the center of your world and he could put broken pieces together unlike anyone else too. So, still, I didn't understand why she stayed, but I was intrigued and awed by her commitment. 

Then, she became a senator. I was in awe again. This woman was battle tested, had broken all molds set before her, and now, finally, was in the spotlight for herself and her accomplishments. I was so proud of her. 

I won't pretend I didn't wish they had moved back to Arkansas and that she had run for office here. But once the Clinton Foundation began, it was obvious to me they needed to be somewhere high profile. And then I began traveling some myself, and I understood just how different the world outside of Arkansas is. Wow, it would have been a shock to the system to move from DC back to Arkansas. Don't get me wrong, I love my home state, but it's hard to travel to a fast paced city with public transportation for even a few weeks and then come back home. 

When September 11th, 2001 occurred, I was happy Hillary was the senator from NY.  That city needed a fighter, and Hillary is all fight, no quit. So when there was no money given by the Federal government specifically to help New York, Hillary fought. When 9/11 responders were getting sick with no special healthcare treatment for their sacrifice, Hillary fought. And she got results.

Before too long, we were in the thick of two wars, one terribly ill advised war with Iraq that I still believe was more about George W's daddy's issues with Saddam Hussein  than it was with 9/11, and one "just" war, going after Bin Laden, Al Queada and those who attacked us on 9/11.  Then came election time again. The 2008 election.

For full disclosure,  I didn't support Hillary, not because I hadn't always admired her or didn't find her qualified. It wasn't about her at all. I just knew about Barack Obama and found him electrifying. I knew a little about Michelle, and I was intrigued by her, too. Fired up, and ready to go. So I totally get the Bernie effect. While not young and charismatic like Obama, Bernie's new to the national scene, for those who don't pay a lot of attention to politics, anyway, and has what I call "grandpa" charisma. But this time, I wanted Hillary. I had been so impressed with how she and President Obama put their differences aside and worked together.  As Hillary said, when your President personally asks you to serve your country, you serve.

I loved how she made women's issues front and center during her term as Secretary of State. What a weenie job title for such a high powered job.  Anyway, she was scrutinized as SoS too. But here's the thing, nothing, absolutely nothing happened while she was Sec. of State that hadn't happened before. Private emails, embassy attacks, all had happened before. Just not while the Secretary's last name was Clinton.

I'll admit, Hillary wasn't immersed in good ole fashioned Southern charm like so many of us in Arkansas were.  That makes her unrelatable to many, and many people want to be able to relate to their President.  But I want a president who knows what to do and does it.  As Bill Clinton has said, Hillary is a change-maker, and he says politics is about making things better when you leave them than they were when you got there.  I have absolute faith that Hillary will do that.  It's simply who she is and what she does.

If I've learned anything in 40 years, yes literally almost 40 years of watching the Clintons, it's that they aren't ever going to be treated like other people.  I've thought long and hard about this. There have been other political power couples in history, but no one quite like the Clintons. Singularly, either of them would be a force, but together, they are unlike anything we've seen.  I think the Republicans recognized this, and decided whatever the Clintons did, it would be wrong, it would be scandalous. To be fair, Bill Clinton's private life is ripe for scandal.  And probably in response, Hillary has become more protective and guarded of her own personal life. But I've read books about Bill and Hillary, I've read about their scandals and about the Hunting of Bill and Hillary. I've met them and talked to people who've known them well, for years. And I believe the threat the Republicans saw in them was something that they thought should be destroyed, by whatever means possible.

So, in my 40 years of admiration, awe, intrigue, and, yes, wonder about Hillary Clinton,  I've watched group after group, agency after agency, special prosecutors, Republicans, Congress, and the FBI try to tear her down. And I've seen them come up empty handed, every time.  And now, In 2016, I've even seen some of those same people who tried to tear her down unsuccessfully, endorse her for President.  

So, I guess on November 8th, when this woman I've admired as she marched tirelessly forward, always raising up others as she went, wins the presidency, I'll have just about seen it all. That is, until its Chelsea's turn!  


Monday, June 9, 2014

A day when nothing cooperates ....

All of you know I have intractable migraines. A migraine is bad every day, but some days it's really bad--make you want to curse God and scream at the world and die bad.  Today was one such day.  As soon as I cracked my eyes open,  I immediately longed to be back asleep where I felt no pain.  I felt as though someone had my head open wide, and was stirring my brain with a whisk. Everything in my head felt loose,  as if it were moving against my skull.  My eyes felt like they were being scraped. My eyelids felt like sandpaper.  I immediately began to cry because the pain was so bad. Crying never helps,  of course,  and in fact usually only makes things worse, but sometimes it cannot be helped. 

So, on days like these,  you depend on your medication to save you. But there's a phenomenon that's little known outside the migraine world called gastropariesis that's says, No, your meds aren't going to work today.  Gastropariesis is basically paralysis of the gut and it happens once the migraine process is full blown.  Things just shut down, oral meds don't process. What goes down often comes back up.  This is why injectables are an important part of treating migraine. They bypass the stomach and go straight to the bloodstream.  Unfortunately,  I don't have any injectables right now. My meds are oral, so all day, I've been taking med after med, just hoping and praying one of them might eventually get through,  with no such luck.

Now finally,  it's late enough I can justify taking my night meds.   I have no idea if they'll work any better than any other med I've taken today. Being awake all day in this pain, waiting on relief that never comes,  has been excruciating.  I can only hope the night meds will be more successful and the peace of sleep will fall upon me soon.  Please,  as you read this, hope with me for relief and peace and much needed sleep. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A new illness, and a perfect day.

So, it's been awhile since I've written and I feel the need for an update.  I believe the last time I wrote I was still in basic hell.  I was in bed about 22 hours a day.  Thankfully, that has ended.  My migraines have improved drastically with daily opiates and new preventives.  The choice to move to daily opiates was a big one.  It felt like giving up on standard treatment in a way, but then again, it didn't feel like there were many choices.  So in the end, it seems to be working.  My headaches are a low level everyday still, and they spike to true migraine still on a regular basis, but I cherish that low level headache time.  I consider that a big improvement.

In the meantime, however, about a month ago, I began having pain in my hands and feet on a daily basis.  I saw my primary care physician, and after some blood tests, we discovered that I have an autoimmune disorder and I was referred to a rheumatologist.  We don't know which disorder I have, because there are many different autoimmune disorders, but once I see the rheumatologist, she will narrow that down and give me a diagnosis and start treatment.  I can't wait for that.  I just want to be treated and feel normal again.  Since I have seen the PCP, the pain has spread to other parts of my body, so I have general body aches all over daily.  I am ready for that to stop.  When I have that pain and a migraine, it just adds insult to injury, you know?

So, anyway, I want to tell you about my perfect day yesterday.  It was so nice.  I woke up at 8 a.m. and felt good all the way to bedtime at 11 p.m.  That hasn't happened in SO long.  I just ran around, got some errands accomplished, shopped, visited friends, went to a Democratic Women's meeting, then out with friends--I did SO much and felt great through it all.  It was wonderful.  I can't remember the last time I felt so good.  My body aches weren't even that bad, and my head didn't bother me at all.  It's just almost impossible to explain the giddiness I felt last night over my great day.

I wish I could say today has been so great.  I am afraid today is back to real life, complete with a migraine, full body aches, and emotional swings....  I think yesterday was just a carrot representing the life I want to have, dangling in front of me just out of reach.  But surely I'll get there, right?  If it happens once, it surely can happen again.  At least that's what I am holding on to.

Thanks for reading.