Haiku Horizons, Train

Wedding of dreams, love

Pearl white, dress, train trailing hope

Amid sun burst clouds.

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Train of thought, jumbled

dementia holds, gnarly grip

blank eyes staring back.

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Shove, push, jump, screaming
Train tracks, easy vehicles
Self-harm, blood, guts, death.


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Same Old Pain, Now With Migraines

I’m used to the pain I have from Fibromyalgia, it’s not bad most days, no pain killers needed. Sure, there are a few days, mostly weather-related, that it gets worse but I can  stand that too, most of the time. It was under control until one day when I started having a headache that would not go away.

 

 

 

 

I’ve had plenty of headaches before mostly in the middle of my head and that’s how this one started so I thought nothing of it. I took Tylenol, the only medicine I am allowed  (Chronic Kidney Disease) to take, but it did not help. It was a mild headache for two days, I thought nothing of it.

Suddenly, the pain started crawling up on the left side of my face. It settled there like a jumbo jet that had just landed at the airport and was pulling straight into the proper gate. Passengers came off the plane then airline crew, the plane was cleaned and this baby was not going anywhere tonight. The headache had landed.

 

It’s hard to imagine I have another pain symptom but I accept it as my curse, this ugly life of mine. At almost 58 years old I now get migraines. “Welcome to the club” I mutter angrily under my breath, asking: “Why me?”

 

The first migraine, which ended me in the Emergency Room of the hospital moaning in pain and begging for a shot of something, anything, to relieve the intense, hammering pain happened a couple of months ago. “Nice to meet you, meet your new doctor, your Nurologist”.

I thought it was a one time thing, A visit to the Emergency Room, a shot and hydration and two days later I was fine. I went home where the lights were dim, I was safe in bed and all I wanted was darkness and no company, no radio, no television, just black solitude. I laid on my back and pulled the covers over my forehead, yes, this was my safe place, I promised myself the pain was over, gone for good.

Unfortunately, it came back with a vengeance twice more. Once a month ago and one two weeks ago.  I tried all the tricks, the medicine to supposedly make it go away before it really hits, a dark room, breathing slowly, ice, pressure points, Reiki, meditation….you name it, I tried it but it is clinging on to my head with traction and beating harder and harder.

It is now moving to the center of my forehead and the hammer is following after the movement, banging away, beat after beat rhythmically while all I can do is shut down and shudder.

Deutsch: "Kopfschmerzen". Die wohl b...

Deutsch: “Kopfschmerzen”. Die wohl berühmteste – stark von James Gillray beeinflußte – Arbeit in einer Reihe von sechs Blättern “medizinischer” Karikaturen, in denen Cruikshank Krankheiten als Teufelswerk brandmarkt. Erstmalig publiziert: 12. Februar 1819. Originalgröße: 210 x 255 mm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know this isn’t fair, I know that life isn’t fair. I have accepted this new symptom because i don’t have a choice. It has joined the family of maladies that already exist, trapped in every limb of my body, from head to toe.

 

Since I was five I’ve always had a very low tolerance for pain, my parents used to tell me that. If one orange baby aspirin worked on other children to get their temperatures down, I needed two. I am still that way, believe me, it isn’t fun.

Recently, a friend told me to push my Internist to check more complicated Lyme Disease tests and I will do that. What are the chances? I don’t know but I will try. I don’t want to get even remotely excited.

Been there, done that, way too many times. I have no hope. I feel battered.

Enough already. This is getting old. Fast.

 

 

Too Much Death In The Air

I haven’t written. I know. I’m down. Way down. I admit it. The scent of death lurking in the air. Gail, John’s wife is dead. John has an inoperable brain tumor, everyone wishes he would die, especially him. He only has days to live, Gail died yesterday. These people were like part of my family. They loved our dog, once they had their own dog. It brought back memories for them. Sweet memories.

Waiting. In tears, or on the verge of, always. Like now, all the time. Writing it down doesn’t make it easier or harder, there is no solution. Nothing can resolve this miserable situation, not a funeral, not two funerals.

Only, if they were buried together, if he died too, in the next two days, then, I could somehow see something positive because they were meant to be together always, married together, buried together. Everyone would feel better. When you tell a terminally ill brain tumor patient that his wife has passed and he says “Thank God” what does that mean?

Her suffering was more important to him than his own. I can’t seem to get over this very personal story, this couple, extended family, invited to every birthday party of my children, every summer barbecue for years.

When my father was alive they were my parents’ best friends, very best friends. When my dad died, they “adopted” my mother, were so wonderful to her, every day. When the wife coveted a certain kind of brownie I would buy it for because she loved nothing more than chocolate, except her husband, always her husband.

Somewhere, this must be bringing up my father’s funeral inside me, it has to be, I am sobbing in that way, down deep place that there is no control over. Of course it would bring up his death. I am really slow. My mother, who would never acknowledge this about herself has lost her two closest friends, while she may not relate this to her husband’s death, deep down she will feel it unconsciously.

I feel helpless and I acknowledge I am helpless. I am oversensitive and needy. I ask friends for reassurance, while direct, is not necessary. Because once asked, does it really mean the same thing? I regret asking now.

Taking a short break from social media where some people are cruel with their words, there is no room in my life for cruelty of any kind.  I want to be moving and doing and yet, I remain huddled in bed. Last night I crashed at 8:30 pm and I am still in bed at 11:00 am with no motivation to move.

Everyone wants them to be buried together at the same time. It would give the story some meaning, a tiny bit of meaning.

I cry, I dry my eyes, I cry again.

 

NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY

I’m horrified. I knew all about Invisible Illness Week and wrote about my chronic pain and Fibromyalgia but just found out today that its National Suicide Prevention Day? Something is so wrong here. Why didn’t I know this day was coming and if I didn’t know, I bet you many people didn’t either. That’s shameful.

I feel embarrassed and I also feel ashamed for the people who put this together for not advertising it better. This is NOT something to take lightly, I think we need a RE-DO here, maybe another one next month? Actually, how about one every month? Now, that, is a great idea. We need more prevention and mental health funding!!!

I’m here now and I’m begging anyone who is contemplating suicide to please stop for a second or two and take a deep breath. Thanks. I’m not asking for your whole life but how about a minute? Just read one more sentence.

Think about the people who love you, truly love you, who you will leave behind. People  who WANT you in their lives in any shape, in any mood. They love YOU, the way you are, unconditionally. I’m a mom, I know about unconditional love.

Depression is no fun, we know. We’ve all been through it but there is more help now and different medications and I’m positive that you know at least one good friend or one sister or brother, husband, wife, lover or cousin that would stay with you and help you. There better be, because they would have to answer to me if they don’t.

Instead of taking your life, write your thoughts down, put them on Facebook, email a friend. Email ME. I will listen. I will hold your hand, at least through the computer, and I’m no genius or therapist or doctor.

I’m a regular, really nothing special person, that loves dogs more than people, adores jelly doughnuts, hates to exercise, am technically clueless (ask the people at the Invisible Illness Week) but somehow muddle through things, through life. My life hasn’t been easy, you need to trust me on this one. I can’t lie, it shows on my face in a second.

So, do me a favor, take a few deep breaths, walk away from wherever you are and call a friend, or a hotline, listed below, TELL SOMEONE YOU NEED THEM. ASAP.

Communicate and reach out. But, please, don’t harm yourself, it won’t solve anything and will destroy those that love you. I don’t know you but I know you are worth it, you are worth another day, and the day after  and many days after until you can wake up one day and think back and say “Wow, that was close but I’m so happy I didn’t go through with it.” Then, you too, can help people step away and to live their lives as they should. You will be their hero. I can see it now. I just know it.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 1-800-273-TALK

Birthday Month

We’re in the beginning of September, the late home stretch of Summer. A few hot days left,  some warm, comforting rain coming soon. As much as I physically and emotionally despise the Winter I do look forward to early Autumn, that is at least until my birthday.

No, I’m not 6, though I often feel that way. I do act child-like  (ok kids, childish) in some ways but to me little things make me happy; especially things that I can do to entertain myself. I’m not needy, that way, I amuse myself all the time and I hope to be able to continue to do this until I take my last breath and die.

I laugh out loud to my own jokes with nobody around and sometimes I think I am absolutely hilarious. It doesn’t matter to me at all what other people think, as long as I am enjoying myself, and not hurting anyone, that’s all I need. I think I got this from my dad who often laughed at his own jokes but back then, as a daughter, things didn’t really seem that funny to me. They do now.

I celebrate and look forward to my birthday every year. I have no shame about age, I will be 58 in early October and I hope to be just as happy as I approach the so=called dreaded 60.” I admit sixty does sound OLD and it seems impossible that I will be sixty but I hope to celebrate that birthday with even more presents, laughter, family, flowers and friends. Key word : Hope.

A birthday cake

Why not? In the past, my mother always lied about her age.. For years she lied about my age and my sister’s age, we got younger every few years. She used to say and “this is my daughter.” It took us years for her to add-on  each name. She gets it now.

She doesn’t like me to tell people her age so I’ll just say she gave birth to me as a young teen mom. I’m really not coy about age or gray hair. At the moment I am trying to grow out a reddish glaze, not to cover my gray hair but to make it shiny. It didn’t work. Now my hair has three shades, all I want is for my natural brown and silver.

I buy myself little things, very little things, a few weeks before my birthday. It could be one cookie or something from a thrift shop, it by no means is expensive. It’s my birthday month and who knows better than me what makes me happy?

Think about this the month before your birthday, buy yourself something. Why not? I’m sure you deserve it. Wish yourself a Happy Birthday Month and all good things to come throughout the year.

PS Warm wishes on your special day from ME!

It’s Really Okay

Nothing could console me the other day. I was heart-broken about life in general and dear family friends whose demise was absolutely shattering. There didn’t seem to be much happiness in our lives (with the exception of our kids) and not one blessed thing could cheer me up.

I initially thought I should try to shake myself out of this mood but the world was an evil place, life was not fair. I thought things were supposed to work out in the end, I had believed that all my life, not anymore. Things don’t work out many times and even though I may root for the underdog, they don’t always win. There was is way too much random sadness, unhappiness and sickness, things, often, don’t work out.

First, I tried to justify things, to try to explain them to myself. That didn’t work, there were no answers.  There was also no need for me to try to cheer myself up. So, I stopped.

I realized it was perfectly okay not to try to make myself feel better. It is really okay to feel bad.  What’s wrong in feeling crummy once in a while? I never got dressed, I wore my long black V neck T-shirt that falls to my knees and didn’t even take a shower. I stayed in bed not that I felt particularly sick or winded, I just felt blah. No one ever said  life was perfect so I decided to have a mental health day and be alone with my crankiness and cuddle with my sweet dog, Lexi.

Lexi didn’t care if I was in bad mood, she still jumped up on the bed right next to me.  She always keeps me company. I can count on her to be there for me, that’s the wonderful thing about dogs. Unconditional love. She doesn’t have to give me pep talks or call me on the phone like a friend would have to do, she knew I needed her and she put her head on my stomach, even our breathing was in sync.

I’ve noticed lately that my friends don’t even call anymore. They text. I find this horrifying. When did my generation start doing this? I make my kids call so I can hear their voices but my friends now text? Insulting.  They can’t be bothered, either? What’s next? I’m sure I won’t like it.

It’s a very hard world out there and I used to be such an optimistic person but I’m not anymore. Life, as we know it now, has changed me. Part of me feels like bursting into tears this very second and the other part won’t let myself. I’m not sure if I could stop if I let myself cry….. I keep trying to hold it in and hope it goes away. I know that won’t last. Life is tough, really tough and the older I get, the more difficult it becomes.

I have no more expectations that things will get better. Why should they? They haven’t been good for a really long time and yet still I try to be grateful for the good things I do have.

It doesn’t change the world but I don’t want to become a bitter, cold person. I know it won’t change my circumstances or any one else’s but it keeps me focused on the good not the evil, most of the time, it’s hard work.

When I was young, my mother used to sing this song:

She never did promise me a rose garden, but I always thought there was one anyway.

We Are Warriors, Not By Choice INVISIBLE ILLNESS WEEK

I’m not going to lie. If I had a choice of having Fibromyalgia, the umbrella tree illness and all its branches and not having it, I would drop it in a hot fire-searing second. But, like any illness, we don’t have a choice. We have it and the more we fight it the less happy we are.

I do think it takes a long time to finally accept this chronic illness, beyond anger and months of crying, not to mention countless clueless doctors and the raised eyebrows of many who think we are all nuts. I don’t know about you but I want to slap that question mark look right off their smug foreheads.

One of my doctor’s, a well-known person, left me sobbing in her exam room, after diagnosing me with a thyroid condition. I was already on synthroid and still in agony when she clicked her expensive heels, saying “there’s nothing I can do for you” and marched out. She hadn’t diagnosed Fibromyalgia, she didn’t have a clue.  This was eight years ago and the image still is clear in my head.

We are warriors, all of us, invisible illness warriors. You probably have heard of us but you may not know who we are and how we suffer. We don’t offer up the information, and if you know we have a chronic illness you ask in a perfunctory manner only. Our answer to all of you when you casually ask ” how are you?” is “fine.” We always say “fine” at least I do. Not many people really want to know the details and if you think about it you will agree. That’s okay, it takes too long to answer, doesn’t it? “Fine” works for both of us.

If you REALLY want to know there are always  follow-up questions or even a cup of coffee or lunch. We tend to be independent, close to other people who have the same ailment, the ones who know what chronic pain feels like. Some of my closest friends are women  who I have never met yet I love and trust implicitly, met on a Chronic Pain/Fibro group on-line. THESE women and I are here for each other even if only by e-mails, messages or by phone. I thank G-d for these women who are more loyal, supportive and loving than some of my so-called “friends.”

Radical illness

Radical illness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We know that there are more cloudy days than sunny days. We don’t expect sunshine all the time but even when the sun is weaving through the clouds, in and out, we appreciate the moments. We whisper our thanks in a hushed silence, trying not to let those dark clouds come further down and overwhelm us. It takes effort, I know.

 

 

It’s the in-between season now, we haven’t had that first bite of crispness in the air yet, like the bite of a fall Macoun apple, but, as evening comes rolling in, and darkness shrouds the trees, you feel the rain that is soon to come. You feel it in your bones, they ache due to broken wrists or ankles, the weather forecasting of having Fibromyalgia.

We can’t change our world, we can barely change our body. What can we change? A few things, our diet (no, I won’t give up coffee and ice cream) and our attitudes, different doctors. I could write a book on the doctors and methods I’ve tried. Let’s face it we are stuck, but we are alive to see our children grow up, a dog to love and for the dog to love us back. Having my dog rest her head on my knees or stomach makes me incredibly happy when I have to lie down. She is a rescue dog but really she also rescued me.

 


Dedicated to my dear friend, Judith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haiku Horizons, Branch

Mother, Tree of God

Son, daughter, branches of love

Stretch upwards, alone.

Gather twigs, branches
 
Sit around an open fire
 

Make memories here.

 

Stroll under Fall trees

Branch off a well-traveled road

 Find your own soul’s path

 



English: Branch

English: Branch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I Want To Be Melissa Rivers’ Sister

One day or another

I turn myself inwards, hiding from the world.

I don’t want to go out and make small talk, my friends don’t feel like real friends tonight and

blood, it turns out, happens to be thicker than water, even when blood types are opposite.

The news on television is too scary to watch and I take on too much of it.

That’s when I have to force myself to extricate my sensitive soul and feel alright

snuggling under the blankets for a day, maybe two, listening to music or trying to name my new pink pig stuffed animal, stroking her soft cotton skin.

Imagine a soul without a name. What shall I call her? Suggestions?

The sun is setting earlier and earlier, things are the same but they are not.

I see a very long Winter ahead of us, I don’t even have the energy to groan.

I can’t blame it on Fibromyalgia either. I won’t.

My birthday month is on, even early, I don ‘t care about getting older, I still love birthdays and I am not vain.

Wrinkles are graciously earned, gray hair are few but I don’t hide them anyway. I am the warrior that they present, I earned them.

My children are now adults perfectly able to take care of themselves without us, both a blessing and a curse. I still miss them as I see mothers posting their first and second graders first day back to school pictures, excited grins and new outfits.

I think we have done well in parenting them, we are both so proud of them, we shine.

Suicide, brain tumor,  starving herself, no will to live, and now Joan Rivers? I don’t know but now I wish I could be Melissa’s sister

so she has somebody with her, to support her.

Nothing is fair, deep down, I still expect them to be at the end.

That’s the very immature part of me that won’t grow up. I can’t seem to learn this lesson even as it presents itself over and over again. Why? Why CAN’T I learn this?

I too, would wait for my mom to wake up, cracking a joke. But, my mom would NOT want to be brain-dead, that I know.

We all deal with pain, grief, discomfort, sadness and people really DON’T reach out to give a hand, I think that is what shocks me the most.

No one makes the time, they have themselves to consider first, last and in-between.

I am not sure who I am anymore, who I’ve become.

Maybe, just maybe, I’m disappointing myself, maybe I have become one of them too.

Nothing would surprise me anymore.

Nothing does.

How To Debone A FISH


Imagine taking a serrated knife and slicing the length of a body right down to the soul. Picture a piece of that fresh fish, covered in the juice of two fresh lemons that you need to debone, carefully and delicately. That slow slicing is, in itself, is a work of art. It is also a technique that happens in your mind. Your mind is calm and steady.

I have tried so hard to get rid of pretension, most of the defense mechanisms, all the external comments, the noise, the insensitive remarks. I don’t need them in my life, nor do you. We need balance, clear thoughts, not the mean chatter of other “so-called friends.” They do more harm than good. Stay away from people who do not serve you well, sever relationships with false people, those that tempt you to behave badly.

Don’t go down to anyone else’s level. Raise yourself up. Have high standards for yourself, try not to judge others but accept them. All of us need to take a break in our hurried lives. You don’t have to go anywhere to do that, not an expensive gym or retreat, you don’t need an airplane ticket or a ride on a white, bulbous sailboat.

Center yourself, wherever you feel most comfortable.

Pick a place where you won’t be disturbed. It can be on your bed or your favorite chair, someplace that speaks silence to you. If you want soft background music, fine. More importantly, this can be in your mind. Simply close your eyes. Concentrate.

 

Feel your breath going in, going out. Maybe it won’t feel natural in the beginning, that is perfectly okay. What is perfect on the first try? Try to get in a pattern of breathing slowly, inhaling and exhaling. If external thoughts race in, accept them, don’t try to push them away, they are part of you. Let them appear, and let them go away while you go back to your steady breathing, your rhythmic breathing..

Once I feel that I am completely relaxed sometimes I find myself  rocking in that place, sometimes I feel so tired that I want to sleep, I have nodded off when practicing this in a class.   Spend time outdoors, watching nature, listening to sounds, bird songs, children laughing, notice the color of the bunny’s tail you see on your green grass, the noisy seagull on the beach hovering over your leftover cheese sandwich.

 

Focus on beauty and not disaster. Be grateful for what you do have and do not focus on what you don’t have. Believe me, I know that sometimes that it is difficult. Do it anyway. Go out of your way to be kind to a stranger, or wave to a baby that is fussing in front of you. Be aware of how your face looks, does it match how you feel?

Live a simple life, every day. Stay in the present. Relish your age, get old gracefully, stop worrying about what anyone else thinks. Your happiness will glow and shine through you. Look deep inside you. Love what you see? Tell people you are grateful for them being in your life. Dance with joy.