You Are Not Making This Any Easier, Oprah

Goodbye Stop

Image by Peter Kaminski via Flickr

Dear Oprah,

I get it. You’re done. Finished. You said Good-bye. I have accepted it although it did take quite a long time. Why, though, are you torturing me with email messages EVERY SINGLE WEEK DAY to watch today’s episode of Oprah. Hello? There are no more episodes. I consider this taunting and would like a cease and desist order to be put in place. This wound is still raw and hurts.

It was hard enough to say good-bye after twenty-five years but do I really need this incorrect advertising flaunted in my face? No, I do not. In fact, I hate to tell you but I am not a big fan of “The Own” as I say or OWN as you say.  I watched it, I tried it, and I really do not want to spend my time searching for when something is on unless you practically TELL me, like you (still do) with your old show. Nope, not gonna watch, not gonna happen. I’m not saying I won’t give it another chance, I might. Just not promising…. You left US, Oprah and it’s going to take a while to adjust.

So, please, stop sending me reminders on my e-mail to watch your now defunct show. It’s just not appropriate and it is a bit insensitive. Oprah, what is going on? Is this how you have changed since you left your show? I’m a little surprised and a little disheartened. Oh, and by the way, I WAS an ultimate fan too.

Good luck in your future, I wish only good things for you but mostly I really wish you hadn’t left.

Sincerely,

Hibernationnow.wordpress.com

REPOST: FOR INVISIBLE ILLNESS WEEK:Thyroid Disease And Fibromyalgia With A Touch Of Menopause

Don't give up

Image by quinn.anya via Flickr

I am NOT a Doctor. I may see a lot of Doctors but in no way am I one. I don’t pretend to be one. However, I am a patient, a chronic pain patient and I believe I know a whole lot more, personally, about these subjects than some Doctors do. Sorry, but it is true. This is only what I THINK, only what I FEEL and only what I have EXPERIENCED. For those who have read earlier posts about my dealings with Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Menopause, this is different; I’ve never once put my own theories down on (computer) paper. Also, for the young woman who responded to a post saying she will check out Fibromyalgia even though her Doctor said “He didn’t believe in it”  YOU GO GIRL!

I hope this will take the five or more years of suffering that I had to go through and help someone; HELPING just one person would make me extremely happy. I mean that from my heart. I think there is a correlation with the above- mentioned diseases/changes, at least for me there was, especially with Thyroid Disease and Fibromyalgia.

I went through Menopause about five years ago, it wasn’t too bad, I had the usual symptoms but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t bare. I think that Menopause was the catalyst to all these (bad) changes in my body. After being in menopause, I went to my annual physical where my Internist did the usual blood work. When the results came back, for the first time in my life, I had an underactive thyroid. (Thyroid disease DOES run in my family, both my mother and sister have it.) I was put on Synthroid (my opinion ONLY: I use brand name, NOT the generic.)  My symptoms were chronic pain, muscle pain, severe aches and pain, and extreme fatigue.  My own quote: ” I felt like I had the flu without the fever.” That is what I felt like day in and day out. I thought the Synthroid  (for my underactive thyroid) would help but it never did. For months I was in bed feeling worse and worse, my said Internist said “there is nothing further I can do for you” and walked out of the room leaving me inside, on the examining table, sobbing. True story.

She finally referred me to a Rheumatologist who looked at me and said I had “Scoliosis” and that with my thyroid disease (an auto-immune disease: Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) I should be prepared to get OTHER auto-immune diseases. Gee, thanks. There was no mention of Fibromyalgia and since when did I have Scoliosis? Whatever.

I felt horrible, chronic pain, muscle pain, joint pain, I could barely get out of bed. I won’t even mention the doctor ( he gets lower case on purpose!) that I went to who treated me with very DANGEROUS drugs, I will spare you that. I have Fibromyalgia and I really do think, there may be a connection between Thyroid disease and Fibromyalgia. AGAIN, I am not a doctor. However, I recently read about a new study where they are trying to see if T3 levels are linked to Fibromyalgia. (Promising!?)

Please, if you are experiencing all the symptoms I mentioned, don’t let an ignorant doctor make you feel like a fool. You know YOUR body best. Keep fighting, keep researching and, go to a good Rheumatologist, this is the Doctor that you need for Fibromyalgia. I have a friend who has a Thyroid condition like me (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) and a severe case of Fibromyalgia and she only goes to an Endocrinologist. Big Mistake but she will not listen to me. Don’t be like her. I just want to help. If you do see a Doctor that scoffs at Fibromyalgia and doesn’t believe in it: leave, do not stay. Check out your Doctor on-line, I chose mine from a list that said he believed in Fibromyalgia, treated it and patients loved him. I am one of his biggest fans. You deserve this too. Good luck.

The Moment ( HS Graduation 2011)

Cap Toss

Image by Herkie via Flickr

I never knew how high and wide the big white High School graduation tent was until I stood under it. I didn’t realize how massive it was until I wandered through it.  I walked through the aisles under the tent saying “Hi” and “Congratulations” to people I hadn’t seen in years.

I didn’t know how I would react when my son’s name was read over the microphone yet instinctively we stood and clapped and cheered and roared. I saw a young man walk back to his seat in slow motion; I didn’t realize it was my son; his face  looked so grown up. Teenagers age, I think,  once they put on their High School graduation caps and gowns; he looked six inches taller and six years older too.

It’s all a blur, the speeches and the people you smile at, familiar faces that you have seen in elementary school recitals or a middle-school play. The friends that you hug warmly are the best, closest friends that you have, that you have talked to all year, day in and day out, wondering anxiously if you and your child would ever make it to this grand day. We hold on to each other for an extra minute, sharing this surreal moment, not believing we are actually, finally, here.

They officials on the podium made an announcement to please refrain from clapping until all the students names have been read. Yeah, right. I felt sorry for the first few kids whose last name started with “A.” Those parents were very well-behaved; it just took one family to start…  There were further instructions from the podium to NOT clap for each student so I felt perfectly justified playing my silly game of selection. I did NOT clap for the kids that had ever been especially mean to my son (starting with kindergarten through 12th) and for the mean-spirited moms, dads and kids that everyone knew, were the culprits of spreading ill-will. It was like a silent victory lap for moms and dads; besides we all did the same thing.

I was proud of my self-control, all my sadness, tears, and sobbing began months before the actual event. On the day of graduation I smiled and laughed and was so proud of my son and the amazing young man he has turned out to be.  I was also filled with pride when his three best friends names were called, we shouted and clapped for each one. I will, undoubtedly, miss my son when he leaves for college but also, I will miss his friends, “the posse” as I called them or “The Entourage.” I have no doubt that they will see each other when they come home from college, but this long, lovely chapter of best friends and video games, parties, dinners, dates and diners has ended. I will miss that and my special group of “The Moms.”

Just when I thought the ceremony was over, the President of the High School, told the students that they had officially  graduated. The blue caps were flung in the air with unbridled joy and excitement. There was a deafening roar from the students and all my self-control evaporated in that moment; I burst out crying. It was so emotionally intense; it was captured in my mind and heart forever.

The graduates beamed so much that it looked like they were lit up from inside with joy and pride.  They were shining, like new copper pots or brand new pennies, excitement dancing in their eyes. Congratulations to my son and to all his friends and classmates; Congratulations to the Class of 2011!

“Don’t Toby Me”

Chocolate Cake

Image by alachia via Flickr

In our house, we have our own kind of language. Our children, we always said, needed to take English As A Second Language when they were younger. Now? It’s a lost cause. My husband and I use a combination of words and phrases we learned from both Viennese and German parents, some real and mostly made up. My husband and I have been married for twenty-two years, we are also guilty of making up many expressions that some might consider “creative.”

I kid you not, my brother-in-law (on my husband’s side) actually published a little dictionary, for amusement, for one Thanksgiving dinner  many years ago. It was the hit of the night. People (mostly my sister) wrote to him begging him to do another edition or to add a phrase or correct one that was there. That dictionary with photos of all of us when our children were tiny is still talked about today. It was so special that there never can be a second edition, that’s how much we love it.

A bit of many different languages are included. Our poor kids used to ask us if a certain word was real or not. There’s really no way of telling but when in doubt, it’s probably not real. However, there is one expression that is famous throughout the family and has extended to close friends, acquaintances and most probably strangers. It started way back in the eighties when my then best friend and I went to dinner at an Italian restaurant in Boston. After finishing our meals, we looked forward, as always, to the main reason we went out to dinner: dessert. I remember that they had a special dessert that was called Cappuchino pie, a mixture of chocolate and coffee, that my old friend loved.  I ordered something else, I believe it was a chocolate layer cake with whipped cream, or as we used to say “real” whipped cream.

Wanting to take a break after dinner since I was getting full, I went to the bathroom AFTER our dessert came but BEFORE I took a bite. When I came back, not two minutes later, there was a BITE of MY chocolate cake missing. That’s right, you heard me. She had tasted my dessert BEFORE I tasted it and that, to me, was inexcusable. I was looking forward to that first bite, yet she ate it while I was in the bathroom. She didn’t ask permission (would so not be granted) she just ate it. Thus, her name being Toby, the expression was born. It lives on to this day and it will always be alive…..

It’s only been about thirty-one years, yet we continue to use and enjoy this expression.  My niece, many years ago, was with a friend of hers and her friend attempted to try something that my niece ordered but hadn’t tasted yet. My niece proclaimed in a loud voice “Don’t Toby Me!” She then explained what that meant to her friend and the phrase continues to be used and enjoyed in various settings by people probably unbeknownst to us.

The friendship didn’t last but NOT for that reason.  Sometimes, many years after an old friendship is over you can still appreciate a tiny detail, a golden nugget of a phrase, way past the expiration date of the friendship. Watch your dining companion closely. If he/she attempts to steal something off your plate BEFORE you have tried it, stop them.  Keep an eye on their fork  and be prepared. If they do it once, they will never do it again and yes, they will learn. The miracle continues. You’re welcome.

p.s. Jerry Seinfeld could have done a whole show on this. Just sayin…..

I’m Sorry, Birdies

Cardinal

Dear Birds Right Outside My Bedroom Window,

I would like to take this opportunity to formally apologize for muttering bad words and complaining about your recent happy chirping while I was desperately trying to get more sleep at 5:30 AM. How dare I complain when I feed you and encourage you to visit?

I love watching all my birds but a special apology and shout out go to the “Cardinal Family” who brighten each day with their flashes of red beauty across a white sky. I feel especially guilty because you KNOW I always welcome you with great love and joy. I always smile when you come and I listen joyfully to your songs and I watch you feed each other; you are a blessing of nature. Again, I am so sorry; please forgive this one mishap. I feel bad enough, believe me. Those who really know me will tell you how sincere I am. If you would like, references are available on request.

Since this happened a few days ago I have been wracked with guilt. There was no reason for me to take my grouchiness and lack of a good night’s sleep out on you. No excuses. Your songs were beautiful, as always, and I know you were just talking to each other and singing and you have every right to do that. Even though my cranky rant was muttered into my pillow, I know you heard me. I am a disgrace to human kind.

I see the bird feeder is running a little low on your favorite black sunflower seeds. For my punishment, I will drag my lazy behind from the bed to the outdoor shed and refill it immediately. I’m sorry that you don’t like me wasting seeds by throwing them on the grass for the squirrels, but they are my friends too. We all need to share and you know they can’t reach YOUR bird feeder anymore.

Rest assured birdies (and no pun was intended) I will not complain again. Instead, I will try to enjoy the (um, early) day and I will sit down at the kitchen table with my extra-strong mug of espresso/Starbucks mix and I will raise my cup to thank you for all the good times we have shared.

Your Friend,

Hibernationnow

Best Friends – Chronic Babe Style

holding hands - age 10, and age 8

Image via Wikipedia

The best friends in my life have common traits: warmth, kindness and the gift of caring deeply. They are all people who I can rely on without a single doubt; that is something very important to me. Some people have a big family to fill these roles; I have my friends.

I met one friend when our children were six, they are now eighteen. Two years ago, in the dairy aisle between the orange juice and yogurt of our local store, I took a chance and impulsively asked her if she would like to go for coffee one day.  I didn’t have to worry, she said she “would absolutely love to” with a big goofy grin. Since that day we have seen each other at least once a week at our favorite diner, we talk daily and we e-mail. When she thinks I look wan and tired, she tells me to sit, when she thinks I am not feeling well enough SHE begs off and reschedules.

I’ve also had a best friend for thirty-five years, we met at work after I graduated college. We’ve been through so much together that our friendship is practically tenured. We have gone without talking for months on end, if not years because she disappears emotionally.  I tried to break up with her but when I thought of the word ‘best friend,’ I saw her sheepish face and her emotional handicaps. I don’t understand why she does it and neither does she but I accept it and we work at our friendship. No-one said friendships are always easy.

I was two when my other friend was born and we were inseparable for the first eight years of our lives. We were childhood friends, bound together by foundation, emotional glue.  We grew apart, with different interests and different locations yet there was never a birthday when we didn’t send each other a card. I got married and had kids and lived in Boston, she had Springsteen tickets and a new boyfriend. Even though we may not see each other for years there is an emotional connection and joy built into our foundation, like red bricks for a building. If I needed her, she would be there for me in one second, no questions asked and I would do the same for her.

I have best friends on line who support me and whom I support in our chronic pain journeys; we give each other all that we can and it is always enough. Saying that you understand, you can relate, is a gift that we inherently have. Everyone is equal here and safe. There is one person I consider a ‘best friend that I have not yet met.’ I trust her advice, love her honesty, intelligence and wit not to mention our shared love of everything sweet. I have a friend on-line that I call my ‘twin’, another that I call ‘my little sister’ and one I refer to as ‘the mother hen.’ There is a friend on another coast that I would go to if she gave a seminar, not thinking twice that I had never met her in person. These friends on-line are important in my life; we send each other messages of support, and soft, gentle hugs that you feel in your heart and they cause no pain.

These women are in my home with me on my laptop, helping me when I am down, congratulating me when I feel better, always available for a question. We are a group of people with a common thread of pain, sharing support, advice and friendship. We understand what others are going through because we are there ourselves. We are not just friends; we are a circle of women, connected; another way of saying family.

Predicting My Future? Plinky Prompt

Brother and sister in the street of Qala-i-Sha...

Image via Wikipedia

  • Congratulations, Pass The Tissues
    Ten years ago my son was eight and my daughter was 6. I’m sure I thought about them graduating one day from High School  for a second or two but I was in a dense fog. I just had NO idea how I would feel. With a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old you don’t have time to think about the future; you are busy every minute with carpools and dance classes and baseball and swimming and lunches and snacks and dinner and shopping and playdates. Endless playdates with an equal amount of driving. My son graduates on Sunday and I have been crying a lot. I try to hide it from him, but sometimes he figures it out, it isn’t hard. One quick glimpse of my face and he knows, he senses it, he sees it. We understand each other without words. I expected him to graduate but I never thought how devastated I would feel. My brown-haired, brown-eyed first-born. I am thrilled with him no one could be prouder; his choice of colleges was fantastic. Change is hard for me and I never was good at saying “Good-Bye.” All my life, I’ve hated to say “Good-bye” to anyone I loved.
    My first-born son is leaving and I have written a lot about that in my blog. A year from now, my daughter, my blonde-haired baby will also graduate from High School. Twenty- one months apart yet only one grade year apart. I feel like I am being sucker punched constantly. In a year, my husband and I, will be “empty nesters” and while I am sure that we will enjoy it, now, it’s a bitter, lemon-sour word, near a very open, raw, wound.
  • Can anyone out there with a graduating Senior from High School relate?
  • Previous Answer

Always Elizabeth

Deer

I associate french fries with Elizabeth. Still, to this day, I can picture her face when the french fries that she DID NOT WANT appeared on her plate. I can’t forget her face. She looked like a deer, with white, almost translucent skin and dark, dark eyebrows and eyes.

When I was in High School, a long, long time ago, in Jamaica, NY, in the early seventies, I was good friends with a girl named Elizabeth W. I don’t want to give her last name since she seemed to disappear and maybe she wanted it that way; I hope that’s the reason.  This was a friend, a dear, enormously talented friend that wrote amazing stories, poetry; I think she was an artist too.

I remember we cut class together and would go to a pond or grassy area right near the school and talk about writing and life and everything esoteric. What sticks in my mind the most is that this was one tragic, sad girl. I cannot call her “young woman” because nothing about her wanted to grow up or change. She was the daughter of one Child Psychiatrist and another Psychiatrist or Psychologist. Elizabeth was one very sick girl. I am not sure if her parents knew how sick she was.

Back then, as my daughter would say, in the land of dinosaurs, no-one knew what Anorexia was but certainly that is what Elizabeth had. I remember vividly going to a restaurant and Elizabeth told the waitress at least twenty times that she did not want french fries with her sandwich. She said it over and over and I also told the waitress to make sure they didn’t bring french fries because I knew how Elizabeth would react, badly, of course. Sure enough, Elizabeth, never Liz or Lizzy or Betsy or Beth freaked out. Deep down in my stomach I sensed that would happen and I swept the offending french fries away and started to try to talk her down. She was inconsolable, she cried and trembled and cursed; we left immediately. I want to say we went to a show or a movie after that but I don’t know what we saw. I think there were kids throwing candy and that upset you, and me, too.  Poor Elizabeth, no one knew much about your illness back then.

I remember your very pale, very skinny body that seemed to shed it’s own skin. The hair on your arms were black or maybe that’s just how I remember them. We took a trip to Philadelphia once, I don’t know why, but we did. We took the train together for a day trip, did we visit a museum? I remember nothing about what we did there or where we went or even why. I had an aunt and uncle that lived there but I am not sure if we saw them. I remember nothing but your face, dear Elizabeth and the photo in our yearbook; etched in my brain.

Rumor had it that you went to a small all-girls college, Smith maybe? I tried to track you down but never found you. I was your friend and then you were gone. Nobody knew anything about you, it’s as if you were a dream of mine, that you existed only in my imagination.

I just wanted you to know, if you are still out there in this enormous world, that someone has not forgotten you, that I remember your big dark eyes, and your wistful little smile, like that of a tiny kitten. I hope you are well, I hope more that you are still alive.

Yes, I Blog!

Pen and Paper
  • Yes, I Blog!
  • https://hibernationnow.wordpress.com
    I loved writing in High School, I wrote poetry and essays and I was on every literary magazine club that existed. I wrote for myself after that but never wrote for public consumption. I have journals dating back to junior high (if they still exist.) A few years ago I started a blog and I had to push myself to do that. I was scared, I was taking a chance and yes, I was growing up at my very ripe old age. I have been blogging since then and I love it. I remember writing the first post with fear but with pride. Now, I have about 450 posts and they truly are a great outlet for me. Not only that, I adore it when readers read my blogs and comment. I feel connected, I feel like my true self. Come visit my blog: https://hibernationnow.wordpress.com

Something I Wish I Hadn’t Thrown Away (Plinky)

Tiger on my way

Image by gynti_46 via Flickr

  • Something I Wish I Hadn’t Thrown Away
  • I Knew It Then; I Know It Now
  • It’s embarrassing after all these years but I still regret throwing away a (barely) stuffed animal named Tigre (pronounced Tie-gree.) I remember that he was bright orange with black stripes, a tiger with honor and kindness. I felt protected by this sewn-up, bedraggled stuffed animal but I was going to college and had to give some stuff away. This was a mistake, I knew it then as I pushed his frail, falling apart body down the incinerator shoot. I regret it still. I can picture him perfectly but I do regret getting rid of him since he comforted me in my childhood. Sometimes, I would use his body as a pillow when I couldn’t sleep. When I was a child, stuffed animals and dolls were very important to me, they were like family. I’ve very sentimental about stuffed animals and still love them. I still have Nokey, my monkey, the one stuffed animal I would save if there was a fire. My dad bought me Nokey ( I couldn’t pronounce Monkey) from Lamstons for my birthday when I turned two. When I die, Nokey will be buried with me. I’m not going anywhere without him.