Yellow Magic Madness #9

The first feeling of sun on my fingertips.

It’s been a really long time.

The feeling of sun on fingertips

The feeling of sun on fingertips (Photo credit: Keoni Cabral)

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Oscar And Cranky Me

English: A housecat named Princess who highly ...

*If I was a cat, this is what I would look like today. Cranky, disgruntled and sneering. That’s me in cat form. Just call me Oscar. At least I got to stay inside today while the human me had to go out. Oscar wins, as usual. Can’t you see it in his eyes? I’m a cat, stupid human, haven’t you learned that I always win? This is why in real life, I have a dog. She would NEVER look at me like this.

I started my awful day going begrudgingly to the grocery store. I didn’t have the “Senior Coupon” for the five percent discount but the not-so-sweet cashier just glanced at my lined face and said it was okay, that should have made me happy but it didn’t. AT ALL. I came home and noticed my dog pooped in the house, (SHUT UP OSCAR.)When she has an emergency she only poops on my favorite rug in the living room with the multicolored squares, that did not improve my mood. Our new white outside door that has been fixed numerous times broke while two friends and I watched it whip off the hinges when there was a burst of wind. I felt like we were in the “Wizard Of Oz.”Now we need a new door. Then, I tried to sneeze and it got stuck and I got the stabbing needles in my nose that I hate.

My husband  has been in Seattle for four weeks with a three-day break home and that is just not right. Yes, we are grateful he has a job but this time of commute is hell for a marriage and a family.

He’s coming home in a few days and I don’t know if we are bickering because he has been away for so long or we just don’t know how to communicate well with each other anymore, especially long distance. He used to call me seven times a day and now it’s once at night and before was too much and now it’s not enough. I don’t think that’s good but that’s life and I have to deal with it, rather, we have to deal with it. I’m getting tired of dealing with everything all the time, alone. We do have two children who are teenagers, one is in college, the other a senior in high school, no words are needed. I’m on my own.

I’m tired of being chronically sick with pain, Fibromyalgia and TMJ, in the winter months especially is draining and all I want to do now is sleep but when I sleep my hands and fingers get numb and I googled that which is a very bad thing for me to do. DO NOT GOOGLE medical things, I have told others but once in a great while I slip into bad habits and google something for myself, which ends up in an anxiety attack, for sure.

I’m fantasizing about a vacation somewhere sunny and hot; I have a childhood friend Debbie who is living the winter months in Belize. If I didn’t like her so much I would hate her but it’s nearly impossible to dislike this person. I’m just envious of her “easy, breezy Covergirl” lifestyle.”It’s all about her, whatever she wants to do and when and I don’t know what that would feel like anymore, did I ever? Choices. Good for you, Debbie!

Last night, I tried to recreate a brussel sprout recipe that I had in a restaurant but it didn’t even come close. I have lost 15 pounds but I seem to be stuck here and that is getting very frustrating. I know it all, plateaus, blah, blah, blah but still, I can’t give up and I’m food deprived and please don’t lecture that I shouldn’t be hungry because the lecture won’t work on me AT ALL. I’m as stubborn as hell and that’s the way I am and always have been. I also cooked a veggie burger that I managed to destroy and it ended up as hard as a hockey puck, I thought it was just still frozen so I ate two tiny bites and then microwaved it again, tried it  and I couldn’t even chew it. I ended up having a huge portobello mushroom with a piece of old, hardened Alpine Lace cheese and I hated my dinner. I also woke up all night long with sharp pains of TMJ stabbing me in my cheek and jaw line and it hurt, a lot.

So here’s a post about nothing and everything, all in one. Nothing lyrical or poetic, nothing emotional or powerful, just ordinary stuff on a night when it’s freezing outside and no one really understands how you feel. Once in a while you have to accept these days of pain and loneliness, bad food, bad spirits and no one can make it better for you, not even you.

A Warm Welcome For New Chronic Pain Members

Strelitzia reginae, also known as Bird of Para...

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Dear New Chronic Pain Member,

I won’t say “Congratulations” for being in this particular club, a club that we all wish we were not in. Life works in very strange ways. There are some things we can’t possibly understand and there are some things we just have to accept; chronic pain/illness falls into that category. Whatever you have gone through there’s a pretty good chance we’ve  all been there and back. At least, you have found the most supportive bunch of people I’ve ever known. Even though what we have in common isn’t exactly our love for food (well, that too) it’s nice to surround yourselves with people who truly understand. Trust me, it helps.

Yesterday I dragged my aching bones and stiff joints up the four stairs for a consultation with a different Rheumatologist/Fibromyalgia doctor, even four steps felt like a lot and the rail  on the wall  called my name; I let it. Unlike my old doctor this new human being seemed attentive and concerned, he didn’t smirk once, didn’t put me down at all. He even talked to me (and not to my husband which used to happen all of the time.) Most of all, this guy  seemed to care. He interrupted my exam to talk to a suffering patient and while I don’t think that’s good form, listening to his soothing voice and gentility made it alright with me. It made me feel that I could call him for questions or concerns, not just send him e-mails like the old dude.

For a patient with a chronic illness or multiple chronic illnesses, a good rapport with a doctor is imperative. Go to a doctor that will give you the gift of hope. I’ve been around the block a few times here, actually 4 years worth so please listen so if I can shield you from the mistakes I have made, please let me.

This is my story, while going through menopause at age 50, my body basically fell apart. I developed an underactive thyroid, aches and pains, high cholesterol and a kangaroo stomach pouch, as I’ve said before “without a joey.” After many mistrials with many doctors, four years later I am here.  My old rhuematologist used to growl and say “Fibromyalgia is a lazy diagnosis.” What was that supposed to mean? Did that mean I didn’t have it because I certainly felt like I did. Those of us who have chronic pain know it; we feel it, eat it, and breathe it. We live with it day by day, aching night by night. There is no question in our minds but a big question mark still for some doctors, the wrong doctors. If your Doctor does not nod his/her head appreciatively or with empathy, do me a favor, walk out.

Fibromyalgia get’s a bad reputation and while it cannot be cured hopefully it can be helped. I had at least 14 out of the 17 pressure points and I was still on a lot of medication. I like that this Dr. took me off things that he thought I didn’t need. NOTE to fellow sufferers: If you have Fibromyalgia or any chronic pain illness and high cholesterol like me, ask your Doctor about side effects from certain drugs. Four years into this I just learned (from my mother)  Zocor or generic Simvastatin causes muscle aches and fatigue. Ask your own physician or call my mom if you want.

I also have an auto-immune illness of my thyroid, called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. What this means is basically my thyroid cells attack each other and this illness too brings pain and fatigue as well. Also, something called connective tissue disorder as well as others:  TMJ, IBS, Interstial Cystitis, bouts of anxiety etc.

I have no illusions that I will be “cured.” There is NO cure for my illnesses.  I am thankful I have friends who understand how I feel. Fellow sufferers who know what it means when I have a flare up  when the humidity is high and I am like a limp, achey, dishrag, basically hung out to dry. I’ve found that people without the disease don’t know how to handle “us.”  “Get more exercise” says my mother. “Go to a nutritionist”says my sister.  They mean well, they just don’t get it and how could they? We live in a different world.

The image of myself that I used to have was of a helpless kitty, crying and lost. Now, it is a beautiful, graceful flower,  purple and orange and called a Bird of Paradise. It looks like a bird‘s open beak, colorful, strong with its head, firmly, bravely, looking up. I pray it lasts.

The Ethiopian Food Experience (A Foodie Blog)

For a girl who grew up on Wonder bread, butter and American cheese sandwiches for most of her life eating Ethiopian food was quite the dining experience. I used to be hesitant (ok, stubborn and frightened) by eating new foods until I met my husband who introduced various ethnic food dishes to me with patience. I eat Indian food, Chinese, Japanese (no sushi though) Asian-fusion, Thai and now Ethiopian (Italian food is a given!)  Not only did I enjoy it, I kept up with my husband in terms of handling the various spices and I admit, I was proud. Food to me now is an adventure and I LOVE it.

We ate in a fairly new, small, Ethiopian restaurant  and it was delightful. I felt like I was critiquing for Gourmet Magazine, I was that excited. The decor was simple and understated but truly reflected the beauty and simplicity of Ethiopia. There were a few black and white photographs from Ethiopia on the warm, burnt orange walls. The tables were classic and made out of wood. The restaurant is like sunshine; our waitress was mostly silent though out our meal but the owner was absolutely lovely and talkative.

I was excited to try the Ethiopian, thin, spongy bread called Injera that everybody was talking about. I love eating with my fingers so diving in to tear off a piece of bread and grab and pinch food was not only delicious but fun too. Across the restaurant I saw two men eating with forks and I scoffed; I felt superior (though I still haven’t mastered the art of chopsticks yet.)I can definitely relate to eating with my fingers and getting messy. It’s a grown-up version of your toddler’s tray table.

We started with an avocado salad that was lovely and light, it had chopped onions and tomatoes mixed in (maybe some peppers too). I did miss a dash of salt but I decided to stay in the moment. Interestingly, we brought some home for leftovers and it seemed to have gotten spicier overnight, perhaps it needed time on the bread to absorb the spices. I admit, on the second day it was a little too spicy for me to handle eating.  It was served on the very thin, fermented bread that many say “you either like it or you don’t.” It has a unique taste alone but once you are sopping up delicious sauces with it, it is much more pleasurable. It acts like a sponge absorbing the heat and spice of the food.

We ordered a tasting platter (again served on their bread) and we were delighted with what we got. The platter contained very small portions of three types of meat and three vegetarian dishes. Honestly, sometimes we didn’t now what was what  but we didn’t care. There was a little chicken, a little lamb and I think a little beef though it was quite indescernible. It also came with three different vegetarian samples: puree of peas, lentil and cabbage. I loved the lingering smell on my fingers from the spicy food.

It’s the type of restaurant you want to introduce your friends to. It really is a sweet gem. You WANT this restaurant to succeed and I have no doubt that it will. I’m eager to go again and soon.