A LOVE LETTER To Starbucks’ Iced Lemon Pound Cake

English: Starbucks, Cathedral Square, Peterbor...

English: Starbucks, Cathedral Square, Peterborough, UK. A typical sales area in a Starbucks coffeehouse. Showing the till, preparation areas and sales displays. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Starbucks,

I love you. To pieces. Well, to pieces of iced lemon pound cake. On this I swear.

I read that Starbucks got rid of a few of its very popular items, but not for long; there were many customer complaints. One of the items they said good-bye to was one of my favorites, the iced lemon pound cake. Gone, Adios. Bye-bye. WHAT?

Yes, you heard me, it vanished from the clean see-through shelves of your local Starbucks’ establishment. Horrors. Excuse me?  MY FAVORITE ICED LEMON POUND CAKE FROM STARBUCKS WAS TAKEN OFF THE MARKET? DEAR GOD, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? WHERE HAVE I BEEN?

I assumed that since my husband and I have been on a strict budget and we don’t have the money to buy anything special like Starbucks coffee everything was still the same. In the very infrequent times that I did treat myself to a latte it was probably in the afternoon when I just assumed they were out of stock of my all-time favorite, deliciously iced lemon pound cake.Yes, I am salivating.

The winter was so LONG and hard that I didn’t go out much, having Fibromyalgia it’s hard enough to get out of bed not to mention get dressed and go out, imbalanced in the snow and ice.  Sometimes “ignorance is bliss.” I didn’t miss my tangy and sweet pound cake because I didn’t know it was gone.

But, there are times when mistakes have been made and corrected without a fuss (not often, I know.) I have to give it to Starbucks, not many companies listen to their customers and right a wrong. YOU ROCK!! I am proud of your establishment and I am saving up money. I don’t know exactly when the lemon pound cake will be coming back but I will be on-line to buy it with a latte just to make me feel good and to give myself a treat. A company that actually LISTENS to their customers and wants their customers to be happy? THANK YOU.

Having not thought about the yummy sweet/tart lemon cake, you know what happens to me. I NEED It NOW. I may have to visit my local Starbucks immediately and ask when exactly it is coming back, date/time/place. I will be there, I promise. Thank you, Starbucks for everything that you do, I would work for you anytime especially if I got a discount on dessert.

My confession: I’m a slut for sour and sweet desserts. Oh fine, I’m a slut for desserts.

For those of you who bake ( and bake well) I’ve LEARNED OF a very good substitute from the delicious Ina Garten. It’s a little too advanced for me. She has a wonderful recipe for a lemon pound cake:

For those like me, who are not advanced bakers come join me. You will find me on-line at the nearest Starbucks, waiting, patiently and with LOVE.

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Fibro Girl, Grey’s Anatomy And Me

Grey's Anatomy (season 1)

Grey’s Anatomy (season 1) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I think of “Fibro Girl” I imagine a small, spunky superhero with brown hair and round black glasses and a red cape that has a big bold black F on it. I don’t know why I think of her that way but it amuses me. Maybe because it’s such a juxtaposition between her life and mine. She is trying to fight Fibromyalgia with her strength. I have NO strength. When I was FINALLY diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, seven years ago, my strength was taken away.

Our lives with this illness are question marks. It is hard for us to plan ahead. In fact for me, it’s impossible. For people who DON’T have FIBROMYALGIA OR DOUBTERS (seriously? still?)  I am physically unable to commit to a date in the future without the caveat “depends on how I’m feeling.”  People who cannot understand that are not true friends. We didn’t ask for this, we wish we didn’t have it. Believe us.

My current experience with Fibromyalgia is that I am able to do one errand per day, MAYBE two. If I push my limit I’m wiped out and pay for it later with exhaustion/ pain. At the moment I am not suffering as much physical pain as I had in the past. (see past Fibromyalgia posts) There’s always some pain but I have learned to accept and manage that pain because of a great doctor and the right combination of Fibro drugs. Now, doctors are worried about a new “balance issue” which has nothing to do with Fibromyalgia.  More tests, a pink cane….I can’t walk a straight line, two perfect CAT scans. Can we stop now? No.

Fibromyalgia takes control over us. I’m embarrassed to say that I never thought about it that way. Amazing how our lives change so quickly. If stress is indeed a factor, I’m in deep trouble. My husband got laid off 2 days ago. I can’t work even though I want to and we need the money but it’s not possible. It doesn’t seem right to punish us for something we physically cannot do. Not right at all.

We don’t live in a perfect world, although I really do know people who live a charmed life in every aspect of their lives. Lucky them, maybe they have dark secrets but I doubt it. All I want is a break in having to struggle every single day with some new illness or symptom. The umbrella of Fibromyalagia has so many illnesses underneath it I go to the doctor(s) way too much.

Right now, with the weather is getting colder. I always feel worse when it is cold outside. Then, a good time for me is staying in bed with my dog lying next to me, watching Grey’s Anatomy, Parenthood or The Voice. The television has become my life line. That and this computer connecting me to friends with Fibro and without. We do the best we can with what we have. Minute by minute, day by day. We’re in it together, holding hands, on-line and off.

I am sick, I am not sick, I am

Pain #TP637

Pain #TP637 (Photo credit: ConnectIrmeli)

I am not sick. I am. I am sick if I feel pain, pain hurts. Sick is pain, not bumping up against walls and tremors. So, I am not sick. Not now. Not yet. You did hear me, right? I am not sick. What happens when invisible illness become visible? When a pink cane accompanies me everywhere? I am not invisible anymore. People see me and give it a thought, “oh, there’s something wrong with HER, I wonder what it is.”

I think the same thing, flatly, without terror, at least today. What IS wrong with me. I have shut down for the most part and if I could stay in bed in my white-flowered pajamas, thin and comfortable, I would do that all day and night. I can’t. My kids are home today for a visit and as most parents know, I would do anything not to scare them or put them through any unnecessary concern.

I am unbalanced, imbalanced. I cannot walk a straight line. My neurologist was cavalier the first time he saw this, in fact he ignored it. Why would he ignore something as strange as that? Maybe because he ran over his 8 minute limit.  I don’t like him. I don’t like a doctor who does not acknowledge emotion, who pretends it is not there. I need to switch. He didn’t want to give me this second MRI but my” huggable rheumatologist” insisted. He is a doctor I respect. A person that you can be proud to call your doctor.

I need a favor, I have asked a friend and she can’t do it. I have asked another friend and I haven’t heard back. I hate asking for favors. Do I ask again or just call a cab? I’m too tired to even make this decision. My room is disgustingly disorganized and I don’t have the energy to clean it but I will try for ten minutes. There is a banana bread in the oven baking for my son for his 24 hour visit, I would have crawled to make that for him, I had to lean on counters but I did it. I just hope I don’t burn it since I am lying down upstairs.

I’m getting very tired. Tired of tests, tired of illnesses, tired of sickness upon sickness piling up on me. This blog is the friend I can always talk to. I do not tell my mother half of what is going on because I don’t want her to worry. Here, I can say anything, I am not seeking pity, just a few minutes of peace of mind. It generally doesn’t work but I give it a try. I have nothing to lose. I cannot hide because I am here, just because I don’t complain does not mean I don’t hurt.

photograph credit to the noted photographer above.

no rights.

Fibromyalgia And Flunking The Sobriety Test

Sunset Police Car

Sunset Police Car (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Calm down, it’s not what you think. I can’t handle alcohol on ANY level, never could. Way back in my college days my friends would order a pitcher of beer and a Coke for me.  My now 20-year-old son’s advice is that I didn’t try hard enough. I should have just kept drinking because “it gets better.”  I’m sorry. I’m apparently a disappointment to my daughter and husband too.

One would think with my distaste for alcohol I would potentially have NO trouble with the law. That might not be the case. I went to my doctor, months ago, because I had consistent tingling in my legs and my internist (of course) referred me to a neurologist. The appointment was made and I forgot about it while my husband and I vacationed in Rhode Island for a few days. We had bright, sunny skies, we dug our toes into the silky sand, and ate raspberry scones, home-made sticky baked french toast for breakfast every day with a bowl of fresh blueberries and inexpensive lobster rolls at night. We napped daily.

One day I remember walking towards our car to my husband and then……. I was down……. I was on the floor, lying down, face down and have no idea what happened. Did I black out? Maybe. My knees and legs were bloody and filled with gravel but luckily my face was in good shape, apparently at the last-minute my husband said my arm came up instinctively to save my face. I hadn’t slipped on anything, there were no stones to tumble on, there was no logical reason this happened. I hadn’t twisted my ankle or sprained any ligament. I just went down. I wasn’t happy. Nobody was happy.

Upon my return I was even more nervous about seeing the neurologist who had ordered a plethora of tests including a CAT scan. My brain was perfect, the tests were perfect. Except for one. I could not, literally could NOT, walk a straight line. He told me I flunked that one outright and he had no idea why. He also felt there was no need to pursue it after seeing my brain scan. It’s true that a symptom of Fibromyalgia is imbalance but drunken-looking imbalance? Let’s say I was tired and driving sloppily, imagine a police car pulling me over and asking me to walk a straight line, maybe they would even give me a do-over since my breathalyzer test was normal…. I swear I’d be in the slammer pretty darn fast. Hopefully, you can still make one phone call. Even better, do you think I should get a doctor’s note?

Hope, Lost

fibromyalgia awareness

fibromyalgia awareness (Photo credit: veganjoy)

I am feeling funky today. Not funky ha ha, funky bad, I get those days from time to time. Fibromyalgia and chronic pain are to blame. There are days when I have a really good attitude about my chronic pain disease, Fibromyalgia and I say things to myself like “it’s not life-threatening” to keep me sane and balanced and aware, even grateful. Then there are nights like tonight where my face crinkles in uneasy frowns and my smile has disappeared as if I have two very different personalities. This “me” is not happy, and this “me” is angry, pissed off and ready to rumble.

Tonight is a night when many of my Fibromyalgia on-line friends/sisters in solidarity, are on-line, I read their blogs, they read mine.  There seems to be a lull in energy for all of us, a low in satisfaction, an overall feeling of just wanting to give up and an off the wall chart on pain levels. We have had enough, all of us. Yes, we know we have the illness, yes we will never get rid of it, yes it hurts and clouds our minds so much that our children look at us as if we have dementia. It’s called Fibro Fog.

I’ve never been overly concerned with my age, 55, but I am disappointed and disgusted in my physical limitations. Between low blood pressure, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Fibromyalgia, I don’t have a lot of energy. Other times, I have balance issues, always I have pain. At some point in the day or night, pain wakes me up in the cramping of my arms, in the battlefield of my legs. My husband passes by me and by accident his soft, cotton shirt touches one of my tender points and I scream out in pain. He didn’t do anything wrong but just the touch of the fabric was excruciatingly painful. It’s not fair and yes, I am whining tonight.

I’m tired and cranky and cranky some more. Oh, p.s. IT’S NOT IN OUR HEADS!

My jaw hurts from TMJ, my stomach hurts from IBS, my hair falls out and I can’t get a good night’s sleep which is imperative to my health. I can’t win, we can’t win. I feel  impatient and eventually I will settle down but now I just want to be angry at how my body has failed me. You know it’s true.

No, I don’t want platitudes, I just want to vent and say that I know it could be much worse but for now, it isn’t exactly like a walk in the park. I have a puppy, she needs to be walked, she needs to run but I can’t run with her. I take her on short walks when I can and sometimes I just throw her a toy, from my lying down position on the couch. It isn’t much but it is something. Still, I feel like a bad puppy mommy.

I had to have a brain/spine MRI because my imbalance was so severe that I fell flat on my face and knees outside with nothing to trip me. I’m seeing my Rheumatologist but I KNOW he doesn’t have the answer. He believes me, he cares, he tries but I know he can only do so much. Part of me wants to throw away the medicine I am taking (Savella) and see how bad it is without it. On the other hand, I’m scared to do that, I’m a little better than I was originally. Just not good enough.

The Fibromyalgia Sorority- Update

Ping Pong game by Parker Brothers, The Childre...

Ping Pong game by Parker Brothers, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

August 5, 2012

I promised an update and I keep my promises but it’s nothing “earth shattering” as my Mom is fond of saying. It’s just the same old, same old. I did go back to the neurologist for results but everything was fine. To me, that was good. He figured out that the tingling and imbalance could have been caused by the drug Topomax, but why I fell flat on my face for no reason he couldn’t answer. To him, he looked vaguely disappointed a) because he couldn’t help me and b) I was no longer of interest to him. He made that VERY obvious. The difference between the first and second appointments were like night and day. I stopped Topomax which now leaves me to go back to the Rheumatologist but I am not in any hurry. He was the one who prescribed Topomax. (Did he not know better?) From one doctor to another, I feel like a ping-pong ball.

Today, it is beastly hot and humid and I can barely get from the house to the car, this weather is not ideal for those of us with chronic pain, imbalance, weakness. There’s only a couple of days during a few weeks when we have ideal weather but that does not guarantee feeling well.  The winter is really rough, icy winds and snow but the summer’s humidity feels like I’m suffocating.

I went with my daughter to one store for shopping for college and there was no way I was going to miss it but I sure wish there were more chairs and benches to sit on for those of us who need a break. I’ve found holding on to a carriage is helpful and sometimes, if I really feel bad while I am there I can use the electric carts. I didn’t want to do that with my daughter but that’s a blog post of a different kind…..I’m sure those of you with teenage daughters understand.

How can we look forward to any day when we don’t know how we will feel? I used to set things up in advance, make plans with friends, go into the city, or to a movie or a museum. Now, it’s like the earth has to be aligned in 940 ways before I even think about it. Not too hot, not too cold, not humid, not torrential downpours and then we have the symptom assessment. What hurts, what doesn’t (rarely an answer there) have I slept well? Everything is so complicated now. I envy my old life, pre-Fibro, but I have accepted it is gone. I wish one or two of my family members would accept that too.

People still say stupid things and most people, unless they have Fibromyalgia, JUST DON’T GET IT.  Those of us who have it are unlucky members of a very big club. We understand EACH OTHER.  Fibro sufferers, if nothing else, be glad we have each other. Perhaps we could all become sisters (and some brothers) in a Fibromyalgia Sorority. Fi Kappa Fibro anyone?

My Fibromyalgia Vacation

Rhode Island Retreat 2983

Rhode Island Retreat 2983 (Photo credit: WebAdvantage.net)

I bet for a second you actually thought I got a vacation from Fibromyalgia and ALL my aches and pains. Oh, silly you, you know THAT’S not possible, that’s not even a thought that enters my sane mind anymore. Actually, it doesn’t even enter my insane mind. I’m stuck with this horrid disease, as I know so many of you are, and we are going nowhere, well, not fast. Fast is a past tense word. I don’t do anything quickly anymore, with the exception of napping and eating.

My husband and I went away for a couple of days, it was a short car ride that we broke down in two days. Yes, we stopped overnight so I wouldn’t have to sit in the car for four hours which, I thought, was extremely sweet and generous of my husband. After all, money is tight and in August we are sending two kids to college (state schools, thank goodness, but two in college at the same time.)

We arrived at our lovely Bed and Breakfast and it was the first time I noticed someone actively noticing me. The Inn Keeper was watching me, she stared at me, not unkindly, but with acknowledgment. I only had one computer bag in my hand and she said “let me take that for you, it’s easier for me.” This was not a woman who was much younger than me but when I saw her sprint up and down the stairs like a youthful kangaroo I realized how old and how sick I must look and seem. It was devastating to me and quite alarming.

I am used to my small circle of friends and family who are with me all the time and know about the chronic pain and illness. The stiffness in my bones, muscles, the nerve pain, the imbalance, the awkwardness of going up stairs (and these were deep and wide stairs.) My husband’s arm was always at the ready and I’m sure she noticed that too but I felt so conspicuous. I felt like I had a sign on my back that read: DAMAGED GOODS. Apparently, I did.

I have other tests coming up soon and if those are okay I know I will be thankful for just having Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (an auto-immune disease of the thyroid.)  I am not complaining about how I feel physically as much as the shock I felt when the inn-keeper looked at me, with equal parts of pity, kindness and sorrow. She was NOT trying to make me feel bad in any way, but bad is how I felt, I’m so used to feeling physically bad that I don’t know what physically good feels like anymore. Physically painful is my new normal. I felt emotional pain from a stranger for the very first time and that hurt.