Saturday, February 25, 2017


Early this morning, I awoke abruptly coughing and gasping and struggling to breathe.  It is a terrifying way to awake.  I had forgotten that.

I miss the theophylline.  I mean, it clearly was starting to cause more problems than it helped, but I miss it.  I miss the control it gave me over my asthma.

In the intervening years, emergency inhalers have changed.  At least, for me they have.  The best news was that the combination of drugs that I use in my nebulizer are now available in an emergency inhaler.  The best news about that is that I qualify for patient assistance program on that inhaler.  Having used it muchly, I adore it.  Quite effective.

Except when you awake in the early morning coughing, gasping, and struggling to breathe.

I slept until around 3:00 in the afternoon, once my breathing finally got better, my heart rate dropped, and my blood pressure came back down.  My response to the asthma drugs was blunted, somewhat, by using the extra half-dose of metoprolol, but I couldn't wait before taking it and using my nebulizer.  The attack was the worst one since moving here.  The kind that I used to drive myself on over to the ER to address.

The Parkview ER is a half hour away (at least I don't think there is a closer one).  I am fairly certain I could go to an out-of-network ER in an emergency, but I wouldn't much like that kind of paperwork/insurance battle.  Plus, when I have asthma meds, my heart rate and blood blood pressure swing wildly and it's important medical personnel have some understanding of dysautonomia before plying me with heart and BP drugs.

Then there is the whole shame angle.  Back in Alexandria, I had a system.  I wore these stretchy undershirt things that could stay on in x-ray.  Now, my abdomen is too sore to wear them.  Maybe if I found larger ones, but I am not sure.  Then there is the pacemaker thing.  Before, I was rarely placed on a monitor.  Now, it seems like everyone wants me on a monitor.  And it's pretty much impossible to keep yourself covered up when you have folk sticking pads on your chest and abdomen and even legs.

But I almost went this morning.
I suppose I should investigate where to go.
Instead I nebulized at home today.
Several times.

In between neublizing, I found myself drowning in the need to DO SOMETHING.  So, I did, though most of my doing was around food.  I:
  • cut Amos' nails
  • took my beloved Fluffernutter for a walk
  • made bacon-wrapped fillet mignon with boursin cheese
  • poached chicken with lemon, garlic, and thyme for salads and such
  • cooked up some crumbled bacon bits for my salads
  • made a Betty Crocker batch of molasses cookies (sadly, I don't like them ... what is wrong with me???????)
  • built myself a fire
  • and finished the day with some of those luscious scrambled eggs with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat's milk cheese. 

I'm tuckered out ... breathing better, but tuckered out.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Catching up...

I've been trying to recover from all the appointments and going out over the past two weeks, so today was a lot of resting.  Not all resting ... but much resting.

I thought I would start that resting last night, but I got a call from the Walmart Vision Center, so I went to fetch my new glasses ... my new, new glasses since my new glasses did not work out.

I really am not much for selfies when it comes to me, but I do like that you can see that my hair cut works well after sleeping on wet hair and rolling out of bed without any sort of combing or brushing or anything like that.  The glasses are not as great a look as the first ones, but they fit well, having the much needed nose pads.

These are my new, new sunglasses.  I was going for an old, sort of classic look.  They are gold on the frames and leopard print on the sides.

The case is for my glasses.  It is pink.  I am not a pink person.

As you can see from my sweaty face, I took Amos for his walk today.  That was all I thought that I would be doing, but I decided to stop putting off tending to a free begonia that my neighbor shared with me (she got three).

The pot was another freebie.  Sadly, it had the bay leaf plant in it that I bought last fall (summer??).  It died.  I had been ignoring the dead plant in the solarium and the new plant sitting on the dining table, so it was time to swap pots and water.  I just adore the blooms on this begonia!

Firewood Man came by on Wednesday to trim the fence posts and install the caps.  Amos has been spending lots of time back there in my haven, mostly up on the bench!  Silly Fluffernutter!!

Firewood Man also put in the river rock on the back side.  I need to take a photo of it, but he put it there to hold the paving base in place. I think it looks smart and sort of finishes the back side of the fencing in the alley.  I just so love what a fantastic job that Tim's done for me ... one that is better even than I imagined.

I did get the Menard's rebates off in the mail.  I'll get ~$70 back to use on the pavers, when they go on sale.  I think that I want the tumbled pavers and I think I want the 4 Block Step pattern.  I am just not sure.  I sort of wish someone else would make the paving decisions for me.

The rest of the day, I did a lot of just sitting and trying not to focus on my eyes and my abdomen and the nausea and the headaches and the falling and the fainting and Georgie's shenanigans going on in my heart.

With my eyes, I often have to take a break from using them.  But, more importantly, I have to somehow learn to remember that when they are hurting it is because they are dry and I need to moisten them.  I am not all that good at remembering that yet, but the gel and the gel drops and the Balance drops are helping.  At least I have not gotten back to that place where I was so scared that the dryness was going to damage my eyes instead of merely making me miserable.

Amos has been just fine with my resting.  He'd rather I rest all the time if it means that I stay home with him.  He doesn't know that the Great Separation of 2017 is upcoming.  March 2nd, he's having his teeth cleaned (I've been saving for 14 months), which means anesthesia which means Amos will be in the clinic all day which means we were not be together all day.  SIGH.

Who do you think will take it the worst?????

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


It happened today!

I missed the photo of Firewood Man digging out a foot of dirt to create a base for the paving stones.  Now, if it were me, I would have maybe taken it down a bit, tossed down some sand, and stuck the bricks on top.  Firewood Man is all about doing things correctly.  So, after digging out out all dirt, Firewood Man then laid down 4.5 tons of crushed rock as a base.

Spreading and tamping and spreading and tamping and spreading and tamping happened until after dark, so I had to take a photo with flash.  Even though it is a bit fuzzy and dark, is this not a lovely sight?

He left a pile of crushed rock on the right side in case we needed a bit more to level a spot here or there.  And then he installed the final panel.  I about near wept.  I really like that we extended out the fence on the right to make a proper corner instead of the angled corner that was there.  Otherwise, that post right behind the tree would have been the back corner.  And I think that having that corner makes the tree look more like it is in a space than just ... there.

Before he left, Firewood Man moved the bench back so I could enjoy the space.  I have 1,001 ideas of how I might make it my little haven.  Right now, I am leaning toward eventually having a fountain on the right hand side against the garage.  Then, I would have the bench across from that.  And beneath the tree a small table with chairs.  To eat out there ... or blog.

[I currently have not a single clue how I might fund a fountain and a small table with chairs aside from stealing from my grocery and household budget funds.  I'd call them "medical expenses" for mental health, but that line item is vastly underfunded as it is.]

I am not sure which kind of pavers I should get or even the pattern style.  I like the idea of cheap pavers and I like the idea of a pattern to how they are laid, but beyond that, I think I mostly would like some that look old rather than straight edge bricks.  Mostly, though, it is all about how cheaply I can do this, especially since I will have more Menard's money to use on them.

Firewood Man is willing to build some planters, if need be. He plans to move the downspout on the right to the other side of the fence.  Another change in plans because of how it turned out.  I have no problem with moving the downspout!

We were both concerned Amos might try to get out beneath the panels since there is extra space there right now until the stones get put down, but Amos showed only a passing interest to the space.  I am sooooooooo happy I no longer need to have Amos on a leash in the back yard, for he was not so much interested in tending to his major business on a leash.  When he cannot go outdoors, Amos has no compunction about going indoors.  SIGH.

Today was a long day because I had my cardiology appointment.  I think the main point of the visit was that he has been surprised and concerned by just how much the pacemaker (Georgie) is pacing me, well over 90%.  He would like for my heart to work on its own and has not really experienced persistent bradycardia amongst his other dysautonomia patients.  He actually turned the bottom setting of the pacemaker down from 60 beats per minute (BPM) to 50.

I actually brought up the subject because I think I am feeling the base pacing when I roll over on my right side at night.  Sleeping on my left hurts because of the pacemaker pocket ... still ... so I would like to sleep on my right side.  But when I roll over, I feel this funny quivering inside.  My thought was that if we turned it down a bit, maybe my heart would beat on its own and I wouldn't feel it.  I mean, bradycardia as a response is different than persistent bradycardia.  So, my hope was/is that a setting change might help.

He agreed, though not hopeful about my theory.  However, sitting on the sofa this evening, when checking, I have not see my heart rate below 56.  That means, when checking, my heart has been working on its own all that time!  Woo Hoo!  Sleeping, though, would be longer odds.  My heart rate and BP drop quite a bit when sleeping.

He asked how he could help me, given all that is going on (I LOVE that he read up on my chart before I saw him, going through the notes of all my specialists).  I mentioned that Georgie still doesn't really pace when I am on stairs or other times of physicality where I wish she would.  It is hard to be physical when your heart is beating so slowly.

With pacemakers like mine, there are two options:  1) use a setting based on motion or 2) use a setting based on how hard your heart is working.  The latter is more important for fainting because it kicks in when your BP is plummeting.  It also, be it for good or ill, kicked in other times your heart is working hard ... like when you are emotional.  Yes, well.  Georgie often lets me know I am upset before I realize I am upset because she starts firing.  Your heart also works hard when you are excited, like the last two minutes of a Dallas Cowboys game or the end of a NASCAR race.  Yep, Georgie also goes nuts when I am watching football and racing.

The motion setting would help with the physicality, but the other setting (CLS) is safer for patients with dysautonomia.  What he decided to do is increase the sensitivity of the CLS and increase the jumpstart BPM from 110 to 120.  So, that means I can potentially have my heart driven from 50 BPM to 120 BMP in just a few seconds!

I am to live with the changes for a week and then report back.

We also talked about the fact that the metoprolol is blunting my reactive responses to my emergency inhaler, but more with my heart rate than my BP.  My last attack was 156/71 HR111.  Having a heart rate of just 111 at such a time is great, since I use to leap up closer to 200.  However, when my body is stressed, my systolic tends to jump, but the diastolic lags behind.  When the difference between those (pulse pressure) widens, I feel this sense of doom and I feel like crap.  BUT the cardiologist has a plan!

I LOVE ME a plan!

He said to take half a pill of the metoprolol and then wait 5 minutes before using my emergency inhaler.  Since I start coughing before wheezing, most of the time, I have the time to wait.  That will boost the blunting effect.  I am almost sort of maybe looking forward to my next asthma attack.

We talked about a walker (he brought it up), thinking that if I had greater stability and safety whilst walking Amos then I might could take a break mid-way and be less miserable whilst walking.  He's all for me walking, although he understands why I cannot do that for very long.

We talked about this fearful thing that happens:  When my heart is really working crazy hard, I feel my pulse in my lower back and it HURTS.  As my heart slows, the pulsing in my lower back slows until it goes away.  No more pain.  Just like that.  I have worried that I have an aneurysm or something.  But he has a much more likely answer:  it is a sympathetic response (our autonomic nervous system is divided into the sympathetic and parasympathetic).  Or, to put it another way, "it's your dysautonomia."  So, I have mixed signals causing the muscles in my back to contract as my heart is contracting.  Fun times, eh?  I am thankful to better understand this thing that happens to me. And to see him so very unworried about it.

Seeing him worried about how much Georgie is working for my heart is a tad disconcerting.  I'm not sure what to do with that.  SIGH.

He also explained that when my BP plummets and the blood begins pooling in my legs and it feels like my neck is being squeezed, that's my body going into preservation mode since one of the most fascinating designs of our Creator is that our body will automatically seek to protect the blood flow to our brains.  In a way, it actually is being squeezed, just from the inside.

That, I think, is one of the worst aspect of dysautnomia.  You feel so very many processes of your body that normally go unnoticed.

And we talked about the cost of having a quarterly review of the reports Georgie takes and then sends to his office via the home monitor (which I nicknamed HAL).  I would like to skip the reviews to save money.  He totally and completely understands.  Since HAL will notify him if I have abnormal heart activity (aside from the arythmias I get that are par for the course for dysautonomia) or if one of my leads breaks, he is fine with skipping the quarterly review.  Of course, I still have to come in once a year for the dreaded interrogatory because hooking me up to the computer in the pacemaker lab will generate more extensive test reports than what Georgie is capable of doing.  It is really, really, really great  when your doctor understands the need to keep expenses down.

Anyway, that was my today.  A today filled with compassionate and careful medical care by my cardiologist and compassionate and careful construction by Firewood Man.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Maybe tomorrow...

Tonight I went to an abuse support group.  I am of many minds about it.  I'd give just about anything (save for haven panel fencing to obscure garbage bins) to have access to counseling.  Only I am not really convinced this is the way to go.  It is, essentially a 12-Step program for recovery from abuse, complete with a recitation of the serenity prayer.  It does mention Jesus and not some whatever-is-your-higher-power god, but I don't think recovery from abuse is that simple.   Work the program and you'll get better.

I am disappointed and I am confused.

There are thoughts in my head that I wish I could have help with regard to the sexual abuse, but a large part of what I struggle with has as much to do with being chronically ill as it has to do with that because it has to do with my body.  I mean, some of it is patterns of thought, but some is patterns of physical response that are simply not going to change, such as the infinitesimally small amount of stress or shock or ... startle-ment ... it takes to trigger the fight/flight/freeze response in my body.   The regular, repeated, long-term pattern of dumping cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine have wreaked havoc on my body.

I have gotten much better at managing my body after what I call The Dump.  When that hot flush that spreads out from my chest and sets me to shaking begins, I have learned to focus less on the outer picture and more on the inner.  To work on not despairing over what is happening and simply be in that moment, to try and minimize it.

In a way, it is like the work I have done on my migraines.  Minimize the aftereffects to try and avoid bounce back migraines.  I cannot stop the migraines.  I also cannot stop (well, at least not right now) the fear that overwhelms me with the pain, but even to that I do work:  I repeat over and over, like a litany, two hours.  That's all I have to get through ... two hours until I can take the second dose.

Of course, now, I to deal with the aftereffects of taking the migraine medicine.  It both saves me and fells me.  So, I have this whole approach for dealing with the aftereffects of sumatriptan whilst I am also dealing with the aftereffects of having a migraine.  And, what I am not doing ... what I don't have ... is a way of dealing with the guilt and shame of failing to be a good suffering saint praising and trusting God whilst I am in the midst of all that pain and bodily suffering.

It's exhausting.

I am not sure how to put into words what it is that I know that I need.  I mean, I want to talk about the things that are still secrets in my head and the things society keeps telling me are inappropriate topics.  But I don't want to be working my way down a prescribed road to recovery delineated by completing twelve steps.

I want to talk about my past and the pesky problem of knowing my thoughts are lies and yet still find myself bound by them.
I want to talk about shame and how that affects/interferes with my medical care.
I want to talk about suffering.  Then.  Now.
I want to talk about what I didn't learn as a child and what I still desire even though I am no longer a child.
I want to talk about my father's death.
I want to be seen.  To be heard.

To bolster myself, I wore my GREEN skirt, which I save for special occasions.  When I came home, I sat down to eat a bit and promptly stained it.  Today was disappointing on many fronts.  But tomorrow?  Tomorrow I might have completed fencing and a gravel base for the area to be eventually  covered with paving stones.  Tomorrow, I might have my haven!!

[Gosh, it's hard not to be excited.]

Sunday, February 19, 2017


I woke up to a bit of progress yesterday:

The fence had been removed.  The bush had been removed.  And the massive stump had been removed.  That was it for yesterday, though.  More time to swim in the waters of anticipation!

Today, there was more progress:

The posts started going in, which is actually very exciting to me.

Then the panels started going up!  I am LOVING how the back corner, rife with the site of garbage/recycling bins, is changing!!

When Firewood Man and his friend turned the corner, I got a little misty eyed!  Just darned lovely!  However, do you see that post behind the tree?  That was the back corner of the fence.  From there it angled back toward my garage.  Only the there there is over just a bit to the left since Firewood Man decided to pull the back line of the fencing in from the alley about two feet so as to protect it from any wild traffic or snowplows.  Neither of us realized it would shift left.  We thought it would shift right.  Looking at it, I thought it might be better to push the fence out to the right by creating another, slightly skinnier panel.

This change would make the right corner of the fencing into a right angle, back to the house.  It means that I will need to take a bit more care with pulling into my garage.  It means the brick pad I made for my garbage and recycling bins needed to be dug up and moved.  And it means we need another post and more materials for the additional panel.  So, my little haven is not quite finished.

It was dark when they called a halt, having dug the remaining holes and gotten all but one post set.  Here you can see the edge of the chain link fence was re-set, using a new post and clips, and the tension rod and cap from what was removed.  I think it looks just great.  Clean.  The variegated maple tree that I had to move out of the full sun location will sort of anchor this edge of the haven.

My neighbor has a gate, which can be seen in the first photo.  It is just a gate, not proper fencing.  So, the gap between it and my fence was just some chain link attached to my fencing with ties.  I had every right to ask that she remove that and put it in with a post, but I just lived with this u-shape of extra link on the fencing.  I mean, I inherited the situation.

I did ask her to remove it because my fencing was coming down.  She did not.  So, Firewood Man had to do that.  Then, thinking about how difficult things can be with my neighbor at times, I asked him to use one of my old posts and two of my old tension rods and more of the new clamps that I paid for to create proper fencing for my neighbor in the 18 inches or so between her gate and my fence.

When my neighbor saw the new/old fence repair Firewood Man did, she was not all that happy.  I will admit that I just hate this whole idea of changing something on my property (the fence is inset approximately six inches on my property) being ... I don't know ... so affected by my neighbor.

I really, really, really want a privacy fence all around.  My other neighbor actually has a gate attached directly to my fence.  No pole.  Just jury-rigged to my chainlink.  Plus, that neighbor regularly leaves her dog outside.  So, switching to the privacy fencing all around the yard means dealing with someone who's been actively aggressive (very, very, very angry about her divorce) and telling her that that side of the yard would be without fencing for two to three days ... no containment for her dog.

Fencing might make good neighbors, but it can also cause lots of upsettedness.  The first neighbor, flat out doesn't want me to have the privacy fencing.  She wants to be able to see into the yard.  I want to be able to go outside unseen and be outside in just my back yard, not the whole neighborhood.

Today, whilst Tim was working, I broached the topic of eventually, as is sometime much, much, much later in the future, converting the rest of the fencing to standard size (8 feet) panels of what he created.  That means he would have to make them ... I think something like 20 of them.  He said that the worst part would be getting me to agree to how much pruning all the things I have planted along the fencing would need.  He's right.  That would be a tad painful on my part.  But it was great to hear that this lovely, lovely look for my yard could be expanded.  And I think it would be just fine to have keep the back corner in smaller segments since there will be pavers there.

The funny thing was that Tim would like the fencing as much as I would because that means he would get to make my gates as wide as he wants them so his larger mower could fit through them!  I wouldn't mind that, even though the change would affect my raised bed a bit.  Actually, the fencing would affect that.  It would have to be narrowed, width-wise to accommodate the fencing.  I could also live with that.  Dreams to dream, eh?

In any case, in a few days, I shall have a lovely spot for resting in the corner of my yard.  And, in a few weeks (or months), when the pavers go on sale, it will be even more lovely.

I should finish by admitting that both Firewood Man and I were tickled that someone already stopped by to say how  lovely his fencing looks.  He's pretty excited that he figured out how to turn what I was thinking of into a reality.  I'm pretty excited that he did, too!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Plans change...

Plans did not go as thought today, but I am not upset over that.  I know that Firewood Man does what he can when he can.  And, eventually, I'll have my garbage-bin-less haven.

Here is the first of five panels that Tim built at his house to save time here.  He will build the last two onsite because we are not sure of the total length on that side.  I think that the panel turned out spectacular and I am very, very, very much looking forward to seeing the new fencing installed.

Part of the reason for working this weekend is that we are having rather unseasonable weather.  So, not being needed as a cheerleader in the back yard, I instead spent time with Amos up on the airing porch.  We actually both napped for a while.  I did learn that his puppy theanine was not sufficient to keep him protesting the existence of all life since he had such a strategic view.  I wish I knew how to better work with his upsettedness.  However, even with his periodic barking, it was a truly peaceful time for the two of his.  Plus, I spent much of my awake time chuckling at how the stiff breeze made Amos look like the Flying Nun!

I sure do love my Fluffernutter.

This is my eye arsenal at the moment.  The two on the right are the gel products, with the straight gel in the tube.  I find it interesting that the gel drops seem to coat more ... or at least they block my vision for quite a while.  However, the gel turns into teeny tiny globules that float across the surface of my eye.  Or at least that is what it seems like is happening, for I see these tiny bubbles moving across the surface of my eyes when I concentrate on them.  Both of them help with the pain of the dry eyes.  I have noticed that if I am vigilant, then it is better.  But I am having trouble getting used to the rhythm of regularly dosing my eyeballs.

I am doing the gel morning and night, the gel drops mid-day, the plain drops on either side of that, and the Balance drops sandwiching those.  Basically, I'm trying to vary what I'm using.  In part, because of cost.  In part, because I wonder if, like many things in medicine, starting from the least intervention needed and working upward.  Plus, the ophthalmologist did say that this will be a bit of a trial and error process as I learn what works best for me.  I just wish I didn't have to learn so quickly.

When my budget cycles, I would like to get a second bottle of the Systane  Balance to have in my purse for when I am out.  In some ways, I could see this being like my Zofran (for nausea).  I have a stash by my bed, by the sofas, in the kitchen, in the master bathroom, in the half bath, and in my purse.  Only it is different with pills.  I can divide the bottle up rather easily.  I cannot divide a bottle of drops.

I did decide to put the Plain Jane drops by the toilet in the half bath, so that when I'm in there tending to my needs during the day, if I haven't dosed myself recently, I could do so then.  Maybe one next to the toilet upstairs, too.  Keep the Systane Balance, the gel, and the gel drops in my basket that I take up and down stairs since it has lots of my medical stuff in it.  I don't really care for the Refresh sample I got from the ophthalmologist, but there is a Systane equivalent (Ultra) that I can try.  I am also doing the hot compresses at night when I fetch fresh ice packs because they make my eyes feel so much better in the short run.

If only I could live with a hot compress across my eyes and ice packs on the pesky nerves in my head 24/7.  SIGH.

Hopefully, this is the last day my back corner will look like this.  Frankly, I think it will take more than a day, but Tim is determined.  In any case, eventually, sitting on that bench, I will no longer see garbage/recycling bins.  BLISS.

Friday, February 17, 2017


This has been a long week for me.  Of course, it is the week with that day in it.  Having never been loved, each Valentine's Day that rolls around, I think I died just a little bit more, deep inside.  Myrtle, the unloveable.

Tonight, after a very long week with a very long day today, I was on the phone helping someone with his website development.  For this small moment in my rather exhausted life, I was DOING SOMETHING that was productive and helpful and a bit fun for me.  Although, to be fair, because I was so exhausted, I told him straight up the things that I observed that needed consideration.  He's done an extraordinary job, but there is room for improvement before he goes live.  I just didn't have room in my remaining energy to tell him the 1,001 ways in which he has created a really great website before telling him the areas that were not so great.  Thankfully, he didn't need me to build him up before getting down to business, before getting down to the way in which I could help him.  That should have made the end of my very long day of a very long week good but it did not.

Instead,  I lost it whilst on the phone with him.

You see, Amos was doing his whimpergrowl to go tend to his needs and so I unhooked the phone and the computer and took both outside with us so that I could continue to DO SOMETHING whilst awaiting Amos to conquer his fear long enough to do something.  But when I looked to the back corner of the yard where he started to race whilst barking, I could see two very, very, very large dogs. Because my vision is so poor with these glasses (hopefully the second new pair will come soon), I could not tell if the dogs were in my yard or not.  I tossed the computer on the small table on the back porch and started screaming at Amos to come back to me.

Amos was more interested in protesting the existence of the dogs.
I was too afraid to even get close enough to Amos to grab him and bring him to safety.
Amos barked.
I screamed.
All in all, it was a bad moment.

Then, I heard some guy start yelling at me to calm down.  It appears he thought it was great for his dogs to hang out at my back gate.  HUMONGOUS dogs NOT ON THEIR LEASHES IN VIOLATION OF COUNTY AND CITY LAW.  I pointed out that they needed to be on leashes and his talk to me turned from scorn to cruel speech.  I was shaking and trying to herd Amos back inside where he would be safe.  [Three times I have found big dogs in my back yard who jumped my fence to be there.]

Okay, let's be honest, where I would be safe.

Oh, how I hate the fear that consumes me when it comes to big dogs, especially those not on leashes,  near me and my dog.  I hate the adrenaline and norepinephrine and cortisol racing through my body.  I hate the violent tremors.  I hate the raw throat from screaming.  I hate the need to go stuff myself in the back of my closet in order to calm down.  SIGH.

In Alexandria, Kashi was bitten twice through my fence.  Whilst walking, I was bitten (albeit not badly) three times by dogs that were "friendly."  Don't tell me that your dog is friendly.  Having a friendly dog does not mean that you can ignore leash laws.  Friendly dogs still bite.  And, even if they do not bite, I have every right NOT to have your "friendly" dog race over to me and jump all over me because I've picked up my dog to keep him from interacting with yours.  IT'S THE BLOODY LAW!

I went over a year without cutting as a coping mechanism for being overwhelmed to such a degree that it was cut or worse.  Cutting works.  It is effective in bringing clarity in a storm.  I get that it is an unhealthy coping mechanism and I very much dislike the careful scars on my body.  I thought I had finally moved on.  But I just don't have that Big Gun.

Words written about me online overwhelmed and felled me.  I cut.
A scene that has me right back there.  I cut.
Big dogs barking and pawing at my back gate.  I cut.

I am trying to hold onto the positive of this day:  I learned I am using my cane on the wrong side.  I am using it correctly, putting it forward when I take a step.  But by using it on right side, my dominant side, I am putting all the pressure of walking on my right side (and on my rather painful right SI Joint and right hip), instead of allowing the cane to help spread the strain of walking equally across my pelvis.

In my book, that info alone was worth the $40 of the Physical Therapy session.  As to how else it might help me, the jury is still out.

I think I also need a more stable cane, especially if I have to figure out how to use it on my left side.  That or I need an alternative assistive device altogether.  [I dream of a walker most days.]  I think that,  if I get a cane with a quad base (four legs), I might be able to learn to walk with the cane on my left side, using my weaker and less coordination arm.  I am, after all, the least coordinated person on the planet.

I am trying to hold onto learning something helpful regarding the misery in my body.
I am trying not to think of big dogs.
I am trying not to think of failure.