Friday, July 31, 2015


I wonder if Tim took care of the balusters Monday because he knew that I was really bothered about the second appointment with the integrative medicine specialist that I had today.  I wonder because I am ever so relieved that I finally have a finished back porch.

Yesterday afternoon and early evening, I was able to paint the railing on the steps!  Isn't it just marvelous!   I was practically giddy when I first went outside today and put my hand on the finished handrail.  BLISS.

It is rather blissful on the front porch, too, although the porch still needs to be re-sealed, because my Wandering Jews have fully recovered from being wintered indoors.  They are magnificent!

This is where the baskets started a year ago spring, after cuttings being grown, cut, rooted, cut again, rooted more etc. over the period of a year from a single broken end of one of the branches off of Becky's basket.

Osmocote is a plant lover's best friend.

The two hummingbird planters were a little out of control.  The green and white variegated plants are supposed to be small, but I think they are overly large because of the little sun.  So, I did some judicious pruning.

I realized after taking this that the other planter has a better aesthetic because the center colorful plant is not as tilted.  But I am pleased that the plants lived and are so bright in color.  This was a great decision for the empty pots on the front porch.  Economical and warming to the cockles of my heart.

When I was taking out the recycling, I discovered this on the back side of the first evergreen in my back yard.  This evergreen leans something awful, and so I had Firewood Man take off about 15 feet the first year he started helping me.

Amos helped Tim work!

Anyway, it appears that what I spotted on the trunk is a frost crack.  If you shine a light into the crack, you can see the center of the tree.  If you look about the trunk, you will find four more cracks.  I was rather alarmed at seeing (and then poking a knife into) the empty space at the center of the leaning tree.  So, Tim and I discussed his removing the tree this fall (when it is no longer stinking hot).  I am very much against removing trees, but with the fierce winds and healthy trees that have come down in Fort Wayne, I believe this tree is an accident waiting to happen.  As in ... the destruction of my neighbor's garage (and my fence).

Taking the tree down is going to add a lot of sunlight to the back corner of the yard.  The bench will still be in shade, but the daylily bed will not.  I wonder if that means my Easter lilies will no longer bloom so late.

It is weird seeing the photo, because now the silver dogwood you see in the background is doubled in size and the daylily bed is completely full.  And, of course, Amos is no longer nine months old!

I did not sleep that well and I was extremely nervous going to the IM specialist today.  I was, admittedly, rather pessimistic about the results ... and fearful of what the high B-12 results would mean.

The abnormal genetic test is actually abnormal with two variants, one defect from each parent.  I really do not understand all that the doctor said, but it affects ... well, actually, I just cannot explain it.   The inability to eliminate B-12 most likely stems more from that and all that is connected, such as my sky high cortisol levels and abnormal cortisol curve (that had to do with the saliva test) than the possibility of blood cancers, liver failure, and/or kidney failure.  So, for right now, I am to take three different supplements, adding one each week until I am on all three, to help balance my thyroid and adrenals, and the cortisol stuff.

The doctor also asked me to meet with a nutritionist.  Going over the diet plan she wants, I remain a bit frustrated in that area, for I just don't believe folk hear me when I talk about just how radical a change I made in my diet.  Other than sweets, which I have also dramatically decreased, though I am weak when having some things on hand), I am eating the exact things on her list.  SIGH.  I agreed to the meeting anyway, because I am trying to make a good faith effort of giving alternative medicine a try.  The upshot was that she is more of a symptom and test results thyroid person, rather than solely test results, so she is leaving the increase in thyroid medication alone ... which is what I wanted because first the crushing fatigue ended, the ashy skin stopped then my nails started growing again, and finally my hair is no longer falling out!

I did ask if she could recommend a new GP because the more I think about how the new person I have met with twice has been, the more I think I need someone who is actually going to be a project manager of my care like my old GP was.  She made a recommendation and her nurse is going to see if she can get me on as a new patient.  I am a bit pessimistic about that, having called around myself, but I do know doctors are more open to referrals from other doctors than cold calls.

I see the IM specialist again in October, unless there is a sooner opening.  I forked over copious amounts of money for two of the three supplements and bought the third one online today. I also paid two co-pays today, now that we know what my insurance will be charging me.  The nutritionist will be $50.  So, in less than a week, I will have spent $320.  SIGH.

Given that Vitamin D has been such an excellent help to me, I am not opposed to trying supplements that are geared to work with the prescription medications that I am taking.  I am a bit leary of the money and worried about side effects.  Side effects are, now, usually a significant issue for me.

The bright spot of the visit was the doctor's response to being off Xanax (two weeks as of today).  I showed her my thought book and explained my choice.  I showed her the essential oil headache remedy that I use, my calendar of symptoms, and let her know that it has now been more than 24-hours since I have had a headache (my fingers are crossed on that matter).  She was very impressed with how hard I worked on both fronts and was pleased by my being off Xanax.  I was a bit puzzled, since she said we could consider that later.  But I welcomed the congratulations.  For I have accomplished something very, very, very difficult.

She did say that she believes the cause of the weight gain is the sky high cortisol that I have.  It is so very discouraging to have gained as much as I have.  Even with my Honey Nut Chex therapy, my calorie count is averaging 1,200, my expended calories (according to FitBit) average 1,800, my fiber intake has increased, and my overall fat and carbohydrate consumption is good.  So, even though she wants me to meet with a nutritionist, the doctor said that she does not believe diet is a main problem or concerning secondary one.

The bottom line is that the appointment was better than I thought.

One the way home, I tried to do some errands, but I got really tired.  It makes sense to me to take care of things when I am already out and about, but that is not exactly best for me, even if it is best on my gasoline budget.  I returned the dead lilac bush (SNIFF, SNIFF) having found the receipt and used my rebate check there to buy a second pair of those neoprene slippers for my blue feet.  I am not a pink person, but I got pink since my nightgown is pink.  [Too girly???]  I then returned the lemon peel that I bought because I didn't realize how expensive it is at the grocery store (I was tired that day and not paying attention).  I had to get innards stuff from Walgreen's, so instead of fetching groceries, I skipped Walmart and got milk form Walgreen's (a better price anyways).  I used the last of a two-year-old Chipotle gift card for a treat, and came home to eat and crash.

Too much walking for me today.
Far, far too much.

But I do finally have a finished and painted railing on my back steps.  I have full hummingbird feeders once more (three of them yelled at me the whole time I was painting, dive bombing me from time to time, to let me know they had guzzled up all the sugar water in the four feeders).  And I have a Fluffernutter who is ensconced in my lap, ever so happy that I returned home to be with him.

It is my goal to be a bump on a log until my appointment next Tuesday, for I am bloody exhausted.

Tapped out.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Laundry line dreams...

My laundry lines were not replaced, in part because I just love the openness of the back porch now.  Truly, every day I marvel at the wonder of what I now have.  However, I do want to dry clothing outside.

But I am picky.
And an Interior Designer's daughter.

I would like a simple line that is winched tight, but that can be removed in the winter if I would like.  So, I have been watching lots and lots and lots of YouTube videos.  SIGH.

It seems to me the "Amish" clothesline is the most popular, where you have two pulleys and roll the laundry out and then back from the house.  Well, that's nice and everything, but where I want to attached the line I would still have to go stand in the yard.  So, I do not think that I need a pulley system.

I still have the rather strong hooks in the garage.  What I would like to do is have a single line that runs from the higher hook on the garage to the outside corner post of the back porch right at the level of the railing.  Standing on the ground, I could reach up and touch the line, but sitting in the GREEN chair, I could see over the laundry and the line itself would be minimally in my view.

From what I can understand, I need a hook for the post, clothesline, a clothesline tightener, and a clothesline mini-winch.  If I am not mistaken, the easiest way to take it on and off would then be to use a turnbuckle.  Yes, I have been learning lots about turnbuckles.  Mostly, I just like saying the word "turnbuckle."

However ... would the turnbuckle be overkill?

The other main question is about the line.  I had vinyl line (still have but it is old and dirty) that worked well all tied up.  Surely, I could winch new vinyl line tight.   However, there is single core metal line with vinyl coating.  It is actually not that much more in cost.  For that, I would also buy (I think) wire rope clamps.  On the garage end, I would make a loop, using a wire rope thimble to go over the hook in the wall.  On the porch end, I would loop the other end through the turnbuckle.

I cannot see how a mini-winch would work on a wire line, but some folk in the videos seem to have wire line.

This noisy and clumsy video shows the turnbuckle and what appears to be wire line that is coated and  run through the mini-winch.  What he doesn't show is the line run through the pulleys or how the loop is closed (for example, did he use the clothesline tightener???).

I like the idea of having two clamped ends on a single line that uses both the mini-winch and the turnbuckle to tighten it.  To me, that sounds Myrtle proof, if Firewood Man is too busy to take down/put up the line.  Doesn't it????

I miss my laundry line.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A bit of organization...

It is stinking hot outside.  The feels-like temperate is 97!  Needless to say, the air-conditioner has been running quite a bit today.  I am so thankful I have a newish air-conditioner even if I had to put it in myself!

My head still hurts, that same dull, constant pain.  However, I am inordinately thankful and pleased that I have yet to have another migraine.  I feel ever more confident to think that I have broken the chronic migraine cycle again.  This time, in addition to the OTC meds, shoulder and neck heating pad, and relaxation exercises, I used the headache essential oil that I received when I bought that fragrant lotion I tracked down from a free airline first-class travel kit given to me by my mother.

The headache remedy is peppermint and lavender.  It struck me, recently, that when I use it, the peppermint makes my skin tingle.  I believe the physical sensation is rather helpful because it gives you something else to focus on outside the pain in your head.  I have been using it every night and every morning for quite a while now.

I also have been using my special play list, with recent additions by an artist duo from Canada that I learned about from watching  Canadian television shows.  I now have eight songs by Dala.  One of the most enjoyable ... the most brightening ... is "Best Day":

I really like their harmonies and some of the subjects of their songs.  I like them so much that I have looked to see what is the closest concert in Canada from me!  Yes, I fantasize about driving to see them.

This is the first song of theirs I heard, whilst watching "Continuum."  Their music is also on "Flashpoint."

I wish I had the words to explain why I like this song........

In addition to the play list and the essential oil, I also have been using the two Illume candles that I received Christmas before last and forgot about them.  I wrote about the Balsam and Cedar one that just sends me to such a happy place, reminding me of what I wish I could remember about summer vacation in Colorado.  I cannot remember a single moment of them, but the candle's fragrance gives me the feeling that I am back on the trail to Fern Falls or hiking up to Bear Lake.

The other candle, which I finally started burning last week in a bit of desperation is Gardenia.  Oh, my!  The candle fills the entire first floor with the heavy scent of gardenia, lasting hours and hours after I blow it out.  Gardenia is the scent of my childhood.  Now, in many ways that might not bring good memories, but to me it is the scent of the South, the place that makes most sense to me and where I fit in—as much as a wallflower outlier could—the most.

It is still strange to me that scents can have such an effect on me....

For a while now, I have not been all that assiduous about putting things back in their proper place in my two of my cooking ingredients cabinets.  The corner cabinet is where all the baking and "strange" cooking supplies are, such as the garlic chili sauce.  Also in there are Amos' micro bones, pasta, and my blood sugar monitor and glucose tablets.  The problem in that cabinet is that I have added new supplies without really contemplating where they should go logically.  The other cabinet's problem mainly was haste and poor placement on my part. Of course, I do actually have—I am reluctant to admit—about eight box mixes of dessert of one kind or another.  I see something tasty in the store, buy it, and then wait for a special time to make it.  Then, when I am shopping again, I have forgotten that I already have a tasty option or two at home.  SIGH.

I ventured out into the sweltering heat and fetched the step-stool from the garage.  [I would like to have a thin, light one in the house because I think that would be safer for me than standing on tip-toe atop the ancient milking stool.]  And then I proceeded to pull most things from the cabinets and organize them.  Not only was the organization a moment of bliss for me, I am pleased that when I look inside both cabinets, on all eight shelves, I now have visual rest once more.  And I have neatly arrange display of tasty treats to help me remember not to buy anymore and to ... eventually ... cook them.

A bit of organization does a body good.

All that standing was exhausting.
I have been just ... sitting ... for a few hours now.
Twining Amos' curls about my finger tips.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

All white at last...

I snuck out in the sweltering heat to play the contortionist so that I could prime the replaced balusters in preparation for, hopefully, painting on Thursday.  I was stunned at just how quickly I wilted, but I persevered and got the priming done.  It is good, to me, to be able to see all white when I look at the railing after nine months.

Of course, that meant lots and lots and lots of resting for the rest of the day.  Mostly.  I need to water the plants on the front porch, but am hoping for even cooler weather in a while.  Maybe I'll be doing midnight watering.

The back porch and steps have not fully cured yet.  The tackiness is a bit of a concern given that we have light rain on tap for the morrow.  I am crossing my fingers that the sealing job does not get messed up.  That would be entirely too distressing for me.

At this very moment, the house is filled with the aroma of Chipotle Chicken Chili.  For the first time, I actually let myself run out of mason jars of that most wondrous dish before I made it again.  In about a half hour, I will be finishing off the recipe.

Going with what I have learned about cooking spices as a part of recipes, I added the salt, cumin, and chili powder in with the onions and garlic, after they had been cooking for a while, and let them simmer until the kitchen began to smell like the spices before adding in the chicken.  Mmmmm....

I will say that one would never buy a NutriBullet just to deal with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but it does make short work of puréeing the peppers, sauce, and onions that are in the can.  Three times now I have done that for recipes and really like how smooth the purée is.  If you are not a spicy-spicy person, this allows you to have the heat in your recipe but eliminates chunks of peppers or seeds that will set your mouth on fire.

Becky booked a plane ticket late last night.  That means she could be eating one of these mason jars of Chipotle Chicken Chili.  How generous of me, eh?  Well, not really.  If she's going to try the Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars, I will have to make another batch.  We will not discuss just how many are left.

I will discuss the fact that my neighbor went ape over the frosting!  I almost think that she likes it even more than I do!!  Of course, it is the WORLD'S BEST FROSTING.  If I were a better person, I would give her the container of left-over frosting in my freezer.  I am not a better person.

It is decided:  I declare those bars to be my most favorite dessert to date ... even more than the Creamy Lemon Crumb Squares and the Double Chocolate Dr Pepper Cake.  The reason the bars top even the Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies is that I could eat two dozen of those cookies in a day without batting an eyelash; I have absolutely no will power over that culinary wickedness.  With the bars, I can stop after a large one or two smaller ones.  Next batch I will, however, add a wee bit more frosting to each bar.

I am getting hungry, so I must stop typing about food!

Monday, July 27, 2015



That was the text I awoke to this morning (early afternoon).  I think it might possibly be the best text I have had in a long, long while.  It was from Firewood Man.  I knew what he meant immediately, so I rather quickly dragged my exhausted self down the stairs and went outside in my pajamas to stand upon the clean back porch and gaze out at the replaced balusters that are no longer warped.  I was soooooooo relieved.

Now, to be honest, I was hoping the balusters would be done, but that the power washing would have to wait.  No such luck for me.

So, after trying to talk myself out of it and failing to do so, I spent about 30 minutes doing light sanding in strategic areas, looking to get all the constructions scratches off my restored back porch, and then I put down three coats of sealer.

I very, very, very much wanted to IMMEDIATELY prime and paint the balusters, but Tim had power washed the back steps, too.  Even though I stained and sealed them this spring, the amount of rain we have had has really strained that newly applied sealer.  So, I put on two more coats, both of which soaked up fairly quickly.

That means on Thursday, weather permitting, I shall hope to prime the four replacement balusters and paint the stair railing.

Thankfully, I did not have enough sealer to do the front porch, which upon close examination, really does need another sealing job.  I was certain that I had a full gallon and an open one, but all I could find is the open one.  It was a half a gallon, or thereabouts, and so was just fine for the back porch and steps.  I used the chip brush, the 3 inch one I bought, to seal and it made the job rather easy.  I do not think I would ever buy another "sealing" brush again.  I cleaned it out since this was the first use.  But after tending to the front porch, I will most likely dispose of the disposable brush.

The part of me that likes closure wants to go out and get another gallon or two of sealer so that I can do the front porch. The exhausted part of me still thinks the best plan is to simply power wash it again in the fall and do the sealing job when the weather is much cooler.  Maybe at the end of September.  The airing porch needs sealing again, so Tim is willing to come out with his power washer again.  I also want the garage floor power washed before winter.

That dull, constant headache is still here, but at the pain level of 3, I am actually grateful for it.  No hint of another migraine for almost two days and I am feeling less fragile.  That is an absolute blessing and the respite I needed to face more of them.  I am now 10 (or is is 11) days completely free of Xanax.  Last night, I had the best sleep that I have had since I started withdrawing from it, though I had weird and wild and disturbing dreams.  The pains in my arms and legs are still present, with a severe bout in my left forearm most of yesterday.  Today, though, I am feeling less of that.

I called my mother this afternoon and was surprised to hear that she had been waiting on me to call so she was not disturbing me with the migraine pain.  I found that touching.  She is right; for the most part, I have not wanted to talk at all.  I just wanted to exist and endure and not have to be polite or social or thoughtful.

My little Fluffernutter is still clingy, especially since I was outside for a while working.  Once I cool down enough to shower (I am still tomato-faced), I plan on spending the entire evening ensconced in the GREEN chair with Amos and ice packs and maybe another one of those peanut butter oatmeal bars.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Holding my breath...

Today, for the first time in longer than I can remember, the pain in my head is only mildly distressing.  On a scale from 1-10, I have gone from a 10 to about a 3.  I can live with a 3.  But I admit that I am still holding my breath, hoping I have broken the cycle of migraines and headaches that has been unending for quite a while.  Maxed out on migraine meds, it has been difficult making do with tylenol and ibuprofen and ice packs and a heat wrap for my neck and shoulders.  I've spent copious amounts of time talking to myself and sitting in the dark and silence.  I've have colored and listened to music and read and cooked and sat in the fresh (albeit it also sweltering) air on the airing porch.

I have also been watching copious amounts of "Blue Bloods" episodes.  In all the time since I began to stream shows and movies, I believe this is the first show that I would admit has been more of binge watching that regular online viewing.  I do not like that term "binge watching"; I do not like it at all.  I mean, somehow it is bad to watch shows for hours, but it is okay to read for hours??  To me, the majority of shows I watch are, to me, like reading.

Anyway, a while back, I discovered a most delightful BBC show entitled "Starlings."  It is the perfect Myrtle show, being full of brokenness.  That show was a lot about family and choices that you make for family.  It was poignant and humorous and such a treat to watch.

"Blue Bloods" has actually been rather soothing for me to watch.  Strange, for a cop show.  But it is not exactly a cop show.  It is more of a family show that is set in the world of law enforcement and the justice system.  As I mentioned before, it is interesting to me, in part, because of the family dynamics, the purposeful work on maintaining healthy relationships despite personal differences and oft passionate responses to situations.  You really do get to see how to disagree and make up, how to honor and respect others even when you are frustrated with them.  And you see proper relationships between children and adults (translate that to no snarky comments, backtalk, or belittling of authority).

The most important aspect to the show is that I have not had to look up re-caps of the shows to ease my distress.  I do that, often, with what I watch. I start feeling anxious.  There is a lot that I have started watching, but did not finish.  I like that the line between the good guys and the bad guys is clear.  I like that there is closure to the stories and development in the main characters.  I like the folk admit that they are wrong and appreciate learning new things. I like that although there is violence, given that it is a police drama, but that the violence is not the focus, nor are the show creator's out to shock and awe in that department.  Best of all, I like that the bad guys are not the ubiquitous  Machiavellian geniuses that are the main stay of bad guy characters these days.  And I like that faith is a significant part of the show.

In some ways, you could call "Blue Bloods" pedestrian, too much mired in the quotidian existence.  But it is not predictable.  And it is thoughtful.  Those are good things in my book.  In a way, you should say that I do not have to hold my breath whilst watching the show.

I have been trying to glean all the rules about the family dinner on Sundays.  These are the ones I have noted thus far:

  • Thanks is given before grace.
  • (Usually) family members take turns saying grace.
  • Everyone sits down together and gets up together (no coming and going)
  • All topics are permissible.
  • All viewpoints are welcome.
  • Respect is key when disagreeing on a viewpoint.
  • No cellphones are allowed at the table.

I admit that I am a bit jealous of the idea of family meals.  For that matter, I am jealous of a family who works so hard at keeping up their relationships with each other and at ... well ... forgiveness.  The latter is primarily lived out rather than said.  And, to me, I actually think that is a good thing.  You get to see folk actively set aside their upsettedness and move on with the relationship.  My limited experience with forgiveness has been a combination of a lack there of or words being spoken but actions not following.

A while ago, was reading quite a bit about positive psychology and tooling around this place and that online when I encountered this idea of having everyone at the table sit in silence for two minutes before the meal began.  The purpose of those two minutes is not necessarily for silent prayer or thankfulness or anything along those lines, but rather for taking the time to be present in the moment. To concentrate on the feel of the chair and table, the smells of the meal, the sounds of bodies of those around you.  To be there instead of elsewhere.  All too often these days, folk are elsewhere.  Being present has pretty much gone the way of common sense ... and morals.

Part of healing from sexual abuse is learning to be present, to remain present, when emotions begin to overwhelm you.  I think that is why I have started my days by spending a few moments thanking Amos for letting me sleep and keeping me company as I toss and turn and fetch fresh ice packs before getting out of bed.  When I am outside with Amos, I try (but still oft fail) to focus on the blessing of the bits of creation around me, such as the blossoms and hummingbirds and GREEN grass instead of solely on waiting for Amos to conquer his fear and tend to business.  I sit in my GREEN chair, rocking gently, and try to take in the solace of the back porch and the back yard.

With the migraines and bounce back headaches and migraines, I have tried to focus on anything else but the pain.  It works, a bit, to help endure it.  For example, when the pain in my head is so overwhelming, I try to push past it to feel the cold of the ice packs.  Ever since I was little, I have marveled at how, if out on a cold day, you can dispel the cold a bit by focusing on the warmth of the sunshine.  That is sort of the same.

Movement makes the pain in my head worse, so instead of despairing over the greater pain, once still again, I focus on my heart rate slowing and relaxing against the pain, telling myself that each moment is one more closer to getting back to the lesser pain, that the flare would be ending.  Having the cold of the ice pack to bring to the fore in my thoughts and physical sensation helps.

When I awake with violent nausea and gobble down Zofran, I have started trying to concentrate on Amos' presence beside me whilst waiting for the medication to start working instead of the nausea and my fear.  I will groan in such a way that Amos will move closer, pressing against my back, as I am curled up in a ball.  Sometimes I will reach out and twine my fingers in his curls.  Focusing on the blessing of my fluff-ball helps push away the overwhelming nausea, to endure it.

It is hard to do that.
It is oft seemingly impossible to do.
To get through a single moment of the pain or illness.

I think I have written this before, but the absence of pain (or drastic decreasing of pain) is a shock in and of itself.  And, after migraines, I feel most particularly fragile.  I am almost scared to breathe.  To move.  To exist.

Should I mention that judicious amounts of Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars surely has contributed to the reduction in pain?  I seriously think that they top Double Chocolate Dr Pepper Cake as my favorite of all the sweets recipes.  That icing!

The icing helped me to come up with the perfect nickname for Amos.  I had many nicknames for my last dog, Kashi.  Mostly, I called him floral names, such as my little Buttercup or my Petunia.  But after savoring the peanut butter icing once more, thinking about that ambrosia cloud floating atop the bars, I realized that Amos is my little Fluffernutter!  He is as sweet and soft and fluffy as the icing.  He is as wicked as a peanut butter and fluff sandwich on white bread.  And he is most definitely as much as a nutter as am I.

Here's hoping to migraine free week for me and my little Fluffernutter.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Go forth and bake forthwith...

I did a bit of baking in the wee hours of the morning, as a way of ignoring the pain in my head.  I chose a recipe that caught my attention a while ago, and one for which I had all the ingredients on hand.

These are Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars.  You should make them immediately.  And you should make them in secret so that you do not have to share them with anyone!

They are like a combination of a cookie and a brownie, a true bar, I think, with a bit of oatmeal for texture.  The frosting is like fluffy clouds of ambrosia sitting atop the bar.  I have never created frosting so luscious.  I now, officially, am a Frostingmaker.  Of course, I just had to substitute heavy cream for the milk in the frosting recipe, but it surely only made the frosting just that more fantabulous!  I also, in both the bar and the frosting, used Peanut Butter & Co.'s The Bees Knees peanut butter, which is mixed with honey.  Yes, these bars are BLOODY AWESOME!

I am a bit bummed that the bars fell a bit flat in the middle, but I have never managed to escape that problem.  They were chewy crispy on the edge, like brownies, so they definitely needed to come out when they did.

The frosting recipe makes enough for a cake.  Seriously, you could bake a chocolate cake and then frost it with this recipe and probably cause folk to have culinary heart attacks as they tried to contain their joy.  It really is amazing frosting.  Never before have I made a frosting with powdered sugar and not been able to taste the powdered sugar when it was done.  This tastes like something out of a 5-star restaurant.  I am not kidding!

When I ate the Bob's Red Mills Favorite Bran Muffins, I admit that I could taste the cooking spray on the bottom of them. I did not care for that taste.  So, when I was in the grocery store fetching milk and cheese and sour cream (along with my free prescription), I bought paper liners for the next batch of muffins.  Then, as I was leaving that aisle, I spotted Pam's baking spray (I cannot quite figure out what the title of it is supposed to be).  I was stunned when I went to cut and remove the bars, because they practically leapt out of the pan!  I am sold on that product after just one use!

While I am posting photos, I thought I would add this one from the sunset that occured prior to my wee-hours-of-the-morning baking.  This was the most color there was all evening.  I got to thinking ... does one need clouds to hold the colors of a sunset?????

Yes, my head still hurts. And my mouth is swimming in saliva, whereas my throat is bone dry.  It is an odd combination that is found on the Xanax withdrawal forums quite frequently, so at least I am not going nuts.  I've been seeing stars a lot lately.  I suppose the copious amounts of horizontalness due to those stars is why I decided to bake in the wee hours of the morning.  The day was over, technically, but I still made it productive.  Of course, we will not discuss what happens when a reactive hypoglycemic eats frosted peanut butter oatmeal bars on an empty stomach.  SIGH.

Amos gave his stamp of approval to the bars.  He's been unusually clinging in the past few days, not really content to be beside me for any amount of time at all.  It's my lap or my shoulders for him.  I wonder if he is bothered by something or if he is trying to help with the pain in my head.

Just for the sake of fostering a bit of Amos admiring, I thought I would post his Blowin' in the Wind photo again.  Adorable little fluff ball, eh!

PS  If you haven't noticed, I've been watching "Blue Bloods."  I find it both soothing and intriguing, especially since it essentially is a ginormous lesson on how to agree to disagree and to fight and make-up in a very healthy manner.  I like the talk of faith.  And I most especially like both the tradition of the entire family eating Sunday dinner together each and every week and the rules of conduct for that table.  It is also a show that you can listen to and still follow fairly well if, for example, your vision is so poor that you cannot see the screen.  I never thought I would like the show, but I am already in season four.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Counting the pennies...

I drive by this tree on the way to my doctor's office.  I think it is the epitome of the level of storms that Fort Wayne has.

I took this while sitting at the light.  I would like to find a place to park and take a better photo.

You know, if I am not careful, I do believe I could develop a phobia of storms.  Now, I do not need any other fears, nor do I want them.  However, it is really, really, really difficult to maintain my equanimity whilst lightening strikes so close as to flicker the power and rain comes down in veritable walls of water.  The winds are quite fierce and the thunder most deafening.  A great many trees have been lost in Fort Wayne this summer.  That is a great loss to the city ... especially when such old trees are being felled by the weather ... and I wonder how many of the trees will actually be replaced.  Surely the city's groundskeeping budget has been strained beyond its capacity.

The last of my lilies is blooming.  I sure do like the contrast with the plain yellow ones I have.

The grape vine is laden with fruit.  Some of the older grapes are starting to spoil and so the back corner of my yard is quite redolent.

We have had such warm weather that I have not been able to enjoy the airing porch as I had envisioned last fall.  I know that once summer ends, I can spend whole days out there, if I want.  For now, whenever there is a brief respite from the sweltering heat, I spend some time enjoying the sunsets.

This summer, I have finally found the sweet spot on my thermostat: 69 degrees.  I would prefer 68.  That one degree makes a tremendous difference for my physical comfort, however that one degree is the difference between the AC cycling on all day long or remaining primarily off.   Even though we have had much hotter weather this summer, I still have a lower electricity bill.  The one for July just tickles me pink it is so low ... relatively.  Pennies.  Counting the pennies.  Nearly 2,600 of them!

Overnight, to cool my bedroom enough, I have it set to 63.  The first floor of the house retains the cold air fairly well and, sometimes, that means the AC does not come back on during the day at all.  Like I said, I have found the sweet spot, for me, for my thermostat.

Do you think that I am capable of television repair?  It looks like that I might could only need to replace the backlight inverter (either the master or the slave) on my television, a part that is about $60.  However, I need to successfully conduct the flashlight test to ensure that I have identified the problem.  I have not yet successfully conducted the flashlight test because I do not actually understand the flashlight test.

Another way to determine if one of the two inverter boards is bad is to look for the "black" bar on a tiny chip that should be silver.  Well, uhm, I actually cannot see such a tiny thing to determine if it is still silver or now black.  So, I am not certain, at this point, if a television repair is possible.

Yes, I Googled.
Yes, I watched You Tube videos.
Yes, I am still confused.

And, yes, my head still hurts.  Terribly so.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Still gritting...

I am still gritting my teeth. SIGH.

I think that I have, unfortunately, slipped back into the cycle of chronic migraines.  I worked so hard to get out of that wretched state and do not look forward to the slogging through that much pain again.  Sadly, I am maxed out on migraine meds for the month of July.  I have worked on heat therapy, conscious relaxing, and using lots and lots and lots of ice packs.

Sadly, too, I had a bad meal from Taco Bell on Monday.  Puking and a migraine (the last use of meds for the month ... sniff, sniff, sniff) do not go well together.  My taco looked wrong.  I was so very tired and so hungry that I ate it anyway.  It was stupid and foolish and just plain wrong on my part.  I was so very ill that I cannot envision, at least anywhere in the near term, having Taco Bell again.

I feel like I am betraying my very soul.

One of the reason that I adore Taco Bell is that it is always made fresh.  The taco clearly wasn't.  It was mushy ... the cheese was melted and the lettuce wilted and mostly the ingredients were a bit indistinguishable from each other.  I honestly do not know what I was thinking.  Not too long after finishing my meal, I was taken back to the memory of my first real case of food poisoning with the cramps and then most awful nausea and then the vomiting.  And more vomiting.  And still more vomiting.

Zofran doesn't help with bad food.
Puking and migraines do not work together.
Life is pretty wretched.

Today, having finally eaten real food late last night, I went to Long John Silver's with my neighbor to celebrate being off Xanax, even if the effects are almost killing me.  Okay ... not almost killing me, but surely killing my head.  This is, I think, the second time I have eaten there since remembering how much I liked the place in high school.  It was that long ago when I last had the food.  It is tasty, but it is ever so greasy and really you need about a year or so before eating it again.   I was a poor trencher woman in that I could only eat one hushpuppy, two onion rings minus the onions, and a plank of chicken.

I thought of Long John Silver's because of the Taco Bell gift cards that I have and that the one here is joined to a Taco Bell.  I am serious about not being sure I could ever eat at Taco Bell again and there is all that gift card balance.  If I just used to buy the special drinks I use to bribe my neighbor to take me shopping, it will take a while to use up.  However, having eaten there, and enjoyed it,  I am reminded that I cannot eat there but every year or two.  The warm chicken, though, was like eating a hug.

I think that any treating myself to food out needs to be that sodium fest Panera salad.
That very uneconomical sodium fest Panera salad.

I find it ... a bit cruel ... that my television decided to die today, on top of my current state of wretchedness.  I've had indicators for a while now, but it went belly up today.  I still have sound....  If I set aside the whole money factor, I am not really up for trying to learn about televisions and making a smart shopping decision.  I am not real sure, but this one was about 8-10 years old.  Surely, I got my money's worth, even though the same television now would be a fraction of the price.  Being able to see the television was worth it to me.  Of course, I was working back then.

Then there is the whole thing of if I actually do get a new television, how do I get it from the car (where presumably the sales person would put it) into my house.  Right now, with the migraines and constant pain, any physical stress makes my head hurt more and my blood pressure is all over the place.  Trying to schlepp a television is simply not something I can do.

I loved my Samsung-with-a-matte-screen.
It was serviceable, simple, and reliable.
Until now.
What do you do with a broken flat-panel television?????

My vision has been horrid.  Probably even worse than horrid.  I keep taking my glasses off because my head hurts so much.  In fact, my hair hurts.  I do not want to lop it off, having spent so long recovering from my unwanted mullet hair cut, but I daydream of shaving my head.  Yes, that's the kind of daydreams I have these days.  Anything to end the pain.

But I am Xanax free.

I still want to write about PTSD, but I am also still too fractured in mind and spirit to do so.  One thought I did have, that I do not think I captured, is that I believe, in part, I have not respected PTSD because I do not feel as if anyone in my life has really done so.  I try to talk about it or about how different my life is post pit bull attack and it is like I am talking about a bad cold or something.  So, I think that I started being dismissive of it myself.

I like to point out how much better I am.  Heck, I didn't have a single meltdown over the weeks of bloody fireworks.  But the point is I did have a near meltdown at Lowe's with that zamboni-like floor cleaner, a complete meltdown at the doctor's office over the change in paperwork, and a near meltdown at GoodYear with the strain of the Nickelodeon channel blaring the whole time I was waiting on my oil change.  Translate that:  I have triggers that set off physical and emotional reactions in my body wether I want them to or not.

I think the truth is that I have learned to mask the hyper vigilance and even, to a large degree, internalize the startle response.  Compared to Amos, I am just dandy.  However, he's a dog and was only seven months old at the time and doesn't understand why fear rules his entire being.  That is not a good comparison to make.

It is strange ... I fully grasped the effects of trauma on the brain that I learned in The Courage to Heal, but I had not really swallowed the fact that I am a different person, that my brain is different now, as a result of the PTSD and, frankly, it is never going back.  I am not sure this is the right way to phrase it, but there is no recovery.  There is only managing and moving forward.

One other thought about PTSD is that I did not realize that one of the common effects/symptoms/results is some measure of an existential crisis.  My friend mentioned that term to me to put a framework around the questions I have had about faith.  I am not sure I truly understand what she means or what an existential crisis is, but I have struggled, mightily with the fact that the sky is no longer blue.  Or that I am not sure if it is....

A final thought about PTSD came with the nearing anniversary of my dysautonomia diagnosis.  It struck me that, for over twenty years, I have been battling neurological disease, first central nervous system and now autonomic nervous system.  Back in 1994, many neurologists did not know anything at all about multiple sclerosis.  It is very common among folk with MS to be treated as Nervous Nellys and to struggle to get good medical care.  The same is true—much, much, much more so—with dysautonomia.  The new GP said she didn't know anything at all about dysautonomia.  She has taken me on as a patient and has not even bothered to learn about my chronic illness.

For over twenty years, with the exception of very few, I have experienced that same ... dismissiveness ... about neurological disease by the people in my life.  None of my family have really set out to learn about the chronic medical conditions that I have, the struggles I face, the things I have to be careful about in my life.  It is lonely.  And, to some degree, why I think I can be so caviler about just how ill I am at times.  Why I consciously and unconsciously pretend to be better than I am.  And why I rarely show myself the grace and mercy I need to navigate life in my particular corner of the fallen world.

My headache is horrendous.
I fainted four times today.
I have a low-grade fever.
And still I went out to Long John Silver's.


I will also note that, at the moment, I am not sure where my phone is. I know it is in the house, but not exactly where.  I suppose being even more disconnected from the world at the moment is not necessarily a bad thing given how wretched I am feeling.  But, surely, this will end.  If I clawed my way out of the chronic migraine abyss before, I can do it again.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Not very neighborly...

I really, really, really need to find a new GP, despite being told by the surgeon's staff that there are not even waiting lists in their health system.  Today, the new GP made it patently clear that she does not want to be responsible for anything other than general care, not even being the one to keep track of all the medications I am taking.  I was also dismayed about our conversation about the blood work.

First, she told me it was all normal.  Then, when I brought up the B-12 test, which I would really like to discuss, she said she did not know anything about the blood tests that the integrative medicine doctor ran.  And, more distressing, was that she went on to tell me that the high B12 was just a diet issue.  Yes, well, uhm, B12 blood serum is not about what you eat or take in supplements, but rather how your body is cleaning your blood.  Most particularly your liver and/or kidneys.  I mean, I was not reading fluff pieces about the matter, but medical research journals.  SIGH.

She also keeps pushing cisapride for the gastroparesis.  Well, let's just look at that medication on Wiki:

In many countries, it has been either withdrawn or had its indications limited because of reports of the side-effect long QT syndrome, which may cause arrhythmias. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning letter to doctors,[4] and cisapride was voluntarily removed from the U.S. market on July 14, 2000. Its use in Europe has also been limited.[2] It was banned in India and in the Philippines in 2011.[5]

I am NOT interested in doing all the testing with a new gastro doc, since it is NOT a gastro problem, but an autonomic nerve problem.  And the one intervention option left, for me, is the gastric stimulator thingy.  No, I do not want machines in me.  Plus, I need to be a whole lot worse to qualify for that.  Isn't that a strange thing ... I need to get much sicker before I could have help?  The standard of care for gastroparesis is identifying and treating the underlying condition; that is not possible with dysautonomia.  SIGH.

The final point she posed was pushing me to identify a psychiatrist whom I could visit at least annually for the PTSD, especially since I am off the Xanax.  I tried to tell her that first I would have to see who took medicare and who was on my plan.  She kept holding her pen over her paper, tapping it from time to time, waiting for a name.  I don't have a name.  And, frankly, I don't want one.  Though I would like to start counseling again if there was a place to go where the counselors didn't keep leaving.

I am not sure how to write this, especially since my head is just killing me, but I got to thinking about the PTSD, especially since I was a bit ... dismissive ... of the idea of being still felled by it.  And it occurred to me that I had not studied the PTSD book I received in counseling the way that I have The Courage to Heal and now working on anxiety.  In reviewing the text, it struck me how PTSD is not a psychiatric illness, per se, but an injury that permanently changes the way your body/mind works.  Managing it is possible—have I not gained such ground in that area—but the changes and the effects triggers can have on me will always be with me.  

To put it another way:  " have to think of PTSD uniquely from the trauma that caused it, because that is what it is, a unique entity once formed, one that is never 'over.'"

I have been thinking a lot about the pit bull attack, with the anniversary of it last week.  And with separate encounters with two neighbors that took place.

The first was with a neighbor who is doing construction at her house.  She and her husband had to get a variance for the kitchen expansion, which many of her neighbors were not particularly wanting it to be given, and construction started about three weeks ago ... I think.  The reason she came to talk with me is that her crew is blocking the alley, which they should not be doing.  She was apologizing to me.  Tim was with me, at the time, and she suddenly brought up the pit bull attack, telling me that she was the one who caught me when I fainted.

Immediately, I felt myself withdraw and shut down inside, not wanting, for a single moment, to talk about the pit bull attack with her or with Tim.  I did not want to be back in her arms at all.  Quickly, I changed the topic and then fled inside to avoid the entire encounter.  SIGH.

A while later, my neighbor announced that she thought she would be needing to plan a kitty funeral.  The whole cat that is complicated for me, first because I am most definitely not a cat person.  Plus, I have had a few negative encounters with cats.  And, with my neighbor, I keep getting a bit ... well ... I don't know how to put it.

The first time she wailed to me about her missing cat, I hobbled up and down the alley, off and on, for three days helping to look for Missy.  Missy was in my neighbor's laundry basket in her bedroom closet.  She found her two days before telling me.  I was looking in vain.  The next time Missy was missing, I carefully asked if she had checked the laundry basket.  My neighbor jumped all over me in anger, I so I looked once and then left it.  Missy was in the closet.  The third time, I did not bother to look or even worry.  I was right.  Missy was in the closet.

Missy has cancer.
Her vet is treating her with antibiotics.
I don't get cats or cat vets.

When my neighbor made her pronouncement, it was as if I was suddenly standing outside my body watching myself disassociate.  I do not and will not be my neighbor's shoulder to cry on for the passing of her cat.  I hope that I am sorry for her, but I do not know.  I do not know because I cannot be the emotional support of another person.  In counseling, identifying that for myself was greeted with much enthusiasm and congratulation regarding that growth milestone of recognizing and setting an important boundary fro myself.  Only, it doesn't seem very neighborly a boundary ... especially since I am wanting to not be along with my own emotional struggles.  

I have been deeply unsettled with realizing that I disassociated with my neighbor and then later realizing the same thing happened with the other woman.  I know that it is a protective mechanism and that it is not a bad thing for me, but it is not "normal," nor something I wish to happen.  I do not care that it is good for me to be able to recognize it, too.  I just ... I just wish to not to be me.

And I wish I were not alone with this ... wound in my body.

I have done a poor job of trying to capture what has been flitting around my brain, but I have already vomited twice since starting this entry and am feeling too wretched to try and better capture my thoughts.  But so many days have passed without trying to do so that I didn't want to lose the bits and pieces leading me down this thought path.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Gritting my teeth...

I wouldn't mind a guillotine at the moment.  Anything ... anything to help with my head.  The migraine of Friday night ended.  I had a brief respite and now another headache is building and building and building.  To be fair, I believe that part of the problem is my glasses.  I just cannot see clearly at all. However, I am being very petulant about having to buy new glasses yet again.

Also, well, I just about had it yesterday. I decided that this current spate of misery is going to be my last, no matter what, and so I did not even take the micro-dose of Xanax.  Forget about the endless tapering.  I'm done.  Period.  And I'm just going to grit my teeth through however long it is going to take for my head to recover from the stupid, horrid, dangerous drug.  Seriously, if you have trouble with anxiety, never take Xanax.  If, and only if you absolutely have to, you have to take a benzodiazepine take the one with the longest half-life: diazepam.

Yesterday, I was struggling so much that I took a shower, put on my most comfortable clothes (a combination of clothing and pajamas), gave Amos a bath, and had sweet-smelling, swaddled, snoring aroma therapy for several hours.  Today, the first day after his bath, Amos is the most soft and fluffy dog in the universe, wafting lavender wherever he goes.

Yesterday, I also opened the blood test results.
Don't open your own blood test results.
Don't open mail you know will be distressing.

Several of the tests were abnormal, with many of those noting a risk of heart disease and cardiac failure ... well, I have been worried about that.  There was a genetic test, which I thought there were not any, so I am assuming the blood work cost will be sky high.  The test was abnormal, too.  And my B12 serum was sky high.  Several times the high range number.  If you Google about high vitamin B12 serum in blood work, the results are rather distressing.  So, basically, I upset myself with no recourse for explanation or reassurance until the 31st.  I knew better than to open the envelope.  SIGH.

In some random Internet wandering, I found two things that made me smile:

This is just plain awesome!  I mean, hilarious, really, and so very true for me.  I really cannot believe that so many years passed before I realized that I was an introvert and that there are oodles of folk out there who think just like me!

And then there was the BEST bit of humor I've seen in ages:

So, true!  See, grammar matters!!

Friday, July 17, 2015


I decided that, in my admittedly impatient mind, I would go ahead and drop down to 0.0625 mg of Xanax last night.  I am in a holding pattern to see if, after 9 days at 0.125 is going to be another wicked reaction to the reduction.

During my holding pattern, I decided to make Bacon Cheddar Puffs, since it has been forever since I last made them.

This is part of the batch ... mmmmmmmmm!

I learned that the recipe is quite forgiving because I had to make some adjustments.  For one, I only had half the bacon, but wanted to make these anyway.  I did add a teeny bit more cheese knowing they were shy on bacon.  For another, I was using Firewood Man's fresh eggs.  The eggs are medium ones, so I used five of them, instead of four.  However, when dumping the last egg in the pot, I discovered, belatedly, that it was a double yolk egg.  The puffs were fine, however, just a bit more eggy.  I also decided to use Gourmet Garden's® Garlic Paste instead of garlic powder.  Doing so made them like an egg version of a garlic cheese biscuit.  I changed the recipe accordingly.

Like I said, mmmmmmmm!

I took two of them over to my neighbor, promptly scarfed down three more, and then put the rest into the refrigerator.  I actually gobbled the first one while I was moving the rest from the baking stone to the wire rack.  I thought about eating two or three more, but I restrained myself.  Amos offered to take care of a few, but I declined.  My next grocery run, I am most definitely buying more applewood smoked bacon.  In my opinion, this is a perfect dish for a potluck brunch.

I worked out the calories (for my FitBit) for the puffs (134) and the bran muffins (126).  I called the insurance company about the outstanding blood work EOB from June of last year so that I might one day get reimbursed.  I asked Electrician Man for a quote for work for my neighbor.  I sweated profusely whilst watering all the plants on the front porch.  And I emptied the dishwasher.  So, today was a bit productive.

Firewood Man said he might do the railing tomorrow ... I'm trying not to get my hopes up.  We are going to have a blistering, sweltering, most wretched of days.  I am not even sure I would want him to work outside for me in such conditions.

More blooms opened up on the Rose of Sharon bushes.  All three are blooming now.  I enjoy sitting on the back porch rather immensely, just now, because the hummingbirds and bumble bees keep driving each other off the blossoms.  I am glad that I can do my part for the dwindling bumble bee population in our world.  Such affable insects.

At this moment, I am listening to the train whistles passing by.  They are helping to sooth my fractious thoughts that have been plaguing me since the anniversary of the pit bull attack this week.  Sometimes ... sometimes, I wish that I had an off button for my mind.  Better to dwell on bacon cheddar puffs, eh?


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bit by bit...

If I ate basil from my raised bed whilst doing a bit of weeding, does that count as consuming "greens"?

Steadily, throughout the day, I have felt better and better.  Now, that is all relative, for I am still rather weak and shaky.  However, I did go outside to do a smidgeon of weeding and to put the last of the systemic on the beleaguered boxwoods (sooooooo totally should have done that last summer as well).  I need to somehow remember next year to buy the 128 ounce bottle, because I need that much and it is significantly cheaper than buying four 32 ounce bottles, as in the price of only three of them.  I wish I had remembered that this year, having had to pick and choose amongst my greenery as to which gets the protection and extended feeding.

I also carried out the trash.
Huffing and puffing.

It felt good to be doing something other than wishing for the sun to go supernova or something.  It is easy, on this side of a reaction, to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  When the massive migraine and others symptoms are felling me, I see not a mote of light anywhere.  Again, I cannot fathom how hard it must be to withdraw from harsher drugs, such as cocaine or heroine.

Moreover, I do not like the thoughts I have whilst ill, knowing I am ill because I am denying myself a drug.  I never liked how anxious I got over ensuring I had the refills, knowing that I could not just stop taking Xanax.  I felt like some sort of junkie.  Tuesday, I very much had a "junkie's" thoughts and desires and recklessness.

I have been reading more and more and more and realize that my schedule is built upon tapering from having switched to diazepam.  Since I am tapering directly from Xanax, I have had the thought of just stopping all together next week, instead of trying to go every other day and such.  Xanax doesn't have the half life for that.  It would be like being a yo-yo.

The other thought I had is that I could try to quarter the pills once more and take the .0625 dose for two weeks before stopping.  That might be more reasonable, but I also wonder if I make the final dose be at .125 it would mean only one more bad reaction period and then the lingering headache for however long.  I am very, very, very much wanting this drug to no longer be a part of my life.

My friend who is a counselor told me that only strong people are able to withdraw from drugs.
I do not feel strong.
I feel the very opposite of strong.

I have been thinking about the anxiety.  I mean, I have learned to manage so much, but there are certain situations that I cannot rehearse and, thus, am very poor at navigating.  Primarily, exams and where others will be touching me.  Becky's weighted blanket lap blanket has been immensely helpful on that front.  And I thought it was rather kind of my surgeon to be rather blunt about needing to work up a plan for the exam and testing to be done in October.  The last biopsy was rather wretched.  She is right; I do need a plan.  But I also know that, with her, I can weep and shake and be terrified and it will not affect the way that she sees or treats me.  In fact, each time she's had to tend to my body, she calls me brave for even showing up.  I like that.  

At home, Becky's weighted blanket has help me immensely, most particularly when I am thinking difficult thoughts.  I forgot that I had a lavender woodwick candle and have been using that lately.  Some might see it as a gimmick, but the crackling sound it makes is soothing to me ... an almost fire.  Between the candle and the blanket and some music, I can find peace in a difficult moment.

The worst for me, other than exams, is unexpected change. By that I mean asking me to do something that I have not rehearsed.  In part this is because it is so difficult for me to understand things. I still do not understand why, when my surgeon is my preferred doctor on my Medicare advantage plan, that I had to sign a Medicare Part C release and agreement to pay. I do not have Part C.  That is gap coverage for seniors.  Those who are disabled and non-senior have to just find the money somehow for what is not covered by Medicare.  But, more importantly, I have seen her on the same plan for several years and she has never not been paid by the insurance company.  And co-ayment has never been an issue.  If I do not have the money for something medical, I am not going to pursue it.

But even unexpected change, being open about its problem for me, is something I am learning to manage.  For example, the entire pharmacy team at Target is very careful to show me when pills change, to mark it on the bag and the bottle, and to tell me ahead of time in a voice mail.  The same with prices.  When they fill all my gazillion prescriptions, if there is big price jump, they will let me know before I am standing at the register in public.  Sweet that they are, the day Target told them about the staffing plan for the CVS takeover, one of them called me to let me know that, for now, they should be retained at my Target.  BIG SIGH OF RELIEF.

The point is, there is some anxiety that I cannot control, but I can navigate to the other side.  There is other that, were circumstances different for me, I might could rehearse (such as not being a wall-flower hermit).  When I am home, I have done fairly well.  And, even though the shame of my last visit at the surgeon's office felled me, I did get through that.

And, of course, I do have my fluff ball.  Amos has become adept at recognizing when he can drape himself across my person and when I need him to merely hover nearby.

The hardest part of the withdrawal has been—the part other than being enmeshed in the throes of a massive migraine—the trouble sleeping.  I had worked so hard on that part of my life.  However, I know that the back sliding I have done, such as a mere 4 hours last night, is because of the journey I am taking in withdrawing from Xanax.  I am not mentally worse; in fact, I am mentally brighter, more positive even if I am still cynical about where our world is going.  I have been singing more—much to Amos' dismay—and I have been slow dancing with my fluff ball when I can.

I sit on the back porch and savor the hummingbird chimes.
I sit on the front porch and brave the rain.
I sit on the airing porch and watch the sunset.

Such colors!

I have also admired the night clouds...

And my beloved Rose of Sharon blooms...

There is such beauty in this house, in the small and quiet life I have here.  Yes, I am ill so much of the time.  And I fret and become frightened when that illness is particularly felling.  Yet I know that, for the most part, all I can do is ensure ... and savor the brights spots that come my way.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

No wonder...

I suppose the smaller increment in the step-down dosage delayed the onset of withdrawal symptoms, for just when I was literally celebrating the ease of going from .25 mg to .125 mg, a migraine started.  I tried to ignore it.  It lasted from Monday evening until early this morning.  Maxed out on meds, I was rather desperate.

The terrible shooting pains in my muscles, aching joints, nausea, tremors, a light show behind my eyelids, and that wretched dull, constant headache is the aftermath of the migraine.  That and a new symptom: dysphagia.  [Is it not fitting another "dys" thing in my life?]  I couldn't swallow anything more than saliva most of yesterday.  This morning, I forced myself to eat breakfast and with each swallow, the pain and struggle to do so got better.  Now, I have this mild pain each time I swallow.  I am ever so thankful that bit of misery was relatively short lived.

Right now, I am feeling rather fragile.  So much of me hurts in myriad ways and I am overly exhausted.  Four times in the past two days, my left knee has given out trying to walk up the stairs, which meant I did a face plant on the stairs before sliding down them.  I have a growing collection of bruises.

Early Tuesday morning, I was all for taking the entire bottle of remaining Xanax just to end my misery.  Even knowing doing so would make matters worse.  I still have all the leftover .5 mg pills; they are a temptation, but I am hesitant to just get rid of them.  I know that the surgeon would give me more of the .25 pills, should I need to extend my withdrawal schedule, but I also find a bit of safety in having "extra" pills on hand that require no calling for a refill or fetching.

I cannot fathom how those who are on higher doses of Xanax go through this process.
I am barely surviving it.
I questioned the value of being off Xanax every single moment of the past two days.
I question it still.
I am weak and weary.

No wonder people leave rehab early.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Death by green smoothie...

I think I am dying.
Or rather I wish I was.
I need for someone to wash out my mouth.

Never again.  I know, never say, "Never"!  But, still, never again.  I am working really hard to keep down the green smoothie.  It was so bad I cannot even capitalize by beloved color.  Oh, please!  Somebody help me!  All those people who drink them are just nuts.  I maybe be a bit nuts myself, but even I know to call a spade a spade.  Spinach in a smoothie is just plain awful.

I wish I had "wasted" the ingredients instead of forcing them down.

Am I alive?
Darn, the answer is yes.
When will the taste and texture and ... UGH ... the whole thing be over?????

I just might be the first death by green smoothie.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

A walk down memory lane...

I find that I am surprised at just how upset I was on Tuesday.  Yesterday ... and today ... I am struggling with sore muscles, as if I had worked out for hours.  My tremors were so violent!  I have not been that upset, that afraid in a very long time.

I am happy to note that the transition to a lower dose of Xanax has been easier.  I think that had I been able to do quarter steps to start with, I might have been better off.  I am very sore again and have those shooting pains, but no migraine or light show in my eyes.  I do have that constant headache again.  SIGH.

What I have not recorded, yet, I think, is that sleeping has been a bit difficult since I started lowering my doses.  This was a symptom I read about, with some folk being up for days or weeks.  Thankfully, I am sleeping, but just about six hours.  For me, that is half what I need.  It bothers me that I am not more exhausted, but today I have been snoozing and dozing and mostly just existing, so I think that the lack of sufficient sleep is catching up to me.  That and the fact that I have had to go out several times of late.  Tomorrow, too, I shall be gone again to get my "May" oil change.

Besides the lack of sleep, I had a rough start to the morning with more violent nausea.  I really, really, really dislike being awoken so abruptly by the nausea.  Anyway, other than calling the city to report the downed tree in the park strip that has yet to be removed (the homeowner had not reported it yet), my "day" did not really start until 4:00 PM, when I finally, slowly, and reluctantly dragged myself off the couch to tackles the bran muffins.  I am glad that I did.

I found them to be tasty, however I have 36 of them because the yield size was off in the original recipe.  I shall be eating bran muffins for decades.

The interesting thing I learned, going from pan to pan, is that the longer the Bob's Red Mill Favorite Bran Muffins batter sits, the more foamy it gets.  Thus, the final muffins were high and beautifully rounded.  So, I incorporated some wait time into the recipe.

I also made another batch of Spicy Dr Pepper Pulled Pork.  What I discovered about this recipe is that a NutriBullet is WORLDS better at mincing up the chipotle peppers than an ancient Black & Decker mini prep!  As usual, I "rinsed" the adobe sauce off the peppers with Dr Pepper and then minced up three of them with the sauce and a bit of Dr Pepper.  It was so well ... puréed!  The house smells even better than usual!

Finally, I re-filled the hummingbird feeders.  This task was made more difficult because this bevy of hummingbirds were dive bombing me the entire time.  I think if they could chatter at me, they would have, complaining that I let the feeders run dry in the first place.  Amos was afeard for my well-being but was too terrified to help me, so he whimpered the whole time from the safety of the back porch.  Poor puppy dog!

I am now ensconced back on the couch, which is a bit more comfortable with the pain in my body.  Amos is perched above me, leaning over to give me kisses every now and then.  We have been enjoying puppy photos.  I highly recommend that you do, too!

Then, Amos and I walked down memory lane...

Amos loved his babies from Day One.

I loved my baby from Day One!

He loved to take his babies outside.

Amos loves his babies even when he is busy loving his ball.

He kept me company with all that painting.

And then he had to recover from all that company-keeping.

Even when he couldn't quite get up there, Amos loved looking out the window.

He was only seven months old when we battled the pit bull.  His physical recovery was aided by the coat, which kept him from his wounds.  Poor puppy has never recovered mentally.  Even ever fearful, Amos is still a wonderful puppy.

Ever since that attack, Amos' most favorite place in the world in on my shoulders.  Although he pounds and pounds and pounds heavier now, I don't mind.

Always the love bug!

A real cuddle bug!

Adorable ... from the get-go, eh?

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Persistence or...

It took four calls over three days, the last one being an hour and thirty-seven minutes, but I finally got a refund for a package that was not delivered.  The USPS marked it as delivered, but what happened is that I got a package for 818 on Kinsmoor.  Yes, well, that is not my address!

I have thrice reported the delivery problem with the USPS.  I have done so locally, online, and via the 1-800 number.  Honestly, I do not believe that anyone in Fort Wayne cares that I keep getting mail for another address.  I have wondered if my mail is going there. I am not sure that my missing package is at that house, but I am not going there.  I went, once, in person to let the folk know I have their mail. I gave it to them.  However, the reception was nothing short of hostile, as if I was stealing their mail.  So, now, I just mark in BIG BLACK LETTERS:  "Delivered to the Wrong Address" and put it back in the mail.  I wonder, also, if the USPS redelivers the mail blazoned with their mistake or if it just goes missing.

Did you know that you cannot open a missing claim for any package, even if it is trackable, unless it has insurance and unless it is, I believe, worth more than $50.  Wow!  You also, being the recipient cannot open a claim.  The shipper, who has the receipt, needs to do so.  So, be careful what you order and from whom and also, if you live in Fort Wayne, do not depend on your mail actually coming to your house, just your general zip code.  SIGH.

For the record, one way I dealt with my extreme upsettedness was that I bought some Honey Nut Chex at Target.  Never mind that I already bought Honey Nut Chex for the month just a short while ago.  I needed more.  And, please, don't tell me that it was a want not a need.  With much fear and trepidation and with a mug of Honey Nut Chex, I took my quarter dose of Xanax.  Some time soon, I shall know if I have to pay the piper once more.

I was wondering what the new Twinkies taste like.
Someone drinking flax and chia seed smoothies probably shouldn't eat Twinkies.
But am I not a woman of contradictions?
Ah, but Myrtle, you are a woman with reactive hypoglycemia!

I bought some spinach yesterday to, perhaps just once, try a GREEN smoothie.  For quite a while, I tried to find some spinach smoothie recipes. However, if you Google that, you get articles that have links to links to recipes. And lots of pop-up ads and invitations to join newsletters.  I have yet to fine one website where the recipe was right there for the reading.  What is dismaying me is that most include bananas.  I learned last year that I do not care for bananas in a smoothie.  More importantly, who in her right might would ever eat banana with spinach??  I am of the very firm opinion that folk who make up GREEN smoothie recipes are NUTS. BONKERS.  COMPLETELY DEVOID OF KNOWLEDGE OF PROPER FLAVOR COMBINATIONS.

Case in point:  one recipe was berries, peanut butter, yogurt, and kale...guaranteed to be better than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Yeah, right!

I think that, maybe, I just might have a spinach salad.  After all, isn't eating raw spinach still good for you??????????????

I went to one post office to mail two small packages. I went to the distribution center for my zip code and reported the mis-delivery in person, this time.  And I went to have my blood work done.  It was 23 blood tests!  I shudder to think what the bill might be.

So, here I am, waiting to see how the evening or the morrow will go.  Will I have further withdrawal symptoms?  Will I be able to continue this process?