Halloween Capers

and Random Acts of Kindness

I’ve been taking a Community Ed class at East High here in Salt Lake. Quinn decided on a break from teaching djembe [that threatens to be a long-term shift], and I needed focus and music in my life. I’m not terrifically self-directed, so I pulled my old guitar out of the garage and started again with Beginning Beginners. I love it.

My wrist has not complained like it did when I dusted off my rusty, twanging dreams 4 years ago, when my real journey with Fibro began. I definitely feel it, but pain patches and yoga really seem to be taking care of me for now. LARGE BLESSINGS!

My body is my own again!

It’s clear that the janitors come during our class, because every week when I leave, the halls simply sparkle. For some reason [I’m weird], last week I got the idea to leave notes for the cleaners. I giggled and giggled dreaming up my caper and yesterday, I finally played out my little impish frolic. I ducked around a corner every time I heard someone approach, then re-emerged to post another note. No explanation can capture the why of this, or how hard I had myself laughing.

Trick or Treat!

Halloween is my FAVORITE HOLIDAY!

2011

Redhead Costume Idea … FIRE Itself!

second-floor

thank-you

“Excellent Work!” “Wonderful Job!”

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Karmic Update

Not really. I’m referring to starting my life as a Karmi at Salt Lake Power Yoga. That’s what they call the volunteers who exchange work for unlimited yoga at the studio.

I’ve only worked 2 shifts, and it’s pretty disheartening to feel like I’m not physically capable of doing a job! Both days resulted in high pain, Level 8. Last Saturday, there were pain spikes I’d actually classify as 10, that made me unexpectedly … vociferate, I guess. I don’t know how else to describe it. I wasn’t moaning. I didn’t scream. But these muscle spasms would come on and just force the voice out of me.

I don’t describe anything as Level 10 pain, because I’ve never had a baby. Surely, that’s the 10 on a pain scale, right? Not even this ghastly post-surgery treatment I had to endure without anesthetic. At one point, the doctor said to the nurse, “If she were a man, she’d be screaming right now.”

“Really?” I asked. As a kid, my mother told me that women tolerate pain better than men. I heard an inner voice that said, “Not me.”

But this doctor told me my infection had burrowed an inch and a half into my flesh, and he had to, first, dig it out, then pack the whole thing with antiseptic tape.

“Women are tough,” he assured me.

“Even me!” I was amazed.

“Absolutely,” he answered. “I’m impressed.”

“Well, it isn’t fun,” I told him.

“You can yell, if you like.”

“What’s the point? You’re almost done. Tell me you’re almost done.”

“Done.”

That was a 9.

Last Saturday, solid 10 pain. I’m pretty damned frustrated.

I went to Salt Lake Homeopathy 2 weeks ago and can’t say I’ve noticed any difference whatsoever in my pain and fatigue. Neither have I noticed any tapeworm corpses leaving my body, and if they’ve been there since I went to South America 5 years ago, they’d be too big to miss on their way out. The homeopath told me to expect to see them. Where else would they go? I was plenty grossed out, but glad for fair warning.

Now I just feel like a fool. The snake oil did not kill the snakes – Rather, there weren’t any – and my Fibro remains uncured and undeterred.

Is there really nothing I can do other than immunosuppressants? The side effects are as bad as any disease!

I hoped fine weather would help. (Cold temps can be a trigger.) I’m taking easy hikes, in spite of waking each day with discomfort, and constant concern that over-activity will ruin the rest of the day.

I’m doing everything I can.

I do know that yoga is not working to manage my pain, at all. I feel better doing yoga, because I’m stronger and I enjoy the improvements to my body. I truly love the peaceful, meditative feeling that accompanies each class. I feel pride in myself for finally doing something proactive, and for sticking with it. But I admit, by mid-April I am deeply discouraged at the lack of relief I find from a regular, committed practice. NONE.

That’s the most frustrating of all.

I’m in pain every minute of every day. Between 1 o’clock and 3:00 p.m., it tells me whether or not I need to start popping furious Ibuprofen, adhering Salonpas patches, and praying!

It’s too much. Nothing is enough. It’s not working. I HURT. I’m tired, and I’m tired of it!

Okay, okay. I haven’t tried everything. Hell, a regular massage. After my karmi shift on Saturdays, perhaps. A chiropractor? (I’m secretly afraid of chiropractors.) The point is, there are options yet remaining. But I gotta say, I’m getting pretty tired of being so goddamned optimistic.

There’s always something more that can be done.

Oh. The big one. Better diet. Every single day. Healthy, regular meals.

I haven’t tried everything. I am getting there. There is a solution and I will find it, because I don’t quit. I do feel like it sometimes.

(P.S. My doctor took his wife and 2 teenagers to Burning Man a month later, based on our conversation at that appointment, haha! I had to have surgery again after the infection healed, and I was worried about being healthy enough for the playa that year. I was.)

I’m A Karmi!

That’s what they call the volunteers at Salt Lake Power Yoga. 🙂

Now I can practice for free, in exchange for reliably working my single Saturday shift. I’m feeling stronger. (I don’t need a nap after every class.) Perhaps soon, I’ll try 3 weekly sessions again and see how I tolerate it.

For the time being, however, I’m going to leave everything the same to watch for any result after my first homeopathy consult!

Many of you know that I have Fibromyalgia. One year ago exactly, it changed from something I could live with to a monster that stole my life. I’ve been in agony – as much from fear as from discomfort.

Years ago, my cousin recommended Salt Lake Homeopathy, where she found relief from Fibro. She now considers herself cured. I was leery of some stranger’s version of the right snake oil, and I didn’t really believe that Fibromyalgia was a thing. Even after getting it, I continued to fight with Imposter Syndrome. I’m just a faker, a baby, a complainer. It’s just in my head. I want to be sick, so I am. Get up, Lazy! Everyone has aches and pains.

Recently, a synchronistic turns of events put this clinic back in my mind as an option. I decided to take a leap of faith.

So far, all I can say is… weird and wow. This homeopathic guy did muscle testing, and for every bug he found – literally, I’m crawling – he described my symptoms perfectly.

“This hurts here and here… ”

“Uh huh.”

“Do your eyes sweat?”

“YES!!!” (Every time I did yoga for the first 2 months, my eyes would water all day as if I was crying. Not a little irritation and weepiness, but full-on tearshed! All day.)

“You don’t remember your dreams, do you?” He wasn’t asking. 

“How do you know that?!”

“[This bug] takes your dreams. But the ones you do remember are prophetic.”

Here’s a link to the last dream I remember, in January: Wingspan.

He told me how I sleep – I mean, the positions I toss to and from – and how I function during the day (no energy at all, deplete and incapable of movement). He knew every nuance of every ache, dull or sharp, the minutia. He knew me.

“In other generations, they would have called you a Witch. You’d be the kind of woman who loves to dance around the campfire naked.”

“I’ve done that! I have a great group of ladies. We call ourselves Women Who Dance With Wolves.”

“You can still enjoy it,” he said, “but let’s get it in balance.” 🙂

So I sat in an electric zapper bed and killed off parasites. Now I have several weeks of drinking bitter tinctures and herbs. Then we can move onto some mineral deficiencies and phase-in good vitamins that aren’t made from GMO corn in a factory in China.

I think this is going to work! I’m encouraged and excited.

Now excuse me, please, while I kill tapeworms.

Jojo Dancer

My little sister-friend got married and moved to Germany last Fall, so I bought her car 6 months ago today. Here’s the report on my ugly little Hyundai Accent named Jojo Dancer, after her previous owner.

She had 128,001 miles the day I bought her. I’ve added 3,147, averaging 29.6 miles to the gallon. She hasn’t had a hiccup. Or a bath.

I gained 15-20 lbs within months of leaving the bus-n-bike lifestyle. (Until New Years, I only learned my exact weight at doctor’s appointments, but I know where I hover.) Of course, now that I’ve added yoga I’m down 8 lbs, and I’m seeing muscles I never had before. Wee!

Speaking of yoga, and the fresh confrontation with pain I’ve been negotiating this year, I remembered something random the other day. In a Spanish class in college, we had to stand and introduce ourselves: name, age, what I’m like, what I fear.

“Me llamo Christie. Nunca pregunte a mujer su edad. Soy hablante. Tengo miedo de dolor.” I’m Christie. Never ask a lady her age. I’m talkative. I’m afraid of pain.

“Well, yeah,” the professor dismissed me. “Everyone’s afraid of pain.”

“No, like phobic. I have knots in my stomach just thinking about it. I’m not afraid of dying; I just don’t want it to hurt.”

I used to say to my best friend growing up, “At least if I have to cry the tears of the damned, I have a strong body that doesn’t hurt.”

How could I have forgotten that pain was my biggest fear? I’m living my biggest fear! I once went to a psychic who said, “Oh, that’s interesting. You came to see how much you could stand.”

“K?”

“You push everything as far as you can, just to see how much you can take. Start to look at your life that way and see what you find.”

I do! The will I/(probably)won’t I of motherhood. The (non)career/low-income life I’ve chosen. The abusive/devaluing relationships. I thought The Unmarriables were a result of my upbringing, feeling abandoned, unworthy of love, unable to love and be loved. But, being an imaginative mystic myself these days, I follow it further. I think I chose my childhood and family – possibly to see how much I can stand.

I believe in reincarnation. In my last between-life phase I examined what I learned in the life I just left in the context of the lives that came before it, and looked at what I wanted to conquer in the next, to learn and accomplish, to see, to feel.

I think I came here for exactly what I got. I came to discover my strength. In the context of community (i.e. I couldn’t be dropped in the wild and make it), I can do anything. It’s crazy to have such confidence, but nothing can crush me. I’m tough as hell. What’s to fear?

I even think I chose to come up in an extremely religious culture. Those are some serious eternal consequences to contend with! And it isn’t easy to be shunned and shamed.

So much of my time is freed, not scrambling for survival. I get to explore, wonder, play, find, relax, love, dream, laugh.

If I’m honest, I’m kinda bitter to have both the psychological trauma of my childhood and early adulthood and now the physical pain of mid-life and beyond (which terrifies me). However, I would say to my best friend today, “At least if I have to suffer the pains of the damned, I’m not emotionally tortured anymore.”

She say’s I’m a Fucking PollyAnna, always finding the silver-lining, but don’t mess. 🙂
happiness

Finally!

Once again, I’ve dropped 4 lbs. in one week. Hopefully, it doesn’t take another 8 weeks to see appreciable change. I’m interested in steady momentum. Maybe that will be reflected in my body fat percentage, which is, ahem, 36.7%.

I recall noting the number at my New Year’s weigh-in. I couldn’t remember whether it was 34 or 37-point-something, but we’ll assume it was 37 and moving in the right direction. I certainly don’t put any limits on the fat I eat, but I am trying to be watchful of over-indulgent grazing. My genome gave me a metabolism type that’s somewhat counter-intuitive as to body shape and weight-loss, indicating that fat restriction can lead to increased waist circumference. 23andme actually advised me not to opt for low-fat products. Weeeee! Good fats were advised, of course, a la Mediterranean Diet, but knowing me as you do – Skinny Was My Superpower/ I Do What I Want – well, it’s just not food if there isn’t as much butter as potato.

*****

Yesterday was so frustrating I cried in yoga. In public. Like, fought (failed) to hold back tears, several times. It’s that constant nagging anxiety, “Am I gaining strength and flexibility or overdoing it?” I felt like I was just copping out in poses. I felt like a faker. I came home to the headache Ibuprofen can’t touch and seizing joint and muscle pain so high I couldn’t sleep. I’ve never not been able to escape through sleep, let alone rest to restore and recover. Tender points were more like screaming spots. Even my skin hurt!

I did nothing all day but complain. My poor roommate. He never gets impatient with me. I am going to try to keep it to myself a bit, though. I recognize in all the complaining not just the fear and anger of pain, but a battle with Imposter Syndrome. “I’m not faking this! I’m not just being lazy!” I have a tenacious lazy streak, too, so there’s a constant internal struggle that I’ll work out aloud on any hapless friend nearby.

He’s heard enough. He knows. He feels for me. He’s a great roommate.

A strange series of events occurred recently. My general practitioner has been wonderful. This would have been 10 years together, and she has been a remarkable companion with whom to monitor my health. Until recently. She dismisses Fibromyalgia. She’ll acknowledge it as a thing but won’t offer any advice beyond, “We really don’t know what it is and there’s no proven treatment.” The fact that conventional methods are undesirable to me has kept me loyal to her, but I’ve known for awhile that the road diverged.

I got a letter in the mail about a month ago that her office had closed. I called the clinic taking over and was informed only that they’d expanded into the space and would try to help as many patients as possible from the old practice. But where was my doctor? I Googled her. No new info. Honestly, I just wanted to send her a Thank You note. Not being able to do even that left me feeling abandoned, betrayed almost. How can you ditch people without any notice? With no guidance to other options or how they can get their records, at the very least?

I know it’s for the best. I’m looking forward to creating a new relationship for the long-term with someone who takes my pain seriously.

The second timely thing happened yesterday. The Utah Senate approved State Bill 73, allowing for medical use of cannabis oil! I can’t believe it. The last time this insufferably red state did anything I couldn’t believe was when they approved Marriage Equality. However, even Mormons have gay friends, family, children, co-workers. Even religious people can see that we’re all just folk: black, white, good, bad, gay, straight, who cares? Everyone can, if they choose to, realize at last, “Wow, this person is entitled to anything I am,” even if they disagree with who or how they are. But – gasp! – DRUGS, never.

(And, trust me, the Mormon Church tried to block the bill.* Blocked, instead, will be the pain of thousands. Well done, Utah!)

Cannabis oil is low in THC, so there’s less psychedelic effect, and high in cannabidiol, which binds to receptors all over our bodies and calms them down (or something science-y). And it’s just a freaking plant!

I think I’m going to find relief!

* If any Church uses its influence and money to further a political agenda, as the Mormons did lobbying for Prop 8 in California, IT SHOULD NOT BE TAX EXEMPT.
tax

Blogiversary the Fourth

222-2
I confess I expected a more immediate response to yoga than what I’m experiencing. I’m still in PAIN. I remind myself that I’ve made positive changes to aid my healing and better my prognosis. Secretly, I fear that this is only going to keep getting worse. It’s pretty bad.

I’m grateful it’s almost exclusively on my left. I’m right-handed. Life would be a lot harder if this insane discomfort interrupted function of my dominant side. I’ve wondered why it should be so marked a difference on one side of my body, and the only thing I can think is that the car that hit me (hard) in 2009 struck me on the left. I flew 20 feet off my bike and landed on my left, as well.

The injuries were minor, but here I am. I’m not the only person to develop Fibromyalgia after an accident. It’s also common for sufferers to come from violence and abuse. ?

It sucks. I hate Fibro. But my life is good.

I love my home. I hit the roommate jackpot. I like my job. I love drumming. I’m reading book after book, with a cat on my lap. Sixteen sun-drenched plants are bursting at the seams, in Winter! I’m excited for festivals and road trips this Summer and Fall. I’m planning on Oktoberfest in Belgium and Germany.

(I don’t have kids to put in braces, college, or therapy. I do what I want!)

(I’m terrified for such a long flight, twice. Last year, I flew to the Gulf and then to NYC, back to back, a total of 3 weeks travel. I was in SO MUCH PAIN in-flight. I consider that trip the marker of my new relationship with my body. I’ve never fully recovered. ‘Til then, pain was sporadic, not nearly as high on the scale, and could pretty well be counted on to go away between flares. Now I start every day assessing what hurts and wondering if today will be a bad one. For me, Fibro worsens in the afternoon. I’m glad. It would be hard to stay my upbeat self if I woke with the discomfort I go to bed with.)

I’m utterly stuck at 155 lbs., but I can see a difference in muscle tone. I think I’ll start paying attention to body fat percentage. I need some numerical satisfaction!

I’ve quit Diet Pepsi and cigarettes. I don’t drink as much. (I can’t anymore. A Fibro hangover is like a 2-day, whole-body migraine.) (And I’m bitter!) I’m thinking about quitting coffee… but then I might as well be Mormon, and that depresses me.

I think I’m middle-aged. Weird.
HappyBlogiversary

Hurts So Good

Phew!

Yoga hurt today (I took a week off), but it hurt like it’s s’posed to. My feet cramped, but only a little. I’m on the upswing. I imagine I’ll hit roadblocks again, but I will face them with more confidence that I’m gaining strength and giving my body the love it deserves!

I was so nervous driving to class, like real anxiety. I kept reminding myself that I’d already got confirmation that it was the right thing to do, but I never trust my intuition. So I pep-talk mantra’d myself – gratitude, courage, blah blah blah – and I did it!

Even my shoulders felt better. They’ve been giving me grief since November (serious enough to disrupt my sleep – a first for Fibro and me). They still hurt and I had to modify some of the poses, as usual, to give myself the gentle introduction I need, but not as often as I’ve done in previous classes.

I’m making progress that I can feel!

The backstory on confirmation that yoga is the right thing for me, and to continue through the pain, has to do with the possibility that I might go to Burning Man this year. I’d accepted that I may never return to the land of my personal awakening. I have limited funds and the rest of the planet to see with it, but a friend from high school wants to go and offered to pay for my ticket if I’ll let him join my crew. Hell yes, I will!

I knew that I wanted to make this a special burn. I’m so much more grounded and myself than I was when I joined this crazy community 8-and-a-half years ago. I decided that I would offer Tarot readings. I’ve got to study.

To that end, I’d been reading up on chakras and Astrology, when it occurs to me to get expert on Numerology. I almost laughed that I hadn’t thought of it myself. (I began to correct that – to “sooner” – but I think I got it right, as is.) It’s so obvious, my obsession with numbers. Of course I should include that knowledge in my toolkit! So I start pinning Numerology sites and perusing those. Turns out, my life path number is 33, which is apparently very rare. That was fun.

The next day, this pin was suggested: 22222222Not any of the other number combinations I see all the time (which I also love), but my favorite number, the one that started this all for me. I smiled and said hello to the angels.

(I saw a giant, glowing 222 – like, 30 ft. tall – in the middle of the desert at my first burn. Seriously. I ran to it and danced.)

Later in the day, I was considering how to continue my yoga practice after the new-student intro concludes. I can pay for classes as I go or get a membership, which is a little rich for my blood. Some things are worth it, of course, so I set about doing some comparison math. I divided the membership fee by 4, to see if it would be cheaper than paying for 2 walk-in sessions each week. It was. In fact, it came out to 22.2. 🙂

I learned a long time ago that 222 means, “You’re on the right path. Keep going.”

Now I just have to memorize all the other numbers’ meanings, and all mystical things, and then trust my intuition when I finally share it for the first time at Burning Man 2016. It’s a loving place to learn and practice, and no one will mind that I’m reading them with a Bloody Mary in my hand for breakfast.

I’m going home!!!

****

No weight loss for a second week in a row, but no weight gain either. I’m building muscle and retaining lactic acid, yet. I can see a difference in my waist. It was never tiny, but I was square as a brick there for a minute! I’d like to see the number drop eventually, of course, but I’m just not panicked about it. It will.

I’m 6 days cigarette-free.