Thursday, October 30, 2008

(Duke) Special

I think this is pretty fantastic, and it almost (almost) makes me weep.

Check out Duke Special and his new album out in Ireland.

My Day Program

Since being discharged from the hospital I've been participating in a partial hospitalization program. It lasts every day from 8:45 to 3:00 and has become a reason to get out of bed in the morning. We discuss our goals for the day, kind of like the "one day at a time" saying. We attend group therapy, talk about symptom management, and discuss things like values, medication usage, etc. We finish the day by talking about what our goals and plans are for the evening, about staying safe, and about returning out "there" into the real world.

I like day program. It is providing a nice cocoon in which I am able to heal. However, today I'm not at program and it is making me very sad. I am trying not to get upset about it, because that won't help. But about 24 hours ago I cam down with a migraine, and it has not subsided since. Migraines are a symptom of my Fibromyalgia and they pretty much have to be waited out.

I hope to make it clear that I really really do want to be at day program, and was very sad to have to miss it today. Very very sad. I'm looking forward to going back tomorrow. And I hope to get the rest I need to get rid of this awful monster attacking my brain.

In the meantime, you should see who gets to make me feel better.

I don't have to do anything, he just sits on my lap and purrs. He really missed me when I was hospitalized. He gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

I just hate when my body fails me.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

i just used a pair of scissors unsupervised. do you realize what kind of a weird privilege that is?

Reason my mom is so cool number 37

So you haven't heard from me much since I dropped the big word about being in the nueropsych unit. I'm spending my days as a partial patient and trying to get myself healthy and safe. I wanted to send a shout out to my mom who was featured in our hometown newspaper this week. She's the best and has given me my values on almost every subject. She is why I've always voted.
NORTHMORELAND TWP. - Judy Schoonover has seen many changes since she first became a Judge of Elections in 1973. One thing that hasn't changed in her community, she noted, is the dedication of the voters.

"In Northmoreland Township, it's always intense. The people always come out," she said.

Read it here at the new website for the Wyoming County Examiner. (PS It's not that greatly put together of a paper, but it's home.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm Home

I'm home from the neuropsych unit but really tired. I'll write more soon.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thoughts from the Neuropsych Unit

I was admitted to a neuropsych unit on October 21st a little bit before midnight. It was a scary experience but I knew it was where I needed to be. With the help of my loving and always supportive husband I am posting a bit about my experience so far. I've had times of frustration, times of anger, times of clarity, and even some pretty great times of laughter. I hope that the following will answer some questions you may have.

Why am I here?

The stress, anxiety and depression I have been experiencing has come to a head. These things, complicated by the pain and fatigue of the last year and fibromyalgia became too much for me, as strong as I am, to handle. I started to feel unsafe due to thoughts of suicide and a desire to hurt myself.

What kind of help am I getting here?

Safety, first and foremost. Medication adjustment and oversight. Referrals for professional help when I am released. And reassurance by others who have experienced similar things and are continuing on with their lives.

Two questions we get asked frequently:

Do you feel that you want to hurt yourself or others?
I might still feel the desire to hurt myself but mostly I want to yell and throw things. I have anger over being here, this is because I am mad at myself for letting myself get to the point of needing to be here.

Do you see or hear things that aren't really there?
For sometime now I have been seeing cats. Before we got Popeye I used to think I saw a cat hide under the table, desk, or run under the couch. Today I thought I saw a cat but it was really just the base of a medical cart that carries the equipment for taking vital signs. Why cats? Maybe there is some kind of symbology (movie reference anyone?) there.

So, you might ask:
Why would I want to hurt myself?
I think the catalyst behind hurting myself is because I want the pain that I feel on the inside (the mental, physical, and emotional) to be recognized on the outside.
Why would I want to share this experience and my thoughts with anyone?
I want to do this, share these things with my blog readers, family and friends to let others who may be feeling similar thoughts of feelings that they are not alone. I want to show that you can be a strong woman and still struggle on your way to success. I do have special and specific goals for myself and they will be accomplished. This is just a step that I have to take and it might be the same for other people.

Do I think being admitted here affects the future?
Yes, I do think this will affect the future. But these will be positive results. It is another life experience that I can share with others. If people can't understand or at least acknowledge my time here as a positive learning experience, they are not the people I want to find myself associating with. That is my choice to not associate with those people and it's the healthy choice.

So these are just a few feelings, thoughts, and observations that I have had in the three days I have been h ere. There may be more to say before I leave, or you might here from me when I return home. Word this morning was that a discharge plan will be made for early next week.

Until then check out some of my favorite websites:

Chronic Babe -great inspiration for all babes!

A Chronic Dose - this is by the author of the book that I am currently reading, Life Disrupted: Getting Real About Chronic Illness in Your Twenties and Thirties.

But You Don't Look Sick
- great resources and a great community on the message boards for support.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Food, Poverty, and Change

Take a few moments to check out my friend Julia's post about Fasting for a Change at Jules' Wandering Weblog.

I think it starts a really important conversation.

Great Day for a Marathon!

I got to use my cheerleading skills this morning as the 2008 Nationwide Better Health Columbus Marathon made it's way past the apartment.  The race started down town with wheel chair racers taking off at 7:25am and runners/walkers at 7:30am.  11,000 people were registered between wheels, runners, walkers participating in the marathon and half marathon distances.  I was interested in the marathon itself, making my way out to the curb around 8:30am, but I also had personal interest as my friend Grace was running the full length of the race.  

We were staged somewhere along the 21st mile, and saw a lot of tired runners.  Runners were also grateful for the support and interest along the route.  Grace came by at around 11:30am and was anxious to get to the end.  After a little encouragement she continued on her way.  Grace finished the race in 5 hours, 10 minutes and 6 seconds; pacing a 11:50 minutes a mile.  Her place overall was 3549, placing 1251 out of 1438 women.  I'm very proud of her and excited for her finish!  It was great to be out there cheering for everyone today.  One of my favorite things.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


So, it's Saturday and I've had some really meaningful things that I've been meaning to say.  They probably won't happen today.  With the change in weather, I've been feeling particularly crappy.  Strange aspect of my chronic illnesses number 37:

For some reason, with everything that has gone on in the past year, I seem to bruise much easier that I ever have before.  Combine this with the way I'm always slightly off balance, and it's not a good combination.  Today besides nursing the same headache and body aches, I am dealing with a bruised ankle, bruised thigh, and a bruised inner elbow.  I only know of the origin of the bruise on my thigh.  It's pretty simple actually, I run into the end of the bed every time I walk past it.  So I have almost permanent bruises on both legs at the height of the awesome bed Ryan's dad made for us last Christmas.

That's about all I have going on, the Buckeyes play at 3:30.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Comfort

I am tired of being tired.  There are days that I don't want to get out of bed, never mind do anything productive or meaningful.  There are days that I am in so much pain that it hurts to touch my hair.  But I have discovered something that brings me great comfort on those days and on everyday.

Being a pet owner. 

I've had pets my whole life, and I've enjoyed them.  But, if you knew my cat Sam, you know he wasn't always the lovey dovey kind of cat.  In fact for many years I was convinced that he enjoyed tormenting me, chasing after me and swatting at my night gown.  I had scars for a long time from that cat.  But he was awesome, with only three legs and no tail.

I also enjoyed the lives of Jake, Butch, and Bun-Bun.  These three lived out in our backyard, and I had a lot of anxiety about feeding them because they seemed so very close to the woods, and at night, I was afraid of being attacked by something.  Now I wish I would have spent more time with them.  But they did give me a small taste of responsibility, without actually solely relying on me for their every need.

I did not realize the joy of actual pet ownership, where a being relies on you for their needs and wants.  You must live up to these needs, but the rewards are great in return.  I get to have a soft, warm, furry thing at my feet whenever I am in bed.  He likes to curl up on my chest when I'm awake and get as close to me as possible at all times.  He knows I like his attention, he proves this by talking to me and walking on me while I am asleep.  I don't know what Popeye's life was before he came to our apartment, but much of it was spent in a cage at a cat shelter.  Since coming here, he has lived the good life, complete with cat nip toys and pettings.

Comforting is probably not the first thing you would think of when you see Scarlet for the first time.  She has lived with us for about a year and a half, and we have enjoyed every minute of it.  She has grown a lot in the time she has lived here, and it is so neat to see her grow, shed, and then grow some more.  I also enjoy watching her learn what new places she can climb to in her tank as she gets longer.  When she first came home, she could barely climb half way up the wall, and now she can do so much more than that.  I'm not suggesting that everyone should run out and get a snake, but there are joys in owning even some of the more obscure pets.  

So I try to remember on my good days to treat my pets with lots of love and gratitude for getting me through my not so good days.

Blog Action Day 2008

I'm laying in bed, getting ready to go to sleep.  But it's after midnight, and officially Blog Action Day.  I wanted to write before closing my eyes, because I feel that what I have decided to write about will bother me until I get it out.

Last year's topic for the day was the environment, and it really wasn't hard for me to think of something to post, since this is part of what the blog is all about.  If you are interested, you can go back and read last year's post here

However, this year the topic is poverty.  And I've been thinking for weeks about what I can say about poverty that wouldn't be repeating what everyone else is already saying.  What experiences have I had, that can speak to this issue?  Should I just talk about poverty in the United States?  Should I expand the topic to global poverty?  I wasn't sure if I wanted to define poverty from a Christian standpoint, or point out how the environment effects those who are poor the most.

And then it came to me.  When I was in India in January I witnessed poverty.  I didn't experience this in a depressing kind of way, it was troubling to see so many people in need, but at the same time inspiring to see how they used what little they had to live the best lives they could.  I fell in love with the people of India, watching them live their simple lives and making the most out of everything they worked for.

Part of my India experience included lectures about different aspects of India.  One lecture that I was particularly moved by was on the topic of globalization in India.  The professor made one simple statement in that lecture that has kept me thinking all of these months.  And while I am not going to write with great knowledge of the subject, or try to convince you to do something about it, I want you to acknowledge your emotions when you read this statement:

Farmers are committing suicide.

There are many aspects to this statement.  There are many reasons that have driven these farmers to do such an act.  Poverty is at the core of them all.  Farmers in India are losing their land to globalization and technology.  They are being forced into debt that they know they will never be able to pay back.  They are being taken advantage of by big corporations around the world who want farmers to use their products, and only their products.  They are being sold seeds that are genetically modified, requiring them to buy new seeds year after year instead of saving seeds from season to season.  

This epidemic makes me sad.  It makes me hurt for the farmer's families.  And it makes me angry that people with more power and more money take advantage of other people everyday.  

I could give you statistics about these farmers, or names of corporations who are the ones causing such a problem.  But honestly, I am so saddened by this, that the research is overwhelming.

What I want you to do is remember that as many as three farmers a day are drinking pesticides, or hanging themselves from a tree in order to end their lives.  And then the next time you have a free moment Google "indian farmer suicide."  It's hard not to be emotional when you read what you find.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm Back

Hi Friends, Ryan and I had a horrible cold all last week.  I didn't get much done blog wise, but I'm back this week.  Tomorrow is Blog Action Day, so check back to find out what I have to say about poverty.  

I'm not sure what I'm going to write yet, but it will be informative. 

Monday, October 06, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

I wanted to take a few minutes to remind you all about the importance of breast cancer awareness, monthly self exams, and regular mammograms.  I've known many people with breast cancer, and  I became passionate about raising awareness and funds while in college.

I am a sister in the Zeta Tau Alpha fraternity, whose philanthropy is the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.   While in college I worked with my sisters to raise awareness among college age women about early detection and participated in some crazy fundraisers to raise money for the Susan G. Komen foundation.

For all you wonderful women in my life, please remember to check yourself, get your mammograms, and inform others about breast cancer.  And if you want to take a more active role in finding the cure for breast cancer sign up with The Army Of Women.  The Army of Women is looking for women with and without cancer to partner with researchers to learn what causes breast cancer and to find a cure. 

Just to be sure you are informed, here is a list of links that I mentioned throughout my post, please check them out: 

Friday, October 03, 2008

A Chronic Dose

While I can't seem to string words together to form coherent sentences today, I wanted to share a blog post with you from an author about my age who is dealing with chronic illness. It discusses, much better than I could, the health care crisis and some organizations that are working really hard to change the fate of the chronically ill in our country.

You can read it here at: A Chronic Dose.
Be sure to check out some of the websites she points to in her post for more information.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


I can't believe it's October already. This time last year I was already feeling pretty cruddy. At the end of the month I will be celebrating my one-year sick-a-versary. Many of my symptoms came on long before I ever got pneumonia, but since then I have had very few good days.

I said earlier that I wanted to explain about my illness instead of just whining about it. I figured today would be a perfect time to start. It is the first day we have closed our windows since moving into our new apartment. I am wearing sweatpants (and socks), and I am drinking hot tea. That's right, it's the changing of the seasons.

Everyone who has fibromyalgia has a different set of symptoms. There is no neat little box that we all fit into. However there is one thing that most of us can agree with. That our symptoms are worsened by changes in weather and the seasons. When air pressure, humidity, and temperature changes, so does the severity of our pain, the frequency of our headaches, or the length of our flares.

What does this mean for me? The way I feel from one day to another depends on many factors, including the weather. Yesterday I went for a walk, as well as a quick trip to the grocery to pick a few things up. So with the drop in temperature today, I am having a very low key resting day. I am sore in all of my joints, my hips being the main culprit. My muscles ache like if I had a cold or the flu, and my head is teetering on the fine line of a headache. I'm also very sleepy and slept in longer than I would have liked.

What am I doing to help myself get through this day? I put on warm socks and a favorite pair of sweat pants. I heated up my heading pads (home-made, I will dedicate a post to them someday), and I made myself a pot of tea. From here on out all I can do is rest and stay warm until the weather changes again, my body adjusts, or I feel better.