I’m a Big Girl Now – Not

crabbygolightly.com

crabbygolightly.com

Last week,  I had a public tantrum (I. Don’t.Wanna) about not wanting to make an appointment with any of my doctors and enjoying my 4 month hiatus from the medical world.  Click here if you missed it: 

https://swimmingtomy50s.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/prednisone-gin-naproxen-wine-chemo-cannabis/

I discussed all the substances I need, to ease my chronic pain and threatened anyone who considered taking away my wine and gin.

I decided to act like a big girl and make the phone call to see one of my doctors.  I had my appointment yesterday.

I walked into the office sporting my fancy red-hot neck brace which was supporting my neck, which was supporting my head, with felt like a ton of bricks sitting on my neck (it did however, match my lipstick.)  Have you ever felt that your head was too heavy for your neck to support?  And not because your brain was too big?

I have stenosis of the cervical spine in discs 4-5 and 5-6 and have been avoiding having to have a spinal fusion.  Who wants to do that?  Only if and when I have tingling and numbness in my arms and legs, will I consider it.  Fortunately, the debilitating, excruciating pain I have, is not worthy of an operation.

As I checked in at the reception desk, I was massaging my left rib cage which was spasming and inflicting more intense pain.  I looked really good.

I am not at liberty to discuss how I injured my ribs because…I just can’t.  Although my husband may have had something to do with it, the injury did not occur as a result of a beating, so you don’t have to call the police.  I’ll just leave it at that…(blushing slightly, right now).

After a full physical, an xray and antibiotics for an infection, this was the outcome:
      
The radiologist has determined that there has been no progression of your degenerative disease in your cervical spine and that al he could see was the same old bad stuff he had seen in previous xrays.
 
Wait.  So…am I supposed to take that as good news?  Hey, brickhousechick, be happy that things are just the sucky same!  Same narrowing of your spine, same disc erosion, same excruciating pain, just more of the same! Phew!
 
Be thankful that there is no change Yay me!
 
Then, I was informed that my ribs may be bruised and that there is nothing to be done about ribs.  You just wait it out.  Just like that.  You leave those suckers alone to heal themselves.  Alternate between cold and heat and it should go away in a month or so.
 
Really?
 
So, although I love my doctor and she is not to blame for my misery, was it worth being a big girl?  Ah…NO!
  
I ended up back home, doing what I was doing before I called.  Laying in bed with an ice pack on my neck and one on my ribs and having another tantrum.
   
Chronic pain is for the…birds.  Actually, I take that back.  Poor birds, why do we always wish the bad stuff on them?
   
The only good that came out of all this, was that I can now add antibiotics and muscle relaxants to my already diverse Cocktail (which currently consists of wine, gin, prednisone, naproxen, chemo & cannabis.)
ideachampions.com

ideachampions.com

   
Cheers!  Drinks are on me!    
 

The New Craze

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academicsins.wordpress.com

Ok, brickhousechick.  It’s time to get with the program.  Your husband who turned 50 last Fall is seeing a personal trainer (how can we forget Marit…) and is in the best shape of his life.  

He is not eating sugar and has cut out most carbs.  He’s cranky more often but that’s beside the point. 

When are you going to start doing something about your body?  You only have two months left.    Approaching  your 50’s is supposed to give you that motivating kick in the gouda to start taking better care of yourself.   Kind of like when you are asked to be in a wedding or going to a high school reunion. 

 No more excuses.  There is an abundance of information out there to help you become a more healthy you.  Let’s review the latest information you came across last night while eating Mint Milanos and googling the latest health craze.

1.  Prancercizing –  everyone is doing it.  It’s not that difficult and even John Mayer is endorsing it!  Get out there (preferably in your driveway) and prance away, girl!  

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2.  Lymphatic Brushing –  exfoliating is out, dry brushing is in! Get your circulation going and get rid of cellulite while you are at it!  

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3.  Camel’s Milk – no doubt you’ve heard of camel toe, but now it’s all about their milk!  It’s supposed to be better for you.   Camel’s milk has been used medicinally for centuries by nomadic people, and is the closest to human mother’s milk.  It contains 10 times more iron and three times more vitamin C than cow’s milk. Camels possess unique, powerful immune-system components.  Not sure if you’ll find it at Wal-Mart or Trader Joe’s, brickhouse.  It may require a visit to the desert.

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ifood.tv

4.  Ballet Workouts – the latest low impact exercise that is putting a dent on the yoga craze.  Can you plié while prancercising?

5.  Eating dung from sacred cows – very popular in Asia…

6.  Alkaline Waterno real studies show, that it neutralizes the acid in your body,  boosts your metabolism and absorbs nutrients more effectively than regular H20 and can slow bone loss. But, don’t lick the batteries. images-50

6.  BB Detox Tea – apparently, BB stands for blemish balm and it comes from Korea.  It comes as a cream and has skin whitening components and is used for age spots, acne and wrinkles.  It also comes in form of a tea and it is a detoxifying cleanse.

freddyo.com – RIP Michael. 4 years, today.

freddyo.com – RIP Michael. 4 years, today.

7.  Train Track Therapy – this one will freak you out brickhouse, since you have developed a new fear of train tracks!  In Indonesia, after a paralyzed chinese man went to the tracks to commit suicide and was miraculously cured, people go lay across the tracks as a train is approaching, to benefit from the electric therapy, jump off before the train gets too close, only to lay back down once the train passes in order to benefit from the residual electricity.  Some will do this twice a day. ku-xlarge

Or… you could just simply eat better, brickhouse.

Prednisone, Gin, Naproxen, Wine, Chemo & Cannabis

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What a dilemma I have.  

You see, I typically visit my Rheumatologist every two months to check in on my RA and see how much damage it has caused me.  They weigh me (Ouch), take my blood pressure, give me the good ‘ol Pillsbury Boy poke in my belly, probe me, lift my limbs, squeeze some joints,  make me open my mouth and say ahhh, send me to the lab for more poking and change my medications if need be.  All in a matter of 15 to 20 minutes.

Every six months I go to the hospital for the day to have a Chemo Infusion via an IV.  They provide me with a nice comfy bed, Benadryl, Cortisone, anti nausea meds and I go in and out of a very deep Benadryl-induced sleep.  Every half hour the IV machine beeps and beeps and beeps alerting the nurse to come check on the ever so slooooowly dripping bag of, let’s call it, poison.

The medicine in the bag, called Rituxan, can also be called miraculous.  It is typically given to cancer patients in higher doses but has been known to help with Rheumatoid Arthritis!  It is the only medicine that has actually slowed down the erosion of my joints and has given me some relief.   Let’s have a round of applause for Rituxan!!  Woot!  Woot!

It’s not a cure and it’s not perfect, but I’ll take it!  I also take quite the cocktail of other drugs to help me function throughout the day.

I am usually a very good patient (kind of).  I do as I am told (sometimes).  Well, I am also rebellious by nature.  You know, don’t tell me what to do kind of girl.  For the past 4 months, I have gone on STRIKE!  I have taken a sabbatical from visiting ANY doctor.  

Like a child who refuses to go to school, I continue to have tantrums and refuse to go.  No, no and no!  I. Don’t. Wanna.

I figured, I am an adult (sometimes) and I can do as I please.  I know, tsk….tsk, you say.  Cut me a little slack pretty please,  I just get fed up with the whole thing sometimes (woe is me).

Now, I’ve got issues again.  Pain in my side, strange growths popping up in my cervical spine from Stenosis, back problems, blah blah blah.  I am due for a physical, mammogram, colonoscopy, lab work, you name it…but… I. Dont. Wanna!!!!!!  Can almost 50 year olds have tantrums?

I have been perfectly happy ignoring my pains (and blogging – which is almost as miraculous as the Rituxan),  taking my Prednisone, Naproxen, Gin, Wine and Chemo.  The Cannabis, I am still waiting for my state to get it together after they passed the legalization of the medicinal stuff!  You cannot get it yet.  What’s taking them sooo long?  

Why can’t my body leave me alone??? In peace! Just let me be, you know.  

This means I must end my strike (it was fun while it lasted) and push the speed dial button of my many doctors to pay them a visit.  I. Don’t. Wanna! I. Don’t. Wanna!  I. Don’t. Wanna!

Oh, alright.  I will put my big girl underpants on and call on Monday (Grrrr).  But, no one can ever take away my Gin, Wine or Cannabis! 

Re-touch Me, Baby! Harder!

dreamstime.com

dreamstime.com

Oh…baby.  Please, I’m begging you… re-touch me, again and again.

 Ahhh….mooove me, shift me and rotate me, faster, faster, FASTER!

YES, YES!  Don’t stop!  Enhance me, Big Boy!  Right there, yes, right there!

CROP the @*& out of me, HARDER!!  Do it!  Do it!  DOOOO ITTTTTT!

Ahhh……………MMMmmmmm……

Ever notice how as we get older, the few pictures of ourselves (even the selfies) that we allow others to see, get smaller and smaller?  Body parts go missing, cut in quarters or halved?

My all time favorite words in the photo editing business by far are;  Retouch, Rotate, Enhance and Crop.

Just look at those words.  They are so, beautiful.  Definitely my bffs.  If you don’t know them yet, I suggest you introduce yourself to them, pronto!

But these besties were not always in my life.  Only since I have reluctantly been swimming to my f-*^@ 50’s, have they so gallantly walked into my exciting life.  

Before then, I was whole.  Complete.  A full person.

Now, I am only a collection of  broken pieces, scattered around like ashes.   

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don’t I wish…:)

Take my legs for instance.  They used to look like the picture above.

Now, I can only showcase this much of them:

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 My majestic hand, photo-150  can only be seen from afar ( masked by a glass of wine, of course).

Below, is my frontal lower side with my – never leave home without it – fanny pack. 

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Here is my enhanced and re-touched Gravatar photo >: 305369_2084617269945_5541082_n 

Oh, alright.  I’ll reveal a bit more:

 305369_2084617269945_5541082_n_2 Who needs a whole face when you can have half!

Well, you get the picture.  

The fact is that as we get older, we feel the need to get retouched, enhanced, rotated and cropped (literally – wink, wink and figuratively) to pieces and show less of our beautiful whole bodies.  

Truthfully, if it wasn’t for the fact that my husband is a public official and I shouldn’t reveal much (even though I am blogging about my most private moments), I would let it all hang out! 

 

OH GOD, not the skirted bathing suit!!!

WARNING:  If you are a man, reading this post may elicit certain… excitement.  Read at your own risk.

thetimeisright.com

thetimeisright.com

Guess what?  It’s summer and I’m almost 50.  Translation:  Must I really get into a bathing suit?  This is the dreaded question we all ask as the days get warmer, the nights get longer, the grills are ‘a cooking and the water is glistening.  Damn, is it that time again?

It’s not like we don’t have 9 months to prepare for this inevitable event.  We know it’s coming.  We can mold and sculpt our bodies in preparation for the big reveal.  But, who the hell wants to do that?

After summer has passed, we welcome the fall with open arms.  We can cover up our skin more, eat apple pie, pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream (my fave) and all the other seasonal autumn (starchy) foods.  Then, we gorge during the holidays, to then fail at our new resolutions we set on January 1st and gorge some more to keep warm during the winter months (at least that’s my excuse).

At a blink of an eye, May rolls around and….SH@&*!!!  It’s here again.  Darn Summer.

Don’t get me wrong, I love summer.  Everything about it EXCEPT for the bathing suit part (oh and the mosquitos).

Well, I found myself bathing suit shopping this past weekend.  There were racks upon racks of vibrant shiny sexy wear, for all shapes and sizes.

41zPXTmA8DL._SL246_SX190_CR0,0,190,246_ cameron-diaz-bathing-suit < These two were my favorites.  Especially the patriotic monokini, just in time for July 4th!

You wouldn’t believe the ingenious marketing that takes place to sell these tiny pieces of lycra.  Slenderizing.  Miraclesuit.  Spanx-Slimming.  Contour.  Control Top.  Look 10 lbs slimmer.  Color contrast to give the illusion of slimness.

The sad thing is that I believed it and fell for it.  I marched right over to the fitting room, cart chock full of miracles, to be tried on.  Thank God for the fitting room’s special mirrors they have for our benefit – although my paleness blinded me as I looked to see how the suits looked.  Shoot, I forgot to shave!  I had to pretend that it wasn’t Chewbacca staring back at me.

Boy do I hate this process.  Time and time again you must look at your….flaws as you wiggle your way into the too small of a size suit – because you refuse to believe that you are truly, two sizes larger.  Fun times!

As I struggled with straps, belts, buckles and cups, I yearned for older days.  The days when this was the style:

missstan.com

missstan.com

C1939-SWIMSUITS

fashionera.com

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I was wishing I could find this suit below, so as to scare away any eyes that would decide to wander over to my less than perfect body.  Stay Away! 

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It was looking like this style was fitting me the best= Womens-Elderly-Onepiece-Swimwear_1038_570 After all, look at how happy and carefree and flowy the models look.

I frankly think, the bathing suit that has fit me the absolute BEST throughout  my whole bathing suit career, has been this baby below. Not too tight or loose.  The perfect colors for my skin type and quite flattering, wouldn’t you agree?DSCN4481 - Version 2

Well, I am now not so happy to report that I walked out of the store, the proud owner of not one, not two but three skirted suits. Yes, I said skirted20130617_120049 (God Have Mercy on Me).  Three, because I could not stand looking at myself in the small claustrophobic dressing room mirror any longer and could not decide which lucky suit would come home with me.  

I now get to have a fashion show in the privacy of my own messy room to decide which one, is the winner.  Sigh.

Help Her, No More

depositphotos.com

depositphotos.com

Have you ever squeezed out every last possible drop of your entire heart and soul, to help someone you love?

The type of help that requires your life to come to a complete and immediate halt?

Where you sacrifice your own already compromised physical health, stretch the limits of your relatively healthy mental state to its absolute breaking point and are forced to push aside the needs of your children, husband and other loved ones?

It is something I knew I had to do.  There was never any doubt in my mind that I had to try to help this someone, who would have otherwise lost her life.  It was my idea.  My plan.  My insistence that we try one more thing in order to give her a chance for a better life – or just simply, a life.

For six months while she lived with us,  I used up all of my God-given love I had to give, on her.  Not unlike what you do for an infant,  I was there at her beck and call to answer to and meet all her possible needs including the ones I frantically anticipated she might have.  She did not ask or demand this of me.  I just did it.  

We had become one person, joined at the hip, thinking, speaking and acting as one.  A beautifully synchronized and choreographed dance where you glide through the steps and take turns leading the other when needed.  This, among the many other dances prompted by anger, confusion and betrayal.  Like on a see-saw where you teeter along trying to stay balanced, we tried avoiding the sudden and abrupt highs and lows.

Days and weeks passed, each and every one carrying with it an intensity and stress level beyond comprehension and human ability. I awoke every morning exhausted from the previous day’s events and from the lack of sleep I experienced, as I lay awake in bed at nights consumed with anxiety, worry and fear.  

Was I doing the right thing?  Was it working?  Was she listening to me?  Was I getting through?  Did I show her enough love?  Should I had said things differently?  Was she happy?  Sad?  Angry?  Were my kids angry at me?  Was this unfair to them?

Not only was she awarded with my undivided and unconditional love, I had also arranged for her to receive every possible outside support from doctors, clinics, therapists and schools.  World renowned experts in the field of, Mental Illness.  Top of the line facilities and assistance.  She truly had it all at her young finger tips.  All, for her.  

I will admit that she did try.  She went willingly to all the appointments and vowed to get better.  She did not like what she had become and wanted desperately to change.

Then, it all went down.  Down to the lowest, filthiest most miserable basement of hell.  Pure organic hell.

She decided she had enough.  Turned 18 and never looked back.  Just like that.   Went back to her old ways, back to damaging relationships with the people who love and care about her the most.  Back to a life of lies, manipulation and danger.  Back to the self-destructive risky behavior she had vowed months before, she would try to stop.

I was left a broken person.  With a broken heart and soul.  A sense of betrayal, of being used and snowed.  As if someone had taken my heart and thrown it on the ground, kicked it with all the strength in the world and beat it to pieces – and then spit it back at me.

It left me bitter, cynical, hardened and lacking faith in humanity.  I could feel the ugliness and anger swelling up inside of me.  I know I gave it my all – and beyond.  But the pain, remains.  

I have not yet recovered and can only hope that in time, my old caring, compassionate, positive and loving self, will resurface and take control of my life again.

I can help her, no more.