Become A ‘Criminal’ Or Continue to Risk Death: I Have A Decision To Make

tokeofthetown.com

tokeofthetown.com

I have a decision to make.

I am trying to decide if I am willing to become a criminal for the sake of my health and quality of life.  If so, I  would be considered a violator of a federal law, facing a maximum penalty of $50 million and life in prison.

Here is the choice I face:

1)  Continue to take legal and potent medications to treat my Rheumatoid Arthritis

or

2)  Consider using a drug that although legal in my state, is considered a violation of federal law:

marijuana aka wheat,  ganga fu, butter, rainy day woman, diablito, o.j., love leaf, kif, binky, moocha, gong, juanita, poke, hooch, skunk, swag, hash, blunt, yellow submarine, sweet lucy, dimba, juju, poke, hooch, pakaloco, grass, boo…

Last summer, I almost died.  Not figuratively speaking, I mean really.  

I. Almost. Died.  

An infection made it to my blood stream and I was minutes away from having organ failure and dying, had I not gone to the ER when I did.

I live in pain, every single day of my life.  Some days it’s my feet or my wrists or my neck or my knees.  Oftentimes, it’s all of the above.  In spite of it all,   I love my little life and consider myself incredibly blessed.  I am not however, a masochist nor a martyr.  Although I have learned to accept my situation, it would be nice to feel better and to improve my quality of life.

I have a long and complicated medical history that no one in their right mind has time to listen to (or would willingly, even if they had the time.)  Trust me. 

The bottom line is that there is no cure for RA, and although there are well-known medications that reduce symptoms and new ones that are coming on the market, the side effects are horrendous.

There is no question (per numerous doctors that treated me) that my long-term use of some of these medications significantly contributed (if not caused) me to get this deadly infection.  One of the common side effects of these types of drugs is weakening of the immune system, thus making the patient more susceptible to infections or worsening of an existing infection.

blogspot.com

blogspot.com

Not to mention:

{thinning skin, easy bruising, changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your face, neck, back, and waist), increased acne or facial hair, menstrual problems, impotence, or loss of interest in sex, increased appetite, fluid retention, weight gain, increased blood sugar (which can lead to diabetes), extreme fatigue, difficulty swallowing, increase in blood pressure, unfavorable changes in cholesterol levels, irritation of lining of stomach and small intestine, ulcers, bleeding, early cataracts and glaucoma, thinning of the bones leading to osteoporosis, mood changes (some people get “revved up” and have trouble sleeping, others get depressed), adrenal suppression, lymphoma.}

I have tried most of the medications available including chemotherapy to treat my RA. Some have helped but they have come at a high price, literally and figuratively.

galleryhip.com

galleryhip.com

Last Tuesday, I met with a certified well-respected doctor who specializes in medical marijuana, to discuss the potential benefits for Rheumatoid Arthritis patients.  Holy Shit.  There are many, including the suppression of inflammation.  Inflammation is my enemy.  Inflammation is actually everyone’s enemy and the cause as well as the result of many illnesses.

 Marijuana use for RA patients promises to attack inflammation, target pain, relax muscles and help with sleep.  Many of the RA drugs out there promise the same benefits but the side effects of marijuana use are NOTHING compared to those of the conventional medications.   If marijuana use works for me, I could potentially cut FIVE of the many medications I take daily.  That is HUGE.  Less poison in my system!  

conversationsonthebrink.com

conversationsonthebrink. com

Potential Side Effects of Marijuana use:

sensory distortion, panic, anxiety, poor coordination of movement, lowered reaction time, the user may feel sleepy or depressed , increased heartbeat,dizziness, shallow breathing, red eyes, dilated pupils, dry mouth, increased appetite, paranoia, suspicion, distrust or fear of other people.

Nobody likes side effects but unfortunately, there is no such thing as no side effects when it comes to medications or certain medical treatments.  When comparing the side effects of marijuana to my current medications, to me,  it’s a no brainer.

Problem:

The federal law does not recognize medicinal marijuana as acceptable or having medicinal value even if its use is protected under state law. It is not approved by the FDA as a drug that can be prescribed by doctors. Basically, we are halfway there but not quite there.  This is not fair to patients who are getting arrested and not fair or practical to expect law enforcement to be responsible for verifying the authenticity of a patient when the state and the federal agencies are not in sync. 

After qualifying me as a medicinal marijuana candidate, the doctor gave me a pin number to use when registering my name with the Sate Health Department. If I do this, I want to do it right.  I am not interested in getting high every day just for the heck of it .  I would like to try the specific strains that target pain and inflammation that may improve my quality of life.

If approved, I will receive my medicinal marijuana ID in a few weeks.  It has been suggested that I use a vaporizer to administer the marijuana as opposed to smoking it. That sounds fine to me. 

I have researched the arrests of medicinal marijuana patients in my state and they are greater than I would have hoped.  The confusion and lack of a standardized process has made it difficult for all involved.  I don’t think the police or the FEDS are going to necessarily be interested in little ‘ol me but it is uncomfortable knowing that my name is registered in a state system and that I am in violation of the federal law. 

Typically, I  find humor of most situations I encounter and believe me, I was tempted to insert all kinds of jokes in this post (like me dealing with distrust and  fear of others as a side effect of marijuana) but I need to be serious about this first before I am able to laugh and enjoy the benefits.

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Marijuana fines and penalties:

{1000 Kilos or + or 100 plants or + = $10/50million = 10 years to life

100 to 999 Kilos or 100-999 plants = $5/25million = 5 to 40 yrs

50 to 99 kilos or 50-99 plants = $1/5million = up to 20 yrs

Less than 50 kilos, 10 kilos of hashish, 1 kilo of hashish oil or 1-49 plants =$250,000/1million = up to 5 yrs }

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What are your thoughts on this topic?

Beauty Is In The Foot Of The Beholder

 

bstylo.com

bstylo.com 

I am very self-conscious about my feet.  They ain’t pretty.  Even with the most magnificent neon color polish, they turn heads – in a yucky kind of way.

Yet, here I am posting pictures of them for all to see.  Am I crazy?  Well, yea, but there is a point to this post.  Keep reading and try not to cringe at the photos.

 

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This is the “face” of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Thanks to the most narcissistic orthopedic surgeon ever, my left foot is now straight.  I hate to admit that this, “I am the God of Feet” pompous, swollen-headed, dingle-berry of a doctor, did a great job.  As brilliant a surgeon as he is however, I will not have my right foot operated on by him.  Ever.  Jerk.

Post-Surgery

Post-Surgery

 

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I hope you are not eating while reading this…

As a result of not wanting to go under the knife again, because the recovery was one from the deepest infernal regions of the universe, my feet don’t match.

One of these feet is not like the other…one of these feet just doesn’t belong…

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You should see how simple it is to find shoes that fit both feet.  After the fusion, the newly operated foot is now longer that the right foot.  Fun times!

So what is my point?  

My point is that someone out there finds these mis-matched arthritic footsies of mine, sexy!

Let me prove it to you.

Here is a comment left on an old post of mine where I featured my feet:

Hello. I just want to tell you I really enjoyed this blog post. I hope you don’t mind that I tell you that you have very beautiful feet. I have a foot fetish with a preference for bunions, and your feet are very exquisite to me. I hope these comments flatter you, your beautifully unique feet are very sexy. I hope you continue to post pics of your feet 🙂

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There is a God

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“Blogging Idol” Contest Entry/My Eulogy, Written by My Killer

The funny and talented, Don from 

http://donofalltrades.com/

who has by the way, won many contests – no fair – encouraged his followers to enter this “Blogger Idol” contest of the week, just for the heck of it.  This week’s challenge is, “Write your own eulogy” on, http://blogger-idol.com/category/writing-prompts-2/.

I thought to myself, why the heck not enter? Contestants are to post the entry on their own blogs and then on the blogger idol site. 

I decided to write my eulogy from the words of my killer:  

My Eulogy

morguefile photo

morguefile photo

As her killer, I would like to talk about Maria and her short time on this earth.  I did not have the privilege of attacking her when she was a child, but based on what she was like when I met her, she must have been an inquisitive, brave, kind and stubborn little girl.

 She did not see me coming, but boy was she a fighter from day one.  She boldly rejected the moves I was making on her.  I of course, like a challenge, so her indifference and disdain for me made me want her more.  She was angry with me; they all are.  But you see, Maria’s loved ones, that is what I do best.  I assault innocent, often young and healthy people and destroy their bodies and their lives.  I am unstoppable and have no predator to fear.  There are some attempts at slowing me down, but there is no cure for what I am and what I do. 

I have fond memories of the first time I attacked Maria.  She was in her mid 20s, full of life and working downtown Boston, at the time.  My M.O is always to start slow so as to confuse my victims and make them believe something else is responsible for their pain.  She was engaged to be married to her now grieving husband, whom I would like to take a minute to address.

 “Maria’s husband, I am not sorry for your terrible loss.  You tried to help her fight me but neither of you were even close to being a match for my ruthless, destructive, damaging and crippling qualities.”

 Going back to the first time I attacked her.  I started off by making her feel intense fatigue.  The type of fatigue that is debilitating.  She was having difficulty working and living her active life.  Then, I moved on to her platelets.  I destroyed those babies pretty badly.  It was great!   She ended up needing a splenectomy (for those of you who do not know what that is, it is the surgical removal of your spleen which then makes you more compromised and susceptible to illnesses and a couple of steps closer to death.)

 Things only got worse from there, as you know.  You were all there for her.  Bringing her meals, taking her to doctor’s appointments, giving her chemotherapy in hopes that I would just die.  But I did not.  She did. 

At the tender age of 50, her body could no longer fight me.  Her joints were all damaged and I was deeply embedded in her internal organs.  I was creating deadly inflammation and compromising her immune system ‘till the very end.

 I know you are all saddened by her absence and you wish this was only a dream, but my dear friends, you must face the facts.  Maria is gone and is not coming back.

 God Bless.

By the way, for those of you who don’t know me, my name is Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Bad Days -Good Days A-Z

desktop.com

desktop.com

“Create a short story, piece of memoir, or epic poem that is 26 sentences long, in which the first sentence begins with “A” and each sentence thereafter begins with the next letter of the alphabet.

Bad Days:

Arthritis was never invited

Bone Spurs were never my thing

Comfort is hard to come by

Depression always slips in

Empathy comes in rare moments

Fatigue decides she’s in charge

Gambling with medical cures

Hoping the day will come

Images of painless days

Joints magically healed

Knuckles inflamed and on fire

Lungs filled with fluid and pain

Motion is what I strive for

Napping is what I need

Oxycontin becomes my friend

Puzzles become my game

Quietly enduring the aches

Refreshments to numb the pain

Stiffness is lurking near me

Trying to ruin my day

Useless I now become

Vertical I cannot be

Wondering when it will get better

X-rays reveal the unwanted

Youth has been ripped at the seams

Zero relief is in sight

Good Days:

Arthritis does not own me

Better days are ahead

Coping is what I am doing

Dancing is what brings me joy

Easing into reality

Fighting like a young boy

Grateful for what God has given me

Healing day by day

Informed and educated

Justifying my pain

Knowing I am loved by so many

Loving them just the same 

Making the best of my life

Never ever giving up

Older and wiser by the minute

Pushing along to the top

Quietly saying a prayer

Relaxing as much as I can

Sorrow does not consume me

Tenderness fills my heart

Urging others to accept

Venom will make me regress

Words cannot express my gratitude

Xs and Os for you all

Young and alive I am feeling

Zestfully plugging along

The Swim to My 50s – Take THAT, Bully!

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I hate bullies.  They can be so cruel and evil and make your life hell. The sad truth is that even at almost 50 years of age, I am bullied almost every day.  Wether I step out of my house or not, the Bully is present.  He lives with me and will not leave me alone!  I have complained to the authorities but there is nothing anyone can do to make him leave me, once and for all!

I am not alone, though.  Many people (too many), live with an autoimmune disease where your own body attacks itself!  Imagine that?  You are going happily along living your life, relying on your presumed healthy immune system to attack any foreign and damaging intruders, when suddenly and often without warning, the rules of the game change!    Somewhere along the way, your body gets very confused (WTF?) and decides that you are the enemy.  It even goes into overdrive and attacks you with a vengeance!  Such betrayal… 

I have introduced my own personal Bully (Rheumatoid Arthritis), to readers of this blog in earlier posts.   I don’t let him intrude or influence my outlook on life very often except when he reminds me that he is in control!  Grrrrr!

The good news is that some days, he does not bother me as much as other days. Don’t know if he’s distracted or maybe hung over from previous attacks, but you can imagine the happiness I feel on those occasions!  Sometimes, it’s more of a tease because I falsely believe that I am cured and that my diagnosis is just one big mistake. But soon enough, he wakes up, shakes his head at me and resumes his attacks.

Yesterday began as a tough day.  My wrists, hands, fingers and knuckles were complaining.  Maybe, I’ve been writing on my blog too often and my joints are not very happy about it.  Or, maybe my Bully prefers I stay in bed and do nothing, as he often does. But, I did not let him win.

I decided to take a walk with my 17-year-old daughter who stayed home from school.  It was my suggestion.  The day was too gorgeous and warm not to enjoy.  I figured, my hands were hurting, but not my feet!  

It was a wonderful walk.  Every single step I took (and there were many) meant the world to me.  I never take walking for granted, but instead, see it as an incredible gift.  And, to be able to do it with my daughter, even more precious!  Take THAT, Bully!

I know that during the next couple of days, I will be hurting.  I know that I overdid it yesterday.  But, do I regret it?  NO WAY!!  I will deal with my aching body as I always do, but my mind and spirit feel only joy.

The Swim To My 50s – Just Lettin’ It All Hang Out

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She’s mighty mighty, just lettin’ it all hang out.  

That’s me, at least the letting it all hang out part. I didn’t necessarily choose to let it all hang out, it just – happened.  Particularly, around my mid section.  But in defense of my mid section, it’s been through hell!  I think the next 1/2 century of my life will be kinder to my body which is something to look forward to {yay!}.  

brick  

I used to think that being called a Brick House was the ultimate compliment.  After all, one of my all time favorite songs by The Commodores, claims that she, The Brick House, is a ’36 (Bust), ’24 (Waist), ’36 (Hips) = a winning hand!  And, that she makes an ‘older man, wish for younger days’.   Who wouldn’t want to be called a Brick House?  But now, at the tender age of 49.7, if someone were to refer to me as a Brick House {not that they’re lining up or anything }, I would still consider it a compliment – but for different reasons.  None of which have anything to do with my winning bust, waist or hips but rather, because of what a Brick House signifies.  

A Brick House is a strong, stable, sturdy and structurally solid building.  It can withstand the harshest of conditions including hurricanes, tornadoes and blizzards.  Most importantly, it is resistant to any ‘big-bad wolf’huffing and puffing and trying to blow the house down.

I think many of us women (and men) fit this description of a Brick House.  We are often called upon to shield our loved ones in this way.  We stand strong and firm against anything or anyone who puts our families in danger.  We try to block the stormy outside forces from penetrating inside our walls.  And we protect our families against the packs of ‘big-bad wolves’ that linger outside our homes waiting to attack.  

Not to say that we don’t have days when we feel more like we are made out of cobwebs!  When we feel flimsy, vulnerable, exposed, confused and tangled up in the web of life.  But in the end,  this just makes us stronger bricks and more ‘like an amazon’.

diamond

So, go ahead.  Click on my About link above my blog and listen to the song, dance ’till you drop and keep your head up high knowing that you are mighty mighty and a definite winning hand!

The Swim to My 50s – 50 Shades of Scars

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Who says chicks love scars?

Yes, I went there.  I used the phrase 50 Shades of ____ in my title.  I took the advice of a blogger who gives tips to new bloggers on how to increase your traffic on your blog.  They say that if you categorize or tag the phrase 50 Shades of Grey, or something close to it, that your blog will be seen by tons of people!  Gee, I wonder why that is?  I can’t imagine that anything having to do with SEX would attract readers.  Hmm, I am going to try it out and I’ll let you know how it turns out.  

In my last post, I examined the demise of my gravity-stricken breasts.  I had to accept this fact as part of the aging process and becoming an almost 50-year old.  I can live with this; I don’t hear my husband complaining.  

It was time to continue to navigate south-east and south-west of my breasts, to my arms and wrists in preparation for the big day. Have you ever confused your upper arms with your thighs?   No?  I get confused all the time!  I look in the mirror and swear that I am looking at my arms but realize that they must be my thighs because, well, they look like my thighs!

My sister {the one with the long eyelashes} can attest to this.  For many years, we have ‘nicely’ cursed our mother for giving us her arms.  How could she pass on this family trait to us?  It’s bad enough that my father is to blame for my butt chin, but now this?  ‘Tis the reason I refuse to wear anything sleeveless.  People might think I am standing upside down and flailing my thighs!  I vow to make my arms pencil thin by September 2, 2013.  I will welcome my 50s with thigh-less, shapely arms! Gulp.

Swimming along to my wrists, I am reminded of the demon that lives inside and outside of my body.  The one I did not invite in.  The one that at the age of 26, decided to invade my being.  The not so honorable, Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease.  I have mentioned him in my earlier posts.  For those of you not familiar with RA, it is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disorder that may affect many tissues and organs, but principally, attacks flexible (synovial) joints.  In other words, it’s a {sucky} chronic disease with no {f-in} cure, that leaves you scarred, deformed {yipee}, exhausted and often, disabled, but who’s counting?

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My wrists were the first victims of this vicious attack by, what’s his name? Oh yea, RA.  I will never forget during surgery on my left wrist, waking up, staring at the bright surgical lights shining down on me and hearing voices in the near distance.  I looked around and realized that the surgery was NOT over!  It was in process.  Feeling pretty loopy, I began to talk.  The somewhat concerned anesthesiologist, reassured me that I would not feel anything but that I had woken up a bit earlier than expected.  You think?  I was scared, but under the influence of happy drugs and began to tell jokes.  Not just any joke, mind you, they were butt jokes! I could hear myself telling them to my audience {two surgeons and an anesthesiologist} but I could not stop myself.  Where had I heard these butt jokes and why was I telling them?  I blame the very sloppy ragged scar on my left wrist on myself.  I must have had the surgeons in stitches with my butt jokes because they did a horrible job stitching me up and my scar is horrendous!

The scar on my right wrist is lovely.  A true work of art {in comparison}.    I do worry sometimes that people may think I tried to hurt myself since the scars are pretty visible, but in reality, the scars are vertical and not the typical horizontal scars one sees when a person attempts to hurt themselves.  And, they are located on top of my wrists and not under.  Sorry, not a happy thought.

So you see, scars do come in all shapes and shades.  All of mine have their own uniqueness and coloring.  During my next post, when I discuss my chubby arthritic fingers and my biggest scar of all, I will share some more stories with you.  

  

The Swim To My 50s and… Butt Chins

This ‘long distance’ swim to my 50s is a lot of work! It’s only March and I still have a lot of body parts left to examine, not to mention my feelings, reflections and deep thoughts about turning 50!

I compare this process to going to the dermatologist and having them check out every inch of your body for any suspicious moles/spots that don’t belong.  Except that, my findings as much as they are not welcomed and do not belong,  are not malignant, only annoying and depressing. I am going from head to toe in this process and have just finished inspecting my lips, mouth, cheeks, chin and neck.

I am no Angelina Jolie, but my lips are shapely.  They are not cracking, thanks to my addiction to Chap Stick which began at a very young age.  I don’t know how it all started but do you have any idea the panic and trauma I experience when there is no Chap Stick in sight??  My mouth begins to feel dry and I have an urge to swallow often.  Next, is the prickly feeling I get on my lips.  It starts off mild but soon escalates to a full-blown big-time prickly feeling!  I begin to feverishly lick my lips  which only makes things worse!  Then, the frantic search begins for any tube of Chap Stick I may have lying around. I keep one in all rooms of the house and in my car.  But, every once in a while, I can’t find one, or worse yet, the tube is empty!!!    Oh, the horror.

Never, ever leave the house without lipstick on!  These are the wise words of my Puerto Rican mother.  Ay Dios Mio,  what would the neighbors say?  I began taking my mother’s advice at the age of 13 (when I discovered lip gloss) and haven’t stopped since.  I am probably going to die of lead poisoning from lipstick use, if the Alzheimer’s or Rheumatoid Arthritis don’t kill me first, but at least I will look good!  Here is a pic of my Puerto Rican lead-filled lips. 🙂

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Now, above my lips, is something I don’t like to talk about very often. Ready?  It’s my mustache!  Si!  I have one!  I have been bleaching, plucking and waxing since the age of 2 (I should have started then).  Short of doing electrolysis, I have tried it all.  It continues to grow back darker and with a vengeance! What is a girl to do?

Inside my mouth are a nice set of teeth, thanks to the joint effort of my orthodontist and dentist back in ’85.  I had just graduated from college and begged my parents to pay for my braces as my graduation gift.   Growing up, I had a pretty large gap between my front teeth.  I could floss with a rope.  How I ended up having so many boyfriends, is still a mystery to me!  But, at 24, I had what my dentist called a Hollywood smile.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my pearly whites and made sure I smiled at all my High School reunions, to show everyone my new gap-less teeth. Well…that gap is coming back! Yes, they are separating again!  How can I possibly face my 50s like this!  Time to call my kids’ orthodontist to get a new retainer.

It’s a good thing my cheeks are in good shape these days.   When I am not on a mega dose of Prednisone, which gives me that moon/chipmunk face in addition to making me lose my hair, life is good.  I have always had a love-hate relationship with Prednisone and it usually involves my cheeks.  From now to September, I don’t anticipate being on a mega dose (if my body behaves), so I should be all set!

Butt Chin – a chin that has a small/large dent in the middle.  This, according to Urban Dictionary.  Really, do they have to call it that?  Well, I am proud of my butt chin!  It’s…special!  I share this lovely facial feature with many famous people.   There’s Peter from Family Guy ,   Image  he’s got a beauty! And how about  Danny Zuko from Grease?

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Then, there’s the beautiful, Sandra Bullockhers is a bit more subtle.

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After 9/11, when we had National Guards manning the airports, I had a bizarre and creepy butt chin experience!  I was traveling by myself probably to Puerto Rico, and was walking to my gate.  Approaching me was a guard in his camo uniform with a rifle by his side.  I was puzzled but understood the importance of his presence there.  He stopped me and with a ver sly smile told me that he would not let me pass through to my gate until I smiled and showed him the dimple on my chin!  What??? I didn’t know how to react so I tried to walk past him but he said it again!  I was beyond shocked and feeling very uncomfortable.  I gave him a dirty look and continued walking to my gate.  The nerve!!  He did not stop me again but I am, to this day, angry at myself for not reporting him. The jerk!

Lucky for me, no one has ever commented on my neck.  It’s just a neck,  nothing special.  I have yet to feel the need to cover it up with scarves in order to hide any wrinkles or folds, yay me!  It is a nice almost 50-year-old neck!

In my earlier posts, I promised that I would talk about my cousin the plastic surgeon.  Although I have not had to pay him a “visit” yet, and I have decided not to get my butt chin fixed, he has recommended a product to tackle those horrible brown spots!   It’s not a cure-all but definitely reduces their appearance. I share this with you only because I am…nice.  Check  out, http://www.obagi.com/

Until next time when I go  from my neck down!