Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 Sucked.

I'm not sure that I made any resolutions last new year's eve. I usually don't, so I am thinking I probably didn't. I wasn't in a very good place last new year's eve. Well, I mean, I was - I was home with my husband, watching the ball drop with the fireplace roaring, and it was a nice evening. But mentally, I was simply at the beginning of what would be a much larger breakdown than I could have imagined.

So, to briefly recap 2009:

My diagnosis of MS was confirmed.

The end.

I mean, I am sure there was more than that. Lots of little good and bad things - but what I will remember about 2009? That friday the 13th in March. And the ensuing fog of days broken up by crying fits, sleepless nights, and twitching.

This year, I figure I will come up with a whole list of resolutions. I mean, what the hell. Last year I didn't have any, and that didn't help.... so having a list couldn't hurt right? I mean, chances are good I won't keep/do most of them anyway. But if I do? Maybe it will give me some good things to remember about 2010.

(shoot for the moon, land among the stars somewhere soft... I hope...)

So, without further ado, and in no particular order:

1. More blogging.

(try to control your excitement)

Writing helps me get it out. Snarky, bitchy, cry-y (??).... whatever, it helps. I don't humor myself in to believing most of it is ever read, but it's not about that. Imagining an audience, even an unknown (ie. imaginary) one, helps me write with a better focus. It's like getting to hear myself talk. Only in my head. Without the crazy feeling. And all I really hear is the keystrokes of my slow ass typing.

2. No more eating potato chips at midnight while blogging.
I think this one is pretty self explanatory. Sorry Frito-Lay. (We had our moment in the sun. I won't forget you.)

3. Lose the 30 pounds I gained in 2009.
First, I think the above resolution will help that. Second, I will not allow MS to have this too. MS can eat up my brain and the meds can scar/bruise/disfigure my arms/legs/stomach/hips - but I will be damned if I let it ruin an entire closet of clothes that no longer fit me. Fuck. That. Shit.

(speaking of my meds....)

4. I will give myself my shot. Every night. Period.
Some nights I don't do it. Sometimes I "don't feel good". And sometimes I morph into this petulant child who somehow feels that not giving myself the shot is a big "fuck you" to MS. But it's not. I know that. I just have to get the fuck over it and do it. Every night.

5. I will stop drinking as much on weekdays when I am damn well finished for the night.
And not a moment sooner.

6. I will take yoga classes.
7. I will take Karate lessons.
8. I will take pole dancing lessons.

(In that order.)

First, I need the yoga to work on my balance and flexibility. I've also heard that it can help center you and make you less likely to want to kill maim slap the shit out of people who desperately need it. Second, I want the karate lessons so I can tone up my body and work on my coordination. Also, when yoga fails and I then need to slap the shit out of those people? I'll be able to do it more efficiently. Lastly, the pole dancing lessons would just kick ass. Who wouldn't want to swing around one of those things? But you have to look good doing that. And the karate would help.

9. I will buy and wear fabulous, funky, high-heeled shoes.
Let's face it: someday MS will (likely) make it difficult (at best) for me to be able to wear those types of shoes. Between the potential loss of coordination and numbness, there will surely come a day when 4 inch heels are even less sensible than they would be now. So while I can? I am going to work those heels for all I can.

10. Rid myself of toxic/unfulfilling/soul-sucking relationships.
I seriously wish they made some infomercial product that could cleanse my system of these people by simply taking some magic potion everyday which induces multiple trips to the bathroom. I would definitely take that over the struggle of actually figuring out how to separate myself from people who drain me.

11. Nurture those relationships which do not fall into the above category.
I am grateful to have people in my life who more than make-up for and outweigh the people who drain me. They deserve my love and support for the love and support they give me. And despite my moments of weakness and neediness, I still have a lot to give as well.

12. Ink.
I have been wanting a tattoo for a long time. And now that I have an idea for one, I have ideas for others. And I want at least one completed on paper, and then on my skin, before the end of 2010. Again, if MS is going to fuck up my body with these injections and such? I might as well pretty up the other areas.

13. Spend more time with my Bean.
I have to work. I don't have an option about that. But the time I have at home? I don't always feel like it's spent in a way that benefits Callie. Some days I am tired. Or crying. Or yelling. Or just too weak to pick her up easily or chase her around the house. So on the days that I feel good? I should be doing more of those things. Because she won't want to do them for forever. And I don't want her to grow up remembering her mom as sick.

14. Exercise more.
I don't know how this fits in with the drained-all-the-time feeling I get. And I also don't know how that fits in with the "more time with Callie" thing, but on the days I am feeling good, I should be using those opportunities to try to maintain my health as well. Even if it's just walking more... or something... anything... I just need to do something.

15. Pay down my debt.
I have no idea where to start with this. I'm thinking the first step would be a job that pays me enough to actually meet our monthly bills. Which, in all honesty, will be tough for me. For as much as I bitch about work, there's a lot I love about my job. However, I have a feeling a bigger paycheck might help ease the pain of leaving. Also, I'm not too proud to take handouts. Just saying.

16. Sleep more.
I really have no idea how to do this. Sleeping issues suck ass through a straw. And it's been so long since I've not had sleeping issues that I don't really remember what it's like to just go to bed at a normal hour and fall asleep. (Seriously, does anyone else know that Star Trek: Next Generation is on at 1am on WGN mid-week? Because if you are in your 30's holding down a 9-5 job and raising a child? You should not.)

17. Make a difference in the world by spreading peace, hope, love, and joy.
Why not, right? I did say I was shooting for the moon.

That's it. I think. For now, seems to be a good start right? I could have included stuff like floss more, see my dentist and eye doctor on a regular basis, keep a neater home, learn to cook.... but really? Who has time for all that mundane stuff. I'm going to be a pole-dancing ninja by the end of 2010.

And I certainly hope I can look back on this new year as the beginning of the end of my breakdown - and not the continuation of an even greater break.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Considering a new career path.

So, tonight, while wasting time online looking at shoes (what? you think what you do is super exciting all the time?) I came across these beauties and in an instant realized I need a new career.

Seriously? I need to be a stripper. Because really and truly? I *must* have these shoes. They are like kitschy little pieces of beauteous art and must be mine. They were made for the sexy hot stripper that lives inside of all of us - and mine is pining for these mind-bending sparkly lucite wonders.

Let's put aside for a moment that no one would want to see me naked. Let's also put aside the fact that I have all the seductive grace and natural rhythm of a chimp who's been hit with a tranq dart.

These things matter not at all.

It is all about the shoes.

Plus? Having lots of ones on me at any given time makes me feel like I have a bankroll - even if it only amouts to $37 dollars or so.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Email to a friend.

(why not? It's a decent MS summary.... and, I already typed it all....)

I have to say - I hate just putting the MS stuff out there, but how else to do you go about something like that? There's no real protocol for these things, as far as I'm aware. But it is something I like to share. If only because it does effect me at times and it's easier if people know that something is going on with me. Your response was wonderful - caring, concerned, genuine, and without hesitation. Thank you.

MS effects every person who has it differently. They don't know what causes it (part genetics? part virus? both? they don't know) and it is incurable. It attacks the central nervous system, causing lesions on the brain and spinal cord. Lesions are areas where the myelin (fatty coating on the nerves) has been destroyed, causing a disruption of the signals that the nerves should be conducting. There's no way to heal these lesions once they occur, but, there are drug therapies to slow down the progression of new lesions from forming. There are 4 different therapies that work in different ways, but they are all administered by injection. The one I chose - because it has the least side effects - is injected daily. And I hate needles. So that works out well.

I have a friend with MS (and another who recently passed away who had it), so when I first heard the words "abnormal areas of demyelination" in regards to a brain MRI I had done (for something completely unrelated, btw), my heart sank - I knew what the term likely meant. I had three distinct lesions. Unfortunately, it took a full year to diagnose the issue for sure, since there's no test for MS. Instead, I had to be aware of symptoms and possible symptoms over the year's time, have a mess of tests done to rule other testable things out, continue meeting with my neurologist, and have another MRI done at the end of the year - which was February of this year. March 13th (a friday the 13th, naturally) I got the diagnosis - three more lesions, bringing my total to 6, and various issues/symptoms over time. That's when I started the drug therapy and started trying to deal with the reality of it all. See, for the year prior, I had been content to shove it to the deepest parts of my lesion addled brain and pretend nothing was wrong. Ignoring it didn't make it not real though.

While the presenting symptoms can be different for everyone - physical, emotional, and mental - mine are, at this time, mostly mental and emotional, only partly physical. I have been on anti-depressants for over a year now. When my MD put me on them, I didn't even connect it to the MS, but my neurologist connected the dots for me. MS will often cause changes in the brain chemistry, so, yeah, no surprise there I guess. Getting my diagnosis certainly didn't help me "feel" better about it. I'm also quite emotionally unstable at times. They call it "emotional lability" - I call it "emotional incontinence". In case you didn't read the entry, this one sums it up well. So sometimes I find myself crying over nothing - or everything - at inopportune times. Like at work. With cadets around. That sucks. But I also can't really control it. And that drives me crazy - makes me feel like I am losing my mind. Sometimes I am overly anxious. Sometimes I am overly angry and short-tempered. Oh, and a lot of the time - as in more days than not - I can't sleep. I am exhausted, but not sleepy. That? Doesn't help any of the crying/anxious/angry stuff. I'm like a cranky two year old. I have a feeling you know what that's like.

It's fun stuff.

I also have cognitive problems. Some days I just can't find the right words for things or I have a hard time stringing coherent thoughts together. That's frustrating - given what I do and how many people I interact with on a daily basis. But, at least my fellow counselors know what I am dealing with and when I am having a bad day, I can continue to trip over my words and they understand and laugh along with me - which helps make it a little less frustrating. I also forget things sometimes. Like, one day I was driving home, got to a stop sign, and had no idea where I was or which way I should turn. None at all. I knew I was on my way home, but not where I was. I wasn't panicked, but more curious about how it came to that - like, how could I not know where I was? It cleared after about a minute (which, fortunately, I just sat there and no one came along) and I realized that I was 1/2 a mile from home on the road I have lived on since 1986. Seriously. I also one day forgot which tooth brush was mine. So I used both of them to see which one "felt" right. Stuff like that is weird, but it clears quickly, so I am okay with it as a weird footnote to the MS. I just hope it never develops into something long lasting - and I know that possibility exists.

My physical stuff is minor compared to what others suffer - and, I suppose, what it could become in time. (MS is progressive, so it will only get worse, the meds just try to slow the rate of deterioration.) I am weak sometimes. Like, I will pick Callie up and I feel like I don't have the strength to hold her long. Or my legs are achy just from walking around. Or I am fatigued overall - that is there a lot actually, the fatigue. Sometimes I just feel physically spent although I haven't done much at all. As in, all I did was sit at my desk all day. I also twitch. Like, little involuntary ticks in my arms, legs, torso, head, whatever. It's subtle unless you're watching me closely. And it doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, it can be annoying. I also tremor sometimes, mostly in my hands or legs. But that is minor as well.

It could be worse. Many people with MS have trouble walking, or numbness (which I do get occasionally, but not in any large way), and end up in a wheelchair. Others have vision problems that can range from blurriness and floating spots (both of which I have at times) to outright blindness in one or both eyes. So I realize, while I am at times completely stressed at how I feel, it could be worse. But the fun thing is? Stress makes all the symptoms worse. It causes flare-ups. And I mean, what's more relaxing than knowing your brain has holes in it? (well, not really "holes", but I like the visual of swiss cheese brain) So it's sort of a catch-22. Also? For some weird reason, heat makes MS worse - like the body has a harder time cooling itself, the core temp goes up, and the brain goes haywire. They really don't know why that is either, but it's been shown to be the case for the majority of MS sufferers.

I have no idea if I answered your questions, but I feel like I have rambled on for a crazy amount here - just on the MS. When really? It's just a part of life - like anything else I suppose. It's just something I need to incorporate into my paradigm.... I'm still working on that....

And in response to your other comment: yes, I over think everything. I spend WAY too much time in my own head. I have always been that way, but now, it has taken on a life of it's own in response to the MS stuff. Like, before, I used to simply think a lot - contemplate things in a more philosophical manner. I used to believe that things happened for a reason and if we just let go and follow the flow, there's a pattern and path. I still think that, to a point, but now? Now so much seems so wildly out of my control - including my own emotions - that it is all but impossible to just let go. Instead, I seem to try to apply a death grip to anything and everything that I value - like, my sanity. And that leads to greater anxiety. Because life, by it's very nature, is unpredictable. And I feel like I have had enough of that for now.

And, I imagine, you have had enough of this email by now!! Sorry to be so long winded. But, I appreciate you asking me about it - and I clearly have no trouble talking about it. :-) At length. Wow.

My iPod knows me better than you do. (or why Steve Jobs is fucking with my head.)

I love my iPod. Recently though, I started to feel a little like my iPod was stalking me. It knew entirely too much about me. It knew my thoughts, my fears, my hopes, my dreams - my deepest secrets.

It blew my mind.

Dude, has anyone else ever noticed the Top 25 Most Played playlist?

I am sure this is old news to basically everyone but me, but this thing reads like a diary! Including the embarrassing stuff you wouldn't want anyone else to know about. So, naturally, I thought I would share a little.

And from now on? Anyone I meet is going to have to pass me their iPod so I can scope out the real deal without all the work of actually stalking them. Because if you’re all “emo goth chick” or “cap-popping gansta” hiding in the body of an unassuming 30-something? I think I have the right to know.

(and if the above two quotated phrases don’t permanently cement me as uncool in your mind, nothing will.)

((and yes, I totally just made up the word “quotated”. Deal.))

1. "Sometime Around Midnight"
The Airborne Toxic Event

Due in part to the fact that I am haunted by memories born of love, I can only hope that someone else is haunted by me. (and, I am drunk a lot.)

"Then you walk, under the streetlights.
And you’re too drunk to notice,
that everyone is staring at you.
You just don’t care what you look like,
the world is falling around you.
You just have to see her.
You just have to see her.
You just have to see her.
You just have to see her.
You just have to see her.
You know that she’ll break you in two."

2. "Vindicated"
Dashboard Confessional

Yeah, I know, it's the song from Spiderman. But it's such a good song. And I am flawed.... but I am cleaning up so well.

"I am vindicated
I am selfish
I am wrong
I am right
I swear I'm right
I swear I knew it all along
And I am flawed
But I am cleaning up so well
I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself"

3. "Grapevine Fires"
Death Cab for Cutie

4. “Closer”

5. “The Way I Are”

Despite the obvious grammatical errors (or perhaps because of them), I heart this song.

“Can you handle me the way I are?”

6. "Decode"

Oh god, it's another song from a movie soundtrack.... this does not speak very well of me, does it? Does it help at all that I’ve never seen the movie?

(Yes, I did read the books.)

Moving right along.....

7. “Starlight”

8. “That’s Not My Name”
The Ting Tings

9. “I’m Yours”
Jason Mraz

I like to sing this song at the top of my lungs in the car. Why? Why not. It’s great, and happy, and it makes my terrible singing worthwhile.

“Open up your mind and see like me
Open up your plans and damn you're free
Look into your heart and you'll find love love love love...”

10. “Stronger”
Kanye West

At least one of the speakers in my car met it’s match with this song. Meh, it was a factory issue anyway....

“N-n-now th-that that don't kill me
Can only make me stronger
I need you to hurry up now
Cause I can't wait much longer
I know I got to be right now
Cause I can't get much wronger
Man I been waitin' all night now
That's how long I've been on ya”

11. “Somewhere Out There”
Our Lady Peace

12. “Where Are You Going?”
Dave Matthews Band

13. "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)"
My Chemical Romance

This song is great. How can you not love this song? And watch the video. Seriously, even if you don't love the song, you will love the video. If you love neither, stop reading right now. We can never be friends. And I have no interest in seeing your iPod.

"Well if you wanted honesty, that's all you had to say.
I never want to let you down or have you go,
it's better off this way.
For all the dirty looks,
For photographs your boyfriend took,
Remember when you broke your foot from jumping out the second story?

I'm not okay.
I'm not okay.
I'm not okay.
You wear me out.

What will it take to show you that it's not the life it seems?
(I'm not okay)
I told you time and time again
you sing the words but still don't know what they mean
To be a joking look
Another line without a hook
I held you close as we both shook for the last time
Take a good hard look!

I'm not okay.
I'm not okay.
I'm not okay.
You wear me out.

Forget about the dirty looks
The photographs your boyfriend took?
You said you read me like a book, but the pages are all torn and frayed

I'm okay.
I'm okay!
I'm okay, yeah
(I'm okay, yeah)
wish you were really hear listening to me
Because I'm telling you the truth
I realize I'm okay!
(Trust me.)

I'm not okay
I'm not okay
Well, I'm not okay
I'm not o-fucking-kay
I'm not okay I'm not okay

14. “Love Remains the Same”
Gavin Rossdale

Let’s face it: Gavin Rossdale is dreamy.

“A thousand times I’ve seen you standing
Gravity like a lunar landing
Make me want to run till I find you
I shut the world away from here
Drift to you, you’re all I hear
Everything we know fades to black

Half the time the world is ending
Truth is I am done pretending

I never thought that I had anymore to give
Pushing me so far
Here I am without you
Drink to all that we have lost
Mistakes we have made
Everything will change
But love remains the same”

15. “Last Goodbye”
Jeff Buckley

So many people have no idea what this song is - and that’s a shame. Listen to it. Know it. Love it.

(it’s for your own good.)

“This is our last goodbye
I hate to feel the love between us die
But it's over
Just hear this and then I’ll go
You gave me more to live for
More than you'll ever know

This is our last embrace
Must I dream and always see your face
Why can't we overcome this wall
Well, maybe it's just because I didn't know you at all

Kiss me, please kiss me
But kiss me out of desire, babe, and not consolation
You know it makes me so angry 'cause I know that in time
I'll only make you cry, this is our last goodbye

Did you say 'no, this can't happen to me,'
And did you rush to the phone to call
Was there a voice unkind in the back of your mind
Saying maybe you didn't know him at all
You didn't know him at all, oh, you didn't know

Well, the bells out in the church tower chime
Burning clues into this heart of mine
Thinking so hard on her soft eyes and the memories
Offer signs that it's over... it's over”

16. “Paralyzer”
Finger Eleven

17. “Hysteria”

18. “Motorcycle Drive By”
Third Eye Blind

When it comes to songs having attachments to people and memories, this song is so heavy with them it practically collapses under its own weight.

“Summer time and the wind is blowing outside
In lower Chelsea and I don't know
What I'm doing in this city
The sun is always in my eyes
It crashes through the windows
And I'm sleeping on the couch
When I came to visit you
That's when I knew
I could never have you
I knew that before you did
Still I'm the one who's stupid
And there's this burning
Like there's always been
I never been so alone
And I've never been so alive

Visions of you on a motorcycle drive by
The cigarette ash flies in your eyes
And you don't mind, you smile
And say the world doesn't fit with you
I don't believe you, you're so serene
Careening through the universe
Your axis on a tilt, you're guiltless and free
I hope you take a piece of me with you
And there's things I'd like to do
That you don't believe in
I would like to build something
But you never see it happen
And there's this burning
Like there's always been
I've never been so alone
And I've, I've never been so alive

And there's this burning
There is this burning
Where's the soul I want to know
New York City is evil
The surface is everything but I could never do that
Someone would see through that
And this is our last time
We'll be friends again
I'll get over you, you'll wonder who I am
And there's this burning
Just like there's always been
I've never been so alone alone
And I've, and I've never been so alive
So alive

I go home to the coast
It starts to rain
I paddle out on the water
Taste the salt and taste the pain
I'm not thinking of you again
Summer dies and swells rise
The sun goes down in my eyes
See this rolling wave
Darkly coming to take me
And I've never been so alone
And I've never been so alive”

19. “Shake It”
Metro Station

Guilty pleasure. Pure and simple.

20. “Come On Get Higher”
Matt Nathanson

21. “Take a Picture”

22. “Innocent”
Our Lady Peace

“I remember feeling low
I remember losing hope
I remember all the feelings and the day they stopped

We are, we are all innocent
We are all innocent
We are, we are...
We are, we are all innocent
We are all innocent
We are, we are...

One day, you’ll have to let it go
You’ll have to let it go
One day, you’ll stand up on your own
You’ll stand up on your own
Remember losing hope
Remember feeling low
Remember all the feelings and the day they stopped”

23. “Deep Inside of You”
Third Eye Blind

24. “In Your Eyes”
Jeffrey Gaines (live) - covering Peter Gabriel

25. “Hot N Cold”
Katy Perry

TOTAL guilty pleasure. I heart Katy Perry.

“You change your mind
Like a girl changes clothes
Yeah you, PMS
Like a bitch
I would know

And you
Always speak

I should know
That you're no good for me”

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mending the cracks.

"When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful."

~Barbara Bloom

Wow. I must sparkle with a blinding brilliance by now.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Complete and total breakdown in 3.... 2.... 1....

Since when did a nervous breakdown become something that you need to schedule? I mean, seriously, back in the day, when women went nuts, they did it with style, they did it in a grand way, and they got put away in a quiet room somewhere for some alone time, shock therapy, and a frontal lobotomy. "Hysterical" is what I think they called it.

Well I am finding life pretty fucking hysterical right now.

You know what I find hysterical? I have been on various antidepressants for over a year now - and I am still unable to see the beauty in life. I know it's there, but it's sort of like the ship in one of those 3-D pictures that were so popular in the 90's? the ones where you knew if you could just "look" in the right way, you could see it.... but I just can't. It's all a big fucking mess to me.

You know what else is a big fucking mess? Me. Some days it's all I can do to get out of bed. But then, after I do, I still have to stumble through my work day, then come home and try to not lose my shit. And by "lose my shit", I mean cry, scream, or freak out for no reason. And by "no reason", I mean no reason that anyone on the outside can see. Everything looks great, right? Until you try living in my hole-filled brain. No one would want to do that. I don't even like it - it's the Hotel California - you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

I want to breakdown. I want to give up. Surrender to whatever this is and just find some way to go through it and hope there's an end. But, instead, I am working every day to fight it. Fight breaking down. Maintain some semblance of normalcy and appearance of non-fucked-up-ness. Pretend like an endless future of feeling like this doesn't scare the shit out of me. Selfishly wishing, all the time, that I could just stop.