brightrosefox: (Default)
So. Multiple friends have suggested I write something like this, because no matter how often I say it, I still get invalidated, scolded, told I shouldn't be doing it because it upsets people. And of course, it would be talking about my life, my disabilities, my personal health, in public forums.

To paraprhase a friend: "...taking someone's lived experiences as they apply to their particular disability and how it expresses itself, and saying that they can't talk about that because it will make other people feel bad, is not okay and it invalidates them to varying degrees. Different disabilities affect different people in different ways."

In other words, sometimes comparing things is bad. We are human. Humans all have problems. Each human has their own set of problems. Some humans want to talk about their personal problems in ways that other humans find annoying, upsetting, unsettling - but other humans find those ways comforting, eye-opening, powerful.

I don't know how else to say it, so I'll be blunt, and this time I am not going to pull any punches:
Read more... )
brightrosefox: (Default)
Yes, obviously. Sheesh.

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/6081918

Friends have been sharing this back and forth into repetitive boredom, so I'll just add: Yes, this is obviously a strategy I've been implementing for a while in order to manage my mental illnesses, it is totally part of a very very specific personal therapeutic ritual that will take at least another couple of months to complete, and for Loki's sake, this stuff takes time, quit asking if I'm better yet. I've only been ritualizing for three years; most of this takes at least five. Plus, I can't just magically fix damaged neural pathways by thinking happy thoughts. Most people spend decades in therapy, while their acquaintances urge them to fix themselves faster. The frantic urging especially comes from people who've never even been in states of extreme anxiety, clinical depression, endless chronic pain, obsession, compulsion, memory disintegration, traumatic stress, dissociation, depersonalization, derealization. I often hold back from just punching walls. Therapeutic ritual and mindfulness in mental artistry takes time and a large amount of control. I've only been doing it since 2011. By 2015 something will at least be, as they say, Fixed. At least enough to allow other treatments to fall into place. Until I finish that intense ongoing ritual, I'll keep on battling where battles must be fought.
brightrosefox: (Default)
Okay, first thing:

Bad day bad day. Brain misfires, pain everywhere, spasticity, OCD episode, distractions, hypersensitivities, gut issues. I will say, however, that probiotics and omega-3 supplements of specific kinds are actually doing good things to my brain. It's not really evident in any of my outward behavior, but I can absolutely feel something going on.
Dear neuroweird science students: Is impulse control mainly frontal lobe? I have a Thinky Thing I'm thinking about, but I need medical professionals and medical students to confirm. I know of Things that can help me personally and specifically, but I need to make sure I'll be doing it properly. Also, this means staring slackjawed at my MRI photos and calling my neurologist.

***

Unrelated, copied from Facebook.

Well, this person said what I was thinking.
https://www.facebook.com/thautcast/posts/830987393625539?fref=nf&pnref=story
My personal need for disability labels is personal. My need to be able to relate to people via stories and fiction. So many people have told me things like how they "don't see disability" (sorry, I have to laugh at that) and don't see labels... and that's cool. Really. That's fine. But that is not how I see the world and that is not how I view myself. Being able to say, "Yeah, I'm disabled, and these are the medical issues I have" is indescribably relieving, even powerful; it gives me a power to choose and know my own self in a very intense way that I honestly can't describe.
My disabilities are not really eccentricities or special powers; they are painful and they will get worse as I age - and I'm talking about the comorbid, co-occuring, associated syndromes and symptoms. Eccentricity? Gift? Er. Yaaa...aay? I mean, sometimes my seizures cause wicked euphoric hallucinations when I close my eyes? That's... fun? And I suppose having severe anxiety and ADHD-PI and OCD and SPD could be my mind working out itself and it's environmental relationship?
So, um, so far I'm not seeing eccentric quirks and gifts. But I don't see myself the way someone who thinks that way would see me. I've met disabled people who say they aren't disabled, and a part of me marvels at the cognitive dissonance, a part of me wonders if they're completely rejecting the medical model of disability, a part of me wonders what they do when symptoms and syndromes kick them around and act truly disabling. I say nothing to them because I know it's their thing. The only time I'd want to try to sway them is if they want to spread their belief that disabilities are not disabilities, because that can become harmful and dangerous to the social model. As Stella Young said, no amount of smiling at a staircase will turn it into a ramp. So, as much as someone refuses the disability label, I really need them to consider it beyond their beliefs.

I'm just saying. We all have very different ways of talking about, discussing, portraying, coding, and having disabilities. I'm just glad that right now, I am able to very very openly discuss mine the way I want without being punished for it. And so should others, particularly those who think differently than I do. That's what makes discussion.

***

Also? I find it funny that so many people are like "OMG aliens, what if aliens come here, wouldn't it be amazing, we should learn alien languages, I bet they don't even communicate like we do, so we should be open to new communicative experiences!"
And then they're all like "WTF autistic people you're so weird we don't want you weirding us up we don't like you why can't you be normal like us!"
And I'm all, "*throws hands up* WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM US, YOU JERKS!"

***

I am having A LOT of thinky thoughts on why people reject the term disability in favor of eccentricity, quirk, gift. Not just abled folk but people with mental illness like bipolar or schizophrenia. I am still determined to wrap my mind around visibly physically disabled folk, like with cerebral palsy, who say they aren't disabled. It fascinates me because that view is so so alien to me. As long as the conversation is civil if course.

***

http://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/just-try/
http://webcast.ucdavis.edu/llnd/467b5ad7?channelId=0abfe11894d742c7b159a535058c09ce&channelListId&mediaId=29f030d8c24a4b718c1c2936187278b8

***

I don't do Twitter. But lots of my friends do. Fuck Autism Speaks. I'm not pushing anyone to do the #Notmssing thing. But I do believe it is vital to send Autism Speaks the crucial message that autism is not a "thieving disease to be eradicated" because IT IS OUR BRAINS. WE are autism. We are born with a different operating system that doesn't really comply with the standard. People laugh about meeting alien cultures with other ways of communication, and yet we are right here, a metaphor, and they not only turn away from us, they actively seek to erase us. So. No. Bad Autism Speaks. No. Stop it. Nobody is missing. We are right here. We are staring right at you, angry and sad. We have been here all along. We have been speaking out all along. You just haven't listened.

Also, hells no we're not ready to meet any alien cultures. Not if we keep trying to erase members of our own.



***
http://webcast.ucdavis.edu/llnd/467b5ad7?channelId=0abfe11894d742c7b159a535058c09ce&channelListId&mediaId=29f030d8c24a4b718c1c2936187278b8
(Nick Walker is awesome)
Autism as a neurocognitive variance. Indeed. It's a disability because it hinders how we interact with life all the time. But there is nothing wrong with us. It's just a rewiring of our brains before birth or at birth.
Like, with me. I was born a fetus. I was a 26-week-old fetus when I was "officially born". My developing brain didn't have time to pick and choose. It just grabbed whatever it could, crammed stuff in, got a random shiny new operating system that was able to work around all the dead white matter, and figured it was good enough because I still needed to finish growing into being a baby, you know? Like, "Fuck it, we'll deal with this brain damage later, just keep the body going, okay? Move it move it move it avoid the gaps in the dead parts, come over this way, this construction project is gonna take a few more months than planned, so we don't have time for sick days, guys. What's that OS? It looks kind of tangled. That's fine, it's shiny, build it in, hook it up, whatever. Hey! I told you guys to avoid the dead zones! Awww daaamn, somebody get a new team over there please? No workman's comp here, this is preterm, okay? Just go go go..."
And that's where I got my brain.
So, dear allistic and neuro-typical assholes who question my right to exist, who insist that kids like me are missing, stolen, lost, forever silent: Fuck off. My brain worked hard to be itself, and just because my OS isn't yours doesn't make me lesser.
brightrosefox: (Default)
I did not realize how weirdly difficult it can be to answer the question, "So, what triggered this C-PTSD episode and panic attack?"

I mean, how DO you explain all the fucked up, freaked out, screaming neuronal mess that can cause brief blackouts, episodes of time agnosia, obsessiveness bordering on mania, hyperventilation, emotional outbursts, etc etc etc.

And there is no one thing, two things, any things. That's why it's Complex PTSD. It can be anything and everything. Maybe it's because I read some news articles about police violence against disabled people with no legal consequence for the police. Maybe it's because a friend got triggered by their own things and during our conversation something triggered me completely innocently. Maybe it's because I had a nightmare about that time years ago when a skeevy dude tried to hurt and assault me near a shopping center and was beat up by another guy who just looked at me and said, "Run!" and I fled up the stairs until I couldn't breathe and never looked back. I don't know. I don't KNOW, guys.

You know? You know.

I have reasons for not talking about this stuff outside my psychologists and certain friends. Support is better than silence, though, and I have so much support and empathy to give, so when I need it I reach out to the friends who know.

Anyway. Yes, I took my meds. Yes, I did my exercises. Yes, I ate well enough.

And my cats have not let me out of their sight. (KITTIES)
brightrosefox: (Default)
https://plus.google.com/100400881094218310019/posts/2QhbpM1cg9c

So, that's the link to all the photos they took during my MRI. You know, from here:
http://brightlotusmoon.livejournal.com/1673757.html
http://brightlotusmoon.livejournal.com/1672704.html

I'm trying to still figure out where my neurological seizures happen, since I have problems in the corpus callosum but there's no mesial damage, so. Time to research neuroscience. And then talk to my neuroscientist.
brightrosefox: (Default)
FYI! Got my brain CD. The neurologist couldn't find anything out of the ordinary that was not already abnormal, etc. So I went and got the CD with my MRI and brought it home, and Adam turned it into a Power Point presentation. I wish so much I knew what to really see, that I could see with a neuroscientist's eyes. I can see my butterfly's broken wings. And the thinning of the corpus callosum.

Let me see if I can copy from the paperwork...

Abnormal dilation of both lateral ventricles with an asymmetric area of dilation along the mid body of the right lateral ventricle. Waviness and distortion of the lateral ventricular margins bilaterally. Dilatation of the third ventricle. Partial absence of the septum pellucidum. Generalized thinning of the corpus callosum which appears grossly intact. These findings likely represent developmental anomalies of the brain; however, these findings could also represent the sequela of in utero ischemia and periventricular leukomalacia. There is no evidence of focal abnormality of the temporal lobes.

Ahh, science. *basking in words*

Now, however... I am still irritated about the lack of EEG response. They tell me I was born with epilepsy - and there is the physical evidence in my brain creature right there. However, I feel... I suppose silly is the word. This may not be an ordinary kind of epilepsy where electrical activity shows up on EEGs. But... but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. I guess. I just sometimes wonder, that's all.
brightrosefox: (Default)
From Facebook, because I am very tired:

-So, here I am in my little hotel style room at an official neurology sleep center. My tech, Peter, is sweet and funny. I even have a big shiny red button to press when I need him. It's in a pack attached to my waist. My head is wrapped in gauze. Electrodes are hooked to my skin and wires are trailing at my feet. Adam took a picture. Go see!
The bathroom has a shower with a chair!

-LOL, gauze and sexy electrodes.
The reason for all this is because my neurologist is concerned about the several seizures per month. Hence, a ten hour EEG study. I get naps and Adam brings food. And when it's all done, the doctors will see if anything significant happened. Even if I don't have any seizures, this is a good move. For SCIENCE.

-Adam is bringing me lunch. And then, more specific tests will happen. Probably another nap? Apparently, the EEG has not shown any seizure activity. I haven't even needed to push the shiny red button yet, which amuses the technician.

-All done. I need a shower and a nap. Adam will take me home and then I'll wait for the neurologist to call. I'm actually disappointed that I never generated any seizure activity. It makes me doubt my brain.

-The days when you're just too exhausted to get back up and shampoo out the electrode goo from your hair. I'm just going to take a little nap. Then I'll get that shower. Just a little nap.
(Spoilers: I slept for one hour and took a really long shower with like three shampoos and two conditioners.)
brightrosefox: (Default)
I'm crying over the death of Robin Williams this hard because people have already started in on the bullshit rhetoric that severe clinical depression isn't supposed to affect the rich and famous. That "If their life is so perfect, why are they so depressed and suicidal" bullshit.
No. Nope nope nope. No. That’s not how it works. Do not insult people like me who deal with clinical depression. No.
Most of his film roles featured depression and mental illness heavily. I'm seeing comments like "He did all those roles with a purpose because he knew what it was like, so how could he do this himself etc" and I cannot help but feel rage...

O Captain, My Captain.
He really was a man I looked up to, in several ways, and one of the greatest actors I've seen.

Look, I've lived with clinical major unipolar depression all my life. To my brain, it's a chemical imbalance - it affects an organ so vital to my existence that not treating it means irreparable damage. There have been plenty of arguments all over about what depression is and isn't: Disease? Disorder? Illness? Emotional Syndrome? People have questioned and fought against the very idea that it is a neurochemical imbalance. People have insisted that depression does not even exist outside of emotional states.
There are depressed patients who are able to live with this illness without medication or therapy, basically using mind over body and lifestyle techniques. That's fine. That's great for them. Sure. Unfortunately, most of those patients will try to push that lack of real medical treatment on other patients, which can be dangerous. And the state of mental health services in the country I live in is awful. All I know is that I when my symptoms rise up, I care for myself as best I can - and try to educate others as best I can.
Right now, I'm in a really really bad place. I'm not in a depressive state. But I'm irrationally upset, anxious beyond reason, physically hurting from emotional agony. That is not a joke, dear detractors of Robin Williams and his battles with clinical depression.

I promised myself I would get away from the internet until I could breathe without screaming and sobbing. But I've already been getting emails and messages from friends wanting advice, as though I might be their Boggle Owl in a way. I want to help. I need to help. I live to help.
I will stay away from forums and communities. Tomorrow, my husband takes me to physical therapy, and later I can unwind fully. But to everyone I love: You know where to find me. I'll still be your Bright Lotus (someone gave me that nickname and it stuck).

I took my own drug treatments. I'll be all right.

http://greensh.livejournal.com/444686.html
http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-depression-if-not-a-mental-illness/000896?all=1
http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html
brightrosefox: (Default)
My modified Disablility Compensated Qi Gong exercises always help, mentally and spiritually and psychologically and physiologically. Like yoga, except Fake Yoga Cripple Style that is not actually yoga. (FYCS. FIX. Ha ha ha...) (Or hey, Fake Yoga Cripple Style Modified Exercise. FYCSME = FIX ME. Ha ha. Wow. Dude.)

But it isn't helping today. I'm too Hollow, which is my term for deep major depression. I'm too Postictal, after that unexpectedly awful seizure yesterday and its aftershock which were tiny seizures for hours. Emotional responses are foreign and results of emotion are mere symptoms, like crying and laughing. I will meditate again, do more qigong work, and breathe and much as possible.
FYI. I am having an episode of pure major Depression plus major Anxiety. This is accompanied by mild memory loss of the past two days. Everything is foggy. I know I should be upset about something, but I cannot feel upset. What is upset, anyway? I think I hurt myself emotionally yesterday. I wish I remembered what it was. I believe it started out with false happiness. Remember that weird assumption of some sort of hypomania? I think I was outside of my rational mind.

Back to special exercises.
People keep suggesting and recommending breathing exercises. I know all of that. I know people just want to share their personal remedies. I love it. Please don't think I am rejecting you. I love hearing your stories. Even the stories about yoga. I wish I could explain why just seeing or hearing the word yoga evokes a sad, upset reaction. It isn't that I am unable to do yoga. It is just that yoga extremists do not listen nor care about my need for compensation. My body was born crooked. I cannot form a proper straight line even if I held on to something. No amount of cajoling, insisting, or pushing different forms will change that. Please don't do that. Please just accept that I have to perform qi gong differently, and that qi gong included poses that are similar to yoga, and that yoga is not the greatest panacea of healing holistic practices. This is part of why I don't want to visit California, which makes absolutely no sense and makes me look prejudiced.

So. Please, please do talk about how much yoga is healing you, because that is beautiful and I am genuinely, honestly joyfully happy. But if you wish to suggest a yoga pose that can be modified for someone with a shaky, spastic, crippled body, please suggest an alternate form. That is all I ask. There is no such thing as a real panacea, even in the botanical world, even in the plant and herb world, and certainly not in the exercise world. It is entirely possible that I will find a set of yoga exercises that will really, truly help me, and I will join the ranks of yoga enthusiasts. Anything is possible. Nothing is off limits. Except evangelism. If I wanted something pushed down my throat, I will drink water mixed with special fruit and plant powders, like sea buckthorn and moringa.
This is coming from my years as a holistic enthusiast and pusher. I was bad. I was essentially an asshole. And then I learned that it was just wrong. I never want to do that again. Just because something works perfectly for me does not mean it will work at all for someone else.

Any form of good physical-spiritual combination exercise, be it yoga, qigong, taichi, strength training, cardio, dead lift weight, isometrics, plyometrics, dance, hardcore dance, etc, is wonderful and beautiful and strengthening, and will help everyone in some personal powerful way. That is the point of exercise.
I love you all. If you really want to help me, don't push me. Just guide me.
brightrosefox: (Default)
Oh! Oh! I forgot! I'd promised a few people here that I would let them know how I was doing with super high doses of pure Omega-3, particularly DHA. As it turns out, calamari oil is much better than krill. And so, I've been taking calamari oil, which contains 500 mg DHA, and 125 mg EPA, which I think is the highest one can go so far.
https://www.swansonvitamins.com/swanson-efas-super-dha-500-from-calamari-30-sgels
It's officially been one month, so I think it is okay to report my findings so far: I feel as though my brain is, for lack of a better term, nourished. My concentration has gotten easier. I had been considering going back on an ADHD drug for ADD-Inattentive, but the Calamari Oil seems to do what Strattera did all those years ago. Neurologically, I feel, well, hmmm... padded? This is so hard to explain! Neuromuscular issues seem slightly easier. Like, I am starting to unconsciously use my left hand more often for "simple" tasks like pouring liquid, picking up small objects. I can't insert and turn a key in a lock, and I can't squeeze any exercise equipment, but the little tiny compensated things are starting to feel smoother. Does that make sense? It really does feel like a kind of CNS nourishment.
I'm including the link to the product I'm currently taking. There is another brand via Vitacost, called Doctor's best, that offers the same dosage at different prices with different pill counts, but this is what I'm using. I even punctured a capsule to see how my cats would like it. Luna and Calliope seem intrigued. I may just brush it into Jupiter's fur, since he has dry skin.
There have been some studies showing that some brain injuries can be partially treated with extremely high doses of pure omega-3, so I'm happy to make myself a self-advocate subject. I don't know what this will mean for my CP as a whole, and I am not expecting nor hoping that anything major will happen. But I do like this feeling that my neuromuscular issues might ease up just enough to let my hemiplegia become less spastic...
brightrosefox: (Default)
My darling Cara Liebowitz wrote a lovely post that I had to share:
*
"I was going to bed, I swear, but The Brooke Ellison Story is on TV. Gotta say, as cheesy and inspo-porny as it is, I love it. And on some level, I AM inspired by Brooke Ellison, mostly by her sheer determination and drive to not only succeed, but excel, not only in the face of such a life changing injury, but in the face of everyone who told her she couldn't do anything.

I don't know, I feel like maybe its different for someone with an acquired disability. For us congenital folks or those who acquired their disabilities very early on, we just go along living life the way we know how. We've never known any other way. But for folks with an acquired impairment later in life, especially one as severe as Brooke Ellison's, it requires such a radical restructuring of your life and worldviews. I am inspired by those who push through and come out the other side. I'm not so sure that's wrong.

Thoughts?"
*

I shared this because it is exactly how I feel regarding being a congenital and seeing an acquired do something dubbed "So Inspirational TM!". In the disabled community, most of us have a very strong opposition to "inspiration porn" - (the most well-known example, perhaps, being that Scott Hamilton quote and poster of Hamilton and a child both with those expensive prosthetic legs, saying 'The only disability in life is a bad" attitude" and any photo of someone in a wheelchair or crutches with a quote of "If they can do it so can you" or "What's your excuse" Fuck I hate those phrases so fucking much fuck fucking fuck - But every so often something comes along that falls into a category) that is only mildly inspo-porny and actually uplifting, even though nothing inspirational actually happens that we can see.
Like the quoted story, about a woman who becomes paralyzed and gets into a top-rate university after overcoming many challenges. Now, to people like me and Cara, with our cerebral palsy, it's like, So? That's it? What else happened? What made her so incredibly inspirational that it required a sappy movie? Why isn't there a movie about my life? I was born three months early in the late 1970s, nobody really cared about my cerebral palsy because it was mild, nobody thought I was autistic because it was the 1980s when autism was barely being looked into, I in fact had no idea of any of my invisible illnesses until I was in my late 20s... You get the idea.
Now, I have extreme respect for anyone who must go through a radical reconstruction of their identity when something like an acquired disability happens, because fucking fuck that is shattering and destructive and requires a particular rearranging of so many parts of their lives and their thinking.
There are some acquired folk who get snotty about it and either insist that everyone must "fight for a cure!" or throw themselves a public pity party and beg everyone to "find a cure!" which I can't really sympathize with.
Then again, I'm the type of cripple who embraces my cripplehood... because I have never known anything else. That may, in fact, make me seem snotty, snobby, snooty, etc.
But having a disability that permanently impairs daily life, whether congenital, acquired in very early childhood, or acquired later than childhood, changes your mindset, outlook, and indeed your soul, in ways that nobody can predict. And sometimes, you literally have to just roll with it. Limp with it. You know.
brightrosefox: (Default)


I had a seizure. I didn't mean to. It lasted three minutes. Complex partial. I'm so sorry. I suck at everything. I can't think. Word fail. Word flail. I'm sorry. I have to something something rest and medicine. I'm sorry about the seizure. I remember Alicia's kiss. I remember her peace. I remember Koan's purring, I remember Serena's embrace. I remember whiteness and vortex and confusion. I'm so sorry, brain. Something something take your Klonopin and Passionflower and rest easy.
Maybe winter. Maybe I don't know. Things hurt. I'm just cold. Everything is my fault.

brightrosefox: (Default)
http://www.lifeexpectancy.com/cp.shtml
http://www.scope.org.uk/help-and-information/cerebral-palsy/ageing-and-cerebral-palsy
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/dmcn.2009.51.issue-s4/issuetoc

"The 2004 study by Strauss et al.9 appears to be the only published article that addresses life expectancy for older persons (age 60+) with cerebral palsy. As is usually the case, persons who are still fully ambulatory have life expectancies that are not dramatically shorter than normal, while those with more severe motor dysfunction have shorter ones."

"Adults with CP experience musculoskeletal problems and loss of function that non-disabled adults do not experience until much later (IOM). A study indicated that 75% of individuals with CP stopped walking by age 25 due to fatigue and walking inefficiency (Murphy). Another study on young adults with CP found clinical evidence of arthritis in 27 % of subjects vs. 4% in the general population (Cathels). These challenges result in chronic immobility, harming bone health. Elevated fracture rates in adults with CP are not well documented, however, documentation in children with CP (Munns), men surviving spinal cord injury (Bauman, 2001A) and stroke survivors (Sahin, Sato) does exist. Immobilization not only elevates fracture risk but also the risk for metabolic syndrome (Zderic)."

'Scuse me, I'mma start researching as much research as I can research about growing older with spastic cerebral palsy.
(Also, I recall when, several years ago, my chiropractor was "very impressed" that I was "doing so well and not yet debilitated" in my late twenties. That should have set off something in my thinky thoughts. Especially since I slid downhill after thirty without knowing a damn thing about why. And people vehemently deny that growing worse after thirty happens. HAH. And hey, I'm a fucking MILD CASE. Seriously, WHAT.)

Also: Dear gods, I've had people essentially accuse me of "lying" or "using negative thinking to make it worse." It is to laugh. No, really. Fuck that. Because this:

"Whilst there is not a wealth of published scientific evidence on the physical effects of ageing and cerebral palsy, surveys have highlighted some of the problems that people encounter. What is clear is that people with cerebral palsy age in the same way as non-disabled people (primary ageing) but some people with cerebral palsy may also experience secondary ageing effects. These are likely to be the long-term effects of the original impairment.
Below are some of the more common problems reported by people in their thirties and forties or, sometimes, a little earlier.

Increased levels of pain and discomfort
Osteoarthritis (pain and stiffness in the joints)
Increase in spasms
Increase in contractures (shortening of muscles)
Less efficient motor control (body parts involved in movement)
Joint problems
Tight muscles
Gastro-intestinal (digestive system) problems
New or increased back pain
Emergence of or increase in incontinence
Loss of joint flexibility
Reduced energy levels and fatigue"

"Many people with cerebral palsy push themselves to their physical limit and thus have little in reserve. Consequently, recovery can take much longer following an injury or illness and, unless there is a rehabilitation programme following the injury or illness, recovery to previous levels of functioning may be slow."

I know that most people have no idea where their fibromyalgia came from I know where mine came from.
So, you know. WAARGGHHARBL and all. I've mentioned I keep looking for NIH studies so I can be a guinea pig, right? I mean, NIH is, like, a 20 minute Metro ride away.
brightrosefox: (Default)
Thanks to another trip to Michael's craft store, I have a new set of Faber-Castle Pitt artist pens below Fine, and Calliope has a Beanie Boo dolphin to cuddle, which she has been doing. I have an owl, which seems to work well as a knee pillow.

We went to the nearby Whole Foods as well, where I found my loved chocolate hemp milk, Guayaki Yerba Mate energy shots in Lime Tangerine, Orgain Chocolate Nutrient Shakes, a bottle of Acai+10 Superblend with Seabuckthorn and Mangosteen, and the rare Badger Balm large Lime lip balm. Adam picked up some fabulous cheeses, and a Coffeeholic Cream Cake for me.

Mom called to chat about an NPR medical science podcast about migraines and the placebo effect, and I revealed that forty percent of my smaller headaches can be slightly reduced by intense meditation after taking certain supplement pills. Good talk. Doesn't work all the time, doesn't work for the more intense symptoms, but I know how powerful placebo effects can be for mild and minor pains sometimes.

Luna and Calliope seem to be starting a... well, a tolerance, on Luna's side. As long as I give Luna attention first, she is nice to Calliope during cooperative play, feeding, brushing, etc. As long as Luna Moon knows she is still the precious queen and Calliope Io is submissive, there is peace. And Jupiter has been gently playing with Calliope, with the occasional soft bap on the head. I am pleased overall.

So, while at Whole Foods, I was limping down an aisle with my blue aluminum cane, right behind a tall man who had the same cane, in sparkly black, and we smiled at each other. "So, how are you?" he asked. I said, "Oh, well, the back pain and sciatica are acting up. How about you?" "Yeah, I'm going to need hip replacement and knee replacement soon," he said. "Oh, ouch," I winced. "I can't imagine. I mean, I'm 34, I was born with cerebral palsy, I'm still learning how to use this," holding up my cane. He nodded. "Yeah, my whole left side has been crazy for years." "Oh, mine too! I have spastic hemiplega on the left! The chronic pain has been getting worse for a long time, but I don't need surgery. Yet!" We grinned at each other. He looked around forty or so and over six feet. I could see right away that his joints were bothering him. "Well," he said, "You look absolutely lovely!" I smiled widely and said, "Thank you! You too!" He grinned back and thanked me, then said, "I hope the pain reduces as much as it can." And I said, "Same for you. Good luck with the surgeries." We said our goodbyes and hobbled off. It was as though we had been friends who hadn't seen each other in a while, commiserating in that cripple language that stays away from "Feel better" and steers toward "I hope your symptoms ease up" which, well, we all understand in the chronic pain community.

And that got me thinking. People tell me "You look beautiful/lovely/great" and of course the silent "even though you're in pain" follow-up. And I actually honestly don't mind that at all. It isn't an insult to me. I know they're usually talking about my chronic pain specifically, not my disabilities as a whole. It's an unspoken thing - "You're chipper and glowing and not letting the pain show, rock on with your badass self." I know that so many cripples would see it as a back-handed compliment and insult, because it totally can be. But for me... I guess it lifts my spirits, especially and specifically when a fellow cripple says it and even able-bodied people who may have invisible illnesses. It is something I need to hear from other disabled folks, because even when I think I look hideous and shitty, to hear someone tell me I look great despite my pain makes me happy, which in turn makes me feel psychologically and psychically better, which helps me try to combat the symptoms, etcetera.

So, my fellow chronically ill and disabled folks, how do you react to such a comment? Is it an insult or backhand compliment for you? Is it a lovely compliment? Do you view it differently when it is said by other chronically sick and disabled people as opposed to able-bodied people?
brightrosefox: (Default)
I had a seizure yesterday, recorded it on Facebook, and now must copy it it here, since I always do.

Soo, electric pain and spasticity are now preceding simple partial seizures, previously called auras, which lead to complex partial seizures, hey? Brain, you are awesomely bizarre. But we knew that. Long story short, cerebral palsy and fibromyalgia and epilepsy like to team up. BRB, fighting a seizure, probably not winning. See you all in a few minutes.

The sound of one hand striking a keyboard whilst electricity, burning, floods the semi-paralyzed other half of the body, spastic hemiplegia indeed... hypertonia, ataxia, except the brain has no pain receptors. so why is it burning, I laugh.
I have never been to space until now. Some place in space anyhow. My chair became a shuttle. My copilots were my human coping mechanisms called imaginary friends, yes I know the difference between reality and fiction, my girls are fiction, and if you think I don't understand, oh my you are badly mistaken, and how dare you assume, no wait, that was from a blog post comment thread, never mind.
There were so many stars, I think, at least shining spots far off in that darkness. There were nebulas everywhere. So much color. Maybe it was another dimension? I have never seen outer space like this.
Amara and Alicia held my hands the whole time. Alicia has broken away from the Wonderland force fields to interact with the rest of my brain. This means something neurologically, I think. She is now taking on more than just epilepsy. Oh. I see now. Thank you, Alicia.
I'm so tired now. But I must finish this. It is fading. NO.
I was in my own head, going ninety-nine percent light speed, felt like thirty-five miles an hour, that was a Futurama joke, I don't care if you are sick of my Futurama quotes, bite me. And then, and then, that prismatic explosion of every color blending into white, since that is how white is created, and a howling noise like a perfect wind screaming through alleys, and I was sliding off my chair save for my hands clawing grasping at the leather padded chair arms and my lungs were sucking in air and my lips were chapped and my mouth was dry and my neck hurt and I was shaking.
And Jupiter was meyowling. He is still meyowling. I have to go see what he wants.
You know those dreams where you wake up and realize you are still dreaming? No, I stopped, but it took a moment. My eyes were still open.
I am still open.

And now I must perform intricate physical therapy stretching qigong dance moves to force my left side to function. Love you too, epilepsy. Here comes a Soma pill to begin muscle relaxing and a Klonopin pill to begin mental relaxation. Go!

Update, December 11: Still postictal, but incredibly positive. Light-hearted, even. I feel like dancing.
brightrosefox: (Default)
Yeah. The snow and snain and slush was all worth it. I got to the CVS pharmacy and back by bus without incident. Plus, a free battery operated shaver thanks to CVS Reward Dollars and coupons (I may never need to balance painfully on one-legged in the shower again).
Ah, snow, you've arrived. This part is cool with me. You are soft and powdery and easy to shovel. No ice just yet. You're barely a few inches. I can hobble and wobble and limp and stagger easily.
You see, snow, I don't actually hate you. I only hate your frozen ice parts. The part that really hurts when I slip and crash. See, at least right now you are still powdery and cushiony enough to help me land softly.
I don't hate snow... we just don't get along.
Now I must decide if I want to take the bus to the pharmacy now or tomorrow. I don't know if it matters anymore. These particular refills can wait a couple of days.
Also, whoever invented those magic gloves that let you use your smartphone must have known about Raynauds Disease.

I totally went out to the pharmacy. It started sleeting. A guy asked me if I needed a ride home. He had seen my cane.
Yeah. The snow and snain and slush was all worth it. I got to the CVS pharmacy and back by bus without incident. Plus, a 'free' battery operated shaver thanks to CVS Reward Dollars and coupons (I may never need to balance painfully on one-legged in the shower again).
I'm learning how to use the cane to help me march, scrape, and also test for icy spots. I think the only actually good thing for me is that cold weather helps my asthma issues ease up. Part of me really wants a quad cane for more properly balanced stomping through snow.

To quote Scottish singer Susan Boyle regarding her official autism diagnosis: "Now I have a clearer understanding of what's wrong and I feel relieved and a bit more relaxed about myself."
-Also: why I won't stop talking activistly about it and why I embrace names and labels, but also why I will stay silent at parties, since I seem to be a talking disaster.
Time and place. Time and place. Just because medical science words are a ASD special interest for me doesn't mean I should, well, you know the rest.
(To certain people:
I'm not like you. I embrace diagnostic labels. Names have power. I know what to do with a named thing. You truly feel I must be giving up and in. I truly feel you must not know me well now that I am changing again. Always changing in tiny ways no matter how deeply I stay predictable and ever the same. So I have decided to personally not tell you about all the new details my changed self parts. You don't need to know and I don't need to be smacked down for speaking.
Facebook and LiveJournal are places to chat with like-minded people who will give me stories. You don't have to listen. It's okay. It's just random life.)

Also. Jupiter has been randomly lying on the bedroom floor on Adam's side of the bed, forlornly, so I grabbed a couple of Adam's tee shirts and draped one over his pillow and one on the bed so Jupiter could be surrounded by Daddy's scent, and so I could wrap him in a shirt and snuggle him if needed. He is very emotionally needy and co-dependent, far more than Rose who literally begs for love, so any chance to make the boycat happy and not depressed is a major goal. He's the kind of cat who will gently flop himself onto your pelvis and torso for hours just because you're on the couch. He always seems so anxious. He just wants to know if you will love him or feed him and he'll miss you when you leave. He meyowls up from the bottom of the stairs because he has a toy, he wants to find you, and he knows how great the acoustics are. He's harmless and wonderful, and very very attached - I cannot bear to think of what will happen to him if something happens to us. Poor sweet puppycat.

Speaking of scent, Adam got me a bottle of perfume during his Las Vegas job trip a couple of months ago - Nude by Rihanna ("Fruity aromas of guava, mandarin and pear are located at the opening of the composition. The heart is blended out of white flowers: gardenia petals, velvety Sambac jasmine and creamy orange blossom. The base consists of sandalwood, vanilla orchid and "second skin" musk."). We both love it on me. Sweet and soft and floral and deep. Now I really want Killer Queen by Katy Perry because it is a fruit and flower explosion ("Top notes include wild berries, dark plum and bergamot accords. The main note of the heart is velvety red flower, Celosia, but there are also Sambac jasmine and rainbow plumeria. The base contains cashmere, patchouli and liquid praline"). Oh, indeed.
My personal signature scent, created via Etsy, called Moonlight Witch, consists of real pure extracts Amber, Blue Lotus, Dragon's Blood, Coffee, Chocolate, Green Tea, Coconut, Frankincense, Myrrh, Blood Orange... but I do love exploring various notes and scents when I can.
brightrosefox: (Default)
BTW, I'm officially on MediCare Part B (retroactive as of November) and earlier my Part C Aetna Medicare ID Card arrived, which won't be active until January 2014. It is all good. It will still save over a hundred dollars a month between all insurance and drug coverage. All my doctors are covered, all my drugs will be cheaper, and I have carefully read, re-read, and examined all the paperwork with a magnifying glass (no, really). So December's SSDI check will be less two months' insurance payments, and then January's check will also be less the Part C payment, but it is all good, because it is still cheaper than what I am paying under MHIP Carefirst in general. I feel... well, I don't know if "lucky" is the best word. But it is not as bad as it could have been. I mean, I also ride Metro and local bus transit for free thanks to being disabled and a member of Metro Access paratransit system.

Some fully able-bodied people like to scold me for feeling grateful that I am disabled enough to qualify. It's not about that 'grateful' feeling or that whole "skip to the front of the line" thing. It's not about any of that. It's... I dunno. It's about taking whatever disordered damage you have and turning it into a personal individual advantage that works in your favor. It's about accepting and embracing the awful pained cracked parts of life and seeing that they have been opening all these shiny doors, after slamming closed other doors so furiously that the whole building shakes and walls crumble. You may never be able to walk through those slammed locked bolted doors that most able-bodied people get to glide through easily, but you have all these other doors opening just for you, ready to lead you to places where you, personally, will feel more comfortable, accepted, embraced, and understood on a level secure with your disordered damage. It's not your fault, and the places these doors lead you are fully aware and have already set up a spot for you. You are always safe in those spaces in between.

Like... having mild disabilities. For example: Having mild cerebral palsy is like being in interstitial places constantly - interstice being a small space that lies between things; a space that intervenes between things. Neither completely here nor there. A space in between. A crack in the continuity. Mild autism in that nobody believes me until they spend a few word-filled hours trying to decipher my brain languages. Mild ADD and mild OCD and mild/moderate but fierce migraines and headaches and mild/moderate but fierce epileptic complex partial seizures and mild/moderate but fierce chronic pains and mild inflammations and and this and that. Mild mild mild. Haunting and interstitial. Never bad enough to cause me to be rushed to a hospital, never simple enough to merely pass by with a handwave. I am those spaces in between, as are many, many, many people with certain neurologies. We are in those cracks. Oh, they say, it's all right, they're not too bad, they could be worse, they say. And then what?

Any fellow disabled folk and people who understand want to chime in? Am I making enough sense here? I feel like I am.
brightrosefox: (Default)
Some random rambling about my own mind, my imaginary friends, and how my mind likes to invent coping mechanisms that talk back.

One of my imaginary friends, Amara, who is the human coping mechanism in charge of all the neurochemical, neurodevelopmental fuctions, has been interacting with me more and more ever since Alicia (the epilepsy mechanism) and Serena (the pain, fatigue, psychological, neurobiological functions) urged her to show herself more often after I fell into a chemical depression with severe anxiety. Serena and Koan could only do so much.

Amara, at the beginning of her creation, was not even human; formless and elemental. These days, she is human shaped but she loves to take bits of my writerbrain as inspiration. Her ears are pointed and her eyes and hair change color with her moods. She likes to mimic my bone structure and basic figure shape, just with more muscle intensity. Serena says it's because Amara wants to show me that I am beautiful.
Also, when I saw a Google image painting of a woman with elf ears and a unicorn horn, posing with a unicorn, Amara insisted I make it my current Facebook cover photo. She made herself up to resemble like that character while still mimicking my features, including the horn that represents the third eye - just with chestnut brown streaks in her white-lavender hair and honey brown flecks in her intense blue eyes... although none of that is her true coloring. When she made herself human, her coloring randomly became alabaster skin, gold eyes, and pale flame hair, essentially inhuman. But she kept the mirror shape of my skeletal structure and body shape. She even plumped her lips, made her eyes bigger, and made her nose smaller, because she knew I desired that. It makes me smile, which I think she likes. She wears the same jewelry as me, the same clothing colors, the same makeup colors. She is determined to "reboot" the parts of my brain that are having trouble accepting the recent flooding overload of information about these disabilities and chronic illnesses. The name Amara means everlasting, eternal, immortal... which is why she was formless and elemental to begin with. I finally understand why I created her. And she wouldn't mind being the inspiration for any stories I write. I'm grateful for that.
She insists that my jaw, hair, and eyes resemble the jaw, hair, and eyes of Elena Risteska from Macedonia, which I agreed with and humbly accept with a simple thanks. The only way I even knew about Miss Risteska was through searching for shades of brown.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e2/Elena_risteska.JPG
http://img27.fansshare.com/pic34/w/elena-risteska/1200/12861_elena_risteska.jpg
http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/_/18051115/Elena+Risteska+elena+r.jpg
https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/p480x480/578088_479387062121006_1822646409_n.jpg
http://img27.fansshare.com/pic34/w/elena-risteska/1200/12858_elena_risteska.jpg
http://tekstovi-pesama.com/g_img2/1/e/28986/elena%2520risteska-10.jpg
She just wants me to feel better, to feel my own positive human emotions. Since Amara is still learning about humanity, she looks to Serena for help. In my dreams, they have amazing conversations.
I'm so glad I created these characters. They help keep me sane, emotionally stable, intellectually stable, and psychically curious. Also, every time I meditate and concentrate on my third eye, I actually feel a short unicorn horn on my forehead.
https://scontent-b-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/1469926_10151743304270684_204893984_n.jpg
I just love that my own mind is creative enough to make up whole people with entire personalities, back stories, individual appearances, individual likes and dislikes, and actual behaviors. They mainly come to me in sleep dreams, daydreams, and meditations. My psychotherapist adores the fact that they exist, which relieves me. It's just one of those things that I, Joanna, have in my brain to help me handle all the stuff that life gives me. Awesome.

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