brightrosefox: (Default)
Holy random acts of kindness, Batman.
After getting my flu vaccine, I went to look at the cane rack, because they have this beautiful blue and silver one that looks like dragon scales, and I have been waiting for discounts and coupons so I could get it. The price is under twenty dollars, but still.
A middle-aged man who looked so much like Idris Elba that I did a second take, also reached for the blue silver cane. Our eyes met, I smiled briefly. He said, "You know, I bet this would make an awesome magic staff for cosplay."
I grinned and said, "Good plan! I should at least join a game just so I can brag. Or just be my paganish elf self and cosplay every day." Which was blurted out because my filter is so thin.
The Idris Elba lookalike chuckled. "I adore that idea. I just pray to all mighty Atheismo that we aren't going too deep. Like that Tom Hanks movie."
My jaw dropped. "Duuude," I said. "Futurama reference plus obscure D&D rip-off movie nee book reference? Cripple high five!"
We high fived and missed on purpose, stumbling. "Mild cerebral palsy, spastic hemiplegia" I said. "Mild cerebral palsy, diplegia mixed," he said. "And knee arthritis."
"And sciatica," we said in union, surprising ourselves.
"Fibromyalgia and epilepsy and autism too," I added.
He said, "My twin nieces are autistics! Their world is so awesome. I think they prefer me to my brother when they're in meltdowns, they talk about what's going on in detail."
"Awesome!" I said.
At this point, we had been staring at the canes and I had been avoiding too much eye contact. I was about to ask the Idris Elba lookalike about advocacy. Then I saw a gleam in his eye and sensed a topic shift. "Hey, listen," he said. "I'm a proponent of the pay it forward thing. I know we're strangers, but I do know enough about you that you really want the dragon scale cane."
I tilted my head. "Yeeeaah?"
"So, okay." He pulled some pieces of paper from his pocket. "I've got a buy one get one half off for this brand of canes. I will buy you your cane. What do you think?"
I blinked a few times. I looked at him. He wasn't hitting on me. He wasn't being creepy. He was just a fellow cripple offering help.
"Okay," I said, "thank you! That's really kind."
"Hey, the community needs all the assistance we can get from each other. Cripples helping cripples, you know?"
I smiled. "Totally."
As we walked to a register, he said, "I want you to know that I had no intention of hitting on you. I see your rings, and for all I know they could mean something else. But while I think you're a gorgeous-looking person, I have no plans on being a That Guy. I punch Those Guys on a regular basis."
"Physical trainer. Not so much punch as pinch in sensitive areas. Men can be scum."
I giggled. "Hashtag Not All Men!"
He laughed. "Anyway, let me pay for everything." He nodded at my basket, which had a few comfort items. I immediately said he shouldn't, since he was getting me the cane.
He then put my basket on the conveyor belt, looked at me until I noticed that his eyes had gold rings, and said, "Then pay it forward. Help another cripple." The corner of his mouth turned up. "Even if it's just donating to help someone get better access."
I nodded. I was going to cry any minute. He paid for everything, put his things in two totes and put my things in two more totes. He saved me almost forty dollars.
He said, "I would offer you a ride, but my friend's picking me up so we can go back to Philly. It's been a great road trip so far."
I nodded. "It's cool. I'm going to take the bus home anyway." I was feeling giddy. "Well, obviously we had this encounter for a reason. So. It was lovely meeting you, clone of Idris Elba."
He threw back his head and laughed. "I get that a lot. Same to you, clone of Mia Sara. Anyway, I'm Laurence."
We fist-bumped and he helped adjust my cane for my height. We walked outside together, and he stood at the curb to wait for his friend while I walked across the parking lot. I turned and waved. He waved back and kept looking at me. I realized it was to make sure I was safe.
I got to the sidewalk crosswalk and peered back. I saw him get into a green SUV. I realized I would probably never see him again.
I am definitely going to Pay It Forward.


Also! Links! For future reference!


PMS is vicious. Although with oral contraceptives, it's technically withdrawal bleeding rather than menstruation. Besides, I haven't truly bled in over a year. Being on the highest dose of birth control for over fourteen years will do that to some women.
PMS is vicious. A veliciraptor chewing through my pelvis. There's a photo out there of a plastic female human skeleton, with a toy raptor stuck head-first through the pelvic bone.
And the bloating and bizarre fluctuations on the bathroom scale.
Having slid back to psychiatric anorexia after failing to control neurochemical anorexia, I know damn well I should not stand on that scale especially during this time. I know damn well that numbers don't mean as much as how my clothing fits. But paranoia bred from life-long anxiety over disordered eating patterns is paranoia. And then there was the entire food=growth=death connection when I was little. And then there was being under a hundred pounds until my mid-twenties. And then there was the anorexia voices insisting that I needed to get back to that, being under five feet tall. I was never overweight. I used to weigh something around the high "set point" - but I have no idea where I've constructed this memory of being convinced to lose twenty pounds. Unfortunately, my illness has burrowed deep enough into my subconscious that my thoughts have turned to the classic hallmarks of anorexia: "I absolutely must be below X number or I will never feel right". The unwillingness to stop. The belief that everything is wrong. I know where I am. I know what's happening. I've been able to compartmentalize and separate enough so that I smack myself when those thoughts occur, so that I at least eat an apple or two, or cheese, yogurt, celery, even cheesecake or dark chocolate. My friends are with me.
Sag Harbor will happen next week, with Thanksgiving. Part of me is in a total blind mute panic. That part doesn't want to eat anything. That part wants to Be Good, Be Perfect. It doesn't matter that I'm over thirty, says the panic. It only matters that I am extremely small and I must keep being extremely small.
To bring everything around again: PMS is not helping. PMS is several numbers upward on the scale because of fluid retention, bloating... losing that fight to not overeat. PMS is barely fitting into the purple dyed jeans yesterday and having them slightly loose today. It isn't helping anything.

But I look at that blue and silver dragon scale cane, bought for me by a total stranger with the same disability as me, and I think the best way I can Pay It Forward is to make sure someone I care for stays as mentally healthy as possible...
brightrosefox: (Default)
So, I had what I considered a palsy victory and agony simultaneously.

Depressive episode gripping me hard enough to draw blood, I walked out - no cane, because medicine and meditative stretchy exercise like whoa - and took the Metro to Twinbrook, walked the ten minutes to Congressional Plaza, shopped, stopped to eat sushi, and carried two bags back to the Metro, right side burning and feeling ripped open while palsy left side felt ghost-like and nearly numb. Got to Shady Grove again, took the bus and stopped at the Redmill Center right near my house community, went to the CVS and bought drug refills, limped and shook and spasmed and gasped as the bus dropped me off across from my townhouse community, walked with three bags that felt like dead weights, stopped to get the mail, went home, went upstairs, collapsed, and very weakly, feebly flailed and flapped and cried out "Yay, I did it, go me!"

I got myself belated birthday gifts, especially because the Rockville Ulta now carries
It Cosmetics´╗┐, which is my top favorite makeup brand in the world, which I just learned today so it was like a cliche of angels singing. I'd been waiting for my Ulta to acquire It Cosmetics since last year, when the Silver Spring Ulta announced they had the brand and that Rockville would get it this spring. YES. I was also flush with coupons and points so I splurged: I got the new liquid peptide foundation and the new thin-brush peptide mascara; and also Ecotools brand konjac facial cleansing sponge made of konjac fibers, because konjac is one of the most awesome internal and external cleansing fibers in the world.

I was in horrid pain, honestly awful bad bad pain, pain that was like trauma pain... and I was happy. Because PAIN pushed me on. And VICTORY. It was nearly joy. And joy is something above emotion, after all.

I knew that my cane might have made my hands more full. But the fact that I was capable of doing all this without a cane... it was just... well, you know. Hemiplegic spastic ataxic cerebral palsy, spastic hypertonia, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, sciatica, lordosis, migraine pain, major depressive episode, autistic symptoms making everything loud and bright and I could barely look in people's eyes despite cheerful conversations. I did STUFF. I did stuff that made me feel good. I will be in pain for days. But I did it! I think the agony will be worth it, the codeine and the tramadol and the baclofen and the clonazepam and the capsule supplemets of devil's claw and MSM and cayenne and mangosteen and noni vinpocetine and oh my gods I can hardly walk and I am shaking all over and my muscles feel torn up and I want to break down in tears.
But I am proud of myself?
*wipes away tears*

Damn, I really hurt...

...and I forgot to buy milk.
It's okay. I have enough coconut cream, coconut milk, and sweetened condensed milk to work with my coffee until I can get to Giant. Plus a hand mixer blender device to whip it good. At Giant I can grab a lightweight jug of kitty litter and a half-gallon of whole milk, and canned cat food. I can bring a backpack plus a tote to see what will fit how, so I can take the cane.
I'm twitching so much. I wonder if this entire day was one big seizure trigger. Fuck.

Now, today, the day after, I am slowly preparing for my first meet and greet appointment with the new psychologist. My last one got too expensive after I switched to Medicare, and this new woman will work on a sliding scale, with my mother willing to help.
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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?
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Holy crap, faith in people restored. I asked a taxi driver how to walk to the therapist office, and after he gave me directions, he noticed my cane and then he offered to drive me and show me the exact route. And I quote "I want to spare you some pain and fatigue." When I told him I only had 15 in cash, he said he would take 5 in total regardless of distance and would help me just because he wanted to. Sweetest cabbie ever.

Most intense hypnotherapy so far. I cried. Many emotions and realizations were released. It was fantastic. We shall continue in that focus next week. It is a lot to focus on.
In the meantime, I will try to avoid joining discussions about social justice and socioeconomic issues that make me feel uncomfortable. I need to just walk away and breathe and let it go, and not allow poor internet manners and trolling for fun make me sad.

Oh gods, Dawson's Market. Oh, oh, oh. Tempt Hemp Milk Unsweetened Original. Pumpkin Brownie. Cheesecake Brownie. Lake Champlain Mocha Hot Chocolate Mix. Giovanni Cosmetics 2chic Ultra-Sleek Leave-In Conditioning & Styling Elixir at half price. Organic canned cat food. I love this store. This store is like my best friend in organic market form. Even if I don't buy much, I love everything. In fact, I barely spent anything. Compared to Whole Foods, it has some better things, but Whole Foods has other better things. But Dawson's has hemp milk. Hemp Milk. Hemp. Milk. Nobody else has hemp milk. Or that Mocha Dutch Cocoa Powder. And Dawson's is indeed less expensive. So, yes. Dawson's Market, I love you.

I am really loving Once Upon A Time In Wonderland. I really am watching for any bits that remind me of my epilepsy adventures.

Seriously, that hypnotherapy session. I keep going back to it. I keep remembering how kind, compassionate, and loving Sanaa was when she sent me under and guided me. I keep thinking about what we will do in the next session. This is powerful. This may be the life-changing session.
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And now something is happening in my brain, and I cannot pinpoint it well enough. It could be another wave of depression, or a wave of panic, or a wave of just... I don't know. I have two dozen medical issues; pick something. It feels as though my brain is physically spasming. My amygdala feels weird, as though it wants to say something and cannot remember.

Adam is off again, so he can take me to my pain specialist, and then maybe we can go to Barnes & Noble so he can get me the Twilight Sparkle plushie to go along with the Fluttershy vinyl doll that he brought home from New York City along with bagels.

We made chocolate chunk cookies, with cream cheese instead of butter. We practiced Reiki. Adam is what I like to call a raw magic mimic. All he has to do is watch someone perform an energy form and he can re-create it in raw form. Like when he was in New York, a random monk brushed past him and slipped a wood bead bracelet around his wrist, whispering, "peace to you, mage" - and with that touch, Adam absorbed that energy, and when he came home he touched me in concentration and I felt so much calm and serenity that it was almost like being high. I guess it's kind of like being Peter Petrelli, or Rogue as she can now control her powers. He can call the energy at will. I'm envious. I need to to that for myself. But maybe I can't. Maybe it wouldn't work if I tried it on myself. Maybe the energy would only move outwards. We shall have to discuss the physics and chemistry and neurobiology behind it.

We've replaced the coffee grinder. It is black. Black fridge-freezer, black big freezer, black oven with black microwave range, black dishwasher. All we need is a black Mr Coffee and a black can opener.

I love my Chobani Lime Greek Yogurt.

Yeah, it's a depression. With a slowly stalking panic attack. Regarding my previous post: I definitely would want a cure for that. It is strangling.
brightrosefox: (Default)

I really like this idea.
Considering what constantly happens to me, there would be a lot of strangers wearing black Pretty Pretty Princess Jewelry.

In related news: It happened in the local shopping center this afternoon. A young guy yelled out, "Hey! Smile, gorgeous! You'd look so much prettier! You need to smile! The world isn't so horrible!" And I stopped. I turned and looked him in the face. That made him stop and look at me. I parted my lips, then put my middle fingers to the corners of my mouth and lifted my mouth up in a forced grin. The guy's eyes widened. I said loudly*, "I'm disabled! I have muscle spasms! Sometimes it hurts to smile on command!" I kept smiling, and it must have unnerved him, because he walked away quickly. When I turned around to head into the grocery store, I noticed a few people in front of the coffee shop clapping and smiling. A woman came forward and asked if I was okay. I gave her a genuine smile and told her that everything was fine.

(*Loudly only because cerebral palsy tends to affect control of the respiratory muscles, which I recently learned by talking to other adults with cerebral palsy. Finally, I am learning things about myself that I always suspected.)

Frozen Mangosteen Juice With Pulp, 10 oz, thawed and perfectly awesome.
I firmly believe that mangosteen is one of those little treatments for my depression episodes.

And there have been a couple of studies that say enough mangosteen in high doses acts as a painkiller and anti-inflammatory very similar to a particular corticosteroid drug called Dexamethasone, which I find absolutely fascinating.

Handwaving that part, I just want to be excited about how tasty mangosteen is. And they say you only need three ounces a day for any kind of medical treatment. So if I go to H-Mart and get several of these ten ounce jars, I should be set for a few weeks.
No matter what, mangosteen is awesome.
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I just realized that I haven't posted in a while, not here. Busy, I guess, reading all those books I haven't read. Damn Kindle devices and all that. Over the weekend, my college best friends came for a visit, the first time since 2001, and it was fantastic. In DC, at the the Smithsonian Museum of American History, I got a wheelchair from security, and Tish and Rin were happy to push me around. The Spy Museum, The Cooking exhibit, the Golden Books exhibit, even the gift shop (at which I bought a Military Space Pen and a copy of The Shy Little Kitten from Little Golden Books, and also a stainless steel water bottle with ninjas on, and a coffee tumbler with kisses and femme fatale quotes on).

Rin taught me about cold-brew coffee, and now I am all about it. Yesterday, I left the French Press brewing from seven at night to eleven in the morning, and today I set it up at seven again... I will probably let it sit until ten or eleven tomorrow morning. I am still astounded by the smoothness, the lack of acidity. It still needs chocolate and sugar (cocoa, maple syrup or honey or palm sugar, cream or whole milk) but I am extremely impressed. Cold brewing overnight in a French press, for around 15 hours or so, makes me happy. And when husband wants his hot coffee, we can empty the press and refill it with boiled water over more grounds - or he can use the espresso maker. Lovely.

Coffee is great! Coffee is great! Coffee Coffee Coffee Coffee Coffee... -ahem. Sorry, that was Bender with Fry in the background.

We went shopping, as well, and at Sephora in Chevy Chase I purchased my new currently favorite red lipstick: BareEscentuals BareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in "Call the Shots" - the website called it a 'rich scarlet' and it really is. A lovely dark pomegranate neutral red. The formula contains many moisturizing oils and peptides, which of course always matters. Call The Shots is very similar to my beloved BareEscentuals Buxom Full Bodied Lipstick in Provocateur, a true red with pink tones, but the Moxie lipstick has less pink.

We ate Belgian waffles with cream and strawberries, washed down with strong lattes. At home, my cats loved them constantly. When they left on Monday morning, I had happy tears in my eyes.

A migraine plus a tension headache and sinus pressure has been slamming into me since Monday. Today, at my pain specialist appointment, when I told the nurse about it, she grinned and said, "So, everything is fine and normal, huh?" and we laughed.

Ah, my head.
brightrosefox: (Default)
My cats are so spoiled that we serve their gooshyfood on a white ceramic gold-rimmed plate. Luckily, all three will eat from the same plate, from a single can of moist food, and it's more supplemental, twice a week, to the free-feeding with organic or semi-organic dry food. We also shop at H-Mart for worldly produce and fresh well-kept meat. And we go to Whole Foods and Roots for goat cheese, wine, and my skin care if I don't order it online. Yes, we are poor semi-yuppies. We treat ourselves when we are financially able and live off the riches for a while.

So, I asked Adam to drive me to Petco for food because he had a car and was very strong. We decided to hit up Unleashed By Petco (also because the people there are just that cool).
I was going to buy another huge bag of Solid Gold, and then I got into a lengthy, intellectual conversation with a store associate named Amy. See, once I explained that what I wanted was nutritional density, we had a long talk, and on the way to the Solid Gold bag, I stopped and picked up of Blue Wilderness Duck Formula, and then we grabbed a bag of Solid Gold Indigo Moon. Amy read off the Analysis of both for comparison. And I realized that while Solid Gold was 15 pounds and Blue Wilderness was 12 pounds, Blue Wilderness was much more nutrient dense.
My cats already loved Blue Buffalo in general, and I'd fed them Wilderness once; and I realized that the main reason I'd been buying Solid Gold was because of the bag size. But, as Amy and I agreed, nutrient and nutritional density was more important than the weight of the food. There was a three pound weight difference... but Wilderness was packed with more intense nutrition, in my eyes.
Also, I picked up that 12 pound bag with no issues, and realized that if I were alone, I could walk with it all the way to Lake Forest Transit Center, which was a ten minute walk.
I also mentioned that I was shopping for canned food, and I knew they carried Soulistics, which I pronounced "solstice" - and that made Amy giggle wildly. "You pronounce it soulstice like I do! I keep messing up!" I chose the chicken pumpkin multi-can wrapped set. My cats go wild over Soulistics.
And while we were there, I decided to test out my weight limits on litter by picking up a 14 pound bag of World's Best Cat Litter and resting it on my right shoulder. I smiled at Adam and Amy, and realized that yes, if I absolutely had to, I could carry one or the other. Giant sells a very good brand called "Feline Favorite 100-percent All-Natural Clumping Cat Litter" which contains zeolite crystals - and according to their claim, a 10 pound back has the same volume has 50 pounds of clay litter (hah, we'll see about that).
But knowing that I could hit Giant for litter and Unleashed for food all by myself, back and forth by bus with my free ride Metro Access pass, made me realize that my independence as a disabled person is getting better all the time.
And those strength training exercises are probably helping, too.
brightrosefox: (Default)
So, I had a lovely shopping day Saturday. And I proved to myself that I can certainly haul around up to fifteen pounds of bagged cat litter, get in a vehicle, and get home, if I had no one to drive me to a store. While Adam, Charlotte and I were at PetSmart, I bought a bag of "Arm&Hammer Essentials Natural Clumping Litter", which made the claim that due to pine and baking soda, the litter did the work of thirty pounds at half the weight. I imagined that if it worked, it would be the easiest litter to get by myself when taking a bus (Also, previous Arm&Hammer brand litters had worked very well and I had heard lovely reviews for this one).
Adam and Charlotte had gone to Home Depot, so while waiting for them, I carried the bag around for a few minutes, testing it on my shoulders, in my arms, by each hand, etc. Then I found canned food and treats and got a cart, and by that time I found Adam and Charlotte in the fish section, getting a new fish tank stand.
Previously we had been at Wal-Mart, where I bought a few needed toiletries and socks for half the price at a CVS, Adam got all his tires replaced, and we got a few new things for the new downstairs. Charlotte and I also found paint for my work room. We had brought along my little Fluttershy toy, explaining to the highly amused lady that we wanted to try and color match the yellow body of the My Little Pony. The color matching machine couldn't work with the toy since the toy kept casting a shadow at all angles, and the computer didn't get the yellow properly, so we just physically matched Fluttershy against a bunch of swatches and came away with Canary Song.

(Which got me realizing that I really needed to tell people: Just because I love the TV show doesn't mean I want to see or hear about everything possibly related. This realization came after Adam showed me a photo of a handmade cloth doll of a "Ghost Pony" that was one of the freakiest, creepiest, most nightmarish things I have ever seen. People have been sending me erotica art, random pictures, and bizarre fanfiction. Don't do that. Please don't send me Pony porn. For the love of Luna, please don't do that. At least ask me first. Same with TMNT, Futurama, Simpsons, Adventure Time, and pretty much everything I've mentioned that I like. Sometimes I just enjoy something simply to enjoy it - although I am proud to own Pony and Ninja Turtle clothing, toys, etc. As for Futurama and others, I just watch and quote, that's all, fini.)

Also, my neck is ridiculously stiff and painful. My head is throbbing and might at some point become a migraine. Stupid head.

Also, now the fish tank is back downstairs. My work room feels more open and quiet. Although I might miss falling asleep to the humming and bubbling of the filters.
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My response to someone in a forum:

"I'm truly not sure how to guide somebody into disability advocacy. I literally just fell into it after venturing into forum after forum with varying and conflicting views. I wanted to let my voice be heard. I use Facebook for that. I am learning what to talk about and what to keep private. Really, all I do is... talk. I just talk. I talk about my symptoms. How my illnesses and injuries affect me. How I work alongside my disabilities. How I distract myself and focus on other things beyond the pain until I get struck with the Sledgehammer of Pain Attention (there's a pun in there somewhere). I am always fascinated and intrigued when people come to me asking for advice - or if not advice, at least how I keep going. So if you want to be a disability advocate yourself, my first suggestion is to just start talking. Blogs. Facebook. Twitter. I dunno. (I don't use Twitter.) But you get the idea. Someone will start listening to you. It's pretty awesome when a bunch of people start coming to you with their own stories and questions. I really have no idea what I'm doing; I just go by my instincts."


Oh wow, you guys, I actually applied a screen protector all by myself. I even got most of the air bubbles out; the ones that remain are too tiny for me to care, but if someone else wants to help smooth them out, that's cool. I'm kind of proud of myself. My motor coordination has improved slightly since today's Reiki acupressure massage anyway. Since the protector has a matte feel, I enjoy using it more than the bare screen. Turns out that my SPD, OCD, and hypersensitivity really do prefer a protector for my phones regardless of necessity.


Fantastic, wonderful day of walking. Montgomery Mall. I wound up treating myself to two of the best bras I have ever tried - ever. The store Soma was having a half-off sale. It was very worth it. Charlotte bought a lovely outfit, I found Java Mocha Monster, I got an incredible twenty minute massage by a certified acupressure Reiki expert, I bought a lipstick at Sephora for many dollars off, and we walked. We walked so much. Wonderful walking. At the end, hideously painful and screaming. However, I have learned how to distract, focus on everything else, and pay no attention, and so everything was awesome. Now the pain is smacking me in the face with a hammer so I have to deal with it. But oh, it was worth it. Montgomery Mall is pricey, but beautiful to walk through. Also, I absorbed the Reiki energy from my masseuse and let it flow all over me. My body and muscles feel so calm and loose. I feel quite "Hey guys, chill out, it's all good, just relax" right now. Unfortunately I needed clonazepam to avoid one anxiety attack that struck too suddenly, but life happens a lot. That's just life
This is the style of bra I got, half off.
brightrosefox: (Default)
Forgot who asked the question, but here's my answer:

My favorite drugstore lipstick is Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter (Red Velvet and Cherry Tart). Even though it contains hybrid petrolatum, it contains enough moisturizing butters, oils, waxes, and peptides to make it fantastic. My favorite drugstore lipgloss is Sally Hansen MoistureTwist Lipgloss (Cherry Twist and Berry Blend). It contains supreme botanical oils and peptides and is amazing. My other favorite drugstore lipgloss is Physician's Formula Plump Potion (Clear).
As for lip balms, my favorite drugstore lip balms are Mission Skincare Mega Balm Lip Refresher balms (Acai Lemonade, Blueberry Pomegranate) and Blistex Cold & Allergy Lip Soother. If the drugstore offers Badger Balm, I love Poetic Pomegranate, Mocha Cocoa, Red Jasper Tint, Cuticle Care, and After Sun Balm. I would include Burt's Bees acai and mango balms, but the brand is overrated in my eyes.
Something very specific and exclusive to CVS that I use as a lip balm is Nuance Salma Hayek Smoothing Anti-Aging Eye Cream. It smells and tastes very good and feels great on my lips. I love when I can use one product for multiple purposes.

I am also insanely in love with It Cosmetics Vitality Lip Flush products in Pretty Woman, Love Story (lipstick), and In Love (lip butter), which I get from the websites ItCosmetics and Drugstore.

And there is also Buxom Full-Bodied Lipgloss in Hot Mama and Hey Baby which I can get at Sephora. And also BareMinerals Natural Lipstick in Red Zin and Passion Fruit and BareMinerals Amazing Lipcolor in Bravado and Courage.

Also, when I have the money, I like to really splurge on good lip balms. My current favorite splurges are KaplanMD Lip 20 Balm Ultra Hydrating Treatment, and EnvyDerm Intensive Lip Renewal Therapy, which are sold by the website Dermstore. The ingredients are worth it and the balms last forever anyway. 
brightrosefox: (Default)
Adam and I were going shopping at Big Lots and its neighbor dollar store. But first, Adam went to Office Depot - and suprised the hell out of me by letting me try various task chairs so he could buy one for me.
Happy all eight days of Hanukkah, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice, Yule, and Christmas all in one, holy shit. Not only was the chair I chose perfect for my body, height, size, comfort levels,
and lumbar support requirements, it was on sale by almost half.
This really was something desperately needed. Adam said that if this brings me a year or two of working comfort, it was worth every penny; he had been willing to buy a pricier chair if it made me happy. I love this little chair. I love it so much.
At Big Lots, I bought a foam pillow to support my back even more, but the lumbar and sciatic support from this chair is awesome. At the lowest setting, my feet only just touch the floor but that's fine. It perfectly aligns my line of sight with the laptop so I don't need to strain my neck - and I can raise it if I need to. This is almost a physical therapy chair. I can rock back and forth, I can perform isometric exercises, I can spin while working my muscles. And it really is so comfy.
I am totally pimping this chair, obviously.

(Also, Big Lots has the best prices on 4-blade disposable razors, which work best for me (these were Qu4ntum by Reliashave, which is just as good as Gilette and Schick). I got several packs of ten for 3$ each. Also, I got cheap but well made microfiber cleansing cloths, pantyliners, hairbands, hair ties, etc.)
brightrosefox: (Default)
Dear Friends:
If you are considering buying me stuff for Winter Holiday, please consider the following:
I don't want a Kindle or Nook or e-reader of any kind, unless it is a full tablet computer device. (I have a Kindle For PC and I am completely happy with it on my laptop.) I don't want random movies, toys, or other things you think I like; I'd rather you ask me first. I have OCD issues with receiving things unexpectedly that I might not want.
I do want things like books, gift cards to book stores like, or DVD box sets of Futurama. Or gift cards to stores like Sephora, The Body Shop, Ulta, Whole Foods, Roots, etcetera. I would rather be taken shopping or given access to shop, rather than be given gifts by surprise. I know that sounds weird, annoying, and complicated, but I would rather warn people now.

Now that all of that has been said, what I would absolutely love would be this:
(Size 6 or 5.5)
My old Fatbaby boots are old, so more is awesome.
brightrosefox: (Default)
The migraine dance is nothing like the chicken dance. Except at Oktoberfest in the year 3012, with Neanderthals fighting Germans in chicken hats. With prehistoric mammoths. And catapults that fire prehistoric sabre-toothed cats at spacecrafts piloted by incompetent egomaniac womanizing space captains in velour mini-skirts.

I would like to thank neck stretching, self massage, acupressure, dark chocolate, Acetaminophen-Codeine, Magnesium Citrate, Cayenne, CoQ10, and Vitamin B-100 Complex. With their combined combative help, I was able to ease and soothe this migraine pain enough to continue very light physical and mental work. Please give them all a round of applause.

My appointment with the neurologist yesterday went very well. Dr. Lin was very pleased to see me, and we set a follow-up six month appointment. I told her about Dr. Babus the pain physician and she was thrilled. I explained that since Dr. Babus was now handling all my pain drugs, it would be easier for her to handle all my brain drugs, thus taking the burden off my general physician, Dr. O'Conor. She was completely on board with that. We discussed my breakthrough seizures, and decided to increase the Klonopin from 0.5 mg to 1.0 mg daily, as a backup. She wanted to put me on Lunesta, but I refuse to pay hundreds of dollars, and also I'm doing fine with my current regimen of valerian, passionflower, and other such holistic sleep aids.

Metro Access had dropped me off at the building, and I had requested a return trip, but as it turned out, I misread the appointment times, and so the return trip window would have interfered with the appointment. I canceled the return trip quickly, especially when I realized that there was a Ride On bus stop nearby that would take me to Rockville, which meant that I could get to Shady Grove and then to home.
That bus stop was near the Walgreens shopping center, which had the only local Walgreens I knew of. Since I love the store part of Walgreens, I spent nearly an hour perusing. Prices really are cheaper than CVS. I would be happy to go back. I could take a bus, but that would actually involve too much time and effort, with hopping trains and buses back and forth. I'll try it when I'm feeling energetic enough. It's really only to Rockville Station, and I spent years metro-hopping in downtown DC.

Now, more reading.
brightrosefox: (Default)
We made brownies. We added a few drops of pure undiluted Sea Buckthorn berry oil, whose taste is incredibly difficult to describe. It gives the brownies a sweet, tart, juicy, exotic, heavy edge. Super major power antioxidant brownies are go.

Adam will leave for work tomorrow, get on a plane to Las Vegas, and spent the next two weeks working at the convention. We decided to go to Tuesday Morning to see about their luggage cases, since Adam goes through them every three to six months. One of the employees recommended a hard-shelled London Fog luggage at a deep discount. Adam will see how it holds up in six months. We went to Grand Mart to pick up a few food items for me, and wound up with organic coconut milk, organic dairy milk, various snacks, fruits, and vegetables, minced garlic, eggs,, beverages, and miscellaneous snack items. Enough for me to have until he comes home.

I have SO MANY BOOKS to keep reading. That in itself will take two weeks. Tomorrow, I pick up the refilled prescriptions from my pain physicians, and on Friday I see my neurologist to bring her up to date on my life, my seizures, my disability winning, my new pain doctor, and seeing if all my brain drugs can be transferred to her for prescription refills. I'm relived that things are falling into place.
brightrosefox: (Default)
Every time I see my dentist, we share a laugh because we know the x-rays and cleanings will show that everything is perfect. Today was perfect again, save for a single stained molar that may eventually probably lead to a tiny cavity. I can take care of that easily. Adam got his first implant finally finished, too. Small incremental payments will take a long time, but at least he has a tooth instead of not a tooth.
Afterward, we killed time at Walmart until I could eat. I bought several packs of panties, socks, pajama pants, and body care products at half the price of CVS. We went home, made egg and goat cheese bagels for breakfast, vacuumed and moved the living room rugs around, then both took Ultram for various stupid pains. Adam stayed to play PS3, while I went upstairs to play with cosmetics.

Turquoise gold eyeshadow really does look good on me. I keep forgetting how amazing Urban Decay shadows are (I'm wearing Shattered, and I also have S&M, Bust, and Loaded). I want to get the Bender shadow (metallic forest green with gold shimmer) mostly because of the name, but the color is gorgeous. Also, the Naked Skin Foundation feels like real skin care with all the peptides. And the Supercurl eyeshadow has Moringa oil and Shea Butter and actually curls. I completed the look with IT Cosmetics Lip Flush in Pretty Woman layered over Lauren Brook Lip Colour in Rouge, and it looks fabulous. I can't wait to try their mascara.
Also, I have finally learned how to wear plastic toothed headbands without pain. It appears that Scunci Effortless Beauty Skinny Plastic Headbands 4-pack won't dig into my skull, and they're shiny and durable, so yay. I am wearing the silvery black band.
Also, I need to get my eyebrows waxed by either Linda at Clippers Salon or Katie at Karen's Salon. It's around that time of growth. At least my hair matches my brows so it's less obvious. I don't like having thick eyebrows since mine grow in asymmetrically.
I do think I look pretty, though.

brightrosefox: (Default)
I just had one of the best days ever. Cat food on massive sale at Unleashed By Petco plus coupons. Stuff on sale at Trader Joes. Prescriptions ready at CVS. Doughnuts and cheesesteaks from the same shop. Watching My Little Pony! I am in pain, yes, but the Ultram is helping. Now I am working on a short story while I internet my brain off. This was totally my kind of day. My best friend B. came over and took me out to run errands, so I was able to put lots of stuff in a car. It was lovely to hang out and just be happy without having to really do anything. I'm not a club person or a bar person or a pub person. I don't care to join a massive group unless I can have two or three friends to talk to alone. This is the type of day I like and want. So I am happy right now.
brightrosefox: (Default)
Charlotte came to get me for our shopping stuff, and we ate at the Original Pancake House (Eggs Benedict with potato pancakes for her, French Toast for me), and I was finally able to treat us with my own cash. After that came Pepco (with coupons for Nature's Variety and Before Grains dry cat food, plus Soulstice canned cat food, Arm & Hammer cat litter in a 40 pound box, and new metal bowls to replace the cracked glass bowls for the upstairs food). Bed Bath And Beyond was next (a plush new Turkish bamboo cotton bath towel and hand towel just because I could, SteroPod toothbrush caps; I may go back for another Tree Bark bath towel with another coupon, because bamboo is awesome).
Charlotte helped me load everything into her SUV. I lifted one of her 28 pound litter cardboard boxes from cart to trunk, and we were extremely proud. I mean, I couldn't do that last year.
We came back to her house and spent some time, where we chatted about her grandmother's wake and funeral last week. The funeral had been Catholic, the priest made Charlotte extremely uncomfortable and annoyed since he didn't even discuss anything personal about her Nana, and Charlotte made sure to visit her grandfather's headstone as well as the fresh one. Her family even treated her very well, considering that for all of Charlotte's life she had been the black sheep of her mother's family. I, too, miss Nana deeply. What an awesome woman she was. But she had been ready to go, she had stopped fighting the brain cancer and wanted to be with her husband, and she's already haunting Charlotte because she promised she would, so it's all good. Nana's two tabby kittens, Smokey and Punky, are living at Charlotte's separated from the three adult cats until Shadow understands that she is not being replaced and she is still the queen, and that her two children, Buster and Baby, are staying as well. Now, Nana's house across the street will most likely be bought by a cousin to keep it in the family. I know Charlotte wanted Adam and me to buy it but there's no way, especially not now that we've been renovating the townhouse.

When we came back to my house, I got a call from my physician's assistant regarding the Tramadol I had discussed with Dr. Carolyn last week. Dr. Carolyn had approved of my trying the drug but wanted me to get a pain specialist beforehand, who would then handle all my medications and treatments. But I couldn't get through to any of her referrals nor anyone else, and when I finally got one they weren't taking new patients. On Sunday night, I was in such amazing pain that I left a tearful voicemail for the office and explained that I just wanted to try the Tramadol now, and when I finally found a specialist then it could be handled. The assistant, Kevin, told me that he and Dr. Carolyn had gotten my message and had quickly called the prescription into my local CVS; they had known me for a decade and knew damn well when I was serious. Kevin had said that the doctor had been worried and empathetic. Which is why I love her. I thanked him a few times, and Charlotte drove me to the shopping center.
I picked up the Ultram for under six dollars for forty tablets, while Charlotte bought some makeup, and since she so rarely wore makeup I was happy to help her choose colors. Since she is severely allergic to aloe vera in all forms, we have to check every ingredient list of every product that comes near her. It's one of the reasons I started researching holistic skin care. Whenever I know I will be hanging out with Charlotte, I try to use aloe-free products, or if I use products with aloe I make sure that I don't touch her until the products with aloe absorb fully. She gets blistered and reddened, which is the exact opposite of what aloe is supposed to do. The fact that for her aloe causes the very symptoms it is meant to heal is extraordinary. Aloe allergy is not unusual, but it is kind of rare. I myself am very relieved that I can use topical soy.

So, I am highly satisfied. For the first time in years I was able to buy things I wanted freely, with money that was mine from my own bank account, and I happily treated myself as well as the cats. And that first dose of Tramadol, which I took an hour ago, is working quite well! I am in almost no pain, with no foggy or dizzy side effects like those from the codeine. This pleases me so much.
brightrosefox: (Default)
This is my "Yes, I am quite awesome, thank you!" photo.

The new haircolor is still Redken Chromatics, but now a warm natural medium brown. More golden brown, less auburn, like my hair back when I was seven through eleven, before I got a pixie cut and then hit puberty. My hair then turned from stick straight to very wavy and medium golden brown. I still don't know how I had bright fiery auburn hair when I was five. Maybe I was a calico of some sort.
My celebratory treat to myself is Too Faced Exotic Eyeshadow in Midnight Mist. It goes from shimmery metallic dark blue to shimmery metallic dark purple depending on how I move. In fact, Midnight Mist almost exactly matches an eyeshadow that I saw in a dream I had a few days ago, so the price was worth it - although I got $4.00 off because I'm an Ulta member.
I figured I deserved a cosmetic product that flowed the way I flow. Things are changing and I am flowing in many directions at once.

Adam will be away overnight, back home, and then off again from Saturday to Wednesday. There is plenty of food and stuff for me in the meantime, and I have cash now. Tomorrow I'll be making phone calls to pain specialists, orthopedists, and psychiatrists until I can make appointments. Fascinating things are happening. And while I am no longer constantly anxious in a bad way, I am anxious about my future in a good way. Unsure of which directions I should go, trying to figure out how I want to let my new life unfurl. The roller coaster is so much smaller and not so scary now. It is going to be an amazing ride.
brightrosefox: (Default)
Congratulate me, friends, for I managed to walk from Twinbrook Metro to Congressional Plaza (10 minutes), buy two discounted 6-lb bags of dry cat food and some fish food and a couple of things on sale from Fresh Market, then slowly and painfully haul the tote bags back to Twinbrook (20 minutes because I kept stopping to rest), then slowly and painfully drag everything from the Shady Grove metro onto the Lakeforest bus and then to my bus stop.

But you know what was really awesome? One of my neighbors who got off the bus offered to carry the bags for me, because he had seen me around and knew I was lame, so I did not actually have to drag everything all the way home to my townhouse, which takes 5 minutes on a good day. I would have, too. I would have forced every muscle in my body, taking baby steps, dragging those bags step by shaky step. But I am so grateful for a helpful neighbor.

So, my punishment from my body has been violent shaking, spasticity, hypertonia, severe muscle aches, stabby pains, nerve twinges, and my body's deep profound physical unwillingness to do any more walking without a cane, even around the house.
But, hey, I am really proud of myself. I could have taken the easy way out: I could have made one trip, gone home, then made the second trip; or I could have called a friend to drive me. But, you know, I really do want to prove I can do these things even though I know I will pay for it severely.

So, um, I need to stop typing now, because my arms are shaking too much and my fingers keep spasming. I'm waiting for the Soma and codeine to kick in.
But... yay?


brightrosefox: (Default)

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