Too sick to blog. Be back when I'm not dying.
I really need to be drifting off to la-la-land here in a few minutes, as I've got to get up early. Why? Becauuuuuuuse.... tomorrow is The Appointment with The Neurologists. You know, the one where we go over test results and I maybe get some answers?

I feel all sorts of ways about this appointment. On one hand, I know that even if all of the tests come back normal and show us absolutely nothing in the way of what's wrong with me, that means that we can rule things out, and that in and of itself is progress. On the other hand, I am both hoping and afraid that some of the tests will show something and we'll begin to have a clue as to what ails me. I'm hoping to maybe start getting headway in treating the root cause of this ridiculous pain (and all of the other fun stuff that comes with it). I'm hoping that the doctors will be able to get me some pain management (i.e. pain meds) that are more effective than what I've got now. I'm hoping for answers, clues, hints even. Anything.

But I also don't dare get my hopes up. (Despite my best efforts, I find myself hoping for things, but I keep telling myself to stop it!) I really hate it when my hope are crushed and I am devastated. I'm afraid that nothing conclusive will come of this, that I'll still be shrouded in mystery. I'm afraid that they will refuse to help me treat my pain. I'm afraid that I've got something terrible, something degenerative, something debilitating. I'm afraid that I'm only going to get worse. I'm afraid that there's nothing we can do to help me.

I mean, there are so many "what ifs". What if it's degenerative? What if the pain never goes away? What if I can't ever have kids? Hell... what if I'm dying? Some people might think that's being a bit dramatic, but considering how rapidly I've gone downhill, how bad it's gotten in such a short amount of time... it wouldn't surprise me as much as it might someone else. My mom even said this last trip that I looked like a chemotherapy patient-- pale, weak, dark circles all around my eyes from the pain and sleep problems... She also said that she fears this is the last time she's going to see me. I can't travel long distances anymore without great difficulty, and she doesn't have the money to come out my way, so... unless I get better, we won't be seeing each other for a long time.

Do you know how sobering and/or terrifying it is to have your mother look into your eyes and say, "I fear that this is the last time I'm going to see you"? Let me tell you, it's pretty damn scary. It made me take a hard look at myself through someone else's eyes and realize... yeah. I'm pretty sick. I've gotten good at denying how sick I am in my mind... maybe to justify myself to others, to avoid undue sympathy, to keep myself from plunging into a morass of despair? I'm like, "I'm fine yo! Um... Can you help me to the bathroom?" Hah.

Anyway, I need to rest. The less sleep I get, the harder this trip will be. C's dad is taking me, which is very nice of him. We'll be taking C's truck since it gets WAY better gas mileage than R's big old beast of a truck. (Funny... both of my dads are named R now. Go figure!) C will have to use R's truck, as my car is broken and in the shop. (We're going to have to get a new one. This has been about a year in coming, but it's still not a pleasant prospect. At least I hardly drive now, so all I need is a little beater to get me to work once or twice a week and to the store if I need it. No big. It just has to have proper hvac and be an automatic.)

I asked C to cuddle me tonight, and we talked over some of my fears. He told me it's okay to be nervous, and that I'm right in thinking about it as "no matter what happens, it'll be progress". Oh, guess what? I went to my grandparents this afternoon for a small Christmas (opening presents and watching a Christmas movie), and on the ride there Grampa and I were talking about stuff. C came up, as I was talking about how incredibly impressed I am with him as a person and how he's adapted to life with my illness and how well he takes care of me and loves on me. I mean, I knew he was a great guy before I married him, but he's really blown my expectations out of the water and shown himself to be a spectacular specimen of human being. Just an all around wonderful man and husband. Anyway, I was saying things like that and Grampa jumped in with the comment that he did have his doubts when we got married (C being a nonbeliever and all that), but C has really impressed him too and he thinks that my heart was really telling me the right thing when I decided to marry C. To hear that made my heart sing and burst with pride. I love that man. He's amazing. And he has the greatest mustache ever. Even Grampa is jealous! He said so himself during one of the 3 or 4 times he complimented C's mustache throughout the afternoon. Men and their facial hair, I swear...

I asked C to tell me some optimistic stuff about the future, to allay my nervousness and all. He looked at me, blankly amused (he's terrible at off the cuff stuff, especially optimistic or complimentary stuff), so I whispered a few prompts to him. "Tell me it's all going to be okay... and that no matter what happens you'll be here... and we're gonna be alright..." He then kinda stuttered out awkwardly, "I'll be here..." (long pause) "...for you." Then we both laughed because it was so awful. I'm grinning now even as I recount it. He's so funny.

Alright. To bed with me, while I still have a smile on my face. Hopefully I don't stew over the "what ifs" too much while drifting off to sleep. I'll try not to. But oh man.... so nervous!
Ok, actually, this has nothing to do with sex. Or rock'n'roll. Just drugs.

First of all, funny story... I accidentally got drunk last night. I mean, I intended to get buzzed or something, but I didn't mean to get drunk. It's not like I was hanging out on my couch and all of a sudden I'm reeling.

Here's what happened: I worked today and yesterday at the "front desk" of a gun show here in town. It's more or less sit-down work, but it requires a lot of talking, and there is walking and moving and pointing involved. It gave me a sharp reminder as to why I'm no longer actively in the work force. I feel pretty messed up, and the first day was very, very painful. Here I am trying to stretch out my pain meds and I'm in excruciating pain and needing to function like a normal human. Read: impossible. So when I got home I decided to do a little drinking to try and iron out some of the pain wrinkles. Unfortunately (or fortunately, as you look at it), I'm a total rookie when it comes to alcohol. I mean, I've never been drunk before. Never.

I drank three full glasses of rum and cranberry juice with maybe a little more rum than I should have used, and I drank them fast. In a little while, I started feeling pretty good. Warm, fuzzy, numb face and limbs... I was probably hurting still, but I didn't care anymore. It was a little hard to balance and stuff, but not bad. I've had worse when I was dealing with dizziness from the Cymbalta. But then... it kept going. And got stronger. And stronger. The lag is what got me-- I had felt fine, so I kept drinking. Not much longer after feeling "better", I began throwing up and wasn't able to stop for probably an hour. That was NOT fun.

Verdict: being drunk sucks. Well, okay, being throw-up-drunk sucks. I liked the warm fuzzy feeling, but I'm afraid that I can't achieve that without accidentally going too far. In addition to that, my body has definitely made it clear that alcohol is too hard on my already taxed system, and I shouldn't be messing around with it. (I'm not supposed to be ingesting alcohol with the meds I'm on anyway, so that's no great loss. Just another pain relief method that's lost to me. Alas.)

I drank a couple of cups of mint tea to settle my tummy, drank a ton of water, and fell asleep. I felt bad when I woke up so I had a nice long sit in a hot shower followed by a bowl of plain oatmeal and a mug of chamomile tea in addition to more water. Then I went back to bed so I could get up bright and early for work today. I fully expected to be completely destroyed today, but to my utter surprise I ended up hurting much less than the day before. My theory that I concocted with a friend is that I did indeed have a hangover, but it was so much less severe than my usual symptoms that it seemed like a decrease in sickness. Apparently my ability to avoid a hangover is a superpower, according to the same friend. Funny.

Okay, now for the real drug part. I've been having this ongoing war with C's uncle on Facebook about how he thinks I should smoke marijuana and all of my reasons as to why that's a bad idea and I'm not going to do it. He keeps bringing it up, over and over and freaking over again, even after I went on his wall and literally said, "Please stop telling me to do pot." Well, he didn't. So when I was drunk I hopped on fb to message some of my close friends about my mistake and how awful I was feeling. I also popped out a status update, and the following comment war ensued. I find it hilarious, epic, and also pathetic. It ended with my unfriending and blocking this uncle of C's, because I realized (through the efforts of my friend) that I don't have to put up with that crap.

I now give you the Do U Smoke? comment war.

Cassandra I accidentally did a bad thing and now there are repercussions that I am not fond of. Hergablergh.
Yesterday at 6:45pm

that could mean a lot of things.

Yesterday at 6:46pm · Like

Cassandra Yup. Purposefully ambiguous. That way I won't be judged. This is, after all, a public forum.
Yesterday at 6:46pm
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I highly doubt I would judge you, but its possible.
Yesterday at 6:47pm
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Cassandra lol No, probably not you... but others, definitely.
Yesterday at 6:47pm
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R I once ate some Chinese food that made me sick and then I went back for seconds...just kidding, that was my husband.
Yesterday at 6:48pm
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C Hah! Really? That's terrible... he must have felt awful.
Yesterday at 6:48pm
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R he could have killed himself!
Yesterday at 6:49pm
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R One time I didn't write something down and then I forgot what it was. Ok, lots of times.
Yesterday at 6:50pm
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Cassandra Yeah, that's pretty much the story of my life!
Yesterday at 6:50pm
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M You are absolved!
Yesterday at 6:51pm
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Cassandra Gaaaah, if only it worked like that!
Yesterday at 6:51pm
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B another way of saying u smoke
Yesterday at 6:57pm
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Cassandra I'm pretty sure that would be a purposeful action, so no.
Yesterday at 6:58pm
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B just do it it feels good
Yesterday at 6:59pm
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B i heard
Yesterday at 6:59pm ·

Cassandra That is one of the worst reasons to do anything, especially when it's something that could result in my husband losing his job and thus my losing my health insurance. "You heard"? Yeah, suuuuuure lol
Yesterday at 6:59pm
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B he should think of you and get another job that respects the constitution
Yesterday at 7:02pm
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Cassandra He is thinking of me. He has a great job with good healthcare that allows for advancement, not to mention it's a stable job in a crazy economy and will provide for our family for decades to come. Just because smoking MIGHT help me means he should give up his job in one of the cities with the highest unemployment rates in the country? I think not. I'd rather he keep his job and be able to pay our bills.
Yesterday at 7:04pm
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B in regards to ya sure i'm neither a user or an advocate just don't want u to be in pain a suggestion
Yesterday at 7:08pm
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Cassandra Thanks. I appreciate the sentiment.
Yesterday at 7:09pm
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S that's the rub, is that the pain will likely stay forever, regardless of what treatments tried. you always trade something for pain relief, whether it is organ function or mental clarity.
Yesterday at 7:10pm
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B just smoke the pot and be well nobody will tell anybody . no one will come to ur house and say be ill, and just keep the music down you will be ok its better then meds
23 hours ago
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L The lady said no several times on several threads. I'm glad you're so passionate about trying to help, but maybe redirect that passion to being supportive of the decision she already made? 

^Ranting because the "No I will not smoke pot" explanation shouldn't have to be given on every single thread. Sorry for crossing that line, not sorry I feel this way
23 hours ago
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Cassandra Thank you, L. I appreciate that, and I feel the same way.
19 hours ago
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Cassandra So true, S. What a lame predicament.
19 hours ago
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B hey L you sound like you could use some pot too for your head you sound angry thank you have a nice day and i dont smoke pot but if it would help me i would if i was in pain and D be your own man r u a cop too dont let them brain wash you be happy have nice day nephew
3 hours ago
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B, I am angry with you for trying to pressure my friend into doing something she doesn't want to do despite the fact that she's told you her position on the matter numerous times. I'm sure you would smoke pot of your situation was similar to Cassie's in which case i would be supportive of your choice, and she would probably be nice enough not to spam you with frequent messages about how you shouldn't smoke pot. Her choice is her choice, and you should either respect and support it or keep your dissatisfaction with her decision to yourself.
3 hours ago via mobile · Like

B pressure?
3 hours ago ·

Yes. Pressure. You take every conceivable opportunity to tell her to smoke pot. She tells you in no uncertain terms that she will not smoke pot, has her reasons for having reached that decision, and has shared those reasons with you. In spite of that, you continue to hound her about your opinion of her decision for her health and her family. If you were at a gathering of your friends and colleagues and someone told you to have a drink and you refused and they kept telling you to take it, it's just one drink, it's not going to hurt anything, just do it, etc. it would be peer pressure. If you were at a bar or club trying to pick up somebody and they told you no multiple times and you didn't get the hint the bouncer would remove you from the building for harassing the other patrons. No on the internet is just as valid as no in real life.

2 hours ago via mobile · Like

B you seem so angry you should smoke pot too and be happy
2 hours ago
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B who are you anyways you seem so animated like bart simpson or stewie, have a nice day
2 hours ago
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L Me smoking pot will not make you less of a drug-pusher, nor will it change the fact that i don't like my friends to be harassed.
2 hours ago
via mobile · Like

B are you a cop
2 hours ago
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B drug pusher ,you sound crazy too
2 hours ago
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B i see how you hide your self
2 hours ago
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B just stop bullying me, too much sadness from you have a nice day cop
2 hours ago
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B are you driving and texting thats bad too smoking pot and texting and driving have a nice day and leave me alone please
2 hours ago
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L Since you said please, I will oblige. That's what grown ups do.
2 hours ago
via mobile · Like

Cassandra Oh. my. god. Really? REALLY? B, I will discuss this with you in a private message, but publicly I will say that I don't appreciate the direction you took this conversation. L, thank you for dealing with the topic in a mature manner. We're done with this now.
8 minutes ago
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Private message:
B, I agree with my friend L. I feel as though you have continued to ply me with unwelcome pressure to do something that I have stated in no uncertain terms that I do not wish to do. I explicitly asked you to stop telling me to smoke pot, but you have only increased your efforts to get me to try marijuana. Why? What's the big fucking deal? I have explained myself to you time and time again, and I no longer wish to do so, since you CLEARLY don't get it. To see you insult my friends, my husband, and my brother in law is the last straw. I will be unfriending you.

Also, you may want to consider what you blast all over a public forum regarding your stance on prohibited substances. Some states may have legalized the use of marijuana, but it is still a federal crime. If you are ever busted, those comments of yours are incredibly incriminating. Don't think for a second that cops don't use Facebook to nail people. Just a thought.

So that's over and done. I have a funny story to tell, my brother in law wrote me an apology/explanation message about his uncle's behavior, and I am more self-aware and empowered when it comes to dealing with unwanted pressure. Lesson learned, life skills gained, and it's all good. I feel good about myself that this really didn't ruffle my emotional feathers as it would have in the past. It was totally not personal to me, and that's great.
What a trip that was; what a trip, indeed! Yes, I feel good about how it went. I feel good about the fact that I was there, and I feel good about what I "accomplished" in terms of being there for my sister and my family. It seems that they kinda like having me around or something. Heh. My brother said, "If Cassie doesn't come home for Christmas, then the holiday spirit is just gone!" Awww :) I'm his Ghost of Christmas Present! Or Past... whichever one is more fun and amazing. Just so long as I'm not the Ghost of Christmas Future. That guy is pretty grim.

Apparently J ended back up in the Nut Hut (mental health unit of the hospital) shortly after I left for suicidal impulses again. If I were going to look at that as any sort of indicator on how well I "did my job", I still wouldn't really know, because either I did so well at supporting her that she didn't need to go to the hospital while I was there or I was bad enough at it that she felt the need to seek professional help. I prefer to think it's the former, though neither one is necessarily even applicable. It is what it is. I did talk to both her and C while I was there, though, and there's a 90% certainty that she will be moving in with C and I for a while after she graduates. It'll be good for her to have the stability of our home, I will have someone around to help me with the house and basic life tasks, she can go through the HJ program, and she can see what a good, healthy marriage looks like. That's something she's not going to get pretty much anywhere else in the family or her friend group, sad to say.

Speaking of the HJ, I found out yesterday that we have had office space donated to us!!! That means that we'll have actual headquarters! No more of this "working out of a spare bedroom" stuff anymore. And it's a LOT closer to home for me, so it will be easier to get to, not to mention that I can come and go as I please. I can work at the office when I feel well and not have to fuss with coordinating rides and days and stuff with E any longer. Such a relief. And this will greatly facilitate my goal of getting the HJ (and E especially) more organized.

Since my health has taken (yet another) hit and I'm not doing so well, I was afraid that I'd have to really back off in my involvement with the HJ... and as a consequence, earn less money. I'm not in it for the money at all, except for the little bit of me that is in it for the money... because, let's be honest, bills have got to be paid. So this new development is a relief, frankly. I think it will make the job more sustainable for me until I can get well enough to work like a normal person again.

As I'm sitting here, typing away, I'm looking around at the walls of my living room and at all of the pictures and things we have hanging up. They all make me smile for one reason or another because every single thing has a backstory and a memory attached to it. There is nothing in our home that is for useless show, really, and I like that. Just a random thought.

Another thing that makes me smile: shiny stuff! Since I've gained weight and since my symptoms have increased in severity, I find myself unable to wear my wedding ring most of the time because it cuts into my finger now and is uncomfortable. My swollen fingers make a larger sized ring necessary. (That just goes to show the difference... a year ago, when I was engaged, I had a hard time with the ring almost falling off my finger because it was so loose on me!) While I was visiting the fam I bought myself a very dainty and thin silver band to wear with/instead of my wedding ring. When I showed it to C upon returning he said that we just needed to get me another ring in a larger size to wear on the days when my hands are swollen. I took to that idea immediately because, hello, shiny stuff, so I spent the last couple of days compiling rings that I like and presented them to C last night for his selection. I wanted him to have the final choice, that way it is something that came from him, you know? But my compiling the list guaranteed that I would like any of the ones he chose. Well, we pored over Etsy last night and he went ahead and purchased one. Behold, my alternate wedding ring!

There were many beautiful choices, but we both agreed that this one represents my personality and style best.

Oh, and I also (finally) got a dresser for my clothes! That's a good thing, as the big blue suitcase I was keeping my clothes in on the closet floor bit the dust when I used it for the trip home. So now I have three whole drawers to keep my things in. I haven't put anything in it today, but that's on the agenda for today. I'm ecstatic! (You know your life is bit dull when something as mundane as a dresser is cause for merriment and joy.)

So that's life for now. Just enjoying being back home in my own routine with C again. I didn't miss him, really, until I saw him again... and by that I didn't realize that I missed him until I had him again. I kept myself pretty occupied while back east. Not to be all mushy and stuff, but I really do love that man. Just standing around the kitchen with him and waiting for water to boil is a satisfying and enjoyable event. I'm so glad I married him. He's good people, and he's at his best with me. Love him.
I've been home with the folks for a few days. Things are crazy here, and I am looking forward to going back home. Don't get me wrong; I love my family, and I'm happy to be with them. But just about everything is in a state of upheaval and unreliability that is hard for me to handle, especially now that my health demands such handling with kid gloves. The pain has been really, really bad since I came, and my pain killers are just not touching it anymore. The pain and sickness that I had to deal with when I ran out of meds while back home is my baseline here. I think it's part weather, part stress, part recovering from what was an unexpectedly difficult trip out. In a few hours, I'll be heading back to the emergency room to see if they can help me. (I was there two days ago.) It's not like I can just head back home to see my own doctors... I don't even have a rheumatologist anymore :-\

Mom doesn't have internet, which means that my lurkings on the web are far and few between. We're sitting in a Starbucks right now, but I'm ready to go home. Think I'll wrap this up and climb back into bed to sleep for a few hours, if I can.
The kitties know something's up. Coraline is more of a shadow than usual, and Juneaux is alternating between feisty, needy, and shadowing me.

I gave C one of his christmas presents early... as in, tonight. It came in the mail today and I just. could. not. wait. I think my getting him stuff is more for me than for him! lol I love to give gifts, what can I say? A friend of mine from the massage program came over today to give me a full body massage, free of charge. She not only needs the practice, she is concerned about my health and pain levels and wants to help. I had a present for her, as well, which she opened. It was a hot and cold stone massage kit, which was perfect because she had been borrowing the instructors stones and now she has some of her own! It even has an ambient music cd with it. She was thrilled, and I was ecstatic at how well it fit her wants and needs. :) I LOVE making people happy!

There is drama on the home front... Not mine, but the far-flung home front that I will be traveling to. I'm half wary of going, half super excited about seeing the folks and being the emotional support that I know they need. I just feel super ill-equipped for this. Can I really make a difference? We shall see...

I'm done packing except for toiletries, which I will put away after I take a shower. (Apparently my mom's new house doesn't have a shower yet! Or a fridge. I'm a little concerned about creature comforts... but she has a couch, a bed, and the house is well heated. And allegedly the stove was going in today. Heh. I do love adventures!) So, off to the shower with me! Perhaps it will help to alleviate some of this accursed pain! (I so way overdid it yesterday. But it was worth it, I think. But oh man... ouch!!!)

1000 Gifts

41. A cup of yummy tea from my bestie.

42. Fall-scented candles.

43. Dishes stacked in the sink-- means that not only do I have food, but I had the energy to put it together.

44. The mood struck, and the decor got switched from fall to winter-esque.

45. Handmade quilts.

46. Group with my girls.

47. Pain killers.

48. Automatic snuggling by hubby when I roll over into him at night. (He doesn't even realize he's doing it. He's asleep. That makes it even sweeter.)

49. Goodbye kisses.

50. Wrapping gifts for my family-- I was able to afford some things for them, even though I have such a limited income.

51. C's awesome presents that I was able to afford.

52. Finding a treasured possession that I thought was lost for good.

53. Coming across my wedding dress while rummaging through my closet. Brought a smile to my face and warm memories to mind.

54. D's lily bloomed before I left.

55. Day after tomorrow is my big trip!

56. Warm clothing.

57. My loving kitties.

58. A tidy house.

59. Dungeons and dragons with friends.

60. Red hair.
This is "David" the plant, and the lily that bloomed today.
I've been anxiously awaiting the blooming of this particular flower. I sincerely hoped that it would open before I took off to go see the fam, and I was rewarded today for my patience and hope. I texted all of the S's to tell them about it, and then I went to D's fb page and left him this message:

"I have a plant named "David". Actually, it's a collection of plants, all in one basket. It was at your memorial service, and the ladies didn't have room to take it back to Id with them. Actually, I wanted it anyway, since I didn't have anything to connect me with you, really. K got your guitar, J got your Bible and I got...? I know I'm not your real daughter, but I still wanted something of yours to hold and remember you by.

Well, the plant is flourishing. I feel like it's fitting, since you were such a plant guy, that my connection to you should be plants. It's doing so well, in fact, that it sent up a flower, a pure white lily. I've been anxiously waiting for it to open, hoping that it would happen before I left for the month. After all, I never did get to see my tulips bloom, either. Not once. But the memory of talking over the pros and cons of the various kinds with you and your obvious pride in my selections is enough for me.

It opened today. I think you'd be proud of me. Your girls and C all agree that you would, and that's enough to bring me to tears. I want you to be proud of me. I miss you. I miss you so much! I am always crying when I come on here to write to you! It's funny. But not. Because I miss you... so much. I'm glad I got to see your lily open."

The kitties love being outdoors. That's Juneaux by the table and Coraline in the "grass". (Weeds. They're weeds.) When I wake up I open the back door for them, and they come and go throughout the morning. When C wakes up I shut the door and open our bedroom window. Since it doesn't have a screen, it's become the "cat door". C has plans to get a screen for it and then cut a hole in the back door somehow and install a real cat door so they can come and go as they please. He wants to get them to the point where they go to the bathroom outside and we no longer have to have a litterbox. We'll see about that one. The ground is too hard for them to want to do their business out there, I think. Hard packed. Not diggable.

I'm slowly but surely preparing for my big trip back east. I got my packing list all spec'd out, and I wrapped/prepared for packing all of my Christmas presents last night. I also finished the sorting of the HJ's massive stash of handouts, and I will put together a binder of pertinent handouts for J to have. Hopefully it helps her. She seems to be looking forward to taking care of me while I'm there: painting my toenails for me, making me tea in the morning, cooking for me... It is going to be strange, allowing myself to be taken care of. I am so used to being the caretaker and peacekeeper for my family. I've been the second mama most of my life. And now... now I'm basically helpless. All I can do is offer emotional support and what wisdom and lessons I've gleaned through the years. Then again... everything works out alright. Maybe this is exactly what they need right now, when they're all so broken... Maybe they need someone to take care of and nurture who will love them for it, to heal the sadness within themselves. That's what Juneaux did for me while I was facing down my demons. Maybe this is just right. We shall see.

I have been much more stable emotionally these past few days. I think C was right, and that the accidental withdrawal from my antidepressants was affecting me more than I realized. It does help tremendously to stabilize me. I have also identified the trigger for this round of suicidal ideations, and that is the anxiety of running out of pain killers. I have to consciously stop myself from worrying about what will happen when I run out and thinking about trying to survive without them; I cannot think about how sick I will become and how overwhelming the pain will be. It's too much. I have worked out a few possible options to make sure that doesn't happen (all legal, thankyouverymuch), and now I will let the matter rest. I will deal with it if it comes up, but then and ONLY then.

So now I will finish my chick flick while putting together J's binder and drinking delicious tea from my bestie J. I think we've finally worked out my being able to see her after all! Suh-weet! Her family is so wonderful and understanding. I got this message from her yesterday:
"My dad's response to learning about the situation with your appointment - "Ah Birdie, we completely understand and would want her to do this at any cost.
Work something out with the airline, but if not, well, we support the industry; may it 'live forever'.""
I don't really have anything to say.

Ain't that a first?
Still here, still alive. I've had people around me or been around people for most of the hours that C has been at work. That was our safety plan. It worked, too. The people made me laugh, even those that I didn't expect to or had no idea what inner turmoil I was in and that I was with them to keep my mind busy. When I think about the future at all, the immediate future of running out of meds, I start panicking and I get depressed and suicidal. So... no thinking about that. It will come, if it comes, and I will deal with it then.

That's pretty much it. Yesterday I spent a lot of time sleeping. The day before I spent several hours with C's family, which was actually a blast. Last night C and I went grocery shopping and picked up some additional foods that I will eat while flying back home this week. Can't believe it came so fast! Now that I'm staring it in the face, I almost don't want to go... I feel so empty myself. I don't have much, if anything, to give them. I'm so drained from fighting my own big battles. The most I can do is sit with them and cheer them on... which I think is exactly what they want. Go figure. I'm just so used to being the "savior", the caretaker... but maybe that's not what my family needs or wants.

Ten miles from town and I just broke down
Spittin' out smoke on the side of the road
I'm out here alone just tryin' to get home
To tell you I was wrong but you already know
Believe me I won't stop at nothin'
To see you so I've started runnin'

All that I'm after is a life full of laughter
As long as I'm laughing with you
I'm thinkin' that all that still matters is love ever after
After the life we've been through
'Cause I know there's no life after you

Last time we talked, the night that I walked
Burns like an iron in the back of my mind
I must've been high to say you and I
Weren't meant to be and just wasting my time
Oh, why did I ever doubt you?
You know I would die here without you

All that I'm after is a life full of laughter
As long as I'm laughing with you
I'm thinkin' that all that still matters is love ever after
After the life we've been through
'Cause I know there's no life after you

You and I, right or wrong, there's no other one
After this time I spent alone
It's hard to believe that a man with sight could be so blind
Thinkin' 'bout the better times, must've been outta my mind
So I'm runnin' back to tell you

All that I'm after is a life full of laughter
Without you God knows what I'd do

All that I'm after is a life full of laughter
As long as I'm laughing with you
I'm thinkin' that all that still matters is love ever after
After the life we've been through
'Cause I know there's no life after you

This is for C. He's keeping me alive right now.
C stayed home from work today to keep me from killing myself.

I wish I were making that up.

It was unexpected... When I woke up from my nap, he was still at home. I thought something was wrong, but he just called in and said that he had something to take care of at home. (Hint: It's me.)

I've been getting progressively and increasingly overwhelmed with problems (other people's, mostly) and life (mine) and health (have none)... I had an emotional breakdown about a week ago, but I chalked that up to hormones and was over it. But stuff just keeps happening... seems like friends and family just can't keep their shit together, and their inability to make their lives work is affecting me.

There are a lot of feels and thought processes that go into all this, and a lot of details, and frankly I just don't have the emotional energy for that right now. "Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up..." (Princess Bride reference, btw.)

-Mom has spiraled down into a severe depression and is totally overwhelmed and basically breaking down.
-My brother is still the freeloading lazypants, from what I understand, and won't pitch in to help take some of the pressure off of mom.
-Youngest sister just freakin' disclosed about being molested, and the people around here that are supposed to be there as a support system are totally falling down on the job.
-E can't seem to go a week without a crisis of some sort.
-I'm still getting sicker and am less able to participate in daily life than I've ever been.
-I got an appt with the new neurologist (yippee!), but the only date available between now and April means that I had to cancel my plans to fly out and see J for Christmas... you know, like we've been planning for months.
-Group last night sucked, it totally wasn't my fault, and E unintentionally put me on blast in front of a crowded room of people. Ugh.

There has been much anger of late. So much anger. Anger at my mom for not holding it together. (You've got people depending on you. You can't just check out like that! I'm sorry. This is what being an adult is about. I know you're damaged, I know you're hurting, and I know what hell depression can be... but if I can suck it up and make life work despite depression and excruciating pain, then you sure as hell better find a way to do it and take care of my siblings, got it? Your decisions brought these people into the world, and your decisions put you in the place where you're at now, so do your job and deal with it.)

Anger at E for making everything so hard and dramatic. For being so scattered, unorganized, and emotional. There's times when it's fine, it doesn't bother me, that's just who she is and it's cool. But when I'm overloaded with my own stuff it becomes unbearably annoying. Anger at her not holding up her end of our discussion and purchasing the supplies for the activity we had planned for group, for completely destroying any group mood by having that potluck and insisting that we have group during it (wtf is that?!), and for not only ruining the activity and having an entire hour of empty space to deal with but then handing it off to me deal with without any heads up.

Anger at missing out on so much because I'm so fucking sick. Anger at having no wiggle room in my pill dosage at all, so if I'm having a day that I'm hurting worse than normal, "Oh well! Sucks for you!". Anger that I hurt so goddamn much that the pain killers don't even really help... even at doses that make physicians and pharmacists raise their eyebrows. Don't you think that if I could get by without them I would? Don't you think that I would choose to function at the optimum level possible?

Anger that things I look forward to in anticipation keep getting wrecked... especially by my being sick, or something to do with it.

Angry... and so very tired. I'm done. Just so done. I don't want to hurt anymore. I don't want to look down the line a few weeks from now and know that every day is going to feel like this, and probably worse. I don't want to have to choose between showering and making myself food as my one activity for the day. (God, I wish I were exaggerating.) I don't want to be bitter when I see people going about their non-painful, energy ridden lives... taking so much for granted.

I came home from my rheum appointment and trying to fill my pain killer prescription today (can't; too early. I wasn't able to beat the system after all.) and I just fell into bed with C. I tried to keep quiet, but even when he's asleep he seems to be able to tell when I'm crying. Finally the words came out.

"I can't do this anymore. I can't. I'm done. I just want out. I want to end it."

He, of course, replied, "No."

The next half hour-ish was basically all that on repeat. Cry, beg him to let me kill myself, cry some more... He just held me. Eventually I fell asleep, and when I woke up it was an hour past the time he usually is at work. I thought I had missed saying goodbye to him until he came into the room when he heard me stirring around. There's no one he could call to come over and keep an eye on me, so he decided to stay home and do it himself. I did promise, before I fell asleep, that I wouldn't kill myself while he was at work... but I guess that he felt my despair was deep enough that it wasn't worth the risk. It may have something to do with my tearful confession that I was afraid that I would actually try it while he was at work.

I'm still not in a good place. If he weren't here... I can't say what would happen. I had planned on calling a suicide hotline or something after he went to work. Maybe one of my peeps, but probably not. I feel like this is too heavy to lay on them.

I can't decide if I'm guilty or grateful that C is home with me. An even mix of both, I guess.

If I don't end up killing myself... I may kill the neighbor's dog. That thing is so fucking annoying. Especially when my nerves are already grated raw from my own internal battles.


There. You see? Not in a good place. I think I'm going to go nap now.
Don't worry, I'm better now.

C came home, and I spilled my guts to him. He sat on the couch with me, my legs across his lap, and rubbed my aching knees while I cried and blathered on about what was going on with me. He listened attentively, gave me wonderful long hugs and cuddles, and then sent me to the tub for a soak to ease some of my pain and help me unwind further. Oh, how can I forget the awesome words of affirmation he gave me as well? I'll get to that, though. It makes more sense in context.

While talking to C, I was able to kind of pinpoint some of the factors that brought me to the sad place I was in last night. First of all, I did some research yesterday morning on alternate names for soy and gluten hidden in foods. It was... discouraging. The list is incredibly long, especially for soy, and I've been unknowingly ingesting soy in some of the foods I had previously thought were safe. I'm not as concerned about the gluten, and the list is shorter for that one, but I am definitely sensitive to soy and want to stay away from it. I guess I was just frustrated by the thought of having to refine my diet even further, and this means that I am going to have to do more cooking. That thought is daunting, because I often am so tired and ill and in pain that cooking is difficult. Now I have to cook, because I can't just get stuff from the store. I mean, can't I catch a break?!

So there was that. And then I went to work, even though I really didn't feel like it. At the end of the work day, we stopped by the store to buy turkeys for the turkey boxes we're giving away to several families. The lifting of the turkeys in and out of the cart, the walking around, and the waiting at the register for 15-ish minutes while the clerk messed things up several times took a toll on me. By the time I got home I was aching fiercely. I had decided earlier that I would not be able to participate in the bar tending fund raiser that's coming up for the HJ which discouraged me some, because I feel like I'm always letting the agency down and it was just another indicator of how much things have changed for me, how much I can't do anymore. The trip to the store validated my decision, but that didn't encourage me any.

On the way home I stopped by the store to pick up my pain killer prescription, which I had to buy without insurance this time for slightly complex reasons. I had expected it to be forty, fifty dollars maybe, as it was several months ago when I had to do the same thing. Because I am taking a different sort of med, though, it came out to over one hundred dollars. All that for less than a month's worth of semi-functioning capability. If that wasn't depressing enough, that also means that my credit card is now maxed out. It's not like I've used it for frivolous things, but having to live off of it for a while last year, various medical expenses, groceries from time to time, and household items when we first bought the house have all added up. I pay on it regularly, but I don't have much in the way of disposable income so it doesn't make much of a dent. The sicker I get, the harder it gets to pay on it... and the more I end up having to use it. It's a vicious cycle.

I've always had difficulties relating with money, but not in the sense that I have a hard time managing it. I'm good with money, when I'm able to make it lol.  No, the difficulties I have are that I don't feel worth it being spent on me. The high price of my pain meds was a blow to me, because C will be the one that gives me the money to pay that off, and I question deeply whether I'm worth it or not. I don't feel that I am. I hate being in debt for any reason, and I'm in the largest non-tuition related debt I've ever been in. I feel like I'm failing at life (for so many reasons) and I'm just dragging C down with me.

I think the money thing, the high price and the maxed out credit card, was the deeply insecure straw that broke the neurotic camel's back. The blow to my already wavering self-worth and self-confidence was fierce, and then I came home to a messy house that I hadn't had the energy or  good enough health to clean in several days. I was hurting, discouraged, and found myself thinking, "What's the point? Why should I even keep trying? I can't seem to make this work. I'm failing at life, and I'm taking C down with me. Am I worth this effort?"

Well, C's love, listening, and words of affirmation really did a lot to boost my spirits. When I was exploring my feelings about money and self-worth, he told me, "You are worth more than money." He also laid out his financial plan for the next few months, which put my heart at rest some. We're going to be okay. I am not breaking him financially. We're going to get through this. It's going to be okay.

Most importantly of all, the look of pure, overwhelming love in his eyes as he stroked my face, held me close, and kissed me deeply buoyed me up like nothing else could have. Even after I had just spent the better part of half an hour rambling and crying and being sad all over him, he still had nothing but love and support for me. I knew I knew what I was doing when I married the guy. Sometimes all it takes is just for someone to listen, affirm, support, and accept to really turn things around. I went to bed happy and fell asleep quite quickly, which was a relief.

Tomorrow is his day off, and I'm looking forward to spending the day together. (Well, if I ever get back to bed. I spent most of yesterday and last night sleeping, but I woke up a few hours ago from pain so I've just been watching movies while waiting for it to die down enough to sleep again.)
I am... depressed.

It came out of nowhere.

Could be entirely situational. Could be that I'm so very tired and worn down and hurting and just sick of it all.

Could be that it's that time of the month here in a day or two.

Could be any number of things.

Doesn't change what it is.

I want C to come home and cuddle me.

I want to sleep, and I want to cry, but neither of those are forthcoming.

Nothing but the pain. The never ending, always shifting, eternally pulsing pain.

If my pain killers weren't so precious, I'd take them all.
Stay At Home Moms = Angels

I saw this video today, and it awoke an ache in my heart.

I want to be a mom. People tell me I'll make a great mom. I came close a couple of times, but lost the babies very early on.

Now, however, I watch this video and I'm terrified.

Terrified of wanting something that badly.

Terrified of the awful risk of loving someone else that much, because life is not certain but pain is inevitable. I already deal with the fear of losing my husband. I'm not sure I can handle the fear of losing a child... especially after it is born and I have known it for months and months and become attached.

Terrified that I'll never be well enough to be a mother. I saw all the moving, bending, twisting, talking, bathing, lifting, carrying, etc. that these moms are doing just as a matter of course. I know that I cannot exert that kind of energy throughout the day, much less day after day. It's just not a physical possibility for me right now. And so I have this ache in my heart... this fear that I will never be well enough to be the mother that my child would need. Is it fair to them to bring them into the world knowing full well that I can't care for them like a "normal" person would, just because I want a family? I don't know...

On the other hand, who's to say that I wouldn't still be a spectacular mom? I mean, we could bring in a nanny or something to help me with the physical side of things. It doesn't have to be conventional.

I dunno. There's just so much fear and trepidation and hope and longing wrapped up in the idea of having children... and it seems like so many of my peers are popping out babies right now. It brings the thought to the forefront of my mind.

We're not ready for kids yet; not right now. In a few years, yes. Maybe by then I'll be better.

Honestly... I'm not even sure I really want to be a mom. Not 100%, anyway. The idea is appealing, but can I really handle the reality? I'm afraid I'll regret it... and that would be the worst, for all of us.
What better way to get a sense of what's going on in someone's life than to see what they're thankful for?

26. Vanilla coke. It works so well at stopping a migraine in process, or taking it down a couple of notches if its already full-swing.

27. My skin is so pretty, smooth, and acne free. I spent a long time being very self conscious about my body acne so this is more than fantastic. Not just that, but I've finally found a natural remedy that actually works for me-- colloidal silver gel-- to keep my skin clear. (Natural remedies tend not to work for me. I've pretty much lost faith in them.)

28. Raspberries.

29. A doctor that takes me seriously, does all in her power to help me, totally believes I'm not exaggerating, and insists right along with me that I'm not a drug seeker or drug addict. So refreshing.

30. Coraline. Her cute and funny antics continually endear her to me, and she is getting so much braver!

31. Pink Macbook cases and keyboard covers.

32. Grocery store trips with friends that turn into a super fun excursion.

33. Movie night with C and said friends, followed up by some good ol' Studio C videos.

34. A better understanding of the dynamics of the family I married into, courtesy of Story Time.

35. Hearing from our friend stationed in Germany last night, and kicking off the plans for a visit.

36. Not being so horribly sick anymore.

37. Cooking "real" food for lunch two days in a row!

38. Teen group and all my girls.

39. Less than two weeks until I see my family!

40. Coraline's obsessive quest for the satiation of her oatmeal addiction.

Funny story to wrap things up: At the end of group, we usually read The Survivor's Prayer together. (It's like the Serenity Prayer, but we wrote it just for us.) We didn't have copies in the teen room last night, so I asked the other (trainee) facilitator to say a quick prayer/blessing for us to wrap things up. She stumbled and fumbled, and I realized that she didn't pray or didn't know how to pray aloud or something, so I said I would do it. As we sat there for a brief, silent moment, I suddenly realized that I don't pray anymore either! I didn't want to lie, but I didn't know how to address the prayer other than, "Dear God...", which I'm not comfortable with right now. So the silent moment stretched out longer and longer, until I finally said, "Oh, crap..." The girls burst out laughing, and then one of them volunteered to do the prayer, much to my relief. It was just a funny/awkward little thing, but it really kinda shook me up to realize the difference between a year ago and now. It's not that the way I live my life is any different, necessarily, for I still hold the same beliefs and values... but what I ascribe to as the origin of those beliefs and values and how I announce to the world my adherence to them has changed quite dramatically.
Recently on her blog my sister discussed the book One Thousand Gifts and the personal challenge she has undertaken to find and record one thousand gifts, or things worth giving thanks for, in her life. She asked if anyone else wanted to join her and I said that I might.

This morning I was thinking about some of the wonderful things that appear in my life-- blips on the radar screen to some, but indicative of a life rich with meaning and love. So, yes. I will join in that challenge. It will probably be nowhere as intentional and consistent as others' recordings of their gifts, but that's fine. This is my personal journey, and I'll take it at my own pace.

1. My husband, who is the yin to my yang in so many, many ways. He's a steady rock that keeps me anchored, and he's a warm, tender carer for my many infirmities.

2. Yesterday a stranger looked at me in surprise and said, "You're a pretty girl!"

3. Warm morning sunlight to bask in. It is better than a warm bath to soothe away my aches and pains.

4. Juneaux and his consistent need for cuddles.

5. Juneaux's 6th sense for when I'm not feeling well (or worse than usual) emotionally or physically, and his remedy of cuddles.

6. Coraline. She's such a cute goof. Follows me everywhere, but not in a needy way. She follows discreetly, from a distance... unless I have oatmeal or lunch meat.

7. The flexibility of my job and how accommodating my boss is.

8. Working with abuse survivors like myself.

9. Medication.

10. The ability to afford said medication.

11. A house of my very own, with a yard and everything!!

12. A running vehicle that gives me little trouble, despite the minimal or nonexistent maintenance I give it..

13. Eyesight. Whether it be reading or watching movies to distract myself/for enjoyment, watching birds and clouds through the window, gazing upon my beloved's face, skimming Facebook, watching the kitties' antics, or just making my way to the bathroom, my eyesight gives me access to so much meaning and convenience. I remember what it's like to be blind, and it's terrifying. (Especially the prospect of not being able to read anymore.)

14. Safe food, and the fact that we can afford it.

15. The computer I'm typing on. I thought that I was going to have to go a long time without a laptop of my own, but not only am I getting an insane discount, it's a Mac. My favorite. And better than the Mac I had before, the one that died.

16. Health and safety of my loved ones.

17. My husband finding me attractive, despite weight gain.

18. Improved self-talk, finding myself attractive despite weight gain!

19. C filled up my gas tank the other day, all the way to full! I can't remember the last time my tank was full.

20. That I was able to afford Christmas presents for my family, however small they are.

21. I'll be home for Christmas ^_^ (Sorta.)

22. I'll be with my bestie J for the real Christmas. Haven't seen that woman in a year and a half.

23. J's family is paying for my plane ticket to come out and spend Christmas with them. They decided to do this because they know how hard driving is on me (and it's dangerous these days, what with the twitch attacks and almost passing out and all) and wanted to spare me that.

24. Now 100% detached from financial dependency on anyone other than my husband. Switching car insurances Friday was the last thing.

25. I saved (not quite) hundreds of dollars on car insurance by switching to Geico. No, really.

I have continually maintained that I have a great life. I really do. Certain aspects of it may get me down, but overall I'm livin' the dream. I would change very few things.

Stay tuned for more "gifts"... whenever they come along.