I got my hands on an off-brand of Nutella that I can actually eat (can we please stop with the gratuitous soy usage, corporate America?), and I understand everything now. I mean everything. The meaning of life, the universe and everything. Turns out it isn't forty two, it's chocolate and hazelnuts. In spreadable form. The gods have descended and Eden is here. It's like the Ferrero Rocher chocolate candies that I've loved so much for so long but can't have anymore (thanks again to the soy problem) have exploded all over this whole grain toasted pita…slice? (what do you call a single piece of pita bread in all its pockety glory?). Of course, the whole wheat makes it healthy. Right? Right. Also, as a completely pointless side note, I must say that not indulging in the Oxford comma for the phrase, "life, the universe and everything" is killing me, but I am pretty sure that's how it's written and I want to be faithful to the original text. Douglas Adams deserves it. (For those completely lost, I'm referencing "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series by Douglas Adams. It's a series of books that is completely silly, mind bending, and entirely sensible if you read them all through.)

Chewing this deluxe chocolatey treat is killer, though, thanks to the good ol' oral surgery recovery. The gaping sockets where my 3 wisdom teeth used to be are pretty much alright, in that there's no easily discernible spikes of pain above what I normally experience, but the bottom left jaw pain has got to be the incarnation of everything evil in the world. Due to the positioning of that tooth, the extraction involved cutting open the gum and sewing it shut again afterward, and this stitched area is causing me debilitating pain. Yes, even with the copious amounts of strong pain killers that I am taking, and yes, even with all of the little countermeasures you can take against pain in addition to the pain meds, it's keeping me from sleeping at night, keeping me from eating solid food, giving me migraines, making the hours pass soooo slooooooowlyyyyy, and making my supply of pain killers look suspiciously puny. Once or twice a day I give in and eat something that requires chewing, but ouch.

I finally caved yesterday and started applying ice directly to my jaw, and that was an amazing breakthrough... at first… for a bit. Now it doesn't seem to matter. Sorbet has been a helpful friend as well, kind of numbing things out with cold from the inside, plus it's super delicious! The weather, though, has been affecting the pain levels. Clouds have been coming and going and bringing rain, so on the days that the weather is changing my pain is skyrocketing. On the calm days with no clouds and no changing, I was able to get it mostly under control. Since I cannot control the weather, I will simply do what I can to get this healing up as fast as possible. It's nice to know that this intense pain will end at some point. I'm not used to thinking that way anymore.

So. Birthday coming up in a week, give or take a day. I'm going to be the ripe old age of 27. I think it's fair to say that I'm definitely not where I thought I'd be in life at the moment, and things are going to be different than I had planned, but I think I'm coming to grips with that. I feel like I'm coming to after some time in a thick, numbing sleep, coming back to myself and gulping a huge lungful of air. I've had several "off" months and lots, lots, lots of heavy blows in a row. That's had me staggering, trying to come to terms with reality; adapt, adjust, and survive. I have not lost myself, though, and I feel that irrepressible sense of self rising yet again, despite the surroundings and trappings that modify the expression.

While I was on a walk the other day I caught sight of the desert mountains in the distance, and the dark-light pattern of the clouds and sunlight passing over them in turns gripped my heart as it always does. I felt the familiar yearning for a good, solid hike, followed by a mournful thought that hiking is out of the question when I'm scraping along the road with my walker. The second thought I had was, "Fuck that noise!" I refuse to let myself be bleached barren and bled dry by my disease(s). When I go hiking or backpacking I definitely won't be able to travel as far or as fast, but that doesn't mean that I have to give it up entirely. Yes, there's something to be said for working within the parameters of reality, but there's something more to be said for not giving up on yourself and refusing to become a bland mush of a person when faced with limiting circumstances. So no, I won't be a massage therapist like I had dreamed and planned, because that's just not realistic when you consider my connective tissue disease and my fatigue and pain levels. It's not a matter of want, it's a matter of not physically capable, no matter how hard I push myself and aim for the dramatically inspiring documentary story of a life.

But I still massage my husband, my friends, when I can. When I can. I've adapted. I've altered. But I'm not giving up, not unless I want to, and for my own reasons. Because while I refuse to be conquered and give up on my hobbies and my interests because of circumstances imposed on me against my will, I also refuse to be stuck doing stuff that I no longer really want to do or that I didn't want in the first place, simply to prove that my illness "doesn't define me" or whatever. If I were doing stuff just to prove that my diseases don't have me by the balls, in that moment I'd be proving myself wrong. It's a tricky thought, and a tricky balance, and it's taken me some time to get to this place. At first I needed to simply withdraw and lick the wounds inflicted upon diagnosis, to simply ride the tide of one appointment after another, and I'm okay with that. There will be times when I do so again, and that's fine. So long as the reasons are mine, and I'm doing it for me (and not because I've been bullied into it by people or my diseases), I can do whatever I need to do to get by. For me, for now, it means letting myself emerge once more, a slightly different incarnation with all the spunk and sass of my former self combined with a new balance and perspective tempered by pain and trials.

Hey, did I mention that I got glasses? Yep, I sure did, and they make me look hot. I'll get a picture in here sometime when I can, but for now just take my word for it. Here's how great they are: I actually feel more attractive with them on than without! Yeah, I know. That's never been a thing for me before. In fact, I feel very good about my appearance in general lately. Sure, I'm still overweight and trying to slim down, but my hair has been growing out and is now a chin-length bob in my natural color, my skin is clear, I've got really cute glasses, I finally found a type of bra I can wear comfortably, thus my breasts and cleavage look fantastic (even if they *are* sports bras), and I've got some really cute earrings. I want to get more holes in my ears and I've been playing with the idea of a nose ring, a very thin and delicate hoop (see below), but I just don't think it would look that great.

I've always wanted an eyebrow piercing, however, so maybe I'll go for one of those...

I definitely want what the ponytail lady (that's Fergie, right?) has in the way of earrings-- a whole ear-full, all the way down. (I just hope my babies don't decide to reach for the shiny things, you know? Yikes!)

Of course, I want a tattoo in the worst way but since I struggle with hyperalgesia and always will, I figure that it's probably out of the question. Unless I were to use medical grade anesthesia or something for the procedure. Hmm… (Kidding.) My first tattoo, though, would be this:

To wrap things up, and on a completely unrelated side note, I love my kitties. We took Fancy, the new cat, to the vet today to check out her ears--either mites or an infection, either way real bad when we got her but improving while with us--and she behaved so well both on the car ride and during the appointment itself, even while they made use of the rectal thermometer. I know that I wouldn't be as quiet and docile as she was if a rectal thermometer was involved in my exam! Turns out that there are no mites, at least not right now. It could have started out as mites and then progressed as they left their waste behind, but she has a fungal infection that a course of ear drop medication should clear right up, and I expect that we'll see a bit of a change in her disposition once that's better. She's already sweet now, but there's a difference between being nice and sweet while you're in discomfort or pain and being sweet and nice because you're no longer in discomfort or pain. You know what I mean? Well, right now she's kind of a bitch to Bob and Juneaux (pronounced "juno", by the way), hissing and swiping when they come near or if they (try to) pass by, growling at them if she so much as sees them, but it's just driven Bob and Juneaux closer which is what I was hoping for. They're becoming bros, which didn't happen before because Bob actually had his bro, Cortes! So we'll see what happens as the kitty soap opera continues. Tune in next time for more drama on As the World Tunas/General Pawspital/All My Kitties/As the Fur/Litterbox Turns.

By the by… Which is your favorite kitty soap opera name? Got an original one? Let me know in the comments!

3 thoughts:

  • amyswor | March 2, 2015 at 6:03 AM

    Love reading your blog and how you cope with issues and illness, I faced some problems too and had my nose pierced too. When you said, "...I've been playing with the idea of a nose ring, a very thin and delicate hoop, but I just don't think it would look that great," I disagree. You have a cute face and pretty nose just perfect for a little nose ring to remind you of your "Warrior" nature against adversity.

    Every time I look in the mirror seeing my little nose stud reminds me of my ability to face challenges in my life and overcome them.

    Don't hesitate to drop me a note if you wish.


  • Cassandra | March 11, 2015 at 4:49 AM

    Thank you so much for the encouragement! Much appreciated :) Also, I dig the flattery. Don't be afraid to keep that coming ;) I like the idea that your stud represents something to you-- I'm HUGE on symbolism. And I really do love how you phrased it: my "warrior" nature against adversity :)

    I look forward to hearing from you again. Ciao!

  • amyswor | March 11, 2015 at 7:11 AM


    Thanks for the nice comments. Your pretty nose would only be totally cute with a thin little nose ring in it. You have the perfect nose for a little piercing which would soO compliment your lovely red hair. A thin yellow gold hoop would truly be a statement of your inner beauty and "understate" any negativity from others.

    Recall being asked: Okay, so is that why you wear a nose ring and practice yoga? Because like it's our culture right?

    I wear a nose ring and practice yoga because I enjoy it. That’s all the reason I need.

    You shouldn’t need to justify what you do with a specific purpose. Life has no purpose, yet we all still do it.

    Live your life as you wish and consider a subtle nose piercing as your outward impresa of your spunk and willingness to overcome your personal challenges. Promise you'd look super cute with either a little diamond nose stud OR gold hoop. Others will compliment your appearance and be envious as you proudly display your little pretty adorned nose as an ensign of a positive life rather than succumbing to those negative forces we all face daily. It's okay to feel pretty...don't hesitate to let others see it too!


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