You've Finally Found The Place Where You Belong With Teeth, With Teeth, With Teeth...


In 2018, I will have a significant birthday. The kind of birthday that makes me acknowledge my youth (what's left of it), my life experience, and my mortality. The kind of birthday that makes me want to say, "Fuck it. Fuck all of it. I do what I want" (insert cat giving two middle fingers meme -- even though I'm allergic to cats). I've spent too much time trying to blend in when I'm clearly a sore thumb with glitter and brooding resentment. I make no sense, yet here I am, existing and dying and searching for something that I felt I didn't have permission to find. I'm an easygoing person, but I also have this weighty dark cloud; it's weird how sunshine and shadows work together. I have so much to say, and I often choke standing in front of the microphone. So from this moment on, I honor the conflicting textures of who I am. I'm a princess asshole. And I'm cool with that. I want to make a difference in the world, but I also want to be left alone. 

I think I'm a tad depressed, especially when Fall and Winter roll around. The counselor I see for anxiety has me on Prozac, which helps, but I think it's an environmental issue to a degree. I need to find my place, which I haven't. 

I'm bored out of my mind. 

I'm ill with some sort of autoimmune disease they believe to be Lyme disease. Good times.

I have this terrible sense of duty to others that I don't feel for my own body. I'm working that out. It's getting better with age. 

I just want to have fun and make connections and retreat and laugh and dance and make art and eat expensive vegetables and drive around listening to music. 

I don't know what else I want.


Rocky Mountain High...

I've always been the type of person who didn't move a muscle without permission. It's taken me nearly four years (and counting) of counseling to understand that I am in charge of my own decisions, and I don't owe anyone else a say in my life. I mean, I already *knew* this, but putting it into practice hasn't been easy. I'm not fully comfortable with this revelation of being in control yet, but I'm working hard to overcome some emotional and anxiety issues. Life has not turned out the way I planned, at all, and I have to deal with this reality. The counseling really helps. In addition to the internal issues I'm working against, my plans have also turned into cow patties because I'm sick. I've been sick for a looong time. Apparently, I am infected with Lyme disease and some co-infections which include chronic active Epstein Barr and a pneumonia virus. When I first became ill, I was fairly young and no one took me seriously, so I figured I'd just deal with it, and I hoped it would just go away eventually. It did not. Then came a time when I went to the doctor several times per week because the symptoms became so frightening, but the docs would either dismiss me outright or just prescribe pain pills. I don't like pain pills, and they don't work for me. Plus, I need to be lucid, and pain pills tend to make me nervous and overly sleepy. I can't work with that. 

In recent months, I've slowed way down. I am not physically able to "fake it" on days when I'm having trouble functioning, which makes me feel way more vulnerable than I would have imagined. I have tried to hide the fact that I'm unwell, but people have noticed. I really hate that. My attitude, however, is mostly positive. I've had some dark times, but I am a generally happy person. Unfortunately, the pleasant demeanor hasn't helped with the weird and troubling symptoms. So after nearly two decades of illness and a lot of research and consideration, I came to a decision: I would move to Colorado and begin cannabis therapy. 

After I made this decision to treat myself with an unconventional medicine, I made another decision. I will no longer be polite about my health issues when questioned by others. I realize plenty of people will not approve of cannabis as a legitimate treatment, and plenty of people just looooove to share their unvarnished, unsolicited opinions. I don't need your opinion or your approval. I am doing this legally and carefully. I researched and researched before I chose cannabis as my treatment. I consulted clinics, books, and people who have used cannabis for its healing properties before I decided to use it for myself. I don't need anyone to tell me my decision is "wrong" or "bad." I am trying to save my own life. I am trying to ensure I can be around to raise my son. Anyone with an opposing agenda can suck it. 

This move has been expensive, and because this is not a conventional treatment, insurance won't pay for a thing. My family is 100% footing the bill for this, which makes me feel incredibly lucky and loved, but at the same time, I feel pressure. I feel pressure to get well quickly, which might not be possible. I feel pressure to share private information when I don't want to because they're paying. I feel pressure to hide this from the people in my hometown (The cat will escape the bag on this eventually). I feel pressure to pay my family back for this treatment. A close friend reminded me that the only thing I should be focused on is trying to rest and heal. I'm trying to do that. 

So now that I've made it to Colorado, I've had about a week and a half on my new treatment. I have chosen cannabis oil and CBD oil to treat myself. The CBD is supposed to help lessen the negative effects of THC in the cannabis (THC is responsible for the "high" associated with ingesting cannabis). For those of you who belive cannabis is only for stoners, let me explain something to you: I have not gotten high on the cannabis oil. I'll repeat that: I have not gotten high on the cannabis oil. It has made me very sick, which can mean that I've taken too much, I'm having a bad reaction, or it's actually working to kill my disease. I added the CBD oil after my first few doses of the cannabis oil on the reccomendation of a nurse. I think the CBD has helped me tolerate the cannabis a bit better. 

The first night, I took more than I should have because it didn't seem to be affecting me, so I took an additional dose about 30 minutes after the first one. I guess I was too eager to get well. Also, it was difficult to see how much I was taking because the nearly-black-colored oil is the same color as the stopper and the measurement marks on the syringe. I have since worked out a better way to dose myself. I did not feel "high," but I became extremely dizzy and motion sick. This lasted 24 hours. I woke up several times during the night because I could feel every movement of every cell in my body. If I flipped over to sleep on my opposite side, I felt my stomach take a few extra seconds to turn, and it felt like the world was spinning even when I lay completely still. Even the act of breathing caused motion sickness. It was a horrible feeling. I never felt relaxed, nor did I experience the euphoric feeling I've heard others talk about. It wasn't fun at all. 

But even though I felt so terrible, I noticed a few positive changes nearly immediately. My coloring was improved the morning after my first dose: I wasn't the sickly-reddish color I had been. My inflammation was decreased, and my pain was lowered; it felt as though someone had turned down the volume on the constricting and sizzling feeling that's always in my arms and legs. I could feel it was still there but more quiet than usual. I also appear thinner, though the scale shows the same weight as before. This may be due to less inflammation, and I realize cannabis has a reputation for giving people "the munchies," but my appetite has actually been decreased. Over the next ten days, I dosed myself more conservatively and carefully. I have noticed a few minor improvements in my symptoms and pain, but I realize it will take more time and larger doses to make a significant difference for me. 

During this journey, I'll be blogging about and videoing my progress. I intend to write a book in the hopes of helping others with similar issues, and maybe I can help shine a positive light on the medical benefits of cannabis, particularly the oil form. Right now, I'm a little tired, but I can already feel some positive changes, and I believe I'll be able to blog every few days. We'll see, I guess.

A few of my friends who know where I am and what I'm up to have made jokes like "So, are you stoned yet?" or "You must be high today" and so on. Normally, I'm pretty laid back and hard to offend, but this actually bothers me a little. I guess it bothers me because this isn't a joke. I am not here spending tens of thousands of my family's dollars because I want to get stoned; I'm trying to fix my life so that I don't die. This means a lot to me, and I have a huge amount of hope hanging on this trip and this treatment. I don't appreciate jokes. It feels like jokes undermine the seriousness of my disease. My life is in shambles: if you think that's funny, then you're a horrible human being, and I don't give a crap about you or your stupid jokes. For a minute I thought I'd lost my sense of humor, but I think it's more likely that I just realized I don't have to laugh along with assholes about things that aren't funny. However, I did title this post "Rocky Mountain High." See? I can poke a little fun at myself. Maybe this falls under the same rules as "I can make fun of my own mother, but YOU can't."




Roll Over! I'm Crowded! So They All Rolled Over and One Fell Out...

Once again it's a new year, and once again I find myself vowing to write more, which I never accomplish. I've been told recently that I put too much pressure on myself. Probably. Because I'm alive and a mother and trying to survive and heal my body and have a good time and contribute and have a clean home and show up for my child and be a good wife and be reliable to help others and... well, it all piles up pretty quickly. Hopes and dreams are easy to elbow out when you have a small child who needs your attention and guidance, but even without the kiddo there is always a distraction, always a compelling issue begging for attention outside my personal goals. Sometimes I procrastinate. I work to keep a cool exterior amidst all the chaos, but I’ve noticed that, with rare exception, I feel overwhelmed on a daily basis. In the last year, I've taken up yoga, I have continued attending personal counseling sessions for help with anxiety, and I am now working on meditation and healthy eating. (Dude, healthy eating is SO hard. I *might* have just eaten a max roast beef from Arby’s. With cheese sauce. #Oops!) I have learned (and am still learning) to prioritize my “to do” list, and I’m working on accepting where I am right now instead of measuring my worth by where I think I should be. I feel much better about my life and my journey at the moment. Even with all the overwhelm, I am beginning to feel the calm step in a little. I’m cutting myself some slack, as all those Facebook memes written over a beach scene tell me to do. I just hope I can keep my mind from going gonzo and maintain a little of the calm coolness I’ve built. A lot happened in 2015 to destroy my cool. And 2016 may think it’s going to run me over, but I’m not willing to lie down for that. Come and get me, bitch!  

So… Over the last weekend, I noticed a lump in my breast. I nearly freaked out having to wait until Monday to call the doctor. Actually, I shouldn't say that I "nearly freaked out." …I freaked out. I began the process of mourning my own life, even before I knew if there was any real danger. As it turned out, Doc doesn't believe there is anything to worry about, and my mammogram came back normal. While I tried to keep my mind from going straight to the worst-case scenario before I saw the doc, I reminded myself that I need to be realistic, and that I need to remain calm no matter what happens. My life flashed before my eyes, and I didn't like what I saw. I saw a person who has lived in fear and has hidden herself, a person who has cried beneath the covers too many times. These last several years, almost a decade, have been difficult. Things have gone wrong. I have compared myself to others and decided that I was not a good person or worthy enough to expect happiness. I am now on the road to recovery from living inside such a negative bubble of self-doubt, but I’m not 100% healthy yet. The forces of negativity are strong. 

One major source of this negativity is that I am sick. Doctors used to tell me that I had fibromyalgia, which is bullshit, I've decided. That's code for "We don't know what's wrong with you, and we're tired of your whining." I even had one doctor tell me, "Look, you seem like a nice lady, but you are never going to get better. You need to accept the fact that the rest of your life is going to be hard, and no one can help you. Stop making doctor appointments. Get used to this." After that particular appointment, I stayed in bed and cried for three days. Another doctor accused me of drug-seeking, even though I didn't ask her for any drugs. I don't like drugs. I believe she was frustrated that I expected and answer and wouldn't just go away. But I needed help! Another doctor told me to start running for 30 minutes a day, even though I was having to walk with a cane. Another called me "Little lady," and said, "You're not sick. Someone must have put these ideas in your head." Because he’s still living in the 1920s when women “needed” men to put ideas in their heads, maybe? Yet another doctor refused to refer me when he couldn't come up with an answer and told me I would "just have to get sicker" so that he could figure it out. Another doctor broke up with me, saying he felt he had "completed" his "original mission" with me. One stopped returning my calls. One doctor closed her practice. One went to jail. And that's not all. I've had over a decade of rejections from medical professionals, and I was never rude or pushy. In fact, I felt embarrassed to list all my symptoms. The general procedure of these doctors was to tell me there was nothing wrong with me, offer no solution toward my medical problem, schedule a return appointment for me in a month, and show disbelief that I wasn’t better when I returned… as if I had done something wrong or was lying. At each ridiculous rejection, I remained polite – that was probably a mistake. I felt helpless, and I didn’t realize how important it was to speak up. After all, these were doctors; weren’t they supposed to know everything? Well, they don’t. Finally, after years of searching, I found a doctor who listened and made a valiant effort to help me. And things have begun to improve. I have been diagnosed with Lyme Disease and Chronic Active Epstein Barr. It took more than ten years to arrive at a real diagnosis. With some research, I feel confident that this diagnosis is correct. And guess what? These things can't be cured entirely. They also may be linked to rare forms of cancer, hence the freak out over the breast lump. So I am forced to accept that I now have limitations, I am at risk for some bad stuff if I don’t take care of myself (and still at risk even if I do take care of myself), and I have to get reacquainted with my body and its limited capabilities. I have no choice but to "listen to" my body, as they say. As a person who is used to pushing her limits, it is more difficult to listen and look after myself than I would have expected. But again, it's a journey. It's a journey I didn't mean to take, but nonetheless, it's where I am. And I finally have the support of a medical physician who believes me and wants to help. And he hugs me after each appointment and says, “Everything is going to be ok.”

So basically, I’m having to re-learn how to do life. It’s super upsetting. But I can do it. I think. 

Ok, now screw all this sad medical crap! Happy 2016! Party time!


Mood: I hope this doesn't sound like whining. 


The Eye of the Tiger

The reason I don't like places where wild animals are held captive is this: humans are a mediocre lot. They do as little as possible with rare exception, in my opinion. While some have legitimate reasons for being half-assers, plenty are just lazy, and some are just not that bright. I'm reminded of the George Carlin quote that goes something like this: "Think about how stupid the average person is, and realize, half of them are stupider than that!" And there's the more recent Ron White sentiment, "You can't fix stupid." Not to suggest I'm some sort of genius -- more than once I've paused my car at a stop sign & waited for it to turn green-- but I am responsible. I do my job well & when I'm unable to perform what's expected of me, I let people know. Stupid people are, by definition, largely irresponsible. So what does all this mean? We human beings are a bunch of lazy, stupid, irresponsible lumps of flesh, and looking at the bell curve, nearly half of us are destined to fill the role of "less than average." ...Which brings me back to my original point.

I believe that people who are animal lovers and choose to work in an animal-related field are generally sharp and well-trained. Generally. A relationship develops between a trainer and animal that's not terribly unlike a bond between mother and child. Generally. But even mothers sometimes abuse their children and children kill their parents with a butcher knife. A person working with animals must be smart, patient, and responsible. See my earlier "statistics" on the amount of people embodying all those traits.

And it's not just animal people who must be constantly on top of their jobs: there's medical professionals, pilots/drivers, chefs/cooks, and tons of other people whose job puts them in a position to kill other people if they are not smart and responsible. So again, the number of people capable of attention to detail and job excellence is a paltry one. Add in my personal trust issues installed by my dad which border on paranoia (random personal fact), and, to quote something I'm sure Samuel L. Jackson has said at some point, "I don't trust you motherfuckers."

So when my son's school announced a field trip to the zoo, I had to go refill my Xanax prescription. There is, statistically, certain to be some idiots working at the zoo, and there is, statistically, certain to be some dumb-ass kids who have been raised by dumb-ass parents attending this field trip. Will everything go smoothly? Probably. But "probably" isn't 100%.

It's probable that we won't all die in a bloody mauling before someone wakes up at their zoo-attendant post and tranquilizes the lion whose cage was left unlocked by Joey the maintenance intern. It's probable that my kid won't be shoved into a cage by a little rat-bastard first-grader. It's probable that the bus driver in charge of transporting my son doesn't have such a shitty life that he gets high before buttoning up that generic uniform and subjecting himself to relentless abuse by young children who probably could benefit society by being caged up themselves. And it's probable that no one involved in this stupid zoo transaction-- from teachers to parents to bus drivers to other drivers to zoo employees -- will go batshit crazy & start shooting at me or my child. But it's not guaranteed.

And since, statistically, we'll be surrounded by a bunch of intellectually-challenged, irresponsible, and zero-ambitioned people, I have little faith in this system. I am imagining the best way to position myself should I have to shoot a tiger, and how to smuggle a gun inside without causing another tragedy of some sort, and how to find the secret website where I can order a protective energy field for me and my husband & kid who will all be attending this death fest.

Or maybe I just shouldn't have sent in the $6 with a permission slip that said, "yes."

Don't even get me started on my son's request to attend the circus.

Mood: What the fuck does my neighbor mow and weed-eat every friggin' morning?


Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe

Easter is my least favorite holiday. Is Easter a holiday? Whatever. I appreciate the spiritual significance for those who celebrate it, but I'm talking about the other side of Easter: the friggin' Easter Bunny. I kind of like dying eggs, but I loathe, LOATHE, Easter egg hunts. The weather is always unpleasant & I have to endure small talk with strangers and their horrifically mannered children. I usually set something up for my kiddo at home, which is only slightly less psychologically draining than public Easter egg hunts.

My son & I had a long day today, and he finally got off to bed, but then I had to stay up & write up a scavenger hunt for him. I had to hide eggs (real eggs) for him to find (I took pics of each one to make sure they are all found & accounted for, so they won't rot in my home), and I had to make rhyming hints for his little prizes hidden around the house. Because he insisted I contact the Easter Bunny and request (demand) this sort of game. And I'm now wired yet exhausted. I'd like to throat-punch the Easter bunny. It's nice to see my kiddo enjoy himself hunting the stuff, so I guess I shouldn't be so selfish. He is pretty adorable, so I'll just keep my annoyance to myself instead of crapping all over his Easter basket (figuratively... Maybe).

Side note: At the church across from my office today, I saw a swarm of hornets near the Easter tent. I could forsee an Easter tragedy when a small child or elderly parishoner wanders up to the hornet nest without seeing it there. Yep, someone may be incurring the wrath of The Lord tomorrow when the hornets are disturbed. But it shan't be me... Because I avoid all things Easter, but I will be home, buzzed on chocolate chickens & rabbit-shaped gummies.

Mood: Die, Easter Bunny, Die!