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Crocheting Fool


I’m going to be posting a ton of photos of crochet projects once Christmas is over (since they’re almost all presents for folks, some of whom read this blog).

I learned in mid-October, and I’ve been averaging one project per day for the past two weeks. They’re not big (scarves and hats), but considering I just started…I’m doing pretty well.

Fun fact: I am apparently incapable of learning a new hat pattern. I have one that I use, and the rest that I try always fail miserably. So I’m sticking to what works.

Scarves, on the other hand…I’m doing well with scarves. I’ve learned 5 patterns, so far, and all have turned out really well.

Expect photos after Christmas, if you’re into that kind of thing.

What Was Foretold May Come to Pass…Again

There is a particular feeling that I get before a period. It’s like cramps, but not really. It feels like a slight tightening in my lower abdomen, coupled with what feels like more looseness in the vaginal area. The way I always thought of it was like the lid being taken off the toothpaste before the top is squeezed. (It’s gross, I know. I live my life with analogies, because it helps me cope.)

When this happens, I break out the maxi pads, because I know what’s coming. Often, that night, I’ll dream of my period starting, and when I wake up, there it is.

This happened for around 18 years.

A few days ago, I thought, “Oh, shit, I need to get a maxi pad…” before I remembered that I no longer have a uterus.

I am having cramps. They are in the same location they used to be. It’s been happening for several days. This is new.

The reason I wrote about that feeling in the present tense up there is because, as far as my lizard brain is concerned, that is currently what’s happening.

Sometimes I have pain while evacuating my bowels, as I mentioned in the last entry, but that’s a very specific sort of pull. I already talked a lot about that, so I won’t go into more detail.

This is unprovoked. I’ve been sitting and crocheting (and going out and buying yarn and yes, walking around plenty, thank you, Mom), have been on a diet that should be reducing abdominal upset, and for all intents and purposes, my digestive tract is fine.

And yet, there is pain. I’m sitting here now resisting the urge to break out my bag of cloth pads that I still haven’t figured out what to do with (who wants secondhand menstrual pads? not many people in the First World), because everything except my logical brain is telling me that I’m about to start bleeding.

I was warned, as I mentioned before, that scar tissue would probably grow back. I was prepared for the bodily-function aspect of it – after all, that was a big complication that nearly made my surgery much, much more involved than it was. My organs were fused together, endometriosis can never really be eradicated, it causes scar tissue, badabing, we have regrowth.

It’s just a little weird to experience this aspect. I have one ovary left. I must be ovulating. I have to be ovulating. There’s no other explanation. Ovulation causes endometrial cells to swell, preparing for implantation, the swelling causes that “pre-bleed” feeling, and when nothing happens, the shedding begins, which brings on the pain.

The pre-shedding swelling is the toothpaste being opened.

And yet. I don’t have a uterus.

It’s creating quite a bit of mental and emotional confusion over here, just in time for the holidays, which, incidentally, also contribute to mixed feelings.

This oughta be fun, eh?

TMI-based Education

I’m here to tell you about a side effect of my hysterectomy that I’m sure happens to a lot of women, but that I don’t see discussed in many places except the deep recesses of forums.

I’m here to talk about poop.

When I got my hysterectomy, I had a very, very small bowel resection, which means that a small part of my colon was removed, and the hole closed up with just stitches. The bowel can stretch a lot, so it’s like, okay, a small section taken out doesn’t do much, right?

Considering that the reason for the resection was because scar tissue from my endometriosis had not only trapped a nodule of endometrium inside a large scar nodule (we thought it was a tumor; it was a confusing time), but did so outside the peritoneum, should tell you that this story doesn’t have a very happy ending. It was complicated, and so was recovery.

I have discovered through a series of unfortunate events over the past year that my scar tissue is growing back. I no longer have a uterus, and the bowel has moved forward to fill that small space, and my bladder can now hold a lot more before I have to use the bathroom, as it has room to expand. I’m about to get into the real TMI, because I have no shame at this point in my life.

hold onto your butts

When I have to pee, it always takes a few seconds to get the stream going. It doesn’t hurt, and it’s not uncomfortable. My pelvic floor muscles aren’t impaired (I work them regularly, as I was told to after surgery, and they’re in good shape). It just…takes a second. When I’m peeing, the stream is normal, and there’s no pain. This is something that happened pre-hystx (though it was painful, then), though it’s just begun again in earnest in the past couple of months.

When I poop, I have to prop my feet up into a squat (if you don’t currently do this, please do – it’s magic). I use my shower stool, on the lowest height, and just fire away. It takes me about 5 seconds to poop – less time than it does to pee – once I’m on the toilet. I’m not kidding – it’s glorious.

Now. There’s a catch. There’s always a catch.

Here’s where the post-surgery stuff comes into play: I have to take stool softeners, otherwise I cannot poop. Period. There is nothing I can do, nothing else I can take (OTC stuff just makes the build-up more painful), no amount of fluid I can drink to make my bowels move past a certain point. I tried for about a month (when it builds up for a while, a long session on the toilet, even with feet propped, can help relieve a bit, but it’s painful and horrible, and I’m surprised I don’t have hemorrhoids), then asked my doctor for help. She prescribed something that softens them enough that I have one good BM every morning, and it’s fabulous (for those wondering, the stool softener brings me to a type 3 or 4 on the Bristol chart, when I was working with type 1 if I was lucky, before – it’s seriously the best).

This started at around the beginning of the year.

There are a few of things at play: First, the scar tissue from the resection most likely healed tight because I wasn’t eating a lot of hefty food when I was recovering from my surgery, so there was no incentive for it to heal in a more flexible way. It happens.

Second, with my bladder and bowel in such close proximity, and both of them having had endometrium on them, AND there being one working ovary in there, means that there is likely scar tissue forming from the endometriosis still doing its thing, and binding stuff together (I have other evidence of this, as well).

Third, the peritoneum being involved means more scar tissue. Women who have C-sections deal with the same thing, because the peritoneum is the protective sac around the organs, and it does NOT like to be breached, so it kind of overdoes it in the healing process. Hence more scar tissue to add to the fray.

This is a thing. Lots of women deal with it post-hysterectomy, and some of them probably don’t talk about it because they’re embarrassed. But we’re all warned that the scar tissue will probably grow back; it’s just a matter of time. There are side effects to it, and some of us will have to go back and have more surgery to take THAT scar tissue out, and hope that it doesn’t happen again.

In the meantime, we poop in the best way we can find, and we just deal with it.

Poop is super important. We all do it. We might as well talk about it.


The Slip’n’Slide Paradox

Way back when I was a kid in the 80s, one of the coolest things a kid could have in the summer was a Slip’n’Slide. Now, the ones back then were pretty rudimentary. You attach the hose to the end, turn it on, and little jets of water would (hopefully) cover the surface with enough water to facilitate the forward propulsion of a small body from one end to the other with minimal friction burns.

They were pretty awesome, but there was one problem: they would absolutely ruin whatever patch of yard they were on. I’m talking torn-up grass, mud, and the kind of uneven patches that usually come from someone getting their car stuck on the side of the driveway in the rain (but they keep hitting the gas pedal because they’re convinced that this time, it’ll work. Meanwhile, that portion of the yard is just beyond help).

Anyway, one summer, the kids who lived behind my grandparents actually had a Slip’n’Slide, and since we were friends with them (as proximity dictates when you’re a child), they set it up on the strip of lawn that was Switzerland as far as property lines were concerned, and we had a grand ol’ time. Actually, I don’t remember how the experience was, because it’s what happened afterward that will always stick in my memory.

To set this up: My grandfather was a highly unpleasant man. I’ve mentioned him before, I know – but when I say “highly unpleasant,” I want you to just imagine the kind of human being that movies try to make out as being just a grumpy old relative, and truly imagine that that sort of behavior actually happened in real life, and not for the sake of comedy. That was my grandfather, and worse.

He was friendly to strangers, to a point, but we were family, so that was different. As we aged, his patience with us waned, and since we were girls (he was an old Catholic man, among other things), we were what was wrong with the world, etc. So we tried not to incite his ire, but occasionally (i.e. all the time), I would do it because I was rather rash and had poor decision-making skills. You know, because I was the youngest of three girls who were so close in age that my precociousness was my only stand-out feature.

We’d packed up the Slip’n’Slide and sent it back with the neighboring children, and the yard was a mess. We were using these little bath towels to dry off, because grandparents don’t really go to the beach, especially not in Northeastern Tennessee. My middle sister made me angry. I don’t know how. I don’t really need to know how, because this was a thing between us – we just kind of half-hated each other about 30% of our young lives.

My reaction to her making me angry was the most illogical thing I can think of: I put the nice, small bath towel into the mud left behind by the Slip’n’Slide. I remember thinking that it was already in there, so I would make my sister even more sorry that she’d made me mad by squishing it around the mud with my feet, then with my hands. I angrily rolled this towel in the mud, while my sister’s eyes got bigger, and she finally made the universal “you’re in trouble” noise: The “oooooooo!” that started out at normal voice pitch and slowly rose to a squeal, like a little siren of warning.

It was then that it’d hit me what I’d done, and the next thing I know, I’m standing in the living room in my bathing suit, holding the sodden towel, as my grandfather yelled at me for what I’d done. My sister stood next to me, as I’d pointed her out as the reason I’d done it (she was ignored once he realized that she hadn’t really done anything, but she still had to stand there).

My grandfather, in all his 60-something-year-old Catholic wisdom, decided that it was high time that I learn what my actions were truly leading to: I was going to burn in Hell.

Not just any Hell, mind you: I was going to go to a giant trash pile. In the middle of that trash pile was The Devil, who was also made of trash, for some reason, and would poke me with fiery sticks and throw scalding water on me. (I think my grandfather had some sort of obsession with cleaning, though I can’t remember actually seeing him do any.) There was fire in there, somewhere, because it was Hell, but the trash is what stood out to me.

I stood, shivering (summer meant the air conditioner was on), imagining a very angry version of Margery the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock.

I never used a Slip’n’Slide, again.

Every time I see a commercial for the product, or a nostalgic “Things Only 90s Kids Understand” post containing one of the endless variations, I get the Fraggle Rock theme song stuck in my head, and then I get very sad, which is pretty much the opposite reaction that show means to convey.

Dance your cares away,
worries for another day…


This feels like a step backwards… (health update)

Earlier this evening my muscles turned all jelly-like after I drove to get a prescription. I suspected blood sugar (this has happened several times), so I ate a peanut butter sandwich and some Halloween candy.

It didn’t get better after an hour, but Forrest had to go to work, so he suggested that I take a nap and see how I felt when I woke up. I slept in about 10-minute increments for an hour, then just lay there for about 30 minutes before finally getting up. My heart’s been kind of pounding, but kind of not, and it makes sleeping difficult.

I got up, peed, moved around a bit, and I don’t feel much better, but it’s not as bad as it was. It’s more like a sleep hangover, right now.

However, I’m bundled up in fleece and flannel, sweatshirt, etc. (I even slept in my sweatshirt, which I never do), and I feel really hot, so I was like “oh, gosh, maybe I have a fever!” Being sick would totally explain everything, right?

…my temp is 97.1. It hasn’t budged from that since I first took it over an hour ago. My feet and hands are cold (not unusual), but the rest of me feels warm.

I am at a loss, guys. I am just at a complete loss. The only thing I can come up with is hypothyroid neuropathy, because I have hypothyroidism that’s not currently being treated, and a thyroid nodule.

(For those who missed my announcements elsewhere, I am no longer on Lyme treatment due to lack of progress with the weaker regimen, and with that, I had to stop my thyroid meds, since my LLMD is the one who diagnosed me and was treating me for my hypothyroidism.)

I have an appointment with an endocrinologist, soon (the referral is taking a while to go through because they lost my paperwork), so this’ll hopefully be taken care of, but good lord. GOOD LORD.

I am putting on a happy face.

When I see you, I am smiling. I am acting how you would expect a person to act in public.

I might have a bit of a limp, or walk stiffly, but I will reach out and shake your hand, or give you a hug, and express that I’m glad to meet/see you.

I will probably sit down frequently. This may be interpreted as me being tired because I’m fat, and you’re partly correct in that assumption.

Here’s what’s going on in my body at this time, from head to toe:

  • My head feels like it’s filled with cotton. I can think, but it’s stuck in glue.
  • My eyes are simultaneously dry, and leaking a clear…”goo” is the best word. I cannot keep them clear, and am having trouble seeing.
  • My throat keeps failing me when I speak, cracking and causing me to sound as though I’ve been crying.
  • I can’t even describe my neck and upper back pain – it’s just there, all the time.
  • My sternum keeps cracking, because my breasts are too big for my weakened muscles to support properly.
  • My boobs hurt, too, which makes bras hurt, which makes the whole “support” issue a bigger problem.
  • When I eat, I get a variety of pains in my abdomen. It starts in the upper right, goes to the lower left, and ends in the middle at the bottom…where my uterus used to be. It feels like menstrual cramps. It’s very disconcerting.
  • My hips keep freezing. I have to pop them into place occasionally. Changing position frequently is required in order to keep them from getting stuck. Sitting in general hurts, but so does standing.
  • Speaking of pain, my knees and ankles are just not liking the concept of “walking,” right now, which is a shame. I have shit to do.
  • My left shin has decided that a cramp is a good idea. How does one even get a muscle cramp in their shin? I have to assume it’s nerve pain, I suppose.
  • The soles of my feet burn with every step, and my toes feel as though I’ve stubbed them all.

I am smiling as much as I can, and it’s all for you.

I don’t mind a bit.

Smile back.

Have a conversation with me.

Treat me like a human being.

I will keep smiling.

Health Update! [superhero noises]

I don’t often update about health, here, any more, and it’s because I’m so damned tired.

I got a promotion, of sorts, at work. I’m the site editor, now, which means more work, but it’s varied, so I don’t mind. Other details aren’t really important, but I’m worn out.

I’m still on the original abx for my Lyme treatment. I initially thought that I wasn’t going to have a bad reaction, but then I went out of town and overdid it after overdoing it at a convention, and I haven’t really recovered, since. I’ve had a couple of days where I was able to get out and about (a day at the mall, with frequent resting, and a wedding reception where I spent most of the time sitting), but for the most part, I’m in bed with my laptop. Again.

Today I went to my neurologist, and since I’ve seen an uptick in migraines due to stress (only a couple, but that’s still significant in 3 months, after not having more than one in a 6-month period, before), my meds were all upped. My muscle relaxer (to keep the occipital headaches at bay), my nerve pain meds (to help stave off the migraine before it starts), and the Lamictal (which is the main thing keeping the migraines away).

I haven’t gotten the other two meds, yet, but I’m starting the higher dose of those, tomorrow. I took the higher dose of Lamictal, today, because I was out of my lower dose, and I’m so dopey right now that I can barely do my work. Answering emails is a huge part of it, because that’s where we get the majority of our stories. So I forward stories to the staff, reply to devs, etc. It’s not really difficult, but it’s time-consuming, and requires some attention to detail for personalization and confirmation.

I haven’t gained or lost weight in quite a few months. I’m 15 pounds heavier than I was at this time, last year, though, which is kind of depressing. It shouldn’t matter, but when you’re at the tipping point between “heavy” and “fat,” 15 pounds is similar to the difference noticed in a really thin person. It’s strange, but true. I mostly notice it in my face and upper arms, though I know my midsection is bigger, too.

That seems like a weird thing to focus on, but I’d rather focus on that than whatever the flagyl is probably doing to my brain. It’s the med that made me speak in a weird accent due to messing with my brain stem (that still sounds weird when I type it), so I’m super-paranoid.

I go back to my LLMD in a few weeks, so we’ll see what happens. I might take a break from the abx – do some pulse-dosing with a few months off, a few months on. I think that’ll help us get a handle on where I stand.

I haven’t really used my wheelchair, yet, because I’m stubborn, but the time is coming. Especially with the med changes. My neuro told me I can NOT take it if it makes me too tired, so there’s that. He’s honestly pretty damned great – I’m really lucky to have him as my doctor.

I’m not in a bad mood or anything – being tired makes me cranky, but I can usually temper it. Stress has caused me to regress a bit, in terms of coping mechanisms, but I’m seeing someone about that, so I’ll be okay.

I’m trying to be optimistic. That’s another reason I haven’t been writing a lot about my illness, this go-round. I find that the less I talk about it (denial! woo!), the more optimistic I can be.

So that’s that. Hope all of you are doing well. :)

And spoons made me fat.

People are dead in Oregon because someone broke the law.

Another law is just another law for a criminal to break. This is an extremely simple concept.

Taking cars away from everyone because of a drunk driver makes no sense, but they kill more people every year than gun violence (here’s a handy breakdown of the numbers for you [you’ll note that they decided to compare miles to bullets, which is stupid, so their end argument is a fallacy by way of bias, but still – numbers that you can see yourself] – I found sources on both sides of the aisle that said basically the same thing; note that this is all vehicular deaths, not just drunk drivers).

I’m not saying everyone needs a gun, or that everyone has to agree that guns are awesome, or anything like that. I just think that we need to focus on the person who did the horrible thing, rather than the object they used.

In short:  I’m not blaming anyone or anything except the person who committed the crime.

I’m not insensitive to the dead. The way they died doesn’t change that their lives have ended, and that it’s extremely sad that one person had such an awful effect on so many. I’m heartbroken for those families.

Let’s focus on the people. They’re the ones with the power to act. Cars and guns just sit there until we decide to use them.

If you can’t be bothered to focus on people rather than objects, perhaps your empathy is in the wrong place, and you shouldn’t be driving, either. We can’t have you treating pedestrians like pylons.

Can we stop with this shit?

I read this article, earlier, and I have some thoughts. It turned into something too long for Facebook, but I don’t feel like editing the format, so please excuse the somewhat-jumbled style.

In high school, some fellow 9th graders read “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” There’s an earnest depiction of child rape, from the eyes of a pre-adolescent girl. Some people were bothered by it, but they read it because it was part of the assignment. The teacher was very frank about it. I wasn’t in that class (I didn’t read that book until I was 27, in fact), but I remember a girl in my health class telling me that it really bothered her because of her past (she didn’t elaborate, but the way she said it, you knew she’d seen some shit). Everyone else was just squicked out by the concept, as they should be. The girl with the actual issue was excused from the book, and given an alternate assignment that explored the same issues of poverty and race, and everyone moved on.

That book has been challenged (attempted to be banned) nearly 40 times, IIRC.

I don’t have a “kids these days” comparison, because when I was in college, the books I read were part of honors classes, and my classmates were all respectful of the fact that the world is not a pretty place, and that we were there to learn, pretty much just like when I was in high school (the only reason books weren’t read was because of laziness).

I do read Tumblr because it amuses me. But I’ve had to block words and phrases not because the topics themselves offend me, but because the opponents of those concepts are terrifying. I don’t mind hearing about Ferguson – this stuff is a problem. But the constant barrage is too much.

I don’t like even considering following politics because it’s so divisive that the tension is enough to make my blood pressure go up. I love a good debate – I love listening to more than one side, presenting points, and even having my mind changed. But people don’t want to change your mind – they want you to be of the same mindset from the beginning, or they think you a lesser being…and they’ve become vicious.

College kids are particularly prone to this phenomenon, I think, because college is that time where they can start making their own life decisions in earnest, away from their parents, for the most part. We’re told that college is where we go to be free and become who we really are. We’re told that it’s where we can cut loose and shape our lives.

We just need to learn that shaping our lives shouldn’t involve shaping everyone around you by force. I will avoid conversations that bother me, but I will not tell someone to not speak for fear of my delicate psyche. I know what makes me anxious, and I’m learning to deal with it by *gasp* thinking about those things and rationalizing my reaction to them.

Does talk of rape make me uncomfortable? Lord, yes. But I’ve figured out that it’s not necessarily the memory of my sexual assault that makes me feel awful – reading about it is not a trigger. It’s empathy. It’s a very uncomfortable realization that while I don’t know exactly what that person went through, I understand the emotions that come with it – the shame, etc. It’s like being embarrassed for someone, to oversimplify the feeling.

I won’t try to police when people should say they have a trigger, but I sure as hell know that if someone uses the word “bitches” to describe women as a whole, that’s an eye-roller, not a personal attack that threatens me or my way of life. It’s just a shitty thing. I’ve seen people get upset by being called a “girl” if they’re over the age of 18. ...really?

And people wanting to pet a camel is not animal cruelty, for fuck’s sake.

I’ve got different gender and sexuality things happening (I’m still figuring it out after detaching myself from the stuff to keep from thinking about it for over 20 years), suffer from depression and PTSD from prolonged abuse, and according to some internet residents, that should excuse me if I decide to go on a rampage against “cisgndered” heterosexuals who are “problematic.” NOOOOOO. You don’t win friends and influence people by being an asshole.

And you don’t gain anything by turning your head or plugging your ears (or, in some cases, issuing a gag order) whenever something that bothers you pops up. You LOSE, significantly, because that life experience that teaches us how different we all are, and how the world is shaped, is vital to surviving.

Ironically, by trying to celebrate differences, Millenials are trying to created a hive mind. The 1984-esque future where sameness is king isn’t coming from one political party or another – it’s coming from the very people who want the world to be colorful and different.

You can’t preach tolerance if you have none, yourself, and “tolerance” doesn’t just apply to folks who are closed off to the changing world – it applies to people who want to change the world to suit their needs.

We’re all in this together. Remember that. There is more than one perspective, and until we learn to look at a box from all sides, we aren’t even really certain of whether it can actually hold anything.

I’m slightly loopy from lack of sleep, so again, I’m sorry if this seems detached. I’m just tired of watching people turn into this kid:

little giants padding

We don’t have to sit there and take it if someone is a complete dicknugget to us. Getting hurt is no fun. But being inconvenienced teaches us how best to deal with similar situations later in life.

That’s it, I’m done. Bye, Felicia.


It begins anew. Day 1.

I’m on Rifampin, Flagyl, and Tindamax.

I took my first dose of this new regimen (which, aside from the Tindamax, is the one I started on June 1, 2013 – how time flies…) at around noon, since I woke up kind of late.

Yesterday, my mom and I did some work around the yard, in part because it needed to be done (and I needed her help to do some of the things), and in part because I knew it would be a while before I was able to do anything outside. I overdid it, tweaked my back pretty badly, and have been taking muscle relaxers to be able to move around and do what I need to (just in terms of basic human functions). Alas, this also means that, despite going to bed at a semi-reasonable hour last night, I also slept a bit late.

Anyway, the first thing I’ve noticed is the horrible aftertaste. My mouth tastes like cat pee smells, and I’ve already rinsed my mouth out several times. I got out of the habit of chewing gum because the teeth on my left side hurt when I do (I’ve had a filling in two molars on the bottom, since last time), but now I recall, vividly, why I chewed all that gum in the first place. It’s NASTY.

I’m nauseated for the most part due to this aftertaste. It’s just unpleasant. I have gagged a few times, but have managed to keep breakfast down.

Due to the need for something on my stomach when I take my meds, I’m adding proteins and carbs to my diet from here on out. I can’t juice the way I wanted to, but it’s okay. I’m getting whole fruits and veggies, now, and am going to be taking time out tonight to cut up and make baggies of those kinds of snacks to nibble on throughout the day. I’m going to limit carb and/or protein consumption to when I’m taking my pills. I just hope I don’t gain an aversion to chicken, again. That was awful.

I’m going to try to keep track of symptoms as they happen. If I feel completely terrible within a few days, I know (and I feel that this whole thing is deliciously ironic) that the meds are doing what they need to do.

Hopes for this round:

  • No wheelchair.
  • Not as much nausea or vomiting.
  • Maintain decent energy.
  • No increased insomnia.
  • Not a horrible amount of hypersomnia, either.
  • Less muscle pain than last time.
  • Less joint restriction than last time.

I know you’re supposed to let your doctors know when you start this kind of treatment, but my neurologist doesn’t give a shit about Lyme treatment (seriously, he told me he doesn’t care, because that’s not what he’s treating), and my GP is kind of cavalier about the whole thing – she reasons that as long as I’m under the care of someone who’s monitoring me closely, it’s fine. And it’s not like they don’t have the positive blood test in my file.

I think my reservations about this situation, or the main one, is that my LLMD is booked solid through November. I’m supposed to check in, and change meds, in 3 months (September). So I guess I’m going to either have to do a phone consultation, or just leave a message being like “yo, this is what happened, what’s the next step?” and hope the nurses actually call me back.

So that’s what’s going on, today. I’m going to be taking things as they come, and trying to not anticipate bad things…but I’m also going to prepare for them. Forrest’s work schedule will either prove to be problematic or fortuitous, depending on how horribly my sleep schedule gets messed up. I have friends in the area willing to help, so regardless, I think I’m going to be okay.

And I still have my parasol, so damn it, I’m going to keep trying to leave the house in spurts, because I’m tired of being cooped up, and don’t want that to be my life, again.