Uncategorized

Moving, and Moving Forward

For a long time I was told to keep moving in order to improve my fibromyalgia symptoms, but it never helped me. More often than not it would send me spiraling into a flare up of symptoms that would make it impossible to move for days, sometimes even a week or more. Yet over and over I would do what “they” told me to do because all these people saying the same thing couldn’t be wrong, right?

I’ve always been a person who has not only met but surpassed any goal laid out before me. So to constantly fail at simply moving every day was a very big blow to my self esteem. I started to believe what a few truly awful people and a lot of really awful doctors were saying – that I was just lazy. And they must be right because there was no other reason for me to not be able to do this very simple thing.

Fast forward to today where I’ve spent the summer learning the ins and outs of my newest diagnosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and receiving the proper medical treatment for it. For the first time in my life swimming is actually refreshing, whereas before it would feel good for only the first few minutes then slowly begin to crush me for days afterward. For the first time in so long I can actually feel the benefits of moving every day, whereas before there were only consequences no matter what I did or didn’t do. I now know that weird sensation of my finger joints suddenly feeling bigger than I remembered was not a hallucination because now my doctors feel them and record the ups and downs themselves, and that getting trapped under my comforter in the morning wasn’t because I wasn’t working hard enough in physical therapy – it was because my immune system was attacking my shoulder joints making them inflamed, painful, and weak. For so long my doctors just assumed all these things that are so clearly RA were  “just fibromyalgia,” proving that they neither properly understood fibromyalgia nor were properly caring for me, and I’ve lived every day second-guessing my sanity because of it until now.

Fibromyalgia still has that “garbage can diagnosis” stigma and it’s not doing anyone any good. If you are a person diagnosed with it, plenty of crappy people will take it upon themselves to wield that stigma like a sword and cut you to your core because according to that stigma there isn’t really anything wrong with you, you just have a bunch of symptoms caused by a whole bunch of things that are your fault, and you need to just do better and you’ll feel better. If you are being treated by a doctor who believes that stigma, how can you ever feel human when the person treating you believes your symptoms belong in the trash? If you are a doctor who believes that stigma, you are failing you patients who have fibromyalgia…and even more so the ones who don’t.

Now I still do have fibromyalgia – as well as hypothyroidism, degenerative disc disease, depression, anxiety, and now rheumatoid arthritis – but being treated as if that were my only problem caused me so much unnecessary pain. I’ve lost years of my life. I can no longer work. I’m a completely different person than I used to be. And all it would have taken was one doctor way back then to rebel against the stigma, properly do their job, and save me. But instead I saved myself by never giving up until I found the treatment I deserved.

I’m very thankful for my current medical team; they are quite simply amazing. I’m on two new medications for RA and the difference is night and day. I’m nowhere near normal, but my quality of life has drastically improved. There’s still a lot for me to learn about pacing myself and RA in general, but now I finally feel better when I move every day. Now I can make health goals and meet them, and every now and again exceed them. But along with the new diagnosis and medications has also come a new mindset, and all together that is ultimately what is helping me.

When I started to feel a bit better I went crazy and overdid everything. Cleaning, social visits, trips with my child – I went nuts. And then because I was feeling so much better my doctor and I finally decided to get rid of one of the last fibro medications I was prescribed. I was so excited! I continued to go crazy as I was nearly a full week free of that medication when I found myself doubled over in pain in the middle of a clothing store with my son, unable to move. The pain didn’t go away. It lasted for a full week and that is when I learned a few very important things.

One, I still have fibromyalgia and clearly need that other medication. I had to learn that my goal was not to be on less medication but to be on the medications I needed to feel better – no matter how many that may be – and that it was bound to be a good amount of them considering I still have several conditions as RA did not magically replace everything else. So I called my doctor and went back on that medication, and within four days I was back to what my new normal had been since I started my treatment for RA. Lesson learned.

Two, most of the things I was overdoing was because I thought I had to do them. I’ve learned that I do not, in fact, need to do all of the cleaning to be a good person. I can actually ask for help even if I’m not in pain in order to prevent myself from burning out or ending up in pain. I don’t need to prove anyone wrong; I just need to be happy. And I’m not happy when I’m doing everything.

Three, I still need to rest even when I feel good. This is possibly the hardest lesson I’ve learned so far. Doing nothing while feeling good feels like a slap in the face to feeling good. But then I had to ask myself why did I think that? The answer is because I was worried about what people would think. How lame is that? New rule – screw what people think and do what is best for you at all times. What others think has never helped you before, why would it help now?

Four, I do actually need to move now in order to continue feeling good. When the pain set in after I stopped that medication, I ended up in bed for nearly a week. I started taking the meds again and it took another four days of being in bed before I felt back to my new old self…except that my back still really hurt. I had a feeling that it was stiffness from not moving, so I bit the bullet and did some physical therapy exercises and in a few short days my back pain levels were way down again. Now that I’m being treated for RA l actually know what it feels like to feel good, and because I have RA I will become very stiff in very bad places if I sit too long. Five minutes of physical therapy a day is enough to combat that. Yes, it really truly is. But that was never the case before I was diagnosed and treated, so it’s been hard to believe it! But the evidence so far speaks for itself.

Five, learning to balance Three and Four is going to be a lifelong journey. It’s not easy! It almost requires me to have a schedule of sorts, something that I haven’t been able to stick to in years because my symptoms and pain were so out of control. But I’ve found that a very small amount of practice every day is actually yielding results. I don’t need to overdo it and I can’t not do it at all, but somewhere in-between it all is my very best life. And that is something that is worth spending my energy on.

Six, everything I’ve learned that I need to do now in order to keep feeling good never helped me before I was diagnosed and treated for RA because my symptoms were far too out of control – it was like throwing ice cubes at a house fire. I may not be able to educate every person who thinks they know what is best for me or what I should be doing in order to help myself, but I can change the narrative within myself when approached by these people and know that my instincts have always been correct from day one. So when stupid things are said to me or bad advice is passed on to me, I can confidently say, “Thank you but my medical team and I have a very good plan right in place right now and none of those things are in it. But thank you, again, for your care and concern.” Or just stick up my crooked, swollen middle fingers, smile, and ethereally float away.

Moral of the story is that there will always be dumb people, rude people, people who mean well but are ill-informed, people who don’t mean well and are ill-informed, bad doctors, good doctors who are ill-informed about your specific condition, people who mean something to you and have no clue what they are talking about, and people who mean nothing to you and are just know-it-alls and/or nosey and just like the feeling of superiority they get when they solve other people’s problems…poorly. But how other people treat you is their path and how you react is your own. And I know it’s even more difficult to stick to your path when you are in excruciating pain, feel abandoned by the medical field, and are questioning your sanity. But I think that if you are travelling a similar path as I have, take it from someone who is a little further along and keep believing in what you know is right, never stop looking for the better medical care that you deserve, and do not put any of these weirdos’ words in your own narrative because living with a chronic illness is a very rare thing that not many truly have a grasp on. I wish I would have learned that sooner.

And also flipping people off, smiling, and ethereally floating away from them. I totally wish I would have started that sooner, too.

 

Advertisements
Uncategorized

It Doesn’t Get Better, It Gets Different

I feel as though I’ve written about this before, yet I can’t find a single shred of evidence that I have. Maybe the feeling and the idea has just been with me for so long now.

I was very recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. After suffering for nearly 12 years with no name for what was wrong with me, I finally earned myself a Fibromyalgia diagnosis and proceeded to fight for proper care and treatment for another 15 years. That’s when I met the team who cared enough to listen. And because they did that, I am now being treated for RA.

I began my treatment in the beginning of summer and I could feel the difference with the very first injection of methotrexate. I know it takes around 8 weeks to feel the full effects, but I most certainly felt something change for the better immediately. The week after I found myself lazily coloring with my 3 year old nephew out of the blue and it took until we were nearly done for me to remember that I hadn’t been able to color, draw, paint, or write by hand for about 10 years. I caught myself doing origami with my son. I even French braided my hair. I wasn’t forcing myself to try any of these things; I was simply doing what felt natural at the moment. And then the medication began helping me so much that I eventually went overboard – but boy did I enjoy it.

What I didn’t enjoy, though, was the after effects of overdoing it. At one point I ended up writhing and rolling on the floor, crying in pain, after cleaning way too much of the house. I scared my son. I scared myself. It was time to calm the hell down and realize that even though I sometimes felt like my old self, I wasn’t my old self.

And that is the paradox of “getting better” when you have a chronic illness.

I soon started Enbrel in addition to the methotrexate, and it has been an entire world of difference. I’ve driven to see my sister more times since starting it than I have the whole year prior. I took my son to Great America twice, but the second time I ended up in laying down in pain my sister’s van for the second half of the outing. I’ve been able to play my guitar, something I had to give up 6 years ago. And my daily level of pain is down significantly – I can just “be” and not be in agonizing pain much of my day, unless of course I’m in a flare.

And that all sounds amazing, right? And it is amazing! Except that the actual change in my daily life isn’t much of anything.

I still cannot work because my symptoms are still wildly unpredictable. Fatigue has been crushing me since I started these meds and I often lose an entire day to sleep. These meds make me highly emotional, so I cry about nearly everything right now. I still can only use my arms so much – even if it feels ok I have to set strict limits so that I don’t overdo it and hurt myself. Things are so much better for me right now yet in so many ways they are exactly the same that I almost want to stop saying that I feel better and instead simply say that I feel different.

And I do feel different. I can have a day where I do nothing and not be in pain and it feels so damn amazing, but the guilt always sets in. I should be doing something. The house needs cleaning. I should take my son somewhere. I’m feeling fine so I should take the opportunity…and so on. Well I’ve taken the opportunities and abused them so many times now that I don’t really trust myself anymore, so I save it for really special things that are totally worth the pain. But that leaves a lot of days where there is just nothing… and it is driving me insane.

Now here is something I do recall writing about before – not knowing what to do with myself. Wanting to be productive so badly but being physically incapable of doing so. And now that I’ve gotten a taste of the old me I feel like I had an addiction to accomplishing things in my old life and now I’m relapsing.

I had a really, really good run once both of the new meds  were working in my system and ended up feeling great for a few weeks in a row. So I ignored the new calm the hell down rule and tore up my rug and painted my table and organized drawers and then fell into a flare right in the middle of it all and woke up one day in a werid foggy pain, barely able to walk through my dining room because of all the projects I started at once, and immediately felt overwhelmed in a very, very awful way. Having to stop hit me hard. I thought I knew my new limits but they were as unpredictable as before, and I fell into a bit of depression because of it. I’m once again climbing out, just as I was the last time I wrote about wanting to be productive. But having to live with the mess I made while trying to be productive was possibly even worse than the flare itself.

So I’ve had to make some very hard choices about what it means to be feeling better, er different, and what I want to feasibly do about and with it. I think the only good that has come of it all is that I have finally decided I am done using my better for cleaning and projects that are simply too big for me and will be finally getting help.  I even decided to let go of grocery shopping and used an order online and pick up at the store service today just so I didn’t have to lose an entire day to groceries. And it felt amazing!! I was able to put all my groceries away as soon as I got home, something I can never do because I’m either crying or in a pain coma. But I put them away, made myself a great cup of coffee, sat down feeling very accomplished and pleased with myself… and proceeded to have *nothing* to do for the rest of the day.

It’s not easy finding the balance here. I know I’m done torturing myself and that I’d like to use my feeling better for good, like for myself or for my child, but when my son isn’t home there is quite literally nothing for me to do. Because I don’t really have a life anymore. So I don’t know what to do!

Yes, this girl needs a hobby. I love music and have been able to get together with my father and a few other good musicians and play about once a month since my new meds, so there’s that. But it’s not enough. I love writing, but I am limited to about 30 minutes on the computer before I cause myself serious pain. That is the same problem I run into with working on my podcast – limited computer time. I can only work on it for so long. I read somewhere that I should get on a schedule and I thought “Yes! This is the answer!” and then I laughed myself silly. The problem with being on a schedule is that it works great until you are in flare and lose two whole weeks to it and reemerge from the pain cave just to start all over again. Hence half the reason why I don’t work – schedules. If you can’t stick to it, what’s the point? I’d need like three different schedules. One for good days, one for ok days, and one for flare days. Who does that? Me? Maybe? No. No. I’m not doing that.

I suppose if I could sit around and not do anything and just be happy doing that my life would be pretty good right now. I hate to come off as not being happy for having less pain, and please know that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s simply that less pain and more fatigue and unpredictable limits brings more problems that need to be solved – problems that I do not have the answers for because I’ve never been here before and I’m simply doing the best I can. I find it as freeing as I find it frustrating. I’m as happy as I am irritated and lost. I’m as clear as I am confused.

This is a very strange place to be.

It’s certainly different.

Uncategorized

From the Chandelieeeeer

Ok, look. I’m just going to be straight up honest with you here and admit that I am NOT the best housekeeper by any means, but I’m not disgusting. Gross, sometimes [I do have a kid], but not disgusting. And I tell you this because we’ve developed a bit of a fly probem, which might bump me up into the upper tiers of grossness but, honestly, most of it is not my fault so hold that Judgey McJudgerson judgement for just a bit longer as I explain.

Our dog was diagnosed with Lymphoma on April 13th, and a few weeks later stopped eating her regular dog food. So I started scrambling to feed her whatever people food she would eat – which worked great for about two weeks. Then one day I had to feed and water her by hand. When she regained her appetite, or so I thought, I served her a big spoonful of her favorite beef and rice…and the entire bowl disappeared.

No, not like she ate it. She HID it. The entire bowl, with it’s contents. I laughed at first. What a weird thing for her to do, right? I laughed until I couldn’t find real people food in an open container for three days. Not so funny anymore.

I learned that she hid it because I put it next to her new sleeping spot and that she wanted her area clean AND probably also did not want the food period because her appetite was just about completely gone. And so, while looking for my son’s hoodie, I found the bowl and the spilled food in the corner of our “coat rack”, which is a bunch of hooks I hung behind the door but nothing really gets hung on them because my son throws his shit on the floor.

But I digress.

Grossness ensued as I cleaned rancid fat and meat…the rice held up nicely, I must say…but by then it was really too late. And I was too tired – let’s not forget that I’m pretty broken over here – and the seeds had been planted. Or the eggs. Whatever.

Fast forward to a few more episodes of her hiding food no matter where I put it, me having to leave plates of baby food out for her overnight in *hopes* that she’d eat, and, well…flies. Lots and lots of flies.

I was overwhelmed with the whole process of trying to find food for my dog to eat, on top of already being too overwhelmed to clean a normal house much less a house riddled with the remains of people food that was now dog food that was now hidden somewhere inviting problems.

I made a few homemade traps – I am an EXPERT at fruit fly traps, so why shouldn’t I be good at this? I mean, a fly is a fly, right?? After a few spills of just *disgusting* stuff, I quit. I quit and I went online and searched for where the hell I could get fly ribbon…which is where I came up with my first piece of comic relief in this entire fiasco – please see the description.

image
Ass water. I should have known.

I stuck with the fly ribbon.

So here I am, pulling the first fly ribbon apart, and just praying that I do NOT get it stuck in my hair. Because I ran right into one once as a child and the memory of that thing in my hair still haunts me to this day.

I got the first one out very carefully, barely getting any on my hands, and managed to hang it in the bathroom without a hitch. This falsely raised my confidence levels, which really wasn’t a good idea, and so I was a little more cocky with the next ribbon.

I decided the next one should go above where the pet food bowls were. And so I started pulling it apart…pulling….pulling….until somehow it was stuck to the front of my shirt.

No problem, I told myself. It’s ok, I said as I peeled it from my shirt watching the residue stay stuck to my shirt in little patches. It’ll wash off…

Next fly ribbon was to be attached to the dining room chandelier because a) I really like Sia and b) they are really attracted to the light that comes from the window it hangs in front of. So I find some tape, open the ribbon, get the ribbon stuck to itself, peel it apart again, and successfully tape it to the chandelier.

Or so I thought.

I finally go to sit down, flipping off every fly caught on every ribbon on the way because I’m a bad ass bitch, when I hear FLOP!!!

The ribbon hanging from the chandelier had fallen to the floor.

Thank goodness it’s only tile, I tell myself as I get MOAR tape and go to pick up the ribbon.

[cues A Christmas Story’s tongue vs metal pole scene] Stuck? Stuck?? STUCK!!!!!!!!!!!

I finally pull that bitch off the floor only to find MY FLOOR TILE ATACHED TO IT.

So I pull off the floor tile, and the ribbon gloms right onto the front of my shirt as if my shirt were made of fly ribbon magnets. My hair sets on fire, figuratively of course, and I rip the damn ribbon off my shirt only to lose my grip on it and send it plopping back down to my damn floor tiles.

Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat.

I finally get it taped back up to the chandelier, to the chandelieeeeeeeeer, and then I go and flip every little stuck fly off AGAIN because FUCK THIS, I AM THE BOSS.

The very sticky boss.

Do you know that soap won’t get this shit off your hands???? Thank goodness I tried to be a good mom once two years ago and make my own baby wipes [because CHEMICALS], therefore I still have a newish bottle of baby oil in my cabinet – even though my baby is 8 years old. [Boys have pooping/wiping issues until they get married.]

And so here I sit, waiting for all my hard work to pay off, hoping I won’t walk right into a ribbon like I did as a kid, half knowing I’m probably going to do just that.

And that is life right now in the Ihlenfeld house. Thanks for tuning in. I’ll be pouring baby oil all over my floor tile if anybody needs me…and probably pouring it in my hair later if anyone would like to bring me some wine…

Maybe I should have gotten the ass water.

Uncategorized

A Typical Friday Afternoon

I stand on my front porch fully medicated and woozy. A chemical taste emits up my throat and out of my mouth like invisible cigarette smoke, and while it’s not horrible it’s most certainly weird and noticable. It feels as if it has permeated my lungs, and the damp post storm air does nothing to help.

Landi is rambling about the yard, testing limits, yet again, ever since both cats went in to the vet one after the other. I think she worries she’s next ever since that crazy Petco experience where she incited every dog in line with her incessant high pitched bark. She honestly just wanted to play. I swear. Fun times.

Little guy is on the floor playing with fully *clothed* barbies for a change along with a headless G. I. Joe doll. Why is he headless? We don’t know. Best not to ask. Plus, little guy has strep throat and is currently happy, so sometimes you just need to keep the peace by leaving well enough alone.

Unless the peace is a hyperthyroid cat with possible kidney failure who is leaking diluted urine down his legs and all over the house non stop. Then you pick that dude up and shove him into a modified baby diaper that you learned about from a YouTube video, at around 1am last night during the power outage, and freak him out and make him miserable, and eventually watch him escape from its grips around his bum using his hind legs, destroying all your hard work.

Pick your battles wisely, they always say.

Hindsight is totally 20/20.

Uncategorized

That Boom

My guitars are dusty
My keyboards rusty
My voice is gusty-less

I’ve got no breath for my reeds
No shake tambourines
No show for your appease-ment

My glitter has faded
My moves all out-dated
My act would be rated-less than zero on Yelp if Yelp rated such things like acts and singing and music playing and whatnot

But I’ve one little spark
And I’ll wait for the dark
Then l’ll light that shit up like – “BOOM MOTHERFUCKERS!”

– s. m. ihlenfeld

Uncategorized

Just. Stop.

The other day I saw the most disturbing thing on TV. Now, I don’t normally watch this program because I think it’s just trash (no judgment if it’s one of your faves), but I was waiting for the show I DO watch to come on. And there, on Entertainment Tonight I saw them bring a child onto their stage to confront her about her weight.

I’m sure you all know who it was – Honey Boo Boo. Regardless of what you think of that girl’s fame and her family, she is a child. A CHILD. And they sat her across from this miniscule woman who asked her to basically justify her size.

WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS BULLSHIT?!

Read any article on weight and childhood and it will say that telling a child they are overweight is one of the worst things you can do, and here a TV show that parades the tiniest of tiny women as their hosts are telling this child these things. Has anyone ever asked these hosts about their weight? Would they like someone asking their children about their weight? No. No they wouldn’t.

And why do I point out the hosts’ size? Because that is the “normal” we are being fed. I’m sure the hosts are wonderful women, and if that is their god given body type then rock on! All bodies are good bodies! However, do you ever wonder what if that isn’t their natural weight? What kind of weirdness do they feel pressured to do in order to keep that weight? Would they still be employed if they gained weight? Why aren’t any other sizes shown on tv?

What about that one newscaster who was plus sized and got that nasty hatemail? What about the sizes in between plus size and size 0 – where are the size 8 and size 12 people? What’s wrong with them? Why can’t they be on tv? Do you know Amy Schumer is getting shamed by people who are saying she’s too chubby for movies – she’s a size SIX, people! A size SIX! This kind of bullshit needs to stop. It is harmful, sick, and just wrong.

If you think you are the authority of health, the authority of how much people should weigh and look, go fuck yourself. “Healthy” and “Fit” are this decade’s version of “Skinny”. New words, same idea – you are not ok as you are.

“Healthy” and “Fit” people die every day. They get diseases, too. A lot of those diseases cannot be seen from the outside, though. They don’t walk down the street with their disease on display for everyone to mock.

Is it OK to be “obese”? Well… Is it ok to have a face that looks like yours? Is it OK to be short? Is it OK to be very thin? Is it OK to be too thin? Is it OK to make fun of people with eating disorders? Is it really any of your business? Do you ask your friends for their cholesterol levels and blood pressure? Do you check up on your friends’ dental health? Is it OK to mock people at the gym? Is it OK to Instagram your every meal telling the world that you, too, “eat clean” and then you secretly scarf down a bag of cheetos but don’t post a picture of that? Is it OK to be alive?

There’s more than one issue here, but they all go hand in hand. Experts are learning a lot about obesity, from gut bacteria to inflammation and genetics. People who have obesity are screaming that they don’t only eat junk food, are not lazy, and sometimes actually under eat. People who have fought to get rid of their extra weight have been speaking up about what helps and what doesn’t, and shaming is certainly one of the things that doesn’t help. And people affected with bulimia and anorexia have been saying for years how media images only encouraged their disease to progress.

I just can’t honestly believe that Entertainment Tonight blasted that child for her weight – and she’s on steroids to boot! And this is entertainment, you guys. Disgusting.

My wish is health and happiness for us all. I want to see the return of fresh vegetables to everyone’s diet regardless of their size. I want to see processed foods on the decline all over, and I want to see people able to enjoy their favorite foods without being shamed because of their size. I want to see people embracing their bodies regardless of their size. I want to see body diversity on TV. I want to see people not embarrassed to participate in their favorite activities because of their size. I want to see us ALL move a little more and eat a little better regardless of our size. And I want to see the demise of the diet industry.

Is that really too much to ask?

Uncategorized

Friday Feats & Fails with More Than Cheese & Beer – First Week of 2015

I’m in a weird place right now. I know, I know, I’m always in a weird place. But I mean an even WEIRDER place than usual. And what a better way to explain it all than with a nice tidy little list of my Feats & Fails in this very first week of 2015.

FEAT – Went to the dentist for the first time in only prehistoric baby jeebus knows how long. The receptionist was irritating…and then it turned out the receptionist was the dentist…and then it turned out that he was gay and not really so much irritating as snarky. Whatever. I went to an arts school so I totally speak snarky, gay, and snarky gay, so once I realized what language I needed to interpret from I was totally ok and actually started to enjoy myself.  He even took his hands out of my mouth so I could answer his questions, and I discovered the key to a good convo with him was complaining about something together. Can he be my new best friend, please? Also, the real FEAT here is that I even bothered going in the subzero blowing snow and that the vortex in my molar was actually just a cavity and no root canal is needed. Also, he did NOT make my whole mouth hole bleed. Thanks for that, new best friend snarky gay dentist.

Damn. That whole last sentence was just a total FEAT on it’s own.

FAIL – I have to have three tooth roots pulled. THIS is why I don’t go to the dentist.

FEAT – I was feeling low so I took some time to clear out a nice little space in my small kitchen for me to use all of my various kitchen gadgets that I adore – like my coffee maker, my magic bullet (NOT a sex toy, I promise), my Mickey Mouse waffle maker (secretly I’m 12), and my George Foreman grill. The result? I’ve used the waffle maker three times this week as compared to three times last YEAR, and I even tried two crazy things I saw on Pinterest (it’s a trap!) – putting cinnamon roll dough in the waffle maker and putting scrambled eggs in the waffle maker (BOTH were WINS). The George Foreman grill gets used all the time, but instead of having to place it on a tiny scrap of counter space I had plenty of room to work my marinated chicken breast tenderloins magic. And I used the magic bullet to make my own powdered sugar, but let’s not talk about that.

FAIL – I used my Magic Bullet to make my own powdered sugar. Why? I wanted to make those microwave meringue cookies (one egg white + 2 cups powdered sugar + knead into dough + break off bits and nuke them for about 3 minutes = it totally works!) but I only had a cup and a half of cocaine. I mean powdered sugar. Anyways, I tried getting away with the cup and a half but all I ended up with was a gooey mess, so I decided to make yet another mess and try my own hand at making my own powdered sugar out of granulated sugar and corn starch and let me just say PLEASE JUST BUY THE SHIT. No one warns you of the powdery gas cloud. No one. And now I have plenty of powdered sugar…on my floor, in my shoes, under the fridge. FML. Just don’t. Please.

FEAT – I’m finally coming out of my Lyrica dosage increase coma that I had been in for practically the entire month of December. Oh, hey, look – Life! Anyways, I woke up out of my coma and suddenly had very little interest in all of the things I had been using to compensate for the fact that I could not go out and participate in real life. Mainly Facebook. I just picked up my phone somewhere around the 2nd of January and thought “My friends do not live behind this tiny little screen.” And I also though that, after all these years, very few people have crossed over from the internet and into my real life. Those that have are total gems. So why should I put more energy in to whoring my life out for everyone to see when instead I could be strengthening the relationships that I do have, even it is just through personal texts, messages, emails, or phone calls? I don’t know what it is, but I suddenly feel a bit more protective over all I have to offer and I feel like you better be special for me to take the time to share it all with you. So, with the exception of my writing, my social media presence has been waning but my personal connections have been deepening. Because I don’t have energy for both, and I much prefer the latter.

FAIL – Along with this discard for social media has come a loss for words. Sure, this post is going well so far, but really I have found myself with nothing much important to say yet an intense need to say it. Does everything NEED to be important? Well, if your name is Stacy Ihlenfeld then, yes, apparently it does. This has resulted in about a million topics thrown out the window, posts discarded after a few sentences, and an overall feeling of YES BUT WHAT IS MY POINT. I hope this clears up soon. Otherwise I’m going to have to develop a drug habit or maybe become an adrenaline junky. Bah, I’m too lazy for either. We all know this.

FEAT – Everything that lives in my house is still alive. (:

FAIL – I parted my hair and found so much bling I thought someone put silver glitter in my shampoo. WHAT. WHY. HOW. NO. FUCK.

FEAT – I took inventory of the contents of my heart near the middle of December and found some pretty scary things living there. I’m happy to say that the scary shit has been evicted, the wounds tended to, and all the other mess properly cleaned up and dealt with. I am currently living life with a brand new, fully healed, happily open and healthy heart, and my ability to give and receive love has been completely restored. I just wish I had known about the blockage earlier, but, hey, I’m only 36. Some people don’t figure this shit out until they are on their old age death beds. But I’m good now. I’m totally good. And aware. And practicing love every day. (:

What about you?

[To read more posts from other awesome bloggers on this topic or to link up your own post, be sure to visit http://www.morethancheeseandbeer.com]