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

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Fibromyalgia

Obama Alien Baby (tmi)

You guys, I am miserable. And mortified. And thankfully I can laugh about it and share it all with you so you, too, can laugh.

So, enjoy.

*tmi warning*

I headed to urgent care this past Wednesday evening due to this horrible, gnawing, burning, and sometimes stabbing and slicing pain in my stomach that had been going on and off for almost a month. I know, long time, but the first time it happened I thought I had a stomach virus. The second time it happened I stopped taking my antiinflammatories. And this time it happened I thought I was having an alien baby… Or just had an ulcer.

So I get there and they are very kind and most certainly suspecting an ulcer. They give me a nice cocktail of lidocain to drink in order to rule out acid reflux, and then they sent me for xrays to rule out whatever it was they were going to rule out with that. Probably to get a good look at the alien baby growing inside me…

As I waited for X-ray results, the lab tech came to draw blood, and for the first time in my life I got to experience what it feels like when someone hits a nerve in your arm while drawing blood. HOLY SHITBALLS!!! I felt that ish in my damn TEETH!

He was really nice, though, and was extremely apologetic, and he was humming “you keep me hanging on,” – the Vanilla Fudge version – so I couldn’t even be mad. We clearly had the same soul.

Long story short – Gastritis (figured), a UTI (wtf?), and…. wait for it… Constipation.

Wait… WAT.

Now let me just say that the idea that there is an X-ray of my poo-filled insides floating around in my medical chart is just more than I can handle. Also, the fact that my alien baby is really a poo baby is messing with my mind, man, and a bit more than I can handle. And I’d also like to say that three days on laxatives is CERTAINLY more than I can handle. But I do remember telling my doctor that I thought the Lyrica was causing me problems down there when we first started upping my dosage…

So…. Thanks, Lyrica. And Antiinflammatories. And… Whatever else. Obama? Can I thank Obama? Fine. Thanks, Obama. Whew. I already feel better.

Except I really don’t.

The one good thing is all the burning in my stomach is fine thanks to the famotidine. I’m so thankful that I can finally go back to consuming an entire jar of Famous Dave’s sweet and spicy pickles without any pain. Not that I’d actually do that…often…

We’ll see how this progresses.

To be continued……

Fibromyalgia · life lessons

Bottoms Up

Continuing on this journey of self care, I’ve hit a pretty big bump – since school let out I’ve been severly short on time and energy. And rightly so!  I love spending time with my child and my nieces and nephews!  Summer vacation is time for pools and parks and little trips or even just bumming around the house together. But summer vacation also means way less “me” time, and I quickly started to feel all that I had previously invested in myself slipping away as my old habits of ignoring ME came creeping back. Since I had such limited energy and time, I wondered what was the *minimum* I could do that would greatly benefit me right now…

And that was when I remembered this exercise tape (yes a vhs) I used to do years ago. I found it at the thrift store but then lost it. I remember a woman who used to be a ballerina, bad 80’s leotards, and hip swivels and gyrations. That’s it. But I knew it was really helpful and probably exaclty what I needed since the focus was on small movements. I started searching for it… Calisthenics? No. That’s definitely not it. Um… Oh yeah! Callanetics! Callan Pinckney!

So that’s where the little energy I have has been invested lately. For one hour every other or every third day ib gently pulse muscles I didn’t even know I had and stretch everything to point where I am yelling “oh my good this is fantastic!”. Weird. I know. What can I say.

I’ve done it three times now and can most certainly see benefits already (Callan promises 10 years younger in 10 hours and no one has said she’s wrong), and I plan to continue until my core is stable, my back is stronger, and my feet… Oh dear lord my feet.

It’s ironic that I started this program while having that horrendous foot pain I was telling you all about; it’s as if something inside of me just knew.

After some serious research into why the hell my feet were *radiating* with pain, I came upon this blog that completely explained exactly what was happening with my feet and how to fix it:

https://walkwellstaywell.wordpress.com

Yes. I have plantar fasciatis and a pretty serious pronation problem. And it hurts like HELL. For a while I thought I had a fracture or neuropathy or SOMETING life threatening, because the level of pain eminating from the bottom of my feet was just unreal. I was holding onto walls to walk! Plantar fasciitis??? Pronation??? No way. That can’t be it.

However, some of the exercises in the Callanetics video (I bought the DVD on amazon) were helping my foot pain and mirrored the advice on the site. So I *knew* this was both my diagnosis and treatable. I started in with the rest of the advice on the website plus advice from a running article I read and was absolutely shocked at the results.

But first let me just tell you that the most helpful thing was the most painful thing ever. I cried. I actually cried as I rolled my foot over a golf ball. A GOLF BALL. It was PURE HELL. It BURNED. My shoulers climbed up to my ears and I flinched with every roll. I kept at it for as long as I could tolerate that first night telling myself that it was worth TRYING just to see if it helps. It’s only one night of pain. It’s just one night.

I woke up the next morning and walked into my kitchen to start the coffee maker. I walked down the hall and went to the bathroom. I walked back to the coffee maker and began filling my cup, and that was when I noticed…

I wasn’t flinching, holding onto walls, or avoiding using certain parts of my foot as I walked.

It worked!!

I went back to the website and read up on all the exercises for pronation and plantar fasciitis and started them immediately. Every night now for the past week I have been stretching my calves, rolling golf balls beneath my feet, and strengthening my weak inner calf muslces. All of this on top of doing Callanetics for an hour every other or every third day.

The result? Today I walked barefoot with no pain *at all* today, and my knees feel SO STRONG. I can feel the muscle definition where before there was nothing. Also, my hip muscles feel both stronger and smoother – I don’t know how to explain it, really. My core is getting tight and strong, which is really helping my back. And I can walk like a normal person.

I have been telling my doctors for the past three years that I don’t know how to walk anymore. I kept saying that it just felt wrong and I needed help (physical therapy) to teach me how to walk correctly. Well, they didn’t really listen. But that’s ok because now I know why I felt like I was walking wrong – my calves were so tight that they were pulling my heel up causing me to not be able to strike my heel down as I walked, and also making the plantar fasciatis worse!  Doh!

After all these stretches and strengthening between the Callanetics and the advice from the website, my heels finally touched the ground when I sat on the edge of my bed for the first time in FOREVER.  All this time I thought I just had short legs!!!!  LOL. Nope!! Tight calves! Who knew?

It has certainly not been easy, though. The first night with the golf balls was hell, as I had stated before, but it got exponentially better each night. Eventually, though, I was left with this pain in this one small spot on my right foot that I was SURE was a stress fracture. I KNEW IT. It still hurt after all the golf ball rolling and stretching. It had to be a stress fracture.

But then I took a second look at the picure of the tendons on the bottom of our foot that is on the website. My pain was right where the tendon branched off…so…it could still be plantar fasciitis. So I went ahead and got the golf ball ready for one more painful experiment…

It felt like I was pinching nerves, hitting bone, burning, aching… I almost gave up but then I felt it – a little release! Holy crap!! But then I though wait… did I do something bad???? I picked my foot up and massaged the area and prayed to jeebus that I didn’t make anything worse.

The next morning I woke up and the pain in that area was SIGNIFICANTLY less.

So I did the same thing the following night, and it was a bit easier but still painful.

I just finished night three of focusing on that tiny spot, and things are improving. I no longer think I have a stress fracture – I think my tendons are just really, really, really pissed off.

So there you have it. It’s like I’m working on myself from the bottom up. Solving my foot problem is helping my knees which is helping my hips which is helping my back. It’s all connected.

I do still get mentally exhausted just thinking about how far I still have to go, but I have to remind myself that it’s not a race and every little improvement I’m making right now is a worthy investment that will help make my life better. It’s worth taking my time and doing it right – there are no quick fixes here.

I’m hoping by the end of summer to have significant improvement in my flexibility, strength, and all of my body mechanics. I am also really enjoying reading about Callan Pinckney’s journey of curing her own severe pain. I don’t think I’m going to cure all of my pain, but I do think I can reduce some of it.

Fibromyalgia is such an asshole. Anyone can have tight muscles, but fibro takes it to the next level and makes it significantly harder to deal with. You have to be super vigilant to keep your muscles from getting tight, yet you have to constantly work under your ability so as not to throw yourself into a flare. It’s a messy, tricky balancing act that sometimes send to have no middle to balance it all on; it often feels impossible.

Bit by bit. It’s the only way. I will just keep going and hope for change.

I guess we’ll see!!

Art & Photography · life lessons

Where I’ve Been

image

Hi everyone! I haven’t been around much lately, and I thought I’d tell you why.

A few weeks ago my friend Janessa shared this article, http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/7469526, and it really got me thinking. High vagal tone = less pain for people with chronic conditions (arthritis, in this study). They used an implant to stimulate the vagas nerve, but they found that people who did a loving kindness meditation every day increased their vagal tone just as well as the implants.

So it got me thinking…

And that thinking led me to two apps that have been helping me take better care of myself, meditate, and basically get my life.

The first Android app I found is called The Fabulous: Motivate Me!

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.thefabulous.app&hl=en&referrer=utm_source%3Dgoogle%26utm_medium%3Dorganic%26utm_term%3Dthe+fabulous+app&pcampaignid=APPU_1_NaWBVZKgJ5HHsQTQroOQDw

It helps me make small positive changes in my life, and I absolutely love it.

The next Android app I found is Lifesum

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sillens.shapeupclub&hl=en&referrer=utm_source%3Dgoogle%26utm_medium%3Dorganic%26utm_term%3Dlifesum+app&pcampaignid=APPU_1_GqaBVa27AviQsQToubioDQ

It’s a calorie tracking app that is so positive and caring that I can’t help but succeed! My problem is not eating enough. I know. I’m fluffy. I must eat too much. But that is not the case. I tracked my calories a while ago and I was only eating between 500 and 800 calories a day! What the hell???!

Well, when I am tired and in pain, feeding myself just isn’t a priority.

But now it is.

And that is where all of my energy has been going to lately – feeding myself. And drinking enough water. And meditating. And taking time to do something special for myself every day. And removing a box of clutter from my house every day. Basically, lots of little tiny goals spread throughout the day aimed at making me feel better inside and out.

So for the first time in forever (you sang that, didn’t you lol) I am properly caring for myself… And it’s exhausting! It’s like a full time job! What the hell??! But, it is rewarding as FUCK.

So this is where I’ve been and where all my energy has gone. I’m thinking that pretty soon this full time job will start feeling like a part time job and I will have the energy to keep the page going again. But until then, I’m spent and my presence will continue to be pretty sporadic.

I’ve gotten such wonderful messages from some of you saying how much you look forward to my ridiculousness, and I am truly humbled. Thank you, and I can’t tell you how much I feel like I’m letting you down while I take this time for myself. But I know you get it.

I hope you read the article. I hope you try the meditation and the apps. And I hope to be back in your newsfeed very soon.

Until then, keep smihlen! (:

Art & Photography · life lessons · oh momma!

Tender

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He’s so tender and I’m so tired
Childhood only lasts so long
He’s so little and I’m so big
But soon he’ll be big, too

I’ll regret these days
Every single moment that I didn’t hold him
He’s so tender
He cries if we don’t get to watch Full House together
One day he won’t want to be with me
What will I do then?

Am I good enough, did I do enough
Did I not screw it up enough?
Does he know, really know, that he’s loved?
Could I have done more, said less, held longer, tried harder?
Will he look back and say he had a good childhood? A good mother?

He’s so tender and I’m so tired…

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?

Fibromyalgia

Haunted

Sometimes when I’m walking, I feel the ghost that haunts me. It’s a memory that has a predicted future, a ray with tangible purpose. I’m walking to an IEP meeting. I’m going to talk a parent at their home for the first time. My client is waiting for me at the park just a few more steps ahead. I can feel my work bag’s weight on my shoulders, gravity pulling down on all my paperwork and visual aids. God I love my visual aids.

Reality hits when I open the door. The ghost is gone, and instead of opening the thin wooden door to the office I’m walking through the tall, cold automatic doors of yet another hospital, another doctor’s waiting room, another disappointment.

The ghost never really leaves, though. I’m haunted by what should have been nearly every day, and I would do anything to get back there. This life? This one that I’m living right now? It was not in the plan and most days I’d rather succumb to the misty leftovers and imaginary continuation of my former life that plays in my head than accept what has really been laid before me.

I don’t think I’m cut out for this kind of life.

I want the old one back.