Daily Archives: September 8, 2015

Gofundme:Fire Damage Update

Fund page updated.

Some pictures of my nephew’s room where the fire originated. His stuff is a total loss, as is much of his parents’ stuff which was in the room next door. They shared a heat vent so the smoke damage hit them hard even though the fire didn’t, then came the fire hoses.

corys room 2 IMG_5760 corys room 3 corys room 4 cory's room 1 cory's room 5

The biggest salvation was him not being home when this happened.

It apparently started because he overloaded a power strip and left his air conditioner running while he was gone. No one thought to turn it off, figuring the breaker would blow if overloaded. Failing that, the smoke alarms should have warned them. They didn’t go off, period,until after the door had been opened and flames leaped up.

I gripe a lot about my family, I know, and they can be really shitty. But I had a home burn once and they helped me out. I am returning the favor trying to help them. They will have nowhere to go in three days so please keep passing this along, I will notify of every update.


And say a prayer for the seven lost kitties and 2 lost ferrets who did not survive. May they rest peacefully in heaven.

So WE Will See

It may be my gallbladder after all instead of just GERD, and that means it’s going to have to come out sooner or later.  So for now I am on a stronger acid reducer in hopes that we can get the worst of the symptoms under control until I feel like having my gallbladder out.  I want to wait until after my class in October at least. say the week after that and see what we can do>  I go back in a week and see how I’m feeling then.

Wonderful day today in that I cut all the cokes due to the acid and I haven’t been sleepy since this morning! I’m very excited about this and wonder if GOd is healing me also of the side effects of my meds.  That would be a wonderful thing not to be sleepy all the time.

Had the  conference and all with my professor this morning and hope to do well in the big class conference this Thursday.  I’ve done my meme but wtn my daughter to look at it and see if it “looks right”.  I told him my idea and he seemed to think it was funny, so that is what I will go with.  I need to do my reading and discussion soon too; it being a short week had thrown my schedule off some.  But I will get it all done.  I know I will ! :)

Too Sick For Surgery

Sigh.  More and more and more, for this huge brave soul that enlivens the body of my sweet Atina.

As if everything else wasn’t enough, she’s begun having signs of pancreatic failure: ravenous appetite, horrendous huge nauseating stinking greasy poops that look like, if you measured them, about the same volume as what she took in.

I know these signs well, having dealt with something similar myself over the course of several years.  Rapid weight loss and malnourishment are the predictable results.

So I took her to the hospital, with the plan of explaining all this to her surgeon, and my extreme hesitation to perform surgery based on my concerns of her inability to absorb nutrients merely for her maintenance needs, let alone the 200% of basic needs that the body requires for healing after major surgery.

But as fortune would have it, her internal medicine resident showed up to check in with us prior to surgery; and after a good deal of putting our heads together about it, decided to call off the surgery (whew!) and do an impromptu clinic visit instead.

A good thing on many levels.

Atina’s blood pressure was higher than it was two weeks ago, which is bad news about her kidney function.  A bunch of blood was drawn again, basic kidney function tests plus a battery of pancreatic function tests that get sent out to somewhere.

I have been kicking and screaming about just going ahead and starting pancreatic enzymes after drawing the test.  I don’t see why she should be left to lose even more of her body by pooping it out, for the sake of academic “correctness.”  I’m thinking about this.

She did get a prescription for a medicine that will control bacterial overgrowth in the intestine, and I know from my own experience that that alone will help reduce stool volume.  But it doesn’t do a damn thing to assist nutrient absorption.

Believe me, I will not let this thing rest for long.  A couple days, maybe.  We have a recheck appointment on Friday, and might make it that long, but if I see things deteriorating even a hair’s breadth between now and then I am going to make a LOT of noise.

All of this is adding up to autoimmune disease, in my own medical mind.  A lousy prognosis.  One lousy prognosis on top of another.

I’m looking for silver linings here.

One is that my sweet Atina has become very cuddly and snuggly–leaving my arms and legs covered with gaudy blotches, since I bleed at the slightest contact with tooth or claw; and my sweet Atina is all teeth and claws, like any healthy adolescent.

Unfortunately, the very fact that she is being so clingy is a sign that she is not feeling well.  Most healthy adolescents are busy testing limits, and snuggling with Mom is the last thing on their minds.

But I treasure these moments of puppy love, and only say “OUCH!” when badly bitten, or if flailing paws with claws come way too close to my eye.

And then there is Colorado.

There is no endpoint in sight yet, so Colorado it is, and will be, until then next thing happens.  Fact is, I like Colorado a lot.  You can find pretty much any kind of terrain you can imagine here.  There are a lot of natural and man-made geologic features that are unique and breathtaking.  The flowers, the wildlife, canyons, mountains, rivers, glaciers, everything.

I guess I’ll go ahead and put in to become a resident, since I seem to live here.  I did want to winter in Arizona, mostly because mixing winter with an RV can get complicated.  But I’ve learned a lot of other stuff, so I can learn that too, if the rest of me holds up.

I like the idea that if I need some botanical medicine to treat my nerve pain, I can just waltz into the dispensary of my choice and buy some.  I don’t use that much, but in the surrounding states if you don’t have a medical card from that state, possessing ANY amount of the Herb will get you busted.  I don’t think I could deal with getting busted, so I’ll stay legal.

And wait. 

I’ve been entrusted with the love and care of this beautiful soul, so I will let her be my guide, and my guardian.  Ours is a bond of perfect faith.  How many of us ever find that in life?


An afternoon snooze...

linkage may occur

Scheduled post. If you say you’ve had a nervous breakdown or things aren’t right mentally, people run away from you. They think you’re from ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,’ you know. (Frank Bruno) Business opportunity… “She says she was prescribed the drug Wellbutrin for depression while in county jail and later in state prison.…

Fundraising Again-For Family Whose House Caught Fire


Oh, yes, it is I, she who really does not have anything good to say because…life.

Around three a.m. this morning, my mom’s house caught fire.The fire started upstairs in my nephew’s room (he fortunately wasn’t there.) Everyone but her husband was asleep and he smelled smoke. Mind you, no smoke detectors had sounded. They checked and my nephew’s room was ablaze. Thus started a panic to get all people and pets out.

My sister lost SEVEN of her beloved cats to smoke inhalation and has two others fighting for their lives for the same reason. One of those cats she’d had for fifteen years. I found her on the lawn with a trash bag full of her dead cats she’d gone inside to get and she was sobbing.

Some pets got out in tact, and the people are okay. But due to the fire, then the efforts to put it out by the fire department, plus the smoke damage…The place has been declared unsafe and will be boarded up. They have three days to get what they can salvage and get out. Meanwhile, Red Cross is putting them up in a hotel for three days. After that…They have nowhere to go.

They rented the house. They had no renter’s insurance. Everything upstairs is a loss. The downstairs stuff can probably be saved sans the smoke damage and whatever water damage. Which means my mom and her roommate, who rooms were downstairs, should be okay on clothes and such. My sister, her husband, and my nephew have lost everything.

Amidst all that…I can’t shake the image of my brother in law and my sister bawling over their seven cats. Things can be replaced. Your animals cannot.

I am doing this fundraiser because they truly have nowhere to go. If you can even find a house in town that allows pets, you need close to fifteen hundred dollars for first month and deposit. Then comes the expense of moving, turning on utilities. There is very little assistance available locally.

Please please, donate if you can, and EVERYONE POST THIS ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA. Because I have an empty bedroom and if I don’t find them funds and a place to live soon, they’re all gonna end up staying with me. Much as I love them…Not good for my mental health, not to mention it would violate my lease. But ya know, you can’t throw family in the street…


(All information is factual and can be confirmed through the Jacksonville, IL fire and police departments.)


When did I become “that” woman?

catty womenYou know the person…snarky, bitchy, unpleasant to be around…that’s me. I found myself saying “I’m just not a nice person” (then I wonder “Was I ever?”). In my post I am a chameleon, I talk about my ability to blend in to my surroundings, having never really learned who I am. Sometimes the blending becomes absorbing, and if I spend too much time with one type of person I tend to take on that persona.

From a very young age I was trained to be charming and witty, perfect wife material for a lawyer or some other high muckety-muck (my mom didn’t want me to marry a doctor like she did-life’s too unpredictable). At my step-daughter’s wedding reception a couple days ago, I proved I still had it in me. Nevermind the fact that I was actually able to cope with a very large number of adults and children whom I didn’t know (social anxiety be damned!), I was also able to interact with them all in a way that would have made my mother proud.

But then during my nightly rehash which prevents me from falling asleep every night, I thought about all the things I said/did wrong or stupidly. That’s when I realized that around certain friends and family members I’m not a very nice person, and I don’t like who I’ve become (or have I always been this way and am just now noticing it?). So it’s time to evolve once more.  I’m starting DBT today, which entails learning mindfulness, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to learn to think before I speak. I’m hoping I’ll be able to become that other woman, the one people enjoy being around.

Tagged: identity, personality, social anxiety

Suicide Is Painless

…or so went the theme song to TV’s M*A*S*H*. Truth is, it’s painless only for the one who completes it; for everyone left in its wake, it’s a clusterf##k of epic proportions.

A friend of mine discovered this recently when a close relative, an untreated bipolar who was having marital problems, suddenly and shockingly took his own life. Now the family is left to wonder if they missed signs of impending disaster, if there was anything they might have done better or differently, if they could have stopped him from doing the deed. Now, not only do they have to adjust to their loss, they have to fight off the inevitable feelings of guilt and ask themselves the question that has no answer: “Why?”

Then there’s the anger. My friend told me that he and the family were so pissed off at this relative that they couldn’t begin to grieve properly. I can’t blame them. I’ve never been related to or friends with anyone who committed suicide, but I can imagine my first reaction—other than the initial shock—would be anger. How could he/she have done it? And how dare he/she leave me without saying good-bye?

But the main reason my friend told me all this (which has not been discussed on social media) was that he is concerned about me and wants me to take special care of my health. He says I’ve been on his mind since the incident, which rather surprised me since I’ve been stable for a good eight months. I guess it never occurred to me that my own close shave last fall might have made people worry far beyond the immediate crisis. I’m certainly not worried; suicidal ideation is the furthest thing from my mind these days and has been for quite some time. Not that it couldn’t happen again, but I really can’t imagine anything other than the loss of my husband that would be serious enough to justify thoughts of taking my own life. And even then, I think I’ll manage to hang on, though I’ve warned our kids (only) half-jokingly that they’ll probably have to drop me off at the psych hospital after all is said and done.

Why? you may ask. Among other really good reasons, I want to stay safe and live because I don’t want anybody to be angry with me. I also don’t want my loved ones’ last memories of me to be traumatic ones. I want them to be able to remember me with smiles and laughter, and to talk about all the silly things I did to amuse them. I want them to reminisce about the holidays we spent together…the celebrations of milestones in our lives…the things I accomplished during the course of my own. I don’t want them to be haunted for the rest of their days, wondering if there was something they could have done to prevent me from taking that final, desperate step off the cliff.

So the edge of that cliff must be avoided at all costs. This is why I’m compliant with treatment and doing what I can to strengthen myself for the next time my world explodes in flames. Suicide is NOT painless, not for the survivors anyway, and I won’t do that to mine.

Thank you for the reminder, my friend.

Don’t let mental illness define you

For many years I refused to accept my diagnosis of bipolar disorder.  I was challenged by a great deal of self-stigma…I blamed myself for my symptoms, I felt guilty for having something wrong. And by no means did I want to be a part of a group that was looked down upon in our society.  I simply did not want to have to deal with my illness, so denying it seemed like I could make it go away.

Like any other serious illness my bipolar disorder just got worse without treatment.  It escalated to the point where I found myself in places that I could never imagine I could end up.  I pushed people away from me, left a successful career in the dust, and became so depressed I could not get out of bed.

Fast forward several years and I am now successfully treated with a proper combination of medications and have moved forward and rebuilt my life.  

But there was a period of time when all I could think about was bipolar disorder.  I dreaded taking the medications because it made me feel “less than” everyone else.  In some ways I felt as if I was damaged.  I was completely devoid of any confidence and my self-esteem was at my all time low.  I measured everything I did through the lens of bipolar disorder and forgot about the whole person that I am.

I have come a long way since then but was struck this evening by my 10 year old nephews awe with how many states I had traveled too.  He was putting together a map of the U.S. And ask me to tell him where I had traveled. When he put the map together leaving out 7 states he said to me, “Look at all the places you have been!”  In that moment he was in awe of me.

It struck me that I needed to remind myself that there is so much more to my story than struggling with a mental illness. It doesn’t even have anything to do with how much I have traveled but more importantly that I had forgotten those experiences contributed a great deal to the person I have become.  

More than anything there have been times when I have wallowed at times in much self-pity thinking my life was cheated because of bipolar disorder when the real focus should be on my experiences in spite of it.

The reasons for my extensive travel are many and they actually have sculpted in a large part my journey in life.  Bipolar disorder contributed to a few of my wondering experiments to strange places but for the most part my adventurous spirit took me down the path of exploration.

I think it is tempting to become so consumed with fighting and managing an illness that we sometimes forget who we were, who we are and who we are becoming.  But one thing I have learned is to make certain I am not identifying myself through only one lens.

Each of us who live with a mental illness are far bigger than a diagnosis.  We are mothers, sisters, fathers and brothers.  We are someone’s child.  We are employees and friends and full of life.

Remember all of who you are and focus on the whole picture that makes up your experiences not just the struggles and the pain, but the joy and happiness that makes you a unique individual.  

It can be an adjustment to think this way, but it is critically important.  You are more than your illness-way more.  And life starts feeling better when you recognize that fact.

Back From The Dead, For Now Anyway

Atina lay on her bed painfully struggling to breathe for hours that felt like years.  I wrote the previous post during one of those years, and I thank every one of you who have sent me such sweet heartfelt thoughts.

Later in the afternoon she dragged herself up–still couldn’t get her hind end to cooperate–and between the two of us, we dragged her into my bed, and snuggled together.  Every once in a while she’d stretch her long neck around so she could clean up my face, and finally when she got some energy worked up, she tried to hold me down to wash me, as if I were her own puppy sniffling and snotting in the bed.

A couple more hours and she wanted to go out and pee, so we went out.  A naughty squirrel decided to tease her by getting way out on a tiny branch, and fell THUMP into the road!  It made such a cannon shot hitting the ground, I thought it must surely have killed itself, but it jumped right up and scampered up the next tree over.

I think this must be how you check for life signs in a Malinois.


“C’mon, Mom, just let me climb that tree, O.K.?  Just this once, huh?”


A Malinois isn’t dead until you can heave a squirrel at her and she doesn’t move.

But now she’s all worn out from her squirrel hunt, back in bed exhausted. 

If she’s still alive in the morning (no, I’m not joking here), I’ve decided to go ahead with the surgery.  The biopsy will give us the information we need to first of all know for sure what the problem is, and whether treatment can give her more quality of life (to spend cuddling with me, catching frisbees, and chasing naughty squirrels).

There’s a fair chance she won’t survive the surgery.  But her rapid decline over the last few weeks tells me that her quality of life is getting worse.  I love to snuggle with her, but she should be running me into the ground throwing frisbee, not the other way around. 

Wish us luck.

Tears, Tears, wherefore art My Tears?

It was, as I declared, hormones, making the water works overflow. Losing my babies is shattering, yes, but one thing about every mood stabilizer I have ever taken- they don’t merely stabilize. They anesthetize. As evidenced by one of my favorite Sons Of Anarchy characters dying and not so much as a pseudo tear. Hormones are balancing back, mood stabilizer is regaining its Novacaine-esque duties. For a week, though, it was all helter skelter and the tears just would.not.stop. Reminded me of pregnancy. No control whatsoever.

Now my grief and sadness have manifested as this gaping black hole in my heart. I am numb, yet I hurt. I can’t cry any more, yet I feel the tears inside. I am in self imposed isolation, yet lonely as hell. This is bipolar grief. Hormones just amped it up times a gazillion. I miss feeling, truth be told. I miss being able to feel, being able to let the emotion overcome me and run riot…Being a husk of little more than anger and emptiness is far worse than sobbing uncontrollably.

It was an uneventful day. My dad stopped by to inform me my yard needs to be mowed. Yeah, duh. I asked mom if my sis could bring Spook home and she yells “B, can you take Spook home? Niki doesn’t feel good.” WTF? I never said anything about how I feel, my primary concern is saving on gas mileage so I can get my kid to school. Uneventful yet smoldering hot and irritating. The norm these days.

I didn’t do much while Spook was gone except folded Mt Laundro-lympus and put it all away. Now she has clean cl0thes for school and no digging through a basket. Like it’s gonna quash her fashionista tantrums in the mornings. I cooked two meals. Mostly I sat, sweating, and watching Sons Of Anarchy. I pulled out a few Halloween decorations for the living room, hoping to cheer myself up.

Not really working.

I had steamed super fine green beans with my lunch today and for a moment, I just smiled and thought, Oh no, Abby’s gonna be climbing me, wanting one of her favorite green beans. Then it fucking smashed into me…Abby’s not here anymore. Nor is my yappy little Arsenic, trying to steal chunks of cheese from my hand. Talk about sad…I just can’t come to terms with them being gone. Logically yes, as I buried them. Emotionally…the attachment was far deeper than I even knew, now I can’t stop thinking they’re gonna be right there….

I’ve never had such a strong emotional reaction to the loss of a human being. What does that say about me? Am I evil? Or have I just been hurt by so many people yet cats only love me so it is their loss I feel the most?

It’s messed up that my life seems to revolve around the first couple of hours in the morning when I have slept (as it were) and taken my meds for that hypomanic jolt…then spend the entire day looking forward to nothing but curling up in bed.

While I am doing better than I was a couple of months ago…I still think that whole thing reeks of depression. But my other option is to admit defeat and so starts the medi go round again even though he promised me we could look into adding an SNRI to the SSRI as a prophylaxis against the seasonal. Then he goes and backs down from it and says only light will help the seasonal. I’m gonna have to start recording every appointment because I swear this man is gonna drive me over the edge and I have enough to do that without his help.

I am so lonely without my kittens. Juju and Shady act like I don’t exist. Pantera is loving on her own terms. Abby and Arsenic were my pillow cats, my snuggle bunnies…Now I have nothing to bring me shelter from the storm of my mental issues and struggles. I could live a hundred years without seeing another person and be fine.

Not having a kitty who loves me, and lets me love them, is absolute suckage and loneliness.

I’m gonna start the wind down to that sleep thing. Now that the school grind is starting back up and I’m running on empty to start with…I’m gonna need all the rebooting I can get, IF scumbag brain will even cooperate.

When the zombie apocalypse happens, I really really really hope they eat my brain first. Then they will be too depressed to eat more brains and I can be credited with saving mankind.

On second thought…Not much worth saving there. In which case, I will procure the zombies the tastiest smartest brains and weed out the assholes.

I nominate my family first.