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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

WTF

Where. The. Eff. Have I been??

Obviously you can't answer that. And honestly, I don't know if I can either.

Where do I start?
I guess with the last place I left off.
Which was with a sort of optimistic post about the new year. And then... I just sort of lost focus. It was tough, trying to get settled into the new job, the new state, being back near my family. I got more tired than I already was.

Whatever, there's no real excuse. (Although I will say that I am pretty good about posting shit to Instagram, which also shares to Tumblr and Twitter, so if you aren't following on there you're missing out.) So instead of trying to wax poetic about the why of my laziness, why not just catch you up?

I started getting infusions!  The bright side of moving is that you have to get new doctors, which means you get a stronger say in what is about to happen  to you. They might have the notes from the previous doctors, but they will still- for the first few visits, at least-   follow your lead in what the next steps are. And I laid it out very bluntly: I was tired us using Enbrel weekly and feeling like hell for a day afterwards. I wanted infusions. And if she wasn't comfortable going in that direction I would find someone who was.
Now, this doctor is newer to the area and doesn't have a huge base of clients yet, so in that way I had another leg up. But more importantly, I explained to here that I ALREADY knew the risks of moving forward. That was off her shoulder's. I totally got it.
So then, I got what I wanted.
And I LOVE it. I still don't feel well for about a day afterwards, and I'm beyond exhausted the day I actually get the infusion. But do you know how infusions work? You sit there for THREE HOURS in a comfortable recliner chair, with free wi-fi and TVs, as many pillows and blankets as you could want, and you can bring food. It is basically a reader's PARADISE! I look forward to my infusions. The staff is so nice, and they go out of their way to remember you. They seem to actually care about how things are progressing, and I love the environment they have created. (Don't get me wrong, this isn't one of those bananna bag luxe places people like Britney Spears and Rihanna go to after a night of drinking, chic is not something they do. But CARING is. )I bring coloring books, I bring my books for my challenge (see The Belle of the Bookcase for my reviews of what I've read so far!)

But the question I'm sure you're all dying to ask is: are the infusions helping?? And the answer is YES! I'm not swallowing ibuprofen like they're single color Skittles. I've been able to go and do things (not a LOT of things, lets not get crazy, but a few things. Family things.) I've even been starting to plan out some photography stuff.

So basically what I'm saying is that, HOPEFULLY you'll be hearing from me more frequently again. Here's to keeping up promises!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Sorry

And unfortunately it's NOT for party rocking. I went through a pretty rough emotional patch trying to straighten out life after the move, and I just needed some time folded in on myself to find my voice again. In the mean time I've been reading a lot (since down time is my strong suit), and I started a sister blog called Belle of the Bookcase where you can read my reviews or thoughts.
I am in the process of getting my groove back, so if you'll excuse me, I have a meeting with a Llama who says he can help me...

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Cocoon

I'm hiding from y'all.  I don't have e anything funny to say, I don't have e anything to upbeat to chatter on about. And honestly, I'm not in the mood to have a break through about my body or mind right now.  Right now I want to wallow, and I'm sorry.  So for now I'm going to stay in my Heaturrito (a burrito made of a heat blanket)  and wallow with Vanilla Coke.  But I love you all, I will be back.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A New Year, A New Hope

You didn't really think I was going to make a Star Wars reference
and NOT include something from Carrie Fisher, did you?
A pioneer for speaking out against the stigma on mental illness,
but so much of her inspirational work applies to chronic pain as well.
You will be missed. 
First and foremost, let me say- Happy New Year everybody! 2016 was rough for the world as a collective, between beloved celebrities dying and what felt like so many more attacks on each other for extremist reasons than we've seen in past years.
I don't remember if I talked about it on here, but I gave up Facebook for a while this past year. I remember it was right after the shooting of that The Voice singer immediately followed by the nightclub in Orlando ordeal. I saw the candidates for President turning it into a political talking point LITERALLY before the victims bodies were cold, before their families could be notified. Then the last straw was the little boy who was attacked by an alligator at a Disney Resort and died. The news itself was almost too much to cope with, but the absolute vile rudeness I saw  when people talked about  the parents. "Where were the parents??" (They were right there, horrified as one tried to protect their other child and the other hopelessly fought against a wild animal to save his son, By.The.Way.) There was too much hate. There were terror attacks in Nice, France, who was still emotionally recovering from the attacks the year before. I couldn't take the hatred coming from "sane" human beings that I had chosen to be digitally connected to, and so, I cut the connection. My account still existed, and pictures still got posted from Instagram, and tweets still got posted from Twitter. But I didn't log on. I deleted the app from my phone and my tablet. If I really needed to look at something I could get on my computer.
And that helped. I meditated a lot (Using a program I've mentioned before called Calm), I sought out news articles about the good that was happening. The programs to raise money for those affected, the people sharing pictures of that Disney beach just hours before saying "It could have been my child, it could have been anyone's child." Those warmed me, and I started to see the glimmer of humanity shining through.

BUT THAT WAS LAST YEAR!!!

This is a different year. This is a year that we can all change, we can change it ourselves by being nice to each other. By taking the half a second that it takes to think through a situation from the other person's state of mind (Maybe the parent of the eaten child needs, like, a WEEK before you start tearing into them? Just to cope a little?) We can change it ourselves by remembering that we all have a back story, but we learn about each other like an episode of Lost: you don't learn the crucial information about a person until AFTER you kinda needed it to happen.

Basically, why don't we all just chill?

Just. Chill.

Chill.

You don't like the President? Fine. But do something other than flap your mouth. (And honestly, if you could learn about the political system before you do anything that would be GREAT.) You want a new group of people to be able to marry some other group of people? Super! But, again, DO something about it.

This year can be different because we can DO these things, and we can do them with the aforementioned chill.

Carrie Fisher was buried in an urn shaped like a Prozac pill because she was an incredible mouthpiece for the movement to destigmatize mental illness. So let's all take a page and be a little more chill for 2017.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Belated post from just after Thanksgiving

Holy shit, what a ride the past month has been.

I had Thanksgiving dinner with my family for the first time in like ELEVEN years. I've never been so happy for family drama. Although, apparently, it never stops happening, so it looks like I've got plenty of entertainment ahead.

It is stressful as fuck moving, I think I made that pretty clear. I doubt I even NEEDED to make it clear, because it is universally known that moving is the fucking worst.

But being new sucks too. I don't know where anything is anymore. If it weren't for Google Maps I would probably A) not have seen the Wes Craven style bumfuck areas of Pennsylvania and B) only know how to to get to the strip mall a half mile down the road because I only have to make one turn. So everything in life is balanced, I guess. Even still, I barely know how to get to the grocery store, the Wal-Mart or Target, the mall, or the fast food places. I'm lucky because in this town they're all located within 1 square mile of a main intersection. All I have to remember is what stuff is to the right and what stuff is to the left. (Read: What stuff is behind White Castle, and what stuff is behind Chic-Fil-A.)

And looking for a job. Oh. My. God. I think I'm pretty good at my job, but nothing will make you feel like an idiotic fraud faster than an interview at a new office. Every question feels like a trick, and you start to question the fact that for years doctors have been letting you interact with patients when you are so clearly a moron. Yet, then you get the job.

Then you're the new person. You have to learn new things, new people, new culture, and in my case the specific way each doctor wants you to do your job. For any given medical problem there are probably at least 3 different words to refer to it by, So,[WARNING- OPHTHALMOLOGY NERD ALERT!!!] even though I know that when Dr. A says "cellophane" it goes in the macula, then I work with Dr. B. and he says "epiretinal membrane" I end up looking at him with a blank face, and he thinks I have brain damage. One diagnosis can be called cellophane, cellophane maculopathy, epiretinal membrane, ERM, or a macular pucker. If you don't have an in depth knowledge of the layers of the eye and the way they work together, you can't necessarily just "figure out" what the doctor is referring to.

Most people probably don't have THAT problem, but I'm sure you can think of something similar to relate to. It's emotionally draining to go from being an expert to being the new kid with a notebook, who knows WHAT to do but not HOW. I am terrible at being the new person, I hate it. I don't stand still well, I have a hard time just standing by and watching something I know how to do happen. So I end up interrupting, getting in someone's way by trying to be helpful, that kind of shit. You're desperate to prove yourself, but there's also that nagging voice (in my head, anyway) that points out how embarrassing it would be if you were wrong and you don't want them to think you can be wrong.

By the time I get home, my whole body ached from working, my brain aches from learning and trying to be extra super good, and I don't even have the energy to browse Facebook. Tonight I fell asleep while looking through Instagram, I was so sleepy that before 6:00 I was straight up drool out the mouth asleep with a cat and a phone on my chest.

Honestly, if I never moved again I wouldn't be super upset about it. This apartment is nice and, frankly, I would rather set fire to my stuff than pack it again (and again, if a fire detective is reading this, that is only a joke. I am Smaug with my pile of golden sundries.) I know it has to happen, though, if I want to also have that nice life living in my own house. Because the chances of being able to build a house around this apartment are PROBABLY pretty slim. And the people upstairs may notice.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

#NewKanseyYellowBrickRoadTrip

I'm sitting on the futon in my dad's apartment, which served as my bed through high school and college. Now, at 31, I am once again sleeping on a sub par mattress, which my husband barely fits on, trying to get the rest I so desperately need.

That is not happening.

And now I understand why I was so goddamn tired all through college.

We are here- we made it the 1300 miles from Kansas to Jersey relatively unscathed (although completely rain soaked.) Now we are counting the days until our apartment will be ready and we can do the whole thing in reverse, only to sleep on a mattress on the floor (I broke the bed frame when we were taking it apart. I'm not even kidding.)

Like, broke it beyond repair.
That is probably the first thing that truly went wrong in this debacle of a move. Let me tell you all a story. It is a story not of romance or adventure. There is no sword fighting. There is no death (yet.) What there is, is a shit ton of anxiety, snapping, and Xanax. So. Much. Xanax.

So, yes, we broke the bed. Somehow the stupid box spring that comes with a Tempurpedic bed is too heavy, and while trying to lift it out, the weight of it snapped the reinforced side of the frame from the headboard itself. Stripped the holes. Not even bolts and wood glue can fix this Ikea beauty. But hey, at least it was a cheap bed frame, not the worst thing to ever happen to us.

The next day the movers came to pack our whole life away into the 2 ABF pods that we had rented. We were mostly prepared. OCD comes in handy for this kind of situation. I had lists. LISTS ABOUNDED GUYS. Checklists to follow. A list of all boxes numbered and entailing their contents for easy access later. We had already decided not to keep our couch- it was huge and super comfy, but would take up LOADS of room in the pod. When the movers got there, though, they swore it would fit along with everything else. And who are we to argue with professionals? We told them, "OK, if it will fit with everything else, go ahead. But we don't want it if space is going to be an issue." They insisted it would be fine. So out the couch went. Cut to two hours later when boxes and furniture are sitting on the sidewalk and they come in to tell us "We don't have enough room for what's left."

Now, I refuse to take full credit for this issue because they were the ones insisting the couch was fine- but I will take some blame, maybe, depending on how I feel at that moment. We hadn't finished 100% of the packing. Anyone who's done this a time or two knows that its easier to sift through what you definitely want and what can go once the already finished boxes and furniture are out of the way. I've never had to say it in the past, and thought it was implied that if a box was open, especially if it barely contained anything, that movers should ignore it, that would be my problem later.

This is clearly not a universal understanding. My bad.

We were able to consolidate a few boxes that were barely holding anything at the front of one pod, but they had packed everything so tightly that we couldn't get very far in. We still had to make tough choices. (When in doubt, throw it out.) Now we have almost no lamps, no vacuum cleaner, but we do have a couch and various other pieces of furniture we didn't want. Super.

We had them leave enough room for the mattresses, without actually packing them, that way we could still sleep on them the few days until the pods were picked up. If you've never tried to move a memory foam mattress and its box spring, count yourself lucky and run away from the situation if it ever presents itself. They are heavy and unwieldy. Partway through, I suggested we just leave it in the middle of the sidewalk and buy a new one when we got here. That idea was vetoed.

Hilariously, just as we finished getting the mattress into the pod and were about to close the doors, the guy who was picking them up showed up.  He asked if we needed more time, and we laughed and said no, he had the best timing on earth, we had just finished. Watching him load them onto the truck and drive away was the most relief I had felt in weeks. That was it- no more stressing about what would fit and what wouldn't (LOL, no there was more of that to come.) But at that moment, it finally felt like we were on our way to being out of the Midwest.
I'm not as good a friend,
I not only took this picture,
but I'm also putting it on
the internet.

The next day was when we were leaving, so now it was time to pack the stuff we had left into the cars. We were severely limited since in my car I would have a rabbit, two cats, and a human best friend taking up space.

Oh yeah, did I mention that my best friend flew in to make the drive with me? She is literally better than your best friend. She drove two hours to the airport in North Carolina to take a 6 AM flight to Kansas City to then spend three days in the car with me and the aforementioned menagerie, to then fly from New Jersey back to North Carolina where she would then drive two hours back home. Beat that, interwebs.

Day One
GTFOing Kansas City
The initial plan: Hubbs and I drive both cars to the airport, pick her up, and hit the fucking road by 10 AM.
Reality number 1: I picked her up from the airport, went back to my work one last time for a last goodbye because I'm co dependant and can't let go, then went home and frantically tried to shove all of the shit that was left into the two cars. Now, when we moved from North Carolina to Kansas City, my husband was already there working, so I dealt with all of the moving stuff by myself- this was the first time my husband and I had to actually live through a cross country move together. And let me tell you, I am a bitch. I get snippy, I assume you can read my mind, and I will take zero blame for last minute disorganization because I had my shit together so well right up until that last push. But it honestly is a group effort to be as disorganized as we were, and so my husband and I had an understanding that no matter how rude or snippy either of us was, we loved each other and we weren't mad at each other, we were mad at the move.
But we had a lot more shit left than we thought, and with space limited, there was a lot of arguing about whether something should be tossed or if room could be made. it was a very stressful few hours.

Reality number 2: It was 1:30 when we hit the road, I still had to overnight our signed lease to the apartment people and he had to drop the modem off at Google. So it was more like 2:ish when we actually started the road trip part.

Initial plan: I used Roadtrippers to create an amazing trip full of fun attractions, fire breathing dragons, rabbits, reptiles, and corn mazes. I probably would have fit a haunted asylum in there too if we hadn't had Pickel's plane to make. It was a masterpiece that I timed down to the minute between each place so we knew how long we would have at each attraction, where we would be staying (I even made fucking reservations) and how long we would be in the car at a time. I. Am. Amazing.
Reality: We left four hours later than I initially planned which cut out a Rabbit Ranch in Illinois. Then, about two hours into the trip we hit a patch of rain that just happened to take up most of the Midwest (for the entire goddamn trip, by the way) which ruined the sculpture park and made the fire breathing dragon a no go. We still went to the Sculpture park. There was a giant eyeball, I couldn't NOT go. It was already dark, pouring rain, TONS of lightening, and still somehow super fun, despite the loss of a beautiful straightening job on my hair. (RIP great picture opportunities.)

From there we had SEVEN hours of driving to get to the hotel. We were not only severely behind because of our own doing, but the storm slowed our pace to a crawl for most of the trip, it was terrifying and we were pretty sure we were about to die for at least 75% of the drive. Being the optimists that we are, Pickel and I blared the soundtrack to Rocky Horror Picture Show because... we were pretty sure we were living it.

Getting to the hotel
Initial plan: get there at an ungodly hour, ask for a late check out, then pass the fuck out and ignore the world for hours.
Reality: we got there at 3:30 AM, they gave us the wrong room, we had to go back and have them fix it, so it was after 4 AM by the time we all laid down to go to sleep. By all of us I mean Pickel had one bed, Chris and I had one that we shared with the dog, the kitten slept in her crate covered with a towel, and Sydney the Strabismus Kitty wandered around the room growling and meowing her distaste for our choices until finally scaring the shit out of Pickel by sticking her face in her face causing her to jump and yell out, then going and curling up on the chair.

The next morning I was awakened at 7:30 by the kitten meowing (6:30 for my body), so I took her, her food, water, the other cat, and my phone into the bathroom and made them shut up for a few hours so the others could sleep. Because I rock. Also because I am the weak link of the driving team, and needed to make sure the others were in tip top shape for the day's driving.
I went down to the lobby to get some breakfast, and found that, somehow they put it away at like 9 AM and nothing was left. To their credit, though, the staff of the Days Inn was super nice and brought out cereal and milk for me along with hot water for tea, so that I could have something to munch on. Every person who walked passed me made sure I was comfortable, had everything I needed, and that the room was good. (You can see my review on TripAdvisor for more details of the stay, but overall if you need to spend the night in Dayton I would say this is a good budget choice.)

Day Two
Initial plan: Hit the road early on Thursday morning, drive over to Friendship National Park to take pictures in front of the sign, stop in Jersey Shore Pennsylvania because, why not, head over to Punxsutawny to see Phil, then coast to our hotel in New Columbia Pennsylvania to relax. It was seven hours of driving, not bad at all, and we would have time to casually stop into any places along the way that seemed interesting. (Side note: if you don't believe in a higher being- whichever you prefer- then I guess you would call this a coincidence. Chris' parents from NC were in Ohio at the same time for a reunion, so he was able to go spend the day with them. How the fuck does that happen? We didn't even know until the day we left.)

Reality: As soon as we hit the road it started raining. We forgot about Friendship National Park in our excitement about seeing Punxsutawny Phil, and by Jersey Shore PA it was raining so hard our entire outlook on life was "Fuck the world and make good with God because we're about to die."
Then enter Google Maps having some sort of Halloween fun with us. Or having a stroke, I don't know what happened, but it was not fucking funny, Google. While trying to get to Phil's Burrow, Google changed its mind and instead took us here:
Have you ever felt like Wes Craven was directing your life?
We ended up in front of some random ass farm with Google telling us our destination was on the left (only certain death was on our left.) It looked like a scene out of The Hills Have Eyes if it was placed in the Appalachians. I feel pretty confident that if a serial killer wanted to trap people, all they would have to do is hack into their connection to Google Maps and redirect them to that exact place, then offer to help them. Luckily, having watched horror movies like it was homework, we weren't about to fall for that and did not ask anyone for help. We GTFOed and searched for downtown Punxsutawny, which was another thirty minutes away. We were on the verge of giving up on poor Phil.

Chilling with BFF Phil
Thank god we didn't, because it was magical. It was 8 PM and dark by the time we got there, and of course, being a geriatric 100+ year old ground hog, Phil was asleep. But he sensed the presence of his best friend just outside his enclosure and woke up for some pics. Then, once we'd had our Phil (fill- get it!) he went back to sleep. We were giddy with excitement. Phil the groundhog had woken up for US. Because we were best friends now.

Then it was off to hotel number two- another hour away. It took nearly two hours in the rain, which ended up closing most of the towns we had driven through because of flooding. It was on the national news the next day, and we couldn't believe we were still alive. Thank God we were, because Hotel number two was AMAZING. It was a Holiday Inn Express, and we probably would have stayed another night just to enjoy it if we didn't have a plane to catch. They had a coffee and tea bar, so we made ourselves tea and went to relax in the huge room with 12 foot ceilings. They gave us a 2PM check out the next day, which worked perfectly with our plan. Pickel took a relaxing bath. I watched American Horror Story on my phone. 
Day Three
Pretty much initial plan AND reality:
We slept in the next day, then went and got some breakfast from the awesome breakfast bar. THEN was the highlight of the trip:
We dolled up in our Halloween Costumes (almost two weeks before Halloween) and drove over to Clyde Peeling's Reptiland. It. Was. THE BEST. Do it. If you are anywhere near it then make it happen because it was totally worth it. We paid $15 extra bucks to feed Aldabra Tortoises by hand and then got to pet and snuggle with them while they took pictures of us. Now I want an Aldabra tortoise as a pet. 
My new best friend, Al.
We learned a ton about all kinds of species, and got to walk among life sized animatronic dinosaurs,
as well as stealthily touching other animals we weren't necessarily "supposed" to touch. (If you don't want me to pet an Emu, then a couple of ropes is not the way to convey that message.)
         
After we left Clyde's we were going to stop at LeHigh Gorge Park to take in the views, but Google Maps once again had other ideas. This time it took us to an entrance to the part of the part where you could hunt (oh yay!) so instead we just took a beautiful drive through the fall leaves of the southern Poconos. By the time we got to the scenic part of the drive, the rain that had plagued us for three days was behind us and we had sunshine and bluebird skys the rest of the way. 


And now, we wait. We have reached the state of New Jersey, we are at the home stretch of this move. Soon I will be back in a home and be able to get a couple of Vlogs ready for y'all to watch.
I guess I should stop saying y'all now that I'm back in Jersey.



To see more pictures from the trip as I post them, search for #NewKanseyYellowBrickRoadTrip on Instagram or Twitter.