Archive for the 'Health' Category

Tired of Being Sick, Sick of Being Tired

I’ve been sick for over a week.  Without getting too graphic, I’ve been having sinus trouble that’s been causing me to have a nasty cough.    There are times during the day when I stop coughing for a few hours, and I think that I’m getting better, but it hasn’t lasted.  I’ve tried everything that I can think of to try to cure my problem, or at least bring me relief.  Some things help for a short time, but nothing has been permanent, obviously.

I’m a fan of herbal and home remedies, if you have’t noticed.  I’d rather use something natural or chemical-free to fix my ailments, whenever possible.  So, I’ve been using a plethora of products and methods.   I have some herbal drops that I’ve been using to make tea, things with names like “Sinus & Lung Blaster.”   I also sat the other night with my head hanging over a bowl of boiled water with eucalyptus oil under a mini-tent created by a sarong.   Yes, I’ve been using the neti pot.  And when all else has failed, I’ve even taken Mucinex.   The thing is, unless I’m constantly drinking some beverage or other, sooner or later the stuff from my sinuses that’s ending up in my throat makes me cough.  I’m well hydrated.

The other thing that stops the coughing is being asleep.  I’m not having any trouble with being tired; I’m exhausted from all the coughing and running to the bathroom to return all the water and tea I’ve been drinking.  The problem is balancing my desire for relief from both the coughing and the exhaustion with my previous and well documented insomnia problems.

This evening, I screwed up.  I just couldn’t help it, and I couldn’t take it anymore.  As soon as I got home from work, I went straight to bed.   I really couldn’t help it, though.  And it was delicious.  I slept so good, and I wasn’t coughing.  Even when I woke up, for a little while, I just laid there, and felt better than I’ve felt in over a week.  Mr. Darcy, my cat, even came and laid next to me and purred for a little while I scratched behind his ears.  It was cozy, and nice, and everything good.

The problem is, I only slept for three hours.  And now here it is, 1 a.m. and I’m awake.

Because as an insomniac, the last thing I should ever do is take a nap after work, or nap for longer than 25 minutes ever. And I know this.  And I did it anyway.

I should be going to bed every night at the same time, and getting up in the morning at the same time.  I should follow the same routine every night before bed.  I should never sit on my bed, or do anything on my bed, except for bed stuff.   I should avoid caffeine after three in the afternoon.   I should never drink alcohol.   I know how helpful sleep medication can be, but habit forming, and I know the pitfalls of relying on them.   I know that vanilla, chamomile, and lavender can make you drowsy.  I know to turn off my electronics at least half an hour before I try to go to sleep.

I know all these rules.  I live by these rules.  I know the consequences of not following these rules.  I also know the effects of sleep deprivation all too well.  And I know there’s less of a chance that my immune system will be able to evict whatever is causing this sinus problem without proper sleep.  In short, I know better.

But god damn was that nap worth it!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go pee for the 500th time today, and then I’m going to try to find something really boring to read.

Just sayin’.



To say that 2014-to-date has been challenging for me so far I think is a bit of an understatement.  I had an accident while playing soccer.  On March 2nd, I broke my leg.   It was a tibial plateau fracture.  (Do yourself a favor, and don’t Google that.   Just trust me.)

The thing was, at the time, I was probably in the best shape of my whole life.  I was training for a half-marathon.   The day before I broke my leg, I ran eleven miles.   I was running three or five days, taking a dance class or two, weight training, and playing soccer every week.  I even had a trainer I was working with.   I was probably in better shape then that time I decided it was a good idea to do bootcamp classes three times every week for about six months.   (Side note: Watch this video, because it’s ridiculous, and realize that their form isn’t very good:


The thing that I really loved most about running was that it was meditative.   I would get into a good rhythm, and then it was just right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot.  I was present, and mindful in my body with each step, particularly at the longer distances.  I was focused on breathing, and listening to my own rhythm.  It was a really great way to be in touch with my body and mind.  It had a tremendous effect on my self-esteem, and general well-being.

I had set out to do a half-marathon, because it just seemed like a thing that people did, especially a lot of people in the fitness and outdoors obsessed San Francisco Bay Area.   But after I conquered that 11-mile run, I felt like the half-marathon was going to be easy, and perhaps too easy.  I was already thinking that I might have to try a full marathon after that.  I surprised myself with my ability.  I wasn’t very fast, but I could go-go-go.

It only took a split second for that idea to come crashing down.   A much bigger dude than me and I decided that one of us was going to get to the ball first.  What actually happened was that his knee made contact with my shin about an inch below my knee-cap.   I spent the evening in the emergency room, and the next six-and-a-half weeks on crutches.

While I was laid up, I thought I would get so much stuff done, and be so productive.  I have nothing but time. I thought I’d write like a fiend.  It was around this time that I started thinking seriously about starting the YouTube channel.  I thought I would study French, play my guitar, learn to code.  Really, though, I was just in a grumpy and lazy place.  What I really did was watch a lot of documentaries on NetFlix.   My patience was already tested, and I didn’t have any left for working on any of my projects.  Truthfully, I was probably missing out on the rhythm of my running.

When I finally got off the crutches, this is what walking looked like:

Of course, then to add insult to my injury, about a month ago, I got shingles.

I’ve been in physical therapy up until Thursday, when I finally graduated, but I still have a long time to go before I’m fully recovered.   I may no longer be taking those first wobbly baby steps, but I can’t run more than a tenth of a mile at a time right now.   I have a very regimented rehab program that I am on, and it will be months before I’m able to run more than a mile or two at a time.    The hardest part is taking it slowly.  I just want to run so bad.

Things are looking up.  I am feeling a lot better.  I know that I will be able to run the way I did before, in time.  But it has been a helluva year, and it’s taken a lot out of me.   I am impressed with how I’ve bounced back, but it hasn’t been easy.

I will get back to where I was, though.  I will run a half-marathon.  And after that, maybe a full.

Just sayin’.

A Very Important Product Review

Some information that you really need to know, because it’s something we’ve all been through.




Hope everything is going well for all of you.

Not Going According to Plan

[CN – some graphic description of pain]


This right here?  This is the space where there was going to be a completely different post.  A post that was far more nuanced, that I’ve been doing research on, and taking notes.   That I’ve been thinking about an awful lot.   There is supposed to be a play along at home component to it.  It was the mission statement of the new leaf I’m turning over.  It was going to be positive!

You know that saying about the best laid plans of mice and men.  Yeah, I actually had no idea what the figure of speech really meant, or where it came from; I only knew you were supposed to say it when your shit got fucked up or didn’t turn out the way you wanted.  But I’m pleased to report that it originated in a Robert Burns poem (To A Mouse, 1786).  That guy.  Helluva guy.  That’s a post for another time, isn’t it.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.  I have been waylaid this week by something very unexpected.  I have come down with not the worst, but a significantly bad case of shingles.

For those of you who may not know what shingles is, it is basically an extension of chickenpox, after several decades of respite in which the virus apparently was shooting steroids and snorting angel dust inside your body.  It usually strikes people much older than me, like retirement age people.  But then again, I do get all the random diseases.  There was the scarlet fever in 2010.  And the norovirus…I think that was 2012.  (What’s up with the even years?)

I had chickenpox when I was five-years-old.  I stayed home from school and played and itched a little bit.  This is nothing like that.

Shingles is an ailment of your nerves.  It usually flares up along a specific nerve or branch of nerves.   It results in a rash of burning, itchy blisters, as well as pain along the nerve. It’s usually also only on one side of your body.  A lot of people get it along their ribs on their back, starting at the middle and trailing out to either the left or right flank.   In my case, it’s running down my sciatic on my left leg.

So, as we speak, there are patches of blisters down the back of my left leg from just below my buttocks down to just above my knee, that itch so badly and in the most painful way an itch has ever itched on my body.  I am very much considering defecting from my skin.

The nerve pain feels as though someone or something has some how gotten a tiny, dull, pink, disposable razor inside my leg, and is dragging it down my nerve, nicking and razor-burning it as they go.


Finally, every once in a while, there’s what feels like a flaming hot fencing sword stabbed into the back of my leg or lower butt region.

And there is nothing that will make it stop.  I have taken Advil and Aleve.   I have smeared every kind of first aid-itch-burn cream-lotion-salve on it, and it feels better for maybe five minutes, but then it’s right back to where it is.

So, no, there will not be a nuanced, well thought out, researched post tonight.  I cannot be coherent.  I just want to amputate my leg, basically.   Fuck it!

Just sayin’.

1 Year Ago Today

Remember this?   One year later, and I’m still as giddy about that news as I was then.

I think this calls for a beer!

100% Official – Not Dying!

I officially, 100%, no question or doubt have beaten the pre-cancerous condition I was diagnosed with last April.   To celebrate, I’m going to go drinking tomorrow evening after work with as many friends as dare to show up.  That it happens to be Amateur Drinkers’ Night is an unfortunate coincidence.

If you want the where and whens, email me and you can come have the booze with me.



Cancer has played a huge role in my life through the last year or so.   I’ve lost two family members this year to this thing, my sister and my uncle who was also like my godfather.    My sister passed away the first week of February.  I had gotten an email from her just a few days earlier, telling me that she the cancer was terminal, and that she was planning on making a trip out to California.  I thought I was going to get a chance to say good bye.   She was gone within a few days.

In March, when my ex ended our two plus year relationship, he told me he would have done it sooner, but it was hard to find the right time, “because someone was always dying of cancer.”   

Within a month, I was diagnosed with a pre-cancerous condition that could develop into the same type of cancer that had taken my sister.   Most cases do not develop into full-blown cancer, though, and since my lesions were considered “low-grade”, the doctor thought it was best to monitor the cells, rather than prescribing any treatment.  I would be retested every three months until I had had three negative/normal tests in a row.

Then in May, the week of my birthday, my uncle passed, too.   I spent my birthday in airports, trying to get to Iowa for the funeral.   I got a text from my ex while I was sitting in the airport, and I wanted to scream and rip his guts out.  

Cancer has been this force and this fear.    

On November 1, Dia De Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) I went down to my local tattoo shop, and I got this tattoo:


These types of designs, these skulls are part of the celebration of the day when the dead can walk amongst the living again.  I wanted to do something for my sister, my uncle, and my other family who have left in the last few years, including my grandfather.  

Yesterday, I got the results of my second Every-Three-Months test.   It was my second normal in a row.  If it had been positive, I would have had to start all over again, and it would be a year before it could be over, and always with the fear of it progressing.   Now, I feel like I’m free, because with two normals behind me, I just have to get one more test, and it’s highly unlikely that it’ll come back at this point.


Cancer is behind me.

 And the rest of my life is in front of me.

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March 2018
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