Thursday, September 30, 2010

This won't seem like good news, but it is! Trust me!

Let me start off by saying, again, that there is good news. You'll just have to weed your way through the whinging to find it.

The last three days have been an ever-increasing torture. So much hurts. I wake up and I'm achy. I sit down and I'm achy. I get up from my seat and I'm achy. Each day has gotten a little worse. The second day, I had to drive to Madison for a follow-up with my fibro doctor (she's a rheumatologist). But my appointment was in the afternoon. And this past week and a half, I've been doing the housework by myself, taking care of the dogs by myself, and doing all the running around by myself. The spouse and the son took off to North Carolina where the in-laws are and with Ceej going to school and working, I'm pretty much left with it all. She also has a ton of homework to do, what with two advanced placement classes on her schedule. So the last thing I'm going to ask her to do is the dishes.

But I digress...

Just when I think I have this fibromyalgia thing worked out- what triggers it, how to feel better, what to do to stave off the pain... something changes and then this fibromyalgia beast wrestles me to the ground and kicks me with soft, clown-like shoes. I say that because I've actually been kicked by someone wearing sneakers and that bloody well hurts. This is more like being beaten with firm pillows to the point where you want to stab the person holding the pillow. Its more of a dragging-down-squishing-to-the-floor-can't-get-up-gravity-hurts kind of thing than it is a "beating".

A lot of fibro sufferers will refer to their pain as "being hit by a Mack truck" or "run over" and such. That's a pretty good analogy. But, here's one that's from real life. I mean, because being hit by a Mack truck has a pretty low survival rate, doesn't it? And I thought of this while I was watching a video of the final joust at the Bristol Ren Faire. That all-over body pain... that "widespread pain in the muscles" that is so frequently explained in those drug ads- to me, it feels like being thrown from a horse. I've been thrown from a horse once in my life. I've also been kicked by a horse once in my life. Stepped on too many times to count (hmm, now that makes me wonder if my right foot is worse than my left foot for that very reason). But when I was thrown from that horse, it hurt my hip and my elbow, because that's how I landed. It also hurt my pride damn near instantaneously, but that's another story. I got up, dusted myself off and picked the leaves and grass out of my hair. And I got back on the horse (because you have to!). The next day, I awoke to every muscle in my body aching. My hip and my elbow were bruised and that all-over pain seemed to radiate from those two places. We were out camping and I couldn't take a hot shower to loosen my muscles. I had to basically go through my day with that pain. The next day, it was worse. It wasn't till about three days later that it started to get better. But that's what fibro feels like. It feels like being thrown from a horse and hitting the ground. Gravity is a harsh mistress (so sayeth Patrick Warburton as "The Tick").

Today, I went to lunch with my parents and got to see my photograph hanging inside Denny's (for the second time, I saw it last week for the first time). After lunch, Ceej and I went to the grocery store. Then to conferences (where I had to walk half the length of the school twice and do a lot of standing). And now, I have that all-over-horse-thrown feeling. I ache so badly that when I try to get out of my chair, I have to fight back tears. It truly hurts that much.


There is good news! 

At my fibromyalgia follow-up, my doctor was quite pleased! I've lost five or six pounds since my last visit (three months ago). I'm also sleeping in longer blocks (I went from 90 minutes/two hours to sleeping four and five hours at a stretch). And from that, I've been having more good days than bad days (well, for the most part. This week was pretty rough, but till now, its been pretty good). She was pleased with my progress and we're going to keep this course for another three months (Unless I feel like its getting worse or not helping anymore, then I can call them and we'll try a different drug). Right now, I take 10 milligrams of Cyclobenzaprine. And now I can take a pill and a half on those rough days (guess what I took today). The doctor was very pleased to hear I went to faire three times this summer (after I explained to her what it was all about and how much walking I did- she was impressed that I lasted about six hours, even in the heat). She did tell me to avoid the heat, but I can't make Bristol change their schedule just for me. I also told her of my plan to get season tickets for next year, so I can go every weekend. I even showed her some of my ren faire photos on my phone (I can get on the Internet on my mobile phone and all those Bristol photos are also on my Facebook). She was quite impressed with what she could see in that 2x2.5 inch Motorola screen. The knights impressed her most (and she said that Maximilian was quite the handsome guy- from seeing this photo of him). I also told her that the girls and I are going to another faire this weekend (Stronghold Olde English Faire). She thinks getting out and going to the faire is a good thing for me.

So there you have it- doctor approved: Renaissance Faires! Huzzah!

She also gave me two book titles I should have a gander at- which I will do as soon as I finish my "Abraham Lincoln; Vampire Hunter" book.

Oh, I almost forgot. Since the disabled guy left and won't be back for my birthday, he told me I could get a new pair of boots for my birthday. That doesn't sound like much, but I wear Dr Martens boots. (or "Docs" as they are lovingly called). The funny thing is- I just got a brand new pair of Docs. Shiny red ones. I love 'em. (pictured below). But, while I was searching the Doc Martens website for shiny red boots, I found some that will be perfect for faire. They're not exactly "ren faire" shoes, but under a long dress, they'll look just fine. Heck, my last pair of "ren shoes" were Earth Shoes from Wal-Mart (they were actually ankle boots). Click this link to see the new boots.   But, being as good news as that is, today I got a birthday card from him (and one from Jase). He sent me a check for $50, on top of the boots. So now I have extra spending money for the faire this weekend. And that rocks.

See... I told you there was good news!

Here's my shiny new boots-

219- original

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It is all my own fault, but it was worth it!

Sunday, I went to the Bristol Renaissance Faire with my daughters. In case I haven't mentioned it before, they are seventeen and twenty-one. I knew what I was in for because I'd been to faire two other times this summer. Both days were blistering hot with crazy-high humidity and no wind! I, quite literally, started sweating when I climbed out of my truck and didn't stop till I got back in and had the AC on, six hours later.

Sunday wasn't quite as hot, though. I was still sweaty, but not nearly as disgustingly as I was those first two times. We saw the joust, the acrobatic group Barely Balanced, had lunch (spinach calzones- which were fantastic!), I took loads of photos- not an exaggeration. I had over 180 photos to go through! And we got to see Maxx and Mauldron's A Knight at the Opera (comedy, singing, dancing- done by two men who also do the joust). I did feel better Sunday than I did on those other two days and it looked like we might stay later than those previous days. Not so much though. The first day, July 10th (opening day), it was around 130 or 2 PM when it finally got so bad I couldn't take it anymore. The second day, August 1st, it was around the same time, but also, my feet were in agony. I'm pretty sure my "ren shoes" have had it. This time, I didn't even start to feel tired till around 2 PM. The girls went back toward the entrance to see the Mud Show and I stayed closer to the jousting ring. We were going to take in the 3 PM jousting tournament. Around 230, I made my way down the hill and it was quite literally, standing room only. I saw "Maxx" and stood next to him to watch the Andalusian horse show (I can't remember the real name of that show). Full disclosure- I know "Maxx" (not his real name) and we stayed around after the first joust to take photos with him. In fact, he and Mauldron involved me in the show, even called me "Lady Smelly"- the whole bit was far too hilarious to explain.

When the dancing horse was through, almost no one got up from their seats. I walked around to the side where Maxx's fans are seated (you cheer for the knight for where you're seated) but there wasn't even one seat available. People were sitting in the grass and standing, but there was no way I could stand for that long. I can't get down on the ground either. Partly because of my knees and partly because even if I got down there, in the tightly-laced-up garb, I wouldn't have been able to get up.

I sat down a lot between 2 PM and the time we left. Four people thought I worked there this time. When I was there with Christine on August 1st, two people thought I was a performer. I didn't think my garb looked all that great- not by comparison to anyone else's! But it was nice and I did know enough about the faire to be able to answer their questions. One would think that the digital camera I had in plain view would have been the big tip-off that I wasn't a worker.

My feet were the big problem on Sunday. I wore my non-ren-faire Doc Martens boots for that reason, but by the end of our time, I could barely walk. Kat, the oldest, suggested next time we don't come AT opening, that way we could stay later. The problem there is that if we don't come as early as possible, we end up parking too far away and that works against me.

Monday, I woke up with every muscle in my body protesting every movement I made. I shuffled from my room to the bathroom and then down the stairs. I was utterly exhausted and everything screamed in agony. My skin didn't itch, but I think it was because the pain overwhelmed the itching. All day long, every time I sat down for longer than a few minutes (which I tried to do often!), getting up was an experiment in pain. Today, I woke up the same- in pain. But, today, my skin is itchy too. Oh, and my feet- yesterday was worse, but anytime I move my feet, whether I'm standing or not, I get a shooting muscle spasm in my arches. I'm pretty sure the foot thing isn't fibromyalgia, but it isn't helping! I'm also slightly swollen today. I can feel it in my hands and I can see it in my feet.

Its my own fault, but it was definitely worth it. And I'll show you why- Photos!

The first photo of the day-

Left to right- Me, Kat, Christine (aka- Ceej).

First photo of the day

My daughters- Kathrine (21) and Christine (17)

Kathrine and Christine

Barely Balanced is an acrobatic/comedy trio who are just hilarious. They walk around on stilts between shows and delight us all.

They're Casey, Cameron and Jimmy- but if you have trouble remembering names, they're also: "Small! Medium! And LARGE!" (respectively).

This is Cameron. We saw him almost as soon as we'd arrived. I called to him- the girls went to Bristol without me two weeks ago and I mentioned on Facebook how they were there with half my gear (belt, pouches, hair doo-dads). I said that they damn well better get a photo of themselves with someone like Barely Balanced or Jane the Phoole. Cameron said he'd be glad to pose for a photo with them, so I texted them that very statement. But they didn't do it! When we saw Cameron, I told him who we were and he said, "Oh, are these them? Why didn't you stop last time!?"

Then he used them as furniture.
Cameron and my girls

Jimmy- who is actually friends with one of Kat's best friends. He knew her in college. He even talked to Kat about waiting to go to college instead of going right out of high school (which is what she did- she just started going to college last week).

Jimmy and my girls.

And with the lovely Casey. She's not only amazing in the acrobat group, she does stand-up. And she's hilarious.

Casey and my girls.

If my 18 year old son had been with us, this photo would have been perfect because Casey could have done something to him, like hung onto him like Cameron is to Kat or even had him pick her up. But he thinks we're nerds and won't go with us.

The Girls and Barely Balanced

This is Jane the Phoole. I've met her several times at the small Janesville Faire. She's also hilarious and she's part of the cast at Bristol. Its an honor knowing her and here she explained to the girls how to be famous (by looking into that small hole and saying: "Monkeys!")

Jane taught the girls how to be famous

Sir Maximilian and his loyal steed- Kilvarough.

He's on a horse...

He's a bit more awesome than the Old Spice guy, because not only is he on a horse, he has sword.

He's a manly man...

A knight and ladies-

Sir Maximilian and his loyal subjects

Me and Maximilian. He's sweaty because he just completed a joust. I'm sweaty because I'm conscious and upright. I do a 365days self-portrait project on Flickr. And he agreed to be in my photo of the day (Day 204).

204 of 365- Me with a Knight in Shining Armor

And, the girls again... Christine and Kathrine

My daughters

If you want to see ALL the photos, here is the link- "Bristol Renaissance Faire"