Saturday, May 26, 2012

I survived two days at a ren faire only to have my ass kicked by the weather

The Janesville Renaissance Faire was fantastic. It was good fun and seeing all our friends (well, our local friends) again was great. On Saturday, I had to work from Noon till 6 PM- which works out, because we go back on Sunday and I spend all the money I made back at the faire. The people who read this are also on my Facebook page and already know the news.

On Saturday morning, I threw my gear at the booth where I do readings and went in search of friends. I found them easily, since we're friends with a lot of cast members at Bristol. And I love the fact that we can have a conversation and they never break character. While I was talking to a couple of them (who happen to be husband and wife- in real life, not in character), my daughters and one daughter's boyfriend showed up. They were recording me... long story short (and the videos are on Facebook), they gave me my Mother's Day present (a week late, but that's awesome). They wanted to do it in public and the faire was great because we were among friends.

What was my present?

If you don't already know- brace yourself... my kids pooled their money and got me a Nikon D5100 DSLR camera. Not just the camera and the usual swag- but also a zoom lens and a macro lens. So I've gone a little crazy with the photo-taking this week. I have the most awesome kids in the world.

And, if you want to see it- here are most of the photos from
~the Janesville Ren Faire~. Almost all the photos taken on Sunday were taken with the Nikon. And, here's a link to a set where I put all my Nikon photos, except the ren faire ones.

~Random Nikon D5100 photos~

Now, moving on...

I ended up with bruises on the arches of my feet, from all the standing and walking I did on Sunday. Monday, I was fine, just a wee bit tired. Tuesday, the exhaustion hit me. But, still not much pain. It seemed that I survived the first renaissance faire of the season mostly unscathed by fibro pain. Huzzah.

I've had a general all-over aching for over a week though. I'd mark it as a level five, sometimes an eight, but mostly very tolerable. And late Wednesday afternoon, it got worse. And Thursday was dreadful. I thought that the ren faire took its sweet-ass time getting to me, but it turned out that the weather was changing. We went from mostly sunny, relatively dry weather to impending storms.

That dreadful aching escalated into a full-blown flareup. And while I have learned I can deal with the pain, the total exhaustion is another matter. This fibro thing, when it wants to, can beat me down and kick my ass like Dalton cleaning up a small-town dive bar. But only if Dalton were a whiny jerk who beats people half to death with a wet swimming pool noodle. One would think that if a beating is so pathetic as to be compared to a swimming pool noodle that it isn't that bad. Did you see where I referenced Dalton? Its a savage beating. Its like I blew up the barn he lived in and then challenged him to a fight to the death in front of a lake where we both have to had to end up shirtless and sweaty...

Wait a minute, I seem to have lost my train of thought. It had something to do with shirtless and sweaty men, right? Strange... this is my fibro blog.

Oh, right... pain. Always with the pain. Yesterday (that would be Friday, May 25th for those of you who aren't reading this in a reasonable time frame) was particularly rough. Along with the all-over pain, which had increased in intensity, and the exhaustion, which was so delightfully nagging, my attitude took a plummet. I hate it when that happens. I don't like feeling down. Of course, I don't stay down for long. But the fact I fell into that funk is bad enough.

Saturday morning (today, that is), I woke to a wonderful thunderstorm that is actually still going on as I type this. So the pain I'm in is from the weather. I've got shooting pains down my arms, in the muscles and it feels like I'm developing tendinitis in my other shoulder. And my skin feels like its on fire- not just itchy with the thousands of tiny, hairy-legged spiders, but also hot.

What I want to know is, if I feel like I'm about to burst into flames, why don't I have any superpowers? What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right? I get told that a lot. So, with everything that hasn't killed me yet, I should be a goddamn superhero. Where's my skintight body suit? What's my emblem going to be? Where's my cape?

No, wait... scratch the cape. No capes. They never work out.

And I leave you with this... a photo taken of me on Sunday, at the Faire, by my lovely and talented friend- The Duchess. I'm cheesing it up with my cheesiest smile. My camera is in the basket on my arm. And the wind made my hat SO POOFY.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

When You Fall asleep to "Futurama", weirdness ensues... [flareup whining inside]

Today is Sunday, May 6th. That's in case you live in the future or if you're reading this on some other day than the day I posted it.

I woke up today feeling a little sore, kinda stiff, but no biggie, I wake up every goddamn morning like that now. The Disabled Guy got home on Friday evening, so that's been a barrel of laughs. Saturday, we had to go to Ceej's dorm and move 90% of her crap home. She's got two finals and then she's staying at her sister's for a bit. We took her car out to her so she'll just drive herself home.

I've been under some stress lately that I won't bore you with, but as you know, stress can exacerbate the pain. I had to run to the store and shortly after I got home, I started to hurt. Slowly, the pain became more intense. My skin felt like it was on fire. My clothing hurt my skin and even having one of the dogs brush by my leg caused me to wince. As the pain increased, I seemed to lose my ability to stand up straight. I started to curl into a question mark. Let me tell you, that's not a good look for anyone- except question marks. And maybe The Riddler.

Since NASCAR was on, I decided to go upstairs and get under my soft fleece blankets. As mentioned before, the fleece blankets I have are super-soft. One blanket feels good, the second blanket's weight just feels nice against the softness. Oh, also, I'm naked. Sorry for that mental image.

I wasn't tired, really, so I had "Futurama" on Comedy Central. As Stephen Colbert said: "Comedy Central, where you're never more than 30 minutes from an episode of 'Futurama'." (or something similar, frankly I'm not going to look it up).

As if by psychic cue, three of my friends started texting me. It was like they knew I felt terrible and only their special brand of crazy was going to make me feel better. (one wasn't actually texting me- but I get text alerts when I get a Facebook message). It was nice. To you guys, thanks.

After the marathon texting and a couple episodes of "Futurama", I started to doze off. I was in pain. Excruciating pain. I couldn't shift my body around without wincing. So, I was sprawled out, taking up most of the bed, not moving. This was a huge pain- I had tears more than once today. This is how bad it was- I didn't take Vicodin before I went upstairs and I should have. But, I hurt so much I didn't want to go back downstairs to get some Vicodin.

I can hear you saying: "But, the Disabled Guy is home, why didn't you have him bring it upstairs with a bottle of water?"

Weren't you listening? NASCAR was on.

As I dozed off, I was half in and out of semi-animated dreams that involved characters from "Futurama". I wish I could remember the details because it was very surreal. I also had a weird dream about someone I've never met in person. I don't even know what it was about, but I think we may have been declaring a thumb war.

Somewhere in there, I had to change the channel because "Futurama" ended and Jeff Dunham's canceled show came on. I'm sorry, if you like him, that's cool and all, but he stopped being funny to me sometime around the year he started using the Achmed-the-Dead-Terrorist character. I switched it to one of the X-Men sequels on FX. Then my dreams were a weird mix of Leela and Wolverine discussing my mutant abilities.

That's what it is... I'm a mutant. This fibrofuckingmyalgia is part of my mutant abilities. I can withstand pain that would drop a normal person in their tracks.

Lamest mutant ability ever.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Wait, what? I thought this was a fibrofuckingmyalgia blog

It is, it is. Don't get your panties in a twist... unless you're into that kind of thing. Who am I to judge? But since this is my fibrofuckingmyalgia blog, today we're going to talk about some other pain issues.

Twenty years ago, give or take a few months, I gave birth to my second child. He was born at 11 pounds even, 22 1/2 inches tall. The doctor jokingly said, while I was pregnant, if he were bigger than my first (9 pounds 4 ounces), he'd wheel me to my room after the birth. Well, he had no idea.

Now aside from bragging about the fact that I pushed an 11 pound bowling ball with a head full of dark hair out of my body without the benefit of drugs, I'm telling you this because it was the beginning of my foot problems. The entire time I was pregnant with my monster baby (as we called him because of his size), my feet were hot. And I mean really hot. I would walk outside in the snow (I was staying with my parents because the Army in its infinite wisdom sent the husband off to school for the last three months of my pregnancy. I'd like to have been in on that meeting: "Hey, guys, we got back from the War in May... let's send every husband away from November through February. I hear [stupid Army nickname they gave him]'s wife is due at the first part of February. Let's give him the duty station he wanted and make his report date also his wife's due date. THEY WILL LAUGH ABOUT THIS!!" Fuck you, whoever you were). Wait, I went off a little bit there... Where was I? Oh, the snow... yes, I could walk outside, barefoot, in the snow and it didn't hurt me. I melted the snow wherever my feet were- and several inches around my foot. It looked like Bigfoot was living there and wearing slippers to walk around in the snow.

Now, all this time that I was barefoot and pregnant (see what I did there!?) my arches started falling. The pain got so bad that I went to the doctor a couple months after the birth. What? I was busy! I had a newborn baby and we were in the process of moving to a new place. Anyway, I was diagnosed with plantar faciitis and "falling arches". My arches have been falling for the last twenty years. That's right, my son is twenty years old. I know, you're thinking, "You don't look old enough to have a twenty year old child!" You may have even blurted it out loud. I'm about to shock you, Edna. I have a child who will be twenty-three in August. "What!?" you exclaim, out loud and a little embarrassed because you chose to read this blog during a conference call at work. "You're lying! Or you were kind of a whore when you were fifteen because, goddammit, you can't possibly have children that old!"... and I tell you that its because I dye my hair. And you say, "No way! That isn't it! Hair dye doesn't do THAT!" and you point to my profile photo. I have to tell you to calm down, everyone is looking at you because now that conference call is a staff meeting. Seriously, I do. I had my kids when I was young and had the energy to keep up with them...

Where was I? Oh, the plantar faciitis... just Google it. You'll see what it is... over the twenty years, I was diagnosed with the plantar faciitis and Achilles tendinitis. For most people, tendinitis comes and goes. Not for me. My feet have been in near-constant pain for the last twenty years. Let's throw some bone spurs into the mix for fun. Every step I take, every move I make... fuck you, I'm not watching you (she jokes, dating herself with the music reference)... but every step hurts. Standing hurts. The pain in my feet, which may or may not be the tendinitis and bone spurs, is constant. It varies in degree of intensity, but it is always there.

On a good day, they just ache and are sore. I wear Dr Martens boots because they last over a year and are very comfortable. And also, sometimes I like to pretend I'm tall. The black hiking boots I usually wear give me an inch and a half in height. ("Wow! You're an Amazon and I don't mean the website that sells all the shit in the world, I mean the really tall lady warriors." Well, thank you. Obviously you don't realize that I'm five feet and four and a half inches tall. With my Docs, I'm an even five feet, six inches).

On a bad day, I have a jolting shock of pain that shoots through my heel bone into my ankle every time my foot hits the floor. On a bad day, I feel like someone is shoving a red hot railroad spike through my foot, between the bones. And for fun, that bastard taps at it with a hammer every so often. On a bad day, with the jolting heel pain and the red hot railroad spike, it feels like the sadistic bastard with that spike is twisting it.

And that pain can come and go. I can be fine, just toodling along at a good pace through the grocery store, lookin' fly and hip (because isn't that what we all want- to be hip and with-it in the eyes of strangers) and as I step, something inside my foot decides to flip the switch. BAM! Railroad spike grinding in between the bones in my foot. Or a bone spur awakens with a cranky shriek. I have bone spurs in my heels and in the ball of my foot. More often than not, my foot pain is at an eight on the stupid pain scale. A good day- that's a five on that scale. And yes, before you ask, my feet have been at a ten before and yes, it did hurt bad enough to induce tears.

I replace the insoles in my shoes monthly. I also have plastic-ish inserts the doctor gave me shortly before my knee replacement surgery (so, over three years ago). He laughed about the store-bought Doctor Scholl's that I was buying. I've been gellin' and of all those products, I prefer the memory foam type over the gel ones. The gel ones start out feeling good, but twenty minutes into their day, the railroad spikes have been released and are assaulting my feet. The memory foam insoles cushion my feet and help keep that jolting shock of pain out of my heel.

Right now, since I'm typing this an hour after I woke up, my feet aren't screaming in agony. They're just tired-feeling and achy. You're thinking: "Wow, how do you stand and walk for hours and hours at the renaissance faire?" And if you weren't thinking that, you're rolling your eyes now. I wear Doc Martens to the faire, with my doctor-prescribed insoles. And it fucking hurts. But if you saw my photos from the last two weekends at the faire, you'd realize that the pain is worth it. And if you don't get that, then you're not artistic. Artists- of which I am- will do anything for their art. And for mine, I stand for hours. And I hurt for days after, but I don't care. It gives me photos like this...

So, even on "good" fibro days when I'm not having a painful, itchy flareup, I'm still in some kind of pain. And what sucks most of all- I don't like having my feet touched because of the pain. A foot massage would probably kill me. And because I love my boots, here are some photos of my Docs.

The red 1460s I rarely wear. They have no padding in them, just straight leather against my sore feet.

My red Docs

The black hiking boots that I usually wear. These never need breaking-in. They are straight up comfortable from the start. I actually don't even have these anymore. I need a new pair, but at the moment, I can't afford them. (I spent my few extra bucks on ren faire stuff for myself for Mother's Day).

My boots aren't made for walkin' today...

303 of 365/2- Docs in macro

My shiny red Docs. I love these even though I can't get them shiny anymore. I wore them to Bristol a few times and the dust just destroyed them. I still wear them even though the hook-bracket thingies on the ankle part are falling out.

210- final photo

219- original

I snagged this pair of distressed brown Docs, on sale for $35 down from $80.

17 of 365

And my ren faire Docs- Shoreditch Ninjas. When I got these, they only had them in black leather. The "cherry red" looks awesome- sorta rough, distressed dark red. I wish I had those. And now they have many color choices, all in canvas. Leather is better, so I'm glad I have the leather ones, but I wish I had them in cherry red. The only time I wear these is at the faire.

New Docs! A birthday gift to myself!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

So much achy whining- today was a daytime Vicodin Day

I joined a group on Flickr called "We're Here!". Members choose a day of the month and they set a theme. Then everyone in the group does a photo in relation to that theme and posts it in the "We're Here!" group and a group related to the theme that the theme-chooser found or is already a part of- it isn't as complicated as I'm making it sound. Its a good idea, because I'm in my third year of doing the 365 self-portraits. I haven't missed a day yet. And having someone else decide my theme for me takes some of the pressure off. Not that I was ever under pressure, of course.

I have a couple Flickr friends that are in the group and through the urging of one of them, I joined the group. I didn't think I'd participate all that much, but so far I have till today (today's theme is "facedown for my birthday" for a member's birthday. I can't do it- its called "planking"). Why am I telling you all this? Because the "Water, Water Everywhere" theme triggered a flareup. I was going to try and get a shot of me dumping water over my head, but it didn't go as well as I'd planned. I filled a gallon jug with water and went outside. I held my camera at arm's length and went to lift the jug. And I couldn't. The gallon of water was too heavy for me to lift easily.

So I had to dump half of it out before I could attempt to dump it on my head. I didn't get the shot I wanted. What I did get was absolutely drenched. Soaking wet. And that's where the problems started. No, no, the water didn't hurt me- nothing as silly as that. But, it was chilly outside because we've had a very weird Spring so far. And with the chill in the air and the wind blowing (we've gone from having a heat index to a wind chill to a heat index again), the cold settled into my muscles. I took a few photos while outside, even tried dumping a bottle of water on my head (shaking it out over my head). It was cloudy, so my camera wasn't firing as quickly as I'd hoped. The photos look a lot like this one:

The end result of the first attempt

My end result turned out to be a macro of a large droplet of water falling off the end of a soaking wet strand of hair. My face was out of focus in the background, but my eye is in focus, and upside-down, in the droplet.

74 of 365+1 Part Three: Water Droplet

As artistically rewarding as the photo turned out, I was- within an hour- fully into an all-over body aching flareup. I wanted to smack myself in the head for doing it to myself, but it hurt to lift my arm. I've had a lingering aching since the day I took those photos. The mornings are terrible for me, so much so that I keep sleeping in. Of course, it doesn't help that I go to bed and then lay awake for an hour before finally dropping off. Today dawned as an itchy and sore skin day and by 10 AM, I took two Vicodin. And you all know how much I hate taking pain meds in the daytime. I've been under some extra stress in the last couple weeks too. I'm so over the stress now. Really, I am. There's no cure for the stress right now, but I'm so looking forward to the ren faire. I've talked up the faire to so many people- both online and in real life- that I think I should get a commission on the tickets sold.

Janesville Renaissance Faire is March 19th and 20th. Bristol's 25th season starts July 7th and runs through Labor Day (Labor Day is their closing day). You should come out. You'd enjoy it. At Bristol, if you want to find me, you know where I'll be.

Oh, you don't? Well, click here for a hint...