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I don't need to count my blessings. They surround me!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

As the bubbling, gurgling tar-like funk starts to recede, I can now see remnants of my true self underneath (phew). And I am able to better reflect on the shiny gems set throughout last week's Mayo Clinic trip, not just the pain and the tears.

To kick things off, the flight attendants were made aware of my disease and my special needs for travel. They were very attentive, and brought me ice packs often. That was great.

There was an issue with the air conditioning where I stayed. They did all that they could, but they were simply not able to get the air-conditioning to operate with the demands of Ethel. I needed the room to be at a maximum of 60°F. Honestly I would've preferred it to be lower than that, but commercial air conditioning just can't compete with those demands 24/7.

Unfortunately they couldn't get the temps down below 70°, and there is currently a heat wave going on in Minnesota [90° are you kidding me?], so I was in a tight spot. Massive swelling, bloody noses and lots of pain. Kind of scary since the bloodwork, biopsies and the pain-filled bits that was to come with the Mayo Clinic had not even started yet.
The maintenance team actually hunted online for some type of DIY contraption to cool me down. It looked like something out of an old I Love Lucy episode, but oh my goodness it actually did work! I just wished it had more force, since the R2D2 looking contraption needed to be parked about 6 inches from me. But still, I'm blown away (Har Har, blown away) that these guys even did this for me. Another blessing.

In case you're wondering, this is a bucket from the hardware store, and inside is a water jug that was frozen solid. On top is a tiny desktop fan to push the cold air out through the PVC pipes. Pretty creative huh?

The lead doctor on my case at the Mayo Clinic decided to let us come home a week early, and said that she would work with Stanford Hospital out here in CA when my testing and surgery results came back. *Wow*

She understood how hard things were for me, and how much pain I was in. Allowing us to come home earlier meant a much cooler climate was on the horizon for me, as our air-conditioning worked better than what we had currently in Minnesota. We were not expecting to come home days early, so that was yet another huge blessing.

The airline agreed to waive the penalties involved in getting us home. Wouldn't you know, there is a Mayo Clinic discount available.

When we got home, my husband went to go pick up our cat JitZu from where we were having her boarded. We were told that someone had anonymously paid our bill. That was not cheap. Wow, we were so thankful...

The next morning my husband drove across town to pick up our dog Olive from where she was being boarded. The owners told him that they were not going to be charging us the $450 fee, since they knew that we will were struggling with my illness on all levels. They said that they wanted to help me in some way if they could.
Again, what a massive blessing.

I had mentioned to a Spark friend that even while at my lowest, I still felt as though God was carrying me through. And I can look back and definitely see that sprinkled throughout the entire trip now. Thank you Lord!

Incredible (gentle) hugs to you all for being such pillars of strength for me. Directing your prayers and strength when I truly needed all of them was not taken for granted. YOU are blessings in my life!

And the icing on the cake, look what was parked outside across from the hospital. It's the Wiener Mobile!!! Talk about getting a great laugh when one was truly needed. My husband pushed me through the lobby in my wheelchair and we saw this last week.

Of course I had to ask if this was the new hospital shuttle. Sadly, it was not…

'Nuff said.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EDENFELL 8/10/2014 4:48PM

    Wishing you lots more good things and treatment that gets rid of all the pain you're going through!{{hugs}} It's so touching when people come through with blessings during tough times. Sending you tons of positive thoughts and fairy dust! emoticon

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NIGHTSKYSTAR 8/3/2014 6:33PM

    You are, indeed, blessed. I think without my pain i wouldnt appreciate things as much..and have as positive of an attitude.
How wonderful of your gifters to pay those bills..and the hotel staff..and the airline!! i'm smiling at all the good vibes here...
AS always please take care and i am here if you need an ear!

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DSJB9999 8/1/2014 3:36AM


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GREGGWEISBROD 7/28/2014 1:50PM

    I'd say the biggest blessing is your fantastic sense of humor!!! :D I think that navigating through your life would be impossible without it. I'm so incredibly amazed by you. :)

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CANNIE50 7/27/2014 5:10PM

    It is hard to feel grateful and count blessings when one is in terrible pain. It is so indicative of your shiny spirit that you are able and willing to do this. Gratitude is such a game changer. I am so glad you have been surrounded by blessings. You deserve each and every one, and more more more. emoticon

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CTUPTON 7/26/2014 9:21AM

    Blessings abound! Weinermobile for a much needed laugh, people helping you to pay the pet bills, R2D2 to cool you off ! Thank you for writing this blog. I will go look for my own blessings now! chris

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FREGGIE 7/25/2014 3:24AM

    What a wonderful blog! You have a very good spirit.
I hope you'll feel better soon. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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RORYLYONS 7/25/2014 2:36AM

    I'm delighted to hear you had an angel at every corner Bren....God is so good and you are especially deserving of all his blessings to you and your dh. emoticon

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NUOVAELLE 7/25/2014 1:38AM

    You deserved each and every one of those blessings, Bren, and more. A person who finds the courage through all this pain to acknowledge their blessings and be thankful for them, has only one name: strong.
You are still in my prayers. My thoughts are always with you.

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AAAACK 7/24/2014 10:27PM

    It's so great that Mayo was willing to work with Stanford, maybe they can develop a good relationship there and save you other trips, and maybe they'll put their heads together and come up with something that whups Ethel's butt!

I hope nothing but good things for you!

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WARRIORGIRL121 7/24/2014 9:28PM

    That is awesome to hear, Bren - God IS carrying you and helping you! That is the Lord taking care of you! I'm keeping you in prayer, honey! Don't give up. Help is flowing your way. emoticon emoticon Karen

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ALLYCANDOIT 7/24/2014 8:28PM

Wow! You weren't kidding. You were totally surrounded by God's blessings.

Really neat a/c device. I had to show my Engineer husband and he loved it.

Want to hear about your Birthday. The weiner wagon was really cool as well as the airlines discount.

Won't stop praying for you!


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MAMADWARF 7/24/2014 7:10PM

    Bren, you were surely surrounded by God's love and people. what a wonderful blessing and I dont know anyone that deserves it more... Please keep us posted on how you are doing...Love ya, girl!

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TIME4CARRI 7/24/2014 5:46PM

    God is so good!
This stuff is way to hard to see in the dark moments but when we get to come up for air it is so apparent. I'm so glad you are feeling better (slowly...) keep us updated on the results and we are still praying it up for you here. Rest and be extra kind to yourself on behalf of all of us who wish we were close enough to. emoticon emoticon (gently)

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SLIMMERJESSE 7/24/2014 3:18PM

    Wow, what kindness abounded for you. And so wonderful that you felt God pulling for you throughout your struggle. Just wow is all I can say right now. Big hug.

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 7/24/2014 2:43PM

    You are indeed loved, thought about, prayed for, hugged and SPECIAL....
I am glad you had so many examples of goodness mixed into your tough experience and pain
to keep you going!
AND, get outta here, the appearance of the Wiener Mobile? A true sign from heaven you are being
Looked out after.....LOVE IT!!!!
Love & Healing Hugs,

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MISSB8604 7/24/2014 2:39PM

    God is SO good.

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_RAMONA 7/24/2014 2:17PM

    So glad the curtain is lifting!

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JCARDINAL 7/24/2014 2:04PM

    It is an honor and a privilege to know you Bren! Your strength inspires me when I want to give up I wish you tons of cool air and a cure. emoticon

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S.O.S. I need help from my Spark friends...

Monday, July 21, 2014

I'm struggling with such high pain since this second trip to the Mayo Clinic. I feel like I'm just enveloped in pain pain pain.
I'm used to sucking it up in my own way and trudging through it. But this pain is like a pool of molasses though, too thick.

One of my dearest Spark friends reminded me that I was not in this alone. That there are many who care about me, and would probably like to know that I'm in a painful place currently. She told me that it is in fact a strength to be willing to ask for help. And that's precisely what I needed to hear.

Because the encouraging words from others; the prayers, the hugs, even those good vibes, are all things that are so valuable right now. My reserves are low, and I am quite weepy lately.

I try to always look for the silver lining. More times than not, I regularly psych myself up to arm wrestle with any negativity that heads my way, threatening me. I try not to wallow or mope.
Have to find something, no matter how small, to be proud of every single day. I'm not doing that currently.

Going through diagnostic tests at the Mayo Clinic is not an easy thing to do. But it is necessary. It is important. It is what I am relying on to formulate my treatment, or even better, a cure. But it is pain-filled, and requires an extra helping of resillience and bravery. I feel tapped out!

I also had surgery this past Wednesday, and that is what is causing me the most pain currently. I was told that this biopsy [called a Sural nerve biopsy], was a fairly simple procedure, and one that the Mayo Clinic does literally every day. I would have a few stitches, some soreness, and heal well.
The surgery ended up being much more involved, and I am still unable to stand or put weight on that foot (5 days later). Being forced to use crutches when your disease already affects your limbs + nursing a biopsy on one hand makes movement more tricky.

I had to take the dressing off of my lower leg 48 hours after surgery, and that visual confirmed why I felt so much pain radiating from my left calf area.
I started counting the stitches. 1, 2, 3, 4... I stopped at 20 or so since my eyes just welled up with more tears.
I was informed this morning by my rheumatologist that special precautions were taken because my disease causes intense swelling in my limbs daily, and they did not want me to rip my stitches (as I had done recently).

My goodness, I'm so sorry to just go on whining about this! I'm really not myself I guess. I meant to just post a brief blog asking for your kind thoughts, good vibes. Perhaps a whispered prayer and well wishes if you wouldn't mind.

I am thankful to be home. I was supposed to still be at the Mayo Clinic this week, but the doctors agreed that I could go home early. I am trying to smile about that. Who wants to spend their 40th birthday at the hospital out-of-state? Oh yeah, tomorrow is my birthday. The big 40. I'm certainly not at the level of health that I had hoped to be at when I turned 40. But here I am nonetheless. I'm sure that's what is adding depth to some of this endless well of tears. Good grief!

It's just that I seem to be forgetting some of the critical positive behavior that had become daily habit to me (with MUCH practice, but still, a habit I tried to nurture). Perhaps because many areas of my mind seem to be overflowing with the pain in my body? Stealing my sleep, stifling my giggles, and rendering me sofa-bound for days now.

Thank you to my Spark friend for nudging me to remember the huge obstacles I have already overcome with this second trip from CA to Minnesota.

I kept my sanity on flights both to and from the Mayo Clinic. These were long and torturous flights for me, but I did it. Air pressure really does a number on a body that already deals with major swelling daily. So yes, there's that.
I made it through another week filled with multiple needle sticks, stitches, surgery (barfy general anesthesia, ugh), sutures, and the naseau side effects of medications.

Unfortunately my trip was also filled with frowns from so many of the doctors I saw, who told me that they wished they could do more. But shoot, they're trying. There are so many sick people who don't ever get a chance to go to the Mayo Clinic for their illnesses, and here I was on my second trip. Yes, I'm thankful for that.

Why does my spirit feel so squashed? I feel like my life is like those last few seconds of Warner Brothers cartoons from so many years ago, closing in until Bugs Bunny is just a tiny little dot. But for me the borders are pain on all sides, closing in.

I'm supposed to say that "I will get through this pain today" out loud, even if I don't completely believe it.
Here goes:
I will get through this pain today!

Am still in dire need of finding my smile. I'm trying, but I need your help!
Thank you for granting me the freedom to share my burden.

'Nuff said.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRENTDREAMER 8/3/2014 2:47PM

    "Am still in dire need of finding my smile. I'm trying, but I need your help!
Thank you for granting me the freedom to share my burden. "
* Always :)

It was "positive thinking" that killed me on this site.

The notion as executed, involves a squelching of negative emotions. It disallows success. Makes people feel guilty for expressing frustration. The canned responses wore me down. Don't get me wrong, when things were going well, it was great. When they weren't though, it became like a typical Stepford style church. Instead of "Just trust in the Lord", it's "Don't beat yourself up" and "tomorrow is another day".

All that to say, I strongly dis-recommend trying to "find your smile" or focusing on the positives at this point. As a friend who cares very much about you, you know how proud I am for what you have gone through and how you have persevered.

imho you should probably process and grieve the last few years. Come to terms with and be at peace with where you are. That peace probably won't involve happiness, may not even involve contentment. You have suffered some extreme losses that most of us can't really fully and truly understand. Even those of us who have dealt with what appears to be worse have really only dealt with different

Counter-intuitive as it is to 99.999999% of this site's mentality, the "negative" emotions are probably the healthiest ones you can experience and definitely the ones you need to feel least guilty about.

emoticon emoticon

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JCARDINAL 7/23/2014 5:07PM

    My beautiful Bren, you have every right to yell, scream and kick at the world. You didn't ask for this disease with all the pain it gives you. It was trust upon you and it's hard not to ask WHY ME!! As you know I've asked that so many times myself. You know you are always in my prayers and I will keep you there forever. Maybe all these prayers and well wishes will help you in some way. I hope so and I wish you a glorious pain free life. emoticon emoticon We are here for you always!

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SLIMMERJESSE 7/23/2014 12:12AM

    Happy Birthday. I just read one of your SP friend's blogs about you and your birthday. I am so sorry you are going through this. I went through my cousin's similar journey with her and understand what you are dealing with. Big hug.

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NIGHTSKYSTAR 7/22/2014 5:30PM

    We are here for you..all positive thoughts and prayers coming to you from me!!

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GAL7288 7/22/2014 2:04PM


You will get through this! Remember that you are already a strong person as it is, think of it as just an obstacle and that it will be overcome. Stay positive and you will attract positive outcomes. Don't worry about talking about it, it makes you feel better, we are here to offer you support and know that we are cheering you on! I hope you feel better soon ! :)

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KAILYNSTAR 7/22/2014 1:47PM

    'Nuff said.

Okay, I get it. 'Nuff said.

I'm going to do something that I'm sure the rest of your Sparkbuddies have done.

I'm giving you permission to HOWL AT THE MOON!!!!!!


It's alright.

You have every right to howl. To scream in frustration. To admit that you are saying, "Why me?"

We've all done it.

Whether it be pain, sadness, depression, being bullied, stomped on, hurt, angry and even happy. "Why me?"

I remember reading in one of thousands of books I've read, of a lady asking "Why me?"

The reply was, "Why not?"

I don't know if the lessons we learn during life are for a reason. To continue and stretch our souls to the limit that we can endure. To use our experiences in life, to understand or try to understand what others are going through. To admit there are times that we can't understand what another person is going through. To give and receive from others. Whether it be their infectious humour and laughter to pain and unhappiness.

What I do know, is that there is more than this.

I get the Bugs Bunny bubble example. I can see it pressing down on you. I just hope that you don't stop pushing back. Push back that bubble and show the darkness it cannot beat you. Take the strength of our well wishes, prayers and positive thoughts and get that light inside you to shine.

I know you shine.

Your light is so bright at times...so very bright.

Know you're not alone. Realize we love you. We're here for you.

Take care of yourself.

'Nuff said.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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4ANEWME2DAY 7/22/2014 10:57AM

    You are a brave person to admit so many personal feeling that are consuming your life. On the happy side,
"Happy Birthday!!' emoticon emoticon
We all emoticon you.

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 7/22/2014 10:47AM

    Oh, my Dear Sweet Friend!
Please, anytime you need you may vent, unload, talk to me and get it out! I can lend an ear and a shoulder! But, I so do understand as I feel guilty when I even do a status update and say I am down! I, too, try to stay above the negativity and it is a challenge, but we all have times it is overwhelming, hurts to bad or needs said...I need help! We (I) are here...please reach out!
I know you have things to be grateful for, so do I, but that does not negate when you are in pain (physical or/and emotional)!
I send you positive thoughts, strong prayers, healing hugs and love!

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MISSB8604 7/22/2014 10:38AM

    My girl you have every right to feel the way you and I’m so glad that you decided to come on Spark to share your feelings. You are loved and supported 500%. I am in awe of your strength and your ability to deal with what life throws at you. You are truly wonder woman!
Thank you for always being such a wonderful friend to me, I can’t tell you how some of your comments have brought me through some pretty dark days.
We’ll hold you up my dear, don’t you worry.

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DSJB9999 7/22/2014 10:31AM

    emoticon emoticon Hang in there my dear Spark friend, love and hugs Donna xxx
emoticon sharing sun as we seem to have loads!
emoticon as I love them as they come after the rain and hope we find the gold at the end of it!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FREGGIE 7/22/2014 9:49AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
Chose the clock because I hope that you will feel better soon.

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WINACHST 7/22/2014 8:11AM

    I am so sorry you are going through such a difficult time.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NUOVAELLE 7/22/2014 2:50AM

    Prayers, wishes, positive vibes, big virtual hugs, all sent out your way today, Bren. But I really wish there was more I could do to help you feel even just a bit of relief.
My thoughts and prayers are with you. I wish they could blend together with all your other sparkfriends' prayers and create a giant healing vibe that would take away pain once and for all...
Hang in there, my friend.

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TIME4CARRI 7/22/2014 12:53AM

    Dear Dear Bren,
How good it is that you so generously share with us what you are going through. Listen, your friend is right about strength in asking for help. So many prayers are headed your way.And NOTHING is more powerful than that. How about for now you allow us to send you positive thoughts and vibes and you just sit back and receive them? For now, don't use your strength and energy to dig any deeper to be anything but receptive of love and care from your family, doctors and friends both near and spark. I know what it feels like when I do have pain and it humbles me how freaking wonderful you are in the midst of living with pain.
You are saint material. In my faith tradition it is an honor to be found worthy of that type of suffering. I only share this as positive encouragement because God knows most of us could never handle it let alone with the grace that you do.
Happy Birthday. I'm sorry you had to spend it this way but what a blessing your life is to all of us.
I am so happy to know you and I am going to be praying it up for you sister. Thank you for sending out an S.O.S. It is a privilege to be one of your SparkFriends.
emoticon emoticon

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WARRIORGIRL121 7/22/2014 12:10AM

    Hugs emoticon and prayers emoticon

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RORYLYONS 7/21/2014 11:32PM

    I can't imagine the pain you are suffering right now but myself and your spark family are here for you. We hold you near and dear to our hearts. for you to have the strength to endure this difficult time..A prayer to say with a bunch of emoticon emoticon

The light of God surrounds us

The love of God enfolds us

The power of God protects us

The presence of God watches over us

Wherever we are God is!

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GREGGWEISBROD 7/21/2014 11:04PM

    My heart rests solely with you, wherever you are right at this moment. I can't possibly imagine the depth of what you're enduring, but I hope that even for a few hours each day you manage to find some relief. I hope so badly that the doctors find a way to help you. Sending a great big electronic hug your way.

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KIKKI-G 7/21/2014 10:15PM

    You are one of the most strongest woman I know. Through everything you exude positivity and for that I look up to you. I can't even fathom what you are going through but you are loved!!!

I really hope you get relief soon & know that you are the recipient of the most positive vibes possible girl!

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AAAACK 7/21/2014 9:54PM

    We stand with you! If I could, I'd stand for you, instead of you. But I know you won't need me to. You will heal from this surgery, and you will find your positivity (I see glimmers of it already!). Nobody can remain positive all the time. And hey, from today forward you can look back and say, well, at least it's not like the day before my 40th birthday, now that day was Hell. I hope that each day things get better, and that you are able to look back at today as a distant memory.

You are the strongest person I know, have ever known.

And for these days when you just don't feel like trying to be positive...well, make this face:

You will find your laughter and hopefully much much less pain!

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MAMADWARF 7/21/2014 9:45PM

    well, damn. im so sorry you are going through so much! nobody can be expected to smile and laugh through all of this. I am praying for a medical miracle for you girl!

please reach out when you need a hug or a laugh. I cant do much but I sure will listen. its exhausting being in pain all the time. I know you keep the faith and I know you stay as positive as you can and you are one tough bird.

I love you, girlie. Im here anytime. thinking of you often and Happy Birthday. Here is to hoping for a good next year... love ya so! Jan

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IYA_EKUNDAYO 7/21/2014 8:06PM

    My dear friend,

I will be saying daily prayers for you, I hope they help to ease your pain and be better.

Joy and sorrow are inseparable...together they come, and when one sits alone with you...remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.-- Kahlil Gibran

All of us are all sending you healing and peaceful vibes.

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ALLYCANDOIT 7/21/2014 8:06PM


I have known that kind of pain and I am praying that God will take it away from you! I am so sorry to hear about your struggles. emoticon

Share as many times as you need to.


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CANNIE50 7/21/2014 8:04PM

    Dearest Bren. I feel like your sweet, witty spirit is strong enough to hibernate for awhile, while you truly embrace the grief you have every right to feel. You are lovable when you are angry, you are lovable when you are sad, you are lovable when you are overwhelmed, you are lovable when you feel negative, you are lovable when you cannot find a silver lining. You do not need to smile when tears are the more natural response. Tears release stress hormones and God knows you have far more than your share of stress. I wish I could lift your pain off of you. I wish you could sleep until some of this pain abates. I wish they would find a &$%#$%@ cure! I am upset on your behalf. I am praying you get sweet relief. I am truly sorry you have to endure this, so often, and for so long. I am thinking of you, as always.oxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

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BHENDRICK2 7/21/2014 7:19PM


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_RAMONA 7/21/2014 7:17PM

    Dearest Bren,

You definitely are not alone, and I hope this current hell eases sooner than later.

May your every day be all you need it to be. May an all abiding peace fill your thoughts, rule in your dreams each night, and conquer all your fears. May God manifest himself in ways you have never before experienced. May your joys be fulfilled, your dreams be closer, and your cares be lifted. I pray that faith enters a new height in you, that your territory be enlarged, and that fulfillment and healing are just one step closer.

MAY GOD ABUNDANTLY BLESS YOU, and those you love, in every way that you require. May he hold you gently in the palm of his hand in a very personal way, and may you rest in the fullness of his love, his grace, his strength, his wisdom, his rescue, his redemption, his healing, his inspiration, his restoration and his mercy as you require it! May you carry in your heart always an extra special awareness of God's great love for you, may you feel his sweet and gentle touch upon your life, and may you see his miracles all around you. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!

{{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}}}

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LISALOSING52 7/21/2014 7:10PM

    aww sweetheart that's why we are here. So you can dump all of those feelings and maybe find a bit of release. You shouldn't try to carry all of that all the time. I'm sorry for all that you've been thru and going thru. The body and soul can only take so much, I too would be an emotional wreck and weepy. I wish I could be there to help you along but alas must send the much needed prayers and gentle Hugs to you. You will get thru this pain today and I pray that it eases so much before tomorrow arrives.
Sending good vibes, a speedy recovery and a pain free time ahead. Hugs and Love,
emoticon emoticon& emoticon emoticon

Happy Early Birthday! emoticon emoticon

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DINAOREILLY 7/21/2014 7:04PM

    Sharing is just fine and pain has a way of taking the stuffing out of you....just know we are there for you and it is OK to blog it all away...journaling has long since been a great way to document the journey and let go of both good and bad on the way,,,,this too will pass as they say but it can suck big time while it lasts...Hugs and hope the pain subsides soon...

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    I'm sorry to hear about this I'm in lot's of pain to crying episodes which I deserve I feel like I'm finished on Earth and it time to go home I'm petty useless and I'm the first one to admit this well hugs

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RAPUNZEL53 7/21/2014 6:54PM

  Hope you start feeling better soon! emoticon Hang in there you have many friends pulling for you!

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Pain Management Therapy suggests I find one thing daily that I am able to do...

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Regardless of crazy a$$ pain burning throughout my bod'. The animal that chronic pain has become can change and morph daily. Lesson: don't expect you can do a certain task daily. Be thankful for today if you can button those buttons, since you just don't know if those buttons will be so friendly tomorrow.

You have to learn to change and grow if you have a condition that does the same.

Case in point, I am VERY thankful today for being able to apply some make-up. I'm thankful for getting my eyebrows drawn on correctly (not looking angry or surprised. Success!)

So that's my 'one thing' for today. I swear it took me 20 minutes, and far too many curse words I might add. Whew!

Oh yes, and consciously try to hold tight to optimism. Keep that sense of humor in a headlock if it threatens to leave you. It's pure gold in tough times.

Happy Weekend guys. Don't let your eyebrows dictate your day! : ))

' Nuff Said.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CTUPTON 7/18/2014 6:08AM

    Hoping the pain is less today. Lovely eyebrows, by the way. chris

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NIGHTSKYSTAR 6/18/2014 2:39PM

I am so sorry I didnt know you were having so much trouble!! I am subscribing to your blog so that wont happen again!! As one who lives with pain I know what it takes out of you...and you are like me..look for the bright side!!
You are in my thoughts...let me know if i can do anything!

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WINACHST 6/10/2014 8:33AM

    emoticon My hubby has chronic pain also and is finally in a pain management clinic and we were just discussing that he should recognize that he may not be able to do a task every day because everyday will be different in both levels of pain and ability to do certain things.

Your brows look awesome

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CANNIE50 6/9/2014 4:14PM

    Hi beautiful. I am happy to read this blog and I know it is not easy for you to post so you need to give yourself extra credit for going beyond your "one thing". Your eye(s) and eyebrow(s) are GORGEOUS! OUCH on the hands and everything else, honey - d@mn that E.T.H.E.L.L. for tormenting you so. You do not deserve this pain and I wish I could make it go away and leave you alone. oxoxox SweetPea.

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TIME4CARRI 6/9/2014 4:03PM

    You are such a gift to all of us. Thank you for sharing the hand picture. ......................ouch, dear one. I think of you often with all my tiny aches and pains that will never compare and you always inspire with your great attitude and humor. It is always a treat to see a blog from you especially because we all know that they cost you some pain and yet you're here motivating, and sharing your sunshine. What a gift you are to all of us. emoticon

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MAMADWARF 6/9/2014 1:38PM

    You are an incredible inspiration to me, Bren. I love you.

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KIKKI-G 6/7/2014 10:57PM

    You are so beautiful! Love your positivity every time. Love it.

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RYDERB 6/7/2014 5:19PM

    Bren, you are so special! emoticon
We've been on this journey together a long time, but you're so vibrant and amazing that even though I "know" what you deal with, I forget. Thank you for sharing the picture of your hand. You amaze and inspire me with your fortitude. Congratulations on those fabulous eyebrows! I have two "good" hands and can't do mine as well. You are BEAUTIFUL!

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2014TODAY 6/7/2014 4:53PM

    Wow. I hope your situation will improve and that your buttons will be friendly to you.
My compliments for your attitude. emoticon

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    Oh, sweetie...sending you hugs and love!
I do understand!

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TRENTDREAMER 6/7/2014 4:09PM

    "Happy Weekend guys. Don't let your eyebrows dictate your day! : )) "
I totally won't. Thanks for sharing that though. It gives me a glimpse of how things are with you.

emoticon emoticon

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JCARDINAL 6/7/2014 2:41PM

    Just got mine done yesterday so I'm safe on the eyebrow front!! :) I'm still doing therapy and coming back very slowly from my torn meniscus. I know what you mean about being proud of doing one thing daily. We have to be happy with what we can do and not dwell on what we can't. Love the eyebrow by the way!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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AAAACK 6/7/2014 2:37PM

    Man, you're really good at eyebrow drawing! I've never been able to do it. Maybe one day you can teach me.

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A self-loving life is like a bowl of trail mix...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Can I tell you how many dirty day dreams I've had of velveeta mac n cheese or chocolate dipped macaroons? Oh yes, really.
I'm throwing that out there to expose you to how obsessed I have allowed myself to be regarding food over the years.
My pain management therapist helped me come to the reality that this is a coping mechanism that I have created and fed as a way to cope with my health and chronic pain. As Ethel grew and raged over the years, I have reacted in unhealthy ways. But he refused to condemn me for it. Which for some reason bothered me initially? I guess I was too busy blaming myself, and thus repeating a wonky cycle of ridiculous emotional eating. My thighs can confirm this. : (

After too many years of denial in allowing myself to truly FEEL my fears, my stress, my pain, my anxiety, in an effort to push through those moments, I've decided to embrace it all. Abandoning the food restriction mentality that clearly did nothing for me, except solidify that I would emo eat later, and continue a strange and windy road that I forced myself upon.

I am now trying to give MORE attention to rewiring my noggin and rewarding the 'homecoming' to the eating style I definitely had growing up (AKA normal eating). I'm kinda excited actually to be honest. To NOT sit near someone who is ordering off a menu, based off of their desire and true hunger, not torturing the waiter with menu changes - and silently hating them. Of course, I need to get well enough to get outta the house, but you know what I mean!

Speaking of brains, have you seen the advertisements for the Good Morning America anchor Dan Harris' new book? 10% Happier. How I tamed he voice in my head.
He had an anxiety attack on live TV a while back, and then went on a self help journey. The book pushes even just 5 minutes of meditation per day and how it can work wonders in your happiness bank account. I must say I am intrigued by it.

So what do you do when things get funky? You're a stressball over bills, maybe you've been sick for months and can't catch a break (or your breath)? When work is a bear (or the other B word)? How do you mellow out, bringing yourself back to being sane when your inner emotional brat wants to crunch out the stress?
Don't tell me that you come home and reach for a handful of carrots to satisfy that craving instead of chocolate covered peanuts. I won't believe you...

Prayer seems to be helpful for me, unless I fall off the food wagon (and under its wheels). Then I seem to feel almost too guilt ridden to pray, and I find I avoid it. Sad but true! Like I'm unworthy to pray. Who am I to say that God won't hear me because I have Nutella smudged on my chin? Why do I finish my prayers feeling like a shriveled raisin sometimes? What's that about?

Visualization is great, but I find I dwell too much on the old healthy (non Erythromelalgia) me, not just the smaller me. Then I get depressed and sad. It's the equivalent of bringing down that old box of photos that some of us have in the closet, and sitting on the floor in a puddle of wa-wa-wa's by reminiscing. Not the best kernel of self-help for me currently. Maybe I'll give that a do-over when I'm ready.

So getting back to one of the concepts in this book was to watch your breathing. Yes, I'm sure it can be helpful for slowing down the chow-monster as well as anxiety. You know, those moments ha here you hear your heartbeat in your head? The more and more I read and try to understand emotional eating, the more that I can see that my emo eating behavior IS a form of anxiety reaction.
Wait, that means I have anxiety issues too? That's just bittersweet then, like dried cranberries. I'm learning more about myself, but also know that there's more I need to work on. Ok. I'll embrace that.

Mindful eating is where my focus is at currently. Being mind-full and not food-full. It's not for the faint of heart, and I wish I could find a way to do some mental push ups when things get stressful. To better arm myself (pun!) to feel those stressy anxious moments. Not to eat them (and the bowl-full of them, then crumbs that fell on my shirt, and even those on the floor. Ack, did she just say that?!?).

I do find bits and pieces from all of these methods intriguing and in need of more practice from my end. I'm certainly glad that there are so many methods out there.

Yoga works for some, as well as intense workouts. Workout buddies are great too, but my mobility is growing more limited, so I am not storing my nuts of self reward in those methods currently. Get me a cure, and I promise to come back to this one!

I am tight with a few spark pals, and we try to stay in touch OFTEN. It keeps us accountable, and we probably stir in one (or all) of these self-help methods at one time or another. Sort of like a giant bowl of trail mix. Sometimes we pick out the Brazil nuts - and skip the visualization. Sometimes we go for the cherries and almonds - and channel our energy into writing. My point is, depending on the situation and our potential reactions, we tend to use what we hope works in that moment. I could use some company on this journey. Care to join me?

I'd love to know what YOU find successful, and if you haven't found something that works yet, you're not alone! Keep digging in that bowl until you find it. It's ok to fall. Just keep going!

'Nuff Said'

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RYDERB 3/27/2014 1:07PM

    First…. Little miss Olive is TOO cute in that outfit. emoticon
I know I can never truly understand how much physical pain you're in, but I can relate to so much of your blog and the emotional pain that goes along with this journey to find what works, and how to live the healthiest happiest life possible It's too easy to get lost in the sea of pain and worry of tomorrows. I do better, when I focus only on "today". and take it one choice at a time. Being able to know that I have friends like you, that understand and don't expect perfection makes it easier too.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MILLIE5522 3/17/2014 4:57PM

    What a great blog! I have not been on SP so much lately so I have only just read this.....but what a gem!!! You have some great insights and ideas so thank you for sharing that wonderful mind of yours!! emoticon

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2WHEELEDSHARON 3/17/2014 12:08AM

    I love an Olive with crocheted ears!! emoticon

A co-worker and I have been reminding ourselves that taking the time to relieve stress is imperative, especially with our jobs. She's Muslim, so since she's supposed to pray 5 times a day, we decided to hold each other accountable to doing something for ourselves during those times. She wins because while she prays, I breakdance instead (my floppy version of it) but the point is that we remind each other not to let our minds question whether we should do it. So go from mind jibber jabber to fun or prayer or something good in 2 seconds, is our motto.
I admire that you're so open to these opportunities for pain to inform you about it's impact. That seems like a great start to working on some different practices. Way to go!

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TRENTDREAMER 3/16/2014 12:42PM

    "Can I tell you how many dirty day dreams I've had of velveeta mac n cheese or chocolate dipped macaroons? Oh yes, really. "
* If you weren't married, I would totally take the bait and respond to that.

"As Ethel grew and raged over the years, I have reacted in unhealthy ways. But he refused to condemn me for it. Which for some reason bothered me initially?"
* He's seen this for years. It is extremely common. When society makes us feel guilty about everything, it can be disconcerting when we run across someone who doesn't play into it.

"After too many years of denial in allowing myself to truly FEEL my fears, my stress, my pain, my anxiety, in an effort to push through those moments, I've decided to embrace it all."
* emoticon emoticon

"How do you mellow out, bringing yourself back to being sane when your inner emotional brat wants to crunch out the stress? "
* Figure out how to address what's causing the stress, see if I can learn something and grow stronger. At worst, live as best as possible with it (while looking for opportunities to escape or overcome).

"Who am I to say that God won't hear me because I have Nutella smudged on my chin?"
* If it's a source of guilt or pain, God's actually more likely to listen to you.

"Why do I finish my prayers feeling like a shriveled raisin sometimes? What's that about? "
* ??

"Visualization is great, but I find I dwell too much on the old healthy (non Erythromelalgia) me, not just the smaller me. Then I get depressed and sad. "
* emoticon emoticon

"Workout buddies are great too, but my mobility is growing more limited, so I am not storing my nuts of self reward in those methods currently. Get me a cure, and I promise to come back to this one! "
* Best of fortune to you!

"My point is, depending on the situation and our potential reactions, we tend to use what we hope works in that moment. I could use some company on this journey. Care to join me? "
* I try to go on at least once a week.

"I'd love to know what YOU find successful, and if you haven't found something that works yet, you're not alone!"
* Visualizations with a lot of whys? and so whats? It's one thing to visualize weighing x pounds, but then what?

For me, I think about walking around the city for a few hours without a sore back or legs the next day. I envision helping someone move and not being the fat guy who looks like he should be able to lift the heavy stuff. I envision the joy of that pair of jeans that I love and used to wear fitting again and enjoying wearing them. The confidence of looking good when walking around the mall or at social functions.

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TIME4CARRI 3/15/2014 12:26AM

    Wonderful blog Bren. So happy you wrote it. I almost jumped at the prayer and not feeling worthy part. I do that too! It's so weird but I feel like such a fat glutton sometimes that I am simply too ashamed.
On to what helps during stressful times. I am also constantly learning and here is what I have found. It's basically what Cannie was saying. I try to be proactive instead of reactive. I am struggling with this this week but yes, facing my fears and acting on them instead of running from them until I run out of road (or ice cream). I am also working hard on facing the disappointment of all that will never be perfect and moving forward anyway in spite of it. I don't do old pictures well either for the same reason as you, I don't find it inspiring only depressing so I am trying to create a future and a present that I can take joy in. It may be the first time ever to be truthful and I'm hopeful. That helps some. I enjoy the "streaks" knowing they do get interrupted by even one day of overeating and I cling to the good feeling so I can get back on track faster each time. I visualize a smaller me with all the same flaws but tell myself it will be just as imperfect, just smaller and that reality makes more sense so I live less in an unattainable fantasy and can really get invested knowing it won't change everything. I am buying more into the healthy aspect of food instead of just trying to make my food tracker not go over and learn and observe what days are easier and why. I am spending more time trying to be a good person instead of just a thin one and it makes the vain part of this journey not spiral out of control thus leading to crazy diet lady until I fail once again.
Whew! There is so much going on in our heads isn't there?!
I can see how important this has to be for you especially knowing it affects your pain and mobility and that is a lot more pressure than most of us have to deal with when it comes to our "why's" You are and continue to be amazing and inspiring because you keep moving forward instead of collapsing and giving in. What a gift you are to all of us.

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 3/14/2014 10:52PM

    Oh, Bren....
I hear you, I am here for you, anytime. I think we all struggle with the stress issues. I know I do and with my DH also in crisis, it adds a whole new level! I have tried meditation, breathing, reading, crosswords, journaling, therapy, crying, not crying, praying, gratitude,etc etc. I know I need to be more consistent, but usually feel I am lucky to be float in a big, strong current, worrying about the undertow! Sigh! I share your journey...
I am going to check out the book you mentioned by Dan Harris.
Love & Hugs,
P.S. Olive is so adorable!

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KAILYNSTAR 3/14/2014 3:59PM

    Such deep and most inner thoughts going on in that tiny brain of yours.

I have to say, I don't have any major coping strageties. I do lose myself in books, I used to walk lots, but no more. I have flat feet and anemia. I go up and down the stairs sometimes, but that's usually doing the laundry.

It sucks when one gets sick. Overtired, grumpy and just depressed.

I have had quite the journey for the past few years and I have to admit. I am beat. Just tired and empty. Yet, I keep going.

You and I have lots in common, yet we are so different. As anyone is I guess.

Right now I should be getting back on the no sugar and no wheat diet. Only to relieve my fatty liver and lose weight. Yet...I'm just not there mentally. I have a few more things to do before I start it again. Then we will see.

Hang in there Bren. You are a golden nugget in my pan of sand.

I think of you often and of course, I'll be here for you.


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POSITIVEHOPE 3/14/2014 3:32PM

    Remember, you innocently asked. Well here it is. Things that worked for me in changing the inner voice. I'll get off the soap box as quickly as I can.
The choice is struggle for life or find ways to overcome the challenges of the journey. I lost 80 pounds and then regained because I was still struggling. I struggled with the inner negative voice that compelled me to compulsively overeat even after losing all that weight.
I found THE answer for me to compulsive overeating at DrAmyJohnson.com "Fighting the Urge." This is a free 23 page online booklet that explains where those negative voices come from and how to stop them. By reading that booklet, I have learned how to stop that voice and she also is right when she says that once you start stopping that voice it doesn't show up as frequently. Awesome!
I also learned how to stop fighting with my inner negative voice. I spent years trying to combat that negative voice with prayer, by being angry with myself, down on myself, trying to educate myself with self help books and articles. I hated loathed and despised that part of myself. Recently I learned about Inside Out Weight Loss (IOWL) by Renee Stephens.
Renee was a former compulsive eater who now gives free 20 minute podcast talks on what is going on inside our heads to make us gain weight and how to change those inner thoughts that make this journey such a struggle. Through Renee, I learned that those negative voices have a positive intent behind their messages. That negative inner voice wanted to help me. You gotta be kidding! I finally sat down and looked at that part of myself without anger. What are you trying to tell me? Silence. Did you know you are a poor communicator? It took me a while but when I became really comfortable with my inner self and not angry, hostile or superior, I realized it started when I was a child and I was afraid. I thought if I was BIG I would be safe. So I got big. The message, "Eat it! You know you want it. It'll make you feel good." was meant to make me eat because there was a part of me that was still afraid of being small. Now all I have to do is say to myself, "it's okay. I've got this. I know you want it but trust me, we'll be okay." then make the decision to eat it or not. The voice isn't nearly so compelling now. It just stops. No drama. Just calm, peace. I am not an out there kinda person but Renee manages to reach deep inside me. Listening to her has released me from the daily struggle and made me feel powerful and joyful. I can hardly wait until my body weight catches up to my head on this journey. For links to Renee's free online Podcasts, Go to the SP IOWL team.
These were THE answers for me. I know they might not be everyone's answers but they are worth your time if you are still struggling with those issues.

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NUOVAELLE 3/14/2014 3:02AM

    I'm the "yoga/excessive workouts" type now after having been the "eat-everything-in-sight" type for years. And, honestly, this old habit of mine sometimes resurfaces and that's when I really struggle...But, as Cannie said below, there is honor in continuing the struggle - what a nice line that is!
And SP is always my safest shelter when I struggle. Because here friends can understand, relate, give a virtual pat on the back, send a virtual hug and remind me that I'm not alone in this struggle. Friends like you, honest and supportive and brave. And just watching these friends surviving the struggles and getting through them stronger and more determined is enough to keep me fighting my own.
Last but not least, books! An introvert's best friend, as I read somewhere. Getting away from it all. I know you're a reader and you know the feeling.
I've wished so many times for a cure and a pain-free life for you, Bren, and I won't stop wishing. Until then, I'll be right here with you digging in those bowls, trying to find something that works every time the going gets tough. Because there is power in unity. Like snowflakes. So fragile creations but just look at what they can do when they stick together! (Who said that...? Sorry, I can't remember.)
Big hugs!

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AAAACK 3/14/2014 12:36AM

    Your thing about prayer, not feeling worthy when you've been doing something you think you shouldn't, is how I often feel about Sparkpeople. Like I'm unworthy to come here and say ANYthing to anyone b/c I don't know diddly. And I don't want to bring people down with my junk. But dude, I'm pretty sure that God is supposed to already know what you're doing, and know that you're going to be opening a live chat. Ha ha.

But seriously, it's so weird how smart we all are (including all the people who have already posted responses to this blog) and yet here we all are. I read everything others are writing and think, yeah, man, you guys are so smart! I think I'm smart too. So why do I keep binge eating?

We have to find our middle ground. We have to figure how to succeed with what we've got. Like What Not To Wear used to say, "dress the body you have today." Well, I guess we should feed the body/life we have today. Physically and emotionally. We need to nurture the lives we have today and quit worrying about what we don't have.

Sounds simple, right? Yeah, if only. But I'm so glad to have you, and all the other Sparkers on this journey with me! You rock. Keep thinking. Keep sharing. And just keep being you.
ok...thought I was done, but I was looking for an emoticon and thought, "what the heck is the spray bottle for?!" Then I thought, Yes! We can use it to spray ourselves when we want to treat ourselves badly like when people spray cats who are treating the furniture badly...sure yeah, so be nice to you! And I'll try and be nice to me. No spray, no spray!

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MAMADWARF 3/13/2014 4:41PM

    pain meds, being cranky, eating stuff...yeah that is how I cope. Not a really good system is it?????

I deffinatly need to get on a better plan.


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CTUPTON 3/13/2014 3:19PM

    If I had bad chronic pain I am not sure how I would cope. Tylenol helps me . I feel flexible in the pool. I sleep lots. I am grateful to be old enough to retire and not face the daily stress of teaching. Getting my axes done is a horrible chore for me. But I will do it. I want to move nearer to Buffalo, NY to be close to my big family. I barely know some of them emoticon who married into the family or who were born emoticon in the last few years.

At least I can lie in bed and read and/or take a nap. Almost every afternoon I do that and forget everything.

When I do have pain ,whole body or both knees and left shoulder, I am miserable and can't even sleep.

Reading is my escape. I pick gristly books to engross me .

Boredom is a big problem of mine. Caregiving limits the time I can be away from home. So my friends on SP are invaluable to me!

Wish I could take the pain away or give solutions. I feel bad about that. Thanks for writing and sharing some of your thoughts!


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CANNIE50 3/13/2014 2:52PM

    Aw, that photo of cute little "stuffed Olive" in a hat is beyond adorable. I am glad you blogged, Miss Bren. As you know, I am a struggler but more and more I know there is honor in continuing the struggle, rather than collapsing in a big fat weepy defeated heap. Yes, writing to you is one of the ways I gain perspective and gather joy (there is such joy in honest friendship which is based on nothing but mutual caring, admiration, and respect). I breathe and pray. I walk my dogs. I go the gym. I feel appreciation that I CAN do these things. I, too, move further and further away from the false promises of deprivation and restriction. Deprivation and restriction are NOT the same as self-discipline. Discipline means "to learn". The only thing I learned from the "NO NO NO" and "diet diet diet" mindset is failure. What my body needs to function is nutrients and the only true way to get nutrients is to eat enough food to get enough nutrients. I also know my desire to compulsively over-eat goes way down when I am dealing with whatever the realities in my life, currently are. When I am stressed about money, I need to look at bills, talk with my husband, and get paperwork in order, despite my fears. When my home feels messy, I tackle the dishes and the floors and the laundry, etc. and set things straight. Again, I am grateful to be able to tackle chores and face fears and you have helped me in these areas by giving me perspective. Finally, lately, a recurring theme in my head is "it's all temporary". Beauty, good health, youth, athletic ability, life - it's all temporary. When something goes, like youth, something else comes along, like wisdom. Dwelling on what was clouds our ability to see what is. Life is not for sissies, it is TOUGH, so it is good that we are tough. Though, having said that, I deeply wish that your life was no so tough. But, it is and the only thing we can do as your friends is to love you through it. Good thing you are so easy to love, Miss Bren. emoticon

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JCARDINAL 3/13/2014 2:30PM

    I love this blog!! It puts so much of my life in perspective. I just recently told my Doctor that I am going to stop comparing my life before and after Lupus. I'm never going to get back there so now I'm concentrating on where this version of me can succeed. My go to stress reliever is reading. It calms me mind and body. I can pick up a book and completely escape from real life going on around me. A book and a cup of tea are like heaven to me. We can get through this Bren, we are strong, determined women!! emoticon emoticon

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Mourning the loss of my pain treatment

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

It's been 3 weeks since my last round of pain treatment at the joint (the hospital), and those last drops of treatment drugs seem to have been depleted.
I find myself sad about that since that also means that restful sleep is now a luxury I won't get much of, and my annoying pain is back to 100%. I seem to have a whole litter of new lesions breaking through on my hands and feet too, which force me to think twice about walking or touching anything, and take months to heal.
Although the treatment drugs only seemed to blunt about 30% of my pain, I now see how much that truly did help. Even though I only got about 2-3 weeks of that pain buffer, I should be thankful that there is at least one option for me that I can go to.
It's not a cure. And I would rather have one, but we are not there yet.
I need to shake the funk off and look back at the small daily tasks I was able to do a bit better, even temporarily.
My dog certainly appreciated the extra wuzzles. I also drove short distances around town, folded some laundry, cut up some brussel sprouts (don't laugh! I love these things!), and got my eyebrows penciled on straight more times than not.
I guess I just needed to work this out a bit in a blog.
Funk has been shaken and wiggled off.
Transformed into anticipation of my next round of treatment in 4 weeks.
The countdown has started. I will cut up more brussel sprouts soon! Munch munch munch...

'Nuff Said,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEDICATED2HIM 2/20/2014 1:30PM

    Did you go to Mayo? Or is this an old blog? So curious to find out if it helped. It is not in the realm of possibilities for me to go....insurance and all that. I would like to go. Is it a far hike for you? Do you stay in the hospital when you go? or in a hotel? I hope you get some answers and some relief. God bless!

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CTUPTON 2/17/2014 8:41PM

    As always, I am praying for some relief for you. Brussels sprouts, huh. Whatever floats your boat. I like them, too, but I don't think of eating them all that often. lately I have been using some veggie cheese. I used to hate it, but maybe I found a brand that I can handle. I also found some thin, crispy tostidos. I hope they keep making those.

Thinking of you, chris

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EDENFELL 2/11/2014 9:04AM

    Crossing fingers for an immediate cure -- what is up with those scientists..shouldn't they be working double time already emoticon ..I have to say that your positive attitude is so inspiring..I'm sure you're sick of hearing that..but just want to say that your blog rocked. Thank you for posting...hope your week is going well. emoticon

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KAILYNSTAR 2/5/2014 12:05PM

    It's amazing to think that there is a silver lining. What I mean to say, is pain therapy works for you. For many people.

Nothing worse than having a funk, but everyone has one.

I have to say, I hate brussel sprouts. Never liked them. So smile whenever you munch one, 'cause in the back of that massive brain of yours, you can hear me saying...."eeeeeeeewwwwwww'

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SWEETNEEY 1/30/2014 8:27AM

    When we have pain, we realize how fortunate we were when we did not have it. But I hope that pain goes a way and your healing is expeditious.

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AAAACK 1/29/2014 8:16PM

    I like that you remain positive, looking at the things to be thankful for. I like how you handle all this stuff. I think that you are quite possibly the most inspirational person in my life. No joke. No silliness (not for this posting, anyway). I mean that sincerely. You are amazing.

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CANNIE50 1/29/2014 7:04PM

    I pray for the day that someone/something hustles CR@P & Ethel into a room and beats the, well, cr@p out of those two bullying diseases. Maybe the answer is at Mayo - I certainly hope so. I am excited for you to go. You forgot, on your list of accomplishments, POSTING A BLOG! I am happy to see this, and I am not alone. Because hugging sounds as if it would be painful, I am blowing kisses instead emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Ruby RED kisses, at that!

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JCARDINAL 1/29/2014 11:33AM

    As always, you are my hero! You were dealt a lousy hand of cards and you make the best of them. There is always hope on the horizon that someone will find a cure and put Ethel in her place. You are always in my prayers. You help me deal with my own challenges. emoticon

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MAMADWARF 1/29/2014 10:57AM

    I love you, girl. You always find the bright spot

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TIME4CARRI 1/29/2014 12:15AM

    Oh sweet girl, you are one tough chick. I'm sorry the pain is back in full, I have been thinking about you and wondering......... emoticon
Your sense of gratitude is uplifting and inspiring. It probably is uncomfortable/painful to be on the computer much so just know we are all here cheering you on and sending you beautiful thoughts and prayers for relief emoticon

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CINDYTW 1/28/2014 6:49PM

  You are strong, you can do it! emoticon

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KIKKI-G 1/28/2014 5:07PM

    Keep posi! emoticon

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RYDERB 1/28/2014 4:53PM

    emoticon You are a true warrior. Hoping and praying that those Mayo doctors have some secrets tricks that will offer some longer relief

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