JITZUROE   97,167
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Second Floor Please...

Friday, February 03, 2012

Some people refer to their memory as a vault; capable of retaining important information for decades, ready to be neatly opened to reveal valuable information like some sort of certificate.
They can remember key points of a speech someone gave in the past, or what time that ridiculous train arrives into Boston if it left the New York train station 3 hours earlier at maximum speed (ugghhhhh, somebody kill me!).

I remember the odd, useless stuff. I can tell you what color of socks you were wearing when I ran into you on the street 3 years ago, and likely what color they were the time before that (yes, really). If I noticed you picking the olives out of your enchilada dinner and pushing them into a little pile on your plate (looking like a stack of Hot Wheels tires), then I will forever remember to keep olives far far away from you. I cannot seem to forget my Junior high locker combination from 20+ years ago (18-36-24), no matter how hard I want to let it go.

My memory seems more like an elevator, not a vault.

I would like to think that we all want to excel in life, or get to the next level. At least out of the lobby area, right?
Come take a ride with me...

'Second floor please'

I read articles and books about how to better myself a times. I often try to apply that to my life:
Being confident in my work skills, and how to effectively ask for a raise (I can impress you).
How to stay engaged in a conversation and keep eye contact with someone while speaking to them (I want to show you respect).
How to make a savory chicken soup by not only reading the recipe, but feeling talented enough to color outside of the recipe lines a bit (I want to nourish you).

But when it comes to my behavior when I am in pain, no matter how much I read, I don't retain enough of the necessary tools for that critical moment. When my bodily pain starts to creak and moan and squeeze out all positive feelings from mere moments earlier, I seem lost.

The elevator in my mind has then slammed the shiny steel doors and sent the car to 'P' (Parking level), and for the life of me, I cannot remember where I parked my memory!!!

And then there is my denial about it: "what the heck?! I pushed the 5th floor, NOT 'P'! Who's driving this thing anyway???"

We all start off at the Lobby Level in life, right? No one wants to go below that floor. There's NOTHING fun at the 'B' level (Basement), trust me. I'm well aware (after many years of stubbornness and denial), that I cannot expect to graduate to the higher levels of life (err, floors), by attempting to skip over important steps. Nope, not even if you pry open that emergency door hatch in the elevator car, trying to scramble out and up a few floors on your own (believe me, I have tried).

I can try to blame the switchboard all I want to, but it is not faulty wiring. The used piece of gum smooshed into the 'Open Door' button is not to blame. Do you want to know why? Because I keep pushing the 'B' (Basement) button with my eyes closed, SO SURE that I am pressing '2' the whole time, and expecting to move upward in my life.
Insanity is exhibiting the same behavior over and over again and expecting different results right? Ouch. So true...

I know what I need to do, and I am certain that you know what you need to do in life as well. The fine details are individual, sure, but the framework is the same:
Set some goals
Devise a solid plan
Get a support team lined up and USE it
Slap on some tunnel vision
Create a back up plan
Add some grace for the inevitable hiccups along the way
(perhaps a bumper sticker for some laughs).

I can't cry all of the time as a result of my pain, and I can't blame anyone for it (unless that elevator door has closed on my fingers, and then it is sooooooo your fault!! Yowsers!).
In all reality, my health will continue to get worse, and my well of tears will dry up at this pace (and snot is not cute).

I can however, acknowledge that my ailments are mean and nasty, but NOT react in a way that is mean and nasty to my body. I can stop pretending that I don't need to listen my pain when it calls on me to pull that red Emergency Stop button.

I am so thankful for those of you on this ride with me. I appreciate your advice, your virtual shoulder, and those thumps in the head when I need it.

Don't worry, I won't push the 'Close Door' button on you as you gallup toward the elevator car, headed to higher floors of satisfaction in health and in life. I need you there with me!

Besides, it's WAY more fun to jump in the air just before the elevator car comes to a stop with someone next to you, right?

'Nuff said...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BETHALEA 4/6/2012 3:40AM

  you know... i used to think that *I* was the writer...

remember that time we went to the Magic Castle and I River Danced in those ridiculous shoes on the hardwood floor?

i remember jumping with you in elevators.

i love you.

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FROSTIERACES 2/11/2012 5:50PM

    Wow inspiring blog! I'm wondering if I'm on the numb me floor..no more emotional pain please. I don't like the basement either and frankly I don't even like elevators! I had one crash in my office building...luckily no one was hurt! But the day prior to it crashing people were stuck inside the very same elevator. Alas your blog isn't really about that tho! LOL I hope you continue to thrive and feel great! You look fabulous and I love your energy in your blog!

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SUNFLOWER4ME 2/10/2012 1:44PM

    I'll ride that elevator with you, missy. But for now, here are a few ways to make the elevator ride more...enjoyable..or maybe, interesting for yourself and all those onboard emoticon

1.Stand silent and motionless in the corner facing the wall without getting off
2.MEOW occasionally
3.Say “DING” at each floor
4.Make explosion noises each time someone pushes a button
5.When there is only one other person in the elevator, tap them on the shoulder then pretend it wasn’t you
6.Call out GROUP HUGGGG!!! Then enforce it.
7.Shake everyone’s hand who enters and ask them to call you "Admiral"
8.Drop a pen, wait until someone reaches to help pick it up, then scream “That’s mine!!”

So what do you say?? emoticon

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    Loved this! emoticon

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KAILYNSTAR 2/9/2012 12:25PM

    So know the details of remembering what people are wearing, saying, looking like when I see them.

Brain stops working when I have to remember their NAME. No, really. I for the life of me, cannot remember people's names after I have been introduced to them. (It's amazing I remember my kids names.) emoticon Sometimes I start saying one of their names, realizing that I'm saying the wrong name and end up saying, "Hey YOU, Fred, George, Ginger! Get over here!" emoticon emoticon

It's okay, they seem to understand. They actually giggle at me and roll their eyes and think of me as hopeless. emoticon

The point is, is that a person learns what and how other people react. They learn to understand a person's shortcomings and then, if they are mature, forgiving and understanding...they become the wonderful shoulders that a person can use....when you need to.

I have two shoulders Bren. I'll let you lean on the good one.


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MRSSCHENCK 2/8/2012 8:39PM

    Wow Bren. This blog touched a soft spot in my heart. emoticon emoticon

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CANNIE50 2/8/2012 4:16PM

    Well, my only excuse for not getting here sooner is that no one held the elevator door for me so I had to take the stairs - excuse my sweating and my panting (I know you will). Oh, doll, I wish I could take some of the pain away. I know what you mean about forgetting everything, when we are in pain (physical and emotional). It is baffling, isn't it? When we need our coping skills most, they seem to dessert us (which is when eating dessert seems like a coping skill) Keep writing, keep fighting, keep your friends in mind. emoticon emoticon

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MILLIE5522 2/7/2012 3:47PM

    Oscar Wilde said " We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars" Well if I have understood you I would say that you are definitely looking at the stars even if its from the basement! I am blessed to have met you Bren emoticon

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TRENTDREAMER 2/6/2012 4:35PM

    "I am so thankful for those of you on this ride with me. I appreciate your advice, your virtual shoulder, and those thumps in the head when I need it. "
* And we you/yours

"Besides, it's WAY more fun to jump in the air just before the elevator car comes to a stop with someone next to you, right? "
* :)

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MISSB8604 2/6/2012 1:26PM

    Girl, you are simply wonderful.

My favorite part:
"I can however, acknowledge that my ailments are mean and nasty, but NOT react in a way that is mean and nasty to my body. I can stop pretending that I don't need to listen my pain when it calls on me to pull that red Emergency Stop button."

In other words, stop complaining and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

Thank you.

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EVERSTEPH 2/5/2012 5:10PM

    Speechless. Bren, I'm glad to have "met" you so that I can say I've known someone as courageous, remarkable, and witty as you. It's easy to forget all the wonderful things life has to offer and your stories always remind me how that no matter hard it gets, I can suck it up, rock it, and move on in a positive way. You are awesome.


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NUMD97 2/5/2012 1:43AM

    This latest addition to your collection (soon to be book, I hope!), left me quiet (and if you know me, that's no mean feat!) and reflective.

Piece by piece, blog by blog, hints along the way, we are seeing who you are as a person, unfold. Maintaining a respectful distance, not wanting to invade your privacy, I have seen the person you are, revealed.

This is what I have learned so far:

You work. [So glad to see that!]

You exercise. [Accruing mega-minutes there!]

You love deeply. [Saw that in how much you were willing to sacrifice to please your neighbors over their Thanksgiving dinner.]

You are loved. [Not only by the people in your external world, but in this one as well. One of your fans implored me to tell you what I had shared with her about your gifts. I told her that I already did.]

You are generous with a giving spirit. [In spite of all that you are experiencing, you still take the time to visit someone's page, to leave a goofy comment or an "attagirl!" or a goodie, to cheer someone on in their own quest for better health.]

And probably above all, from our own selfish vantage point, you leave us all humbled, with your indomitable spirit. I sit here now in awe of you. And always reading the comments on your blogs, I see that many share what I see.

I realize, of course, that a lot done on SP is really for ourselves, but no matter. I just want to take this opportunity to thank you ever so much for sharing (at least, in part) your life with us.

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SHERRIE_BERRY 2/5/2012 12:00AM

    Hey Bren, do you think you could come to the "B" level, I'm stuck there...seriously! I so want to come up to the Lobby, just to get back to where I was, but alas I just cannot seem to get there. It's gloomy and grey and it smells like pee down here, but I'm stuck!

You're words were like the beeping of floors, as the elevator rises and opens the door to let those with the strength to move upward, on my psyche...like they were written just for me! I can hear them but I just cannot be in the car as it rides up the shaft...I hear it beep as more people join me in this abyss...as we suffer alone, individually with no strength to move to a higher level.

I'm stuck!

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JCARDINAL 2/4/2012 1:01PM

    Like Marki said, remember we're in that elevator with you. Any time you need us we're their for you with a tissue to wipe up a little of that snot. I have a feeling this trial will be a blessing for you and that elevator is going to be headed to the penthouse!! emoticon

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AAAACK 2/4/2012 12:24AM

    Maybe we can decorate the basement a little? I'll help!
Internet spotty in cabin, but will try to get more Sparking done before bed!
Miss ya. Thanks for the blog, and as always, thanks for sharing your journey.

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1HAPPYWOMAN 2/3/2012 11:49PM

    It's natural that you forget your coping skills when pain hits. Pain takes us all back to being babies, unable to think logically. Pain makes us into reactive, squirmy little critters. The fact that you write these amazing blogs, and stay true to your funny, kind, thoughtful self is a miracle, considering what you deal with.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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2WHEELEDSHARON 2/3/2012 8:25PM

    Oh Bren, you are a gift! I'm glad you won't close the door on us, that's my biggest concern when people reach out, pull back, give up...
The elevator dropped me all the way to the basement last summer, I crashed hard, and I couldn't believe how willing and able my friends (Spark and otherwise) were to help pick the elevator up with their bare hands. Now I go back and forth between the first and second floors, but they're still carrying me around, and they do it with way more patience than I give myself. That just proves you're all smarter than me, and I love hanging out with people smarter than me! I'll subscribe to anything that makes pain easier. I hope you do too, you deserve lots of ease and love!

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LGAR519 2/3/2012 8:17PM

    I love you. And praying for a cure. Hang in there. God loves you too.

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ARLENE_MOVES 2/3/2012 7:44PM

    A beautiful post. You are awesome!

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RYDERB 2/3/2012 6:49PM

    Bren, you are a ROCKSTAR! You are one of the MOST courageous people i know. What you deal with EVERY day, would cripple most people, and leave us laying in a puddle of tears and snot. But somehow you manage to only shed a few tears at a time, and then find a way to make the rest of us smile.
All I can do is tell you I LOVE you. I'm here! I'm riding that elevator with you! When you find yourself pushing B, I'll do my best to keep you from stepping off. if you end up trampling past me, I'll be holding the door open to make sure you don't get stuck down there.
emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/3/2012 7:14:22 PM

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    Loved it Bren, you are awesome!

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DEBBIEOLMOS57 2/3/2012 6:25PM


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Popcorn is my gateway drug...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Am I alone in saying that popcorn not only makes me happy, but also makes me INSANE at times?
I try to reserve it for the weekend, since I tend to turn into a poppie freak, and need some ample recovery time to flood my body with water and lemon slices to leech out the sodium and what not that I assaulted it with the night prior.
That would be 94% fat free detoxing baby!

And if I am emotional, I get weak in the knees for those kernels, which let's face it, if you have read my blogs you KNOW that is often (I stockpile those kleenex cool touch tissues like gold lately. SO soft! SO cool! My nostrils are happy!)

Perhaps it's the way I prepare my poppies:
First you need to pour some popcorn in the bottom of the popcorn bowl.
Pay attention here:
Poppies, then a spoonful of crumbled goat cheese.
Next a dusting of freeze dried strawberries from Trader J's.
Then you keep layering see....
Poppies, crumbles, bright red fairy dust, etc.
Think like you're making a trifle... : )
Finally, a zazzle of kosher salt on top.

I'll usually grab a napkin the size of a table cloth (oh wait, is IS my tablecloth), and place that over my chest, since strawberry 'fairy dust' on the chest is not attractive.
I am then set for watching a great movie at home.
I didn't always like popcorn, so this obsession kind of surprises me (and my husband!).

Food intolerances decided to complicate my life along with my other ailments around the same time. One of my doctors tried to explain it as if all of my body systems were 'off', so that opened the door for other fun stuff to come on in and party hard on my organs. Comprende?
I was suddenly gluten free and lactose intolerant about 7 years ago (along with numerous other foods that I used to love). My point being, that until I had to cross over to the dark side of the gluten free / lactose free void that is now the menu for my life's meals, i ate grahams and cake, and real honest to goodness whole wheat bread. My mind was not consumed with what I could not enjoy anymore.

Insert lightbulb moment here (actually an energy saving LED bulb).


Maybe typing this blog for myself and the few Sparkly peeps who read this just helped me work through the source of this fiber filled obsession?
Am I decorating my gluten free popcorn like a 4 year old in one of those Toddlers and Tiara's shows to satiate my desire for the foods I miss?

I just might be.

'Nuff Said...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I wish I had a Trader Joe's near me! I'm in SC and the nearest one is in Raleigh, NC...and I have a friend there and we always go when I visit!

I love the delicious fairy dust and cheese popcorn idea! So much healthier than layer cake :)

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SUNFLOWER4ME 1/29/2012 8:02AM

    I do love me some popcorn emoticon

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MRSSCHENCK 1/25/2012 4:08PM

    Never thought a blog about emoticon could entertain me so.

Bren, you never cease to amaze me with your wit and charm. I'll never think of popcorn the same again.

All I eat is boring, white air-popped corn. I'm doing it all wrong!

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SKIPSIDE 1/23/2012 6:37PM

    ROFL! seeing this title I just had to read. You did not disappoint!

I've been addicted to popcorn going back to my early baby years in midst of corn country (I didn't have a chance of avoiding this from day one!)
Goat cheese & strawberries - definitely never heard of that combo but it does sound interesting as I like all three ingredients - will have to put it on my "to do" list :)

Yes body's get cranky ... fortunately mine is still at the intolerant some days and not on others. Hoping if I'm careful I can drag it back to the light rather than falling over the edge into the darkside.

Keep on crunching...

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MELIBUG 1/23/2012 3:39PM

    ROFL!!! I love popcorn too, but you do something magical with it by adding other fun stuff. I never tried freeze dried strawberries, you have peaked my interest. And red fairy dust?! - do explain that one please.

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NUMD97 1/21/2012 7:04PM

    Hmmm....You are obviously a gourmand of popcorn, the way you describe the prep and all. At best, when I have it, it's either light or imitation butter, and it MUST have salt! Sorry, I'm not giving up my salt anytime soon (and my body is OK with that).

You reminded me that I still have some bags hiding away on the tippy top shelf in the kitchen pantry, waiting to be popped. Perhaps tonight?

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JENNSWIMS 1/21/2012 4:52PM

    I heart popcorn. There is a place here that sells like 60 different flavors, and many of them are vegan (bastards).

I could roll in the sour cream and chive popcorn. You know, like those giant things kids play in filled with balls...except filled with tons of popcorn. Yummmmmmmmmm.

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PARKERB2 1/21/2012 7:42AM

    I love popcorn too. I use the light or 94% popcorn. I usually don't add salt for I can avoid the sodium thing. Hope you have a good day. emoticon

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1HAPPYWOMAN 1/20/2012 7:50PM

    Well, I wish we had Trader Joe's in Canada! YOMMMMY! Did you popcorn is a source of iron? I'm obsessed with iron, so I am pro-popcorn.
The fact that you manage to save your treats for the weekend is very heroic!

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AAAACK 1/20/2012 3:08PM

    Thanks for blogging! I love reading your outlook on life. It helps me remember to giggle at myself.

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JCARDINAL 1/20/2012 1:02PM

    I know what you mean about food intolerance's ruining your menu! A few years ago I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance and some food allergies and all my favorites went out the window. I love popcorn and your description made me drool a little! :) I think I'll have a bowl tonight!

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GUITARWOMAN 1/20/2012 12:06PM

    I have a 100 calorie "light" bag of popcorn almost every day, and choose the brand du jour with the lowest sodium.

I love the stuff, it gives you maximum chewing satisfaction for not many calories, and actually has some food value!


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CANNIE50 1/19/2012 11:43PM

    You know, for almost every single day of my life, for years, I ate SMARTFOOD white cheddar popcorn, sometimes an entire large bag (not a good idea, for many reasons). One year, I gave it up for Lent and then, 40 days later, began eating a lighter version called "Erin's" which comes in a much smaller bag. I have typed that snack into my food tracker many a day. Yes, absolutely, you are trying to fill the big old holes ripped into your life by food intolerances and illnesses. There are such worse substances to put into your body. I know we have talked about this - I am wondering if there is a portion that you can work your way down to, that would assuage your discomfort, address your craving, and let you enjoy this? emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/19/2012 11:44:41 PM

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H-DOG-8 1/19/2012 11:27PM

    That combo sounds awesome! I don't have a Trader Joe's here in my province. I'm not sure there are any in Canada period, but definitely not here. I'll have to look for something similar because that sounds crazy good!

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    I eat popcorn pretty much every day. It is usually my evening snack...sometimes in the afternoon if I'm having a day where I feel like I'm starving. I don't make anything as yummy sounding as you do though. Dale is allergic to goat cheese so I can't have it in the house or I would try that. I usually just spray a bit of butter flavoured cooking spray on it and a little salt or popcorn seasonings. I only make air popped so it is very low fat. Dale even got me a cute popcorn popper for Christmas. It looks like an old fashioned popcorn stand.
I read in a magazine that eating popcorn before bed help with sleeping too. They said it is better than warm milk, which you can't have anyway.
So, I share your obsession...and it is a healthy one at that!

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EVERSTEPH 1/19/2012 10:27PM

    You are not alone. Looooove the popcorn & trying out different toppings. I've become a snob though - I'll turn my bratty little nose up at that nasty microwave popcorn.

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RUSTBUCKET1 1/19/2012 9:56PM

    Loved your popcorn blog! If you are anywhere near your background photo, you are in kettle corn country. You'll always see the line even at the farmers market there. Enjoy your treat!

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RYDERB 1/19/2012 9:27PM

    Oh Bren. Your version sounds divine, but there's a store down the street from Boot Camp that is ALL popcorn. It's called, The Popcorn Girl! A ENTIRE store devoted to flavors of popcorn! So you are definitely NOT alone in the obsession. In fact, our BC instructor likes to punish US for the popcorn SHE eats! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon When I feel I NEED to indulge in anything, I ask myself if it's worth the cost to my body, some days the answer is YES, (can we say yesterday!) but most days the answer is NO! emoticon As far as obsessions go.. you're doing just fine.

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Things I did with my right hand today - gory pics included

Thursday, January 05, 2012

First off, get your mind outta the gutter!

I saw my neurologist yesterday and proudly made a fist with my right hand. Something I have not been able to do entirely for 8 weeks. 8 WEEKS.
I have had a painful nerve flare in my hand, affecting 3 fingers with no relief until recently. Perhaps the drug cocktail is working.
My neurolofgists reply was more of "meh". I guess he was worried that this was only short lived.
Hey, I am happy to be able to move it right NOW!

So for today:

1) I flossed correctly and efficiently. Have you ever tried to floss one handed? I know that they have those funny flossers with the little handle on 'em, but they weren't working for me (since I am right handed and looked like I was a fish caught on a hook at each attempt).

2) I put my hair in a ponytail. This was HUGE. Just try to get your mane into a pony tail with one hand. Go on, I dare you. Ain't happening (but was highly entertaining to watch, just like when I tried to put on my black tights with one hand - sexy!)

3) I put on my make up with intent and purpose, and not haphazardly (just powder-bombing blush on my cheeks and eyes like tear gas).
Can I just go on a mini-rant here, and tell you how having Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is likely harder for a woman to fight daily than a man? Let me plead my case. If you wear make up, earrings, nylons, perfume (or basically anything flirty and girly), and CRPS decides to take over a certain appendage (or 3), your glam days are put to a screeching halt. Why I actually bought a pair of fake eyelashes 2 weeks ago was just completely ridiculous, since I was not even able to hold a fork like and adult. Back to my list...


5) I grabbed a pen and wrote my name. Yep, my penmanship still leaves little to be desired, but it didn't look like I was a kindergarten child attempting to keep my letters grouped together.

My hand as of this morning (1/5/12):


Does my hand still hurt? Oh yes. Lots. Is it fully functioning? Nope. But is IS functioning. Does it look normal? Ummm, nope, but it's not as frightening to look at as it was recently.
What would that be, gross but not grossly disgusting? HA!

Here's what my hand looked like a few weeks ago:

It is truly amazing what we take for granted. Even when you think your world is already small by your limitations, your emotional issues, your addictions, or your circumstances, it actually CAN get even smaller.

So hold the hand of the person you adore. Lift some weights (!). Reach for the stars!!!
Just because you can.
And heck, put on some fake eyelashes if you feel like it...

'Nuff Said

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AAAACK 1/12/2012 1:14AM

    I'm glad you got some relief. I do wish Spark would send me your blog notices that I keep signing up for, but never seem to get. But I'm very happy for you that you got some use back in the hand. I still don't think your hand looks "gross." It looks uncomfortable, but doesn't gross me out. Maybe I shoulda been a doctor! Maybe I could still become one in all my spare time, or a researcher, and find a cure! For CRPS and EM, and Autism!

Ok, back to reality. I do wish I could offer you a cure, you certainly deserve it. And I hope all the research they're doing, and the upcoming trials, that something just nails it and you get to go back to having your biggest worry be what charity to donate all those tights to b/c you're rockin' your own regular skin color all over. All. Over.

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    Thanks to you I am no longer taking the use of my hands for granted!

I hope it continues to get better so you can get more use out of your hand.


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EVERSTEPH 1/10/2012 1:30PM

    YES!!! I am so happy for you! Hopefully more relief will be heading your way very soon, too!

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CATS_MEOW_0911 1/9/2012 11:53PM

    Bren, I am thrilled that your hand is improving--and of course I'm amazed by your attitude towards this whole ordeal.

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NUMD97 1/8/2012 8:48AM

    We share several SP buddies. I think that was the reason I came across your blogs on my feed in the first place. You had written one about being thankful to nice health professionals and for obvious reasons it caught my eye. As I explored your page further, wherein you describe your illness, I realized it must be exceedingly rare because I don't recall ever studying it in medical school. That lead me on an exploration to better educate myself. Having started that, I started to read some of your old blogs. Without question, you have a gift for writing. I can see binding these blogs and sending them off to a publisher; it really has that much potential.

With every blog that I read, I find myself more and more humbled by your experience, and even moreso your attitude towards it. You are really a force to be reckoned with.

I just wanted to let you know,


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CEEG-ERRIFIC 1/7/2012 10:24PM

    Oh Bren I admit that I laughed a lot reading this. They way you write and your attitude toward this painfull problem that you face every day just made me laugh.

I could totally picture what you meant with the flossing and nylon issues.

I hope your hand continues to improve (even if the Doc wasn't very inthuastic)

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CTUPTON 1/7/2012 9:09AM

    Bren, I know many days you "grin and bear it." Once in awhile we all need to tell everyone how bad it is. Thanks for telling-and showing- what you are up against. Huggs and prayers are coming through the air! Love you! Chris

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JCARDINAL 1/6/2012 5:39PM

    I feel your pain! I have Lupus and it attacks my hands and wrists a lot. It will get so bad I can't pick up a cup of tea unless I cup it in both hands. You never realize how much you use something like your fingers and hands until you can't use them. Hope you're on the road to recovery!! emoticon

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KESHIAG 1/6/2012 12:46PM

    Stay positive!

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TRENTDREAMER 1/6/2012 7:53AM

    "First off, get your mind outta the gutter! "
* Now how could a blog title like that possibly lead someone to think that way?

"My neurolofgists reply was more of "meh". I guess he was worried that this was only short lived.
Hey, I am happy to be able to move it right NOW! "
* I hope that I never end up "meh-ing" something like that.

"2) I put my hair in a ponytail. This was HUGE. Just try to get your mane into a pony tail with one hand. Go on, I dare you. "
* I believe you (and I agree about the floss thingies. they're weird)

"Can I just go on a mini-rant here, and tell you how having Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is likely harder for a woman to fight daily than a man?"
* Ever seen a guy get sick, injured or hurt in anyway that involves the slightest notion of "not being able to do something?" even temporarily? I agree, though, that in all of the limitations and frustrations you describe it would be generally tougher for women.

"Lift some weights (!). Reach for the stars!!!
Just because you can.
And heck, put on some fake eyelashes if you feel like it... "
* I don't feel like it. But I'll go lift some weights and reach for the stars :D

Really glad to hear that you are doing better. Hope that you continue to heal.

Thank you for being a friend.

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SPACEPRINCESS 1/6/2012 12:23AM

    You have my envy. I am in a full on rheumatoid arthritis flare up which, at the moment, is causing massive inflammation in my right hand. Oh, the things we take for granted...opening a door, holding a hairbrush...the normally simple tasks of dressing and undressing yourself! Congrats on the progress!

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SEATTLE58 1/6/2012 12:03AM

    Oh so sorry, Glad you finally got some relief! Poor dear! Hoping you get better and better and the days arrive!! Take care! emoticon

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ARLENE_MOVES 1/5/2012 11:37PM

    Guess I really took my hands for granted. Won't do that anymore. Thanks!

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H-DOG-8 1/5/2012 11:23PM

    Bren, your hands look painful. I've always had a love/hate relationship with my own hands because they are large (think "man hands" Seinfeld episode!!), but one day when I was playing the piano it clicked for me that they can accomplish so much and I've loved them ever since (even though I still make man hands jokes....it's just darn funny!). However, I have a new level of appreciation today. I'm glad you're getting some relief and your positive attitude is just soaking up every minute!

Might I suggest not just the do-it-yourself fake eyelashes but the ones you get done professionally? They last about a month. They are not cheap, but there is no make up required when you've got these babies! I got them for a friend's wedding (on the cheap because the other bridesmaid was the professional who did them) and I was maintenance free for a month! They look goofy at first, but you get used to them. Just don't go too dramatic or you'll regret it (like the bride did, unfortunately).

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KRZYKAT3 1/5/2012 11:01PM

    three cheers for all you did today and for advice!! I held my hubbys hand today for you!

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CANNIE50 1/5/2012 10:54PM

    Things you can clearly do no matter how much your hand is compromised: turn a phrase like nobody's business, touch the hearts of your friends and admirers, inspire gratitude where once there was complacency - and the list goes on. One thing I want to clear up for you, doll-face, your hand does NOT, I repeat, does NOT look gross, it looks painful - vastly different. A gross hand would be one that has not been washed for awhile, and has long, dirty nails (and not the good kind of dirt that comes from working hard). Your hand is NOT gross, just so painful and I wish I could fix that and I know I cannot and I don't truly know what you go through. I am so glad you wrote this blog - it really made me think. I thought I had a fairly good understanding of what you go through, but I really don't (though I want to), and I am VERY appreciative of my (tiny) hands. Thank you SweetPea. oxoxox emoticon emoticon

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    Bren, I'm glad you are feeling a bit better today and are able to be girlie.
My fingers are crossed that this isn't temporary.

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SUNFLOWER4ME 1/5/2012 10:09PM

    You know it was not until I read this that I realized how much I take my hands for granted, ironic as I quickly type that sentence..WITH MY HANDS!

God bless you AND your hands, and I hope more relief will come soon. In the meantime, enjoying flossing emoticon

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MAMADWARF 1/5/2012 9:57PM

    You are so brave and always so positive. Not easy to do with that level of pain! Glad you are feeling better, doll!

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RYDERB 1/5/2012 9:21PM

    Ok. I want you to know I did TRY to put my hair in a ponytail. My husband had a laugh. Wow! emoticon I don't even want to try the flossing after that. I'm so happy you got some relief today! I'm hoping, praying, and wishing that it lasts as long as possible. emoticon

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TOTHEFUTURE1 1/5/2012 9:17PM

    I need to read your earlier blog but congratulations you seem to be doing fine

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ALLEY2300 1/5/2012 9:07PM

    Wow .... that looks just painful ........

So glad you are feeling better and that your hand looks less painful. I have never heard of CRPS, but it looks intensely painful.

Hope it keeps getting better!

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LGAR519 1/5/2012 8:58PM

    Bless your heart! Glad you got some relief!

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The raucous concert between my ears – no headphones needed.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

I was quite naughty with food recently. Let’s just say that my body is still angry at me for the contents flowing within it…
Post face stuffing, I played back the details of it all. Not only disgusted with myself, but fighting off feelings of worthlessness and guilt. Interlaced between all of that emotional goo, was a sort of soundtrack that I strangely recognized from past months (even years).

I envisioned a concert hall in my mind, and I was about to give a performance – to protest the emotional eating to come after receiving more depressing news about my health earlier that day. I started to raise my voice to plead my case: to love my body and not give in, but thoughts of eating for comfort kept interrupting me, and causing me to lose focus.

That temptation was not about to take a bow and exit stage left. In fact, it started to screech and yell and stamp its virtual foot, in the center stage of my life, taunting me.
Last year when my emotional eating was at its worst, I swear that there was a full house in the audience chairs, bumping up to the stage, cheering on the binge performer to come.

“It’s just 2 cookies!”, they roared.
“It’s only a heaping bowl of sugary cereal!”, echoed back.
“It’s ONLY ½ the cake!”
Wait, ½ the cake?!?!
I shook my head in shame.

The positive reinforcement and encouragement that that I gain here at SP has added some shimmy and shake to my life, and I ‘want’ for new things and experiences.

I want ultimate health – throw some jump into my step.
I want emotional rebirth and support – sing a new song, and sing it loud!
I want more friendships and laughter – things I had been low on, but have received more of both. It’s time to dance!

Have my fiery stressors that trigger my desire to devour and annihilate the pantry contents faded into a tiny bic lighter flame, swaying to the sweet melody? No.
But I have decided to change the tune.

‘Nuff said.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RYDERB 1/5/2012 12:19AM

    Bren, wouldn't it be great if we could invent a soundtrack to play whenever those voices start calling from the kitchen. Maybe it would be Tracy's voice saying if you even smell that cookie you going to have to do 40 MORE leg lifts! Oh you know who's voice really scares me….. Jillian Michaels. emoticon
You're not alone.

Comment edited on: 1/5/2012 12:19:33 AM

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GUITARWOMAN 1/4/2012 12:30PM

    So well said....

I think your performance analogy is super!

I am an emotioinal and binge eater and one thing I have learned from Sparkpeople and reading I have been doing is to be kind to ourselves, not to fall into a pit self-hate when we do overeat. I try to learn from each binge and pick myself off and move forward.

Great to have you as a Sparkfriend!


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SUNFLOWER4ME 1/4/2012 8:40AM

    This is me ..... emoticon....running down the middle aisle of your concert hall..... emoticon..... drop kicking anyone shouting at you about the cookies and cake...... emoticon....because no one messes with my Bren like that ...... emoticon...... then I pick up this megaphone ...... emoticon.....and shout to you that you are beautiful..... emoticon..... and give you this little turtle, because turtles make everything better.

Ok, the turtle was a little random, but you get the point emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/4/2012 8:41:54 AM

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OOLALA53 1/4/2012 5:31AM

    Bren, you are an incredibly creative person. Perhaps at this moment you'd trade it for freedom from the tyranny of food, but you are going to conquer this and then you'll still have your talent. I don't know what you got told today, but I am so sorry you don't have more hope on this. And remember to be gentle on yourself if you've already given in. It actually perpetuates the cycle to berate yourself afterwards.

You are so lovable! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    Tell the audience to go home...nothing to see here!
If that doesn't work, yell fire! Get rid of those voices cheering the binge on and you will be able to hear yourself and your sparkfriends again.

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HDHAWK 1/3/2012 9:50PM

    I totally understand. The concert will dim each time you make a positive choice!

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NUMD97 1/3/2012 9:43PM

    We must all be playing that same tune this week. Whatever the ammo, please send some my way. Either that or a good set of earplugs.

I hear ya loud and clear.

All the best, as you stomp that noisy soundtrack and break that CD for good.

I'm with ya, emoticon


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CANNIE50 1/3/2012 9:37PM

    Aaggghhh, that stupid soundtrack gets stuck in my head, too. I hope a sweet, soothing, song replaces that noisy chaos that has been hounding you. I am thinking of you, Miss Bren. I am wishing you a lullaby..... emoticon emoticon

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MAMADWARF 1/3/2012 9:30PM

    Aww bren, I know that song well! The only way to get a stupid song out of your head is to sing a new one. You got it figured out! Here's to laughs and friendship this year....cheers!

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MAMADWARF 1/3/2012 9:29PM

    Aww bren, I know that song well! The only way to get a stupid song out of your head is to sing a new one. You got it figured out! Here's to laughs and friendship this year....cheers!

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Be also thankful for the medical professionals in your life this year– and let them know!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Yesterday I went back to the Pain Center at the hospital for another nerve block procedure to try to take the edge off some of this ridiculous pain. With it being the holidays, only the skeleton crew seemed to be working, and my regular doctor was on vacation. A new doctor was assigned my case, and was trying to get himself familiar with the plethora of paperwork in my file.

This was the first time I had actually seen my entire file. I had only been a patient there for 6 months, but sheesh that file was a fatty.
Visualize a foot long hoagie type of thickness - a healthy hoagie of course : ).

The doctor was about1/2 way through that hoagie (what would that be, at about the pickle layer?), and there it was. A thank u card I had written to the surgical team months ago.

I'm a big believer in thank you cards. The real ones, sent via snail mail. Because once in a while it's nice to get something other than bills, right?
Anyway, there it was.
I was pretty sure that my card would have been tossed within moments of opening.
They really keep these things? Who knew?

I perched myself at the edge of the chair in the procedure room and waited patiently for the doctor to find the current 'cocktail' of drugs for the procedure.

A few minutes later, one of the doctor’s who removed my spinal cord stimulator last week stopped in to see how I was doing. Soon after that, a nurse from when I was there 2 weeks ago came in to say hello. She wanted to thank me for the bag of oranges I brought in for the crew instead of Christmas cookies and fudge-y goo.

It was not my plan to get to know these people so well, believe me.
You don’t want to become a frequent guest at the Pain Center like you would accrue Starwood Hotels points - since I always need to be awake and present for my various procedures = no mint on my pillow. No frequent flier miles here - unless I was being administered a lot of heavy drugs, and THEN I would feel like a frequent flier, right? Ack!

I would have preferred to be in a dress and heels, out with my wonderful husband, enjoying each other’s company and enjoying a glass of wine. Not worrying about the looooong list of details that need to come into play perfectly (and I do mean perfectly) for me to look and behave like a mostly normal, healthy person for even a short amount of time. But for now, this is my lot in life.

But this blog isn't supposed to be about me me me.
There are so many people from the medical community who truly deserve a thank you (or a bag of oranges) for caring for myself (and likely you) at a time of two in 2011.
So I ask, have you thanked your medical professional(s)?

If you have had your teeth cleaned, saw a specialist about a hand injury (AAACK I mean you, feel better!), met with a registered nutritionist about re-vamping your diet, or shoot, even (gasp) survived your annual physical, be sure to thank the medical professionals involved in your life. Sometimes they really appreciate it : )

‘Nuff Said

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CTUPTON 1/7/2012 9:16AM

    Bren, reading your blogs is so uplifting. I don't know how you do it. You help us! My problems are so small compared with what you are going through. Thank you for writing!
Chris emoticon

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OOLALA53 1/2/2012 10:46AM

    Given some of your stories about how you've been treated, this is especially warm. And you are a talented writer! I know what you mean, though. I feel very grateful for my dentist especially. I'm so glad someone knows what to do to help me when I have pain! I wish that you will find more relief this year. emoticon

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MRSSCHENCK 12/31/2011 8:08AM

    Great blog. emoticon you thoughtful! Get it? That is an orange isn't it? Or is it a grapefruit. Anywho...you get the point. emoticon

Hope you're feeling better.

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REDSHOES2011 12/31/2011 12:50AM


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MALKS_ARIA 12/31/2011 12:34AM

    woohooo :) Thank You Medical Professionals!!!

Yep I thank my dr often... cuz I see her often! (I would prefer not to too).... I also thank many of my specialist as the list goes on....

Blessings to you and hope you have a great new year eve :)

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CATS_MEOW_0911 12/31/2011 12:32AM

    Loved this--very good points. As a (veterinary) health care professional, I can attest that a real "thank you" goes a very long way. Health care professionals definitely do remember and appreciate.

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RYDERB 12/31/2011 12:19AM

    Oranges! You're so thoughtful! I definitely need to send a Thank You to my OB/GYN. But I was thinking a Red Velvet Nothing Bunt Cake emoticon Is it any wonder I'm suffering from Cinnabon Booty (& Tummy) I hope this latest procedure, has brought a little more relief into your life.

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MISSLISA1973 12/30/2011 11:02PM

    Great blog!

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LGAR519 12/30/2011 8:17PM

    Oranges! Who would have thought of that except you!! I love it. Praying that they will find a relief for your pain soon!!

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    You are so giving!
Hope this one helps you!

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SUNFLOWER4ME 12/30/2011 6:31PM

    "Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting."

Thanks for the reminder :)

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SHERRIE_BERRY 12/30/2011 6:23PM

    You are such a doll! A bag of oranges...fabulous!!! I know you would much prefer your cocktail come in a tall stemmed glass, but that will come! You will go out in your oh so teeny dress and very high sexy heals...soon! How do I know that? Because you are one determined woman! You will soon get all of the goodness that you deserve!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Much love

Comment edited on: 12/30/2011 6:23:34 PM

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CANNIE50 12/30/2011 5:56PM

    I adore my doctor. She is a blessing and I have told her that, in writing, I am happy to report. This is a good reminder, dearest Bren. I am hoping and praying, as always, that one of these wonderful medical providers will find some true relief to deliver your way, STAT! I am thinking of you.

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