Category

Invisible Scars

I Quit

The time has come; I just have to quit.

Drinking has become a chore. Finding the alcohol in every situation…

quit mimosas

There’s no drink service on this plane/in this comedy club/at this tapas joint? How can I possibly deal?
Will I be able to sneak a bottle into that festival/concert/cruise ship?
How will I function without alcohol at this holiday party/high school reunion/completely random social gathering?

 

Perhaps there is a comfort in knowing exactly where to go (the bar!) and what to do (get a drink!) when entering a potentially awkward situation, but hopefully this is something that a mature (kinda) adult can deal with.

I’m not a person who has some amazing blackout-rode-a-llama-home-from-the-bar-and-there-are-3-people-who-I-don’t-know-sleeping-on-my-kitchen-floor-and-how-did-I-end-up-with-MORE-money-in-my-wallet-than-I-started-out-with-? story, but I’ve definitely had periods in my life during which I imbibed a little more than I should: when I was dealing with my diagnosis, coming to terms with my separation, that time(s) that my kids just would NOT STOP (okay, so that’s daily).

And my interest has just not been where it used to be. I truly feel that sometimes I’ll have a cocktail out of habit, not enjoyment.

quit alcohol

And health!
Of course it’s better for your body to stay away from alcohol. As per WebMD, drinking, even moderately, boosts one’s risk for several types of cancer (but, let’s be honest, that site is infamous for diagnosing everyone, even someone with the slightest swollen glands, with the big C).

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism discusses the horrific effects of drinking on most of one’s anatomy, including the brain (shocker: it’s harder to think clearly when you’ve been consuming alcohol), the heart (stroke, among other issues), the liver (I think we were all aware of this one), the pancreas (dangerous inflammation and swelling), and the immune system (maybe get 2 flu shots this year?).

Further research discusses how the chronic abuse of ethanol (alcohol) can have permanent effects of brain function.

And of course my health in particular, which has taken a turn for the worse as of late. I know drinking alcohol is disproved of among the medical community in regards to autoimmune diseases, so this is precisely directed toward my goal of taking MS down!

I’m not talking about the dude that has a couple of beers on Saturday night with his buddies then calls it a night, and I’m not implicating that woman who meets her co-worker for a drink after work.

I’m also not talking about that guy who needs a couple of shots of vodka in his orange juice in order to function for the rest of the day or the lady who carries around a flask of rum to work to pour into her coffee. The chemically-dependent individual is on a whole different level.

I’m talking about ME. I am not a binge drinker. I wouldn’t even consider myself an abuser, but I do drink.

I’m just a girl, standing in front of a bordeaux, saying “No thank you.”

I just don’t need another “thing.”

I remember quitting smoking. How it seemed completely impossible in the beginning. I couldn’t even wrap my brain around the concept of going to a bar and NOT smoking.

  • Being in my car and NOT smoking.
  • Eating a meal and afterward NOT smoking.
  • Taking a smoke-break at work and NOT smoking.

Now, however, I feel so completely free of the burden of cigarettes: of buying them, of having them in supply at all times, of smelling like them (in retrospect, eww!), and of having to go outside in the middle of January to have one.

Will I feel more unburdened without having alcohol in my life?

Let’s find out.

Paint Your Way to Health

My new book has arrived! I’m super-excited to present “Paint Your Way to Health: Using Art as Therapy for Patients Living with Neurological Illness.”

Please check it out on Amazon– it’s free for Prime members, 99 cents if you’re not.

If you don’t use an e-reader, you can easily take a gander using your computer; it’s really short. Please leave feedback for me on Amazon. I’d love to hear your thoughts, as I am working on the second publication in the series right now.

I’m really excited to see my name in print  🙂

Love to all! xoxo

 

Art Therapy
It’s here!

Hot Mess

**Disclaimer: Poor language choices to follow. Perhaps it shows the extremities of my messiness**

 

I am a hot fucking mess.

There is sand stuck to my exposed skin, laced between my toes, and caught in my windblown hair from yoga class this morning, held on the beach on this cold and damp and EARLY morning.

A freshly penned speeding ticket sits in the passenger side of my Prius. I mean, come on, isn’t the trooper aware that my car is unable to maintain speeds past 65 mph without beginning to tremble? I’m not exactly a threat on the road.

I had no time to put on makeup before, so my blonde eyelashes look like the white falsies that a drag-queen might wear to a diva competition and my brows, almost the same overly-milked-oatmealish color as my skin, look nonexistent. I must’ve scratched the side of my face while I slept, because I noticed a red gash stretching across my cheek. I squeeze my eyes tightly, trying to recall the dream from the night before that caused my abrasiveness. No memories though.

My finger nail polish is chipped: noticeably so. My toes too. Crap. I look like a hot fucking mess.

I focus on myself internally. That’s what really matters, right?

Continue Reading…

“Vacationing”

Lemtrada treatments don’t make for the best trips…

Mom and I walked along Main Street in Nyack, desperately trying to find the little Italian bistro that served the gluten-free penne where we had eaten the year before. The biggest challenge was that we didn’t even remember the name, just that it had outdoor dining tables and a loud fountain that made me have to pee when I sat too close to it.

After a few blocks, my mom asked the stranger, who I could hear softly padding behind us, if he was from around here and knew of the restaurant.

“No, sorry, I’m just visiting.” He must have seen the hunger-induced desperation in my eyes when I turned around to look at him, though, because he went on. “But why don’t you try me?” Our horrible explanation and lack of name or address wasn’t very helpful. “I’m really sorry, wish I could help.”

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Forgetting MS

Sometimes I legitimately forget.

It’s 9 am and the moving truck is coming in an hour. I’ve been up since 5:30 and still haven’t finished packing up my clothes. Or- doh!- the basement. I wish I could just power through, like I had planned.
My legs, though, they’ve quit- they up and decided that they’d had enough.
And now I sit and wait. Wait for my mom to get here. Wait for my ex to get here. Wait for my legs to feel up to the task of walking; a task that I’d taken advantage of for the 30 years before I started to show symptoms of MS.

My message is this: don’t take advantage of the things we all sometimes take for granted. The ability to see, the ability to hear, the ability to walk.

Love to all <3

Forgetting MS
My baby, sleeping on the floor, next to one of the many moving boxes throughout the house.

A Letter to One I Love

Hey you,

We have to talk (you hate clichéd phrases, I know, but in this case it just seems like the right thing to say). Simply put, I’m hurt. Irrevocable harm has been done; you seem to have turned your back on me completely. These flaws showed up about four and a half years ago, and, call it intuition: I knew, yet I was still dumbfounded.

I mean, how could you?

And, believe me, I know I’m no saint. I’ve made some poor choices in my life too: I smoked for a time (which, unfortunately did nothing to increase my coolness), I consume alcoholic beverages (my fair share, as well as the fair share of several others), I had a diet coke addiction for a while there (mmm… aspartame), but this, THIS is unforgivable!

I’ve changed, but unfortunately so have you. Some can blame time, blame age. I don’t know. It’s been nearly 37 years now, and you decided to revolt. I loved you… I love you. Please, PLEASE return to your normal, healthy state, and stop attacking yourself.

I promise to be good to you from here on in. You’re my one and only body, and I truly want you to be healthy.

Love always,
me

An Aspiration for Adequate III

(Read episode 1 here and 2 here)

Episode 3
The Situation on the Airplane

drunk on airplane

There had been a lot of dramatic ‘goings-on’ in my life lately, so I was happy to have gone away, on my own, to visit my sister Maggie in Charleston, South Carolina. I absolutely adore her and had such a wonderful time getting to be there with her and my brother-in-law Josh, as well as my cousins, Kate and Amanda. We laughed and chatted over great local food, did some shopping, beach yoga, the typical touristy stuff that one tends to miss out on when he or she lives in a place for a while. Everything was perfect. Unfortunately, though, the weekend had passed by, and it was time to board the plane to go home.

Though it wasn’t a particularly long journey up the coast, I wasn’t able to get a direct flight. After less than an hour, I got myself off the plane for the quick lay-over in Baltimore. With just enough time to grab a bite to eat, I went over to the restaurant and sat myself at the bar. I tried to choose the healthiest option on the menu, considering I would have to wear four pairs of Spanx to counteract the amount of food that I had already consumed this weekend. When my salad came, I shoveled it down my gullet as quickly as possible, took my pain medication, and chugged my glass of water. I paid. I left. It was as uneventful as it gets.

Anyway, I had a flight to get to.

Continue Reading…

An Aspiration for Adequate II

(Read Episode 1 here)

Episode 2
The Situation at the Festival

Moments after my son causes me to fall down. All smiles.
The kids enjoying themselves, once they had ice-cream.

Another beautiful, if a tad sweltering, summer’s day. I decided to take the kiddos to the next town over for their Polish Festival, which was said to be rather popular. I made sure that all of us looked cute, just in case of a run-in with someone I knew. As we pulled up, I could tell this was just one of those gatherings where vendors all assemble with the motive of selling crap to my kids that they’ll just HAVE to own, then never glance at again (that is, until I try to get rid of it in six months, when it’ll become their absolute favorite again). I found my wallet hidden at the bottom of my giant mom-bag and peered inside. No cash. I groaned. “Alright guys, Mommy has to hit an ATM before we do anything, so don’t ask.” We started parading through the crowd, on a mission to find a bank, a drug store, anywhere that housed a machine. Along our travels we passed by plenty of booths with homemade treasures, a temptingly cold frozen yogurt truck, and about eight thousand vestibules where groups of friends congregated to purchase authentic Polish beers. The popularity of this festival now began to make sense. I continued on my search, scanning the area for places to get money for my little crew, who were starting to get restless and whiney. I knew I had mere moments before they turned on me.

“Mom, I’m thiiiiirsty!”

“Mom, I’m hotttttt!”

“Mom, carry meeee!”

We finally reached the end of the sellers’ booths, and as relieved as I was to be free of the congested horde of buffoons waiting in line for face painting (a line which I planned on getting on as soon as my finances allowed), I discovered that I’d stumbled across a town that was remarkably shade-free. Apparently, it was ATM-free as well. The sun’s heat felt heavy on my limbs, but I continued, fighting through the weight that was almost paralyzing on my legs.

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Something Isn’t Right (Part 2)

“Just be careful. Don’t fall again.”

He was referencing the week before, and the week before that, when, both times, I had tripped, coming down directly on my stomach, landing me in the hospital for test after test. The nurses knew me in the maternity ward now, and I was embarrassed to do it again, unless it was actually go time. I concentrated on my footing as we yelled hearty thank-yous to the elderly couple who stood on their front porch and waved goodbye to us.

“I’m good,” I said to him quietly. Then excitedly, “Ooooh, look! Snickers! Full-size!” It was the little things.

I was looking back, not paying enough attention. Off-balance from my sizable stomach. I fell. Again.

“Oh my God, are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” I said, as I brushed the grass and dirt off. What the hell was wrong with me? “I’ll go to a few more houses and then go back,”  I told him. I looked down at the bump that extruded from my purple sweater.

“You’ll be alright,” I whispered. “Hang in there. I promise to be more careful.”

**********

A week later, just a few days before my due date, a regular office visit with my obstetrician turned into a fast-paced walk over to the connecting hospital. Hunter was born unto this world, healthy as an ox, the next day.

I was actually feeling pretty damn good after the whole rigmarole, and I looked forward to getting my body back in working order.

Finally, I’d be able to walk across the room without fear of toppling over!

Unfortunately, my balance didn’t return. I knew something was going on, after all, balance had been my “thing” at gymnastics class as a kid.

Must just be an old-age-hormone cocktail, I lied to myself.

 

Something Isn’t Right (Part 1)

There were many hours that I spent on the computer during my second pregnancy, tirelessly investigating the type of fruit that the fetus inside me compared to in size.

I needed to distract myself from the nausea and disgusting metallic taste in my mouth that was not unlike chewing on a Duracell. I watched Avery play as I absent-mindedly clicked on an advertisement for shoes. Four-inch heels in buttery teal leather that I could not afford, nor could I even wear without teetering over, but still, I had to look.

I waited for my husband to come home from work so that we could take our little girl out for her second Halloween. We’d help her to knock on our neighbors’ doors and say “trick-or-treat!” and add candy into the pumpkin that she gripped firmly in her little hand. She’d sleep soundly after all the day’s excitement, and then I would pick through the container until I got hold of the good stuff. I could almost taste the peanut butter cups already, and the thought of it made me salivate.

Halloween

In the past, before children had altered our ritual, we would sit on the front patio, cursing under our breath as we attempted to carve faces into pumpkins with plastic tools from the drugstore. Our neighborhood would fill with zombies, witches, and princesses, all with outstretched hands, begging for goodies. We’d oblige, and then, as dinnertime approached, the costumed tykes would begin to dissipate in a fog.

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