2017/09/19

I Can’t Keep Track: Scratch That Itch!

Da Goddess @ 10:10

On my legs I have at least three different skin issues. There’s the dry skin that just doesn’t want to soak up the moisture from even the hardiest of lotions. There are the splotches of a fungal infection I developed while on antibiotics for the spinal cord stimulator trial. And there are the areas that quite recently bubbled up when I developed serious edema two or three months ago. Yes, my skin bubbled. Then it hardened. Then it began a low level ooze. The edema is gone (the only benefit of being off most of my medications), but my skin remains in healing mode.

My arms have a minimum of two things going on. I have areas that are rough and itchy. There are cat scratches that don’t want to heal. Then there’s this ongoing itching that springs up on my hands and wrists.

Shall I even dare tell you about the rawness under and between my breasts? The itching, the erosion of skin, the persistent need for barrier cream (read: diaper cream), or the spreading of this… I’m guessing… fungal infection that threatens to become bacterial due to the diffuse, raw skin in delicate areas. It’s enough to drive one over the edge.

I almost took some quick pics because WORDS are not adequate to describe what’s happening to me and my skin. I didn’t do it, though. At least, not yet. I spared you the horrors of this creeping crud.

Oh, and while I was attending to my skin issues, I noticed a spot on my underboob. It had been a teensy weensy mole a couple years ago. It was measurable in millimeters. Now? It’s almost two inches in length and almost an inch in width. It looks a bit like one of those trilobite fossils found in most natural history museums. It’s quite rough and has the oddest quality to it. I am not pleased. I’m not even in the same state as “pleased”! Being without any health insurance, I can’t just run to a doctor to decide if it’s something I should worry about.

I’ll never be remembered as a one hit wonder. I have far too many complaints and needs for my legacy to be that I was boring. The facts don’t add up at all.

Until such time that I’m no longer using diaper cream and medicated powder to try to keep this body from becoming a much bigger problem than it is.

I think this is the part of the movie where some stunt woman would take my place and throw herself from the tallest window or ledge in utter frustration and as a means of ending the itch.

I’m so very over this bullshit. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that something good, something NOT irritating, happens to alleviate all the bad feels in my body.

But enough about me, let’s talk about you. Have you ever heard such things? Could you tell how any of this is necessary?

2017/09/18

This Much I Know is True

Da Goddess @ 10:41

Chronic pain, chronic illness, depression, isolation… All of these things can make life unbearable. It happens to many people. For some, medication helps. For others, medication only barely gets them from one moment to the next. There’s no ONE answer for everyone collectively.

For one man, he found hope in a Broadway musical based on a hit movie. Groundhog Day the Musical. I happened upon his post and it not only touched me, it spoke deeply to the broken parts of me and the life in which I find myself.

Life is difficult for me these days. I’ve been without ads here, which means I have absolutely ZERO income. True, the revenue generated by the ads I did have was miniscule, but it was just enough to help with 1) paying a bill or two, 2) help buy the kids a gift for birthdays/Christmas, and 3) gave me a sense of security that at least there was *that*.

Aside from the ads, my back and neck have grown even more painful, leaving me wondering how that’s even possible. It weighs on me more each passing day, each passing year. I find myself asking, “is this really how I want to spend my life? Is this who I really want to be?”

Because this was an injury that occurred on the job, I’ve been at the mercy of a system that favors the insurance company, not the patient. I’m stuck in an endless cycle of praying an adjuster will approve my medications or a treatment the doctors feel will help me get control of the pain. Time after time, though, my hopes are dashed and it takes a toll on every part of my being.

Twelve and a half years of living this way has left me more cynical and dejected than I’ve ever been in my life. Despite the medications, my pain has become what identifies me, what defines me. I don’t like it: I don’t want to this person!

Because of the treatment I’ve received from the insurance company, my life has become a roller coaster without a safety bar or seatbelt…that goes underwater and I have no air tank.

I’ve spent the last month without the majority of my meds. Where some patients simply pay for them out of pocket and then submit receipts for reimbursement, I don’t have that luxury. With a VERY deep discount the pharmacist gave me, my monthly tab for my meds would be over $700. That’s WITH the discount! King Arthur and I just can’t afford to pay it. I don’t know anyone who could. So I’ve tried to make do with the bare minimum, which doesn’t do much of anything other than keep me from crying 24/7. I cry, but not ALL DAY LONG.

My attorney drove up here Friday and handed me $500 to help pay for the medications. I was gobsmacked. What lawyer does that? Yes, it’ll need to be repaid, but still, what lawyer does that, I ask you. I’m as grateful as I am stunned. And even with his generous loan, I’ve had to adjust my prescription order so that I get the most bang for the buck. I won’t be getting full prescriptions of several drugs, though I will be able to get the meds that are vital for me to function as your basic bitch.

While my lawyer was here, I signed a new retainer agreement because he’s filing a lawsuit against the insurance company. This is not the norm for a work comp case. However, because they’ve continually played fast and loose with my care it’s our only real option. My brilliant attorney has also filed a formal complaint against the insurance company with the state.

We’re in uncharted waters here. In my attorney’s almost 50 years of practice, he’s never had to do this. He’s never come up against a company that’s so reckless with a claimant.

I doubt there will be a big payout from the lawsuit. I doubt they’ll be run out of the state. But at least we’re DOING SOMETHING! It’s my little glimmer of hope. My only glimmer of hope.

And this is why a total stranger’s post about a musical has given me pause. I’m lucky enough to see a new day, to still be breathing, to fight for my rights to adequate healthcare as the law dictates for injured workers. Maybe my case will save someone else from my nightmare. That thought is enough to make me keep looking at the horizon, hoping to see the first rays of sunshine each day.

All of this… all of it comes down to a Broadway musical I haven’t seen, but whose very message has had a ripple effect on the lives of enough people that its message has been spread far and wide.

I’m off to look for my sun today and tomorrow and the next day and the next and on and on.

2017/09/11

September 11 Remembered

Da Goddess @ 00:01

From September 11, 2014

There is an unease in my heart today. I cannot forget the morning of September 11, 2001. I cannot forget waking up and watching the world fall apart. I cannot forget the confusion on the face of my children. I cannot forget the pain on the faces of those who lost loved ones. I cannot forget the way neighbors came together in sadness and shock to offer comfort to one another, whether or not they knew them. I cannot forget. There is unease in my heart today as I remember how strong we rose from the ashes of tragedy and how easy it has been for some to forget, for them to contort reality into something other than what it was and is. There is unease in my heart today.

Never forget! Never forget the lives lost. Never forget how we turned toward one another instead of away from one another.

Never forget! Never forget that freedom is not easily won, nor is it easily kept. Those who have it must protect and nurture it. Those who don’t have it will always try to rip it away from those who do.

Never forget! We cannot pretend events were anything but what they were. Lives were lost. Hearts were broken. Never forget!

There is an unease in my heart today because I cannot forget. Because I will never forget.

A few posts from the past, with videos and important links:

Remembering 9/11

Never Forget

September 11 – We Never Forget

11 Years Later

Count To 3,000 and Keep Going – September 11 Remembered

Even while we continue to heal, we must never forget.

2017/09/10

The Lump in My Throat

Da Goddess @ 23:50

Tomorrow is a difficult day for me. For many of us. I always feel a tightness in my throat and my chest this time of year. But this year we have so much happening that makes everything more… agitated and frantic feeling.

I’m talking about these damned hurricanes!

Harvey sucked big donkey balls and put dear Joni in danger. She assured me she was okay and that made my heart stop racing so much. But then that bitch, Irma, had to get in the game. Now Pam and her hubby, as well as other friends, are in harm’s way.

WHY?!!? Isn’t it enough to have a few million people in dire straits? We have to have more? I’m talking to you, weather gods! I’m pointing my finger at you!

And there are the wildfires across the western part of the United States. And an earthquake in Mexico.

I think we’ve had it. The very fabric of our souls have creases from all the worry and frowning.

Those in the midst of these horrifying events needs a break. A really big break.

I’m not asking for a miracle, but I am asking for a respite from disaster for those who’ve been slammed, battered, sizzled, and shaken.

Please.

My prayers and thoughts are with everyone stuck in the middle of all this mess (these messes).

2017/09/07

Random Facts: The Echidna

Da Goddess @ 16:31

Today’s random fact is meant to distract you from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the currently destructive Hurricane Irma, as well as the many fires burning across the western part of the U.S. Also a reason to NOT think about politics (because I have reached my absolute).

I say with great confidence that this lil bit of information WILL distract because HOW CAN IT NOT? You’ll see what I mean.

The echidna is one of the most extraordinary creatures on the planet. A monotreme, this mammal lays eggs and then nurses its young. There are only two (if you’re not counting TYPES of echidnae) monotremes: the platypus and the echidna (of which there are four kinds). Monotremes are, of course, found in Australia and New Guinea, because where else would one find such odd and fascinating animals?

So, without further ado, here’s the random fact: echidnae have a four-pronged penis. Let that sink in for a moment: four…prongs. FOUR. Three more than humans. However, the female echidna only accommodates two. This, when mating, only two of these prongs are engaged, with the other two retracted.

Still not distracted enough? Think about the research that went into discovering this knowledge!

Just follow the link above and get back to me afterwards.

I got your mind off all the worries of the day for a couple minutes, didn’t I? Don’t thank me. I knew you needed that. It’s just one of the things I’m happy to do for you.

Now, to cleanse the palate, I direct you to view this adorable puggle (which is what you call a baby echidna). I promise you’ll feel better after the video.

NOW you may thank me. And you’re welcome.

2017/09/03

Don’t Dismiss the Miss and Her Pain

Da Goddess @ 08:47

As you all know, chronic pain has been my constant companion for the past 12 years. As far as getting treated for it, I’ve been fortunate enough to be taken seriously. (We’ll leave the discussion about the insurance company and their shoddy treatment of me for another time, m’kay?)

But, the fact of the matter is that many women find their pain is minimized by the very people they turn to for help.

I read an exceptional article this morning to which I will now direct your attention. You can come back with your thoughts and we can discuss afterwards, if you’d like. I’ll be here.

2017/08/24

The Ol’ In and Out (S)urge(ry)

Da Goddess @ 06:21

I’m currently on my way to the outpatient surgical center to get my spinal cord stimulator trial!

This is a big deal for me. It’s a step toward possible ACTUAL pain relief.

Unfortunately, we’re due for a major heatwave during the week I’ll have this thing in my body. And I’m not going to be allowed to shower. (I’m totally going to find a way to shower.)

Fingers crossed, eyes dotted, prayers almost non-stop. Hoping I don’t barf before or after the surgery.

Wish me luck!

2017/08/15

Golden Girls Meets the Crocodile Hunter

Da Goddess @ 08:10

So much excitement here this morning!

I’m out on the porch just enjoying the cool, overcast morning. It’s been far too long since we’ve had a morning like this and it’s beyond glorious.

Suddenly, I’m staring down into the eyes of a beautiful coyote. He/she is not afraid of me in the least. I ‘ssssttttt’ and shoo the coyote and off it jogs. About three seconds later, there’s another one! Again, I make noise (while simultaneously admiring the animals) and this second coyote walks away quite casually.

Thirty seconds later, two of our neighbors walk up and I give them the coyote warning. They tell me there are actually three coyotes out and about and they’ve been keeping an eye on them.

Following not too far behind the couple is another resident who asks which way the animals have gone. As she’s asking, one coyote makes another appearance. This lady starts yelling her loudest and chasing it away. She yells to various neighbors to keep their dogs inside, all while flailing her arms about and yelling at the coyotes.

As soon as everyone disappears around various corners, one coyote walks into the middle of the street, looks at me as if to ask, “what the hell?” And then quickly disappears between homes.

I think the drama is coming to an end when our friendly little spectacular hummingbird pops up right in front of my face, hovering as it often does. Then it zips away, zips back, hovers, lather, rinse, repeat a dozen times. It’s telling me it does NOT approve of how our ficus was trimmed yesterday (hacked low and tight).

Here’s the thing about the tree: it housed dozens of birds each night. Just as dusk would begin to fall, birds of all kinds would come to the tree and settle in for the night. There was this cacophony of birdly conversation that was, at times, deafening. Hummingbirds, finches, mockingbirds, wrens, etc., would gather and do their thing. And then, quiet. Occasionally, there’d be rustling and chirpy murmurs, but then absolute silence.

But the one hummingbird let us know right away — as soon as the tree trimmer was gone — that it was not pleased. There was no place for it to hide any longer! How dare we!

So this morning, it continues with its complaints. And then another one joins in. Right up in my face.

Between the birds and coyotes, it’s as if nature is sparking its revolution right here and now.

And one of the Golden Girls has gone Croc Hunter on the coyotes.

What a way to start the day! The only bad/regretable thing is that I’m not down there in the fray. (Grumble, grumble, my damn body, grumble, grumble.)

2017/07/27

The CUTEST Site on the Internet

Da Goddess @ 15:45

You’ll thank me for this. You will.

2017/07/12

TJH: Inspire — I Love Tim Minchin

Da Goddess @ 18:19

Tim Minchin on his hit musical, Matilda:

They didn’t have to think about creating a show for children because the whole point of Matilda (and all of Roald Dahl’s work) is that the child in all of us is still alive, he says.

“That’s kind of what Matilda is about, not letting adulthood turn you into a cynical despot.”

Everything I’ve seen about the show makes me wish I could see it in person. I’d settle for a televised performance, but to see it in person would definitely be much more impactful.

2017/07/04

Happy Independence Day!

Da Goddess @ 10:26

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…

Celebrate our hard won rights and remember those who fought for those rights.

Be safe and have yourselves a beautiful day!

2017/06/30

Sometimes…

Da Goddess @ 10:19

Sometimes, for fun, I will spend a couple hours editing trivia over at IMDB. Most of the edits are to correct spelling or to clarify the sentence/paragraph because they often read as though they were written by someone using a translation app.

Occasionally, I will submit trivia. I have a lot of it floating around in my brain. It’s almost always useful for nothing other than IMDB.

2017/06/16

This Is How You Do It: Body Positive Message

Da Goddess @ 02:57

A mom on Instagram had this discussion with her kids after her daughter called her fat:

My daughter called me fat today. She was upset I made them get out of the pool and she told her brother that mama is fat. I told her to meet me upstairs so we could chat. Me: “what did you say about me?” Her: “I said you were fat, mama, im sorry” Me: “let’s talk about it. The truth is, I am not fat. No one IS fat. It’s not something you can BE. But I do HAVE fat. We ALL have fat. It protects our muscles and our bones and keeps our bodies going by providing us energy. Do you have fat?” Her: “yes! I have some here on my tummy” Me: “that’s right! So do I and so does your brother!” Her brother: “I don’t have any fat, I’m the skinniest, I just have muscles” Me: “actually everyone, every single person in the world has fat. But each of us has different amounts.” Her brother: “oh right! I have some to protect my big muscles! But you have more than me” Me: “Yes, that’s true. Some people have a lot, and others don’t have very much. But that doesn’t mean that one person is better than the other, do you both understand? Both: “yes, mama” Me: “so can you repeat what I said” Them: “yes! I shouldn’t say someone is fat because you can’t be just fat, but everyone HAS fat and it’s okay to have different fat” Me: “exactly right!” Them: “can we go back to the pool now?” Me: no.

Each moment these topics come up I have to choose how I’m going to handle them. Fat is not a bad word in our house. If I shame my children for saying it then I am proving that it is an insulting word and I continue the stigma that being fat is unworthy, gross, comical and undesirable. Since we don’t call people fat as an insult in my household, I have to assume she internalized this idea from somewhere or someone else. Our children are fed ideas from every angle, you have to understand that that WILL happen: at a friends house whose parents have different values, watching a tv show or movie, overhearing someone at school — ideas about body image are already filtering through their minds. It is our job to continue to be the loudest, most accepting, positive and CONSISTENT voice they hear. So that it can rise above the rest. Give me a (high five) if this resonated w u! Just do you! Xoxo Allie

When we stop allowing media or other people define beauty for ourselves, when we consistently teach and remind our children that true beauty comes from within, we will have stronger, more well-developed kids who’ll spread that message, who’ll grow up avoiding fad diets and unhealthy practices, who’ll grow up with stronger, healthier senses of self, and who will be advocates for body positivity.

God created each of us to be unique and that’s what we are. Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Beauty comes from within. It’s something we all have innately. But we forget. We allow media to dictate the definition of beauty and that must stop. We don’t need to have people who have long forgotten that beauty is about the light and love we have within us rather than some airbrushed image they paste on the cover of their magazines. We are more than what someone who’s never met us tells us we are or should be!

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! WE ARE BEAUTIFUL. Just as we are. Remember that. And help others believe that.

2017/05/28

Memorial Day 2017

Da Goddess @ 17:52

I miss those weekends with Little Dude. The weekends we spent at Ft. Rosecrans, planting flags before graves of those who served. I still get misty as I think of how seriously L.D. took his duties, how we’d stick around after everyone else left, walking amongst the tombstones. It was a sacred practice for us and precious, too.

Gardens of Stone - Fort Rosecrans

Gardens of Stone sit in stillness
The lives of those buried here are mostly forgotten
They whisper to us, but rarely do we listen
And yet they speak volumes

In Gardens of Stone there reside
Those who served, at home and on the front
The wind scatters leaves and secrets
Speaking volumes of those who can no longer speak for themselves

In Gardens of Stone names are carefully etched
For family and friends to visit for a while
After many years, the visits taper off
Speaking volumes of our commitment to those who have died

In Gardens of Stone some of us wander
Searching for clues
Honoring the dead
Praying for their souls

In Gardens of Stone on this weekend
Everywhere you turn
You will see flags and flowers
Speaking volumes that we still care

In Gardens of Stone we pray
For those who continue the tradition
The sacred honor of protecting our way of life
We pray their service speaks volumes that war may
Someday be unnecessary

Until that time, we walk in Gardens of Stone
We gather to remember for those who cannot
For those who will not
Because the next to lie here will someday be just
Another name etched carefully in granite

In Gardens of Stone we are never alone
In Gardens of Stone we must continue
To pray and remember and learn
So that someday there may be smaller Gardens of Stone

__________________________________

For every name upon a stone that might ring familiar, there thousands more which we may not recognize nor find in any book. Their names, if we look long enough, become familiar to us, become part of our extended family. For they are the ones who secured our freedoms and allowed us the rights we enjoy today. The protesters on the street can do so because of these men and women. Those who cry out for freedom from religion (we’re guaranteed freedom of religion — to worship [or not] as we so choose) can do so because of these men and women. Those who demand this and demand that are able to do so because of these men and women. We can stand up and publicly deride our leaders because of these men and women. We are free to speak in English or any other language we chose because of those who lie in the Gardens of Stone.

Most will never have monuments. Most will never have books written about them. We can, however, take the time to remember, even if in general terms.

___________________________________

Memorial Day is not just about hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, the gatherings of friends and family, the drinks passed around the campfire. We’re free to do so, yes, but it is due to the sacrifices made by people whose names we’ll likely never know.

Please take a moment this weekend to give thanks to those who have served, to those who continue to serve, and honor them with a moment of silence. That’s the least we can do for them.

Gardens of Stone - Fort Rosecrans

2017/05/18

Five One

Da Goddess @ 21:24

Today I turned 51.

My exciting day has been full of thrills, the likes of which you’ve never seen. Well, you probably have, but I’m betting you wouldn’t wish to experience.

I got back my voice after a day of not having one, the consequence of some crazy ass sore throat of unbelievable intensity. My uvula was swollen and bumpy, as was the back of my tongue. The tongue bumps were large, scratchy, and raw, surrounded by hard patches. I’ve never had anything like this before and hope to never have again. I’m dousing my throat with chloraseptic spray, eating jello, drinking tea and water, and basically resting as much as possible, while also trying to keep my back pain to just under a roar.

This was on top of knowing my sister was dealing with my dad getting out of the hospital for the second time in three weeks due to congestive heart failure. It’s a new diagnosis for Dad and I know all too well what that means for him. He insists he feels fine in between hospital stays, but it’ll eventually get to the point where he’ll need more meds to help keep fluid from building up and he’ll become less comfortable more frequently.

Dad’s 86 now and even though I’m older, I don’t like the thought of losing him (or my mom, or any sisters) any time in the near future. I’m not ready for this.

So. Yeah, so. That’s how I’ve spent my birthday. Happy fucking birthday to me.

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