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Sep 30, 2013

24 months post BM, and I don't mean bowel movement, thank goodness!

I rushed going back to work before I was ready. That's the one thing I do regret, not getting to know my beast as others have called it. I worked for exactly 2 months, and haven't been able to tolerate going back since. That was 2 years ago November. I advise not driving when you are going from fine to tired and weak. And, definitely get in touch with a neurologist if you can, as they are trained to deal with changes to the physical structure of the brain, which is what has happened.

I was lucky that the hospital assigned a neurologist in the hospital and that I've been able to continue with him. Though, I feel like more should have been done sooner, in my care, then my after effects wouldn't be so bad. But, tis what it is, and can't be changed.

As for the migraines that come after BM, they are different because not only is it a migraine, but the part of your brain that has headaches/migraines has been damaged by the infection and has to heal. It takes 18-24 months for complete healing, though you're most of the way there by month 12. All headaches occur in the meninges, where meningitis caused inflammation and swelling. That swelling takes a year or so to heal fully, though most of the healing is in the first 6 months. 

This pushes your baseline for triggering a headache/migraine up a few notches, or in my case a lot of notches. This also changes the severity, intensity, length of the migraines. Before BM, my migraines were a few hours and gone with home care in the next morning. Now, it's a beast, migraine prophylactic and abortive medications to prevent and stop migraines, three of those, and that doesn't always cut it. Sometimes I've had to go to the ER for them to give me IV drugs to cut the pain. That doesn't always cut it, and I get admitted to the hospital for the migraine. My longest migraine was 45 days, with no break, two admissions, two trials of steroids, two trials of DHE45-protocol (supped up NSAID), and lots of time in the dark with nothing going on. I was bored and hurting. The second run of DHE45 finally had some effect and it started to break up the constant, unforgiving migraine. That was this January and February. Before that, my record had been 15-days. Now, if it stays under 20 I'm happy.

I'm not trying to scare you. Just sharing that this is a beast unlike any we've been on before. And, it changes as time goes on. I'm at 24 months post BM and I know that unless there's a miracle drug, which would require much better understanding of neuroanatomy than we have now, I'm not going to get much better. I'm at the best I can be with this. From here on out it's an attitude game. And, sisters, that's the hardest game out there, but the easiest to win too.

Sep 21, 2013

Lace One-Skein Wonders, A Review

I met one of the designers whom has a pattern in Lace One-Skein Wonders, by Judith Durant. The designer I met at my local knit night was the one who designed the choker and bracelet set with the Majohng tiles as focal points.  This book provides 101 patterns of knits and crochet projects for accessories, babies, scarves, shawls, children and the home.  The photography is beautiful.  The descriptions had me wanting to break out my needles and hooks and some fun yarns. 

I really wanted to get started on at least five of the scarves and shawls.  I just made a bunch of sweaters for a new nephew, but I wanted to make one for him from this book.  There were items for the bath and kitchen that I could see being great holiday gifts. 

There’s also any number of items that can be gifts for those who have a new home, a new job, a new baby, a holiday, a birthday, or any other happy celebration.  There’s also some very practical items that will make sock knitters like me very happy. 

If you like the "One Skein Wonders" series of books, working with lace stitches or lace weight yarn, or you just like looking through the newest yarn books, then is a great book for you.

I give it 5/5 stars.

I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley program in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Blessings of the Migraines

It may seem weird to say I feel blessed to have the migraines, but hear me out.  I am alive, so feeling pain is proof off being alive.  But, it goes deeper than that.  When I suffer from a migraine, I feel like God is taking suffering from others to make theirs less harsh.  By having me experience this little pain, though large feeling to me, it makes another person's experience better, much like Jesus and the Cross does for Christians.

Just as Jesus prayed to God in the garden of Gethsemane to not have this cup, but not his will, but God the Father's will, I pray not to have the migraines, but not my will, but God's will and if God's will please use it to lessen the suffering of others in ravaged parts of the world.  I feel like this is the right way to be with the migraines at this time.  Maybe things will be revealed in the future to change that, but this is where I am for now.

One thing that was revealed, though, was not just to relieve the suffering of the victims, but also of the persecutors.  If the persecutors are forgiven and loved, they will eventually stop giving in to the persecutorial acts being asked of them.  I don't know if that is true, but it feels true.

Anyways, I started praying for the victims in Syria, especially the young girls and boys kidnapped for their desire for education and freedom.  Then, I heard a small, still voice asking about whether I could forgive the Syrian attackers, I was beyond shocked at the question.  Forgive those animals!  Did God know what they did to those children? To those innocent children? 

Of course he did.  He had died on the cross for the souls of all men, women, and children.  So, he must have died for these violators of others' being too, right?  It was hard to wrap my head around praying for the kidnappers and attackers to be forgiven and to have a better life than they have now.  But, what God wanted me to do.  It was easy to pray for the victims.  It was not easy to pray for the violators and mean it.

I learned that God does have a small still voice, that he really wants us to love our enemies as we love ourselves, and that what Jesus did with the cross is more intense than I had already figured out.  Jesus didn't just do die on the cross for my sins, or the sins of anyone I know, but for the sins of the attackers, the people we like to say are truly evil so we feel like we will never be in that place too, those are also the people Jesus died on the cross for.  He died for Andrew Jackson, whom signed off on the Trail of Tears, Hitler, Khan, Alexander the Great, the Vikings, the ones who attacked anyone all throughout our world's history, even back through the ancestry to the first human, many millennium ago.

And, did Jesus die on the cross just for homo sapiens or for all the human species?  My mind is blown just thinking about homo sapiens applications, though God and Jesus are so big that there is no limit to their love and power.  If he wanted to, he could have died for all of humanity from austrolipithcus and on up, at least I think that is the grouping Lucy was in.   I am just amazed at God's power and love.

Sep 6, 2013

What is beauty? A message for my nieces and all other folks constrained by society's definition of beauty

Dear nieces, sweet and lovely women and girls that you are,

I want to share a secret with you, you won't read about it in Vogue or Cosmo, friends won't whisper it behind their hands held up to their faces, but it is a precious secret, and one you need to know.

I can look in the mirror and see all the imperfections that magazines, tv, and society want me to see.  Too round of a cheek, darkness under my eyes, heavy eye lids, and a nose I took a long time to realize was pretty and beautiful, as I'd seen it on my father's face, and while handsome, he wasn't exactly pretty or beautious.  Looking in my cousin's faces, I see my dad's nose, looking at his lovely sisters, I see my dad's nose.  It's a DeLay nose, big, wide, unashamed and does exactly what a nose is supposed to do. Oh, and those heavy eyelids and the darkness under my eyelids, that is the result of sleepless nights from just not being able to turn the tired feeling, they are battle scars from the fight with the fall out from meningitis a while ago, a fight I'm still able to fight.  The round cheek that's me showing that I am blessed with food and not lacking in needs that way.  All together, these mars to perfection are marks of strength, endurance, and blessings, and that my nieces, that is the secret.

It's not in the what of how you look, but the how of what you look.  Let me give an example, seeing my skin change color and texture because of the medications I take for the migraines is a what.  If I were focused on the what of how I look, those changes would make me feel like a pariah, untouchable, ugly, diseased, sickly.  Now, change to the how of what I look like.  I'm reminded of how strong I am by seeing the parts of my skin that have changed and reminded of how blessed I am to have walked out of the hospital in 2011 by the changes in my skin.  Just by changing how you tell the story of the how you are affected by something, you change the reality of how you deal with things.

This works with all sorts of things.  I experience great pain, yet, I rarely cry about it, and not just because crying makes the pain worse.  I've prayed to God for acceptance of the pain, and miraculously, he is giving me the gift of being able to live alongside the pain.  I was getting a massage last night, and the masseuse was working on a knot in my neck.  All of a sudden, I started having a dull with sharp edges pain in the middle of my back on the opposite side of my body.  I didn't expect that, and it was weird, but also kinda neat to just be there with that pain and notice it, but not get emotional about it.  Just be with it.  I was floating in the pain and the reverberating chimes of the soothing music, and not fighting the pain, just noticing it.  It was weird but good.  I've never experienced that before.  If I can do that, with God's help, then you can choose to kick the messages of beauty being skin deep or hair dependent or the curve of your lips dependent or what have you, you're beautiful just the way you are because you are human and you are. You exist and creation isn't ugly.

Fight those surface only definitions of yourself.  Don't limit yourself with the language you use.  I believe that the time is now to stand up and be counted among the proud and strong and beautiful, just for being you and getting through the day without killing anyone else.  If not now, when?  If not today, when?  The time is now.

Tell yourself, "I am.  I am beautiful.  I am strong.  I am good. I am good enough." Tell yourself whatever you need to tell yourself.  You know what your inner critic is lying to you about, just dump him/her out with the garbage and tell yourself, verbally, out loud, everyday, every hour if need be, the exact opposite of what that mean inner critic was saying.  And, yes, we all have an inner critic, some of us can tell that jerk to take a flying leap off a short pier and actually lose the jerk for a while.  But, until you do more work than I've done, the critic always slinks back into your psyche and haunts you.

My inner critic was telling me junk yesterday before I went to the massage studio.  It told me I'd feel better by eating an additional cup of rice after supper.  Now, I started to listen, and actually ate half of it before I got angry and told myself that I was poisoning myself.  I was acting in opposition to my own best interests, desires, and health by eating another whole cup making it two whole cups, when a serving size is 1/3 of one cup.  That would have been 6 servings, not 1, I actually had about 4-5 servings, but I threw away the last of it because it was just too much and was going to poison me as surely as cyanide would.

I'm sharing that to illustrate that no matter how enlightened you are, or think you are, that inner critic is insidious and slinks in without notice.  A little bite will taste good and satisfy my craving for more, oh it's all sticking together so more ended up on the plate than I wanted, I'll just eat it anyways because it is there.  That's not treating myself as beautiful and worthy of being treated to optimal feed for optimal health.  I don't care about getting skinny, I just care about getting healthy.  And, health is one of the strongest aphrodisiacs any wheres.

So, dear sweet nieces, and all the other folks out there who feel constrained by society's definition of beauty, remember that you get to make your own definition.  And, you get to rewrite the story if it doesn't work right the first time. Remember the secret and use it today, now.