You’re A Jackwagon.

The following is a real life phone conversation between me and the hubs.  No husbands were actually harmed in the making of this conversation.  Barely.

My phone rings.  It’s Kyle on his way home from work and he’d like to know if we need anything from the grocery store.  Which is sweet, I KNOW.

Me: Uhhh…diapers and milk.  (Always with the milk.  Can we just buy a cow, already??)

Kyle: No problem.  By the way, I have told you what an amazing woman you are? Every time you walk into a room, my heart skips a beat…you…complete…(sob)…me…

Okay…he might not have said EXACTLY that…probably something more like:

Kyle:  No problem.  Can you check and see if I need deodorant?

Yeah…that’s more likely what it was.  Plus, I guess it’d be weird to see a huge, burly guy sobbing in the diaper aisle.  Unless it was the sleep deprived father of a newborn and then that would make total sense.

End call.

2 minutes later the phone rings again.

Me:  Yeeeeees…(Obviously I’ve seen the caller ID so I know it’s Kyle. I’m about 154% sure what his question will be.  And the answer has been the same for about a year.)

Kyle:  Uhhh…what size diaper does Trapezoid wear again?

Me:  *crickets chirping tumbleweeds blowing silence*

Kyle:  I KNOW I can never remember.  Is it a 5?

Me:  What number is Emmitt Smith?

Kyle:  22

Me:  What was the last year that the Cowboys won the Superbowl?

Kyle:  1996

Me:  What was Tom Landry’s last year with the Cowboys?

Kyle:  1989

Me:  He wears a size 6.  And you’re a jackwagon.

Kyle:  Well that hardly seems necessary.

Really Kyle?  I’m pretty sure 8 out of 10 moms would disagree.

(I know, I know…he’s a freaking awesome husband.  It’s just this ONE thing!  ACK!)

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That had better not be a size 5 diaper I see in your hand or I swear in the name of all that is holy I will poop on your bed.

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Thanks For The Mascara, Tammy Faye.

There is a lady that works at our neighborhood grocery store.  She is perhaps…hmmm…160, maybe 170 years old.  Always with the smiling.  The English…ehhhh…iz noht so good.  But she is always there with that smile. And a kind word and fake grocery store money for the kids.  I’m pretty sure she stashes it in her bra but at least it’s nice and warm when they get it.  We call that ‘Meemaw Cash’.

I love her.

For her smile and words and all of that but what I REALLY love her for is her MAKE UP!  It. Is. Ah. Mazing.  And the hair…a swirling, sugary pile of color and light.  And more color.

Remember Mimi from The Drew Carey Show?

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MiiiiMiii…hand over the spray paint and no one gets hurt…

Yeah, she kind of makes Mimi look like an Amish nun. (Let me save you the Google…that’s not a real thing. But it should be.)

So I’ve always loved her, but now I ‘get’ her.  I just know that she wakes up every morning, feeds her cat, waters her African Violet (I can sense it…see owns an African Violet and it sits on a very starched doily) and then she marches into her bathroom and trowels on those layers because it makes her feel better and braver to face the world with a little armor.  And it works.  She just radiates happiness.

I’ve started ‘getting ready’ almost every day now.  Make up. Hair. Nice clothes.  EARRINGS!  That’s a big one for me.  If I’m wearing earrings, take that as an outward symbol that something is probably exploding inside of my body.

Like today.  Skirt. Boots. Nice jacket.  And a trip up to see the rheum again.  Biopsy results are in.  That weird rash on my arms?  Cooooome oooon dooown MORE vasculitis. (Say what you want about the ol’ sassculitis but he sure knows how to keep the romance fresh.)

So now they are pulling out the big guns.  Apparently I’m a bit of a mystery case…uhhh paging Dr. House!  I need a surly Englishman with a limp and a prescription drug addiction.

Here’s where we sit.  Weaning me off of the steroids…sloooooow like a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter.  I’m on 60mg/day and can come down 5mg every 5 days.  WHOA DOC!  SIMMER DOWN!  On the plus side we’ll be able to combine the the boys’ college graduation parties with my ‘No More ‘Roids’ party…

BUT.  Blub blub blub. I start Dapsone.  Okay, definitely don’t Google that.  Because that there is, uh, one of them drugs used to treat LEPROSY.  It’s not nearly as glamorous as it sounds…despite all of my begging and pleading, apparently I don’t get to down my pills while lounging in a hammock in the South Pacific.  In a leprosy colony but still…show me a mom that wouldn’t take THAT vacation.  And I’ll show you a liar.

It makes me feel better to think that she's missing her feet because she's a leper.

It makes me feel better to think that she’s missing her feet because she’s a leper.

Next up…he’s worried that this ‘very unusually resistant strain of vasculitis’ is being caused by something bad that is currently asymptomatic (holy cheddar that was a hard word to spell!).  So something is lurking in there that has yet to rear it’s purdy little head.  We need to ‘go on a witch hunt’.  His words.  (Maybe I need to dial down the eye makeup.)  Then he threw out words like, ‘lymphoma, CT scans, colonoscopy, mammogram, chest xray’ while I nodded very thoughtfully and tried to make out the brand name on the arm of his glasses.  (Calvin Klein in case you’re interested.)  I had a mammogram last summer (patting self on back), I just had a chest xray to rule out Wegeners Syndrome and I had a lymph node biopsied last fall that came back clean (probably the start of all of this mess but I didn’t realize it at the time).  So that leaves the abdomen as the last place that lymphoma can hide.  We’ll hold off on the colonoscopy until everything is back in.  That’s okay…it will give the doctor time to save up for the nice dinner I’m assuming he’ll be buying me first. I’ll be glowing with radiation by the time this is all over but keep in mind that I will be renting myself out to light up your next nighttime backyard soiree.

Then it was up on the table to check all of my lymph nodes.

“Just put this gown on.  You can leave on your underwear.”

Uhhh…except.  It’s laundry day and I may or may not be wearing underwear.  (Not.) And I HAVE to tell him this so he doesn’t get a shock and drop to the floor clutching his chest because I’ve gotta tell you…despite the Calvin Klein glasses, he’s old and I am NOT up to date on my CPR training.

Gah.  I put on my leggings this morning and thought, “Just wait for your clothes to finish drying and PUT ON UNDERWEAR!”  But you know how it is once you actually GET the leggings on. Then the other side of my brain (I call her Judy…like from the tiny hands Kristen Wiig skit), Judy says, “Naaaaah…who is ever going to know??”  Well JUDY…just you and me the the doctor who you just made blush.  Geez.

"Don't put on underwear!  Eat a squirrel!"

“Don’t put on underwear! Eat a squirrel!”

I tell you this story to illustrate to you that rarely a day goes by where I don’t somehow embarrass myself.  The earth may in fact stop spinning if I ever behaved like a normal civilized human.  So you’re welcome for the gravity and oxygen and all that.

Anyway…I’m all for finding out what is going on inside my body so test away.  And bring on the Dapsone.  Hit me with what you’ve got and then if nothing works (or even when it does), I’ll feel confident knowing I’ve exhausted all of my medical options.  So until May the 7th…I’m all yours, Doc.  (Errrrr…maybe not the best way to put it in light of recent non-underwearing incident.)

And also…next time you see that little old lady with the lipstick waaaay outside the lines of her mouth…tell her she looks nice.  Because she does.

I Love You Rocky Dennis.

Hey kids.  Did I ever tell you about the time I frightened the girl at the Time Warner Cable office with my misshapen face?  Probably not, since it just happened yesterday.

First things first.  We canceled cable.  Because we are enlightened people who yearn to play chess and hold spirited political conversations rather than melt our brains with television.

Naaaah.  It’s all part of Budgetopocolypse 2013.  I’d watch Snapped marathons until my eyeballs bled if it was up to me.  Fascinating.  And it keeps the husband in line.

Pearls!  Lipstick on a napkin! A lit match!  Those are all signs of quality television show, amiright??

Pearls! Lipstick on a napkin! A lit match! Those are all signs of a quality television show, amiright??

So.  I woke up yesterday with the usual 38lbs of drooling toddler chunk sitting on my chest.  The additional 48lbs wandered in a few minutes later and the day began.  Except.  I noticed my face felt kind of weird when I talked.  I didn’t really think too much about it, what with the 86lbs of children earrings I was wearing into the kitchen to make breakfast but eventually (after milk milk cereal cereal smoothie smoothie I wanted the bulldozer spoon NO MINE NO MINE MOOOOOOOOOOM!) I made it to a mirror.

And. Oh. Em. Gee.

I was lumpy.  Lumpy like Rocky Dennis. Remember him?  The kid from Mask.

Awwww…that’s awful.  Of course I didn’t REALLY look like Rocky Dennis.  Just like I don’t REALLY have jowls like Winston Churchill.  I just FEEL like I do.

Also…I loved Rocky Dennis.  Remember the hot rock for the color red and the icy rock for the color blue?  So sweet.

But I digress.  Back to my face.  Or what used to resemble my face.  Lumpy.  Like, big weird lumps under my skin.  Forehead, chin, the bridge of my nose was swollen.  My cheeks felt like they had 2 square inches of hard pads underneath them.  I looked like one of those women who thought it would be a golly-gee-swell idea to get $50 collagen injections from a ‘doctor’ in a ‘clinic’ in South America.  Only to be shocked later on to find out he had used donkey urine.  I looked like Priscilla Presley…and not the Elvis Priscilla…

But wait…there’s more!  Order your weird misshapen face right now and we’ll throw in a new mystery rash!

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Anybody got a needle and thread? Cause I’m ripped.  Seriously…check out those guns!

Gross, right?  I know I publish a lot of weird pics but that’s mostly for anyone else ever looking for answers.  And the occasional vasculitisophile (hey, I ain’t judging).

I call my rheum and explain the symptoms to his nurse.  She calls me back and tells me that the doctor wants to see me the next day to check out my vasculitis (check it out, Doc…it’s STILL there!).  As for the lumps and arm rash?  He thinks it sounds like steroid induced acne and that I need to see my dermatologist as soon as possible to make sure.

Uh…no.

First of all, ANOTHER gross side effect??  Second of all, it’s NOT acne.  I had a wildly overactive sebaceous gland through my 20s so I know from acne.  And this ain’t it.

"Leave Mommy alone...she's finding her happy place in here."

“Leave Mommy alone…she’s finding her happy place in here.”

Now if it was up to me I would have hidden in the house all day.  It was that bad.  But as you may have guessed…I miiight…just maaaaybe have a little problem with procrastination.  And I MAY have put off returning the cable equipment until the last day.  Of the 14 day return period.  Oooof.  AND we were out of milk.  Double oooof.  I had to lump it up and leave the house.  No problem though, Time Warner has a big equipment return box right outside the office…I don’t even need to go in!

Except they don’t anymore. Which means me and Lumpy (I consider my face to be its own entity by this point) have to get both kids and all of the equipment out of the car, into the office and past the ‘Take A Number’ machine.  It’s a machine that pops out tickets.  It may as well be a chocolate covered clown juggling puppies.

I herd them into some chairs and YAY I’m the next number.  Phew. I luck out a second time and get the world’s most uninterested ‘customer service’ girl who doesn’t even look up at me.  Score.  I heave the bag with all my equipment up onto the counter.  She sighs a sigh that lets me know I’m perhaps the stupidest person that ever lived and informs me that I need to take everything out of the bag myself.  No problem, lady, just keep staring at your nails…do not look at my face.  I start to pull out the equipment.  Modem…other computer thingy…dvr…remotes…oh, did I forget to mention that my other half had been kind enough to unhook and pack everything up for me the night before?  Did I forget to mention that he didn’t dust or wipe off one thing so as I’m pulling out the equipment, herds of dust bunnies are stampeding and swirling through the air.  Through. The. Air.  Some of my hair is mixed in there.  It’s pretty gross and embarrassing (hey…it’s been living under the desk behind a box!).  This startles her.  She looks up at my face. I see her eyes widen.  I see her glance at the rash on my arms where my sleeves have fallen back because I’m literally trying to catch dust bunnies in the air.  I’m half laughing and half apologizing and mumbling something about killing my husband.  I look like a rashy fool.  But an apologetic rashy fool.  And what does she do?  She reaches for her hand sanitizer.  Twice.  That girl stared at all of my weird crap and then she sanitized herself.

Now part of me doesn’t blame her.  I’m obviously a mess.  But the other part of me is pissed.  So I stopped apologizing.  I signed my receipt.  Then I licked the side of her face and left.

Nooooo.  But I wanted to.

Flash forward to this morning.  I wake up and my face is back to normal!  Yay!  But my arms still look like I thought it was a good idea to reach into a fire. Booo.  I drop the kids at school and head up to see the doctor.

Here’s the good news.  I got taken off of 2 of my meds today.  Wooot!  I asked to be taken off of the Colcrys (the gout medicine).  First of all, what is it really doing?? Second of all…it costs $225.  A month.  He agreed that we could stop it.  He looked at my arms and immediately expressed concern that I was having an allergic reaction to the Plaquenal, so that is out too.  Happy dance!  Then we had a nice talk about steroid side effects.  He restated that although this wasn’t steroid induced acne, it was a future possibility but I assured him that I was holding out for enough facial hair to grow a hipster mustache that I could diabolically twirl while tying young girls to railroad tracks.  I also informed him that my face was getting fat to which he replied, “I know.”  That’s it…I’m bringing the kids with me on the next visit.  That’ll learn him.

"Now I shall untie you and make you babysit my children!  MWAHAHAHAHAAAA!"

“Now I shall untie you and make you babysit my children! MWAHAHAHAHAAAA!”

Then it’s downstairs for more bloodwork and upstairs to my derm for skin biopsy #5…I’m getting pretty scar-o-licious.  Don’t be jealous.

(Have I mentioned that I think my dermatologist might be 14 years old?  The first time I had to stand in front of him in my underwear I half expected his mom to bust into the room and yell at me to put my clothes back on.)

Aaaaaanyway…I ask the him if this could be sun related??  We all laid on the grass on Sunday and looked for cloud pictures for a long time and even though I stayed in the shade, I have been reading that people with autoimmunes can be sun sensitive.  He thinks it might be something called polymorphis light eruption.  Basically women with ‘rheumatogical issues’ (oh I’ve got issues all right) have this problem in the spring when the sun is higher and hotter.  Weird, right?  It should stop happening by summer but he recommended some good sunscreens.  But we’ll still wait for the biopsies for final results because it could still be a drug reaction.  “We’re seeing more of that with Plaquenal users lately…it might be a manufacturing change.”  Well that’s just fantastic.

Anyway, to make a loooong blog post even longer, something happened today that made me think of you guys.  I had the sweetest Thai phlebotomist with an accent so thick I could barely understand her.  Right as she was getting ready to take my blood another tech stuck her head into the room and asked her for help with a ‘difficult patient’ (of course I’m immediately picturing blood spraying everywhere).  My tech started to take my blood but I told her to go help the other lady first.  When she came back she gave me a hug and said, “You were so sweet to share, you were just so sweet to share.  Thank you.”  I thought that was a funny way to phrase it but then I thought about it and I realized she meant that she was thanking me for sharing my time.  And that’s when I thought of you guys.  The love and support I’ve received from this blog already have been overwhelming.  I’m blown away with I see the number of people who have visited this page.  You choose to take time out of your day to read this and I want you to know what that means to me. So thank you. You are so sweet to share.

xo Danielle

P.S.  I have my first appointment with a naturopathic doctor on May 7th!  Yay!!  It’s a 3 hour appointment and she sounds amazeballs!

P.P.S.  I didn’t want to do my pantry today but I DID!!!!  However I’ll blog about that tomorrow since this one got a little long-winded.  But here is a quick pic:

Oooh it's purdy!

Oooh it’s purdy!

Namaste To The Graham Cracker In My Underwear Drawer

I’ve gotta tell you.  This week won.  Not like in a… “Oh YAY!  What a winning week!  Blue birds on my fingertips blah blah de blah!” kind of way but more like in a “whomp whomp whoooooomp…” Deputy Dog kind of way.

Wednesday morning I woke up with some random underarm vasculitis.  Which has since hurled itself gleefully all the way down to my ankles.  Sucko bucko. This, by the way, is totally my fault because I was all like, “Oooh look at me…vasculitis free…I’m kind of a ‘big deal’!”  Point taken, universe.

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“Excuse me waiter…I ordered my bingo wings with NO broken blood vessels.”

Which of course gets my brain churning…what caused THAT?? I had some wine on Tuesday…could that have done it? (Sad).  I woke up sick on Wednesday.  Not wine sick, smartass.  SICK sick.  The kind where you wake up thinking, “Ruhhhh rooooh!” and you’re coughing up stuff that looks like this:

C’mere you sexy beast…

I spent Wednesday on the couch curled up under a blanket while the kids watched an absolutely disgusting amount of television.  A ‘this might affect future test scores’ amount of television.  It all evened out though…they took plenty of healthy physical fitness breaks to jump on my chest and yell, “WAKE UP MOMMY!!  WE’RE HUNGRY MOMMY!”

For the record, that day they survived on the early 1800s diet of crackers and milk.

Scurvy for the win!

I took the non-drug approach to this junk and spent an inordinate amount of time NetiPotting (is that a word?), hot showering, downing Emergen-c and eating garlic.  A whole head of roasted garlic.  On the plus side not one sparkly teenaged vampire tried to kill me that night. AND I woke up sans death rattle the next day.

Anyway the point of that ramble is that I don’t KNOW what would bring on the vasculitis.  Did my immune system kick into overdrive again because I was sick and that caused the vasculitis? Or as I’ve started to call it…The Sassculitis.  As in, “Ooooh guuurrrl…you are working that Sassculitis!  3 snaps in a ‘Z’ formation!”  I mean, if you’re going to have bursting blood vessels at least have glittery bursting blood vessels, you know?

So this is also the week that Trapezoid has decided he will arise to greet the day at 6am sharp.  And THAT is because on Tuesday I said to some friends, “Oh yeah, ever since the time change both the boys have been sleeping in until 9.”  I GET IT, UNIVERSE!

He’s also decided that pants are for nerds and squares…OY.  He’s in the 2-year-old ‘my body is beautiful stage’.  But instead of just cruising nude beaches like a normal hippie he mostly just flails his legs and screams “NO PANTS! NO PAAAAAAANTS!!  ATTICA! AT-TIC-A!” while I make an ass of myself saying things like, “Ooooh look, your pants are a dinosaur and they are eating your legs! Chomp Chomp Chomp! T-Rex pants!!”  Exhausting. So that kid running around in a winter jacket and no pants?  Yeah, that’s mine.  Move along, pants wearing people…next you’ll be telling me that your kids ‘wear seat belts’ and ‘brush their teeth’.

RELAX, I’m joshing…

photo-70

“Yeah Mom…I’m cold ‘here’ and ‘here’ but not ‘here’…”

I drew the line and made him wear pants to school.  He did not appreciate this and stood outside in the freezing misty cold rain refusing to look at me for 10 minutes.  And who’s the jackass that stood out there with him?  That’s right.

IMG_2922

Maybe he’s actually pissed about the Crocs…which would kind of make sense…

The house is DEFINITELY winning.  It’s very Lord of the Flies in here.  I did that awful thing where I just started throwing clean clothes in a pile to ‘fold later’ (touch side of nose/knowing wink) and of course it’s now turned into a churning mass of wrinkled clothes made worse by the fact that I caught the dog sleeping on it.  Somehow the dog still lives.  Congratulations to you, you mongrel bastard but remember…it’s only CATS that have 9 lives.

(At this point I’d like to implore the childless to NOT call the ASPCA on me.)

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A buffalo head nickel to the first kid that dives into that pile and comes out with Jimmy Hoffa!

And during the time I was sick and sleeping, I believe the children may have staged a prison riot.

photo 3-2

Overturned furniture? Toiletries in a toy pot? Times that by 1900 sq ft and that sums up this house. Also…I believe that there may be a shiv in that toothpaste.

I looked around today and had an irrational fear that for some reason a police officer would need to stop by my house to, I don’t know, pee, and upon entering he would gasp, grab his radio and call for back up to get these poor children out of this disgusting hovel they are entrapped in.

“And if the absolute filth wasn’t bad enough, Sarge…IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY…SHE’S MAKING THEM WATCH CAILLOU!”  Which, to be fair, should technically be a jailable offense.  Also, do police officers really say, ‘Sarge’?

But honestly, the house is awful.  The kind of awful where you don’t even know where to start so you don’t.

Pleeeease Mommy!  No. More. Caillou.

Pleeeease Mommy! No. More. Caillou.

I found a graham cracker in my underwear drawer.

I stress ate bacon jerky.  Followed by a half pint of Haagen-Dazs Salted Caramel Truffle ice cream.  One of those was absolutely disgusting.  Seriously.  50 lashes to the idiot who can jack up bacon.

We spent days and days working on a budget.  I’m not going to lie.  It was pretty much the most fun I’ve ever had.  Husband and wife…side by side…reading off numbers…Quicken! Downloadable statements! Excel spreadsheets…ooooh I’m getting all tingly just thinking about it!

Actually it was depressing.  And eye-opening.  How on earth does one family spend so much money on FOOD??  I’ll be interested to see how the food changes affect the food budget.

But I noticed something.  On the night we worked hardest on the budget, the vasculitis spread.  And spread.  Almost down to my wrists.  I was watching it happen.  COULD THIS BE STRESS RELATED???  Sorry…shouldn’t yell…but COULD it be??

There never seemed to be a better time to start my guided meditation.  Actually…there was a much better time than the time I chose…the next day…with children in the house.

Now I’m going to tell you something.  And I don’t want any eye rolling.  My guided meditation?  I downloaded it from the Oprah and Deepak Chopra Life Class website.

“Hold on…Just…HOLD. ON!” I can hear you say.  “Talk about PROCESSED FOOD!”

And yes.  Maybe. Oh hell, I don’t know.  I’ve never been a big Oprah fan (oh crap! do you think she heard that??) but for some reason this appealed to me. They’re short.  I like the message. I find Deepak’s voice extremely calming.  And also when I read ‘Eat Pray Love’ I kind of wanted to punch the author during her time of meditation in India.  Which I understand is VERY unenlightened of me.  But honest.  So I thought maybe I’d start a little more, I don’t know…American?  Also, if it counts for anything I really liked her when she was cramming her face with gelato in Italy.

Back to my fast food meditation.  The whole series is about having perfect health.  Deepak gently suggested that I make myself comfortable.  Which to me does not involve sitting hunchy on a yoga mat but instead has me sprawled out across my unmade bed.  Ahhh peaceful.  I should mention that Axel was asleep and Lev was watching a movie.

“Make yourself comfortable.”

Okey Dokey Deepak…nice and comfy…ouch ouch ouch earring caught on sweater…okay nice and comfy…

“There exists in every person a place that is free from disease, that never feels pain.  That is ageless and never dies.  When we journey to this place, limitations we cease to accept cease to exist.  They’re not even a possibility.”

That sounds pretty awesome and OMG has the DOG been sleeping on my pillow??  GROSS!

“This is the place called perfect health.  Stepping into this world, no matter how brief these visits may be can bring profound transformation and healing.”

mooooooooooooooooooom” Stage whisper one inch from my face. ‘mooooooooooooooom what’s this?”

IMG_2883

Objects are actually closer than they may appear. If that’s possible.

Pause Deepak. Open one eye. “It’s a money clip.” (Ironic, right?  Or is that coincidence?  I always get those confused.) Close eye. Resume Deepak.

“In this state of true mind body spirit connection all previous assumptions of ordinary existence disappear and we experience…”

moooooooooooom. moooooooooooooom. what are you doing?”

“I’m meditating.” (I clearly and simply stated this to him only mere minutes ago.)

“What’s mediating?” (All pretense of whispering gone.)

“Uhhhh…it’s ummmm…like yoga where you don’t move.” (With apologies to yogis and meditators alike.) “You can lay with me and do it too but you can’t talk or move.”  At this point he wander off, clearly confused by grownups and their strangeness.  Which is okay because I usually am too.  Resume Deepak. Close eye.

” …our higher, truly ideal reality.  Sometimes our health is less than perfect but we need to understand that is not our permanent state.  It’s only a snapshot.  Think for a moment about a photo you’ve taken, perhaps on the beach.  In the picture there are particular elements arranged in a particular way.  Waves crashing at high tide, birds gliding through the air, a couple strolling side by side along the water’s edge.  If you were to go back the next day or even the next hour, the scene would be completely different.  It’s the same for our…”

CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH

mooooooooooooooom’ whisper spray one inch from my face.

Pause Deepak.  Open eye.  “Yes?”

can i eat these crackers?”

(The crackers you’re already eating?) “Sure.  If you go. away.” (Yeah I said it.)

Resume Deepak. Close eye.

” …bodies.  Each moment is different from the last.  So while we can believe the diagnosis, we needn’t believe the prognosis.  We are the controller of our own physiology. And we can take steps to restore our health…”

“moooooooooooooom.”

Pause Deepak.  Open eye.  Practice deep, deep breathing.

“Yes?”

Uhhhh…I….errrr….ummmm…did you know I have a RescueBot fire station?”

“I do because I bought it for you.”

“WHAT??  I thought SANTA brought it for me!?”

Crap crap crap!

“Uh yeah!  Santa brought it.  How could I forget?? I love you. Go away.”

He doesn’t go away.  And I don’t finish Deepak’s lovely message.  And 10 seconds later, a pantless 2 year old does an MMA style scissor leap and lands on my chest.

So here’s what I’ve learned this week:

I’m more stressed than I let myself believe.

Pants are overrated.

Meditation is only for times when children are sleeping.  Or highly medicated.

Never ever ever talk about your children sleeping in.  Ever.

And hey Oprah?  If you’re listening and you ever want to give me a ‘BRAAAAAAND NEW CAAAAAAAR’ I swear I will kiss you straight on the mouth.  I can handle Gayle.  After all…I’ve got a shiv in my toothpaste.

oprah-gayle-king

Awww look…you can tell I’ve already driven them apart. BACK OFF, GAYLE!

Refinishing Your $5 Goodwill Find in 11 Easy Steps

We’ve been looking for a stool to put in our master bath for awhile now.  Of course there are lots that I swoon over but I cough cough cringe over the $100+ price tag.  (Oh CB2…you taunting little minx.)  So I lucked out and found one for $5 at our local Goodwill store.  About 6 months ago.  I have a real problem with my follow through…it’s been rolling white and dirty in our bathroom this whole time.  I have this limey green paint that I am contemplating using in a small alcove in the boys bathroom so this project seemed like a good way to see the paint without making the commitment on the walls.

Step 1:  Find your best politically incorrect painting shirt.

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This shirt was given to me for free at a flea market by an old Cowboys fan who was disgusted that I was buying vintage Redskins glasses. I was just holding them for a friend! I swear!

Step 2:  This is the most important step.  Do NOT go to Home Depot before this project.  Do NOT assemble any necessary tools before opening the paint in front of your 4 year old.  Do NOT even check to see if you have a paint stirrer.

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Supplies?? Supplies?! I don’t need no stinking supplies! I’ll Chuck Norris that paint on there with my bare hands!

Step 3:  Give paint can half hearted shake.  Open it and express surprise that it isn’t mixed.  Leave your 4 year old alone with the open can of paint while you frantically scramble around trying to find a paint stirrer.  And a brush.  And maybe even a roller.

How can this not be mixed?? I shook it .3 times!

Step 4:  Find old stiff brushes and a tiny roller designed for painting trim.  Express victory.  Try to smooth out the paint your child has so helpfully globbed onto the stool for you.

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“It’s Stool ‘N Paint…And I Helped!”

Step 5:  Jedi mind trick your child into believing that painting is booooring and that stirring the paint is the coolest, most helpful job in the world.

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Uh yes Alec…I’ll take ‘Bad Ideas’ for $100.

Step 6:  Make sure that the towel you have laid down underneath your project has recently been slept on by a dog so that every time the wind blows you get dog hair all over your work.  Congratulations!  It’s now a mixed media piece!

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“I find that the dog hair speaks of the plight of man whilst the green symbolizes the rebirth of our dreams and the stool itself represents a place to put my shoes on.”

Step 7:  Decide that this would look super cool if you painted the underside a glossy white!  Tres chic!

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Oooh two tone stool…you so faaaancy!

Step 8:  But absentmindedly do this instead.

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Duh-oh. And lookey there…still has the sticker on it. 6 months later.

Step 9:  Take a break to listen to your 4 year olds interpretation of Picasso’s Guernica.  Get sad for a minute about the world we live in.  Decide that you don’t want to explain war. Or death. Or sadness.  Not today.

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“See…that guy is mad because the other guys are being too loud outside of his house so he is sticking his head out to yell at them.”

Step 10:  Look up to see your no longer napping 2 year old standing in front of you positively quivering over the possibilities of an open can of limey green paint.  And the car that is only 3 feet away.  Realize the 2 year old has left the door open and the collarless dog has wandered out.  Make split second decision that might possibly change the course of your marriage to leave the children with the open can of paint beside the car.  Catch (50 lb) dog and carry her into the house all the while yelling back over your shoulder, “Paint HOT! Don’t touch! OUCH! FRAGILE! DIVORCE!”

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Literally drooling on the floor.

Step 11:  Come back from putting up dog and act like it’s totally normal that neither child dunked the other ones head into the paint can in the 5 seconds you were gone.  Secretly vow to offer up a sacrificial lamb of thanks after the children are in bed.  Carry stool which may or may not be fully dry into the house.  Admire your work.  Take pictures from far, far away.

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Don’t go zooming in or anything crazy like that!

(Bonus points if you giggled every time you read the world ‘stool’ in this post.)

Next project:  Painting a magnetic chalkboard wall behind the boys’ beds.  Each type of paint requires 3 coats.  Look for that project to be complete just in time to turn their room into a home gym when they leave for college.

She’s Got Jowls Like Churchill…

Here’s the good news.  Everything on my body has suddenly calmed down.  I feel like Truman in his little sailboat on the water…tossed around by crashing waves one moment only to be thrust into an eerie calm the next.

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Are you there, Vasculitis? It’s me, Danielle…

That’s good, right?  Hives gone. No waking up in the middle of the night to the feeling of blood vessels bursting in your legs (seriously the creepiest feeling ever).  No standing and talking to people while you repeatedly slap your stomach like a crazy person and they politely pretend not to notice (fact: stomach slapping is the best itch cure while face slapping continues to be the best bitch cure).

But it’s not good.  I mean, it’s ‘good’ but it’s dangerous.  Because this is where I get complacent.  I gave the doctor my big, heavy burden and he took it and squished it down into a nice neat package that I can easily fit into the side pocket of my diaper bag (where it will reign supreme amongst soggy goldfish crackers and old restaurant crayons).

But.  But But But.

Then I look in the mirror.  I look in the mirror and I see that girl with the puffy, jowly face of Churchill looking back at me.  But sadly, none of his wisdom.  Dark circles under her eyes.  Just different. And I remember that for all of the good that these meds are doing…they are affecting my body in other ways too.

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‘V is for Vasculitis!’ Don’t you just want to squish the face of one of the greatest leaders of our time? No? That’s just me then…

Then I grab a towel and clean the mirror and then the sinks and then I feed the fish and then I start to clean out my closet but when I carry something into the kitchen I decide to unload half of the dishwasher but then stop because maybe I’ll reorganize the silverware drawer first but when did I get this spoon? was it a wedding present? hey do I have that picture from our wedding that I love so much? I’ll go look in the office…oh my gosh all of this paperwork needs to be filed I’m going to do that right now but look! a box of cards and letters maybe I’ll sit down and read these but I can’t sit on the bed because look at all of this laundry that needs to be folded first okay I’ll fold the laundry and hey I never installed the hooks in the boys closet so they could hang up their own jackets and they really need to have more responsibility around here and I KNOW I’ll make a responsibility chart but I guess I need to go to Michaels and get poster board first so I’ll just get dressed and hey! my closet! maybe I should clean it out!  SQUIRREL!

The steroids make you a little agitated.  And skitzy.  If you can harness those powers you’d probably be able to take over the world (or at least actually complete a few Pinterest projects).  But if you’re a little scattered to begin with…well it makes it hard to really get anything DONE.

And then there is this side of it too…the medical bills start rolling in.  Actually, they do more like a creepy hunch shuffle up into your mailbox which you desperately try to ignore until you realize that you’re avoiding eye contact with your postal carrier who is clearly trying to signal to you that she CAN’T FIT ANYTHING ELSE INTO YOUR MAILBOX!

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POW! SLAP! KABLAM! Holy medical bills, Batman!

So I’m going to do something really hard.  I’m going to post pictures of my pantry.  Because that is my first start.  Food. Diet. Clean eating.  I going to post these pictures because I feel like it will make me more accountable.  And I give myself one week to change it.  Clean it out.  Start fresh.  I’m meeting with a naturopathic doctor too but this is my first start.

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Move along, judgey hippies…nothing to see here!

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Only focus on the delicious honey from Italy…ignore the Campbells soup can you see before you…

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Fair trade turbinado sugar…that wipes it all clean, right? Right?? Anyone…hello…

Anyhoos…look back next week for my pantry transformation and my first solid attempt at meal planning because my grocery bill is out. of. control.

On a lighter note…this scenario greeted me in the playroom.  Don’t you kind of want to party with these guys?  Viking Lego and Darth Hulk…what could go wrong??

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VADAR SMASH!

XO from The Dark Side

Hurry Up And Have Some Kids, Will Ya?!

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Daaaaay-um! That there’s a sleeping baby!

Bed Update.  Successful nap yesterday.  Good night last night. (Only one pee! Each! No lifelong urinary trauma instilled!)  But that was probably a result of an rowdy afternoon of swimming.  Successful nap today.

But do I rejoice?  Do I do that quiet little fist pumping happy feet dance in the hallway outside of their room?

No.

I’ll celebrate when MY grandchildren are climbing out of THEIR beds.  Then victory shall be mine.

Curse My Optimistic Soul. And Big Kid Beds. Curse Those Too.

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Awwww aren’t they sweet?? No. This is mere minutes before their adorable little heads spun off.

Thump.  Pitter patter pitter patter pitter patter.  “Hi Mommy!”

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!

Take any woman comfortably reclining on the couch, holding (cradling) her remote control and her glass (bottle) of wine while refusing to make eye contact with the pile of laundry sitting beside her.  Throw that above scenario at her.  And I guarantee you that you will have weeping.  And wailing. And rubbing of ashes on face.

Because she knows.  SHE KNOWS.  It’s the end of an era.

Trapezoid is climbing out of his crib.  I don’t know why he waited so long, he certainly could have done it waaaaay before now.  I’m surprised he didn’t climb out of his hospital nursery bassinet right after he was born but he was probably too weighed down by the sheer amount of newborn hair covering his body.  (He was a seriously hairy child.  Seriously.)

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Can’t…lift…head…forehead…too…hairy…

But he didn’t.  And anytime I caught him with a leg hitched over the side of the crib I would unleash a campaign of shock and awe…”GASP!  OH GOODNESS NO!  BABIES DON’T CLIMB OUT OF THEIR CRIBS! WE NEVER EVER CLIMB OUT OF OUR CRIB!” (The key is to deliver that sentence with your hands on your cheeks in a very Home Alone type of way.)  And this worked. FOR A YEAR.  Because what baby wants to upset that crazy lady slapping herself in the face?

He liked his crib.  He loved his crib.  Some morning he would wake up and laze in there for an hour or so, just reading books and playing with toys.  His crib looked like it had been pulled from an episode of Hoarders.  I would sneak in every night after he had fallen asleep and pull out the books from underneath him, unclench the toy trains and adventure people from his hands and remove 3 of the 6 blankets he insisted on having piled on top of him every night.  We had a thing, Trap and I did.  A rhythm.  An unspoken agreement.  I put you into your Baby Hoarders crib and you stay there until morning.  Capiche, Trap?  Catfish, Mommy.

Thump.  Pitter patter pitter patter pitter patter.  The end of an era.

But that’s cool.  I’m hip. I’m with it.  And more importantly, this isn’t my first rodeo.  I already have a child that I transitioned to a big kid bed with ZERO problems.  That had nothing to do with the personality of that child, it was all as a result of my excellent parenting skills.

I’ll allow that to sink in.  And now I’ll pause for a moment so you can go and change your pants because surely you’ve peed yourself with laughter.  Or at the very least you’ve called a friend to tell them about some idiot you’ve discovered.  Yeah, yeah, yeah…have a good pee/chuckle.  I don’t mind.

I don’t know why the differences in my children continue to amaze me but they do.  For some reason I thought, “Hmmm…Hub’s ‘A’.  I’m ‘B’.  So Child 1 will be ‘C’ and Child 2 will be ‘Cv.2’.  Or maybe ‘D’.  Uhhh duh.  First of all, dummy (me, not you) that’s not how it works.  Realistically, Hubs is ‘T’, I’m ‘L56’, Oldest is ‘Purple’ and Youngest is a ‘Trapezoid’.  Nature vs. Nurture aside, we’re just born who we are.  Purple is a thoughtful kid who worries too much about pleasing while Trapezoid secretly dreams jumping off of the roof while holding an umbrella.

(Someone out there just rolled their eyes because I ‘labeled’ my kids but maaaaan…sometimes you just KNOW, you know? And if they turn out to prove me wrong one day, they can use it as the first chapter in their duo-autobiography about their terrible mother and I swear I won’t say a thing. Not like they EVER call me anyways…)

Flash forward 2 years and Trapezoid is ready to make the change.  We make a decision.  We’ll employ the same methods that we used with Purple.  I trek up to Ikea (by myself!) to buy a matching bed and a bookcase (cough cough *separater* cough cough) to put in between them.  The beds and case fit within an inch in the space.  We even catch a Groupon for an amazing mattress deal an hour before it expires.  Trap and Daddy build the bed together.  Trap is excited!  He gets IT! Purple and I get out of the house while they do that and have an amazing Mommy/Purple afternoon.  Purple almost swallows a Lego! He doesn’t get IT!

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Suuuure kid…Legos and french fries look EXACTLY alike…

It’s bedtime!  It’s EXCITING!  Isn’t everyone excited!?  New pjs!  New sheets!  Mommy reads to Purple in his bed and Daddy reads to Trap in his bed and it’s GREAT! Right?!  It’s great? Right?  It’s great.  It is.  For 20 minutes.  The 20 minutes it takes to upload the adorable pic of the boys in their room onto Facebook and have a little sad moment that I’ll never again lift a sleepy morning boy out of his crib and we’re never having anymore children and oh my gosh is that a mistake?! and Kyle should we have had 3? and geez don’t look at me like that I’m just TALKING geez! and…

Creeeeeaaaaak.

“Mommy.  I have to pee.”  It’s the big kid.  Okay.  No problem.  I can handle this.  Go pee.

Oh Trapezoid wants to pee too?  How adorable!  Purple finishes.  Put on little seat for Trap.  Take off pajama bottoms and diaper.  Hoist 38 pounds onto the potty.  He pees.  Yay!  Good for you! We all cheer! (Which in hindsight was pretty stupid.)

Diaper back on. PJs bottoms back on.  Don’t worry about washing hands, there are no germs this late at night (don’t judge me).  Both back into bed.  Smooth up covers.  Kisses.  Hugs.  No Trap, you can’t sleep with Purple. No Trap, you can’t sleep with Purple. No Trap, you can’t sleep with Purple.  Oh gracious, can he please just sleep in your bed with you??  No Trap, you can’t sleep with Purple.  Okay…everybody is settled aaaaand goodnight.

Leave room feeling good but with a slight feeling of unease.  Which was justified.  3 more times over the next 5 minutes.  Purple needs to pee.  Trapezoid follows.  Trapezoid wants to pee.  Diaper/pants off.  Pee. Diaper/pants on. No germs. Blankets, kisses/hugs, stay in your bed, Trap…stay in your bed, Trap…stay in your bed, Trap.

Time 5.

Mommy gets upset.  And that’s when it all goes straight to hell.  No.  Not hell.  Walmart on a Friday at 5pm.  A bad neighborhood Walmart.

Purple loses it.  I’ve scared him.  I’m not a yeller mom so when I raise my voice he retreats.  And by raise my voice I mean I’ve said, “I do NOT want you 2 out of bed one. more. time.”

“But I have to peeeeeee!” he wails.  “Traaaaapezoooid keeps making me drink his waaaahaaaaahaaaater!” Water that has apparently broken all rules of time/space/gravity and or digestive laws and made it from his mouth to his bladder in 3.2 seconds.

So of course I feel bad.  And flash forward to an image of him 20 years in the future, unable to pee unless someone hums ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ while he squeezes his eyes shut and pictures homeless armadillos.  Or something like that.

“Of COURSE you can pee!  Mommy is so proud of you when you get up to potty!  There’s no such thing as a homeless armadillo!”  All while crowbarring Trap out of the bathroom and back into his room where he sends up a cry to the gods of toddlers that exact revenge on mothers who don’t let their non-potty trained, diaper wearing 2 year olds pee 56 times in 4 minutes.

Purple is inconsolable.  Dry heaving.  Spastic breathing.  Apologizing for not being able to stop (as if I didn’t feel like a complete asshat before that).  I sit on the edge of his bed and we do some deep breathing together but it’s ‘nuuuuuhooooot wu-wu-wu-wu-wu-oooorking Mommy!’ We try more and more and more but it gets worse and more panicky.  WHAT IS GOING ON!  I mean, I know.  Big day.  Little brother unleashed. Huge changes.  Scary.  He needs a mommy filled with kindness!  Empathy!  Love!   So what do I say?  The most empathic thing ever uttered by a mother.  Ever.

“Purple.  If you cannot calm yourself down…I will…I will…not let you play with your new Legos tomorrow!”

What. The. Hell. Is. The. Matter. With. Me.

I’ll tell you what’s the matter.  I’m tired. I had plans to go to sleep when they did.  And I’ve been dealing with 2 urinating, hyperventilating children for an hour.

So they totally calm down and go to sleep.  The End.

Call your friend again, dummy is back.

That didn’t happen.  What DID happen was I had a 4 year old so worked up that he ended up on his knees in front of the toilet.  Dry heaving.  I’m certain there is a time in my life that I’ve felt worse but I certainly couldn’t tell you what it was.

The story does get better.  I gave him some Bach Flower Rescue Remedy drops, cuddled him on the edge of the bathtub and sang him some lullabies.  I felt his breathing return to normal.  His lanky little body relax.  Trap stayed in his bed.  I carried Purple back to his.  They both fell to sleep immediately.  Bedtime started at 9 and was officially over at 10:45.

I came out and wrote this post.  I didn’t want to.  It’s kind of embarrassing.  But I felt like Purple and Trapezoid deserved it.

Besides…I wanted to tell my side of the story before their book comes out 😉

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Sleep until 10 or Santa dies.

Today I Woke Up With A Fat Face

Is that politically correct?  Probably not.  Did I care when I stared at my puffy cheeks this morning?  Nope. Was I crying all night?  Had I finally realized that my 2 small children were never going to stop wiping questionable fluids on my pants?  Nah…I cried about that 2 nights ago.

It. Was. The. Stupid. Steroids.  I’m getting the dreaded steroid moon face.  Plus a nice 10lb weight gain.

What's worse...the number of pills per day or the fact that I keep them in a Max & Ruby bag??

What’s worse…the number of pills per day or the fact that I keep them in a Max & Ruby bag??

60 mg of them a day.  For over a month.  And they aren’t working.  The Prednisone (steroids) are in addition to the Plaquenil (an autoimmune drug).  And the Colycrys (a drug used to treat gout…which I do not have). And the huge doses of calcium, vitamin D and Prevacid to reverse all of the damage that long-term steroid use can cause.  Oops…don’t forget Zyrtec and Allegra for the hives.  What’s all of this for?  “The kissing cousin to lupus.” A little (lot) of vasculitis.  And some hives that would make you slap a puppy.  (Sorry puppies…just kidding…) Within the last 6 weeks I’ve found myself thrust (unwillingly) into the bizarre world of a undiagnosable autoimmune disease.  What started as a bad case of the hives and some tiny bruises on my legs quickly spiraled into a visit to the internist…which led to the allergist…which led to the dermatologist (and some nice biopsies) which landed me straight into the lap of a rheumatologist.  Well, not LITERALLY into his lap…although that would explain my multiple appointments…hmmmm…

Yup.  That's exploding blood vessels.

Yup. That’s exploding blood vessels.

Seriously. Itchy.

Baby Got Back…hives…

Baby Got Front Hives Too.

Baby Got Front Hives Too.

See...I couldn't slap a puppy with that hand even if I wanted to so just calm down!

See…I couldn’t slap a puppy with that hand even if I wanted to so just calm down!

And everyone just thought I was a dainty little walker!  Blush!

And everyone just thought I was a dainty little walker! Blush! (And yeah, yeah, yeah…I need to puts the lotion on the skin…)

Scattered in there were more blood draws than I can count (one visit consisted of a nice but mildly sadistic Thai phlebotomist and her 13 glass vials waiting to be filled…you need a cookie after a visit like that…), a chest x-ray to rule out Wegener’s Disease, a steroid prescription, a stronger steroid prescription, a stronger steroid prescription and finally…a refill of that strongest steroid prescription.  And let me tell you, those things suck.  But more on that later.

So I says to my doctor, I says, “Doc.  Give it to me straight.  Are you telling me there are no answers?”

To which he replies, “Of course there are answers.  You definitely have an connective tissue disease.  But you don’t fit the symptoms enough to know which one it is.”

So that’s an answer.  But it’s a sucky one.

My ANA panels show me as having Sjogren’s Syndrome.  Sadly, this is not a Bjork like condition that causes you to fling dead swans around your neck.  It’s more of a ‘all of your glands that produce tears and saliva are destroyed’ kind of thing.  Venus Williams has it.  Very glam.  So I settled into that, did too much reading on WebMD, freaked myself out and then soothed myself with the knowledge that Venus and I would become very close friends and I would in fact receive valuable tennis lessons from her and finally nail that back swing.

Sorry Venus.  Put away those tennis whites and dry those tears (ooooh…too soon?).  Looks like you can come up positive on a blood test for an autoimmune but if you don’t have the symptoms (which I don’t) then they don’t call it that.  And as blinky and dry eyed as I felt when I read about Sjogren’s, I have to say that I don’t have the symptoms.  If anything I error on the side of spraying it when I’m saying it.  So that leaves me with the ‘kissing cousin to lupus’ diagnosis.  Great.  I got the inbred disease.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not whining.  Well…I’m whining a little.  But please understand that I get how lucky I am.  I have and have had friends with way worse things.  I was diagnosed early on, before kidney or liver damage.  Most people search for years before they get answers. I’m not dying (well, not in the RIGHT NOW sense…I mean, we’re all dying…yada yada yada).  I actually feel fine.  If I avoid gluten then I don’t get sore joints.  All of my other blood work comes back great. I was actually lucky to have such intensely visible signs to let me know that something inside my body wasn’t working.  Well, was actually overworking.  I’m just frustrated.  Because nothing is working!  My immune system is like Honey Boo Boo on a rampage for pig skins and the doctors canNOT make it stop.  They are stumped.  Both of my rheums (let’s just call them rheums because I’m lazy) can’t figure out why my vasculitis won’t go away.  I’m on huge amounts of steroids in addition to the extra doses they jab me in the boohiney with every time I enter their office.  The last time I was there they were talking about adding ANOTHER new prescription to the mix.  But I can’t.  I just can’t.  They will throw you anything you ask for.  Sleeping aid? (Steroids MESS up your sleep).  Antidepressants? (Steroids make you a little…edgy.  I kicked a wall.  Bonus points for not kicking a human, right?)  Luckily for me I can manage to sleep 6 hours a night (BUT IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY DO NOT WAKE ME UP IN THE NIGHT!) and my usual vibe hovers around chill so edgy and irritable is pretty manageable.

But here is the deal.  I feel like my body is giving me a gift.  It’s literally screaming at me to let me know that something is horribly wrong in there.  My first instinct is to just lift this heavy burden off of my lap, hand it to a doctor and say, “Here. You. Fix this.  Fix Me.”  After all, I’m busy.  I chase kids and clean up enormous messes and rewash the same load of clothes 3 times (that’s just a damn commitment to procrastination) and never, ever, ever feel caught up.  So please.  Fix me.

But what happens when they can’t?  Or what happens when I realize that my health is up to me?  That I will have to make big, big, bigger changes to the way I shop and eat and think.  I’m not shunning western medicine.  I think there is a place for it.  But I think there is another way too.  A way to stop fighting my body and start listening to it instead.  To work with it. We honestly take more care into the fuel we put into our cars then what we put into our bodies.  I’m just as guilty of it as anyone.  I’m the one that was eating Cheetos with my head stuck in the pantry tonight.  I’d call myself a lazy hippie.  I know most of the facts…I’m just too tired to use them half of the time.

This blog will be my journal of my journey.  Journey Journal?  Ugh…do NOT say that 5 times fast.  Of course I’ll ramble on about other stuff too…I can’t help but make fun of my kids on occasion.

I mean, they live in their Underoos and dip their bacon in butter...who wouldn't make fun of that every once in a while??

I mean, they live in their Underoos and dip their bacon in butter…who wouldn’t make fun of that every once in a while??

And of course there will be food and book talk (gluten free…sorry ’bout that).  But I thought this experience would be interesting to share and I’ll try to do it with humor.  And no more creepy skin shots.  (Fingers crossed).

xo Danielle