I am a runner… but only in my dreams.

I have always wanted to run.

I’ve wanted to be a runner.

To outsiders, it appears to be something of a brotherhood… to insiders, well, I have no idea – I’m not on the inside.

I dream of running.

Literally. I regularly have dreams that I can run longer distances (I’ll run miles – long miles – and not be winded – and make it the whole distance – without hurting).

I bought a jogging stroller shortly after munchkin man was born, and fully intended to use it. I had plans to complete the C25K program, and seriously, honestly thought I would do it.

I checked in with my PT, whose response infuriated me, yet motivated at the same time: “Are you CRAZY???”

Then, just a few weeks ago, reality set in.

I’ll never be a runner; I’ll never run that 5k.

I’m realizing that, as I get older, my joints are a lot less stable than they were even a year ago.

I dislocated my wrist closing the car door.

I dislocated a pinky (in two different places) putting on Munchkin Man’s coat.

I dislocated my jaw eating.

I know that there will be those people that will read this and think, “she’s just lazy. why doesn’t she exercise? why doesn’t she make it her goal to run that 5k and, well, just DO it? why doesn’t she make herself stronger, make her joints more stable?”

It’s not that easy.

For me, exercise = pain.

For me, a lot of the time, exercise = injury.

Also – people with EDS are believed to have decreased muscle tone, which means that it is difficult to keep things in place (even more than it already is).

EDS is like that. I was given my “diagnosis,” which consisted of the rheumatologist writing the phrase “Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Type III” on a piece of paper, handing it to me, telling me to do some research, and walking out the door. When I requested my “notes” from this office visit (“Ehlers Danlos Type III, Hypermobility, if pain, then injury. Be careful.”), I was surprised – he hadn’t given me much information, but what he had given me, finally, was an answer. I had always known that there was something wrong, but of course, in the back of my mind I thought it was all in my head. I wondered if I was a hypochondriac, if I was just over-sensitive. But this was eye-opening. There is a lot of joint instability, pain, injury, and therefore uncertainty with this condition. I didn’t realize just how difficult it would be to find a good doctor that could explain to me what everything meant (EDS is a connective tissue disorder – the connective tissue I have contains damaged or incomplete collagen, and that’s irreversible). I didn’t know what it would take to find a doctor that was willing to educate him- or herself to know how best to treat me… I’m still looking for a good primary care doctor to take care of my everyday needs, someone that is willing to learn or that already knows about EDS.

After my quack diagnosis from the “if pain, then injury, be careful” doctor I went down to Boston for a second opinion (with direction after the fact that my primary care doctor would continue my treatment after I left). It was the right choice, because they were able to tell me what to watch out for, and how best to keep myself from hurting myself (splints and braces). Gentle exercise (walking and swimming), nothing high-impact. And best of all – one of the real reasons we went down to see the Geneticist in the first place – it was safe to have a baby. It would mean that I would be considered high-risk and I would need more close monitoring to be sure I wasn’t going into premature labor, but I would be able to carry a child.

We have had our (first) child; I had an uneventful pregnancy and carried to 39 weeks. Throughout my pregnancy, from week 13 through week 30, I was closely monitored to ensure I would not go into labor early; this meant monthly ultrasounds and extra genetic counseling. I got to see my baby more before he was even born, and I knew I was healthy and progressing normally.

One of the risks with EDS is the chance of passing it along to children; there is a 50% chance is passing it to my children because it is an autosomal dominant gene – you only need one copy to have the condition. It’s still early, but we will likely know by the time he is in early adolescence whether munchkin man also has EDS. Because of the nature of the beast, there’s no GOOD genetic test right now for type III, because the gene has not yet been isolated. The test is mediocre at best – a 50% chance of accuracy – and because it is still so new (and not yet very accurate), insurance won’t cover it. It’s rather expensive.

Growing up I was rather active – I played softball and soccer, and danced ballet (even making it en pointe for a full year before the pain in my knees made me stop – well, that and my orthopedist telling me that one day my knees would just go. Full disclosure – the orthopedist was right – they just started to give one day, walking across the road). Even at the height of all my activity, I was in constant pain and because I didn’t know any different, I thought it was normal. I pushed through it. I didn’t realize how much harm I was actually causing to my body. Since my senior year of high school I have had 4 joints operated on – both knees, my left shoulder, and my right ankle. Both knees were essentially rearranged and fixed to make them more stable (they no longer give out with no warning); my left shoulder was repaired after a fall, though it was not successful; my right ankle was repaired after I turned it standing (see this, this, this, this, and this for details). I still have extensive pain in all of my joints – especially the surgically-modified ones – and my hands are getting worse every day.

I love, love, love to crochet. I recently finished an afghan for my new niece (at the beginning of October), but because of the pain in my hands, have not yet started my next project. Due to the progressive nature of EDS, I shouldn’t be surprised; however, because I am still relatively unfamiliar with everything that comes along with this diagnosis, I know that I have a ton of research still to do before I understand it as much as I should. I recently picked up this book by Dr. Brad Tinkle, which multiple people have recommended to me. It should be arriving soon.

The pain in my hands is exacerbated by the fact that I sit at a computer all day; I also enjoy writing (with a pen and paper) and do it when I can. I keep a journal (both one for myself and one for L), and hand-write each. Because of the pain that keeps increasing, I notice more and more how much my fingers hyper-extend. I try not to let them, but it’s rather difficult. I noticed on my drive home last night that even while driving they extend in ways they shouldn’t – in ways that cause me intense pain. I have been looking into these – they keep fingers from bending in ways they shouldn’t – and have schedule appointments with an occupational and physical therapist; she was actually the one that pointed me in the direction of rheumatology in the first place, and suggested I find out if I did in fact have increased hypermobility. Hopefully she will be able to point me in the right direction of things I need to do to ensure that I don’t hurt myself more, and perhaps even help stabilize my hands and fingers.

I will never be a runner. I will never dance ballet again. I will never be able to play basketball (not that I ever could anyway!), or climb a mountain. It’s not recommended, it’s not smart, and the amount of increased pain and daily difficulties it causes me is immense. I apparently hide it well. I’m lucky – I have a very, very supportive husband. He gets it. He sees me living with it day in and day out – and does not try to push me in ways that he knows would hurt me.

I may love the idea of running, but I will never, ever BE a runner… unless you count running in my dreams.

On healing: 7 weeks out

Today is (finally) Friday.

I had my first physical therapy visit a week ago Wednesday, my second yesterday, and I have  my third today. When I saw the doctor last (May 2), I was one day short of 5 weeks past surgery date. He wanted me done with the crutches by May 9, and out of the walking boot by May 23. I would be able to drive shortly after May 23. At that point I was still relying on the crutches completely, as I was being a good girl and following directions.

Well, that information set me free. I have been working from home since February 13, and the last time I drove was February 12. I had had enough. By May 4 I was finished with the crutches, and I haven’t used the walking boot since May 11. I will be practicing driving Saturday (in an empty parking lot), to make sure that my ankle will tolerate it.

I have been seeing the same physical therapist for the past 6 years (not just the same practice, but also the same therapist – he knows my joints quite well by now), and today I will be starting at a new practice. Because I have not been able to drive, my awesome husband has been chauffeuring me around for the past 3 months. To be honest, we’re both tired of it. However, it has to be done. Anyway. The new PT location is a mere 15 minutes away, whereas the old PT location is about an hour away, next to my office. It was perfect when I would go to PT then go directly to work – it cut down on the commute time significantly. But since I’m working out of the house (for another couple weeks), I can’t lose half of a day due to commuting and PT. It’s not quite convenient.

I’m nervous about seeing a new physical therapist, because Dave – the old one – knows me so well, and we have a good friendship as well. We talk books, we talk munchkin and his kids, we talk life. He gets it. He knows me. How will it be with this next person? Will we end up with a good camaraderie, or will I simply go to physical therapy, do my exercises, report on how I’m feeling, and go home? I spend so much time in physical therapy – in the past 6 years, the longest I went NOT in physical therapy was from February (or was it March?) 2011 to now. I spent 6 months straight at one point going to PT at least once a week. It’s just what happens when I so easily injure myself (I’m working on that).

I spent 20 minutes by myself with munchkin Monday night (while he was awake) – the first time I had done that in 2 months – followed by a couple hours later on that same evening (while he was asleep). It was nice to be able to have the ability to take care of munchkin on my own, and to know that I was trusted enough to do it.

***Fast forward 3.5 hours***

I had PT this morning with a new therapist, Justin. Things were very different from the last place. Old PT is one big room with lots of tables, and nothing is quiet. New PT is lots of little rooms for consults, and then one big room for exercises. At first I thought  – Hey! this isn’t normal. It’s weird! – but then I realized I preferred it. I don’t need everyone knowing my business. There was one other huge difference. Whenever I went to old PT, I made sure to bring a book because I was often on my own for a bit icing or with heat. For an hour appointment, I would really only have Dave to myself for about 15 minutes, and it was definitely not 15 minutes straight through. If I needed to ask a question, I had to either wait until he wasn’t with a different patient, or had to interrupt. I don’t know why they book every 20-30 minutes if appointments last 60. With new guy – Justin – I had him to myself. He worked with me, and I had his full attention the entire time. It was a great change. Justin also focused on things that are going to get me back to where I need to be more quickly, and better – I know all physical therapists are different, but it seemed like new PT had a better handle on what I need to recover to the best of my ability.

So here I am, 7 weeks out from surgery, walking in sneakers, and really in a much better place than I ever anticipated. I’m happy, healthy, and on the right track to being 100% healed.

What have you done better than you ever expected you could?

On healing – 2 weeks plus 2 days

Just over two weeks out, and a lot has changed since last Wednesday. I saw the doc first thing Thursday morning, and he (at first) didn’t even realize that there was any reason for me to be in other than that my cast was coming off; he thought it was my normal appointment. Apparently everything looked good? Once I mentioned that I was in because of the discoloration and issues I was having with the hot toes and funky colored phalanges, he looked at how long it had been since surgery and recanted a few statements; I was no longer allowed to move the foot/ankle like he had originally said (need to wait one more week) and I am not yet allowed to  put some weight on the foot (again, need to wait until next weekend).  However, both things happening this coming week are significantly sooner than I thought they would be.

The cast came off, and I’m in a walking boot – because everything looks so good, he skipped the splint and went right to the boot.

Walking boot

Walking boot

This boot is significantly larger than the other one I had been wearing before surgery. It goes up a lot higher on my leg, and is a lot more sturdy. I definitely feel like I’ll have an easier time with this one than the other one. I have to sleep with this on for a while, so it’s awkward and frustrating, but what can you do. It’s better than nothing, I guess. Better than going backwards. Better than the infection I thought I had.

The discoloration and warmth in my toes is due to the fact that I have swelling in my ankle, and when I stand up, the blood pools in my toes, and due to the extra fluid from the swelling, has a more difficult time working its way back up my leg. It makes sense. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it myself (seriously, not being sarcastic at all).

My ankle has been bothering me more frequently lately than originally anticipated, and I have been relying on the meds more than I thought I would still be. I’ve been trying to use Aleve more than the painkillers, but between the increased pain (because of the cast coming off) and the muscle spasms that have begun to happen more frequently, the pain is still pretty bad. I hate taking the painkillers and the meds for the spasms because they knock me on my ass – within 20 minutes of taking the painkillers (with food or without) my short-term memory is shot and I can’t form much of a cohesive sentence. It lasts for a good 2 hours or so. I’m currently scheduled to return to work on Wednesday (working from home for another 6-8 weeks), but I don’t know that I will be able to. I sure as hell can’t work on pain meds. My original plan was to start back April 22, giving me another full week, but it’s not that easy – I’m at the mercy of the short-term disability company, and so far, they want me back on Wednesday. I’ll be speaking with them either Monday or Tuesday to plead my case, but I’ll be getting the doctor’s “return-to-work” date before that. I need my doc to approve when I can return before I am allowed to start working again, and I need it in writing. We shall see.

Friday everything pretty much came to a head. I realized that it has been a full two months since I left the house of my own accord – since I drove last – since I worked in the office. I feel like I have absolutely zero independence. I rely on my husband for everything – preparing my food, making sure I don’t fall while bathing, taking care of munchkin. And I lost it. I cried for a good hour, just trying to get my frustrations out. I knew this would happen, because I’m incredibly independent; I always have been. I’m ready to be able to walk again, to drive again, to leave the house and grab a gallon of milk if we need one. I want to drop munchkin off at daycare, I want to get back to my normal, everyday routine. I miss it. I miss not needing to wake my husband up in the middle of the night if munchkin needs something or if I need to pee – shouldn’t I be able to do that on my own? But I can’t get to my crutches without falling out of bed. So I need him to get them for me, so I don’t hurt myself again. As thankful as I am to have the help, I feel guilty – there’s so much more that he needs to do because of my injury, because of my joints not working correctly. I need to get over this feeling of guilt. I have been apologizing too much.

When I was very pregnant with my son, my mother kept telling me one thing over and over again, and I think that it pretty much (in a roundabout way) applies here too, so here it is (paraphrased): every day/hour/moment that passes in my recovery is another day/hour/moment closer to being back where I want to be. It’s one less moment I have to get through, it’s one less moment I need to worry about. Once it’s done, it’s done.

Two weeks and two days down. At this point, I don’t know how much time is left until I’m back in the old routine, but at this point, in the long run, it’s two weeks and two days less than the total. I’m headed in the right direction. I can do this. I have to do this. I’ll get through it.

On healing – one week out

***If you’re grossed out by incisions, don’t look at the photos. Or just skip this post. They’re not bad, but just a heads up.***

This past Friday, I had surgery on my ankle.

Surgery was a little different than we had expected – some things that were expected to be done were not done, some other things that were not expected to be done were done. I have an extra scar: two on the outside of my ankle, one on the inside of my ankle. More than expected.

But let me back up.

Friday morning we had to be at the hospital by 6:15. AM. Yes, I asked to clarify that when they told me the arrival time. Thursday night we had met my mother halfway between their house and ours – and she took munchkin back to their house, to watch him for the first weekend after surgery. It was a huge weight off of our shoulders. Friday we were up and out early – up at 445, out by 530. We’re not morning people, so it was impressive. We got to the hospital, and they said I was up first. They brought me back to the holding room, where I changed into the fashionable johnny and waited for what was next. They filled me in on the details – they were going to put in an IV for general anesthesia, but in addition to that, they were going to put in a nerve block – numb me below the knee along the nerve line. In addition to extra comfort immediately following surgery, the catheter for the nerve block would stay in for a couple days, giving me up to two to three days more of a numb leg. I was all for it.

I woke up after surgery, still a bit out of it, to find my leg looking like this:

My leg, post surgery, with catheter above the knee.

My leg, post surgery, with catheter above the knee.

I had no idea what had happened. I had no idea what was going on. I was very out of it. After a couple hours (I think? I was out of it!) of coming out of the anesthesia and getting used to the bulk of my leg – leg wrapped in gauze, topped with a splint, topped with more gauze, only to be topped with an ace wrap – we were released to go back home. In that couple hours, I have little memory of any conversations that I had or anything I was told. All I knew was that the parts of my ankle that needed to be repaired were in fact fixed, and there were no issues during surgery. That’s all that I needed to know.

One thing that I remember clearly is sticking with me, as it refers back to my previous concerns about this fixing it, but only temporarily – by fixing the extra thing that was found when the doctor opened up my ankle, he has reduced the chances of this happening again. And from what he said, the chances of it happening again were reduced significantly. It’s a huge sigh of relief there. Now I just have to make sure that it holds true.

After a weekend of recuperating, taking my painkillers every 4.5-5 hours, sleeping, and watching movies, my sister (the youngest of the four of us) and munchkin came home. I was so happy to see him. I got in a couple quick snuggles and he went to bed. Shortly after, sister C and I went to sleep as well. Monday munchkin went to school and J went to work; sister C and I watched movies (a really bad one that we only made it 20 minutes of the way through, and then two good ones), chatted, and just hung out. It was really relaxing, and was great to hang out with her. We don’t do it often enough.

Tuesday morning I had my followup with the doctor, and they had told me I would be getting a hard cast, though I had no idea if the difference in surgeries would be changing things, changing the plan. We went in, and they took off the wrap and the gauze, and I got my first good look at the incisions and the state of my ankle. I was excited to see it. A little swelling, which was to be expected – a lot of orange, from the iodine/betadine/whatever they used to keep my leg/ankle sterile – and three incisions, instead of just two.

Where they cleaned out the junk - arthroscopic entry.

Where they cleaned out the junk – arthroscopic entry.

Not too bad, but you can see I don’t have much of an ankle, due to the swelling.

The main incisions. Where everything else happened.

The main incisions. Where everything else happened.

They fixed the tendons and removed part of the muscle, which was causing most of the issues.

An overview - the yellow is antibiotic strips. Note the lack of an ankle.

An overview – the yellow is antibiotic strips. Note the lack of an ankle.

After the surprise at realizing I was only 4 days out from surgery because of how good my ankle looks, they stated that it’s obvious I’m staying off of my foot (duh) and following the doc’s orders to elevate (also duh). Seriously… why would anyone NOT follow directions to sit on one’s behind all day and just let the joint heal??? It’s the only smart thing to do, if I want my ankle to work correctly soon. So yeah. It all looked great, and I’m happy to hear that.

Once the poking and prodding was finished, they got me ready to put the cast on.

Note the angle my ankle was at. That was the angle I had been put at after surgery, and I hadn’t moved it. Not a smidge.

Then came the fun part. I had to get my ankle bent to 90* and turned slightly out. Turns out, it wouldn’t move much. I did what I could, but then the medical assistant had to finish it up. It hurt a bit – felt like I was trying to move my ankle through piles of sludge. Thick, concrete-y sludge.

Finally, we got my ankle where it needed to be, and it was casted up. I got blue. It was the only option. But blue is good.

Note the perty blue cast. And my orange toes.

Note the perty blue cast. And my orange toes.

This cast will be on for 2 weeks, and then it will be removed and I’ll be put back into a splint for another 3 weeks.

We took a detour on the way home for the best hot dogs in Maine – Flo’s. Yum. Luckily it wasn’t much of a detour, because I was in pain – we had to drive by it anyway.

That night, my in-laws came over with our nephew so that the boys could play together. Both boys were a bit put-off by the cast, but I think they were able to get over it when they autographed and colored it. They enjoyed that for sure.

autographed cast - lovely artwork!

autographed cast – lovely artwork!

I’m in the cast for two weeks, then back into a splint that will be able to be removed, at which point I will start physical therapy to get my range of motion back – currently, I have virtually zero. It was tough to be able to get my ankle bent to 90*, so I can’t imagine how it’s going to be after 2 more weeks of not being able to move my ankle at all. It’s frozen at this angle pretty well. But since this is the angle that the doc says will help me heal the best, so that’s what I’m doing.

I’m still going to have to stay off of it for the entire time I’m on the cast and in the splint, which will be a total of about 6 weeks. For that time, I need to use crutches. Another concern that I had had was the use of the crutches; last time I had surgery (3.5 years ago) I was 60lbs heavier, and couldn’t support my weight on the crutches. My shoulders couldn’t bear my weight. It was frustrating, it was obnoxious, it was annoying, and seriously – it was demoralizing. It was the heaviest I had ever been, and it was a daily reminder of my failings. Anyway. I have been using the crutches for a week – with absolutely no issues. No problems with my shoulders. No problems with my hands, or with my wrists. No issues climbing the stairs (backwards on my butt) –  last time, my shoulders dislocated. This time, nothing. It’s still early, I understand that – but after a week of absolutely no problems, I’m thrilled. And knocking on wood.

We have had a ton of help since I had surgery, and from the sounds of it, the extra help is going to continue. It’s amazing how awesome people have been. It’s awesome how much help we’ve had. People are amazing.

So far, so good. So far, no problems. So far, provided I keep up with the painkillers, I’m relatively pain-free. It’s good. It’s freeing. It’s a relief – and it’s motivating. I think that these last few pounds – once I can actually work out again, biking and walking – will be coming off sooner rather than later. And my ankle is healing. The turning won’t happen as frequently. It will be better. And it’s great.

Do all therapists laugh at their patients’ problems?

I wrote last time about my debilitating anxiety. About a week ago, I woke up from a horrid nightmare. I woke up just before I was murdered. I couldn’t think about it. I couldn’t not think about it. I couldn’t go back to sleep. I woke up my husband, and just tried to stop thinking about it. I didn’t want to talk about it, but needed to talk, so my mind would stop going there. It’s still there in my head. I can still remember it. It’s terrifying.

I’ve always had very vivid dreams. I don’t know why, but I don’t always like it. Sometimes  when they’re good dreams, I don’t mind them; this time, it sucked. I was trying to hide. I was trying to run. I couldn’t do either. I woke up just before I was caught and murdered. Even in my dream I knew what was coming.

I have also always had issues with friends, and with adjusting to new places. When I was in college, I started seeing a therapist – psychologist – something. Whatever you want to call her. She worked for the school, and Liz was going to help me. I hoped. After seeing her a few times and telling her all the things I was concerned about, what bothered me, the things that I was dealing with, and EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. having her laugh while she was talking to me, I couldn’t deal with it. I was seeing her because I needed help working through my issues. Laughing at me while I was telling her how much things hurt didn’t help me. It hurt me more. So I stopped going.

Fast forward a couple years – college is done, I am living in Dover with my now-husband. I started back seeing someone for the anxiety again, and ended up seeing two different people – and was thoroughly insulted by one, and laughed at by the other. Do all therapists laugh when their patients are telling them their biggest fears, their concerns, worries, problems? It was happening again, and I was mortified. Maybe it was me. Maybe it IS me. Maybe I’m just more concerned than I need to be with the issues I THINK I have.

Then there was the one that asked if I was suicidal – and proceeded to answer her own question – as she laughed. “No, you’re too afraid of death – hahahahaha – you’d never kill yourself. Hahahahaha.” I never answered her question – it didn’t matter to her that I’ve never been suicidal. She didn’t even let me answer her.

So though I’m having trouble getting past my fear of death and dying without professional help, I’m terrified to start seeing a therapist for fear of their reactions. I don’t like that I can’t trust someone I’m supposed to – especially with something as fragile as my fears. I would love to be able to find that help I could definitely use. It has been 4 years or so since I last talked to a professional, and though I think it’s time to do it again, I’m worried that a) I’m going to be laughed at again, and b) it’s not going to be worth it. Maybe once I get the ankle under control I’ll venture back in that direction.

Have you ever had someone you trusted laugh in your face when you were spilling your guts to them?

2013 – books, writing, health and crochet. Or, goals for this year.

My sister set 13 goals for 2013, which made me want to do the same.  Therefore, world, I present you with my goals!

1. Read 52 books. I’m an avid reader, and have already read a few – the only difficulty will be remembering to keep track of the books I am reading!!

2. Lose those last 15 lbs. Since I got married 3.5 years ago, I have lost approximately 60 lbs. Last year (post-baby) I lost 35lbs, and I have stayed roughly stable since then. I just have 15 (20 at the most) left to lose.

3. Start writing again. I haven’t written in a while – at least, nothing of substance. I have a bit of a started piece, and I think I  may continue that. However, I have something else that has been marinating for a while, so I may flesh that one out.

4. Blog regularly. I’m working toward that one! I want to start to really get this blog going – I really enjoy it, but most of my thoughts come through when I’m chasing after munchkin. I think it’s time to keep notebooks around so that I can keep my ideas and musings fresh.

5. Get more blog followers. I’m working hard on this one – getting my name out there by following more awesome, well-known blogs, and commenting on them when I feel the need. They’re great bloggers that definitely love questions, and write their posts to draw discussion. It’s amazingly wonderful – definitely awesome people to learn from.

6. Enter at least one writing contest. I have been watching for writing contests for the past year or so, but have never really done anything with it. It’s time to start entering the contests, and not just look.

7. Start working out regularly – once I’m not injured. I currently have an ankle injury that I’m working through – MRI was just over a week ago, and I see the doctor for the results this Tuesday afternoon. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to figure out how best to treat it, because the issues I’m having with it have been going on for too long. And working out regularly will (hopefully) get me to feeling better, and start to reduce my chronic pain.

8. Start preparing meals in advance – healthy meals. I need to start planning meals better, and make sure I shop around them. I need to make sure that we’re prepared so we can regularly eat well, and not fall back on the easy, quick things that are not healthy.

9. Snack regularly with HEALTHY foods. Make good choices! I find I need to snack relatively regularly to keep me feeling good, and the foods I eat need to be better than cookies and such. I’m finding lately that I LOVE cottage cheese with peaches, and it’s great. It fills me up, and I really enjoy it.

10. Care as much about my own health as I do munchkin’s – I matter as much as he does! If I don’t keep myself healthy, I can’t keep munchkin healthy as well. Time to start worrying about ME.

11. Make a few afghans and finish my sweater. I love to crochet, but haven’t really done much lately. I have at least 3 afghans I would like to make, and would love to get them all completed. I started a sweater a while ago, and I hope to finish it – provided I didn’t mess anything up in the process!

12. Pull out my sewing machine and make some stuff. I have a whole board on Pinterest of ideas for things I want to make. It’s time to pull it out and make some of these things!

13. Be better about keeping the house clean – I’ll keep everyone sane that way! Munchkin keeps us busy, and can definitely be messy. The less clutter, the better – keep us all from going crazy.

Hopefully I can get everything accomplished this year. I would love to just be able to snap my fingers and have everything be the way I want, but I need to invest in myself. I hate that phrase, but it really seems to be the one that sums everything up. Life is a precious commodity, and one not to be wasted. I need to remember not to take it for granted.

Have you set goals for this year? What’s your biggest goal? The one you think will be easiest to attain, and the most difficult?

Twenty thirteen.

I have a post I started a few months ago that I have been slowly adding to. I’m hoping that by the weekend I’ll be able to publish it. It’s robust and detailed, but that is on purpose. I’m hoping I can get all the information I need to provide a convincing argument.

Here’s to more actively posting this new year. Here’s to more writing and less excuses… more focusing on my health than on my shortcomings… more family time than not.

It’s time to take hold of what is important to me and stop making excuses.

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I always forget…

This time last year I was 6.5 months pregnant. One of the benefits of being pregnant was that, though I was affected by the heat and humidity because I was already baking, I was not affected the way I normally am: my joints didn’t offer me a lick of problems.

Fast forward a year, and this handsome little man…

The humidity is killing me. My hands and fingers are aching more than ever, and I just want to go home and sleep. I’m tired. I’m achy. I always said I wouldn’t use this as an area to complain. I’m not; I’m just stating a fact.

The humidity tends to exacerbate the pain I feel from Fibromyalgia and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (Hypermobility), and not much will help completely. Working in an air-conditioned environment helps, and having the house stay nice and cool is also a huge benefit. A dehumidifier adds to the comfort as well. However, dry heat is the best solution. I’m not moving to Arizona, though.

Two summers ago I found a decent solution to alleviating some of the pain; I’ll be doing it again, and hope I can keep it up for good this time. I will be going gluten free. It worked then, it will (hopefully) work again. I would rather not live on painkillers and other medications; I was able to cut down to just my heartburn medication, and have stayed on just that for the majority of the time. I’m hoping the absence of gluten in my diet will keep my pain at bay, or at least subdue it. The fire can go away, thanks.

On Jennifer Margulis’s post — Sticking my neck out

Jennifer Margulis — Sticking my neck out.

Read the above article yesterday, and my heart just split in two. I can’t believe that people would be so ignorant. When little man was born, and with all of my prenatal care, I only saw midwives. It was a conscious decision – I didn’t want to be over-attended to – and if I were put in the situation again, I would definitely make the same decision. Midwives truly made the whole experience so much more relaxed and peaceful. Hopefully Ireena Keeslar is able to avoid charges, and perhaps even do what she loves – be a midwife. Help people. Bring babies into this crazy world. I’ll hopefully be following up once new information is released.