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The Pain of Endometriosis

frugallistablog, endometriosis, chronic pain

I wrote last year on Emma’s journey with chronic pain due to endometriosis. It’s still a journey. Since then, she has been doing an amazing job of coping, thriving and overall being an awesome young lady.

Her academic achievements and praise from faculty and random folks not only make me proud, but put me in awe how she can handle so much at such a young age and still come through it with a sense of humor and strength.

She was given a writing assignment in Language Arts to write a poem about an emotional pain. She chose to write about her physical pain and put it in the context of the emotional strain and anguish the pain of endometriosis puts on her.

All I can say is, she broke my heart and made me even more proud of her all at the same time.

I’m sharing this with her permission so that anyone else struggling with the same condition can feel a sense of compassion from a fellow comrade in suffering.

Nothing is more frustrating to a woman with endometriosis when a doctor or even friend says something like, “It can’t be that bad.” ; “Have you tried such and such.” ; “Maybe you should do meditation or yoga.”

Sure thing. We’ve heard it all.

We don’t know what the future holds. Our goal is to keep her comfortable today, while preserving her fertility for tomorrow.

My dearest Emma, I’m so proud of you.

Love, Mom.

 

You think you have felt pain
But you have not felt my pain
My pain is a fire, burning everything in its path
My pain is dark, darker than a winter’s night with no moon
My pain is sharp like the blade of a knife
The pain of hearing you may not be a mother
Your bloodline won’t be passed on
You won’t have a daughter with eyes as blue as the sky
Or a son with hair like silky corn
Your uterus is useless
Yet you don’t want to part with it
For the bright chance you may have a daughter with your sense of humor
Or a son with your freckles
This thing inside me causes such pain yet emits such hope and possibility
This organ I despise may bring me the happiest part of my life
The pain I hate may one day be insignificant because of the love I feel to my children
The love of giving birth to a baby
How strange to have this brought to me by something I hate
My pain is a burning fire
My pain is a candle lighting a dark, cold room
My pain is endometriosis
And my pain will not stop me

-Emma Gallagher

I’m being a bit of an ass hole this holiday

frugie blog being an ass hole

It’s the week of Christmas and I’m pretty much panicking. The presents need to be wrapped. Some still need to be bought. I have all of my 75 or so cards to be addressed and posted. Some need to be sent overseas, so that requires a trip to the post office- WHICH I ABHOR!

So I’m feeling panicked.

And then I had a reality check.

I’m an ass hole.

I’m worried about the abundance around me when others have hardly enough.

There’s my friend Beth. She’s the one with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. I’m sure in her mind she’s wondering if this is her last Christmas with her kids. Especially since just this week she lost 5 or so friends of her’s in the metastatic community. Not to mention the jerk face guy from Komen who basically walked away from her when she asked him for more dedicated funding for research. I would say Beth isn’t worried about Christmas cards. (http://cultofperfectmotherhood.com/komen-is-not-coming-to-save-us/)

I have a cousin Clare, also stage IV breast cancer. It’s not often you know two people who are dying from the same disease. We wish for more time at Christmas to get everything done. They’re just wishing for more time period.

When the song on the radio comes on, “I’ll be Home For Christmas” by Josh Groban, and the men and women stationed overseas serving our country leave recorded messages to their loved ones back home, I can’t help but cry. They know it’s their duty. They serve and protect no matter what. But missing out on your kids’ Christmas morning would break my heart. And they do it. They are our heroes.

We tell ourselves that we only need to do so much. That it’s okay if the  cookies don’t get baked or the packages get sent late. But deep down we’re still resenting our lack of over achievement. We look at Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook and think, ‘why can’t I do that?’ We look at damn Elf on the Shelf set ups and smack ourselves on the head for forgetting that damned Elf for the second night in a row.

So I know what it feels like when we let our self loathing seep in to cloud our supposed Christmas joy. And here I’m telling you once again how to look past the minutia to remember the important things. Right?

I’m not preaching. I’m just trying to give myself a kick in the pants.

There’s a lot I didn’t do. I didn’t attend church this season. That bothers me because I love the Advent time. I just had interruptions or things going on that prevented me from getting up early on those Sunday mornings. I didn’t give to the Giving Tree this year either since I wasn’t there to collect the tags. But I’m also freaking out about my own bank account. Which is dumb since we have all that we need, but yet, it still seems to end up with more month than money as the days go by.

However, there’s a lot I did do.

I got up at 5 every morning to get Emma off to choir. I got the tree up, the gifts bought, the house in order and still continued working on my YouTube channel. Which, hello? is like a job. It is my job. As much as people wonder what the heck it is I do, that’s what I do. I didn’t have a complete melt down-throw-myself-on-the-floor-freak-out, even though I wanted to. Which hey- that’s something right??

And the best part- Emma is world’s better than she was at this time last year. We had visits to the ER for chronic pain, we missed out on things like choir concerts, visits to Santa, and hanging out with friends. She missed school, she was miserable. Not this year. She’s babysitting, singing, decorating, wrapping, going to school, giving me all the sass she can!! And I am so grateful for it. It really is last year’s Christmas wish come true. So what if it’s 12 months late.

Here’s my advice for managing these next couple days.

Pick one thing. Pick the thing that gives you joy, that you can send all your positive energy to that says, ‘this is Christmas. This is how I will remember the season and embrace it.’

Give yourself the allowance to not get everything done. To lasso your sanity or whatever is left of it by letting things off your list. Watch frickin’ Hallmark Channel movies. These completely help me forget all my troubles. And then remember again how dirty my house is and why I can’t wear heels in snow.

I’m embracing the children I have who are healthy, the roof over my head, and the husband that hogs the covers.

My Christmas memories as a child are the feeling I had in my house with my parents- feeling cozy, feeling safe. I remember Cabbage Patch dolls and Barbies, sure. But I remember the cups of tea my dad made, the goose my mom cooked that filled the house with savory scents that if I smell today, takes me back to 1978. We didn’t have fancy trips to the city to see the Nutcracker. Or big parties to attend and lavish gifts. We had each other. I remember the hand made matching Christmas outfits for me and my sister! Mom was very good with a sewing machine and a Butterick pattern.

Our children will remember how they felt. Not what they didn’t get.

They will remember the joy you gave them just by not losing your shit.

 

My Perfect Body

Frugalista Blog My Perfect Body

Here I go, taking off my clothes again for my blog.

I know. But bare (bear?) with me!

We are flooded with images of amazing bodies and then even when sometimes a body is not so amazing, there’s a barrage of comments to follow that are cruel and degrading. Sometimes from ourselves, sometimes from others.

As we put ourselves more and more out there- especially in the land of YouTube and social media, the scrutiny becomes even more so. [Read more…]

It was the best of times… it was the worst of times….

People- does it feel like the end is nigh?

Nigh means near right? With record high temps, a lion killing dentist, women (plural!) dying in police custody, right wing conspiracy theories and Donald Trump, we’re all going bat shit crazy.

Oh, let’s not forget, woman dying in Chinese escalator, man kills ducklings with lawnmower and children left to die in hot cars. Sorry, didn’t mean to be a Debbie Downer on you.

I literally want to scream. I want to bang my head on the table and give up. But I also want to stick my head in the sand and pretend that I don’t know anything.

We’re all angry. Every one of us is seething with something that bothers us. Because we all have stories and experiences, troubles and humiliations. What triggers me might not trigger you.

We need to stop. We need to breathe.

Remember when you were little, and you would watch a special on PBS about the plains of the Serengeti and the dry season. You never had been to Africa so this was interesting. You watched as they did time lapse of the plants and wildlife over the days and weeks. They would talk about the life of the animals, the hunting and dying, the cubs being born. There was even close ups of the insect life. So much detail that you didn’t know existed in this world. Your horizons had just been broadened in your 8 year old brain. You watched that show, thinking you’d be bored because it wasn’t Love Boat, but instead, you were enthralled and asked to stay up past your bed time to finish it.

There was no Internet then. No Google to check out ‘plains of Serengeti’. I still remember that show because it was so revealing, so different to what I had known.

Every now and then when I go about my day of Starbucks, Target runs, cat box scooping, doctor appointments with Emma; I think of the minute details of the world that I don’t even know about. That I know are out there, but I don’t  even have the remote idea of what they’re really like. What sunsets look like below the equator, what winter is at the poles, what suffering a mom feels during famine when she can’t feed her child, let alone vaccinate them.

We are quick to judge on the Internet. We rush to conclusions with what little information we have or has been given to us. Most likely given to us already sliced and diced to be interpreted in a way we don’t know that differs from its original state.

Our anger boils and we think all cops are corrupt. Every Planned Parenthood is selling baby parts. All Mexicans are just rapists and drug dealers.

So instead of jumping to conclusions, I’m going to jump to patience and kindness. I will read things on the Internet and count to ten before I click the share button.

Someone is beaten in police custody? Well of course that person needs to be since they’re in police custody to begin with, they’re probably a low life that found themselves in handcuffs and who cares if they get roughed up a bit? It’s amazing what people conclude from video footage they see on the news.

I posted on my Facebook the other day that the hardest time to be kind to someone, is when they are unkind to you, but that is actually when your kindness means the most.

Kindness isn’t something that’s conditional. It should be unconditional. Like forgiveness and mercy. That may be a little bit New Testament for folks, sorry, but it’s how I was raised.

And I would rather be raised with assuming kindness in this world, than the opposite. And if we can all be kind, even when the person in the grocery store parking lot bumps their cart against your car; then maybe the universe will settle down a bit.

We can think of the Serengeti with all its wildlife, bugs, birds and plants. The details of the world we don’t even know or comprehend may be beyond our scope of knowledge- but that in our small circle of existence, we can set the ripples of compassion out into the universe.

We need to soften our hearts. Because despite all the shit and crap going around us, hardening to it, is not the answer. Hold on to your kindness, your happiness, share it with others.

Start with yourself. Start in your home. Start in the Starbucks parking lot!

Okay, there. Do you feel better? I’m trying. Now go watch kitten videos  or help an old lady cross the street.

frugalista blog it was the best of times, it was the worst of times

She could have been a doctor, but she’s just my mom – (repost)

Author’s note: I originally posted this last year on my mom’s birthday. It’s her birthday again today and it deserves to be read again. I couldn’t have rewritten it any better.

Love you Mom.

 

 

*******************************

(2014)

It’s my mom’s birthday today. She is 73. Sorry mom. I suppose divulging your age is the first rule of lady code I just broke.

Well, I say wear your age proudly. Because when you’ve lived 73 years and seen what my mom has seen, I think you just throw your hangups about age out the window.

My mom is my compass. She’s my lighthouse in the dark. She is my mom and that’s my everything.

I am probably one of the luckiest humans to have such a woman in their life that breathes into her hope, inspiration and security.

My mom doesn’t have it easy. She takes care of my sister, who is disabled. Mom has had her own bout of hardships. Three joint replacement surgeries, a life saving surgery when her intestine was blocked and she could have died. OH, and she’s a cancer survivor. So, there’s that.

Also, when you’re born in Frankfurt in 1941 you are surrounded by a world at war. To think this little being and many others like her, came in to this world under Germany’s darkest years. But if there’s a light one can not extinguish even during this dark period, it was my mom coming forth. Little Uta. I think she was born speaking and solving problems, but that’s just my admiration for her. I know she was a regular little girl, a person with her own hopes and dreams before she was my mom. It’s hard for us as children to picture our parents as people. I mean, you’re telling me they had lives before they devoted it all to us? Indeed. This is a hard fact for my own children to accept sometimes. When you wear the badge of ‘MOM’ it’s hard to be seen as anything else.

Sure like other children, I have fond memories of the way my mom smelled (Chanel No 5 during the 70s) and the smells of her kitchen too. We would have her homemade pizza every Saturday night. We watched the Muppet Show from our kitchen table my dad built. Kermit was smaller then on the 18 inch color television that wasn’t even remote control yet.

But I also have memories of my mom when I was in high school and college. The morning after a late night out, she would sit on my bed while I would sip a cup of tea she brought me. I’d share details of the night like I would share to a girl friend. I would preface certain stories with, “Okay, you’re not my mom right now, what I’m going to tell you.” And she would listen without raising an eyebrow. She didn’t judge or scoff. Let’s be real though. I was a pretty square kid. I didn’t really drink, I never did drugs, I was usually home by midnight, and my male conquests were theater boys I would crush on from afar only to find out they were gay. Translation- I didn’t get much action in college!

So there really wasn’t a whole lot for her to judge me on anyway. BUT, I still felt comfortable sharing all my funny stories, crazy happenings when there were some, and girl to girl details only other women get.

I remember one time either in my early adult years or when I was still in high school, my mom and I were having a heart to heart. In one of her somewhat bleak moments, she said to me with tears in her eyes, “You know, I could have been a lot of things. Maybe a doctor. Maybe a scientist. But I’m just a mom.”

It broke my heart. How could this woman not be satisfied with anything more than being my mom?! Had she been a career woman and not stayed home with her kids, what would life have been like? Selfishly, I was glad this was all she was. My mom. Our mom.

But I told her that she is more than ‘Just a Mom’. She is patience, and trust, nurture and light. She helps the downtrodden, she advocates for the helpless. She friends the homeless and the addicts. She counsels the stranger she strikes up conversation with.

She is an amazing woman that is more than just a mom. But a person who betters this world just by living in it. She raised me and my brother and sister. She looks after my dad and is his partner of 55 years. She reads and swallows up information by the libraries. She is one of the smartest people I know. She can cook up a pie crust and help you with your 401(k) paperwork. I don’t know how this woman does it.

Did I mention she moved here from Germany when she was 17 after marrying my dad? They had my brother a few years later and within less than 10 years had their own two children and fostered troubled children. Mixed race children in the 60s! They took a road trip with their black foster daughter and their own two children down to Atlanta. The guts they had. This is how my parents live. By example.

So yeah. You turn 73 with 3 grown kids of your own, 4 grandchildren, a husband you’ve been married to for 55 years; you wear that age proudly.

And mom,  if you ever think you’re ‘just a mom’ and there was something else you could have been, think for a minute the lives you’ve touched. The ripple effect of what your living has created. How there should be more people like you that are as selfless, reliable and loving. I have never been more proud of you to just be my mom.

Happy birthday.

 

She could have been a doctory but she's just my mom by Frugalista Blog

My mom in the 1950s.

“Bikini body in 30 days!” – Nacho fast

See what I did there? I put nachos in a bikini title. I like nachos. And it was a play on words. Get it? “Not so” is also “Nacho”.

But you totally got that.

If you’ve been doing all the right things but still don’t look like one of those rock hard bikini bodies on Instagram or Pinterest, don’t be discouraged. I am right there with you.

Let’s just jump right out of the gate shall we with the cold hard truth. It takes way more than 30 days to look like you’ve got washboard abs and buns of steel.

You probably already knew that huh?

You probably already knew that huh?

And when you want it to happen like all the charts and gurus and detox whatever folks are telling you it can be done by, but it hasn’t, you throw your hands up in the air and say ‘fuck it’. I’ll just order the onion ring tower. Might as well since I’m just going to be fat forever, is what you tell yourself.

Well, let me tell you. Don’t. Or do, but share it with friends and eat just a few onion rings.

Don’t give up. Slow and steady wins the race, not fast and hard.

And you know what else? Being 40 totally sucks. My body doesn’t get in shape as fast as I want it to. AND I am more susceptible to injury and strain. So I can’t go full on Cross fit for 2 hours and think I will be able to function the next day. If by function I mean pull my pants down myself to go to the bathroom. Also, there’s these things called kids that I’m in charge of. Sucks that I can’t work out and be all ‘me, me, me’.

It’s not fair for a woman with 13% body fat who’s been working out most of her adult life to pose for one of those pics that us squishy moms look at and get all excited about and start hitting the mat with our lunges, planks, and squats. Yes, those exercises work, but it takes TIME.

I had been skinny all my life up to getting pregnant with my first at 27. I packed on the pounds, was stuck on bed rest, had a hard postpartum, and didn’t get moving much until my daughter was around 6 months old. I finally felt like myself when my daughter was 2, only to gain weight again with the pregnancy of my son. After he was born the weight came off fast and I really seemed to be more kind to myself. I understood what I could do to get fit. Things were working. For the next several years I did a random circuit of my own workouts that included classes, gym time, and my own stuff of walks with the dog and training for 5ks. I was pretty disciplined with my diet. I didn’t realize how good I had it. I still wanted to be thinner, skinnier. I was probably around a size 4/6. I always felt self conscious of my waist or my arms. If I knew then what I know now, boy would I have been more accepting of how my body looked.

Once I started blogging I became lazy. I spent more time on my laptop and social media than I did working out. I thought I could just get away with the occasional walk with the dog, skipping lunch, maybe a few squats. Then I would read different articles that would make my head spin. I could get fit in just short workouts, no wait, I had to sweat it out for at least 45 minutes, no wait, sweating wasn’t necessary, as long as you engage your core. Ninety percent of how you look starts in the kitchen not the gym. Drinking wine is like a workout. Eat kale. Drink coconut oil and you’ll totally whittle your waist down. Eat avocados and lose weight. Do Pure Barre. Do ten minutes of planks. But hey, if you’re not doing cardio, then all your core work is wasted.

Dear GOBS I want to scream.

WTF? Eat less and work out more right? Nope. Hold the phone. You might be making yourself fat if you eat too little, and maybe the workouts you’re doing and the food you’re eating are working against your hormones. How much coffee do you drink? Coffee is bad. Coffee makes you hold fat in your stomach. No wait. Coffee is good. Coffee before a workout helps you burn fat.

If you’re confused too then- yay. My point is made.

Here’s what’s going on right now. I’m using My Fitness Pal app to track my food. I’m using my pedometer on my phone to track my steps. I get 10,000 a day for the most part.

I am still doing my 30 day whatever challenges for abs, planks, pushups, etc. BUT. I am reminding myself that it will take me more than 30 days to even look the way I want to look. I’m remembering that feeling stronger climbing up into my son’s loft bed to change the sheets is a win. Pants that were tight to zip up 3 months ago are fitting better. My favorite little black dress still doesn’t fit. But it’s closer than it was to fitting a year and a half ago. So I’m keeping at it. My waist is 3 inches smaller than it was before Christmas. It’s still soft and pudgy like a bagel before it’s cooked, but hey, 3 inches is 3 inches!

After 8 weeks of consistent exercise, calorie tracking and just feeling like I was getting somewhere, I headed to the hotel pool of our vacation in my two-piece feeling a bit sassy. I had Emma take my picture, you know as a ‘look at me, I’m on vacation’ picture.

I have to say I was disappointed when I saw it. I felt thinner in my head. Seeing my dimples and fleshyness kind of bummed me out. But I shared it in a private group of friends and they were so positive. Of course they said I looked good and I was rocking the two-piece and yadda yadda yadda. Because they are my friends and that’s what friends do. Which was what I wanted to hear. But what it proved to me is that we all have our ideals in our head. Just because I see this picture and don’t feel a hundred percent like I’ve ‘arrived’ at some fitness precipice of awesome, I can feel good in the fact that I am on my way. I couldn’t do a 25 second plank 8 weeks ago, but now I can rock 90 seconds and maybe two minutes on a really good day. My arms are still squishy, but they are stronger than they were before. And remember those 3 inches I lost around my waist? Yeah, that’s something!

So here’s my journey. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. My point is that even if your success story doesn’t seem as obvious as the next person’s, don’t give up. Keep on doing what you’re doing. Doing nothing is not an option.

Also, I will not caption this, “How a ‘real’ woman looks in her 40s after 2 kids and not a whole lot of exercise”. But instead I will caption it that I’m just a ‘regular’ woman. Real women are size 0 and size 18. Size isn’t what makes us real. But you already knew that didn’t you?

Regular woman in bikini after 2 months of steady working out and eating well.

Regular woman in bikini after 2 months of steady working out and eating well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My daughter’s journey with chronic pain

Frugie Blog My daughter's journey with chronic pain

This has probably been the hardest blog post to write in a long time. It’s been our lives the last 12 months. I wanted to do it justice. I wanted to make it clear and hope others gain perspective and find answers too if they’re in the same struggle.

I didn’t expect to become a parent of a child with chronic pain. Of Emma’s 14 years, she has had maybe 3 times in her life the need for antibiotics, never had a broken bone or stitches (knock on wood) and until this year, hadn’t been in an ER.

Emma’s problems started a year ago with a hemorrhagic cyst on her ovary the size of a lemon, then that cyst rupturing and causing her tremendous pain that just would not go away. The last 12 months have been surgery, hormones, therapy, narcotics, acupuncture, different hormones, analgesics, and whatever else we could think of, as part of our laundry list of getting her to be pain free.

Unfortunately, some of these temporary aides like narcotics, can make the body even more susceptible to pain, or decrease its ability to resist it.

The whole ‘high pain tolerance’ theory becomes confusing when you’re dealing with someone who is in constant pain. You can say that someone has a high tolerance for pain because they don’t have Novocaine during a filling at the dentist. Or maybe they had a kidney infection for days and didn’t feel it. Maybe you get through your work day with a migraine. Everyone’s pain is different and it’s subjective. There’s no way of knowing whose pain is greater than someone else’s.

But when your body is sending pain signals to your brain on a daily basis 24/7; you can become fearful of the pain, where your anxiety and anticipation add to the pain.

So someone who is used to being in pain, might react differently to new pain than someone who goes about their life pain free with only pain on occasion.

After Emma’s surgery in June, we thought we were in the clear and she would start feeling better. But by September she was in as much pain as she was during the cyst rupturing. She would go to school but text me how miserable she was. She would come home and pop a bunch of ibuprofen and sit on the couch with a heat pad for hours. The cycle would repeat and it would take her all she could just to go to school.

There was no time and energy left for socializing or extra curricular activities. Her daily struggle was a pain level of about a 6 (on a scale between a 1 and a 10, 10 being the worst).

Our girl was miserable and she begged for answers and writhed in pain. Some days it would leave me just a shell of a mom trying to comfort her child.

I went to our specialists at Children’s Hospital in Seattle. I wanted some kind of answer. I wanted a different pain pill, or treatment.

We figured since hormones are the bulk of her female issues; the surgery diagnosed her with endometriosis- we decided on an IUD.

Some people might think this is drastic to give a 14 year old an IUD. But it was with careful consideration. And because I have my own endometriosis issues, my IUD I got 2 years ago saved my life from debilitating pain. I thought this might be the answer for Emma. She needed to quiet down her reproductive system. Ovulation and menstruation needed to cease for now. They were only causing her pain and misery. We needed help.

The IUD seemed to be an answer on paper, but we learned over the months that her body just didn’t want it. She ended up with new pain from having it in place and took more ibuprofen to get over it.

The ibuprofen got out of hand when around Christmas we went to the ER with horrible pain she was experiencing. I didn’t know if her ovary had twisted, if she had an ulcer or hernia or just an alien trying to come out! She was writhing in pain and after tests they couldn’t find anything ‘wrong’ with her. General surgeons did a consult in the ER and determined she probably had gastritis from heavy doses of Advil. We changed our approach and focused on different pain management.

Visiting a gastroenterologist was our next step. The plan was for her to have an endoscopy to rule out any GI issues. Well, we found something. But sadly, it’s not a ‘fixable’ something. More of a ‘this is how you’re programmed. Sorry’ something.

She has a nervous system disorder that is common among many folks. Her stomach doesn’t empty the acid all the way like it’s supposed to. Acid pools above the stomach causing pain. A sort of reflux situation, that not even your average acid blockers could really do much for. It’s not a stomach issue, it’s a nervous system issue.

The specialist said to me that although this condition is common, it’s the hardest to treat. Because really, there is no treatment. It’s just the way she is.

We tried acupuncture. Three times. Ugh. I love acupuncture and have been going regularly for 5 years. Emma. Not so much. She hated it. When she was in pain, the needles would make her pain worse. She hates needles. She didn’t like lying on the table feeling helpless. She freaked out.

We went to psychologists and pain specialists. She hated them too. They kept talking about her anxiety. She didn’t understand why she needed to go to a head doctor for actual physical pain that she felt in her gut. It made no sense and she resented those appointments. Which probably stalled any progress anyway, right?

When your child is ill or hurting, you get so much advice. Some solicited, some unsolicited. We were suggested to try faith healing, gluten free diets, dairy free diets, rigorous exercise, more tests, getting a second opinion. Yes, all meant with good intentions, but not all realistic or actually helpful.

You know how hard it is to get a second opinion when you had to move mountains for the first opinion? It’s easier said than done.

By this time, we had the IUD removed and she was feeling a lot better. At least we knew one pain was handled. But then our full circle moment came to realization when that was supposed to be one of the ‘solutions’ and now we’re just back to square one.

Time had helped and healed some of her abdominal pain that was residual from the surgery in June.

After 3 specialist departments and hours and hours of appointments, we now knew that basically Emma’s nerves were still reacting to the pain of the cyst rupturing, even though there was no reason for this pain. This happens in appendicitis patients who have a ruptured appendix. They can feel pain in that area for up to a year later.

Amputees feel pain where there isn’t even a limb. Our nerves are amazing, magical, wonderful, devilish, mechanisms of our body sometimes.

Emma was determined to figure out a way to tell her body to stop thinking it was in pain.

And then the universe, God, and all divinity intervened to bring us one more option that I had never even heard of.

Recently, I spoke at a business women’s lunch on how to start a blog for your business. It was the local chapter for Business Among Moms.

I met with a woman who was hoping to learn how a blog could help promote her practice to more clients. We talked about her techniques she practices and what she’s trained in and I told her about Emma’s chronicles. Kalleen who is a licensed EFT therapist, EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques or commonly called Tapping, had helped many people overcome a variety of issues and I mentioned Emma’s situation. She reached out to me and offered a session for Emma.

Sessions can be done at your home. Emma was open to the idea. I told her that it was a method that used meridians in your body, like acupuncture does, but without the needles. This pleased her greatly!

The therapist shows you how to tap on yourself and walks you through the series of taps. What is key to the session is not only the tapping itself, but the phrases and statements you say out loud WHILE you are tapping.

Pain is real. It’s not in your head. It’s not ‘perceived’. It’s honest to gosh real and hurts. No one can argue someone else’s pain. Nobody ever doubted Emma’s pain or that she was ‘faking’ it. There was never the ‘it’s just in your head’ explanation. But pain is held on in the body psychologically not just physically.

Pain manifests carrying three elements- fear, anger and benefits.

Depending how your body came upon the pain, depends upon these elements.

For Emma her fear was that she might have had cancer or something serious with her ovary or reproductive organs. After the cyst ruptured and her pain wouldn’t go away, she thought it was something life threatening or rendering her infertile.

Her anger came when she felt like she should be better after her surgery, but she wasn’t. When her pain interfered with her social activities, school, and quality of life, it made her angry.

The benefits are hard to understand. Benefits despite not being logical, can still be something we hold on to- like a crutch or a cast to protect us. In Emma’s case, she got used to being excused from physical activity, making excuses not to see friends, having an ‘out’ when it came to not having school work done. She didn’t like these benefits, but she started relying on them.

During Kalleen’s time with Emma, the tapping she showed her to do, while she said key phrases usually starting with “Even though…” and ending with “and that’s enough” or “that’s okay” pulled off a scab that Emma didn’t realize she had been building up.

Once she released some of the mental cages that had locked around her pain, she realized some of the control she had over it.

In an hour setting her pain went from a 2 on a pain scale (out of 1-10 and 2 has been her lowest in a long time!) to a 1 on the pain scale! She could tell she felt better in just an hour.

And to be honest, she broke down in tears because of it. She actually cried a lot during the session. It seems to open a flood gate of emotions. Again, because pain has fear, anger and benefits attached to it, she didn’t realize the emotional hold her pain had on her.

If you go to Kalleen’s website you can see a demonstration and explanation of what Tapping is.

I have even used Tapping on myself. The other day I had a migraine, or the start of one. I did a quick application of it

Tapping on the heel of my hand with the fingertips of my other hand saying “even though….”

Tapping on the top of the center of my head “I feel a migraine coming…”

Tapping gently with my fingertips the tops of my eyebrows “I can relax and know…”

Tapping gently along my cheek bones “that it will go away…”

Tapping gently under my nose “after some time…”

Tapping gently on my chin “I will feel better…”

Tapping on top of my pecs “I won’t get a migraine”

Tapping with one hand under my armpit along my rib cage “I feel better.”

You can come up with what you say, or not say anything at all and just gently tap in the places I mention in the order listed. Gently and for 5-7  times each.

It’s remarkable the difference you feel.

I can gladly account that Emma is feeling better and her pain is at an all time low! We are going to do another session with Kalleen, and Emma even said she wants to try acupuncture again.

Things are better today than a year ago and Emma was cast in the school play and is looking forward to feeling ‘normal’ again. Whatever that is for a teenager!

Kalleen generously offered her session with us free of charge in order for me to write this post. But I can honestly and truly say with whole heart that I will happily pay for this in the future as needed.

Finding new ways (even if they are centuries old methods!) of helping deal with pain, stress and struggles in our lives, is always worth it.

Kalleen would be more than willing to answer your questions. You can leave them in the comments or find her on her website- http://neuroeft.com/

Whenever trials and tribulations come our way, you have to ask what the purpose is. And my wish for Emma is not only she will be pain free very soon, but that she will take this journey and always remember the bad ass she is for persevering through this personal hell she was in. I hope in 10 years, she will know better and be stronger for whatever comes her way.

 

 

Jump on in, the water’s fine.

 

frugalista blog jump on in the water's fine

You’re standing on the edge of the high dive. You look down. It feels like 50 feet, but it’s only 15 feet. Your palms sweat. Your breathing staggers.

You back up and climb down the ladder! Holy shit, I’m not jumping from that high!

Don’t blame me if I wouldn’t jump off of a diving board, what with my fear of heights and the fact that I don’t like swimming? I can’t handle it!

But I did do stand-up comedy last weekend, which is practically the same thing.

I know what you’re thinking. I’m a theater major, I perform all the time. What’s the big deal?

The big deal is I’VE NEVER DONE STAND-UP!

Sure, I’ve hosted MamaCon, hosted BabyFest, performed in plays, made my zany YouTube videos; but nothing compares to winging it in front of a live audience trying to be funny, hoping you hear laughter and not quiet cricket chirps.

And to be fair, how does one measure their success performing in front of an audience? Laughter? Applause? Because I heard both. Maybe folks were just being nice. Or they were drunk. So, job well done, right?

Sounds good to me.

I think though what means more to me is how I did something that would scare a lot of people shitless and I lived to tell the story. Some folks handle snakes, some folks jump out of an airplane, ride their bikes off of a ramp, whatever for a thrill. I’m starting to think that performing in front of an audience is my mid-life crisis antidote. It’s the cocaine upper to my every day ordinariness. I like it. I hate it.

When I’m asked to do something, I usually say yes. If I’m asked to address an audience, I don’t scare off easily. If someone asked me to sing the Star Spangled Banner at a Seahawk’s game I would be scared and say no. There’s only so many talents in my wheelhouse!

I met Joanie with Spilt Milk comedy two years ago at MamaCon. She said that one day I should come to Portland and perform with them. SUUUUURE. I can do that.

So back in November, a Facebook message with Joanie went something like this:

Me: Why haven’t you asked me down yet to Portland?

Joanie: I thought you were busy and didn’t want to. How about January?

Me: January? As in for real?

Joanie: Yes. January. We have a Friday show I could use you for.

Me: What should I do?

Joanie: Anything you want.

And then I decided that I wouldn’t just read a blog post like I had done at some other events. I would do some stand up. Like talk to the audience and make them laugh. And then I would put on Spanx. In front of them. On stage. Because somehow, THAT’S easier than telling jokes! I know, I know. I’m weird. What’s the big deal? It’s not underwear. It’s Spanx.

I spent my days and nights running through what I thought was funny, in my head. I muttered to myself while walking the dog. I talked to the mirror alone in the bathroom while blow drying my hair. It’s a process folks. The creative process is complex. I’m sure this is what Sarah Silverman goes through each time. Before she lights up her cannabis pipe, right?

Sometimes, I would lie in bed with my eyes wide open staring at the ceiling while a cold sweat prickled my skin. WHAT WAS I THINKING? I COULDN’T DO THIS! I would yell inside my head. Not outside my head, because James was sleeping next to me.

There was that part of me that wanted to give up. The part of me that was my lower descending colon that would gurgle and bubble every time I thought about trying to get up in front of a crowd just to ‘be funny’.

But I’m no quitter! Who’s a quitter? NOT ME!

Is that from the movie Rudy? I don’t know.

Sometimes what we fear most, makes us stronger and free in the end. I read that on a motivational poster at the KINKOS I went to in the 90s.

I picked a wing man. You know, a buddy that would support me. My wing woman Betsy joined me for the 3 hour drive and split a hotel room with me for the night. She’s been a huge supporter of my blog and books since day one, and I just needed someone to tell me honestly if I sucked but in a nice way while bringing me a soy latte. Or tell me that she peed her pants and she thinks I’m the funniest ever.

I love that when we got to the hotel room that afternoon with a couple of hours to spare before the show, she let me go by myself for a tea at the corner Starbucks and get my thoughts in order. She may not be a performer, but she gets ‘the process’. Some may think a shot of whiskey would have been good for the process, but honestly, I needed to be sharp.

I’d have a gin and tonic before I went on stage anyway. And lots of french fries. Why is it when I get nervous I want to eat?

The intimate little bar held about 60 people. There was a little stage, a microphone and a stool. We even had a green room. You know, the space between the dining area and the restroom backstage. Like all performance venues!

I was to go after Nikki Schulak. Nikki does readings and is a humorist. She always cracks me up. Her book, “My Mid-life Thong Crisis” is a hoot. There’s some body hair and dimpling involved. I like that Nikki read about diets and Prozac and eating her way through Europe.

I decided that during her set, I should probably stand up and get on deck. I felt my legs wobble. Was I capable of this? I mean, what the hell was I doing? I didn’t have anything written down. I had a few jokes that I felt packed a bit of a punch. Hoped they at least would giggle. Maybe snicker under their breath.

So up I went with my package of  Spanx and nerves of steel.

I threw out a couple of labia jokes and used a few choice phrases, and oh my gosh- they laughed!

I won’t spoil it for you. You can watch the videos here.

When I was finished, I felt like I climbed fricking Mt. Everest! Tired and winded? Sort of. But mostly exhilarated. I did it! I faced my fear and I did it!

You know what? It felt fucking awesome.

I might do it again. We’ll see.

What ladder to the high dive will you climb?

Is there something you’re afraid of but really want to do? Do it.

Just fucking do it.

frugie blog in spanx

 

 

 

Girl crush Friday

Meghan Trainor. Who’s that? Let me tell you.

Frugalista Blog Girl Crush Friday All About That Bass

By the end of today I will get a song stuck in your head for sure.

But in a good way!

Yes, this summer has been all about Iggy, and Ariana, and Pharell. But, for me, it’s been ALL ABOUT THAT BASS.

And that’s BASS pronounced (bayse). Just so we’re clear.

You probably have never heard of her- Meghan Trainor. An adorable 20 year old from Massachusetts, who is probably considered the American Adele with her raspy mature voice, retro cute looks in her video and vocal pipes.

But I think she’s Meghan all on her own. Not just an Adele comparison. No offense Adele, you’re awesome.

Let’s talk about her single and her video.

All About That Bass is an anthem of sorts but not just for fat girls. No. It’s chorus,

“My momma she told me don’t worry about your size”

and “You think you’re fat. But every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.” needs to be shouted from the mountain tops. I wish it could be piped in the halls of high schools everywhere. These words need to resonate with girls all over of all sizes!

Whether you’re a size 0 or size 16. The body image thing isn’t overdone. Trust me. Because girls are still looking in the mirror comparing themselves to magazine pictures. My daughter included. And myself.

So let’s “Bring booty back” and not worry about numbers but revel in our (s)ass and glory! Yeah!

Whenever this song came on the radio this summer, my daughter and I blasted it and broke out in our best moves. Even in the car.

Here’s the video that is immensely popular. Anything with retro looking Betty Draper style mixed with cotton candy explosion of pastel colors, pretty much begs me to love and adore it like a new kitten.

And if the tune ain’t your thing, no biggy. Just remember that ‘You’re perfect from the bottom to the top’.

Meghan, you go on with your fine self. And if you ever want to go makeup shopping and shoe shopping, call me. I know a great place next to the best donut shop!

If that’s not cute enough, here she is on Jimmy Fallon:

 

The lost bouquet

 

 The Lost Bouquet by Frugalista Blog, wedding, anniversaries, marriage, bridal

 

If you’re like me, you pretty much obsessed over every wedding detail since you were five.

Of course, by the time I was 25 things changed. Like, I wasn’t going to have a horse-drawn carriage or a dress with a hoop skirt. The 80s of my childhood consisted of a lot of Princess Diana wedding dreams. Then my teens and early twenties took me to an obsession with Jackie Kennedy. So much so that I found a very similar wedding dress like the one she wore when she married John.

And in my typical fashion, it was on sale!

That’s pretty much where my Jackie Kennedy vision ended. Except for the wrist length gloves and strand of pearls I wore. But there were no dignitaries, senators, or heads of state at our wedding. And we also had a budget, so no old Bouvier money to pay for the jazz band I ordered.

I found a florist that I simply fell in love with. She created a ‘Martha Stewart’ type portfolio of lush foliage. And actually, Martha Stewart had only just started her Weddings empire in the early 90s, so all of this seemed ahead of its time. I kept in mind the orange blossom and narcissus flowers Jackie had used, but I also had a theme of hydrangeas throughout. Hydrangeas everywhere!

When we headed out for pictures the morning of the wedding with my bridesmaids, I was tucked in the backseat of my dear friend, Melissa’s Subaru Outback. My dress spilling over me, I dare not move, but the flowers had arrived and I wanted to see my bouquet. She brought it to me in the car and I carried it on my lap in its delicate cool-petaled glory. It was fragrant and felt just the right weight in my hand. I arrived at the park that had the rose garden we reserved  for pictures and for my groom to get his first glimpse of his bride.

It all went perfectly well. The clouds hung over us like they were about to rain, but held off, not sprinkling but creating a reflective veil of lighting for the photographer.

I felt fabulous in my dress. I felt terribly uncomfortable in my shoes! But that’s another story. They sure were adorable. Everyone looked beautiful. I held on to my bouquet tightly. It was an anchor for the day. Giving me something to do with my hands, drawing me in to its delicate, sweet scent. Scent is a powerful thing. It settles back in our ole factory glands and burns itself in our memory vault.

I had the florist make a mini bouquet for the bouquet toss at the reception. It was a sweet little nosegay of similar flowers so I could spare my bouquet and have it as a keepsake.

By the end of the festivities and cake cutting, garter throwing and first dances, so much was happening and time was running out to get changed and to our honeymoon suite. I felt like Cinderella at the ball. I didn’t want it to end, but the clock kept ticking and even though I wasn’t going to turn into any pumpkins, we had to keep a schedule. I knew my bridal party would look after all the cleanup and details that bridal parties do. All our bouquets were on the cake table to add to the floral decor. I needed to change and run off with my husband for our wedding night. Things like where to store my petticoats and paying the caterer were left to all my ladies in waiting of moms, aunts, bridesmaids, sisters, etc. I knew things would be handled.

The next day at my parent’s house was a wedding breakfast. An all day open house that gave us time to soak up each others company and bask in the post wedding glow. For friends and family that traveled from afar to be with us, this was an extra special day that gave us that time to share without so much of the craziness of the previous day’s events.

I saw many of the centerpieces from the reception displayed throughout my mom’s living room and patio.

“Where’s my bouquet?” I asked her.

After going through each and every box, vase and display, my bouquet wasn’t anywhere. Not one of my bridesmaids remembers picking it up.

Strange, because most of the flowers made it back to my parent’s house. How could this particular piece not?

I didn’t get too upset over it. Heck. Lots of things could have gone awry for the occasion and that was such a minor thing. So many of my cherished people were working so hard to make this day a success, what was a little detail like ‘we lost the bride’s bouquet’ going to really add up to in the end?

Anyway, we had a two week honeymoon ahead of us to New England to see the sights of Cape Code, Vermont and the shores of Maine. There wasn’t any need to worry about some dumb flowers.

After returning from my honeymoon, I still needed to get some last few personal belongings from my apartment I shared with my roommate, also a bridesmaid. I let myself in when she was at work, and packed up my final box of whatever. I noticed her bridesmaid’s bouquet sitting on a side table. It was drying and looked like a still life reminder of the fabulous event that had just happened two weeks prior. I felt a let-down of sorts.

It was over. All the planning and dreaming, magazine clippings, dress shopping, fantasizing was done. I had had my wedding that I wanted. It was a dream come true.

I was jealous I didn’t have a bouquet of my own drying on an end table.

One year later, celebrating our first anniversary, we had planned a weekend getaway to Victoria, B.C. We were going to visit the gardens and have high tea. It would give us that feeling of the wedding that took place among the gardens and flowers a year prior.

The night before we were to leave as we’re packing, James tells me to close my eyes and he wants to give me my present.

I’ve had presents and surprises from him before. Mountain bikes. Hmm, that didn’t go over well. Ice cream cakes. Okay, sweet, but I’m lactose intolerant. I figured this would be something charming and funny in his typical style.

I didn’t cheat. I kept my eyes shut. But I could smell it before I could see it. The fragrance hit the back of my sensory triggers and brought me all the way back to the beautiful day a year before when I married this man.

There was my bouquet. Not the same one from the wedding, but an exact replica he had the florist recreate.

I cried.

Its petals were cool and soft. It had the same weight of the first one, anchoring me in place as a bride. Orange blossom, freesia, roses and narcissus wafted above.

I couldn’t stop looking at it, smelling it and holding it. Much like a little girl getting a new doll, I was enraptured with my bouquet! I also, was unbelievably overwhelmed with gratitude and fulfillment that the man I married could see into my feelings and heart so much to know this mattered to me.

It meant more than any jewelry or crystal, paper or clocks, that any anniversary list could have.

I kept that bouquet for 16 years. I only just threw it away after going through a revamp of my living room. It was disintegrating and dusty. I didn’t preserve it professionally. I didn’t need to.

I had had my fill of my flowers, I had my memories and pictures. And I had my husband who cared so much about me and understood sentimentality like I could only hope.

It was a dream come true, that I hadn’t even dreamed in the first place.