Saturday, December 11, 2010

The One Where my Brain Betrays Me... Again

This is one of many reasons why giraffes ROCK.
I'm procrastinating right now.  You see, I have some very important papers to write.  The final two papers of my college career, in fact.  And even though I was burnt out on English literature before this semester even started, I have to get through these two last papers.  And then two last exams.  And then I bother both colleges' registrar offices one last time to transfer my grades and BOOM.  Diploma.  Natch.

But I just can't make it happen.  I keep staring at the page, hoping that something will come to me, and nothing does.  Or, something does, but halfway through my thought I start to lose it again...

It doesn't help that stress makes my Lyme flare up, so I've been feeling like crap for the last two weeks.  Which has made me miss work and fall behind in schoolwork.  Which makes me more stressed.  You see what I'm getting at here.

It also doesn't help that when my Lyme flares, mental symptoms like brain fog and forgetting words kick in.  So I'm so close to an idea or a thesis statement but I Just. Can't. Get. The. Words. Out.

But it's more than that, really.  That's a huge part of the puzzle, and it's not making things any easier, but a lot of this is psychological.  You see, I failed not one, but two semesters in a row in 2008.  And that's after leaving early in the Fall of 2007 and not finishing my coursework til March.  So the end of the semester is a particularly stressful time for me, in large part because all of the signals tell my brain we're about to hear terrible news and disappoint our family and ourself and have to go live at home and be depressed and no one will love us because we can't succeed and that's unacceptable.  The pathways of stress for this time of year are so well-carved in my brain that it takes most of the willpower I have (and it's not as much as I wish it were) just to keep from curling into a little ball and sleeping until January.  A January in which I would have no diploma and be in debt, but would have been able to avoid the stress that my brain thinks will absolutely destroy me if I continue feeling it.
Cool stripe tights.  Imma google them.
...Then I'll TOTALLY get shit done.  Swearsies.

It's illogical, of course, but I'm really not sure why I keep getting mad at myself for that.  People are illogical.  And it's not always bad.  Pure logic can have devastating consequences, and there are things that, if they could be explained better, might not be as magical or thrilling... Like love.  Or the universe.  Or God.  Or beauty.  But I do get bad when I'm illogical, because I know I can't trust my emotions all the time, and I want to be able to trust some line of reasoning all the time.  I want an overarching law, something to hold everything else against in order to judge its verity or value.  I want a constant.  More on that later though.  Not this post.

Anyway, these damaged neural pathways are making me do all kinds of crazy things.  For instance, on Wednesday I had my last classes.  At the very end of the last one, this happened:

Professor: ...and that about wraps it up.  Hope you guys have had a good semester!  See you at the final!  Oh, and Robyn, would you stay after please?

Me [outwardly nodding]: Oh dear sweet baby Jesus I won't survive this day.

People begin to shuffle past me, getting in line to talk to the professor about the final.  I do not get in line in case it's bad; if I'm failing, I certainly don't want these nincompoops to know about it.  I wait for what couldn't have been more than ten minutes, but FEELS like an entire class period.  I am in limbo, and there is no time.

Me [thinking]: Okay, you can't be failing.  Most of the grades are the paper and the final.  You've done well on the brief essays.  You've attended most classes.  Ohmigosh.  MOST. What if she has a super secret attendance policy?? What if it's like, you miss 4 classes, you pass, you miss five, YA FIRED.  Oh my gosh what if she chastises me.  What if she tells me I'm not fit to be in school.  "School is for sick people."  Maybe that other professor bitch was right.  Oh dear goodness gracious it is medically impossible that I will survive the next five minutes.  Also?  That could totally be my way out.  Can't fail dead people, bitch.  Owned.

Professor: Oh, right, Robyn!  So we decided you would attend the final an hour late, right?  Since you have another one that morning?

Me [dazed by the rapidness of the clouds lifting and blinded by the sunlight now pouring into my life]: Ye-YES.  YES WE MOST CERTAINLY DID. GOOD DAY MA'AM.  HAVE A LOVELY HOLIDAY!

Believe it or not, it actually felt much more dramatic than that at the time.  Swear to whatever will convince you I'm not joshin' you.

And now I'm going to end with a cartoon from Hyperbole and a Half because she has perfectly illustrated my paranoia.  The rest of the post is awesome too and I highly recommend it.  I have a creepy and unhealthy love for this woman I've never met.  I'd like to say that's unusual for me.  I'd really like to say that.
Link to post-
Oh, also?  Come back later when I reveal the sorts of craziness I've been wreaking on my relationships.  Because obviously it's better to destroy EVERYTHING and at least be thorough.  Right?  ...right?

First two images from Last image from

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Merry Christmas

It's a little early, but I got you guys a present:

He so loves his life right now.
And don't worry.  I'm sure there will be many, MANY more pictures of me torturing dressing up my cats in cool, new outfits that they totally love.  You're welcome, internet.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Phoning it in...

This doesn't count as a real post, y'all, but I have to leave for work and wanted to share this:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Notice me (notice me), Notice me! (notice me)

This song has been making me SO happy lately.  What a cute little diddy. :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

And then there was a time that wasp stung me. IN THE FACE.

I drew these at work.  Enjoy.

Minding my own business.  Putting on makeup to cover the last
time she stung me, when she hid in my face towel .  Bitch.

She rises majestically from her throne beneath my faucet.

Holy. Crap.  She is the wasp version of one of those Jersey Shore bitches.
Also, you should be imagining the "Darth Vader" theme music during this slide.

Obviously, I do battle with her.  NOT.  My "fight or flight" responses are heavily weighted toward flight.  See ya!

Done... I think?

Maybe if I made the margins wider?  Or changed the font?
Is this color too garish?? Oh bother...
I *think* I'm done messing with the blog design for now, but I'll probably come back and play with it more later.  If anyone knows a good system for learning HTML on one's own (like a particularly helpful website or book), I'd love to check that out.  My limited computer skills mean I'm never quite happy with the way things turn out!

This weekend was great, btw.  Didn't get sick, other than from too much funnel cake, saw some awesome friends and my fantastic little sister, and made it home in one piece to my friends, family, and the boy back up here.  I'm still not thrilled about taking the bright yellow, goopy, anti-malaria medicine (it's Mepron, btw), but you know what?  Things most definitely could be (and hi, have been) worse!

Also... NaNoWriMo starts next Monday!  Woohoo!  Who's ready to hit their head against a computer keyboard for 30 days?  I AM, I AM!  If you're a part of the insanity, you can find my page here and we can be the kind of crazy friends who attempt to write a novel in a month and cheer each other on at three in the morning.  Which is the best kind, really.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Under Construction

It's that time again, kiddies.  I want to start blogging more since NaNoWriMo is coming up, which is always ca-razy!  And I started a bunch of new medicines, including anti-malaria drugs, so that should just be a rollercoaster of fun and happiness.  Either way, this blog is a mess, and I intend to clean it up.  But it may get worse before it gets better.  Sorry!  I'll let you know when it's totally done!

Thanks for putting up with me my loves,

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

*knock-knock* "Hello? Oh crap. No freakin' way. NOT YOU AGAIN."

No news is good news, or so they say, and the last few months, I'm happy to report, have been chock full of good news!  My classes are going swimmingly, I love everyone at my part-time job at Border's, and I've started dating someone whom I just love being around.  My best friend is back from Canada and I get her all to myself tomorrow night, and I've even managed to reconnect with friends who make me proud to call myself their friend.  Really, I can't emphasize this enough: in the general scheme of my life, this is a pretty good time to be me.

And yet... it's back.  By "it," those of you with personal knowledge of the big scary monster under the bed known as "my disease" (or "your disease," that's kind of my point), will understand my trepidation at even the tiniest signs that I could be thrust back into last year's state of affairs.

Click for larger image.  Dooo it, do it.

It started last night nearing the end of an ambitiously long day.  I got up at 6:30 to finish homework for a 9 am class, was in class until 1:15, drove straight to work where I stood without sitting at a kiosk for four hours straight, had dinner break from 6-7, and then ran around as a floater between the different stores for the next 2 hours.  I could feel it starting in my first class.  My hands starting to gnarl up, my joints locking and pretending to inflame.  No bueno.  I ignored it through my second class and went to work, where my back and shoulders started to follow suit.  Sometime around 4 pm the crazy part of my brain started to suggest that maybe all this standing had actually caused my bones to get mini-hairline-fractures, because that's what my calves were starting to feel like.  By the time 7 pm floater time came around, I was gripping stock between the palms of my hands to avoid having to curl my fingers into anything resembling a grip.

Ok, that part was kind of funny.  I looked really ridiculous.  My coworker was obviously nicer than me, because I probably would have laughed at the spectacle.  Well, maybe not, but I can laugh at myself anyway.

So now here I am, unable to hold my own body weight up with my arms, in pure awe that I finished this post, and seriously worried that this period of health I've been enjoying was a cosmic joke.  Sorry to be such a downer today, guys, but some days are just depressing, ya know?  And yeah, I'm calling my doctor today.  Provided I can work the buttons on the damn phone.  I'm kicking myself for scoffing at voice recognition technology. IT NEVER DIALS WHAT YOU TELL IT TO.  But, on the upside, no painful button pushing... and hey, maybe the random Hispanic man I end up accidentally calling will help connect me to my doctor.  Plus I'll make a new awesome friend.  Silver lining! Kind of! Whatever, I need a win today, so it counts!

Image courtesy of Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half fame.
Click that link for the rest of the article.  She's AWESOME.

Speaking of needing wins, the new episode of "How I Met Your Mother" is hilarious.  Check it out immediately.  Robyn out.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Stop the world, I want to get off!

"The World Spins Madly On" by The Weepies, set to scenes from Across the Universe

My best friend pointed out in an email today that I've not been posting much.  While I think she was probably referring to my other blog, I just don't have the patience for a fashion post today.  In fact, I don't have the patience for much of anything lately, and that's kind of exactly the problem.  My health problems, today at least, are of my own creation.  My back and hips are killing me and I'm exhausted and a little nauseated.  I have unidentified bruises and unfortunately identified scrapes, all because I let my drinking take on a "no brain cell left behind" kind of fervor this past Saturday.  For the record, it was fun, and I'm not getting on anyone's back for the same behavior.  Sometimes it's totally okay and even downright HEALTHY to let loose and just have a good time, but my knowledge of myself and all of the tiny but telling things I've been doing to myself the past couple of weeks let me know that something's not quite right.  I'm off my diet, I'm unfocused, I'm completely aimless.  The only productive activity I've been keeping up with really is running, and that's more because, emotionally, it satisfies my need to escape from myself right now.

THE PENDULUM EFFECT.  Except this is just a picture of a pendulum.
But you get where I was going with this, right?

My best friend also pointed out that I may just be suffering from the pendulum effect.  I was stuck inside my house for so long, almost two years really.  I wasn't even able to go to my lame ass five-year reunion, which would have been fine if it were for the same reasons most of my friends skipped it-- they have a life, they're out of town, did I mention it was kind of lame?  But what BUGGED me about it was that the reason I missed it was because I was sick.  I was less than a mile away from the damn thing, under my covers, praying for my pain medication to kick in and let me sleep.

So her point was that now that I'm feeling better, it's completely natural to kick out in the opposite direction and try to do everything at once.  I'm applying for jobs, applying for a loan, trying to be at every party and reconnect with every person that I lost during my two-to-three-year absence from life.  And I'm being self-destructive while I'm at it.  I'm running around like the proverbial headless chicken, and I think the reason I'm doing it is because I'm so fantastically afraid that any minute, my time will be up, and I'll be sick again.  And I'll have to wait another two-to-three years to be fun again.  To be 24 again.  Or 21 again.  Or, what would it be then, 27 again?  The irony of the situation, of course, is that my current bedridden-ness-- the reason I slept til 2 and have spent my day wearing a path between the couch and the sofa-- is solely because of this kind of unhealthy behavior.  Because I've been super responsible at times to no end at all, and so now I'm testing to see exactly how irresponsible I can be before my body completely gives up on me.  And it's not healthy.  And frankly, it's starting to screw with my head in a big way.

So, readers, please meet me where I am today.  How do you move forward in a life where nothing is certain?  How do you move beyond punishing your body for being such a douchelord for so long?  Oh, and while I'm at it, how do you write a blog post where you don't use words like douchelord because your mom reads this blog?  HI MOM.

Seriously, I've got to know.  How do you get over the "tragedy" of your lost youth and just move forward with LIFE before that is lost too?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Failure at Facebook, but maybe not so much at life?

Well, for the record, my no-Facebook pledge lasted maybe an hour before I got an email in my inbox and, you know, just HAD to go respond right away.  Oh brother.  I'll try again later when my will is more stalwart, but for now I think I've still dialed down some of the obsessiveness.  Though leaving the house would surely help as well.  I'm not housebound physically anymore, but since I currently work from home (freelance) and am fairly broke (um, results of the freelancing...), I don't have many reasons to leave the house during the day other than doctor's appointments and occasionally running/walking.  I do still go out at night sometimes, but it's just not the same-- sunlight makes me happy!  I'm just starting to feel like a vampire or something.  Bleh.
My doctor's appointment on Monday went just fine.  Dr. M. put me back on antibiotics, but just doxycycline and not the other two, in order to mitigate the negative tummy reactions.  I'm still on probiotics and she prescribed a bunch of different supplements that I now have to go about collecting.  They're all from random online companies, too... one even from an Ebay store run by another doctor.  I've kind of been putting it off, but I'm totally going to get on that tomorrow.  By now, I've mostly learned my lesson about putting off my health for too long just because I feel fine now. Preventative action is the name of the game, people.
In other news, I've actually been exercising lately.  Strange, right?  I've already got shin splints, but I'm determined to keep at it.  I've been 3 separate times in the last week, which is pretty on target for me.  I used to imagine the clothes I could wear if I were toned enough as an incentive to make myself work harder (yeah, I'm one of those girls sometimes.  What of it?).  I realize that's shallow or whatever, but if it works, it works.

It's not what I'm going on anymore though.  I try to imagine myself the way I was before I got sick, one semester in particular when I really got into running at night (unsafe but exhilerating), took up yoga, played intramural softball, and started rock-climbing for fun.  I felt strong. Solid.  Invincible.  Of course the next semester I became terribly ill, so there goes the whole invincible theory, but the point is that I've felt health and I'm trying so desperately to feel it again.  This is really cheesy, but I like to listen to Fort Minor's "Remember the Name," while I run to remind myself that anything worth having is hard work-- it's not just me and how life is unfair blah blah blah ad nauseum, lol.  Maybe it's silly, but the song makes me feel empowered and tends to send any leftover victim mentality issues right out the door.  I'm not in control of everything, but I'm in control of some things, and it's dumb to whine about how hard they are.  It doesn't make them any easier or get them done any more quickly.

Oh, one last tidbit before I go.  I heard back from WFU that I actually only have one more English class to take, which means that the last class can be anything I choose.  Woohoo!  I think I'm going to take a journalism class by this awesome professor who guest-taught one of my classes last semester.  She talked about social media and online journalism and how exciting the changing world we live in is.  I dug it.  So I emailed her and she's going to make room for me in the class.  Hooray!  She writes books about living simply, and her blog is here if you're curious.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Saving myself from... myself. I'm pretty fearsome you know.

Gah.  I think I seriously need to go on a Facebook fast.  That's actually WHY I'm posting tonight, just to warn you all.  I've been in this crazy reconnect mode, which is good, but it's causing me to get semi-obsessive about Facebook, which isn't normal.  I've been doing all this reading about dating in the digital age recently because it's just such a weird phenomenon, this brave new world of technology and how it's changing the most fundamental ways we relate to people.  I bring it up because it occurred to me tonight that if I feel the need to connect with someone, I log on Facebook.  Or I send an email, or I get on Twitter and just send out the equivalent of a mass text.  You know what I don't do?  PICK UP MY TELEPHONE AND ACTUALLY CALL SOMEONE WITH IT.

I mean, maybe I'll send a text message. Maybe.  But a phone call, in this day and age, feels so... invasive. Isn't that weird?  With a few mouse clicks I can see someone's online social history for the last year.  If I want, I can read what my friends are saying to each other, and I can see all the events I'm missing.  And yet straightforwardly calling someone and actually asking for their precious, non-digital time feels really presumptuous.  Even with people I know really well!  Seriously, kids, is it just me?

Anyway, I haven't really figured out this whole Facebook dilemma and, frankly, I should probably be putting all that cognitive energy into something revenue-producing, like my freelance work, or into that novel I like to pretend I'm writing.  But instead I'm now making massive lists of new blog names, with my cousin's help, and trying to figure out how to take all of these driving-me-crazy thoughts and siphon them off into a place where I can get some feedback.  So I'm going to take a massive chill pill and take the next, let's say, three whole days away from Facebook.  And maybe I'll go get my damn cell phone fixed too so I can stop checking my text messages (it no longer makes a noise or anything when I get one, and I've missed a lot, so now I'm all paranoid).

In other, slightly more relevant news, I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow.  Some of you have been sweet enough to ask me how my treatment's going, and hopefully I'll have some more answers as of tomorrow.  I'm feeling great, to be honest, but just 2 weeks ago I got pitifully sick (back to the bed-ridden, writhing pain kind of thing) and had to take a break from the antibiotics.  So I'm probably going to have to start taking those again, provided the Lyme didn't just decide to up and leave.  Which would also be just fine by me.  I need to stop being such a priss about some of the medical tests too.  When I was miserable, I did ANYTHING they asked me to (weird science, anyone?).  Now that I'm feeling better, I have more things on my to-do list than just my medical care (yay!) and sometimes when they want me to do some complicated test... I dunno I just put it off.  Not responsible in the least, I know, but it's what I've been doing and I need to redouble my efforts.  On a positive note, however, I've started exercising again, so that's good.  I overdid it a little last week, but I went for a nice long run today and actually feel relaxed now instead of sore.  Amazing.  Borderline miraculous, to tell you the truth.

Oh, and there's this:

That's all I got for today.  I answered everyone's comments in a massive comment on my last post, so if you're one of the sweet people who offered your kickass support, please check out my comment back!   You've all been so unbelievably awesome on this journey.  It's such a weird thing to have to explain-- you kind of have to experience it.  And I appreciate so much that you take the time to share and commiserate and cheerlead and all the other awesome ways you guys have reached out to me.  So thank you for sticking by me, even when good health calls me back to the land of the living and I miss the whole month of June.  Oops. Please pray that I'm not jinxing myself and that I continue to get better!  I know it's not all of your belief system, and that's cool, but I do pray for a lot of you and really care that your daily and long-term needs get met and that you find peace and happiness and, hopefully, healing.

Okay I'm done gushing.  Gross.

First image found at
Second image:
Third image courtesy of me. You're welcome.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


So, it's 2:08 am and I'm still awake.  Not really insomnia this time around... nope this is just good, old-fashioned, night-owl-ish-ness combined with a healthy dose of I-don't-give-a-damn.

Nessie over at lipstick, perfume, and too many pills gave me this sweet blog award, which I will try my darnedest to post on tomorrow.  Thanks, Nessie!  Truly the best part of this, though, was checking out all the other blogs that Nessie gifted the award too because, damn, this girl could be a blog curator if there were such a thing as a blog museum.  I'm just having a blast going through these puppies.  There's RA Guy, who draws comics, of which I am ALWAYS a fan (Hyperbole and a Half much?). Amanda over at All Flared Up is FUNNY in that awesome, irreverent sort of way, which can seem taboo sometimes when you're feeling as crappy as we sometimes do.  And Helen from Pens and Needles is starting to feel like my long-lost friend the more I read her posts.  So really, much fun to be had tonight on the interwebz.

But I think what I like best about reading blogs from other people with chronic illness-- and especially other young, single people with chronic illness-- is the fact that they make the same mistakes I do.  And that sometimes you can't even really call them mistakes because it's not like we took a gamble. I *know* what happens when I drink, and I *know* what happens when I stay out too late, and I *know* what happens if I push myself too hard for too long.  Yeah.  I get it.  The whole fragility thing.  Womp womp womp.

But, sometimes, I just don't care. I'm sorry.  Sometimes, if I'm not feeling my worst, and I have that anxious, "gotta get out of this house-," "my God I'm 24 years old and I never have any fun"- feeling... well, I'm going to get out of this house and have some fun.  And sometimes it's a mistake.  And sometimes it's the best thing I could have done for myself.  Because whether or not I get better after all, I'm not waiting around for my life to start.  It's happening.  Right now.  Right this very freakin' minute. And sometimes the threat of a crash just doesn't measure up to the threat of reaching 25 and thinking, what the hell did I DO last year?

So that's where I am right now.  Please don't judge me if one day my posts are about how I can't get out of bed, and the next day I'm on my way to a series of events.  Or sharing dumb stories about the stupid things people say in bars.  Or taking overly ambitious road trips.  Or even chaperoning a church youth camp in the middle of this heat wave (something I'm actually considering for next week, depending on how these stomach issues pan out).  It doesn't always mean I'm feeling that much better (though sometimes it does and that's awesome); it just means I'm juuuust enough better to start living my life again.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Oh, blogging, why are you so difficult right now?

It's been over two months since I've posted, and you know the old adage:  No news is good news. Unfortunately, this counts as news, so- you guessed it- I'm sick again.  I don't really have any details.  I haven't called the doctor yet and I don't know how long it will last, but I've been feeling bad for the last five days and it's been getting progressively worse each day.  It could just be a stomach bug, but having been chronic for so long, I'm definitely a bit overly-anxious these days!

And honestly, I'm having some issues with the lines between blog life and real life.  As I start to step back into the fold of... what? The rest of the world?  Normal-paced living?  Something like that.  Anyway, I've been feeling better, starting to move faster and see more people on a normal basis, and I'm just really cautious about being that girl who over-shares.  Because this blog is publicly attached to me, anyone can find me, and some of my more avid followers include my mom, my aunt and cousin in Ohio, and my little sisters.  So when things happen that I want to blog about-- like my penchant for being approached by only engaged/married/divorced men in bars  or the difficulty in differentiating between hangover-sick and beginning-of-crash-sick-- I generally decide against the risk.  I'm not really sure what to do with that right now.

Basically, it's hard being single, young, and sick.  Or should it be "BUT sick," in a way that kind of cancels out any dateability or friendability points gained by the first two factors?  It's weird.  I haven't worked in awhile, I'm not in school full-time, and I've been house-bound for the past couple years.  Soooo my social circle has shrunk quite a bit.  I love the people I know, but I worry about strangling them with my neediness, especially now that I've hit that 3-month post-relationship loneliness huddle.

So that's what's going on.  I have lots of thoughts and no idea what the rules are for Internet-sharing.  I'm trying not to let the Internet get in the way of all the things I need to start doing (part-time job, sign up for classes, start searching for a real career...), and I'm starting to have a little trouble staying sane through it all.  Of course, my body went ahead and slowed things down for me, so thanks for that, body.  Way to hold it down.  Or something.

Anyway, how do you guys decide how much to share?  I mean, really, if the point of doing this is getting to know people (thus showing my true self), being real, and you know, staying sane, how do you share what you want without cringing at the thought of your mom or distant friend or ex reading it?

Also, in unrelated news:  I'm watching an E! Special on Justin Bieber and COMPLETELY developing Bieber fever.   I just want to put him in my pocket for whenever I get sad.  So cute!  In a completely legal and appropriate way, thanks. :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Weird Science

I was chatting with Annie of "It's Time to Get Over How Fragile You Are," and somehow it came up that I had tried a magnetic mattress pad for about a month while trying to find a treatment that would help me sleep and give me more energy.  I know a lady who swears by her magnetic bed, and she let me borrow a mattress pad she had that was the same technology.

I'm glad it helped my friend, but for me, it was a total no-go.  I could feel all the spots where the magnets were and it just felt really uncomfortable.  After a month I decided I was actually sleeping worse (which I didn't know was possible...), so I gave this treatment the boot.

Anyway, it got me thinking about all the advice I've gotten from well-meaning and often times informed (and some not-so-informed) people over the years, and I've gotta know...

What's the WEIRDEST piece of advice you've been given regarding your illness?  What's the weirdest treatment that you've actually tried??

Saturday, April 10, 2010

What about ME?

This is the trailer for a new UK documentary about CFS entitled, "What about ME?"  ME, of course, is a double entendre because it also refers to the UK name for the disease, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).  As Alison noted over at Blog Wormwood, "sounds much scarier, doesn't it?"

I haven't been able to get the website ( to work, but here is what Alison had to say about the making of this documentary:

On their list of people interviewed, I recognize Dr. Sarah Myhill, Dr. Charles Shepherd, and Anette Whittmore, founder of the Whittmore-Peterson Institute, which funded the groundbreaking XMRV study.

"People are suffering. But they are being told it’s all in the mind. Our aim is to investigate ME further, to put the plight of an ME sufferer in the public’s consciousness and to encourage further research and health policy reform. We hope to spread the word through this website which will have videos and podcasts on ME, short virals on the ME situation delivered multi-platform, a TV documentary aimed at a prime-time audience, a worldwide theatrical release and a docu-drama dramatizing an ME sufferer’s struggle, based on the novel “The State of Me,” by Nasim Marie Jafry."
I'd like to get my hands on that novel, and I really hope that this documentary gets made, because this story needs to be told.  Here's the trailer... it's definitely worth a watch, even if you don't know anything about CFS/ME.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Owning My Story

After my diet change, I intended to write a post about what I could and couldn't eat.  I was going to take pictures, make comparisons between my old stand-bys and my new fill-ins, joke about my wine and sugar addictions and my subsequent withdrawal symptoms... you know, the works.

One small problem:  I don't really find it that interesting.

I think that I'm at that phase of my blog journey when I feel the need to define this blog and its purpose.  "This is a health blog," I told myself.  "This is where I blog about my health and all my screwy symptoms and my many doctors.  This is where I find other patients who get it and we talk about how our lives have been changed by health."

But really, I didn't start this blog to talk about my health, or lack thereof.  I started this blog to talk about everything that was affected by my health.  MY LIFE! 

I went to church this past Sunday for Easter and the pastor said a really great thing in prayer that stuck with me.  He told us to thank God for our story, no matter how hard that may seem sometimes.  And just like that, I was able to see my life a little more clearly.  This isn't the end, and it's not the beginning, but it's part of the story, and that's okay.  If God is the author of my story, then I know it will be beautiful.  I just have to trust Him and live my life and own my story!

I've been slowly going through the diaries of Anais Nin, a French author who died in the 1970s, because I just love the way she uses words.  She croons her life story to you.  Anyway, she's training under a psychoanalyst in New York City named Dr. Otto Rank, and she's describing his patients' troubles:

The sick came endlessly, each one who was cured brought father, mother, sister, brother, friend.  They multiplied in an alarming degree.  Was this a new illness, born of our own times?  No time for love, no time for friendship, no time for confidences.

Rank touches all things with the magic of meaning.  Those who come to him are like the blind, the dumb, the deaf.  When he discovers the "plot" of their life, they become interested.  This interest saves them.  This plot created by the unconscious slowly reveals itself to be more interesting than any detective story.  Rank uncovers the links, webs, patterns.  It is endlessly interesting, full of surprises.

Then, after Anais begins to see her own patients, she makes the following remarks:

Analysis accelerates growth, maturity, but changes come more slowly than insight.  The patterns have deep roots and take time to change.

I avoid all clinical language because as a writer I believe language has power.  I also take much trouble to describe each character, each motivation as unique, not to give the patients the feeling of being classified.

Science may heal, but it is the poetic illumination of life which makes my patients fall in love with life, which makes them recover their appetite for it.

This is what the blog is really about for me: falling back in love with my life.  Accepting my story and starting to do a bit of the writing of it myself.  Extracting the meaning from my days so that this time of my life will not have been in vain.

What about you?   If your life story had a genre, what would it be and why?  What would it take for you to fall back in love with your life?

All photos from WeHeartIt.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Oh how remiss!

I don't have time to post much, but I realized I hadn't posted in 10 whole days, so DON'T WORRY, INTERNETZ FRIENDS!  I'm still alive, and I'll post later about the foods I can eat that replace my old comfort foods.   I'm still following along with all of your blogs, and I have much love for you all!

My new hobby-- cartooning my way through my week.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

TMI Thursdays... kind of.

My new favorite humor/life blogger, Lilu, started this blog trend called "TMI Thursdays."  Now, to preface this post, this is not your average TMI Thursday post.  So, Lilu, I adore you and read these posts voraciously, but you should probably not share this one with your readers, seeing as illness tends to make people way more uncomfortable than lewdness, drunkness, and STDs... put together.

Sad, but true?

Anyway, in mild concurrence with the spirit of the event, I must confide that I am slightly drunk.  Yup. Had multiple glasses of a really classy wine with the moniker, "Cat Pee."  I'm a *classy* gal, yessiree.

I do not drink that often since it sometimes interferes with my many, many meds.  You guys probably understand this.

But, you (hopefully!) also may have read my post where I shared, among other things, my undying love for anything Italian.  This love DEFINITELY extends to wine.  And pasta.   And really good pizza that you can only find in Italy.  And clothes.  Oh, and did I mention, WINE AND PASTA.


Thanks for the many congratulations on my recent Lyme diagnosis.  I too am thrilled to have an answer (though, as we know, in medical things, it may not be the only answer) and a clear (well, sort of) treatment path.  But, here's the kicker:

Once again, there is no quick fix, no magic pill, no easy out.  The goal here is to put the Lyme into remission, not cure it completely (since that's not possible).  That means that many of the changes I have to make (on top of the MANY changes I've already made) have to be permanent.  This isn't a "I'll do this to get better, then go back to my normal life" type of treatment.

Anyway, Lyme bacteria feed on sugars and carbs, much like myself.  In order to get rid of these Lymie nuisances, I have to eliminate sugar and carbs from my diet.  That means no pasta, no bread, no coffee (except decaf, sugar-free), no soda (same as coffee), no ORANGE JUICE (which I drink every morning) or fruit juice or sugary fruits of any kind, no cereal, and, most devastatingly, NO WINE WHATSOEVER.

*Sobs softly.*

The addition of antibiotics makes this new diet even MORE important since the antibiotics will target all bacteria, good AND bad, and I want to give the good kind more of a fighting chance than the bad, Lymey kind.  Also, long-term antibiotics can lead to really gross side effects like thrush, where bad bacteria grow all up in your mouth and turn your tongue beige, then they go into your digestive track and cause all kinds of nasty business.  Not cute.

(Oh yeah, that bacteria grossness? That's just the beginning of my TMI Thursday).

In addition to this grossness, I also have something called Babesia, a co-infection for Lyme disease.  It's a parasite, ya'll.  How gross is that?  It's born in the tick, moves through the deer, my cat, and finally onto me, where it gestates and breeds and junk.  SICK.  So I'm going on treatment for that as well, and my new diet will help there as well.

Some of you that have chronic illnesses that severely limit your diets will probably think I'm being a big baby, and I totally am.  But I've given up my lifestyle and my independence already.  I've been lucky enough to not have to diet for weight reasons, and when I've eaten healthier the last couple years, it's definitely been fruit-intensive (now off-limits).

So I'm whiny.  A bit whiny.  But I'm going to try to make this my last whiny post.  I'm already looking up great recipes on Lymenaide; I'm remembering my love for Lyme-ok'd foods like goat cheese, avocado, and tofu; and I'm currently having my last big hoo-rah.  Yeah, you heard me right.  I'm hoo-rah-ing.  I don't start antibiotics til tomorrow, so today I had a sub, pasta, and a ton of wine.  I also had a Starbucks latte and a regular cherry coke.  Basically, I ate terribly today, because baby, this is my Fat Tuesday, and my Lent's going to last a long frikkin' time.

I'm still so grateful for my diagnosis.  I'm 100% willing and ready to go every mile I can.  Nothing is equal in worth to gaining back my life and my freedom.


Gah, this wine is GOOD.

Lots of drunk-punch-love to you all,

**What about your illness grosses you out the most?  Feel free to share... we know how it is. :-/

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

There's no cure for stoopid.

My probable prognosis at tomorrow's doctor's appointment:

Damn.  Well, at least we tried.

I was supposed to have a counseling appointment this morning, but woke up a) VERY late, and b) a dizzy disaster.  I almost fell down the stairs before realizing that getting to my appointment in 20 minutes was so not going to happen.  I called the secretary to let her know... and that's how that poor woman took the brunt of 3 weeks of my mistreatment at the hands of people who control my fate.

The conversation went something like this:

Secretary: Hello?

Me: Yes, hi, I'd like to postpone my appointment for today.  I'm really not feeling well, and I'm not going to make it.

Secretary looks me up in computer.

S: Plus your appointment starts at 2, and you're not here.  

Me: *Awkward silence.*

S: Well, there's going to be a late fee you know, because you should have called us 24 hours ago.  And the counselor's booked for the next week, so I can't reschedule you til next Tuesday.  And you really should have--

I now may or may not have interrupted her by bursting into tears like the well-medicated, composed adult that I am.

Me: Can I just say something? *sob* I can't control when I get sick.  I don't know it beforehand.  You are about the fifth person this week (please note that it's only Monday) who has been unsympathetic toward me, and I would just appreciate it if you could at least try to not act like you don't care. *blows nose.*

S: Oh my gosh, ma'am, I'm so sorry.  I really didn't mean... I think you misunderstood... it's doctor's policy, you know, it's not in my control... I was preoccupied...

Unfortunately, by this point I was too focused on re-controlling my crazy to properly apologize for the outburst that truly belonged to a certain middle-aged man who hates sick people (again, an exaggeration... I'm trying to be entertaining here, people, sheesh).

So there you have it.  I am now phone-bombing people with my emotions.  But I learned a valuable lesson today-- the customer is *not* always right, but the customer who cries sure as hell is.

(Also, sorry to those of you who read my other blog too... yes, I reused this picture.  I cried today, people.  I'm exhausted!)

Wishing you all better luck than me with the rest of the world,

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Awards for everyone!

Thanks everyone for your showing your support after my last post. :)  I told my mom that if we could all just get better already, I could lead a formerly-chronically-ill army against my #$%$-hole of a professor.  Unfortunately, I continued to tell her, it was time for my afternoon nap.  C'est la vie... d'chronic fatigue? (Ok, I don't really speak French).

Anyway, I've previously expressed my undying love for the Bloggess, no?  The Bloggies stole yet another award from my favorite fellow anxieteur/cat lady (the first word's my own creation), so she went ahead and made her own award.  A bunch of them actually.  And she said we could take whatever we want.  A grab bag of free awards!

I found the following particularly appropriate for the chronic illness community:
You should put it on your blog too.  Because if we don't deserve this award, ain't no one who does. 
(Ok, fine, there are probably lots of other people who do, including cancer survivors and those who have been through civil wars and national disasters and the like... but just for one, would you not argue with me, rational side of my brain?? Thanks.  'Preesh.)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Death warmed over.

Yup, that's pretty much how I feel too, kitty cats.

No class for this one tonight, just lots of rest... as in slept til 3, slugged around the house til dinnertime, then took a post-dinner nap, and is now about to go back to sleep again.


I'm having trouble getting a deep breath lately, and I'm tempted to pop open the rescue inhaler I have from the allergist, but I just can't fathom starting yet another medication.  I'm out of depression meds, so a trip to the pharmacy tomorrow is crucial to avoid yet more crying at episodes of "How I Met Your Mother." (I don't know, it happens... shutupleavemealone).  I feel like I have the flu, but no temperature means that I just have the ol' chronic fatigue/Lyme disease crash happening, so that's fun.  Blurgh again.

I'm a week late on a paper for one of my classes, which is why I even went to school last night feeling so bad.  I had sent an email, but he hadn't read it because public school professors don't give a crap the way private school ones do, so in some ways, I actually missed Wake last night.  I tried to explain to him my condition... I have CFS and Lyme disease and depression and sometimes I crash and I'm in the middle of a big ol' nasty crash.  I told him how I'd barely gotten out of bed and how I'd been sleeping 12 hours.  His answer, unsurprisingly, was basically "tough noogies." 

He reminded me that other kids in the class had problems I didn't know about, as if I didn't realize other people have problems, thanks, and he pointed out that if I were late turning in something for a job, I would be fired.  I pointed out that I wouldn't be able to hold down a job right now anyway, which is why I'm only taking two classes and living at home for goodness' sake.  He suggested I quit school, which is also nothing new, and I politely replied that that was not really an option and informed him I had already been out of school for a year.  I forgot to mention that I'm 23 damn years old and I would like to be finished with school, please, so that maybe once I'm better I can embark on my adult life.  I then held back my tears until I got into the school bathroom, where I started a cry-laugh crazy person combo that lasted me most of the hour-long drive home.

Anyway, we finally came to the agreement that I would turn in the paper tomorrow (Wednesday), he would give me some points, and I would not be late again.  While his complete lack of sympathy was disappointing (but, I mention again, decisively unsurprising), the truth is that all I need is a C in this class because the grade doesn't transfer to my Wake GPA anyway.  Also, while most well people might not understand this, I'm giving myself points for showing up at all.  It took all my deep breathing techniques to keep my anxiety at bay, and my old self absolutely would have just avoided this problem as long as possible, making it worse and worse.  So even though I've messed up, again, I'm proud of myself for taking my big-girl pill and just facing the world head-on, even if it doesn't understand anything I'm going through.

And now I'm crying again.  Damn you, depression, for turning me into a loser who cries. Now I'm laughing AND crying.  Shit, I'm a real crazy face.

(Sorry for all the cursing, interwebs.)

Friday, February 26, 2010

When life hands you Lyme, make Lymeaide?

This is a quick post seeing as it's late and I should be trying to sleep (speaking of sleep, supposedly you're not supposed to take Ambien on a nightly basis?  Why do I have to hear these things on Chelsea Lately and not from my dumb doctor?).  Anyway, I saw a Lyme specialist a couple of weeks ago who sent a bunch of bloodwork to the Igenex lab in California.  I have no idea why they had to send it out to California, but they did and the tests got sent to my email yesterday...


So, I have Lyme disease.  Maybe on top of CFS, maybe in place of CFS, not totally sure.  Because I've been sick for 2 1/2 years and Lyme only just showed up in my bloodwork, but it's a tricksy little disease so I'm not really sure.  I only have the Bburgdorferi strand and none of the co-infections (according to this bloodwork), so that's a good thing, I think.  Really, I could barely understand the letter she sent me; it was all in doctor talk.  But I'm glad to actually get some informative blood work back, instead of the usual, "Hmm, are you sure you're sick?" (Yeah, yeah I think I am.  Thanks though.)

Also, some people have asked me how I contracted Lyme disease.  This is a simple equation:

My backyard*:

PLUS my big fat indoor-outdoor cat:

"Please, Robyn, let me outside so I can catch MORE disease-ridden ticks with my luxurious fur!"

EQUALS me with Lyme disease.

Glad we straightened that out.


*This picture may have been doctored to make the deer appear they were digging paths to my house.  In reality, the deer are way lazier than this, and generally chose to only take paths that my dad had already snowblown.  Good-for-nothin' deer.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mille Grazie!

That means "a thousand thanks" in Italian, and I mean it-- thank you guys for your huge response to my request for article help!  I'm in the process of sending out questions, conducting interviews, etc., and I'm really excited about how it's turning out.  I promise to let you guys know how everything goes!

 This is how I got my kicks today-- you can really get sucked into this website for hours if you're not careful.  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Help me with my article!

Hey guys-- I have a huge favor to ask, and I hope you'll finish reading this post before you decide yay or nay!

I just posted this discussion on, and I'm reposting it here in the hopes that it will get to my closest blogging buddies even more quickly:

I have a huge favor to ask you all.  I'd like to hear your stories.  I'm writing an article for a journalism class I'm taking this semester, but I'd like to publish it later because I think it's important that your voices are heard.  I'm writing a piece on the "trend" of chronic illness-- its history,its impact, and how awareness is on the up-and-up with medical discoveries like XMRV and FDA-approved drugs for fibromyalgia.

The focus of my article is on the stigma of chronic illness and how many women have experience normalization through blogging and online communities (such as this one).  I'd love to hear your story of stigma, diagnosis, and what you've gained from the Internet pertaining to chronic illness.

If you're willing to talk with me about this, please respond to this forum, or just email me at  I'd like to conduct interviews by Skype if possible, but if that is too inconvenient for you, I'm more than happy to conduct them via telephone, email, whatever!

So, that's it guys!  I'd really like to interview you for my article and, honestly, get to know you a little better one-on-one.  I can adjust it to your timing constraints, and we can do the interview on any forum you choose.  I'll probably only need 20 minutes of your time-- but if you want to talk longer, I'm all ears. :)

I can't wait to hear from you.  Thank you all in advance!


Friday, February 19, 2010

I'd like to thank the academy...

"You like me! You really like me!" (Sally Fields)

"Gee, this isn't like I imagined it would be in my bathtub." (Dianne Wiest)

"This is one night I wished I smoked and drank." (Grace Kelly)

"I just want to thank everybody I've ever met in my entire life." (Kim Basinger)

"Can I have my champagne now?" (Cate Blanchett)

By now, you should have guessed, but I'll tell you anyway... I won an award!

Thank you to Annie over at It's Time to Get Over How Fragile You Are for passing this award on to me... Annie is one of my favorite people I've  met through blogging.  Her writing is always so relatable, whether she's making me empathize, think, or laugh (she makes me laugh a lot).  If you guys haven't met her yet, you should really head over to her blog... I guarantee you won't regret it!

I'm supposed to list 10 things about myself, so I'll give it a shot.  Bear with me; this is always the part I dread most about "get to know you"s... I love reading them, but it's hard to think of 10 list-worthy things about oneself! Ack!
  1. I'm seriously obsessed with Europe.  This is nothing that unique, I realize, but I love their lifestyle and the way they incorporate beauty into their everyday lives.  I spent a semester living in Venice, Italy, and I still think back on that semester as the time in my life when I felt most alive.  I wasn't always happy, but when I was happy, I was on cloud nine; when I was sad, I was devastated; when I was angry, I was livid.  I was so in love with that city that every emotion was magnified, and I can't imagine a better way to live than fully.
  2. I have a really irreverent sense of humor.  I try to tone it down-- I come from a long line of proper, conservative women, who then come out and say something ridiculous that makes me think, "Maybe I'm not adopted after all..."  My best friend, M, and I have this in common, and we have often commiserated over such inappropriate reactions such as giggling at times we shouldn't (funerals, for instance), cracking jokes when it's "too soon," and just taking everything that one extra step... It's just the way we deal with life, I think, but I definitely don't mean to offend anyone by it.  I'd like to quickly defend this by quoting Mark Twain:
    • "Everything human is pathetic. The secret source of Humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven."
    • "The funniest things are the forbidden."
    • "Humor is the good natured side of a truth."
  3.  I watch Chelsea Lately every night.
  4. I've had to come home early from college three times, and somehow it never gets any easier.  Every single time, it was embarrassing, shameful, and devastating.
  5. For some reason, I can never spell "embarrassing" right the first time I write it.  I'm a pretty good speller, but I never add the second "r"... how embarassing.
  6. I am a veritable cat lady at the ripe old age of 23.  We have 3 cats in my house, and I am constantly cuddling them or following stalking them around the house with my camera to catch them doing silly things.  I use Youtube for the sole purpose of looking up funny cat videos (this is a good one). I think it's unfair that cat people get such a bad rap!
  7. I went to a conservative private university in North Carolina called Wake Forest.  It was there that I found out I am not southern.  Not even a little bit.  I don't have anything against the south-- most of my best friends now are southern!-- but Northern Virginia is not the south.
  8. I also found out I am not conservative. Or private.
  9. I am the oldest of three girls.  Three girls and no boys.  We have a plaque in our powder room that says "There is a special bathroom in heaven for the father of three girls."  Ain't that the truth.  Both of my baby sisters are always showing off too-- Jessie, 21, is  adorable, sweet, and doing fantastic at college in meteorology. She also spent the summer in Zambia helping orphans.  Orphans?? C'mon!  Bethany, 14, has already written more novels than I have, plays the guitar and piano beautifully, writes really impressive songs, and is cute and hilarious to boot.  The nerve of them!
  10. I've definitely become more irritable in the past 2 1/2 years that I've been sick.  I try to monitor my moods and not punish others unfairly, but my personal pet peeves include:
    • When my dad asks me a question, then absent-mindedly walks out of the room
    • People who ask me "how are you?" as a greeting instead of a personal question.  Such a tease!
    • When people are obsessed with status.  I once went on a dinner with a friend where we met up with a bunch of Libertarian friends of his and this older guy who owned a flat in Georgetown (a high-end area of DC).  Once they all figured out I was living at home, sick, and hadn't finished college, they pretty much ignored me for the rest of the night.  The best example of their snobbery?  Their favorite joke was telling people they went to Princeton Law School.  Get it??? Because it doesn't exist??? Har-har-har.
    • Drivers or pedestrians that cut in front of me.  In the words of Carrie Bradshaw, "Oh, you're SOOOO busy!"

Ok, I guess that last one was a time I used youtube for something other than cat-stalking.  Damn, already contradicted myself.

Time to pass on the love!

 If I have picked your blog, please post the award on your blog and pay it forward, and then leave a comment on the person’s blog to let them know.  I want to read details about my favorite people!!!

I choose to award:
Thanks for reading, everyone! 


Related Posts with Thumbnails