Thursday, April 26, 2012

Photo Sunday, slightly delayed

We're just skipping over the awkwardness of how I'm doing and going straight to photo Sunday.  And yes, it's Wednesday.

If you've read this blog at all, you know that I'm very anti-Dallas.

But I swear my little neighborhood, Deep Ellum, makes me feel like I could be anywhere- Austin, San Diego, Denver even maybe?  It's so angsty and anti-establishment it, even I feel like an artist.  :)

I've been doing pretty well with my required pt at home.  The walks are the hardest part, but I distract myself by trying to find cool little hidden niches.  This Sunday I decided to snap a few pics for you guys to get a healthy taste of the only acceptable place to live in Dallas.

Seems like you can hardly find a lamp post or street sign here that hasn't been defaced in some way.  The original art is always entertaining, but I have to admit that I have a thing for an appropriately placed sticker tarnishing a shiny new stop sign. :)

Band posters are ever intriguing to me, and you can find them everywhere in this area- a tribute to the streets that have been considered a musical hotspot in the South since the 1920's.  Those ghosts still haunt the area, and regardless of the ebbs and flows of popularity, the roots are deep and music venues monopolize the area. 

The other third of the businesses you'll see in Deep Ellum are tattoo parlors, much to my heart's delight.  In my mind, tattoos are closely linked to the kind of dissent that keeps a country honest with itself.  I saw a documentary some years ago (was it Sicko?), and I remember distinctly a woman from it saying, "In France, the government is afraid of the people.  In American, the people are afraid of the government."  I know that France earned that right with years and years of rebellion, which I hope America is on the cusp of.   

At least in my neighborhood, I feel like it could be a possibility. 

After walking around  for a while

and seeing so much cool art, 

I was inspired to take a few artsy photos of my own....
of the dog,

a cool old newspaper I found, 

even a sign that I found ironic. :)

 By the end, even the "Visit Myrtle Beach" sky-writing seemed like art. :)


Monday, April 16, 2012

Marathon Post

So I'm talking to my therapist, who asks if I am blogging.
"No," I say.  "Every time I open up to my blog I just think, Ugh. I don't even have the energy to deal with this life." Because it's so much, isn't it? Even if you don't have cancer, even if you don't have chronic pain, life is SO MUCH to deal with.  Just the every day of it is enough to wear me out sometimes.

Also, of course, are the drugs.  Woohoo I get loopy.  No memory of what I was supposed to be doing. I forget what time my appointments are.  And I think I spend way too much time sleeping, but it's hard to control on these meds.

Lots of people have been asking: A. what's the deal with the diagnosis, B. how's your pain and C. what's going on with you?

The diagnosis is easy to answer. Arthritis throughout my back, and degenerative disc disease.  Spinal stenosis in two vertebrae, one cervical and one lumbar.

The good news is that through the magic of Hollywood and Bobby's very special magic finger skills, we have actual pics from the scans.  Pretty friggin cool if you ask me.

So this is me... my spine.  As if I am sitting in a chair and you are standing, looking down my spine. The bright white circle (and all of this is from memory, so please note that it's probably all wrong lol) (also please correct me in the comments if you know what I said wrong) anyway the bright white circle in the center is my spinal cord. I guess those little dots are like nerve fibers.  But in this pic you can see how it should be, in a circular shape.  This part of my spine has no damage, its protected in it's round shape and isn't being touched.

These next two photos show other parts of my spine- these are both lumbar- where the disc and/or the vertebra bone has begun to close in on the nerves, forcing it into a triangle shape instead of the oval its supposed to be.

Is that as crazy to y'all as it is to me?  I mean it's actually there in black and white. There is actually something wrong with me and we've found out what it is.  Somebody write this on a calendar somewhere.  :)  In all seriousness, though, Dr. Callewort was amazing.  He took so much time to talk to me and explain everything.  He asked lots of questions and let me ask lots of questions.  His explanations were clear and he was so reassuring as to why I'm in so much pain.  It was very comforting to hear.  He also did a little test on me because B kept telling him over and over that I have a high tolerance for pain.  Turns out, I actually do have a high tolerance. lol  The good doctor said I only feel about 2/3 the pain of the average human.  I always knew I was tough. hahahaha

Anyway, here's another view of what's going on, this time from the side.

So the line of two dark columns in the middle- the one on the left are vertebrae and the one on the right is muscle if memory serves me right.  Notice the layer of bone and disc tissue, and the width of the disc tissue. Also note the 3rd disc from the bottom, how it is jagged and very thin in some areas, even with swelling in areas, as seen in the top pic of these two.

So there's that.

B. The pain
also released in Europe under the title Pain, Pain Go Away, Come again another Day

People keep asking how the pain level is, and I do have to say I'm better.  But, as always in health, it's a bit more complicated than that.

You know how I know I'm a nerd?  I made a line graph to explain my pain levels.
There's just something so gratifying about a graph that explains my pain.  Even if I did put too many blue dots in. lol

C. What's Going on with Me

Jeesh, that's a whole other blog post.

Praying for us all,


I'm Too Young For This!